KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is the best person to hold the Finance Minister post, says Rafizi Ramli.
The Economy Minister said this is because the individual who helms the Finance Ministry will have the biggest responsibility to ensure matters of governance and procurement are conducted transparently.
"So, in my opinion, the best figure to become the Finance Minister is the prime minister himself, as he will have the greatest responsibility to ensure proper governance of procurement and to avoid incidents like those that have occurred before," Rafizi said in reply to a supplementary question from Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin (PN-Pagoh) during Question Time.
Muhyiddin asked the Economy Minister whether he agreed that it is timely for the Prime Minister to appoint a full-time Finance Minister, as some analysts and the people are concerned over the country's lack of economic recovery.
Rafizi's remarks had sparked protest from the Opposition bloc, with some shouting back, "then change your manifesto."
In the past, Rafizi has been a strong opponent of a sitting prime minister helming the finance minister's post, especially during the tenure of then prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, during the controversy surrounding 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).
The Pandan MP added that if other Cabinet ministers were appointed as the finance minister, the leader would yield more "power and political influence".
"We will become 'juniors'. If there are those who 'poke' here and there, in the end, the lobby will go to the prime minister.
"I am sure that Pagoh (Muhyiddin) is aware of this, and it has happened previously," added Rafizi.
In the end, Rafizi argued that ensuring the national economy and the implementation of the government's plan does not fall on the lap of the Finance Minister alone but as a collective responsibility for all Cabinet ministers.
He explained that each ministry has its own responsibility to carry out the government's plan.
"I believe that the actual purview of the Finance Ministry is to manage the issue of fiscal developments," he said.
He also hit out at Muhyiddin for accusing the government of not implementing proper economic recovery and causing a lack of confidence among the people and investors.
"I would like to ask Pagoh back on the issue of lack of economic recovery, when Pagoh and Perikatan Nasional were helming the country for some 33 months, has there ever been three consecutive quarters of economic growth, immediately from one quarter to the next?
"This is the first time that such a thing has happened where we have seen economic growth for three consecutive quarters," said Rafizi.
"The numbers on poverty have also gone down, there is a considerable increase in salary among the people unlike before, and inflation has been reduced.
"So please point out where the rakyat has no confidence towards our economic recovery.
"Our recovery is happening in stages, and there has been much improvement in investor's confidence
"If Pagoh and Perikatan are not confident, that is fine, but please do not abuse the rakyat's name or investors' names to make such claims," noted Rafizi.