Comments on Government News & Events

A future for Datuk Shahrir?

Datuk Shahrir, the MP Johor Baru and Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs recently decided to resign from Cabinet after his candidacy for election into the UMNO Supreme Council was rejected.

This former Minister is recognized by many as a “class-act” and is one of the more popular ministers in the cabinet of former PM Dato’ Seri (now Tun) Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

“Whether I am a minister or not, it does not matter. I still have a lot of work to do, as I am still the member of parliament for Johor Baru,” he said.

Shahrir, who was appointed after the March 8 general election, tendered his resignation after he failed to retain his seat as an Umno supreme council member in the recent party polls.

Shahrir said he would now focus on constituency work.


Datuk Shahrir may be remembered as one minister who tried to use public transport following the June 5, 2008 hike in petrol prices.

That he gave up after a few days is not a reflection of him, but a reflection of the public transport system.

That said, perhaps Datuk Shahrir’s skills and abilities would be best utilized in the field of public transport – perhaps as a leader of the proposed Suruhanjaya Pengangkutan Awam Darat or SPADwhen it is finally created by the government. Alternatively, Datuk Shahrir would be a good choice to lead a parliamentary committee to improve public transport and provide oversight on SPAD.

He could start working on improving public transport in his home state of Johor – a Komuter Selatan and an Iskandar Public Transport Authority would be a great start.

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