Netizens and civic groups say such appointments are inconsistent with good governance practices.
PETALING JAYA: The government has been under fire for assigning political appointees to head government-linked companies (GLCs) with netizens and civic groups saying this is inconsistent with Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim’s push for reforms and with good governance practices.
FMT takes a closer look at who these appointees are.
Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki
Asyraf is the outgoing Umno Youth chief, a position he has held since 2018. Early this year, he announced his decision against defending his post in the upcoming party elections.
He also served as deputy minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of Islamic affairs under Najib Razak’s administration.
In the last general election, he contested for the Gerik parliamentary seat but lost to Perikatan Nasional’s Fathul Huzir Ayob.
He was recently appointed Mara chairman, taking over from former Beaufort MP Azizah Mohd Dun of Sabah Bersatu, who held the post for three years.
On Tuesday, deputy prime minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi , who is also Umno president, said political appointments to GLCs were scrutinised by the unity government’s secretariat. The secretariat is led by Asyraf.
Bakhtiar Wan Chik
Bakhtiar, a PKR member, has been the Balik Pulau MP since 2018. He served as the deputy minister of tourism, arts and culture under former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad before the fall of the Pakatan Harapan administration in 2020.
Last week, he was appointed chairman of MyCreative Ventures Sdn Bhd, replacing Noor Azmi Mat Said, whose two-year term had expired.
MyCreative is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Minister of Finance Incorporated and reports to the communications and digital ministry to advance Malaysia’s creative industry through strategic and innovative investment.
Ahmad Sabki Yusof
Sabki has been appointed the new chairman of the Companies Commission of Malaysia effective March 1. The commission is an agency under the domestic trade and cost of living ministry.
He has master’s degrees in business administration and in comparative law from the International Islamic University.
Before the appointment, he served as political secretary to Amanah deputy president Salahuddin Ayub. Salahuddin is the minister of domestic trade and cost of living.
Ahmad Jazlan Yaakub
The Kelantan Umno chief was Machang MP before losing his seat in GE15 to PN’s Wan Ahmad Fayhsal Wan Ahmad Kamal.
He served as deputy minister of rural and regional development under Najib from 2015 to 2018.
When Muhyiddin Yassin was prime minister, he was appointed chairman of the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB). He was then appointed as Felcra chairman in October 2021 under the Ismail Sabri Yaakob administration.
His reappointment as Felcra chairman was announced by Zahid last December. However, criticism against the appointment compelled Anwar to put it on hold.
Zahid said that although the Cabinet had decided to terminate the contracts of political appointees to GLCs, he believed Jazlan should continue in the position. This came after chief secretary Zuki Ali issued a circular to the ministries saying the Cabinet had agreed to the immediate termination of the contracts of political appointees.
What do civic groups say?
For years, activists and NGOs have called for GLC appointments to be based on merit.
Electoral reform group Bersih urged Anwar to publicly state whether he supported the recent appointments of the two Umno politicians as chairmen in GLCs.
Its chief Thomas Fann said only people who had the right qualifications should be appointed to GLCs since these companies were custodians of public resources.
Fann repeated his call for a clear framework to be established when it came to appointing individuals in GLCs, even if it involved politicians who were not elected representatives.
Economist Edmund Terence Gomez said he believed the appointments of Asyraf and Bakhtiar were to appeal to Bumiputera voters ahead of the state elections.
He urged the government to justify the appointments of the two politicians and said the entire GLC ecosystem needed to be reviewed with the aim of reforming GLCs.
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