First Cabinet of Malaysia First Cabinet of Malaysia

The 1948 Agreement which led to the establishment of the Federation of Malaya in replace of Malayan Union paved the way towards self governance. Three councils were set up in the Federation of Malaya; the Executive Meeting Council, FederalLegislative Meeting Council and the Council of Malay Rulers which have the authority at federal level.

The new Federal Legislative Council acted as the legal body for the nine states in Malaya apart from Penang and Melaka. With unofficial members as the majority, the Council paved the way towards the introduction of the nation's electoral system. Effective as of 1951, municipal elections were held which in turn provided opportunity to local political parties to secure seats in local councils.

In April 1951, the Member System was introduced by the British as a mechanism to provide opportunities and trainings for local elites to administer the country. Under this system, members were appointed to a certain portfolio such as Member of Domestic Affairs. However, the executive authority and political control were still held by the supreme British officials such as High Commissioner, Secretary General, Attorney General and the Secretary of Finance.

The Alliance Party (Parti Perikatan) conducted various efforts and demands to claim its own government. The efforts finally bore its fruits when the first federal election yangwas held on 27 July 1955. The victory of the Alliance Party in the general election had resulted in 52 out of 98 Federal Legislative Council Members now being elected by the people. The remaining 46 members were appointed by the British High Commissioner. This successfully led to the establishment of the Federal government, headed by a local.

As a continuation to this, the Member System was also abolished and replaced with the Minister System. A cabinet for the Federation of Malaya was established for the first time on 1 August 1955, two years prior to the nation's independence. Upon receiving the royal assent of the Malay Rulers, 15 cabinet ministers sitting on the 1955 cabinet were announced by the British High Commissioner, Sir Donald  MacGillivray on 4 August 1955. Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj was chosen as the Chief Minister of the Federation of Malaya.

The 1955 Cabinet comprised of 10 Ministers; the Chief Minister cum Home Minister, Minister of Education , Minister of Natural Resources, Minister of Transport, Minister of Agriculture, Minister of Health, Minister of Public Works, Minister of Labour, Minister of Local Government, Housing and Urban Planning as well as Minister of Post and Telecommunications. These Ministers were assisted by five Deputy Ministers and Junior Ministers who were the Deputy Home Minister, Deputy Education Minister, Junior Agriculture Minister, Junior Health Minister and Junior Labour Minister. In addition, the 1955 cabinet also comprised of three British officials with the portfolio as the Finance Secretary, Economic Affairs Secretary and the Defence Secretary. Three other British officials held significant positions as the Secretary General, Attorney General and State Secretary to the Government.

As the country was on the eve of independence on 28 August 1957, the Chief Minister presented a list of 13 Cabinet Ministers for the royal assent of His Majesty the Yang di-Pertuan Agong. The 1957 Cabinet which was the first of its kind after the independence comprised of the Chief Minister as the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Deputy Prime Minister as the Minister of Defence, Minister of Finance, Minister for Home Affairs and Justice, Minister of Trade and Industries, Minister of Health, Minister of Education, Minister of Labour and Community Welfare, Minister of Transport, Minister of Natural Resources, Minister of Agriculture and Minister of Public Works, Post and Telecommunications as well as Ministers Without Portfolios cum Representatives to the United Nations. The swearing in ceremony was held on 4 August 1957. The first 1957 cabinet meeting was held on 10 September 1957 and chaired by Tunku Abdul Rahman.

Since then, the cabinet of the nation has gone through various reshuffles and the current national cabinet comprises of 31 Ministers.