KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian Defence wishes to stay out of politics but the question needed to be asked. The word from Mindef before the election was that Datuk Seri Najib would not be re-appointed as Defence Minister this time around.
With the outcome of the 12th General Election still being digested, the word around town remained that Najib would take over as Home Minister apart from carrying out his duties as the DPM. With that in mind, who will be taking over the hot seat in MINDEF.
The obvious candidate is of course Datuk Seri Hishammuddin, the current Education Minister, if we go by tradition. Another possible candidate is former Najib’s deputy Datuk Shafie Afdal, who was the only deputy with real responsibility while in office. It must be said that Shafie’s tenure as Minister was less gratifying compared to the time when he was a deputy.
Former air force pilot, Datuk Zulhasnan, the sole BN winner in Kuala Lumpur (Putrajaya and Labuan excluded) could be seen as the third alternative (another logical choice) for Pak Lah to consider. Being a former serviceman, Zulhasnan credentials would fit the job to a T but it remained to be seen whether he could rise above the old MINDEF ministerial style.
One, however, must not forget KJ, the PM’s famous and infamous , son-in-law. If the GE result have been the other way around, I would say that KJ is the obvious choice to replace Najib as he seeks to consolidate his position in UMNO but in the aftermath of the big losses, I doubt Pak Lah would place his son-in-law in such a powerful position.
So who will it be, if Najib is not reappointed? The smart money will say Hishammuddin but do not count Shafie, Zulhasnan and even KJ out of the running.
Malaysian Defence choice? None of the above of course.
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