Anwar Slammed For Nepotism Over Nurul Izzah's Appointment As Economic & Financial Advisor

The 'father appointing daughter to a top job' scenario does not sit well with many Malaysians.

Cover image via Berita Harian

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Former Permatang Pauh member of parliament (MP) Nurul Izzah's recent appointment as Prime Minister's senior economic and financial advisor has been criticised for nepotism by many quarters

Nurul Izzah is the daughter of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, who failed to defend the Permatang Pauh seat, which has been her family's stronghold, in the 15th General Election (GE15).

Bernama reported the 42-year-old PKR vice president confirming yesterday, 29 January, that she has been serving the advisor role since 3 January.

Her appointment allows her to work in the Prime Minister's Department (PMD) and the Ministry of Finance (MOF), a move that has upset many critics and Malaysians alike, so much so that "nepotism" is trending on Twitter today, 30 January.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim (left) and newly-minted senior economic and financial advisor Nurul Izzah.

Image via Free Malaysia Today

Nepotism can be defined as "the act of using your power or influence to get good jobs or unfair advantages for members of your own family"

Many people on Twitter were critical of the appointment, as Anwar is known to the rakyat as the leader who pushes for political reformation and is said to be against cronyism, a term that bears somewhat the same meaning but the favouritism extends beyond families to friends and associates.

From satirical artist Fahmi Reza to Malaysians from different walks of life, many people discussed and questioned the prevalence of nepotism in Malaysia's politics.

Political analyst Azmil Tayeb of Universiti Sains Malaysia also agreed that Nurul Izzah's new post comes across as nepotism and attracts unwarranted attention to the unity government that is trying to find its footing, reported Free Malaysia Today.

"I'm not sure if it will backfire, but the appointment certainly provides fodder for the opposition," he told the online news portal.

"The public will question his motive in appointing his own daughter when Malaysia is full of talents to fill the post."

"Even if it is pro bono, it's the perception that counts."

Another political analyst from Akademi Nusantara, Azmi Hassan, said the appointment is a disservice to Anwar's cry for good governance and an attempt to resurrect Nurul Izzah's political career.

"So, I guess it does not augur well for the Prime Minister because he will be questioned over the appointment as there are many better qualified experts in economics if he really needs an advisor," he said, adding that Anwar already has a group of advisors in the Ministry of Finance and Rafizi Ramli as the Economic Affairs Minister.

Defending the appointment, Anwar said the decision was made based on Nurul Izzah's qualifications

Anwar said Nurul Izzah's first degree is in engineering and second is in public and social policy from Johns Hopkins University, US, reported Bernama.

The Tambun MP, who is not taking home a salary for serving as the Prime Minister, also mentioned that his daughter will not be taking any allowances for her role.

"Even though I don't have a finance-related degree or certificate, I was the finance minister for eight years (in the 1990s)," said Anwar, who is also the current Finance Minister.

"Even the ministers in (the previous) Perikatan Nasional (government) do not have (the relevant) degrees or certificates, but when it comes to us, they bring (this issue) up."

"So, is it true that a health minister must be a doctor? And a water minister must be an engineer? As for Nurul Izzah, she has an engineering degree and a public policy degree. Indeed, I asked her to help me as an advisor at the PMD and MOF."

Last week, Nurul Izzah shared the loss of her third biological child:

Here are more stories about Nuzrul Izzah after GE15: