KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on Tuesday (Sep 17) dismissed talk of an impending Cabinet reshuffle, stating that changing the line-up would not actually solve problems.
In a radio interview, Dr Mahathir said bringing in new blood could worsen matters. “If I change a minister and take in new minister, the candidates I have are all new,” he was quoted as saying by the Malay Mail.
“This present minister has got one year experience. In a new minister, I will have a tough time getting him to adjust in a new job. He probably won't deliver also,” he replied when asked if he would replace anyone in his team, including Education Minister Maszlee Malik who has been perceived as performing poorly.
“A new minister doesn't mean good minister. We had a new prime minister we thought was going to be good but no, he wasn't good also,” he said, without elaborating.
The prime minister added that reshuffling the Cabinet may create more problems than solving them.
"That is why I'm not very keen on solving my problems by changing people," he was quoted as saying by the Star.
Talk of a Cabinet reshuffle has surfaced from time to time since Dr Mahathir led Pakatan Harapan to a shock victory in the general election last year.
He had, however, repeatedly dismissed rumours of him replacing ministers deemed to be non-performing.
Among the ministers under scrutiny include Dr Maszlee, who has drawn flak for a series of perceived missteps including the introduction of khat calligraphy in vernacular schools and linking the racial quota for pre-university admission to “employment discrimination” against bumiputras.
Last month, Dr Mahathir said there may be changes to the portfolios of ministers. However, he stressed that no new faces would be appointed.
During the Tuesday interview, Dr Mahathir also reiterated that he would only be an interim Prime Minister.
"I promise I will be an interim Prime Minister, and I will do so. I will keep my promise. But I have to make sure I solve most of the major problems before a handover,” he said, according to the Star.
"A fixed period is difficult for me to work,” he noted.
It was agreed last year that Mr Anwar Ibrahim, who was still in prison until a royal pardon was granted on May 16, 2018, would take over the premiership from Dr Mahathir.
While the Parti Keadilan Rakyat said a timeline of two years was set, Dr Mahathir has appeared to be non-committal over the deadline of the handover.