Rocky asked some pertinent questions on why some people are on and are off the cabinet here rocky's bru: The new Cabinet.
Why was Rafidah droped? I update this with a thought that I picked up off a commentor. Could it be that Rafidah was dropped to make it easier for the US to conclude an FTA with us? We know that Muhyiddin, whilst an UMNO stalwart, doesn't really have the background and nous to as effectively lead Malaysia in the negotiations. Muhyiddin also demonstrated his willingness to compromise in the past with the land deal he agreed with Singapore when he was Johor MB. So, is the hidden reason to allow the USFTA to be ratified? Muhyiddin will need help here!
On the political side, Rafidah being dropped allows Azalina to more easily challenge her . As Azalina is increasingly seen as a Pak Lah and Khairy ally, what with her sacrificing her familial right to be the MP of Rembau to Khairy and her minions' activities on the web. Rafidah needs to make amends with Tun Dr M properly to stand a chance. Alternatively, Rafidah can choose to back another Wanita heavyweight, like say Noraesah (who is generally acceptable to all factions), to block Azalina. Azalina of course was Khairy's co-anchor on TV once.
A tangential view of why Rafidah was dropped would be that it is to appease Tun Dr M, who probably is still a little upset with Rafidah for her role in the AP scandal and the attack on Proton. Enough about Rafidah.
Why was JJ dropped? Because Pak Lah cannot risk 2 Najib allies in the Cabinet who are political warlords that can also deliver at their ministries. Zahid Hamidi, whilst tentatively also an Anwarista and publicly behind Pak Lah, was brought into the mainstream by Najib and was returned to public leadership following his conversion to Tun Dr M pre-1999 elections. Zahid is still the best candidate to grab MAYC from the clutches of Syed Hamid, currently a firm, though weak, Lah-ist ally.
Why Muhammad Taib? 2 reasons probably. Khairy in his snot-nosed political infancy is probably still enamoured by Muhammad Taib's skill at leading by-elections. This despite 'Mike Tyson's' clear weakness as UMNO Information Chief on the big stage of PRU-12. Pak Lah also needs a guaranteed ally (one he has revived from the political graveyard) to balance the cabinet that he has risked...
The cabinet is still potentially hostile. Shabery Cheek was raised by KuLi so may well be another enemy within, but he cannot be ignored what with the others Pak Lah have dropped. Liow Tiong Lai dan Ong Tee Keat's entry mark the pre-emminence of the Lim Ah Lek faction in MCA, a group that is more traditional and less amenable to shananigans vs Ong Ka Ting's faction, now represented by that less popular brother of his, Ong Ka Chuan.
Curious to see Wan Ahmad Farid as Deputy Home Affairs and Internal Security Minister. This is Khairy's close chum right? The one who used to be in Terengganu? Or have I got the wrong guy. He'll probably be puppet-mastering Syed Hamid Albar in the ministry... weak... weak!
I have a quick observation also to make about the MIC members of cabinet. So, Samy has put up his man S Subramaniam for Minister. Has to be Samy's man as he's Sec-Gen of MIC. This sets up the battle for the MIC Presidency nicely then against the young turk Devamany who has a Deputy Minister post! This assumes of course that Samy is no longer interested? Palanievel? The other Subra?
So, does this cabinet line-up change my opinion that Pak Lah has to go for the sake of the party and the nation? No. Does the cabinet line-up re-assure me that Khairy is no longer a hidden hand influencing Malaysian government policy? No. So, I guess you know where my vote will go during UMNO branch elections... if they'll let us have a proper contest that is!