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Anwar disagrees finance minister post should be reserved for Muslims

Haspaizi Zain
Published:  |  Modified:

PARLIAMENT | PKR president Anwar Ibrahim has disagreed with a resolution at yesterday's Malay Dignity Congress that the finance minister post must be reserved for Muslims.

The former finance minister stressed that the appointee should be selected based on his or her qualifications as opposed to skin colour.

“The finance minister should be someone who is qualified, competent and professional.

“(Someone) who cares about the Malays and bumiputera as well as all Malaysians,” the Port Dickson MP told reporters at the Parliament lobby this afternoon.

During the congress, PAS MP Ahmad Fadhli Shaari submitted a resolution stating that the prime minister, deputy prime minister, menteri besar and senior ministers posts be reserved for Muslims.

Apart from this, he also wanted Muslims as the chief justice, attorney-general, chief secretary to the government, inspector-general of police as well as to helm the armed forces.

Following the last general election, Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad appointed DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng as the finance minister, constitutional expert Tommy Thomas as attorney-general and Richard Malanjum as chief justice.

Malanjum has since retired and was replaced with Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat, the nation's first woman chief justice.

Meanwhile, Anwar said he received a last-minute invitation to attend the congress, which was officiated by Mahathir.

Last week, the PKR president said he did not receive an invitation, following which, the organiser said his party was not invited because it was multiracial.

“I received the invitation late, the night before (the event). I was in Port Dickson (at the time).

“Actually, I was not invited. When I was asked (by the media), I told them I was not invited.

“They (the organiser) responded that multiracial parties are not invited. But then later, there was an invitation, the night before,” he added.

Malay political leaders present at the congress were PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang, Umno secretary-general Annuar Musa, Amanah president Mohamad Sabu and PKR deputy president Azmin Ali.

The resolution was among one of five thorny resolutions - in the five areas of culture, economy, education, religion and politics - reached during yesterday’s congress. 

Among the demands made yesterday was for the formation of policies prioritising the Malays to narrow the economic gap with other races.

To this, Anwar said the views of participants of the congress should be taken into account and that he remained focused on the issue of governance and ethics.

“The issue of endemic corruption and the squandering of billions of bumiputera wealth and national wealth, these are to me, the primary concerns,” he said.

On the topic of poverty and inequality discussed at yesterday’s congress, the PKR chief said the matter should be taken seriously as Malays in the country were feeling “abandoned”.

Even so, he said the matter should not be considered based on race.

“The figures (on poverty and inequality) must be right and it must be transparent in the sense that with this approach, the vast majority of bumiputera and Sabah and Sarawak will not feel marginalised.

“At the same time is not race-based because pockets of poverty in urban areas affect the Chinese community or the Indians, particularly in the estate.

“Some areas in the estates are so dilapidated that ignoring it will be grossly unjust and as a Muslim, (goes against) my principles in Islam…” he added.

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