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 10 Apr 2009

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Malaysia’s new cabinet unveiled
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak on Thursday unveiled his Cabinet, which will be tasked with pulling the country out of its worst economic crisis, reported Kyodo news agency.

Najib warned, "The era of excessive government control and one that carries the attitude of 'government knows best' is over." Najib, who will retain control of the finance portfolio, tapped economist Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah as the second finance minister.

Mustapa Mohamad, another economist, is the international trade minister. Overall, Najib trimmed the number of ministries down to 25 from 27 and the number of ministers to 29 from 32.

But the new Cabinet is not exactly "new" as Najib retains most of the old faces from the previous Cabinet of his predecessor Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. They either swap roles or were promoted from deputy to full minister. P. Ramakrishnan from Aliran, a local rights group, said he is not impressed with the lineup.

"They were part of a government that had failed to deliver and fulfill the expectations of the public at large," he said in a statement.

"It is left to be seen whether this new grouping will deliver on the prime minister's promises." Among the handful of new faces is Foreign Minister Anifah Aman, a politician from Sabah state in Borneo.

The only surprise in the lineup is the appointment of former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad's son, Muhriz, as deputy international trade minister. The ministers will be sworn in before the king on Friday morning.








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