PUTRAJAYA (Dec 6): Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has yet to finalise the appointment of advisors, who will be led by Tan Sri Mohd Hassan Marican, and their priorities in advising on government matters in the Ministry of Finance (MOF).
The prime minister, who is also the finance minister, previously announced the appointment of the ex-Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) chief to lead the team that will be advising the Government on restoring economic confidence in the country on a pro-bono basis.
"I will have to discuss with Tan Sri Hassan the terms of reference, the parameters, and the priorities.
"Of course, we will then consult the relevant ministry officers and the new KSP (Treasury secretary general)," Anwar said here on Tuesday (Dec 6), when asked whether the advisory team will be having access to details of government finances.
The remarks sparked speculation that there would be a change at the helm of the Treasury. The Edge has reached out to Anwar’s aide to confirm the status of the current Treasury secretary general. Meanwhile, an MOF spokesperson declined to comment when contacted.
According to the ministry's website, the current Treasury secretary general, Datuk Seri Asri Hamidin @ Hamidon, was appointed to the role in April 2020. It was reported that Asri is currently on leave, and that a deputy is acting in his stead.
Anwar held the press conference soon after clocking in for his first day at the ministry at 8am on Tuesday. He was accompanied by the three deputy Treasury secretary generals, namely Datuk Johan Mahmood Merican (policy), Datuk Anis Rizana Mohd Zainudin (investment), and Datin Rashidah Mohd Sies (management). Also present were Bursa Malaysia Bhd chief executive officer Datuk Muhamad Umar Swift, Securities Commission Malaysia executive chairman Datuk Seri Dr Awang Adek Hussin, and Employees Provident Fund (EPF) CEO Datuk Seri Amir Hamzah Azizan.
The setting up of advisory teams or councils is not new and has been done by past federal administrations.
During the recovery phase of the Covid-19 pandemic, the government under Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin established the National Recovery Council, which included corporate leaders, industry associations and academicians.
Prior to that, in 2018, then prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad set up the five-person Council of Eminent Persons, led by former finance minister Tun Daim Zainuddin, to advise the Cabinet on policy-related matters and the review of megaprojects at the time.