Malaysia ’s prime minister should ideally not be the one to hold the finance portfolio but extraordinary circumstances justified it in Anwar Ibrahim ’s case, Rafizi Ramli said. “The current situation is pressing and we had to make that decision, but it does not mean this has to continue,” the newlyappointed minister for economy said at his maiden press conference on Monday morning. “In my opinion, the positions must be separated. There are no changes to that stance,” said Rafizi, a close ally of Anwar. He said these “extraordinary circumstances” came about when no single coalition had the majority to form the government and so a unity government had to be formed. At the same time, he said, strong leadership was needed for the country’s economy to recover. “In my view, it was a very difficult decision to make,” he said of Anwar helming the finance ministry. Rafizi said it was likely that every component of the unity government sought to hold the finance portfolio. “For me, it is suitable for the prime minister to be the finance minister [in this context], so that there is no issue among the coalitions [in the unity government]. Malaysian PM Anwar says tackling high living costs top priority “But I hope as we move forward and put everything in place, this situation will be an exception, not the norm,” he added. Anwar’s decision to be finance minister has been the subject of criticism as Pakatan Harapan had pledged in its 2018 general election manifesto that the prime minister would not hold the finance portfolio in its administration. The last prime minister to hold the finance portfolio was Najib Razak . This article was first published on The Star .