Written by Stan Lee, Politics Now!
KUALA LUMPUR (Politics Now!) – In a bid to help damage control the Anwar regime’s ineffective management of the economy, DAP boss Anthony Loke gave a heads-up that Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim will be making an “important announcement’ later today (Nov 26).
“I was made to understand that the Prime Minister will make an important announcement later today. The announcement will help to boost our country’s economy in the near future,” Bernama reported DAP secretary-general Anthony Loke as saying at his party’s Selangor convention.
“However, I cannot give details of what the Prime Minister will announce. I am sure it will be well received by the industry and the economic sector,” said Anthony.
The DAP is Anwar’s long-time ally in the Pakatan Harapan-led ruling coalition and has come under fire for not reining in Anwar’s excesses and for allowing him too much leeway in the running of the country and economy which has borne little fruit, disappointing many citizens – even including the hardcore Pakatan supporters.
NEW FINANCE MINISTER, 2ND FINANCE MINISTER, CABINET RESHUFFLE?
Yet, perhaps the single most welcome step that Anwar could possibly take to boost the economy and reignite hope is to give up the Finance Minister’s post to another leader who could do a hands-on job that requires full-time monitoring and planning.
Doubts are high the narcissistic Anwar, who gave himself the post despite conflict of interest issues, will do so but perhaps he might finally announce a critically-needed Cabinet reshuffle, which might see the entry of a Second Finance Minister.
Earlier in the week, a poll by the Merdeka Centre found Anwar’s approval rating had plunged to just 50% from 68% a year ago when he had assumed power. Not only did Anwar’s own popularity plummet, only 41% approved of his ‘Madani’ government’s performance, compared to 54% previously.
Alarmingly, 60% of respondents believed Malaysia is going in the wrong direction, compared to 31% who think it is going the right way.
“The movements in voter sentiments are largely driven by their concerns over the economy and how it affects their livelihoods. The major reasons for the wrong direction are economic issues (56 per cent), political instability (13 per cent) and poor administration (9 per cent),” the survey had said.
ANWAR WASTED A YEAR OF THE PEOPLE’S TIME?
According to Anthony, who defended the growing accusations that Anwar had done “nothing” but waste a whole year of the people’s time on frivolous and self-aggrandizing political moves, the government will continue to ensure that development and economic growth is increased.
“Indeed, that is a basic matter that we should focus on. It’s not that we didn’t do anything a year ago.
“Many policies and decisions have been made regarding the economy, the management of national resources, the distribution of national wealth and subsidies and many have been discussed and some have been decided,” said Anthony.
EVEN DIE-HARD SUPPORTERS START TO BAIL OUT
Coincidentally or not, a former DAP MP had also pointedly named 15 individuals, whom he believed could do the job as Second Finance Minister. The comment from Ong Kian Ming, the former deputy international trade minister, was seen by many as a nudge from DAP to Anwar to buck up.
Anwar is now assisted by two deputy ministers – Umno’s Ahmad Maslan and DAP’s Steven Sim. The ringgit is still hovering at 25-year lows while the stock market is lacklustre due to lack of buying interest after the Budget for 2024 failed to convince investors the economy was on the right track, triggering instead a capital flight.
This has prompted comparison with past premiers who had also made themselves Finance Ministers including the disgraced Najib Razak.
“Najib was actually a very effective Finance Minister. Yes, unfortunately he helped himself to the loot and we had 1MDB and all-round corruption. But under Najib, businesses and investments thrived more than under any other administration including Mahathir’s 22 years as PM,” a political analyst had told Politics Now!
“Najib liked being FM, he spent a lot of time as FM and would send Zahid (Hamidi, his DPM) to the kampungs (villages) to talk to voters and grassroots. Whereas for Anwar, he does neither. Always going overseas and with a big entourage. A lot of fancy speeches and shoot from the hip political responses, that’s about it.”
The 15 on Kian Ming’s list of potential Second Finance Ministers are Johari Ghani, a former second finance minister; Tengku Zafrul and Lim Guan Eng, who were both former finance ministers; Rafizi Ramli, the current economy minister, Nik Nazmi the current natural resources, environment and climate change minister; Ahmad Maslan and Steven Sim the current deputy finance ministers; Hassan Marican, the former Petronas CEO; Wahid Omar, the Bursa Malaysia chairman; Azman Mokhtar, the former Khazanah Nasional managing director; Shahril Ridza Ridzuan, the former EPF chief; Tengku Muhammad Taufik, the Petronas CEO; Khairy Jamaluddin, the former health minister; Tony Pua, the former special office to the finance minister and himself.
The preferred choice to replace Anwar as PM appears to be split amongst the non-Malays and the Malays.
Two names that have consistently cropped up are Umno’s Hishammuddin Hussein and Pas’ Samsuri Mokhtar. Among non-Malays, Hisham is seen as the more multiracial, ‘PM for all’ candidate – whilst Samsuri has the vote of the Malays, although they also like Hisham, who has a long and established ‘pedigree’ in Umno, once the premier Malay-based political party in the country.
Written by Stan Lee, Politics Now!