The Ministry of Defence has now a new boss, and it cannot be any other person than the Prime Minister, Dato Seri Abdullah Badawi himself. This will be his second time as Defence Minister, and I suppose the Armed Forces will only be too glad to welcome him into their realm.
As for Dato Seri Najib Tun Razak, the finance portfolio will be his first, and to be handed the post at a time when the country is in 'distress', may be a challenge to him. After all, Anwar Ibrahim was also the finance minister when he was the Deputy Prime Minister, and was challenged with the financial crisis of 1997, followed by him being sacked from UMNO for sodomy charges and abused of power.
But what should bother Najib now is the persistent allegation by Anwar over the government's poor management of the nation's economy, which directly relate to finance. This is where Najib can proof Anwar wrong, and the way to do it is to ensure that Najib is assisted by sound and credible financial and economic advisors, who are determined to place the nation's interest first before self.
Najib must act quickly to change the people's perception, that the finance ministry is not tinted in corrupt practices and the wanton act of awarding tenders to political cronies only; acts that has been a 'trademark' in the eyes of the ordinary people. Najib has to be extremely careful not to be trapped in this vicious and undesirable quagmire.
Now with the PM at the helm of defence, will he be able to strengthened his political base? Of course, the loyalty that the PM will get from members of the Armed Forces is unquestionable. However, will this loyalty permeates to members of UMNO, who will now view the PM in different light? Najib is said to have done well as the defence minister, and his concern for the soldiers welfare is highly appreciated by the soldiers.
I hope the PM does not forget that he also has the responsibility to look after the well being of ex-servicemen, like me and the thousands more. Maybe, as a start, the PM can begin by looking at the problems faced the Ex-Servicemen Association or the Persatuan Bekas Tentera Malaysia, as I had written in this blog earlier.