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Malaysian chief appoints technocrat as his deputy finance minister in Cupboard shuffle

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KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim appointed a technocrat as his deputy finance minister on Tuesday in a Cupboard shuffle aimed toward strengthening his administration and successful public belief a 12 months after taking energy.

The shuffle was extensively anticipated and expanded the variety of portfolios with the appointment of 5 new ministers. Anwar stated the modifications had been wanted to fulfill present calls for and address international developments, together with the rising impression of artificial intelligence.

Anwar, who appointed himself as finance minister after taking workplace final 12 months, revived the submit of second finance minister and named the top of the nation’s largest pension fund, Amir Hamzah Azizan, to the portfolio in a transfer that would ease criticism of the prime minister.

Whereas he nonetheless heads the Finance Ministry, Anwar stated having knowledgeable staff will guarantee “we’re on proper monitor and may deal with the financial system.”

A number of key ministers swapped portfolios. Mohamad Hasan, deputy president of the United Malay Nationwide Group or UMNO get together, moved from protection to international minister. Deputy Prime Minister Fadillah Yusof shifted from commodities to a newly created vitality transition and public utilities portfolio.

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Dzulkefly Ahmad made a comeback as well being minister, whereas Gobind Singh Deo, one other skilled lawmaker, is the brand new digital minister, a brand new portfolio created to enhance authorities outreach on social media. The human sources minister was changed after a graft case involving his aides.

Anwar stated the return of Dzulkefly, a preferred former well being minister, would assist resolve deep-seated points relating to health care. “His expertise is required. I consider he can supply higher focus within the ministry,” the prime minister stated.

Anwar stated a 20% pay lower for ministers can be maintained, and he would proceed not taking a wage as prime minister.

The Prime Minister’s Workplace stated there at the moment are 31 ministers, up from 28 beforehand, and the whole Cupboard dimension has expanded from 55 to 60.

Anwar, 76, was a long-time opposition chief who clinched victory in final 12 months’s basic election. Earlier than Anwar, Malaysia had 4 prime ministers since 2018.

His unity authorities consists of former rival UMNO and several other different smaller events. Whereas it holds a majority in Parliament, it faces a powerful Islamic opposition and belief points with ethnic Malay voters who view his authorities as too liberal and worry their pursuits could also be sidelined.

Analysts say Anwar faces rising public mistrust over an financial slowdown, a weak foreign money and worsening race relations.

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