PETALING JAYA: Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has reneged on the promises of good governance he touted during the GE15 campaign period when he named his Cabinet, says Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin (pic).
The Perikatan Nasional president labelled the line-up announced by the Prime Minister on Friday as “the most disappointing in the country’s history”.
“Someone who was ordered to enter his defence in court against 47 criminal charges of corruption, breach of trust and money laundering has been appointed as Deputy Prime Minister.
“Anwar’s actions are akin to selling the nation’s dignity – simply because of his desire to become Prime Minister.
“This kleptocrat Cabinet, formed on the basis of fraud against the people’s mandate, does not have any legitimacy to function as the country’s highest executive body,” said Muhyiddin in a statement yesterday.
He also criticised Anwar for holding the Finance Minister’s post, saying this leads to the centralisation of power and possible large-scale corruption as what happened in the 1MDB case.
Muhyiddin also questioned how the people and investors could put their trust in Anwar’s leadership now, as he claimed that the Cabinet line-up showed that Anwar had violated principles of integrity, transparency and accountability.
He also claimed that the appointment of some individuals known for extreme chauvinism to lead certain ministries would invite controversy, other than to facilitate the introduction of extreme race-based policies.
Muhyiddin said the reform agenda Anwar had been fighting for now rings hollow when he cannot defend his own party’s struggle to fight corruption and promote good governance.
“His worth as a true leader worthy of respect and dignity is now highly questionable,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS) also expressed concern that the new Cabinet is inconsistent with good governance.
IDEAS chief executive officer Dr Tricia Yeoh said Anwar’s decision to appoint Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi as Deputy Prime Minister despite his court cases sent the wrong signal.
“While innocent until proven guilty and exhausting all appeals is sufficient for maintaining a seat in Parliament, members of the Cabinet should be held to a higher standard.
“This is crucial to ensure public confidence and trust in the government of the day,” she said.
IDEAS also called for the separation of the roles of Prime Minister and Finance Minister as there is no oversight to what is “arguably the most significant portfolio in the Cabinet”, and one that is also inconsistent with good governance, a principle which Anwar has declared as a core agenda for the unity government.
While acknowledging that Anwar had fulfilled his promise of a leaner Cabinet along with better representation of women, youth, and geographical regions, Yeoh hopes that Anwar won’t appoint deputy ministers and special envoys with ministerial ranks to appease various political factions and subsequently increase the size of the Cabinet.
Yeoh also said IDEAS is looking forward to engaging the new Law Minister for key institutional reforms, such as legislating a Political Financing Law, and the separation of powers between the roles of Public Prosecutor and Attorney General, all of which were part of the Pakatan Harapan and Barisan Nasional campaign promises.
“Separately, we also look forward to continuing relationships with the ministries of Finance, International Trade and Industry, Health, and Education, on issues championed by IDEAS on public procurement, budgetary, economic, trade, health, and education reforms,” she said.
IDEAS also called on Perikatan to play its role as an effective and fair opposition, and execute their plan to form a shadow Cabinet so that it could play a constructive role in policy making.