'Technocrat ministers can help country'

The inclusion of technocrats in Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's cabinet could be the answer to steering Malaysia in the right direction ahead of the challenging economic landscape next year.

Observers believed that three key portfolios, namely education, finance and international trade, could benefit the most from having experts at the helm.

National Professors Council senior fellow Dr Jeniri Amir said it was critical that the three portfolios were manned by people with the right skill sets.

"Education is the foundation of a country and the ministry must be led by a professional with integrity and excellent performance in the field.

"Similarly, the people in charge of finance, economy and trade must have strong grasp of the subject matter and could also be captains of the industry," he told the New Straits Times.

Jeniri said the new cabinet should be a balanced mix of politicians and professionals, and should not confined to conventional criteria based on political parties, age, region, race and religion.

He also believed that the number of ministers and deputies should not be less than 25.

"It would defeat the purpose of having a smaller cabinet if the people appointed do not perform.

"People don't really care if the ministers are politicians or professionals. What people need are those who can address issues such as inflation and cost of living, regardless of their backgrounds."

For the finance portfolio, two key names were in contention, namely Barisan Nasional's Titiwangsa member of parliament Datuk Seri Johari Abdul Ghani and PKR deputy president Rafizi Ramli.

Observers believed that while Rafizi, a chartered accountant by training, was capable of helming the ministry, Johari might have the edge.

One industry source said Johari, apart from possessing experience as a former second finance minister, is a corporate magnate and known as an expert on turning around ailing companies.

Johari rose to prominence when he helmed KFC Holdings Bhd and QSR Brands Bhd in the 1990s, and later gained a reputation for helping ailing companies get back on track, evidenced from his time with CI Holdings and later, KUB.

"While he is a politician, Johari fits the technocrat bill to a tee. With his experience and ability, it would be interesting to see what changes he can effect if he was given the role," said the source.

Senior fellow at the Nusantara Academy for Strategic Research Dr Azmi Hassan said finding the right balance between technocrats and politicians in the cabinet would be a difficult task.

He nevertheless said appointing BN chairman Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi as deputy prime minister would not reflect well on the new administration.

"The same applies to cabinet posts for DAP chairman Lim Guan Eng and Malaysia United Democratic Alliance president Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman, who, like Zahid, also have corruption cases in court."

Most Popular
Related Article
Says Stories