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Umno man goads Rafizi amid talk of Cabinet reshuffle

Puad Zarkashi says Rafizi Ramli should be transferred from his portfolio in the event that a reshuffle takes place.

Staff Writers
2 minute read
Umno Supreme Council member Puad Zarkashi and Economy Minister Rafizi Ramli.
Umno Supreme Council member Puad Zarkashi and Economy Minister Rafizi Ramli.

Umno Supreme Council member Puad Zarkashi today took aim at Rafizi Ramli, saying the economy minister had failed to address the people's economic issues and suggesting a change of portfolio for him amid talk of a Cabinet reshuffle.

Puad, who previously locked horns with Umno secretary-general Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki over Rafizi's performance as the economy minister, said the Pandan MP was among those who should be transferred in the event that a reshuffle took place. 

"Rafizi has still failed to offer an extraordinary formula for the people's economy.

"There's nothing new about the formula of cooking and eating at home," he said in a Facebook post. 

Puad was referring to Rafizi's recent remarks linking the financial problems faced by Malaysians to an "addiction" to eating out.

"In other countries, eating out is seen as a leisure thing. You spend a lot more buying raw materials, cooking them, and eating them; every now and then, you go out (to eat)," he was reported as saying by Malaysiakini.

He also blamed "past policies" for shifting away from agriculture as well as poor public transportation, which he said forced households to survive on buying meals.

"It is also about the time people spend travelling to and for work and how much time they have when they return from work to prepare food.

"So these are all the things that I think are the unintended consequences of many policies of the past," he said.

Last year, Rafizi also said that people should avoid buying chicken when the price of chicken increases, sparking a backlash on social media. 

Speculation has been swirling of a Cabinet reshuffle this year, as the government of Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim approaches its first anniversary in power. 

In the event of a shake-up, Puad said Rafizi should be transferred to the tourism ministry. 

"It would be good to give Rafizi a chance to come up with a 'tourism formula' now," he said. 

"Who knows, it might work. Maybe Rafizi would make the best tourism minister yet." 

Puad had also criticised Rafizi in June, leading to a war of words with Asyraf who said any government weaknesses were a collective responsibility. 

He also said that Umno leaders criticising the ruling coalition of which it was a part was akin to "shooting ourselves in the foot".

Puad responded by asking if Rafizi was above criticism. 

"What does shooting yourself in the foot mean? Cannot be criticised? Cannot be reprimanded? Cannot give an opinion? 

"My job is not to incite. I have not taken over Rafizi's old job," he added.