Ismail Sabri Yaakob and his recycled cabinet

Recycle, That’s What We Do

“Have you ever tried to build something new out of things you found around your home? That’s what we try to do when we develop a new product.”

Perhaps when assembling his cabinet, Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob took inspiration from the zero waste mantra of one of the most renowned cabinetmakers in the biz — Ikea. 

After all, how else do you explain Izzy choosing to root around the Putrajaya ‘home’, find relics of the Cabinet of his ousted predecessor Muhyiddin Yassin, and use them for his own?

The only problem is that, unlike Ikea’s furniture, our new re-assembled Cabinet doesn’t look like it’s going to lead us to “a better tomorrow”.

In fact, many of the regular Malaysians who made their feelings about the previous Moo Yassin administration clear — through the #KerajaanGagal and #Kerajaanbodoh hashtags, #Lawan protests, a hunger strike, and many, many ‘Muhyiddin Out’ petitions — and rejoiced when the unelected regime was brought to its knees may now be wondering what it was all for.

In one short announcement, our PM9 essentially put paid to hopes for reforms, or at the very least, a stronger, wiser, more empathetic and more compassionate team of generals to lead the Covid-19 charge and deliver us from the health and economic hell we’ve been in.

Instead, what we got after over a year of power-grabbing, gomen-collapsing, rakyat-ignoring and Covid-worsening stunts from Umno, was a recycled, reused – but not reduced – Cabinet.

A few days ago, political analyst BRIDGET WELSH wrote about the lessons to be learned from Muhyiddin Yassin’s fallen administration. Read her piece here.

We shit you not. It’s 87% the SAME BLOATED TEAM (yes, we did the math) as the one that resigned less than 2 weeks ago!

Except for 5 ministers and 4 deputy ministers, all other faces are the same mangkuks from Muhyiddin’s regime, with some reshuffling to further entrench Umno’s dominance. 

Izzy also ciplak-ed the same trick of Moo’s to kill the deputy PM role (to likewise used as leverage later?), and even appointed the same 4 senior ministers as before: Azmin Ali, Hishammuddin Hussein, Radzi Jidin and the GPS works minister no one can remember (Fadillah Yusof, if you really wanna know).

So the question on everybody’s lips now would be: for the love of God, why Izzy? Why??!?

Some would say M̶u̶h̶y̶i̶d̶d̶i̶n̶ Izzy chose not to rock the boat and spook investors with a drastic shake-up. 

But the most likely answer is that he merely chose the safest political route — appoint an executive that would ensure Umno has more seats at the table, please Bersatu and all the other camps that gave him that 114-MP push to the top, and sideline those from the Ahmad Zahid Hamidi faction within his own party.

Why else would you see the likes of Zuraida “The Building-Sanitiser” Kamaruddin, Rina “Doraemon” Harun; Dr Adham “Warm Water” Baba and Radzi (god save our children!) retained, AND curry mee aficionado/failure specialist Ahmad Faizal Azumu inducted?

Meanwhile, promising/popular Umno reps like Mohamad “Mat” Hasan and Azalina Othman Said have been cast aside. 

And while none of Umno’s infamous Court Cluster were included, we now have a new minister with the insalubrious ‘distinction’ of having been charged for a sex crime (we’ll let you google this one for yourself!).

Izzy’s tried to talk a good game, giving his team 100 days to show results. But let’s be real – what does Izzy hope these jokers can achieve in 100 days that they couldn’t do in the past year and a half? 

Let’s face it. Despite all of Izzy’s big talk of “Keluarga Malaysia” and bipartisan cooperation, this is not a gomen that’ll spawn any new ideas or fresh impetus. This is not one tasked with reviving the hope of a nation tired, sick, dying and suffering. Or one to rejuvenate and restore our children’s education, or ensure the welfare and rights of women, migrants and more.

We’d love for Izzy to prove us wrong, but until he does, it looks like on us common plebs to make our own Malaysia Family. And that, we shall do. #KitaJagaKita.

Artist of the Month
Shazeera Ahmad Zawawi
Shazeera’s a human rights advocate and visual storyteller working in Switzerland. She’s a self-taught artist producing wicked comics and cartoons for national, regional and international non-profit organisations and exhibitions. See more about her here.

Eksentrika is a community portal dedicated to Malaysia's arts and culture. Since 2016, it's served as a resource for insightful, informative, and practical guides related to the creative fields. Their Artist Registry hosts hundreds of talents across multiple disciplines and countries in Asia; they also publicise arts and culture events.

Eksentrika aims to nurture a thriving arts ecosystem and facilitate connections between the arts community and partners across the globe.

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