KUL, Dec 3: I don't mean to be rude, my zzz refers to the three Zs: Zahid Hamidi, Zafrul Abdul Aziz and Zambry Kadir. (Rafidah Aziz got the first two Zs but missed out on the third in Why Zahid, Why Zafrul?) in Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim's newly-formed Cabinet.
Both Zafrul and Zambry lost in the general election. The voters rejected them in their respective constituencies. Dr Dzulkefly (with a D not Z) Ahmad, the former Health Minister who defeated Zafrul in Kuala Selangor, did not get any Cabinet position. Ahmad Nordin Ismail of Perikatan Nasional, who beat Zambry the Barisan Nasional secretary-general in Lumut, was also left out. Anwar, instead, made Zafrul his Minister of International Trade and Industry (Rafidah Aziz's former portfolio) and Zambry as the Foreign Minister.
Zahid's appointment as Deputy Prime Minister has been highly contentious because he has an ongoing court case. But he did win the election in Bagan Datok against underdog Pakatan Harapan's Shamsul Iskandar, even though by merely 348 votes. Shamsul has emerged a hero among the PH crowd for taking on the Barisan Nasional chairman in his backyard. A couple of days more of campaigning and he might have beaten Zahid, some said.
Anwar, however, clearly does not need a hero in his Cabinet.
So why Zafrul? People talk in hushed tones about his lucky stars as a member of the royalty, of how the former banker who does not even hold any post in his party could rise so high above his colleagues. More disturbingly, people whispered about "hidden hands" behind his appointment, of how the Palace was involved in wanting to keep him in Cabinet despite him losing the election, despite his not having any party position, and his having done poorly as the Minister of Finance under the short-lived Muhyiddin's administration and the uninspiring Ismail Sabri's government. The veteran politician Wee Choo Keong, in fact, describes Zafrul as "the worst MOF Malaysia has ever had" on Twitter.
Rafidah, a veteran politician, knows the answer(s) to her own question Why Zaful, why Zahid? I suspect. But instead of giving us answers, she beats around the bush. So people will continue to talk and maybe they won' talk in hushed tones if an acceptable answer is not gotten for them.
In any case, the new PM has got his Cabinet formed. One likes it or detests it, Malaysia has now a political government in place to set policies to steer the country ahead and fulfil promises made in the various parties' manifestos.
We can hope for the best. But right now it's a cloudy, gloomy Saturday, folks. Perfect for an afternoon zzz ...