PETALING JAYA: The naming of DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng (pic) as Finance Minister has been lauded by businessmen and observers.
Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who became Prime Minister on Thursday after leading Pakatan Harapan to oust Barisan Nasional from power on May 9, announced yesterday that Guan Eng, also the deputy president of Pakatan, would helm the Finance Ministry.
“This news of Lim Guan Eng being the Finance Minister is great and very encouraging,” said Tan Sri Ter Leong Yap, president of the Associated Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Malaysia (ACCCIM).
The view is that the son of DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang, who was once a political detainee, will be able to understand better the financial needs of Malaysians.
Lynn Cheah, former chief executive officer of Eastspring Investments, said: “Lim Guan Eng will be a competent Finance Minister.
“He will have a mountain to climb when the Goods and Services Tax (GST) is abolished.
“I am, however, convinced that his ministry will overcome the shortfall in government funds.”
Guan Eng is also expected to claim back the lost funds of IMDB, review contracts and stop leakages.
“Appointing Lim Guan Eng to be Finance Minister is injecting fresh air into the country.
“International response towards Malaysia is very good now,” said Tan Sri Chua Ma Yu, an international investor.
Malaysian Institute of Economic Research executive director Emeritus Professor Dr Zakariah Abdul Rashid said Guan Eng had “two essential ingredients” to manage an economy.
“As a trained chartered accountant, he has an analytical mind.
“As a senior politician and former chief minister, he has demonstrated a good understanding of the country’s socio-economic issues,” he said.
Guan Eng’s immediate tasks, he said, would include making good on Pakatan’s manifesto on GST, managing the country’s debts, balancing the fiscal deficit and reviewing policy on subsidies especially on fuel, crude oil and gas prices.
Lim Bee Hoon, an education consultant who knows Penang well, said: “Lim Guan Eng is action-oriented. He has brought socio-economic development to Penang.
“His policies are people-friendly and the state is very clean now.
“Under him, investment for the state has increased. There are more tourists and affordable houses for the people.”
Guan Eng is the third Chinese to hold this finance portfolio in Malaysia.
The first was MCA’s Tun H.S. Lee, followed by Tun Tan Siew Sin, who retired in 1974.