4 ethnic Indians in new Malaysian cabinet

Last Updated: Tue, Mar 18, 2008 14:12 hrs

Kuala Lumpur: Malaysia's premier on Tuesday inducted four ethnic Indians including a cabinet minister, S Subramanian, in his new government while dropping seven serving ministers to streamline the administration following the ruling coalition's electoral debacle. Full coverage: Ethnic Indians vs Malaysian govt

Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi, who continued to hold the finance portfolio, said half the members of his administration were new faces.

Subramanian, who belongs to the Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC), a component of the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition, will hold the Human Resources portfolio.

The other ethnic Indians in the cabinet are M Saravanan, who was appointed deputy minister for the Federal Territories Ministry, S K Devamani, deputy minister at the Prime Minister's Department, and A Kohilan Pillay, deputy minister in the Plantation Industries and Commodities Ministry.

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While Saravnan and Devamani are from the MIC, Pillay is from the Gerakan Party.

In the last cabinet, there was one minister, three deputy ministers and three parliamentary secretaries from the MIC. All but Subramanian, a former parliamentary secretary of the Housing and Local Government, lost their seats in the March 8, 2008 polls.

The new cabinet was drawn up based on the spirit of power-sharing and camaraderie of the ruling Barisan Nasional, said the premier, who dropped seven serving ministers, including firebrand leader Rafidah Aziz, considered the world's longest serving trade minister.

Abdullah said he wanted the ministers and deputy ministers making up the "slim and trim" line-up to perform better than the previous administration.

"I hope they will perform better than before and I believe that with the choice we have made we will be able to fulfil our agenda," he said after announcing the line-up.

He assured that his government's policies and projects would be vigorously implemented, adding all the ministers have been cleared by the country's Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) and the police.

The portfolio of Works Ministry, which was held by ethnic Indian Samy Vellu for the previous five years, was given to Mohd. Zin Mohamad.

The Foreign Affairs portfolio was given to Rais Yatim while Azlan Abu Bakar will be the deputy foreign minister.

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