KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak left Istana Terengganu at about 11.25am after a 30-min audience with King regarding the new Cabinet line-up expected to be announced 3pm Thursday.
Umno sources earlier said that Najib had spent the last five days juggling names and positions to take into consideration the requests and views of various Barisan Nasional component parties.
It is speculated that there could be as many as seven new faces in the line-up â€“ most of them from Umno, while the party itself may give up a few ministerial posts.
Up till Wednesday evening, several Barisan component leaders had met with Najib and Umno deputy president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who will be named Deputy Prime Minister Thursday.
The message Najib had for all of them was the same â€“ that Umno was giving up quite a number of posts and that they should also be willing to make sacrifices.
Najib is expected to downsize his Cabinet, which now has 27 ministries and 31 ministers.
At present, Umno has 22 ministers, the MCA four, and the MIC, Upko, SUPP, PBB and PBS one each.
The new Cabinet is expected to have between 20 and 24 ministries, with no more than 27 ministers. Several ministries are expected to be merged.
Insiders said the ministries which could be merged are Tourism with Unity, Culture, Arts and Heritage; Education with Higher Education; Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs with International Trade and Industry; and Agriculture and Agro-Based Industries with Plantation Industries and Commodities.
There have also been suggestions that the Federal Territories Ministry be merged with the Housing and Local Government portfolio.
Three ministries â€“ Works; Energy, Water and Communications and Science, Technology and Innovation â€“ could also be merged into two ministries.
This means that seven new ministries will be created from 13 merged ones.
Source : The Star