PETALING JAYA: Ahmad Maslan and Steven Sim lack the credentials to be deputy finance ministers, an economist said today, describing their appointments as being politically inspired.
Barjoyai Bardai of Universiti Tun Abdul Razak said the pair had no experience in finance or in running the finance ministry.
“I do not know how they will contribute to the finance ministry. I was hoping for a more suitable candidate like Johari Ghani but of course, Ahmad is Umno secretary-general so he gets priority,” he told FMT.
Johari, who is MP for Titiwangsa, was a former second finance minister in Najib Razak’s government.
However, regardless of who was appointed, Barjoyai said politicians will ultimately be politicians and if they left it to civil servants to do their work, the finance ministry could perform well.
At a press conference earlier, Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, who also helms the finance ministry, named Ahmad and Sim as deputy finance ministers.
Ahmad is MP for Pontian, Johor, and Sim, of DAP, is MP for Bukit Mertajam, Penang.
Political economist, Firdausi Suffian of Sabah UiTM, said the move to have two deputy finance ministers was to counter the criticism levelled against Anwar for holding the finance portfolio as the prime minister and to provide a check and balance.
He added that Anwar had to factor in many considerations when making ministerial appointments to ensure his administration lasted.
With the ministerial line-up complete, Firdausi said it was time for the government to prioritise resolving rising inflation and cost of living as well as underemployment among other economic issues.