Let there be a competition for the position of the Second Finance Minister

FORMER Bangi MP Ong Kian Ming (main pic) has named 15 people whom he thinks would be suitable “to help” Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as the second Finance Minister.

I don’t know about helping. I think Anwar is so clueless about the subject of finance and economy that if you ask him about the GDP (gross domestic product) or the interest rate, he will likely just tell you about his time in prison and the day he met Mandela in the hopes that you will go away.

I think if you are going to be the Finance Minister II, you have to go in with the mindset of a lembu – all the susu will be yours – but it will be sapi that eventually gets the good name.

I am also not very sanguine about the suggestion of the former international trade and industry minister either because among the candidates he named are Lim Guan Eng and Rafizi Ramli.

(From left) Lim Guan Eng, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and Rafizi Ramli (Pic credit: Editor Malaysia)

The former did such a poor job in his maiden stint as the finance minister while giving the latter the portfolio of Finance Minister II is akin to asking somebody to carry a 100kg load when the person couldn’t even carry 50kg.

If the Pandan MP has in him the capability to perform as Finance Minister II, then maybe he should first use that capability to perform as the Economic Minister first.

Of all the people in the country, must we really give the job of a Finance Minister II to a man who is struggling to perform as the Economic Minister – and worse, was struck by a heart attack when he is not even 50 years of age? What if something happens to him?

But that be said, I am happy to note that at least the subject of getting at least one Finance Minister who has some knowledge about the field has finally got off the ground.

Hunt for performing candidate

I am sure there are many people in the country who would love a stint as the Finance Minister II. It is a high prestige job that grants one a lot of status and standing. It is basically a high-level prize – and a prize that should rightfully be won, not given.

Kian Ming himself has stated that he wants the job. Maybe he can start the ball rolling by telling all of us what he thinks is the most important thing that the Finance Ministry should do and how he intends to do it.

If any of the 15 candidates he has named think that they can do better than him, by all means, speak out.

While not many of us know enough about the subject of economy and finance to speak about it ourselves, many of us are more than intelligent enough to understand it if it is explained to us by someone who is very well versed in the subject.

As Einstein once said, “If you can’t explain something to a six-year-old, you don’t understand it yourself.”

Any aspiring Finance Minister II should be up to the task of explaining whatever they have in mind to do if they are given the chance to assume that portfolio. If they can’t explain it, then they are not fit for the job. It is as simple as that.

And don’t worry about our ability to pick the best person for the job even if we are not the masters of the subject.

People might not always know what the subject is about but we have an uncanny ability to know who does as long as they reveal what they know to us for long enough. If the 15 candidates tell us what they know and debate among themselves, trust me, we will know who is the real slim shady and who is just imitating.

I honestly hope that instead of just selecting a Finance Minister II and tell us to trust him for he is the best man for the job, PMX Anwar should just organise a contest instead.

Just say that he will be hiring a Finance Minister II in a few months and whoever is interested in the job should take their proposal and ideas to the people and win our confidence.

To the dear PMX, I hope you don’t forget that you were hoisted to the highest position in the land because you promised us reforms.

Maybe doing away with the concept of selection and depend instead on the concept of competition, would be a good way to start the process of reform. – Nov 21, 2023


Nehru Sathiamorthy is a roving tutor who loves politics, philosophy and psychology.

The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.

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