Political appointment process in GLCs must be made clear

WITH an influx of politicians being appointed to lead government-linked corporations (GLCs) since Perikatan Nasional (PN) took over the federal administration in March 2020, it is only natural to be wary about the people chosen to head GLCs and other statutory bodies.

After all, it this long-standing ‘tradition’ is what had gotten the country so much of bad rap in the past when then-prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, in his dual role as finance minister, had effective control of Malaysia’s leading GLCs.

This concentration of political and corporate power in the hands of the prime minister-cum-finance-minister is what had allegedly contributed to serious abuse of business-based institutions, including 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), MARA and Tabung Haji.

On the subject of these political appointments, one thing that has never been made clear is the exact criteria for selection as to who is most suitable to head a particular GLC.

Does the Government take into consideration the politician’s academic qualifications, work experience and expertise? Do personal character and integrity matter?

The selection process – including the results of the screenings by various bodies – must be made transparent to dispel any unwanted negative perception about the appointees.

When this happens, it will not only tarnish the reputation of the Government but people will also start to raise questions about such appointments as well.

What had been even more of a turn-off at this point is PAS secretary-general and de-facto law minister Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan’s comment in April 2020 that all MPs who do not presently hold positions in the Government will be made heads of GLCs.

So, does this mean that the MPs would be ‘gifted’ a top post at a random GLC regardless of their qualifications? At this point, this remains unclear.

Positions in GLCs – whether at board level or top executive level – should be attained on merit. If a politician has the necessary qualifications, then it is justifiable. But if they don’t, why are they even occupying the top post to begin with?

GLCs are not meant to be used as a platform for political patronage. If the Government wants to continue appointing politicians to GLCs, it must make sure that each appointment is done with transparency, integrity and accountability. – April 11, 2o21

 

Photo credit: Free Malaysia Today

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