Anwar capable of resetting Malaysia for new heights – Economist

By Tengku Noor Shamsiah Tengku Abdullah
Dr. Barjoyai Bardai

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 1 – Malaysia’s new Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim will bring Malaysia back to its glory days and set it to become the region’s economic powerhouse based on his experience and a good network internationally, according to an economist.

Academician and economic analyst, Emeritus Professor, Graduate School of Business, Tun Abdul Razak University (UNIRAZAK), Dr. Barjoyai Bardai said the share market reacted positively to the good news when the Pakatan Harapan Chairman was appointed as the 10th prime minister of Malaysia on Nov 24.

“We see positive vibes in the market and the stock market has continued with the surge.”

While the growth will not be at a rapid rate, it will continue increasing because this positive sentiment has been anticipated, he said.

“There will be constraints because the United States Federal Reserve (US Fed) will continue to raise its overnight policy rate (OPR), so the global investors’ focus will still be on the US dollar,” he said via a telephone interview here today.

Prof Barjoyai was asked to share his views on the newly appointed prime minister who is also Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) president.

Anwar was sworn in as Malaysia’s 10th prime minister, marking an incredible comeback for a man who was first lined up for the job in the 1990s before he was abruptly sacked and jailed.

The 75-year-old veteran politician took the oath of office in front of King Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah at the palace in Kuala Lumpur shortly on Thursday afternoon, hours after he had been named to the top post by His Majesty.

Responding to a question whether Anwar will bring Malaysia to greater heights, he said: “Yes, I think so because he has the experience, he has the connection.”

“He will at least bring the positive sentiment to the foreign investors and we will see more foreign investors coming. (However) that is in the long term.”

Prof Barjoyai said: “In the short term, we expect Anwar Ibrahim will be more people-friendly with focus on the household focus trying to improve the income of the wage earners, and households at large and also working hard to control and reduce inflation and the price of goods, especially basic necessities.

Touching on the PH manifesto, he said it was very pragmatic compared to the other two parties, namely Perikatan Nasional (PN) and Barisan Nasional (BN).

“We can see the manifesto is quite good,” he said, adding that he hoped to see them implement it this time.

They have now five years and there should be no excuse in fulfilling the plans, he said.

Asked on Anwar being chosen by the King, he said it was in accordance with existing rules.

“When a person leads a party, which gets the biggest number of seats, and he is able to assemble the command of the people, then he should be the Prime Minister.

“I think he (Anwar) is the right Prime Minister at the moment, but the first test for him is whether will he be able to come out with the right Cabinet line-up that will represent the whole nation, not just his party or his clan.

“This is a unity government and he has to be careful in choosing his Cabinet members. Actually, we are not sure about the implementation of this unity government because he needs to clearly define what is unity government.

“If he can come out with a pragmatic initiative soon, he would be seen as the champion of the people.”