It is hardly surprising that soon after Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced his cabinet line-up, Malaysians took to social media to register their utter disappointment.
The new cabinet, which was largely perceived to be lacklustre, prompted certain social media users to mock it. A sample of their creative juices would give us an indication of the extent of their frustration.
Making its rounds on social media is a photo of two wooden cabinets that are respectively labelled old and new even though there is not much difference between the two. Both are supposedly bloated.
Political cartoonist Zunar is less generous with his satirical sketch of a garbage truck being driven by a new driver who looks like Ismail Sabri.
Apparently tired of what is seen as a recycled batch of ministers from the previous administration, someone flashed a well-known saying: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
Disappointment also did not escape Umno stalwart Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, who sarcastically hoped that the newly appointed ministers would be offered half the salaries offered by the previous administration. The thought of huge salaries to be paid to a bloated cabinet must have jolted him into cynicism.
Concerned Malaysians felt let down as they saw Ismail Sabri scotch a golden opportunity to offer hope for better governance, particularly at a time when ordinary Malaysians are still grappling with the epidemic and its horrendous impact on the economy, as well as political uncertainty.
They were hoping that, with the benefit of hindsight, Ismail Sabri would have instead considered picking a bunch of new, inspiring and competent people who could turn the country around, particularly through highly strategic ministries.
It is unfortunate that the dead wood of the previous government still appears in the Ismail Sabri administration, which is not a pleasant reality for many Malaysians who expected the former to be swiftly dumped in the interest of effective governance.
Switching deadwood from one ministry to another, as Ismail Sabri has done, might have been his solution to meeting the demands of certain quarters in the ruling Perikatan Nasional coalition, but it certainly did not please Malaysians who have high expectations.
Promoting someone who failed to make the cut at the state level to a ministerial position is adding salt to injury as far as Malaysians who have hoped for a competent group of ministers are concerned.
If Malaysians are considered a valued “family” by Ismail Sabri ever since he became the Prime Minister, then having a cabinet that looks similar to the previous one is not exactly an effective way to gain their trust and make them feel part of a collective endeavour to heal the nation.
The composition of the cabinet also would not inspire public confidence that the proposed institutional reforms, which were agreed upon in the recent meeting between Ismail Sabri and the opposition leaders, would materialise as many of the ministers are seen to be averse to such reforms.
While one can understand the need for Ismail Sabri to appease his coalition partners when selecting his cabinet members, it is unfortunate that the concerns of the people seem to have been overwhelmed by political expediency.
That said, sceptics would love to be proven wrong that the cabinet would not be able to deliver for the larger good. – The Malaysian Insight