Sabah, S’wak may be rewarded
Sabah and Sarawak, which delivered the bulk of parliamentary seats for a simple majority for Barisan Nasional, may be rewarded with a higher number of ministers in the Cabinet. A proposal to see a bigger representation from the two states was made at the Umno supreme council here on Monday and agreed by some of the council members. Sarawak single-handedly delivered the highest number of seats for Barisan, winning 30 out of the 31 parliamentary seats while Sabah won 24 out of the 25 seats. Umno sources said the council felt that the two states had performed well and there was a suggestion at the meeting that four MPs from each state should be made ministers. Sabah had three Cabinet members in the last Cabinet, Datuk Dr Maximus Ongkili and Tan Sri Bernard Dompok who served as Minister in the Prime Ministers Department and Datuk Shafie Apdal who was the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister. Sarawak only had two representatives. They are Datuk Seri Effendi Norwawi who served as Minister in the Prime Ministers Department and Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Peter Chin Fah Kui. Johor, which won the second highest number of parliamentary seats, 25, had seven ministers in the last Cabinet. Sources said that the Cabinet to be formed by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi would probably be smaller. At present there are 32 Cabinet members including the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister. “In 2004 we had 199 MPs and now we have only 140. It is not necessary to have a bigger Cabinet. “If the Cabinet size remains the same, then we are going to have even fewer backbenchers in Parliament,” said a council member.