Who Will Be the New Defence Minister? Part II


KUALA LUMPUR: Back in January Malaysian Defence asked the same question and even posted a poll on this site. A total of 81 people responded and the majority believed that none of the three names listed on the poll, Hishammudin Hussein, Shafie Afdal and Muhyiddin Yassin, will head Jalan Padang Tembak when the new PM takes over.

Malaysian Defence understands that there is a strong undercurrent against Pekan’s ascension to the country’s top politician post but barring any last minute hitches, the newest UMNO president is set to take his oath of office this Friday. With a new premier, a new cabinet comes naturally and as this is Malaysian Defence, our interest is with the Jalan Padang Tembak hot seat.

As stated in the previous poll, while the Defence Ministry post is one of most sought after Cabinet position, the current economic situation may well damper the enthusiasm of the most ambitious politician. Nonetheless, the three names mentioned above, Hishammudin, Shafie and Muhyiddin remained in the contention for the post long held by the PM-designate himself.

Hishammudin’s blood ties to Najib was cited as the main reason for his possible selection for the post although those in the defence circles felt that he is too raw for the post. Incidentally, in the Malaysian Defence poll, Hishammudin was the early favourite but in the end finished second.

Shafie had the smallest number of votes in the poll but his strong showing in the UMNO’s VP race clearly showed his credentials as a potential future deputy president. And a stint as the head honcho at Jalan Padang Tembak may well boost his chances as well unless of course, Najib and Muhyiddin followed up their promise for transformation.

Muhyiddin was another early favourite for the post but with his election as UMNO deputy president it may no longer be politically savvy for his boss to allow him to rule over the honey pot. Again this would not matter if the transformation really took place, so the former Johor Menteri Besar, remained a viable candidate for the new Defence Minister.

Alas, we are in unchartered territory here and we have no history or tradition to allow us to make educated guesses. The success of KJ and Zahid Hamidi in the UMNO elections have also complicated matters.

However, if there is one candidate that can be totally ruled out from the Jalan Padang Tembak job, it will be Pak Lah’s son-in-law (sorry MeesterT!). Of course Najib could surprise us by elevating the current deputy defence minister (Abu Seman Yusop) to the top post but insiders say that this was most unlikely.

And my take on this? Early on I had my sights on Muhyiddin but now, I have dialed up a new target. I could be wrong on this but Shafie Afdal may well be the new Defence Minister next week.

Malaysian Defence

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About Marhalim Abas 2186 Articles
Shah Alam


  1. I put RM10 on Shafie as PM-designate wants a trusted man to hold the fort in Kementah while he sorts out the mess that is KDN.

  2. I’ll put my money on shafie for this post. As he has the most number of years experiencing Ministry of Defence (besides YB Najib himself) amongst all YBs. He was the deputy minister of defence once sometime ago.

  3. Wow Meester T and MALAYsian sudah bubuh RM 10. I pun rasa it will be Shafie Apdal. Dato’ Hishamuddin akan maintain MOE.

  4. Ya….but where is MuYa going to go? tak kan stay at MITI as DPM, especially with the reduced income these days.

    Marhalim: He may well run Home Ministry…

  5. Najib first speech as PM. Lets hope its not just words….

    “On behalf of all Malaysians, I would like to thank Yang Berbahagia Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi for his 31 years of exemplary public service to our country, his commitment to strengthening the institutions and fabric of our democracy and for his graceful example as our leader.

    “I am grateful to Yang Berbahagia Tun for his confidence in proposing my name as Prime Minister to Duli Yang Maha Mulia Seri Paduka Baginda Yang di-Pertuan Agong, and I am honoured that His Majesty has consented to my appointment with this morning’s swearing-in ceremony. I feel a deep sense of humility at the opportunity to serve as your Prime Minister at an important time in our nation’s history.

    My life has been dedicated to public service.

    Growing up, I was inspired by the positive impact of public service in the example of my late father. Four decades on, I remain committed to the goals of tackling poverty, of restructuring our society, of expanding access to quality education for all, and of inspiring a new generation of young Malaysians to work on behalf of this great country.

    My own service in government has always been about getting results: to ensure a better deal for teachers, to improve conditions for our brave soldiers, and to strengthen our economy in defence of the people of Malaysia, as we deal with the outbreak of a global recession.

    In the coming weeks, I will be consulting with people around our country, as I begin to reshape the leadership and priorities of the Government. I am mindful that we should build on the successes and lessons of the past. It must be a government with new approaches for new times — a government that places a priority on performance, because the people must come first.

    We must reach out to all parts of Malaysia… to all our diverse communities. In our national discourse and in pursuing our national agenda, we must never leave anyone behind. We must reach out to the many who may have been disaffected and left confused by political games, deceit and showmanship.

    We must draw on talented people across our nation, regardless of their position or background, to re-energise a passion for public service. We must sow the seeds of goodwill and understanding in every corner of this land, so that we continue to harvest the fruits of progress and prosperity for all Malaysians.

    We must seek to include and unlock the potential of our young people who will be the next generation of leaders, business people, engineers, scientists, teachers and doctors. We must give them wings to fly.

    And so today, I pledge that I will work tirelessly to serve all of you.

    In this spirit, I would like to announce that the government has decided with immediate effect, to remove the temporary ban on two news publications, release 13 detainees from ISA detention, and conduct a comprehensive review of the Internal Security Act. Additional details will be announced by the Ministry of Home Affairs shortly.

    These decisions are timely as we move to enhance the confidence of our citizens in those entrusted with maintaining peace, law and order, while recognising the need to remain vigilant of the very real security threats we continue to face as a young nation.

    I know that for every citizen, these are hard times and I remain focused in providing strong leadership to lead us out of this economic crisis and unleash our full potential as a nation. I will be steadfast in my commitment to meet the needs, aspirations and concerns of all Malaysians.

    So today I ask you to join me in this task of renewing Malaysia. I urge us to rise to the challenge of building a One Malaysia. People First. Performance Now.

    Let us begin this great journey together.

  6. yak, yak, yak…
    here yak,
    there yak,
    everywhere yak,
    o macdonald has a farm….

    I sincerely hope for the best.

  7. Whaddya mean yak? There’s a sweepstakes for whoever guesses the cabinet correctly. Go money riding lar……;

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