Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Shadow Vacancies

The resignation of Abdullah Ahmad Badawi as Prime Minister provides some good opportunities for the country to progress from the current political quagmire.

Current Cabinet Ministers should pay heed to calls from a Senator to resign en bloc “to pave the way for the formation of a new cabinet”.

Selfless act like that of Shahrir Samad (justifying why I listed the JB MP as a potential Prime Ministerial candidate) should be emulated by the rest.

Come on, folks. Make it easy for the new PM (whosoever it may be) to pick a new team.

The selection of Cabinet Ministers has always been the sole prerogative of the PM.

During ordinary times, political expediencies including keeping your party enemies close but out of the way (the (gasp!) foreign affairs portfolio, for example) and close ally in strategic ones (finance, home affairs) would normally be important consideration for appointment.

There is however nothing “ordinary” about these times.

Appointment of the new Cabinet team should therefore be one that could carry the country back on its feet after falling so badly behind our own objectives the last few years.

No matter who the new Prime Minister is (there I go again..), his or her (is there such a candidate?) task is enormous, but we should believe firmly that there are good and capable men and women among the millions of Malaysians to choose from.

There should also be senatorial Ministers but candidates who had been rejected by their constituents the last GE should not put too much hope of being appointed.

A Ministerial portfolio is not a Quango for has-been politicians. Leave these appointments to the non administrative bodies like Suhakam, NIOSH, etc.

Is there a dream list? We wish there is one, but based on the reality of political appointments and the recent Umno election results, it’s perhaps a very, very wishful, dreamy thinking.

There is also other opportunity right across our Parliamentary divide.

With the government having to run the gauntlet with (hopefully) a new team, its opposite in the Pakatan Rakyat should rightfully follow suit with a Shadow Cabinet.

The task is by far easier as these are NOT actual constitutional appointments, but more so to allow a far more concerted check and balance effort to take place.

On top of that, it would help the people judge if the so-call alternative government has what it takes to provide some good measures in governing the nation.

Sure, the coalition of PAS, PKR and DAP has got some models in the State governments of Kedah, Penang, Selangor and Kelantan (pity about Perak), but nothing beats having an actual Shadow Cabinet holding exactly the portfolios that matter.

If they are serious about taking over the Federal government, a Shadow Cabinet would be a good training ground.

What is there to fear anyway?

The rakyat would judge the Shadow Cabinet from their viewpoints, ideals and principles, and going by the debates in Parliament, there are enough candidates to fill all the necessary portfolios.

Unlike the actual Cabinet, the opposition does not need deputies and Parliament secretaries. Leave these when (and IF) you form the government.

Will any of these materialize in the coming weeks?

Or will it be same old, same old?

Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?

Jim Sterakno's The Shadow

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