Bring back Nurul Izzah and Tony Pua into the team

AS the Madani government takes on the third and fourth gear to put back the country on the right track, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s administration needs all the good people with the right skills to assist him.

For example, news report of a senior civil servant being recently arrested by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) for quietly approving a contract without knowledge of the board brought to light that such abuses are still happening.

With rampant cases of senior officers receiving kickbacks for projects that they approve, it is important for Anwar’s unity government and the Finance Ministry to carefully vet through important contracts worth millions, if not billions of ringgit.

For this, Anwar knew that he could trust his own daughter to do a good job. When he appointed Nurul Izzah some time back for the watchdog role, some of us were surprised that netizens raised the issue of nepotism.

As time passes, Anwar may have to once again think of the need to not only bring back the former Permatang Pauh MP to vet big ticket contracts but also DAP’s ‘sharp eye’ Tony Pua to assist with negotiations of contracts.

It is important that Anwar must have men and women of integrity to do this kind of jobs where temptations are very great. Nurul Izzah is a good candidate even though Anwar is both her father and Prime Minister (PM).

With wastages reported annually by the Auditor-General in the quantum of millions of ringgit, it is time for the government’s procurement system to be further tightened. Contractors will now have to compete on level playing field so that they will become more competent to compete even in international markets.

As the ability to get to the nitty-gritty of contracts is something that Anwar on his own will not be able to do, it would make sense for Nurul Izzah to assist since she is more meticulous.

On the other hand, Pua may have received brickbats from in his constituency when he was Damansara MP but he is apt at negotiating the best deal at the end of the day.

Both Nurul Izzah and Pua each have their own strengths which the unity government can harness to put Malaysia back on track again.

This makes us think: Could it be that people most affected by their negotiation skill and meticulous vetting who were making the most noises that prompted Nurul Izzah to withdraw herself initially? We leave this open for everyone to mull over.

Whatever the answer is, this as an opportunity for netizens to accept the fact that there are many flaws in our understanding of what makes good governance.

In an earlier article, we have drawn the line between the need for intervention even with a government that seeks not to interfere with the administration.

The other is whether the politicians especially those who lost in elections can take on senior positions in government-linked companies (GLCs). Wouldn’t it be sensible that at the end of the day, people who are well-qualified with the strengths in their respective field of expertise should be given a chance to lead these GLCs?

Many have also asked why Pakatan Harapan (PH) have to work with Barisan Nasional (BN) and especially UMNO in the unity government as if PH is a “holier” entity compared to its nemesis. Shouldn’t this be perceived as a pragmatic necessity to avoid a stalemate?

Hence, capable people like Nurul Izzah and Pua who was the former Damansara MP need to be tasked with the responsibility to scrutinise big ticket contracts. It is now a question of whether they will agree to undertake the job but surely, Anwar cannot insist that they must do it without a salary.

After all, which soldier – no matter how patriotic – will serve his country without a salary? Therefore, we must not muzzle the ox while it is threshing the floor. – May 20, 2023

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