Think tank: Nurul Izzah’s lack of sound financial/economic knowledge a major concern

THE Center for Market Education (CME) has expressed serious concerns about the appointment of PKR vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar as a senior adviser to Prime Minister (PM) Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim on economics and finance matters.

This is especially so given the support around Anwar has historically been associated with words such as reformasi and bersih which means that his campaign and communication strategy are linked with the promise of a reformist wind that is at odds with corruption and nepotism, according to the boutique think tank’s CEO Dr Carmelo Ferlito.

“The situation of a hung parliament and the emergence of a coalition government was already the chance for Pakatan Harapan (PH) to agree on controversial moves such as the interim position of Finance Minister by the PM in contradiction with previous statements by the appointed PM himself,” he pointed out in a media statement.

Dr Carmelo Ferlito

“Many observers noted that such an interim position sacrificed the appointment of capable people with popular consensus such as the likes of Datuk Seri Johari Abdul Ghani, while the International Trade and Industry Ministry was entrusted to Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz in continuity with the previous cabinets and against electoral signals.”

The general ground feel currently is that little attention is currently devoted to the implementation of a sound economic policy agenda, according to Ferlito.

“CME has in particular observed over the past few weeks several statements by the Economy Minister Rafizi Ramli which were controversial and demonstrated a poor understanding of economic theory and reality,” he further noted.

In CME’s view, such statements sounded more like moral preaching rather than practical and implementable policy proposals which are very much necessary to tackle that economic downturn about which the think tank has warned since mid-2021.

“It is in this scenario that the PM appoints one of his daughters who recently lost the electoral battle, as senior adviser for economics and finance. Such an appointment does not only sound like nepotism, but it is also a source of concern for the future of the economy,” opined CME.

“Nurul Izzah studied engineering and international relations, and does not possess any specific background in economics or finance, a background that – while not necessary for primary political roles such as ministers – should be a must for advisers and counsellors.”

While Nurul Izzah has clarified that she will get no salary for the job, there there is a big misunderstanding as “the actual cost of politics paid by the rakyat is not the cost of salaries, but the consequences of bad policies”.

“In this regard, the Great Lockdown and price ceilings – or the ban of foreign workers and the new rules for expatriates – have been much more costly for the nation than salaries or corruption,” cautioned CME.

“Bad policies, although guided by good intentions, can ruin a nation. We have seen this with price ceilings or the ban on foreign worker. Malaysia has not much time left to solve structural issues and to get ready for the economic challenges which are about to come,” added Ferlito. – Jan 30, 2023

Main pic caption: Nurul Izzah Anwar’ Facebook

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