As we move into a new Malaysia, the government is working towards formalising members for the new cabinet. Recently, DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng was chosen to be Finance Minister. People had mix reactions, some even saying that a Chinese person needs to be in charge of the nation’s finances–which LGE himself debunked by addressing himself as a Malaysian (please guys, no more Cina, India, Melayu, DLL… we all in the same boat from now on).
However, The Star reported that Lim can only be officially appointed Finance Minister if and after he is cleared of his corruption case. Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad clarified that Lim has yet to take his oath in office and has only been named Finance Minister.
Yesterday in Putrajaya, after meeting with ministry secretaries-general to talk explain the roles and functions of the new government, Tun M told reporters that “Every minister must be someone who is qualified for the position. If there is a case against such a person, we cannot appoint him or her.”
Tun M stressed that the rule of law must be followed and until Lim is cleared of charges, the new government will have to wait for its Finance Minister.
When asked who would assume the position of Finance Minister for now, he said; “I am not taking charge, but they report to me… We have a panel which will look into the work at the ministry. Some implementations which can be carried out, will be carried out… For some, we will need to wait until the minister is appointed.”
Dr Mahathir also said that while there is no alternative candidate for the post, it is understood that where ministries need to make a decision but the head has not been established, matters will be brought to the Prime Minister.
Lim, 58, is currently facing trial in Penang. He’s charged with using his position as a public officer to gain gratification for himself and his wife, Betty Chew Gek Cheng by approving the application for conversion of agriculture land to a public housing zone in south-west Penang to a company, Magnificent Emblem Sdn Bhd.
Aside from that, he’s also charged with using his position to obtain himself a plot of land and a bungalow at 25 Jalan Pinhorn, Georgetown, from a businesswoman Phang Li Koon for RM2.8mil, a price which he allegedly knew was not equivalent with the property’s market value at the time of RM4.27mil.
Until everything is sorted out, it seems that we don’t really have a Finance Minister for now.