Family appointments: Time to revive the spirit of the Permatang Pauh Declaration?

THE appointment of Nurul Izzah Anwar, the daughter of Prime Minister (PM) Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and former Permatang Pauh MP as a pro-bono advisor to the PM has received significant criticism.Economy Minister Rafizi Ramli added to the controversy with his recent comments, which have sparked debates on social media among both pro-opposition and pro-government supporters.While there has been support for Nurul Izzah’s appointment from high-ranking officials, the question remains as to whether Rafizi’s advice against appointing family members to government positions in the future is accurate or not.Netizens have expressed their confusion as to why Nurul Izzah’s appointment and the appointment of Mohammed Iqbal Johari as a Special Functions Officer to the Dewan Rakyat speaker, Johari Abdul is acceptable now, but future ones will not be okay.Rafizi’s statements, which target the culture of appointing family members to government positions, could be taken out of context.He has emphasised that Nurul Izzah’s and Mohammed Iqbal’s appointments are already done deals that do not involve public finance, but he warns against such appointments in the future.Despite this, there are likely to be intense debates within PKR regarding the issue.The PKR should strive to regain its focus on the Permatang Pauh Declaration and avoid repeating the mistakes of the previous Pakatan Harapan (PH) regime.The absolute freedom of the PM, as exercised by former PM Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, resulted in corruption and, ultimately, the PH regime’s demise in 2020.To avoid a similar fate, Anwar must inform his closest allies and engage in healthy debates on such appointments, instead of making unilateral decisions.Finally, the controversy surrounding Nurul Izzah’s appointment emphasises the need for the PKR to refocus on the Permatang Pauh Declaration and avoid past mistakes.The PM must engage in open discussions with his allies and avoid making unilateral decisions that could harm the party and its reputation. — Feb 5, 2023

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