Malaysiakini Yoursay

Yoursay: Spreading cabinet workload is separation of powers at work

Yoursay  |  Published:  |  Modified:

YOURSAY | ‘Lump everything in Finance Ministry and you get a repeat of what happened before.’

Why Dr M answered for Guan Eng? Two possibilities, claims Wee

Malaysian: However much we hate MCA deputy president Wee Ka Siong, he is right.

Look at the whole picture – Council of Eminent Persons chairperson Daim Zainuddin going to China for “special reasons,” Economic Affairs Minister Mohamed Azmin Ali’s scheduled trip to Singapore to discuss the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High-Speed Rail (HSR), and Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad answering questions in Parliament for Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng.

Maybe Lim should just resign?

Spratlys: If anything, isn’t this proof that Mahathir is in total control of Pakatan Harapan and not DAP, as BN is so fond of claiming?

Speechless: Wee, there is a third reason why Mahathir answered the question instead of the finance minister – he went to Japan recently to discuss the yen loan issue with the Japanese prime minister. So, who better to answer the question?

Unspin: It has to be said that if there is one person in our country who can convince the Japanese to give us soft loans, it is Mahathir.

Based on his track record with the country, Mahathir is the most appropriate person to answer opposition leader Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s question.

Prudent: It is unusual for the prime minister to answer on behalf of his minister. It should not happen too often, even if he is a sort of ‘super prime minister.’

R Venugopal: This shows Mahathir knows what is happening in every ministry, unlike Najib. There’s nothing wrong with Mahathir answering questions, as it reflects the teamwork in Harapan.

What did Wee do during the reign of BN - did he speak up on abuses of power and corruption? Wee should know the answer to this.

Look at former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak celebrating his birthday in Parliament. It shows BN has learned nothing and has no remorse.

Anonymous_1528787510: Wee has been feted by MCA members as someone with exceptional capabilities for many years, as there is a dearth of quality leaders in the party.

After so many years of all this lavish, undeserved praise, he probably thinks that he is better than a lot of former opposition leaders – well, he is of higher calibre than his Umno colleagues, no doubt about that, but not compared to many leaders from DAP.

Hence, I doubt he has come to terms with the results of the 14th general election, which might explain the sour grapes evident in the vengeful undertone of his comments over the past two months.

It seems that he knows what his and MCA’s problems are but cannot help himself from making these utterances.

Anonymous_1529020255: I think it is right for Wee to question this. I do not see it as an attack on Lim.

What could be an issue is if Lim as finance minister, is not given the real power his position should entail.

Onlooker: I would rather the prime minister has his finger on the button and can answer any question, rather than be like his predecessor, who answered almost none – preferring to stay out of the House and let his ministers do his dirty work.

To God The Glory: Mahathir replying to a parliamentary question on behalf of Lim is not an issue, but Wee’s failure to speak up against former premier and finance minister Najib is.

Azmin disagrees Guan Eng's role reduced to 'bookkeeper'

Quigonbond: This is one of the five prongs of BN's attack on Harapan government post-GE14, the other four being:

  1. Malay rights and Islam under threat because of certain key appointments;
  2. Government is flip-flopping on HSR and the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL);
  3. Council of Eminent Persons acting outside its mandate;
  4. Harapan making excuses to break promises under its manifesto.

None of which will stick because BN hasn't learnt how to argue by presenting a few incidents or facts before making sweeping generalisations. For example:

  1. If you want to claim that Malay rights and Islam are under threat, you have to probably show examples like how the non-Malays are given privileges in business opportunities, how the government is allowing Christians to proselytise, etc;
  2. For government flip-flopping, you have to demonstrate that the flip-flop is caused by incompetence instead of revision of preliminary views because of new facts emerging.
  3. CEP acting outside its mandate, this can never be proven and is pure speculation;
  4. For Harapan breaking its promises, you have to show it failed to do so despite the ability to do so. But BN will be hard-pressed to do that because its leaders are fully aware of the financial state of the country.

As above, (5) the role of the finance minister being reduced to book-keeping, or in another criticism, why the prime minister answers for finance minister – whether indicative of incompetence of the latter or not – you need to prove there is a pattern before calling someone incompetent.

You also have to prove that the prime minister cannot say things relating to the finance minister’s function. Was there ever such a precedent?

To say the new finance minister is powerless, you have to show that the authority of the Finance Ministry over the many government-linked companies (GLCs) and government-linked Investment Companies (GLICs) have been carved out to the Economic Affairs Ministry. None of which BN can show.

BN really needs to up their game to be a strong opposition. Right now, they are a little short on substance.

Sentinel: The cabinet on the advice of the Finance Ministry will have the final say on how money is spent. This is separation of powers in action.

Lump everything at the Finance Ministry and you get what happened in the previous administration.

Anonymous_1531693563: The one who holds the purse strings has the most power. The job at the Finance Ministry must be so huge as to have lawmakers Tony Pua and Ong Kian Ming help out as special advisers.

Now that Ong has his own portfolio, the work has to be distributed to Azmin. Lim is fortunate to still have Pua to help out with the workload.

I wouldn’t say the same for Azmin, because the best person to help him on GLCs would be PKR vice-president Rafizi Ramli.

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