DATUK Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi is expected to name his Cabinet tomorrow (Monday March 17). The swearing-in is expected to be on Tuesday and the first Cabinet meeting is diaried for Wednesday.
Everone's waiting and watching. Members of the Cabinet who lost in the March 8 election will also be watching, but they already know that they won't be included in the line-up. The Prime Minister has already made this known a few days ago.
That means no place for Datuk Seri Shahrizat Jalil, Datuk Seri S Samy Vellu, Tasn Sri Koh Tsu Koon and a host of deputy ministers who, until today, are stunned by their defeats. Deputy Ministers who retained their seats, however, are pinning their hopes on a promotion, and those from the MCA and UMNO are keeping their fingers crossed.
But there's no sympathy from some sections of the public on the losers. The sms that are floating around suggests so. One such sms made reference to Samy Vellu sending his resume to friends asking them to get him a job. Another one said former Information Minister Datuk Zainudin Maidin has asked the Mydin supermarket whether he can be made chief of security!
The public make jokes of everything, it seems. But the issue before the nation is far from a laughing matter. As at today, the issue of who will be sworn in as Menteri Besar of Perlis and Terengganu is still unclear. It must be noted that these states are controlled by the Barisan Nasional, which means appointing an MB is not a matter of violent dispute.
Are we seing a fight between the Prime Minister and the royal households of the two states. Before the general election, both MBs - Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim and Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh - had declared that they would continue to be MBs after the polls. As can be seen, this is not the case. Yet.
When Shahidan was told by the Raja of Perlis that he won't be MB, and that the palace preferred Dato Md Isa Sabu instead, the small state's political uncertainty goes into high gear and is on the verge of a crisis. We have to keep an eye on this, as we do on Terengganu.
While Pak Lah tries to figure out what to do amidst all this, he must also watch his rearguard. Word on the ground is that PKR adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has gone to Sabah and Sarawak to 'shop' for BN MPs. The DAP-PAS-PKR coalition needs some 35 MPs to tilt the balance of power.
Anwar and his colleagues won't find this easy. Or acceptable even. In fact, it would be a near impossibility. In relation to this, I've been told that a PKR state assemblyman was approached by a BN 'procurement committee' but no deal was recorded.
Whatever happens, I expect the coming weeks to be more political. And that is not necessarily good. The duty of Government is to provide an effective administration and we can't have political dramas distracting everyone from moving forward.
Pak Lah, already facing a call from one of his new MPs to step down, have his hands full even before the full structure of his administration is formed. There's much undercurrent within Umno. Leaders and members are in various caucuses as they try to undertstand what is happening, and what lies ahead.