Anwar’s populist attitude may not be in line with economic recovery measures – Mukhriz

ROSLINDA HASHIM
ROSLINDA HASHIM
10 Dec 2022 05:16pm
Mukhriz said that Anwar would fulfill whatever the people's requests as much as possible even though the country's financial position was not fully stable. FILE PIX
Mukhriz said that Anwar would fulfill whatever the people's requests as much as possible even though the country's financial position was not fully stable. FILE PIX
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ALOR SETAR - Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's populist attitude may not be in line with the country's economic recovery measures, especially in facing the global economic crisis predicted to happen next year.

Parti Pejuang Tanah Air (Pejuang) president Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir said as a populist politician, Anwar would fulfill whatever the people's requests as much as possible even though the country's financial position was not fully stable.

According to him, Anwar should find a meeting point between the two approaches because the nature of populism was not suitable for a government that needed to be prudent in spending.

"The early signs that I see are quite worrying, Anwar who is known as a populist politician, will try to give whatever the people want. But in a state of economic crisis, is that the best approach?

"Among his populist actions is announcing a holiday after the establishment of the Unity Government, not taking the prime minister's salary even though it is a good example, not using a new car, even though all these actions will not affect the country's finances," he told Sinar Harian on Saturday.

Mukhriz, who is also a member of the Jitra Legislative Assembly, was worried whether Anwar's populist approach could be used to deal with the economic crisis that would hit the country next year.

"Most countries are now thinking about how to save money, be prudent in spending, how to stimulate the economy including controlling the price of goods.

"In the United Kingdom, they have announced the possibility of having to be extra prudent, and so on but there is also a view that says the government needs to manage the economy with an approach of spending more to stimulate the economy, not saving," he said.

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In the meantime, Mukhriz also expressed concern about the national debt which was still about RM1.4 trillion.

"Does the government have money? The debt is still high, we can't borrow anymore. I don't know if the new government will use money from government agencies, Employees Provident Fund (EPF) or Tabung Haji.

“If that is the approach, it is necessary to really control so that there is no leakage like what happened in the BN era," he explained.

Therefore, he hoped that actions that could burden the people would not be repeated under the Unity Government.

"Whatever Anwar's approach, we will wait and see. I'm not too impressed with who formed the government, who’s appointed as prime minister because in this era the situation is very challenging, especially the economy.

"Having just recovered from the Covid-19 pandemic, will face an economic crisis as well. There are many challenges, we pray that Anwar can do it, not for himself but for the country," he said.

Mukhriz emphasised that to deal with major crises it would be best to appoint experts in related fields and not due to political pressure from the parties that join because it is not a guarantee to overcome various problems.

"No problem, give Anwar a chance to prove his ability as Prime Minister (a post) that he has been wanting for a long time.

“Give him space to prove that he is capable of dealing with problems in the country, including the economic crisis," he said.

Meanwhile, he described the appointment of Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi as only creating a new crisis.

"There are analysts who say problems will arise when Zahid is appointed as Deputy Prime Minister, among the challenges if a court case is linked to him being convicted in addition to the party's election if there is pressure to reject him.

"All those possibilities can affect the coalition. Although all the parties participating in GE15 promised stability in their manifestos, what is seen now is not stable, there is still chaos," he said.

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