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Malaysian Cabinet reshuffled

Malaysia's Prime Minister has carried out a Cabinet reshuffle, with leaders of MCA and Gerakan, party components in the Barisan Nasional coalition, among the new faces revealed.

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's Prime Minister has carried out a Cabinet reshuffle, appointing MCA president Liow Tiong Lai as Transport Minister.

Mr Najib Tun Razak made the announcement immediately after his weekly cabinet meeting in Putrajaya.

He told the media assembled that the responsibility over the search for missing Malaysian Airlines plane, MH 370, is to be decided after discussions are held between Mr Liow and Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein who had taken the lead during the crisis as Acting Transport Minister after the post was left vacant following the last elections.

With the transport portfolio going to Mr Liow, a former Health Minister, the Malaysian Prime Minister confirmed that Mr Hishammuddin no longer held the post of Acting Transport Minister. 

The transport post has usually been held by a representative of the main Chinese party in the ruling Barisan Nasional (National Front) coalition.

But MCA refused to accept any Cabinet posts last year after a poor electoral performance amid anger among ethnic Chinese and other minorities about perceived discrimination in the coalition.

However earlier this year MCA delegates reversed the decision not to accept Cabinet posts.

In unveiling the slew of new faces, Mr Najib said: "I did not plan to have such a large Cabinet but no one has volunteered to leave Cabinet".

In announcing the new line-up, he welcomed the return to his Cabinet of Barisan Nasional coalition members, MCA and Gerakan.

The Gerakan president, Mah Siew Keong and MCA deputy president Wee Ka Siong were appointed Minister in the Prime Minister's Department.

MCA vice presidents, Chua Tee Yong and Lee Chee Leong, were named Deputy Finance Minister and Deputy Minister of International Trade and Industry.

Another MCA vice-president, Ms Chew Mei Fun is Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister.

Mr Najib said representatives from MCA are returning to represent the Chinese community and added that there is a need to take into account the interests of all communities and adhere to promises made to Malaysians.

"These appointments reflect my desire to ensure that the make-up of the Cabinet, and the government, broadly reflects that of our nation," Mr Najib said.

The swearing-in ceremony for the new ministers is scheduled to take place on Friday.

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