Anwar’s daughter quits as economic adviser over nepotism accusations
Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim’s eldest daughter, Nurul Izzah Anwar, has stepped down as his economic adviser just over a month after her controversial appointment, but will co-chair a secretariat advising the Finance Minister instead.
Anwar, who also holds the finance minister post, was accused of nepotism after he appointed Nurul Izzah, 42, who lost her parliamentary seat in the November general election, as his pro bono adviser on economics and finance on Jan 3.
On Feb 7, Anwar announced the setting up of a special advisory panel which reports directly to the Finance Minister and advises on matters related to subsidies, including reviewing and restructuring existing subsidies.
It also advises the Finance Minister on matters related to government-linked companies, including determining their relevance and consolidating them where appropriate, as well as national debt and good governance.
The panel includes national oil firm Petronas’ former chief executive Hassan Marican, Sunway University economics studies director Yeah Kim Leng and Universiti Malaya distinguished professor of economics Rajah Rasiah.
The decision to form a secretariat for the panel was made at the panel’s first meeting last Friday.
“Advisory committee chairman, Hassan Marican, has invited me to join the advisory committee’s secretariat to help in their efforts to strengthen the country’s and the people’s economy,” said Nurul Izzah in a statement.
“I humbly accept this responsibility. With this new role, I will no longer serve as a senior adviser on economics and finance to the Prime Minister.”
Earlier on Sunday, Hassan announced that Nurul Izzah had been invited to co-chair the secretariat together with Petronas senior manager Khairil Anuar Ramli in order to support the committee’s operations.
Despite Anwar insisting that his daughter’s previous short-lived role was an unpaid one, critics said the move reeked of nepotism as Nurul Izzah did not have experience in economics and finance.
He had defended her appointment, saying: “Nepotism is where (a family member) is given a position to abuse power, enrich themselves, obtain contracts and get paid a huge sum. This is not the case.”
Nurul Izzah has a degree in engineering and a second degree in public and social policy from Johns Hopkins University in the United States.
She is the vice president of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), which is led by her father.
In the last general election, she lost her Permatang Pauh parliamentary seat – a traditional PKR stronghold – to Perikatan Nasional by nearly 6,000 votes, after having won it in 2018 with nearly 16,000 votes.
Some netizens commented online that Ms Nurul Izzah’s two posts did not seem that different.
Facebook user Fadhirul Anuar wrote on TV station Astro Awani’s page: “This is the same thing. He wants his daughter to have a role in his government.”
The Straits Times
Asia News Network