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LETTER | Let people decide on second finance minister

LETTER | Former Bangi MP Ong Kian Ming has named 15 people who he thinks can “help” Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim as the second finance minister.

I don’t know about helping. I think Anwar is so clueless about the subject of finance and economy, that if you ask him about gross domestic product (GDP) or the interest rate, he will likely just tell you about his time in prison and the day he met Nelson Mandela, in the hopes that you will go away.

I think if you are going to be the second finance minister, you have to go in with the mindset of a cow - where all the “susu” (milk) will be yours, but it will be “sapi” (ghee) that will get the credit.

I’m also not very sanguine about Ong’s (above) suggestion, because among the candidates he named are Lim Guan Eng and Rafizi Ramli.

Lim did such a poor job in his stint as the finance minister, I reckon he is the only minister from DAP who did not return to the cabinet when the unity government was formed last year.

Bagan MP Lim Guan Eng

Giving Rafizi the finance minister job is like asking somebody to carry a 100kg load when they couldn’t even carry 50kg.

If Rafizi has in him the capability to perform as the finance minister, then maybe he should use that capability to perform as the economy minister first.

But that being said, I am happy to note that at least the subject of getting at least one finance minister who has some knowledge about the field has finally got off the ground.

Economy Minister Rafizi Ramli

To not waste the second shot and pay two people for a job that neither one can do, wouldn’t it be better if the person who seeks the job gets it via competitive means?

I am sure there are many people in the country who would love a stint as the second finance minister. It is a high-prestige job that grants one a lot of status and standing.

It is basically a high-level prize, and a prize should rightfully be won, not given.

Ong himself has stated that he wants the job. Maybe he can start the ball rolling by telling everyone what he thinks is the most important thing the Finance Ministry should do and how he intends to do it.

If any of the 15 candidates he has named think that they can do better than him, by all means, speak out.

While not many of us know enough about the subject of economy and finance to speak about it ourselves, many of us are more than intelligent enough to understand it if it is explained to us by someone who is well-versed in the subject.

As Albert Einstein once said - “If you can't explain something to a six-year-old, you don't understand it yourself”.

Any aspiring finance minister should be up to the task of explaining whatever they have in mind if they are given the job.

‘Convince the people’

If they can't explain it, then they are not fit for the job. It is as simple as that.

And don’t worry about our ability to pick the best person for the job, even if we are not masters of the subject.

People might not always know what the subject is about, but we have an uncanny ability to know who does, as long as they reveal what they know to us for long enough.

If the 15 candidates Ong suggested could tell us what they know and debate among themselves, trust me, we will know who is the real slim shady and who is just imitating.

I honestly hope that instead of just selecting a second finance minister and telling us to trust him or her, Anwar should just organise a contest instead.

Just say that he will be hiring a second finance minister in a few months, and whoever is interested in the job, should take their proposal and ideas to the people, and win our confidence.

To the dear prime minister, I hope you don’t forget that you were hoisted to the highest position in the land because you promised us reforms.

Maybe doing away with the concept of selection and instead, depending on competition, would be a good way to start reforms.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.