KUALA LUMPUR, March 9 — Umno’s Tenggara MP Dr Adham Baba is Malaysia’s new health minister, who will be assisted with two deputies — Dr Noor Azmi Ghazali and Aaron Ago Dagang.
Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s announcement of his new Cabinet today under Perikatan Nasional marks the first time Malaysia has two deputy health ministers, even as the Ministry of Health (MOH) receives among the biggest federal budget allocations.
Deputy Health Minister I Dr Noor Azmi is Bagan Serai MP from Bersatu, while Deputy Health Minister II Ago Dagang is Kanowit MP from Parti Rakyat Sarawak.
Dr Adham is the Umno Tenggara division chief in Johor, as well as a former UniKL chairman and pro-chancellor. He owns the Klinik Adham Sdn Bhd network in Johor.
He is also a former state assemblyman for Pasir Raja, a Johorean seat, from 2008 to 2013, and prior to that, he was the Tenggara MP from 2004 to 2004. He has also served as parliamentary secretary in the higher education ministry.
Dr Noor Azmi, on the other hand, is a general practitioner by profession, and formerly chaired the Malaysian Highway Authority from 2016 to 2018.
Following Barisan Nasional’s (BN) fall from federal power in the 14th general election in May 2018, Dr Noor Azmi quit Umno and became an independent MP in his Perak constituency. In November that year, he joined Bersatu, the party of former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
Dr Noor Azmi has been consistent in raising health issues in Parliament, even criticising government decisions, including, most recently, calling for Putrajaya to withdraw a controversial Bill that proposed incarceration for doctors who refuse their patients’ requests for drug prescriptions.
Ago Dagang, meanwhile, is a member of Parti Rakyat Sarawak, which left BN with other Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) partners when Pakatan Harapan wrested federal power in 2018.
He has held the federal seat of Kanowit, located in Sibu, since 2004 when he was with Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak (PBDS), which has since been deregistered.
Dagang was once political secretary to then-Minister for Energy, Communications and Multimedia, Leo Moggie Irok, who was also the former PBDS president.
All three federal leaders will join the rest of Muhyiddin’s new Cabinet in being sworn in before the King at 3pm tomorrow at the national palace, Muhyiddin said.
“I am convinced that the Cabinet lineup is the best in achieving the Shared Vision Prosperity 2030,” Muhyiddin said, adding that he presented the list to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong this morning.
The police and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) have also vetted the list of ministers and deputy ministers of the new Perikatan Nasional-GPS coalition, he added.
No deputy prime minister’s post will be created in Muhyiddin’s cabinet. Instead four senior ministers will be appointed to help him administer Cabinet affairs, including economy, security, education, social, and infrastructure development issues.
These are Mohamed Azmin Ali (International Trade and Industry), Ismail Sabri Yaakob (Defence), Fadillah Yusof (Works), and Mohd Radzi Md Jidin (Education).