Appointments should be based on expertise, not political affiliations

16 Dec 2022 01:24pm
Photo for illustrative purposes. Photo by 123rf.
Photo for illustrative purposes. Photo by 123rf.
SHAH ALAM - The involvement of politicians in government-linked companies (GLCs) and statutory bodies may led them to misuse the facilities for political activities.

Institute of Democracy and Economic Affairs (Ideas) deputy research director Sri Murniati Yusuf said if new appointments were made by the government later, it should ideally be based on expertise and experience, not for political affiliations.

"Ideas welcomes the letter issued by the Chief Secretary Tan Sri Mohd Zuki Ali regarding the immediate termination of political appointments in statutory bodies and government companies.

"We urge the government not to make any new political appointments in these bodies, as well as to consider the Parliament's involvement in the appointment of the chairmen and directors of statutory bodies," she told Sinar on Thursday.

Murniati said most of the chairmen and board of directors who would be terminated were appointed by the previous government under former Prime Ministers Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

She explained that the data from Pantau Kuasa showed there were more than 200 political appointments in 72 federal government statutory bodies, not including political appointments in GLCs.

"One of the negative effects of politicians being involved in statutory bodies and GLCs is the prioritisation towards the election areas or the party's area for the implementation of projects and programmes. They use the facilities for their political activities.

"Through this method, the ruling party would continue gaining an unfair advantage over the opposition party and the competition would become less fair and democratic.

"The statutory bodies and GLCs needed a better check and balance mechanism. This could be achieved by establishing a Parliamentary Select Committee that would examine and monitor the yearly reports of the statutory bodies regularly," she said.
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Murniati said individuals who want to be appointed as chairman or a committee member of statutory bodies and GLCs should have the experience and expertise in a related field.

"For a more detailed criteria, the government may issue a guideline and urge the GLCs to establish new guidelines in the Green Book released by the Putrajaya Committee on GLC High Performance pertaining to the governance of GLC board of directors," she said.

Centre for Combating Corruption and Cronyism consultant K Sudhagaran Stanley said it was time for the government to enact a GLC act to ensure that all appointment processes were made clear and in accordance with good governance principles and management.

He said the enactment would ensure that any new government in power could not misuse GLCs for their political agenda.

Stanley added that the new appointments must be based on merits, expertise and not with any political motive.

"Politicians could not be appointed because there is room for exploitation of facilities for personal gains.

"The process of appointments must be clear and transparent, and appointments must be made for those who are suited to take those positions with the correct qualification ," he said to Sinar on Thursday.

Stanley said GLCs could not be used to give benefits towards politicians for their support and the practice must be stopped.

However, he said even if the government has decided for all political appointments to be stopped, there would still be questions raised towards what the government's plans to do after this has been implemented.

"We want to know what the next course of action is. The government must inform the public because transparency is the key in the whole process," he said.

"Coming back to the 2019-2023 National Anti-Corruption Plan (NACP), we will need a clear policy to prevent politicians and any influential people from interfering in the promotion, appointment and selection of positions into GLCs," he said.