Written by Stan Lee, Politics Now!
KUALA LUMPUR (Politics Now!) – A day after embattled Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim disappointed again, with his “important announcement” to revive the economy falling far short of what is needed, former minister Khairy Jamaluddin is the next to demand a Cabinet reshuffle to arrest the slide in the country.
Khairy also called for the appointment of a Second Finance Minister if Anwar refuses to yield the Finance Minister’s post to someone technically competent to drive the tough reforms needed over overhaul Malaysia’s long-ailing economy.
“Malaysia needs less performative leadership, more substantive performance. If he fails, not only will the applause be muted, but there will be no encore,” Khairy warned in an article on Singaporean portal Fulcrum.
“The maestro has also lost his orchestra … his Cabinet has largely been lacklustre and one year of underperformance has forced him to admit he needs to shuffle the deck.”
HOARDING THE FINANCE MINISTRY POSTS?
Indeed, there have been many who have not minced their words, telling Anwar to stop being an “actor” who focuses on pursuing personal glory on the global stage and also trying to be more Islamic than Pas.
Some had expected Anwar to announce on Sunday a long-awaited Cabinet revamp, his own replacement or the appointment of a second man to helm the finance ministry.
But it appears Anwar has not been listening to the growing voices of discontent, despite a shock plunge in approval to 50% from 68% a year ago when he took power.
Instead he announced a 30-day visa-free travel for several nations, mostly from the Middle East, Turkiye, Jordan, China and India. While this will boost tourism, an important contributor to economic growth, it is not the “biggie” that analysts and investors have been hoping for.
Moreover, with Malaysia already seen as a transit hub for terror-linked groups from the Middle East, this might bring on myriad social and security problems and become the proverbial last straw to break the backs of already-stretched enforcement authorities, triggering potentially disastrous and untoward events in the future.
“It’s like he’s hoarding the Finance Ministry posts. He is assisted by 2 deputy ministers – Umno’s Ahmad Maslan and DAP’s Steven Sim but they are pretty powerless and not equal to a Second Finance Minister’s role,” a political analyst told Politics Now!
“And then there’s controversy over his daughter, which adds to conflict of interest concerns.”
He was referring to Anwar appointing eldest daughter Nurul Izzah as his senior adviser on economics and finance – whilst even today (Nov 27), he has trotted off to Southern Thailand where he will meet Thai premier Srettha Thavisin.
A TERRIBLE ONE-YEAR TRACK RECORD
Meanwhile, Khairy ticked off Anwar for political hypocrisy, broken promises and refusing to clean up his poorly-rated Cabinet.
“Anwar must quickly arrest the drift and course correct by dropping deadwood in Cabinet, appointing a technically competent second minister of finance to drive tough reforms,” said Khairy in his article.
He pointed out that Anwar had failed to separate the positions of prime minister and finance minister, which Anwar and his Pakatan Harapan coalition had argued tirelessly for while in opposition citing conflict of interest issues.
“In the opposition, Anwar and his party promised a slew of goodies, from lower petrol prices to cancelling student loans. These are measures which they now realise cannot be fulfilled,” Khairy pointed again to Anwar’s by-now notorious practice of breaking promises made to the citizenry.
The former Umno leader also called out the lack of significant change and reform, despite Anwar’s ability to form an unexpected coalition government that included former foe Umno.
Apart from a tendency to pander to Muslim conservatives, Anwar has also backtrack on promised reforms, navigate through corruption charges against his deputy, Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, and downplay the LCS scandal, added Khairy.
He also highlighted the unequal funding provided to opposition members of Parliament (MP), a departure from Anwar’s earlier advocacy for equal funding while in the opposition.
“Despite his own demands while in opposition, the prime minister has not given equal constituency funding to MPs in the opposition,” wrote Khairy.
Written by Stan Lee, Politics Now!