Anwar tells Guan Eng to ease up on fire and brimstone as finance minister

Justin Ong
Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim told Lim Guan Eng to be mindful of his public remarks, which now carries the weight of the Finance Ministry and the government. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, June 19 — Pakatan Harapan de facto chief Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said he advised Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng to be mindful of his public remarks as these could now move markets.

The former deputy prime minister and finance minister said he told the DAP secretary-general that his words now carried the weight of the Finance Ministry and the government, which have significantly greater influence than when he was an Opposition lawmaker.

“I did meet and inform Lim Guan Eng that the position of finance minister is of greater status.

“Every statement (of his) will become the reference point for investors,” he was quoted as saying by the Malaysiakini news portal.

Anwar’s remarks were extracted from an unaired interview due to be shown later this week.

He was commenting on Lim’s dispute with ratings firms Moody’s Investors Service over the severity of the country’s debt and liabilities.

Moody’s previously said it was maintaining Malaysia’s debt at 50.8 per cent of the entire economy while Lim insisted this should be over 80 per cent.

However, Lim’s position appeared to be conflation of Malaysia’s debts and liabilities, whereas Moody’s was commenting strictly on the country’s debt.

Anwar added while Lim and other ministers were obliged to be transparent with all agreements and to expose fraud, the latter could delegate the explanation to other agencies.

“He may task one or two other ministers along with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission to explain his revelations,” Anwar said.

This is the second time Anwar has offered advice to Lim regarding the position of finance minister.

In a speech on the day of his release from prison last month, he warned Lim to expect a deluge of supplicants hoping to gain favour.

Anwar had been finance minister from 1991 until his sacking in 1998.