‘Formidable’ economic team in charge, say experts

Analysts have positive expectations for the combination of Mustapha Mohamad, Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz and Azmin Ali handling the economy.

KUALA LUMPUR: The new Cabinet line-up is well chosen as it comprises candidates with vast experience in many aspects and can potentially elevate Malaysia’s economy to another level, according to some experts.

They said Mustapa Mohamed (Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department – Economy), Tengku Zafrul Aziz (Finance Minister) and Mohamed Azmin Ali (International Trade and Industry) could potentially restore the country’s economy with their brilliant ideas.

Malaysian Institute of Economic Research chairman Kamal Salih regards the collective experience of Tengku Zafrul, Mustapa and Azmin as being invaluable, particularly in addressing various crises including the high cost of living, unemployment and the lack of job opportunities.

“Tengku Zafrul is very experienced in banking and economy, Azmin has experience in managing the economy of a state while Mustapa is an old hand at economic affairs and previously was in the Economic Planning Unit.

“They will work together with the Prime Minister who is also very experienced in the economy, having been Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister and Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister previously.

“They are a formidable economic team for our country,” he told Bernama.

The appointments of the trio were announced at Putrajaya today by Muhyiddin Yassin who nine days earlier was sworn in as Malaysia’s eighth premier.

Tengku Zafrul, who was CIMB Group chief executive, will be made a senator to enable him to accept the ministerial post.

Universiti Sains Malaysia political analyst Dr Sivamurugan Pandian said Tengku Zafrul, Azmin and Mustapa would help to boost the country’s new economic growth and the national agenda to fulfil the aspirations of the people.

Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute Centre chairman (public policy studies) Ramon Navaratnam said Tengku Zafrul’s appointment was a pleasant surprise and would offer fresh ideas to the government, given his solid background in the private sector.

“He is not a non-performer. He is a tried-and-tested finance man. Banking is related to economy and finance, so he has the experience and expertise to do the job well.

“If he is lacking experience in the government sector, it could be compensated by the civil service,” he said.

Azmin is one of four senior ministers in the cabinet. Others are Ismail Sabri Yaakob (Defence Minister), Fadillah Yusof (Works Minister) and Dr Mohd Radzi Md Jidin (Education Minister).