Sarawak Cabinet numbers in line with state constitution, says PBB leader

KUCHING: A Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) backbencher has rebutted claims that the new state Cabinet is bloated and concentrates power in the Chief Minister’s hands.

Tupong assemblyman Fazzrudin Abdul Rahman said the appointment of ministers and assistant ministers in the Cabinet was made in accordance with the state constitution.

He said it provided that no more than 10 ministers could be appointed from among members of the state legislative assembly, while there was no limit on the number of assistant ministers.

The new Cabinet comprises the Chief Minister, 10 ministers and 26 assistant ministers.

There were 17 assistant ministers in the previous state Cabinet along with the full complement of ministers.

“With the creation of new ministries to serve the public better, it is only expected that there will be several ministers (leading) more than one ministry, among them the Chief Minister.

“With the increased number of ministries, there is also bound to be an increase in the number of assistant ministers,” Fazzrudin said in a statement on Monday (Jan 3).

Sarawak DAP chairman Chong Chieng Jen had claimed on Sunday (Jan 2) that there was an “unprecedented concentration of power” in the hands of Chief Minister Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg, who also holds the ministerial posts of Finance and New Economy; Natural Resources and Urban Development; and Energy and Environmental Sustainability.

Chong also said the new Cabinet was bloated.

Fazzrudin, who is Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) deputy youth chief, called on Chong to refer to the state constitution on the appointment of Cabinet members rather than make baseless statements.

He also said the time for politicking was over as the state election had been concluded.

“It is now time for elected representatives, whether from the government or Opposition, to get on with their work and fulfil the pledges they made to the voters.

“As far as GPS is concerned, I am confident that the new state government led by Abang Johari will fulfil the promises made in the 34-point election manifesto,” he said.