KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 22): Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is the most suitable person to take on the finance portfolio, to ensure the best procurement process and prevent events like the Jana Wibawa scandal from recurring, said Economy Minister Rafizi Ramli.
Rafizi emphasised that the prime minister bears the greatest responsibility for ensuring procurement governance to prevent a recurrence of past incidents.
“Just as we all know, we already have friends from the other side involved in Jana Wibawa [...] and in terms of power and political influence, we are all juniors. If someone cucuk sana cucuk sini, the lobbyists will still go back to the prime minister,” Rafizi said during the question-and-answer session in Dewan Rakyat on Wednesday.
He was responding to former prime minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Tassin (PN-Pagoh), who inquired whether Rafizi agreed for Anwar to appoint a full-time finance minister, while suggesting that Rafizi be appointed.
Rafizi also refuted Muhyiddin’s claim that the economy’s performance is poor, citing examples such as three consecutive quarters of economic growth, a phenomenon that, according to Rafizi, did not occur during the 33-month Perikatan Nasional-led administration.
“Besides that, we also have recorded the lowest unemployment rate, inflation slowing down, and the number of hardcore poor dropping. So, in what sense did Pagoh (Muhyiddin) say the economic performance is poor?” Rafizi asked.
Meanwhile, Rafizi explained that since the Unity Government took over Putrajaya, there has been a restructuring of the ministry portfolio, with the economy ministry now responsible for approving high-level projects.
“The scope of the ministry includes screening and evaluating the matters and scope of the (specified) project, [and] setting the cost and allocation ceiling for the project. Only after that will the project will go to the procurement stage and annual cash flow preparation, which is under the purview of the Ministry of Finance,” said Rafizi.
While the monitoring of each project will fall under the respective ministry’s jurisdiction, Rafizi said the mechanism is in place to ensure a check and balanced practice.
For more Parliament stories, click here.