KUALA LUMPUR, June 1 — Datuk Wira Chor Chee Heung was appointed the new Housing and Local Government Minister while Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha replaced Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat as Transport Minister in a minor Cabinet reshuffle today.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced the appointments today, which are seen as a reflection of the recent MCA elections which saw Ong lose the presidency to former Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek.
Dr Chua was not appointed to the Cabinet while Ong (picture) has been dropped, marking the possible end of the road for his political career.
However, Dr Chua’s son, Labis MP Chua Tee Yong, was among a number of new deputy ministers appointed by Najib.
Tee Yong was appointed Deputy Agriculture and Agro-based Industries Minister, just a week after his father appointed him to manage the MCA's assets worth some RM2 billion.
In an immediate reaction, Kong expressed gratitude to the prime minister and MCA for allowing him the opportunity to continue serving the people as a full minister.
Kong said he would do his best in his new post, adding that his new appointment as Transport Minister was part of a learning process for him
"I hope also that the former ministers (Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat and Tan Sri Chan Kong Choy) will offer me their guidance and advice and impart their knowledge to help me run this ministry successfully," he said.
Kong suffered a major blow during the MCA polls when he lost to Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai in the race for party deputy presidency but was later appointed as the party's secretary-general by Dr Chua.
Kong also pledged he would proceed with efforts to probe the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) scandal, a promise made by his predecessor.
Chor, who is currently the Deputy Finance Minister, thanked Najib for the confidence. The five-term Alor Star MP said he had heard rumours of a promotion from the press.
"I am thankful that my party has confidence in my capabilities. I will not disappoint the Prime Minister and the rakyat," Chor told The Malaysian Insider.
MCA vice-presidents Senator Datuk Donald Lim and Senator Gan Ping Sieu were also appointed deputy ministers. They both won in the recent MCA elections together with Chor.
Lim will now be Deputy Finance Minister while Gan is the new Deputy Youth and Sports Minister, replacing Pekan Nenas MP Datuk Wee Jeck Seng who has been dropped from the post.
Among the other minor appointments, PPP vice-president Senator Datuk Maglin Dennis D’Cruz was made Deputy Information, Communications and Culture Minister.
MIC deputy president Senator Datuk G. Palanivel is the new Deputy Plantations Industry and Commodities Minister, while Serian MP Datuk Richard Riot is the new Deputy Foreign Minister.
The prime minister also re-assigned several deputy ministers, moving Datuk Rohani Abdul Karim from the Agriculture and Agro-Based Industries Ministry to the Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministr while Jelaing Ak Mersat has been sent from the Home Ministry to the Transport Ministry.
Others moved included Datuk Lee Chee Leong from the Foreign Ministry to be the Deputy Home Minister, Senator Heng Seai Kie from Information, Communication and Culture Ministry to be the new deputy minister in the Women's, Family and Community Development Ministry.