KUCHING, May 12: Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad held a press conference at about 4pm today at Yayasan Selangor after Pakatan Harapan presidential council meeting.
The following are some of the more important points he made:
- Ministers from Sarawak and Sabah
Dr Mahathir mentioned there will be ministers from Sarawak and Sabah; however, he did not indicate their numbers.
He said the cabinet may be expanded to accommodate ministers from Sabah and Sarawak, but it was not clear whether that was on top of the Sarawakian and Sabahan ministers who are to be included in the 25-member cabinet.
He said Sabah had indicated a clear political stand but not Sarawak.
“Although we said it is a small cabinet of 25 members, it may be necessary later on to have ministers from Sabah and Sarawak and may be from other organisations.
“So we have a place for Sabah and Sarawak. We need to find out their stands. As far as Sabah is concerned, (Parti) Warisan (Sabah) president (Datuk Seri) Shafie Apdal had indicated that he fully supports in the first place, the prime minister and the government set up by the prime minister,” said Dr Mahathir.
Mahathir was also expecting an increase in the number of component parties.
- Meeting with Sarawak governor Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud
When asked by a reporter of the meeting with Taib, Dr Mahathir did not deny it.
“We were meeting a lot of people to gain insight into their views to find what are beneficial for us and what are not beneficial and we will act accordingly,” he said.
- The three cabinet ministers
DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng is the Finance Minister, Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah) president Mohamad Sabu is the Defence Minister while Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) president Datuk Seri Muhyiddin Yassin is the Home Minister.
So far, there are already five members in the cabinet made known to Malaysia: Dr Mahathir as prime minister, Datuk Seri Wan Azizah Wan Ismail as deputy prime minister and the three cabinet ministers.
“We have not named seven other full ministers. We have named the names of the ministries,” said Mahathir.
He said these three ministers needed to be announced first because of the urgent responsibility in tackling the country’s finance and security first.
- A small 25-member cabinet
He said there will be 10 full ministers but the full list will only be announced by next week.
“We request the four parties in the coalition to submit three names from each party for the consideration of the prime minister,” said Dr Mahathir.
- He said the cabinet will be a 25-member cabinet but it may be expanded.
“We will do it as soon as possible by next week, that the 10 ministries will be filled and we will try to expedite the setting up a full cabinet in between two to three weeks,” said Dr Mahathir.
He said it took time because the PH coalition is made up by four parties and must all be represented in the cabinet.
“At the same time, we are conscious that varying factions and, well, races are involved. Some people might think that we favour one race over another. So all these have to be taken into consideration in the appointment of the ministers, which is why we need to take a little bit of time.”
- The setting up of a Council of Elders/Eminent persons
He announced the setting up of the council which will comprise eminent persons to serve as advisors to the government. This is needed because he said many in the coalition parties have no experience in running a government.
Those named by Dr Mahathir were former finance minister Tun Daim Zainuddin, former Bank Negara governor Tan Sri Zeti Akhtar Aziz, former Petronas president Tan Sri Hasan Merican, tycoon billionaire and Malaysia’s richest man Tan Sri Robert Kuok, and economist Dr Jomo Kwame Sundaram.
The council may be expanded later where other members may be invited.
- All contracts to be reviewed
Both Dr Mahathir and Lim said all contracts will be reviewed to ensure that they favour Malaysia and were beneficial to the people.
The fundamental task for Lim, the new Finance Minister, is to ensure the livelihood of the people.
“I think the focus will still be helping those who find it very hard to make ends meet. Our focus is how to make their lives easier,” said Lim who was present at the press conference with Dr Mahathir.
On the same topic, Dr Mahathir reiterated that all contracts be reviewed to make sure that Malaysia benefit from the contracts.
“In terms of the contracts, we will review them to see how they favour us. We want to benefit from those contracts, and whatever decisions are made, we will base on that,” said Mahathir.
- Only clean leaders from previous regime will be accepted
A reporter asked whether PH would be taking in leaders from previous regime and turned PH into a BN 2.0. She also asked whether PH would set a deadline for crossing over.
In anwering that question, Dr Mahathir said PH was ready to accept the elected representatives from other parties who wanted to join PH. However, these politicians will be vetted first especially those who were to be included in the cabinet.
“The previous government was led by certain leaders; of course a lot of people have to follow their leaders. But if they foreswear their former allegiance and they are free from any charges, and they want to join any parties (of PH), or to become independent, but support PH, we will accept them.
“But each case will be studied as through their involvement in the previous government,” said Dr Mahathir.
- Najib and his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor prohibited from leaving country
Dr Mahathir told the press conference that he had given the instruction to prevent both Najib and his wife from leaving the country.
“It is true that I have prevented Najib from leaving the country, as far as I know, he and his wife. I am not aware of any other people,” said Dr Mahathir.
- Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s release
Dr Mahathir is working on Anwar’s release but emphasised it will follow protocol.
“What we have decided is that we will seek pardon from the king. This process has certain rules and regulations which we have to adhere to but we will expedite the case as soon as possible for his release and his pardon,” said Dr Mahathir.
- Malaysia has no Attorney-General (AG) presently
When asked about action taken against the AG Mohd Apandi Ali, Dr Mahathir did not answer directly but saying that a few have been “put under restriction”.
“The police has put restriction on a number of people who may be involved in wrong doing or in making the wrong decisions. So at the moment, we don’t have any attorney general,” said Dr Mahathir. — DayakDaily