Anwar calls for change to take Malaysia back to its glorious days

Anwar Ibrahim (PMO)

Anwar Ibrahim (PMO)

PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia’s Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim said he was disinclined to hold the finance portfolio but had to adopt an approach to restore confidence in the economy as well as the business community and foreign investors.

“I think for this initial stage, let me continue (with being Finance Minister),” he said, Malaysia’s news agency Bernama reported/

Anwar added that his duties at the ministry will be assisted by a formidable team comprising the Treasury secretary-general, civil servants as well as advisors who will not be a burden on government finance.

Matters involving the Finance Ministry will be assisted by several advisors, led by Petronas advisor Mohd Hassan Marican, all of whom will be on board without remuneration, he said this at a media conference announcing the Unity Government Cabinet line-up.

On Nov 25, Anwar reportedly said that he would not consider holding the finance portfolio, but nevertheless would look at all possibilities before making a final decision about it.

Asked about savings that can be made by having a smaller Cabinet, Anwar said it can be done if waste is avoided and unnecessary spending is reduced, adding that this approach will be initiated by the Prime Minister.

Earlier this week, Anwar called on the civil servants to work with the government leadership to bring about change to bring back the country to its glorious days.

Addressing the staff of the Prime Minister’s Office, Anwar said civil servants need to bring the spirit of “islah” (bringing back a situation to a correct, accurate and appropriate state) for the sake of the country.

Reform is required for the country to change, he said, adding that Malaysia had reached a certain level before, but unfortunately it had declined in terms of economy, stability and discipline.

“We may not be successful if the civil service is not with me,” he said, quoted by Bernama.

Anwar said the public service is a pillar of the country and it will not change even if there is a change in the government or the prime minister.

“Leaders come and go, but civil servants remain in upholding the system and rules of the country,” he said, adding that based on his experience as finance minister, he would not have succeeded without the help of the civil service.

Therefore, Anwar said he wants all his cabinet members to forge good working relations with civil servants.

“Listen to their views … our intelligence, our tenacity, our interest will not be the same as their (civil servants) experience,” he said.

Anwar said he would also go to the departments and ministries to get advice and views from civil servants.

“Only by doing this, we are considered as a family working as a team,” he said.

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