Many go, a few stay | The Daily Star
12:01 AM, January 13, 2014 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:53 AM, March 08, 2015

Many go, a few stay

Many go, a few stay

While several tainted figures have been left out, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's cabinet includes a few politicians who have earned a bad name in the last five years.
Despite a series of controversies, Shahjahan Khan remains shipping minister while Quamrul Islam, state minister for law in the grand alliance government, becomes food minister.
Shahjahan, a top labour leader, faced severe criticism for his 2011 remark that "If one can sign his name, understand traffic signs and signals and knows the difference between a cow and a goat, he should be issued a driving licence."
He had also defended drivers on many occasions even as rights groups demanded exemplary punishment for reckless driving following a sharp rise in road accidents.
Shahjahan, who reportedly controlled the entire road transport sector, had asked a Jatiya Sangsad committee to recommend legalising extortion "to stop rampant corruption" in the transport sector.
Quamrul Islam, who is replacing Abdur Razzak, often made irresponsible comments, sometimes embarrassing for the government.   
While justice seekers and campaigners of war crimes trials have kept demanding a law for the protection of witnesses and victims, Quamrul in December last year said existing laws were enough to protect the witnesses.
Shahriar Alam, a young garment maker, has been assigned as state minister for foreign affairs. He is known for his humiliating behaviour toward journalists.
Zahid Maleque, a business person who was reportedly involved in the 2009 stockmarket manipulation through his company BD Thai, has been made state minister for health.
Nasrul Hamid Bipu, a ruling party lawmaker who was in the parliamentary committee on the housing ministry, led a panel in the election of Real Estate and Housing Association of Bangladesh (REHAB) in 2010.
The panel's election pledge was to prevent the passage of the private real estate development bill, which envisaged protecting consumer interests and saving wetlands around the capital.
Bipu also reportedly owns unauthorised housing projects like Priya Prangan and Alifia Model Town.
Still, he has been appointed state minister for power.
In contrast, Razzak, who officials say ran the food ministry quite efficiently, got no place in the cabinet and it could not be known why.
Some other reputed ministers, however, will continue in their positions.
As in the previous term, AL General Secretary Syed Ashraful Islam, Nurul Islam Nahid, Obaidul Quader and Matia Chowdhury will run the ministries of LGRD, education, communications and agriculture.
Mostafizur Rahman Fizar, who was state minister for land, has now become primary and mass education minister. While the assets of most of the ministers swelled in the last five years, Fizar's wealth decreased.
Imajuddin Pramanik and Asaduzzaman Noor, considered political leaders of clean records, will be at the helm of the jute and textile and cultural affairs ministries.
The Awami League yesterday expressed satisfaction over the formation of the new cabinet.
Talking to BBC Bangla Service, AL's general secretary Syed Ashraful Islam yesterday said the new cabinet was a lesson for controversial ministers. “If you don't do your job properly, Sheikh Hasina is not going to show mercy,” he said
AL Joint General Secretary Mahbubul Alam Hanif told The Daily Star, “It's a good cabinet which will be able to perform satisfactorily to fulfil people's expectation.”
According to party insiders, Hasina was particularly annoyed at the dramatic rise in wealth and properties of some ministers and state ministers. She alone took the decision not to include them in her team.
A section of influential party leaders who were vocal against corrupt ministers have all along been trying to convince Hasina to pick ministers with comparatively clean images, said an AL policymaker.
Besides, poor performance and graft allegations led to the exclusion of some.
Sheikh Hasina has kept out forest and environment Minister Hasan Mahmud, state minister for LGRD Jahangir Kabir Nanak, foreign minister Dipu Moni, home minister Muhiuddin Khan Alamgir, post and telecommunications minister Shahara Khatun, state minister for Home Shamsul Haque Tuku and state minister for water resources Mahbubur Rahman Talukder.
Allegations are there that Hasan Mahmud and his wife Nuran Fatema came by huge wealth and properties in the last five years.
His party colleagues were also irritated over his “failure” in utilising climate funds appropriately and dealing with Hefajat-e-Islam.
Dipu Moni was at the centre of discussion since taking charge of the foreign ministry with no experience.
She was slammed for her nearly 200 overseas trips, the world's second highest by a foreign minister. She could hardly improve bilateral relations with some important countries, including the US, as most of her engagements were multilateral.  
Dipu allegedly tried to present maritime boundary victory as her personal achievement in her district where she was engaged in an internal party feud.
MK Alamgir drew huge criticism in and outside the party for his links with the release of a top criminal from jail. He also made funny comments over the Rana Plaza collapse that killed around 1200 people.
Nanak was allegedly involved in illegal VoIP business through which the former state minister pocketed huge money, party insiders said.
Shamsul Haque Tuku has been dropped for having weak command over law enforcers while Shahara Khatun for her inefficiency in running the ministry, they added.
Mahbubur Rahman Talukder had used all of his power as state minister to ensure that his wife's company Gangamoti Enterprise wins all tender bids in Patuakhali. He became the owner of 2,865 acres of agricultural land in the last five years.
Others ministers and state ministers who are out of the new cabinet are labour minister Rajiuddin Ahmed Raju, industries minister Dilip Barua, health minister AFM Ruhul Haque, minister for primary and mass education Afsarul Ameen, social welfare minister Enamul Haque Mostafa Shahid, planning minister AK Khandaker, minister of fisheries and livestock Abdul Latif Biswas, state minister for public works Abdul Mannan Khan, state minister for primary and mass education Motahar Hossain, land minister Rezaul Karim Hira, youth & sports minister Ahad Ali Sarkar, state minister for labour and employment Monnujan Sufian, state minister for liberation war affairs Cap (retd) ABM Tajul Islam, state minister for religious affairs Shahjahan Miah, state minister for water resources Mahbubur Rahman, state minister for Chittagong Hill Tracts affairs Dipankar Talukder, state minister for power Mohammad Enamul Haque, state minister for health and family welfare Mozibur Rahman Fakir, foreign minister AH Mahmood Ali and information and communication technology minister Mostafa Faruq Mohammad.

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