KULIM, Dec 5 — The days where a prime minister, who is also the finance minister, can casually come up with a project and borrow RM40 billion are over, said PKR deputy president Rafizi Ramli.
He said it is now harder for the prime minister and finance minister to spend large sums of government funds.
“The scrutiny is tighter, the space and opportunities for large scale scandals like 1MDB are more difficult now than before,” he said in a press conference after speaking at a mega ceramah in Padang Serai.
He was elaborating on his earlier speech telling voters not to worry about Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim also holding the Finance Ministry portfolio.
“I know him, he is not like Najib,” he said, referring to former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak who is being incarcerated for graft.
He stressed that the situation now is different.
“Don’t forget, this is a unity government, there is no absolute power held by a single party,” he said.
He said the unity of different parties and coalitions ensured check and balance within the government.
“If any of the parties were to notice something amiss, they could take action, even withdraw support and the government will dissolve so this will not happen,” he said.
The economic affairs minister said the focus now is to build stability.
“We need stability to rebuild the country,” he said.
He said stability will be the common policy that binds all the parties together in the unity government.
When asked about the upcoming vote of confidence on December 19, he is confident that Anwar will get the support required.
As for the way forward in terms of the country’s economy, he said there will be a global recession in three to four months.
He said the government will have to focus on improving its economy policies to protect the people against the brunt of the global economic downturn.
He said the new government will need to take time to look through every policy one by one.
“We have to look at what we have so that what is good can be maintained or improved while what is bad can be replaced,” he said.
He said it is dangerous for a new minister to immediately announce new policies within just 24 hours of starting work.
“It will take some time. This is managing an economy, not just a company,” he said.
He stressed that the government must ensure that for every dollar and sen it spent, it must have the most effect to the targeted group.