PUTRAJAYA: The decision by Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim to concurrently hold the finance portfolio was a “suitable” one considering the “extraordinary circumstances” in his unity government, said Economic Affairs Minister Rafizi Ramli.
Speaking to reporters during a press conference on Monday (Dec 5), Mr Rafizi said: “In my opinion, it was a tough decision to make actually. Because it was likely that the various parties who form the government wanted the finance minister post to be on their side.”
Mr Anwar’s unity government comprises of Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition, which he leads, Barisan Nasional (BN), Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) and Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS).
Mr Rafizi, who is also the Pandan member of parliament said: “For example, if someone from PH was appointed finance minister, it could be a problem for BN. And if it is someone from BN, PH might not be happy.”
“As it’s an extraordinary situation now, this is a suitable decision at this point – that the prime minister be finance minister so the appointment doesn’t become an issue for the different coalitions.”
However, Mr Rafizi reiterated his position that the prime minister post and the finance minister post should be kept separate. He also expressed hope that the current government would do this only as a temporary arrangement.
“That stand has not changed. I do not believe that just because of this current situation, we are desperate and we take that position – that this should continue. The situation is extraordinary,” said Mr Rafizi.
“But I hope as we move forward, and we put everything in place, the decision (for the prime minister to also be finance minister) will prove to be an exception rather than the norm,” he added.