10/4 Wong Chun Wai, the Star boss, wrote about the historic meeting in Najib's journey begins. I'm not sure if his counterpart from NSTP filed anything. The NST did publish this piece by Zainul Ariffin, Poster politicians are an eyesore, a week before Najib said yesterday that he did not want to see pictures of his ministers on billboards and posters ..
Jai revises his earlier both-or-nothing stand and decides that the line-up is "Good for Mukhriz ... and KJ too". Just read here to find out why he has changed his mind.
Original blogpostBlogger on the 5th Floor. I was invited to attend Najib Razak's hour-long briefing for the media after he'd announced his new Cabinet. The briefing took place on the 5th floor, which has been the office of the Prime Minister since Dr Mahathir Mohamad moved the Sri Perdana from KL to Putrajaya in 2003. The last time I was there was late 03 for a briefing by Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who had just succeeded Dr M. I was then the editor of the Malay Mail. This afternoon at 3.30 I was at the PM's briefing as a blogger.
Hanafiah Man represented Agenda Daily, the news portal. The rest were MSM: The Star editor-in-chief Wong Chun Wai, Sin Chew Daily editor-in-chief Pook Ah Lek, RTM director-general Ibrahim "Tiger", Berita Harian group editor Manja Ismail, Utusan Malaysia, editor-in-chief Aziz Ishak, TV3 chief news editor Wee Yo Lee, Bernama deputy editor-in-chief Zulkefli Salleh, NSTP group editor-in-chief Hishamudin Aun, and Nanyang editor-in-chief Ching Tien Siong.
"People's Cabinet". Najib stressed that his Cabinet was a "People's Cabinet", a Cabinet of ministers and deputy ministers of integrity who can work and produce results. To get the desired outcome, there will be a Key Performance Index (KPI) for the ministers and they will be assessed every six months. Najib said those who do not perform could be flashed the "yellow" card (in football, yellow means a stern warning; a second "yellow" card means expulsion from the field).
I asked him what would be his message to his ministers and deputy ministers. "I want people to have faith and confidence in the new Cabinet". He will remind them that Cabinet posts are a responsibility, a huge burden on their shoulders. "Ini amanah besar yang mesti digalas".
Those who were dropped (Syed Hamid Albar, Azalina Osman, Mike Tyson and Zulhasnan Rafique), does it mean they lacked integrity? "No, it does not mean that. There are other factors. Every one of them accepted (the decision) in good faith. Shahrir, especially, was very sporting".
Mukhriz in, Khairy out? "We will help Khairy reorganize Umno Youth," Najib said.
He explained why Information Ministry has been expanded ("to give more teeth to the ministry, otherwise the Information Minister is, with all due respect, not more than a Minister of RTM"). Rais Yatim is the new minister and Najib said he's the right man, especially to deal with the New Media, "which like someone frank, someone with his own mind, and who is open to dissenting views".
Media freedom? "I will give latitude to the media. You can criticize but with responsibility. I'd rather be criticized by the media than be rejected by the people."
Sports and Youth will be stressed. "That's why I put (those) who can approach out youths in that ministry.". New Foreign Minister Anifah Aman "can sell Malaysia well overseas". Najib said he has seen Anifah in action and is impressed with the Sabahan.
Blogging ministers. I could not resist asking the PM if he's going to make everyone in the new Cabinet start a blog. After all, he was bragging earlier on about the hits his blog has been getting (1.5 million hits for the Chinese edition, with "visitors" coming from Hong Kong and Taiwan, even). I said most of the Pakatan politicians are blogging but very few from the BN are doing so.
"Oh, yes, I will encourage them to have blogs," he said.
And the word is out: No red carpets, minimise rituals, less formality. No pictures of the PM, DPM and ministers on billboards.
Read Hanafiah Man's report on the meeting here.