PETALING JAYA: Former Bangi MP Ong Kian Ming has spoken of 15 people, politicians and corporate figures who he believes are suited to fill the role of second finance minister to assist Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim.
Among those on the list are a former second finance minister, Johari Ghani, and two former finance ministers, Tengku Zafrul Aziz and Lim Guan Eng. Tengku Zafrul is currently the minister for investment, trade and industry in Anwar’s cabinet.
Other current cabinet members on Ong’s list are economy minister Rafizi Ramli and natural resources, environment and climate change minister Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad. Ong also said both the current deputy finance ministers, Ahmad Maslan and Steven Sim, were potential candidates.
He likewise suggested a few corporate figures as possible choices: former Petronas CEO Hassan Marican, Bursa Malaysia chairman Abdul Wahid Omar, former Khazanah Nasional Bhd managing director Azman Mokhtar, former EPF chief Shahril Ridza Ridzuan, and Petronas CEO Tengku Muhammad Taufik.
Ong made known his preferences for the post while making a guest appearance on the Keluar Sekejap podcast hosted by Khairy Jamaluddin and Shahril Hamdan.
He said Khairy, a former health minister, and former Damansara MP Tony Pua would also fit the role. Pua was a special officer to Lim when Lim was finance minister.
Ong did not rule himself out either if the opportunity to assist Anwar presented itself.
“I am willing to nominate myself as a backup if there is no more suitable candidate,” he said. “The ones I suggested earlier, most of them are more qualified compared to me. But if the call comes, then I am open for it.”
KJ slams ‘misleading statement’ by AG
During the podcast, Khairy accused the attorney-general, Ahmad Terrirudin Salleh, of making a misleading statement that his department had consistently provided advice that a proposed smoking ban based on age was unconstitutional.
Khairy said the legal adviser to the health ministry, a representative of the Attorney-General’s Chambers, had established that the provisions do not contravene the constitution; he suggested that the government’s move to drop the provision could be politically driven.
On Saturday, the attorney-general said the department had consistently provided legal views since 2022 that the provisions can be challenged for being in conflict with the constitutional guarantee of equal protection under the law.