29 July 2015
Embattled Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak sacked his deputy and four other ministers in a Cabinet reshuffle, and replaced the Attorney-General yesterday, in a bid to shore up his political position, which has been tainted by the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) controversy.
Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin was dropped days after he publicly called on Mr Najib to explain the scandal engulfing 1MDB, which has debts of more than RM42 billion (S$15 billion). The troubled state investment vehicle is also under investigations headed by the A-G and other government agencies over allegations that some US$700 million had been funnelled from 1MDB into the Prime Minister’s personal accounts.
The allegations are the biggest challenge to Mr Najib since he took office in 2009, and could even threaten the grip the ruling United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) party has kept on Malaysian politics since independence in 1957.
Mr Najib announced the removal of Mr Muhyiddin early yesterday in a live telecast, calling it a “difficult decision” but one he had to make to ensure the Cabinet operated as a collective unit.
… Experts noted that Mr Najib’s cabinet reshuffle was a pointed move to shore up his political position within UMNO. Dr Oh Ei Sun, an analyst at Singapore’s S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, said Mr Najib was trying to consolidate his power base in UMNO by dropping those who had doubts on 1MDB.
“Only with a more orderly UMNO house can he confront the 1MDB allegations more confidently,” said Dr Oh, who was Mr Najib’s political secretary from 2009 to 2011, adding that Mr Najib’s move would ease pressure on him from within UMNO in the short run.
IDSS / Online / Print
Last updated on 16/11/2015