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Incoming PM names cabinet as Malaysia suffers COVID deaths

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27 Aug 2021 7:51 AM GMT
Incoming PM names cabinet as Malaysia suffers COVID deaths
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New Malaysian Prime Minister, Ismail Yaakob, on Friday announced his cabinet, retaining many of his predecessor’s nominees, but named a new health minister following reports of coronavirus deaths on Thursday. “Thank you for trusting me,’’ said Khairy Jamaluddin, who was given the vital health portfolio after having previously served as minister of science, technology and innovation. On […]

New Malaysian Prime Minister, Ismail Yaakob, on Friday announced his cabinet, retaining many of his predecessor’s nominees, but named a new health minister following reports of coronavirus deaths on Thursday.

“Thank you for trusting me,’’ said Khairy Jamaluddin, who was given the vital health portfolio after having previously served as minister of science, technology and innovation.

On Thursday, in spite of Malaysia being in lockdown since mid-May, the Health Ministry reported 393 COVID-related deaths and a new record of almost 25,000 cases in one day.

Yaakob kept Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz on as Finance Minister, with Azmin Ali staying on in Trade and Hamzah Zainuddin retaining the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Saifuddin Abdullah returned as Foreign Minister after working as Communications Minister under the previous administration, while former Foreign Minister Hishammuddin Hussein was given Defence.

Former Finance Minister and leader of the opposition Democratic Action Party, Lim Guan Eng criticised what he called “a recycled cabinet.’’

Muhyiddin Yassin was replaced a week ago, who quit last month after his handling of the pandemic was criticised.

The prime minister named 10 members of his United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) as ministers, alongside the same number from Muhyiddin’s United Malays Indigenous Party.

The prime minister’s slim parliamentary majority hinges on support from Muhyiddin’s party, who warned the incoming prime minister against the appointment of anyone facing criminal charges to a ministerial portfolio.

Several UMNO members have been in court facing charges related to former Prime Minister Najib Razak’s period in office between 2009 and 2018.

Najib, who was sentenced to 12 years in jail for corruption last year, was still an MP, and remained free on appeal.

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