"Amir Hamzah will provide technocrat touch to fiscal policy"

KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri Amir Hamzah Azizan's appointment as Finance Minister II has been warmly received, with economists expecting him to provide a technocrat to fiscal policy, likening his professionalism and technocratic approach to former finance minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz.

Nusantara Academy for Strategic Research senior fellow Dr Azmi Hassan noted a potential shift in the distribution of responsibilities within the Finance Ministry, with Amir Hamzah taking a more prominent role in handling  fiscal policies.

"I think from today, most probably we can see any fiscall matter, fiscal policy, will be handled by the second finance minister.

"He is a professional technocrat, similar to when Tengku Zafrul was elected as the finance minister three years ago. We will see more responsibility on Amir Hamzah and less on Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim when we talk about finance, fiscal issues or maybe monetary and economic issues," he said.

Universiti Malaya Associate Professor Dr Awang Azman Awang Pawi said the inclusion of Amir Hamzah in the Cabinet indicates an effort to enhance administrative efficiency, especially the involvement of technocrats. 

This can help boost public confidence in the Malaysian administration and also attract investor confidence to invest in the country. 

"Additionally, it can enhance the effectiveness of the cabinet in current economic recovery efforts. Placing a combination of professional technocrats and politicians is a good strategy. I believe there is a need for these technocrats to be present so that they can contribute to improving governance, as there is a balance within the cabinet," Awang Azman said. 

Awang Azman also said before the appointment of the new EPF CEO is made, considerations will be given in terms of experience, achievements and efficiency demonstrated by any individual within a government-linked investment company or fund.

This will be a crucial factor in the selection process, he added.

Amir Hamzah, who joined the EPF in March 2021, was appointed as Finance Minister II on Tuesday following a Cabinet reshuffle.

The EPF, in its statement today, said throughout his impactful tenure as the CEO, Amir Hamzah has played a pivotal role in steering the fund to unprecedented heights of growth and success.

"He has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to excellence and innovation. Among his notable achievements, Amir Hamzah has successfully navigated the EPF through diverse economic cycles and challenges, consistently achieving positive growth in investment income.

"His strategic vision and adept decision-making have been instrumental in maintaining the EPF's investment and operational resilience, establishing it as a steadfast pillar of retirement security for EPF members," it added.

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