Former finance minister Anwar says wouldn’t want the role now when country so cash-strapped

Justin Ong
Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is pictured in Parliament in Kuala Lumpur March 26, 2019. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, April 24 — Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said he would hesitate to accept the post of finance minister if this were offered when the country’s finances were in their current state.

The PKR president, who is presented as Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s successor to be prime minister, had served in the role prior to his sacking as the latter’s deputy in 1998.

In that period, he oversaw some of the most explosive growth in the Malaysian economy until it crashed during the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis.

“If I were offered (the post of) minister of finance now, I would not serve because this is unlike before (when) we had lots of funds,” he was quoted as saying by the Malaysiakini news portal

He noted that during his time, the economy was expanding at a blistering rate of close to or at 10 per cent, while this is expected to be around just 4.5 per cent this year.

The finance minister now is DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng, who has repeatedly categorised Malaysia’s debt as over “RM1 trillion”

Speaking at the launch of the AbuSulayman Fund at the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIAM) today, the Port Dickson MP added that he has asked Lim for funds to be channelled towards developing the Negri Sembilan tourist destination.

However, Anwar said Lim has not been able to promise any at the moment.

“The only answers he could give was always ‘we will look at it’, ‘we can’t approve now, we can consider approving later’. This is the standard reply because we are in financial constraints,” Anwar was further quoted as saying.

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