KUALA LUMPUR: The Cabinet reshuffle shows a clear sign of desperation on the Prime Minister’s part, says local think tank Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS) chief executive, Wan Saiful Wan Jan.
“The move indicates desperation. It is a bad move for the country and raises questions about the integrity of the government,” said Wan Saiful in a statement released by IDEAS today.
He took issue with the timing of the reshuffle, saying that its close proximity with the 1MDB scandal and the manner in which it was done seemed to imply that the Prime Minister was primarily interested in silencing his critics and stopping any criminal prosecution.
“The problem is with the timing and the way this reshuffle was done. Instead of providing good answers to the many criticisms, the Prime Minister has chosen to remove his critics. But the questions are still left unanswered.
“Even worse, the reshuffle was done together with the removal with the one person who has complete discretion whether or not to prosecute those involved in alleged wrongdoings related to 1MDB,” said Wan Saiful.
He said that Umno’s immediate future was now dependent on how erstwhile Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin reacted to the sacking of ministers, and that a serious intra-party war could be expected if Muhyiddin decided to call for an Extraordinary General Meeting of Umno or call for a vote of no-confidence against Najib.
“But he also has the option of waiting for the next parliamentary sitting and initiating a vote of no confidence against the Prime Minister in parliament. This too would create a serious and unprecedented crisis in the country,” said Wan Saiful.
Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, as speculated earlier, dropped Muhyiddin from the Cabinet and replaced him with Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi who currently retains his ministerial portfolio.
Muhyiddin was also Education Minister.