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New Finance Minister to focus on economic challenges, not politics

This article is more than 12 months old

Malaysia's Cabinet warned to expect fight from an agitated Anwar-led opposition

KUALA LUMPUR Newly minted Finance Minister Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz was among the first to clock into office after being sworn in.

He arrived at the ministry at around 6pm yesterday still in his black baju Melayu attire, fresh from the swearing-in ceremony, The Star reported.

Earlier in the day, Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, his ministers and six senators, including Tengku Zafrul, were sworn in at the Dewan Negara.

The ceremony was witnessed by the Malaysian King, Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin, The Straits Times reported.

Tengku Zafrul told reporters he hopes the political situation would not impact his work.

The former CIMB chief executive also said he needs time to study the country's economic situation before he can propose any action plans, the Malay Mail reported.

"When asked about political interference, he replied: "What we need now is to focus on the immediate challenges, which is the economic situation."

But politics is something he is going to find difficult to avoid as the Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition is gearing up for a fight.

Mr Anwar Ibrahim is most likely to lead the country instead of former leader Mahathir Mohamad if the opposition coalition returns to power, said former deputy prime minister Wan Azizah Wan Ismail who is a top leader in the group.

The coalition will be prepared for any eventuality, including a snap election, Ms Wan Azizah added.

Mr Anwar is already gearing up for the fight.

Yesterday, he questioned how the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) cleared the members of Mr Muhyiddin's Cabinet.


He also insisted that the new Cabinet did not have the mandate to govern as voters did not choose the Perikatan Nasional coalition, the Malay Mail reported.

"This Cabinet is seen as desperate in easily offering posts to around 70 ministers and deputies compared with (PH).

"I would also like to ask what aspects were taken into account by the MACC to declare this Cabinet 'clean'", Anwar added.

He exhorted (PH) members to remain strong, following the collapse of its government.

"I explained to the Pakatan Harapan leadership what had happened throughout the conflict that day.

"Whatever happens, this team will continue to stay together and build our strength.

"We don't need to panic, but we need to recover our spirits," the Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) president said on his Facebook post yesterday.

Mr Anwar added that they needed to move as one force to explain to Malaysians the acts of the traitors, The Star reported.

"Do not give up and sacrifice principles.

"Do not let this episode of democratic betrayal happen again," he said.

"If there are leaders like this, please get out."

The collapse of the PH government took place when 26 MPs from Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia and 11 from PKR left the coalition.

Mr Muhyiddin formed the Government following the resignation of Dr Mahathir as prime minister.