Anwar S Hands Tied By Dealing With Strange Bedfellows Says Expert
In forming his government, Anwar Ibrahim has had to bring in parties he has long been at odds with, says an economist.PETALING JAYA: In making his Cabinet appointments, Anwar Ibrahim’s hands may have been tied by having to deal with “strange bedfellows”, says anti-graft activist Edmund Terence Gomez.
Gomez reiterated his stance that it was not advisable for the prime minister to also be finance minister, especially from the point of good governance and the need to provide checks and balances, which Anwar has long advocated.
Terence Edmund Gomez.The finance minister’s post could very well be more powerful than that of prime minister as the former controls the government’s coffers, said Gomez, a noted political economist.
“But let’s put it in perspective. The government that has been formed is one of strange bedfellows coming together on the King’s command after the hung Parliament,” said Gomez.
“Anwar is in a situation where he has had to bring in parties he has long been at odds with into an unity government.”
Anwar’s Cabinet is made of of MPs from Pakatan Harapan (15) through PKR, DAP, Amanah and Upko; Barisan Nasional (6) through Umno; Gabungan Parti Sarawak (5) through PBB, PRS and PDP; and Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (1) through Sabah Bersatu.
Patronage and the finance ministry
“Anwar would have recognised that by giving such a powerful ministry to someone outside of PKR, it may not have put him in good stead and could have worked against his push for good governance,” said Gomez.
He noted that finance ministers can use their patronage to channel contracts and dictate procurement projects, adding that they can also use their decision-making power to control the way in which contracts are given out.
Gomez said this was why it was key that Anwar said on Monday that the government’s procurement process will no longer be conducted without tenders in a bid to eliminate corruption and leakages.
On Guan Eng and Syed Saddiq
He said that while he was “not comfortable” with Zahid’s appointment as deputy prime minister, Gomez said it was key that two PH leaders who were facing corruption charges, DAP chairman Lim Guan Eng and Muda president Syed Sadiq Abdul Rahman, were left out of the Cabinet.
Last week, Anwar said he had not considered keeping the finance portfolio for himself when he was deciding on his Cabinet.
Anwar today said that while he did not want to take up the post, he wanted to “start new policy approaches and restore economic confidence” among local traders and foreign investors by helming the finance ministry. - FMT
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