By Choo Sing Chye
We should not have any qualms about Anwar Ibrahim holding two posts – prime minister and finance minister.
The British do not.
The UK prime minister is the head honcho of the Treasury office of the lord high treasurer, in which he is officially known as the first lord of the Treasury in the UK.
Apart from these two roles, he is also minister for the union.
The second lord of the Treasury is the chancellor of the exchequer and in Malaysia, he is known as the finance minister.
Harold Wilson once said, “Whichever party is in power, the Treasury is in power” (J Denis Derbyshire, The Business of Government, W & R Chambers Ltd, Edinburgh, 1987).
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Given that the Malaysian political system is a Westminster hybrid, it is possible that some British political conventions may sometimes overlap with our political conventions.
Thus, without doubt, for us and in Britain, the most important ministry in the government is the Treasury, and in Malaysia, the Ministry of Finance.
I do not want to see Anwar perpetuate his role as finance minister.
But I believe he is doing this to get rid of corruption in Malaysia, which has become so rampant it would have destroyed every fabric of our society if it was not stopped.
Malaysia needs a very strong hand to eradicate this prevailing problem of corruption.
I would like to acquaint people in Malaysia to Harold Lasswell’s 1936 book Politics: Who Gets What, When, How.
The title itself serves as the standard lay definition of politics.
In Anwar’s case, the “who” represents the poor fishermen, the poor rice farmers, the poor street hawkers, the poor rubber tappers, the poor factory workers, the poor Felda settlers and those living below the poverty line.
The “who” is definitely not the political elite, millionaires or billionaires. This group was heavily represented by the previous administration.