Najib should relinquish his finance portfolio

Media Statement by the Pakatan Rakyat Manifesto/Policy Committee on 6 March 2012 in Petaling Jaya

Najib should relinquish his finance portfolio

The Pakatan Rakyat Manifesto/ Policy Committee is of the view that the Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Najib Razak should relinquish his finance portfolio. We feel that an individual should not hold two key positions such as the Prime Minister and Finance Minister at the same time.

This practice clearly gives way for cases of conflict of interest to arise due to the different requirements that the two positions entail. In a corporate structure, this is like a person juggling the post of chief executive officer and chief financial officer.

With the present arrangement, it is no surprise that the federal budgets for the past few years have focused more on one-off goodies to appease voters instead of implementing structural changes to our economic structure that it badly needs. Being the country’s administration chief, and also the Barisan Nasional and UMNO chief, Najib is too preoccupied to devote his attention on policies that strengthens the Malaysia’s economic position as a whole.

Former Finance Minister Tun Daim Zainuddin in an interview with the China Press recently also said that the PM “has too much on his plate to be handling the Finance Ministry as well”. Concurring with this view, we feel that Najib should appoint another person exclusively to take up the job of managing the country’s finance portfolio.

Furthermore, his performance as the Finance Minister has been disappointing thus far. He has backtracked on a lot of issues like the six per cent service tax, the real property gains tax and other reform announcements such as the Equal Opportunity Commission (EOC). His constant flip-flopping clearly shows that a better person is required for the job.

Additionally, by having a Second Finance Minister, matters are made more complicated as there are no clear cut distinctions between the roles of the two ministers. At the end of the day, no one is really sure who is in charge of the economy.

Our view then is to keep things simple. The bottom line is that Malaysia needs one full-time Finance Minister that could carry out duties without any distractions or interruptions.

As such, with our economy being forecasted to be gloomy in the near future, we call on Najib to relinquish his finance portfolio and appoint someone else who is better qualified in managing our economy to take up that portfolio.

Pakatan Rakyat Manifesto/ Policy Committee

Nurul Izzah Anwar
Dr. Dzukifli Ahmad
Liew Chin Tong

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