New line-up and leaner structure at MoF

Ministry of Finance in Putrajaya

AMONG government ministries, easily, the Treasury has seen the most number of changes with a mixture of old and new blood being placed in crucial decision-making positions.

In the space of six months, the Treasury has seen two changes to the position of secretary-general and a new name in the National Budget Office, which is one of the most important positions in the Treasury.

The current secretary-general, Datuk Ahmad Badri Mohd Zahir, was previously a deputy in charge of management. In September this year, Ahmad Badri was made secretary-general, replacing Datuk Seri Ismail Bakar who was appointed Chief Secretary to the Government.

Treasury secretary-general Datuk Ahmad Badri Mohd Zahir
Treasury secretary-general Datuk Ahmad Badri Mohd Zahir

Ahmad Badri has held several positions at the Treasury and among them was director of the National Budget Office.

Johan Mahmood Marican, formerly of TalentCorp, is now the director of the National Budget Office. Johan is a chartered accountant and also an economics graduate from Cambridge University.

He was moved to the Treasury in June this year from the Economic Planning Unit in the Prime Minister’s Department.

Another notable name to move up the ladder in the new-look Treasury is Datuk Asri Hamidon, who is one of three deputy secretaries-general. His portfolio is to handle investments.

Before his elevation up to deputy secretary-general, Asri was the person in charge of Ministry of Finance Inc, the entity that controlled a host of government-owned companies.

A notable absentee from the line-up is Datuk Dr Aminuddin Hassim, who was previously in charge of the National Strategy Unit that handled initiatives such as the Blue Ocean Strategy, which was a pet project under the Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak administration.

The Blue Ocean Strategy initiative is unlikely to continue under the new administration.

Treasury deputy secretary-general Datuk Asri Hamidon
Treasury deputy secretary-general Datuk Asri Hamidon

An important position that has not been filled is the director of the Government Procurement Division. Datuk Othman Semali, who has moved up to deputy secretary-general (management), had previously held the position.

The new leadership structure in the ministry is notably lean – comprising only one minister and a deputy minister.

In the old structure, there were two Finance Ministers and two deputy ministers.

Under the Pakatan Harapan line-up, Lim Guan Eng is the Finance Minister and Datuk Amiruddin Hamzah is the Deputy Finance Minister. This is in line with Pakatan Harapan’s pledge to de-couple the Finance Ministry (MoF) and the Prime Minister’s Office.

In the previous set-up, Najib was the Prime Minister and also the Finance Minister. Datuk Seri Johari Abdul Ghani was Finance Minister II. The two Deputy Finance Ministers were Datuk Lee Chee Leong and Datuk Othman Aziz.

The portfolio under the Finance Ministry has been trimmed. Khazanah Nasional Bhd and the Langkawi Development Authority are no longer under the ministry.

However, an additional agency has been added to its responsibility. The Public Private Partnership Unit, which was previously under the Prime Minister’s Office, is now under the supervision of Lim.

The other three agencies are the Accountant General’s Department, the Customs Department and the Valuation and Property Management Department.

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