Cabinet must be bigger than 25 ministers, says Umno
Previous government had 35 ministers
(Focus Malaysia) – PRIME Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s yet-to-be-announced Cabinet should not be too small as it could put burden on each ministry with too many responsibilities, cautioned UMNO information chief Isham Jalil.
Speaking on the Agenda AWANI programme yesterday (Nov 29), Isham opined that the optimal size of the Cabinet was 28 ministers as a lower number of ministers would mean having to merge several ministries.
This would cause difficulties for each ministry to function given the heavier responsibilities, he added.
Isham further noted that according to the country’s legislation system, ministers had discretionary powers when it came to secondary legislation, which are laws created by ministers under powers given to them by an Act of Parliament.
“If we give one minister too much jurisdiction due to the merging of several ministries, the checks and balances [on their authority] will not be as effective and would burden the minister,” he was reported as saying.
As such, he said it would be pointless to reduce the number of ministers just so that the government can reduce its spending as the number of civil servants and government assets remain unchanged.
Anwar had repeatedly expressed a desire for a smaller cabinet line-up, adding that the Cabinet under his leadership would also propose for ministers’ salaries to be reduced following the economic situation in the country.
Previously, the Cabinet under Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob had 31 ministers, including four who were made senior ministers. His government also had 38 deputy ministers.
Ismail Sabri’s predecessor Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin had 32 ministers and 38 deputy ministers.