Malaysia PM misses Cabinet swearing-in ceremony after being declared close contact of COVID-19 patient
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob missed the swearing-in ceremony of his new Cabinet on Monday (Aug 30) as he is on self-quarantine after being declared a close contact of a COVID-19 patient.
A statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office read: “The prime minister will not be attending the presentation of letters of appointment and the swearing-in ceremony of the federal ministers and deputy ministers before King Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah this afternoon.”
The statement added that Mr Ismail Sabri will be participating in the national day celebration in Putrajaya on Tuesday virtually.
Mr Noh Omar, who has been appointed as entrepreneur development and cooperatives minister, was absent as he was believed to be a close contact of a COVID-19 patient, according to Bernama.
Deputy Education Minister Mohamad Alamin also did not attend the ceremony as he has been infected with COVID-19.
The new Malaysian Cabinet was sworn in before King Al-Sultan Abdullah at the national palace in a ceremony which began at 2.30pm on Monday, a day before the country’s 64th national day.
The Cabinet unveiled by Mr Ismail Sabri last Friday comprises 31 ministers and 38 deputy ministers.
There are four senior ministers in lieu of a deputy prime minister, namely Mr Mohamed Azmin Ali from Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu), Mr Hishammuddin Hussein from United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), Senator Mohd Radzi Md Jidin from Bersatu as well as Mr Fadillah Yusof of Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS).
Mr Mohamed Azmin remained as international trade and industry minister. Dr Mohd Radzi and Mr Fadillah also keep their education and works portfolios respectively.
Mr Hishammuddin, who was the foreign minister, is now defence minister.
Senator Tengku Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz has retained his finance minister portfolio, while Mr Khairy Jamaluddin is the new health minister.
Mr Ismail Sabri’s Cabinet largely resembled the previous administration under Bersatu’s Muhyiddin Yassin, who resigned after losing majority support following the withdrawal of support from a number of UMNO MPs.
Mr Ismail Sabri, who is vice president of UMNO, rose to the top post with the support of 114 MPs, slightly more than half of the total of 220 MPs in the country. Two parliamentary seats are currently vacant.
In his Cabinet announcement, the prime minister stressed a high-performance work culture among the ministries.
“Each ministry needs to make short-term and long-term planning and achieve the targets. For that, each ministry needs to prove its initial achievement within the first 100 days,” he said.