CME concerned about the appointment of Nurul Izzah Anwar as senior adviser
SUNDAY, 29 January 2023: The Center for Market Education (CME) expresses serious concerns about the fact that PKR vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar has been appointed as a senior adviser to Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim on economics and finance.
«The political movement and support around the figure of Anwar Ibrahim has historically been associated with words such as reformasi and bersih, meaning that his campaign and communication strategy is linked with the promise of a new and reformist wind, which claims to be at odds with corruption and nepotism», explained Dr Carmelo Ferlito, CEO of CME.
CME observes that the situation of a hung parliament and the emergence of a coalition government was already the chance for Pakatan Harapan to agree on controversial moves, such as the interim position of Minister of Finance by the Prime Minister, in contradiction with previous statements by the appointed PM himself. Many observers noted that such an interim position sacrificed the appointment of capable people with popular consensus, such as the one of Dato Seri Johari Abdul Ghani, while the ministry of international trade and industry was entrusted to Tengku Zafrul, in continuity with the previous cabinets and against electoral signals.
«It seems to us that little attention is currently devoted to the implementation of a sound economic policy agenda», added Dr Carmelo Ferlito; the Center for Market Education has in particular observed over the past few weeks like several statements by the minister of the economy, Rafizi Ramli, were controversial and demonstrated a poor understanding of economic theory and reality. Furthermore, such statements sounded more like moral preaching rather than practical and implementable policy proposals, which are very much necessary to tackle that economic downturn about which CME has warned since mid-2021.
It is in this scenario that the Prime Minister appoints one of his daughters, who recently lost the electoral battle, as senior adviser for economics and finance. According to the Center for Market Education, such an appointment does not only sound like nepotism, but it is also a source of concern for the future of the economy.
Nurul Izzah Anwar studied engineering and international relations and does not possess any specific background in economics or finance, a background that, while not necessary for primary political roles such as ministers, should be a must for advisers and counsellors.
Nurul Izzah Answar has clarified that she will get no salary for the job. But here there is a big misunderstanding: the actual cost of politics paid by the rakyat is not the cost of salaries, but the consequences of bad policies.
At this regard, the Great Lockdown and price ceilings, or the ban of foreign workers and the new rules for expatriates (to make few examples), have been much more costly for the nation than salaries or corruption.
«Bad policies, although guided by good intentions, can ruin a nation. We have seen this with price ceilings or the ban on foreign workers», concluded Dr Ferlito, adding that «Malaysia has not much time left to solve structural issues and to get ready for the economic challenges which are about to come».
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About CME: The Center for Market Education (CME) is a boutique think-tank based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
As an academic and educational institution, CME aims to promote a more pluralistic and multidisciplinary approach to economics and to spread the knowledge of a sounder economics, grounded in the understanding of market forces.
In order to do so, CME is not only involved in academic initiatives, but it organizes seminars, webinars and tailor-made economics classes for students, journalists, businesspeople and professionals who wish to better understand the relevance of economics for their daily lives and activities.
Economics matters and needs to be presented in a fashion in which the link with reality is clearly visible. In this sense, we look not only at theoretical economics but also at policy making, with an emphasis on the unintended consequences generated by political actions. Visit https://marketedu.me/.