PETALING JAYA: A Cabinet reshuffle is on the cards following Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) disastrous outing at the recent Tanjung Piai by-election, according to Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
The Prime Minister said the decision was made after receiving feedback from various quarters, but he did not give a specific timeline on when it would happen.
The elder statesman said the loss in Tanjung Piai by over 15,000 votes came as a shock to the coalition, and said this could be due to its lack of experience and its failure to address issues on the high cost of living and economic matters affecting the rakyat.
“In the end, I feel that a reshuffle is required. And I as the prime minister will be responsible of this. It won’t happen today or tomorrow, as we need to study in detail the achievements and capabilities of our ministers before making any decision,” he said after chairing the Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia supreme council meeting, here today.
Mahathir said the issue of the reshuffle, which was raised in today’s party meeting, would also be discussed with the other component parties in PH before a final decision is made, with the matter expected to be brought up at the coalition’s presidential council meeting this Saturday.
When pressed further on when the reshuffle might take place, Mahathir hinted that it may be carried out soon to allow for better preparation for the government before the country plays host to the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) 2020 event, which is set to take place in the fourth quarter next year.
“A lot of work needed to be done because we are hosting APEC. We must not take this meeting lightly, as it is an international event. That is why we will make the necessary preparation,” he added.
Asked if this meant he would still continue to assume the position of prime minister after May 2020, the initially agreed date for the transition of power, Mahathir said: “A change mid-way will be very confusing and will create a lot of problem.”
Mahathir however said the reshuffle would be given heavy consideration, noting that even a change in personality in the Cabinet might not necessarily improve the government.
“The act of reshuffle itself is not a solution. It may be a problem even, that is why we must be careful. We need to see if the performance of current ministers require them to be dropped or moved.
“And even if a new minister is appointed, we are not sure of his or her performance. They may also take time to adjust,” he said.
Asked if former Umno leaders, who have now joined PH since the last general election, would be considered for the ministerial posts, Mahathir said: “We keep our minds open.”