Accusation of Cronyism over Appointment of Wife of PM’s Aide as GLC Head

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A former Johor DAP leader today has criticised the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government for cronyism, following the appointment of Amanah Ikhtiar Malaysia’s (AIM) new chairman who is the wife of the prime minister’s political secretary.

Dr Boo Cheng Hau, in describing the news of the appointment as “amazing”, urged the PH leadership to adhere to its promise that no political figures, their political allies or relatives should ever be appointed to head or be part of a government-linked corporation’s (GLC) management.

“Those who are already appointed should relinquish their appointments on the grounds of advocating genuine reforms and avoiding ‘conflict of interest’.

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“GLCs’ top management should be headed and manned by non-political professionals in the transitional process of restructuring them until the realisation of an anti-monopoly legislation and a free, race-blind market is created,” he said in a statement on his Facebook page today.

Dr Boo was commenting on cronyism allegations related to Junaidah Kiting, the wife of the prime minister’s political secretary, following her appointment to the post. He, however, did not name her in his statement.

AIM is a microfinance agency established to help develop female entrepreneurs.

It had reportedly been facing the axe last year for failing to comply with regulations pertaining to the establishment of subsidiaries.

However, at the end of last year, Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad announced that AIM would remain and even be expanded.

Dr Boo said cronyism now enters PH in sophisticated forms and alleged its top leaders are plagued by the ‘Denial Syndrome’ and allow the previous administration’s old political culture to plague its own rank-and-file.

“The admittance of cronyism is the first step to reform our economic model, and PH’s top leadership has shown less than a satisfactory commitment to stamping out cronyism,” said the 54-year-old former Skudai assemblyman.

Earlier, according to a Malaysiakini report, Junaidah said the Prime Minister’s Office had nothing to do with her appointment and that the criticisms of her were unfair as it was AIM’s top management that had decided on her appointment.

“It is not right for people to make baseless claims of cronyism in my appointment just because I am the wife of one of the prime minister’s political secretaries,” she said.

She said this in response to a report by the portal in which AIM founder Prof Sukor Kasim cried foul over her appointment.

Junaidah, a founder of a cosmetics company, said the accusations tainted her good name and that of her husband’s.

“These claims also make it seem as if my qualifications, experience and talent, which could contribute to the development of an organisation, count for nothing.

“In fact, before being appointed AIM chairman, I worked hard as a female entrepreneur and succeeded in building a brand,” she said.

Junaidah also said she would not tolerate any form of wrongdoing or corruption, and that AIM had handed over documents and given information to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission on the issue of the establishment of subsidiaries.

Previously, Sukor had called for AIM to return to its original objective of helping the poor as it had, in the Barisan Nasional-era, set up subsidiaries which went against this objective.

Responding to this, Junaidah denied AIM had strayed off track and said the new management was working hard to help the people through entrepreneurship.