The Cabinet reshuffle as announced by Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi on Tuesday (Feb 14 Malaysian time) received lukewarm reactions. As usual, most welcome it (but God knows what is exactly deep inside their hearts), but hardly any criticism. This attitude is known here as "political patronage".
But one thing is certain - the cabinet is far too large for a small country like Malaysia.
Malaysia is a country with an estimated population of 24 million. It is a constitutional democracy with a bicameral parliament consisting of the Dewan Rakyat or The House of Representatives and Dewan Negara or The Senate.
The Dewan Rakyat consists of 219 elected members who hold office for a period of five years. The Dewan Negara consists of 70 members (Maximum) of which 44 are appointed by the King on the advice of the government (Prime Minister) and 26 members are "elected" by the 13 State Legislative Assembly, where each state is represented by two members.
For a country like Malaysia to have a total of 90 members of the administration is much too big. Of the total 90 - 32 are members of the Cabinet including the Prime Minister, another 39 are deputy ministers and 19 are parliamentary secretaries.
India, with a population of over one billion, maintains a smaller cabinet.
It is a waste of public fund considering the fiscal allocation needed to retain them including the unpublished perks. As the popular saying goes...Malaysia Boleh!