Guan Eng: Functions of finance and economic affairs differ

  • Nation
  • Monday, 21 May 2018

Going up: Lim cycling up the ‘Spiral Bicycle and Pedestrian Bridge’ after it was opened near Queensbay Mall in Penang. — Bernama

GEORGE TOWN: There will be no overlap of functions between the Finance Ministry and the Economic Affairs Ministry, says Finance Minister-designate Lim Guan Eng.

Lim said the Economic Affairs Ministry would focus on economic policy while the Finance Ministry would play its traditional role of managing the country’s finances.

“Finance will operate as usual. Economic Affairs will be similar to the Economic Planning Unit in the Prime Minister’s Department previously,” he told reporters after attending the preview of space models contributed by China Science and Technology Museum to the Tech Dome Penang science and technology museum yesterday.

Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Azmin Ali was appointed Economic Affairs Minister but has not confirmed if he will take up the post.

Lim said he wanted to cultivate an open book system in the Finance Ministry, casting doubts on financial statements released by the previous administration.

“We also want to ensure there is no information or file that was not disclosed,” he said.

Asked about Penang PKR leaders’ comments that the new state exco line-up was unbalanced and too many posts went to DAP, Lim said he fully supported Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow’s decisions.

Lim’s position as Finance Minister hinges on his corruption trial, which resumes today. His case is scheduled for mention.

He pleaded not guilty on June 30, 2016, to two counts of corruption over the conversion of agricultural land to residential status and purchase of a plot and bungalow at below market value.

He was charged with using his position as chief minister to gain gratification for himself and wife Betty Chew Gek Cheng by approving the application for conversion of agricultural land to a public housing zone in Balik Pulau to Magnificent Emblem Sdn Bhd.

Lim faces a second charge of using his position to obtain a plot of land and bungalow at No. 25, Jalan Pinhorn, on July 28, 2015, from businesswoman Phang Li Koon for RM2.8mil, at below market value.

Phang pleaded not guilty to a charge of abetting him.

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad earlier announced that Lim would have to clear his name before he can be sworn in as Finance Minister.

In an exclusive interview with Nanyang Siang Pau, which appeared yesterday, head of the Council of Eminent Persons, Tun Daim Zainud­din, said Lim could be sworn in to perform his duties and take a leave of absence to attend his court case.

Daim said Lim might choose to “take his oath of office and go on leave until the end of the lawsuit”.

“During his leave of absence, the position could be temporarily filled by others,” said Daim.

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