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My daughter is qualified, says Anwar on Nurul Izzah's appointment as his senior adviser

The PM says he himself served as finance minister without a related background.

Staff Writers
2 minute read
Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim. Photo: Bernama
Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim. Photo: Bernama

Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim has defended the appointment of his daughter Nurul Izzah as his senior economic and financial adviser, as news of her new role sparked a flurry of comments on social media.

Anwar shot back at critics who said Nurul was not academically suitable for the position, saying even he was appointed as finance minister despite not having related educational background.

"Even I don't have a finance-related degree or certificate, but I was the minister of finance for eight years (in the 1990s)," said Anwar on his portfolio under then prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad's government.

He went on to say that ministers in the Perikatan Nasional (PN) administration also did not have relevant degrees.

"But when it comes to us, they bring it up," he said, and questioned if only a medical doctor should be named as the health minister. 

The finance ministry under the two previous governments which were also made up of PN was headed by Tengku Zafrul Aziz.

The former banker has a degree in Economics and Accounting as well as Master in Finance and Management, in addition to being a member of the Asian Institute of Chartered Bankers.

Previous prime ministers had their own economic advisers, including Mahathir who during his second term in power named economist Muhammed Abdul Khalid as his economic adviser. 

Ismail Sabri Yaakob, meanwhile, named his former boss Najib Razak, who has a degree in industrial economics, as his economic adviser.

Nurul, 42, graduated in 2003 in engineering from Universiti Tenaga Nasional, before furthering studies in public policy in the US.

Anwar said his daughter would not receive any allowance for her new role.

Anwar himself once served as economic adviser to the Selangor government, where he was paid a token sum of RM1 annually.

Nurul revealed her appointment in an interview with The Star, saying it took effect on Jan 3.

She said her experience as an MP would come in handy when engaging with "experts in navigating economic governance, accountability and evidence-based policies".

She also said she had been busy meeting with business groups and stakeholders as part of the preparations for the upcoming budget to be tabled by her father.

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