I have just returned from Pattaya where I was to have attended the ASEAN Leaders Summit beginning formally yesterday. You will have seen from the media how “red shirt” protestors made it impossible for us to proceed. It was unfortunate that my meetings were cancelled one after the other as leaders could not leave or enter the conference venue. Luckily, with the assistance of the Thai armed forces and police, we made it safely to the airport en route home. As we took off, I reflected with great concern how domestic political challenges like these can impede the good work of a regional grouping like ASEAN – and delay the benefits of closer integration for hundreds of millions living and working in Southeast Asia.
Last Thursday I announced the members of the new Malaysian cabinet that will be tasked with propelling the country forward in the spirit of 1Malaysia. A number of factors were taken into consideration to ensure that the cabinet is truly a People’s Cabinet, able to serve the rakyat fairly and effectively, and will strive to propel the country forward, leaving no one behind.
I gathered from the comments left in my blog since the announcement that the lineup was pleasing for some and raised questions for others. In view of this, I invite everyone to share your thoughts on the lineup and the new performance-based approach which I intend to enforce, by leaving your comments below. I am also interested to know what your hopes are for the new administration to ensure that the welfare and development of all communities are looked after.
As some of you may have very strong feelings about the cabinet lineup, I encourage everyone to be respectful in your opinion of others in your remarks and hope that we can continue this dialogue in a constructive manner, in the true spirit of 1Malaysia.