SHAH ALAM: Who will be the next Home and Defence ministers? As you are aware, no coalition or parties won enough seats in the general election, yesterday, to form the government. And as you are aware, most of the leaders are now scrambling to get enough support for them to meet the King to consent for the formation of the government.
The King this afternoon has asked the coalition leaders to present themselves at Istana Negara on November 21, to show proof they have the majority support to form the next government.
We can surmise that both Pakatan Harapan and Perikatan Nasional (PN) – the coalitions with the most parliamentarians – will be talking with the leaders in Sabah and Sarawak – apart from the other parties – to form the next government.
I believe this is the opportunity for either coalition to appoint home and defence ministers from Sabah and Sarawak. The reason is simple, the territories are the ones facing the most security challenges in the nation. If appointed, it will be incumbent for them, to ensure the government provide the best tools for the security forces stationed in Sabah and Sarawak to meet the security challenges. Be it fighter jets, ships and armoured vehicles.
One of them could also be made the deputy prime minister as a sweetener. I have no individual parliamentarians in mind but getting ones below 50 years old would the first criteria.
Furthermore, with two Sabahan and Sarawakian already holding the two national security porfolios, the new cabinet could be made smaller, with twenty as the target. I understand coalition building make it harder to make a smaller cabinet, but I think the smaller the better anyhow.
It is also interesting to note that the former home and defence ministers – who competed in the GE15 – won their respective constituencies though it is likely most of them would not be eager to return to their former jobs.
Despite my suggestions above, I believe that if PN got the nod to form the next government, new Ketereh MP Major General (rtd) Khlir Mohd Nor may well be the candidate for Jalan Padang Tembak. Khlir retired as the Army Chief of Staff several years back. That said I am not too keen on having a former general nor other ranks (there are several parliamentarians who are veterans also) taking charge of the Defence Ministry.
Former Home Minister Hamzah Zainuddin who won the Larut seat, is odds-on favourite to return to his old job.
If PH got the numbers, I am pretty sure Mat Sabu will want his old job back, though many would be aghast with the decision if it happened. Which means that it will better for PH to appoint parliamentarians from Sabah and Sarawak as defence ministers.
— Malaysian Defence