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    Jun 28, 2016

    Najib reshuffles Cabinet, 2nd Finance Minister quits

    MALAYSIAN Prime Minister Najib Razak reshuffled his Cabinet yesterday, promoting two MPs to become full ministers and moving two loyalists into more powerful positions.

    He also made five new deputy minister appointments. But what caught everyone by surprise was the unexpected resignation of Second Finance Minister Ahmad Husni Hanazdlah.

    The changes were Mr Najib's second Cabinet reshuffle since a series of Wall Street Journal reports almost a year ago shook the government with allegations that the Premier had millions of dollars transferred into his personal accounts from state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

    Mr Najib has denied any wrongdoing and said the funds transferred to his personal accounts in 2013 were a donation from Saudi Arabia.

    This time around, the appointments were made to fill vacancies and allowed him to promote his loyal supporters in Umno and the 13-party Barisan Nasional coalition that governs Malaysia.

    Kuala Lumpur MP Johari Abdul Ghani is the new Second Finance Minister.

    The second new full minister is Selangor MP Noh Omar, who was appointed Minister for Urban Well-being, Housing and Local Government.

    Former Urban Well-being Minister Abdul Rahman Dahlan - a staunch defender of Mr Najib in his 1MDB travails - is the new Minister in the Prime Minister's Department.

    He will be in charge of the Economic Planning Unit, an agency that sets Malaysia's socio-economic targets.

    The fourth ministerial change announced at the Prime Minister's Office in Putrajaya was Gerakan president Mah Siew Keong, who was a Minister in the Prime Minister's Department.

    He is now the new Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister, taking the helm of a ministry that includes oversight of the huge palm-oil and timber industries as part of its portfolio.

    The previous Cabinet shake-up in July last year saw then deputy prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin and senior minister Shafie Apdal sacked as Mr Najib removed rebels following the 1MDB fallout.