“Who should hold the purse strings?”

Transparency International – Malaysia | .

Transparency International – Malaysia (TI-M) views with deep concern the issues being raised and highlighted by the ongoing 1MDB saga which is raising alarm bells everywhere in this nation.

One of the key issues that have come under scrutiny is the practice of the current government (and of the previous) of the Prime Minister holding a dual portfolio as being also the Minister of Finance. Such a practice dilutes the principle of “check and balance” within the Cabinet. 

By ensuring the Finance Minister is a different person from the Prime Minister, the rakyat is to some extent assured that a different pair of eyes and a different (and we hope an independent) mind can properly and objectively weigh the financial decision being made. 

Not all decisions go to the Cabinet for prior approval and the Finance Minister has a wide array of powers within his remit to make decisions by himself and in a country like ours. It is just no longer viable from the point of view of integrity, transparency and good governance to put such a portfolio with the Prime Minister. There may have been some administrative efficiency argued in the past for such dual portfolio but this is totally outweighed by the need for the rakyat to see due process being followed and to protect the hard earned tax payers’ money.

TI-M strongly urges the Government to discard this practice and appoint a separate and competent person in the Cabinet to be the Finance Minister holding only that particular portfolio.  There is an urgent need for this nation to see such structural changes within the Government in responding to the myriad of accusations as to how the Government is not practising “bersih, cekap dan amanah”.     

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