DAP: Appointing MPs to Head GLCs a Form of Political Reward

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Lim Guan Eng said the installation of PN politicians as directors and board members of GLCs went against the ideals of good governance.

DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng today accused the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government of appointing their MPs as directors and board members of government-linked companies (GLCs) as a form of political reward to maintain its shaky hold on power.

The former finance minister said that the installation of PN politicians as directors and board members of GLCs went against the ideals of good governance.

“The PN government has turned the appointments of MPs into GLCs, as a form of political reward to maintain their shaky hold on power with a slim two-seat parliamentary majority.

Sayuti Zainudin

“So far 17 such appointments have been made. Whilst these MPs enjoy the perks and privileges of office in the GLC, how does the GLC benefit?” he asked in a statement.

Lim was refuting Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz’s rationale that appointing politicians to head GLCs helps to provide “check and balance”.

On Tuesday, it was reported that Tengku Zafrul, in a parliamentary reply, stated that 15 politicians, including MPs, state assemblypersons, senators and political party members had been appointed to MOF Inc companies while “only two” politicians were appointed to statutory bodies parked under his ministry.

Azlan Zamhari/Malaysiakini

Lim, the MP for Bagan, said the present government had reversed Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) policy of not appointing politicians to GLCs.

The DAP Bagan MP claimed the previous Pakatan Harapan government had only appointed politicians to serve on statutory bodies that exercised regulatory powers, were not involved in business and only had limited contracts “to offer in scope and size”.

Lim said GLCs headed by politicians are generally not enthusiastic about good corporate governance, especially when it comes to punishing financial misappropriation or wrongdoings.

“GLCs can be compelled to abide by government policy through Ministerial directive or the presence of senior Ministry civil servants sitting in as directors. There is no need to appoint politicians to ensure that government policy is complied with,” he said.

Lim also wanted know whether GLCs will be able to focus on improving corporate performance, to ensure that they are trustworthy and reliable custodians of tens of billion of ringgit of public funds, and they will benefit the rakyat.

“Or will the GLC instead be used as a political tool and sponsor expensive RM6,500 lunches for government MPs, as exposed by Prabakaran – the MP for Batu – filled with so much food that it is packaged to take back home?”

The PN government has come under scrutiny for the slew of political appointments made by the new regime since being installed in March after toppling the Harapan government.

PN leaders have repeatedly claimed the move was to ensure GLCs and government bodies carry out Putrajaya’s agenda.

Most of the positions were filled by technocrats in the past.

Last month, Tengku Zafrul claimed that the Securities Commission would assess the candidates shortlisted to the board of MOF Inc companies while others would be vetted by various agencies such as the MACC, the Insolvency Department and the Federal Court Chief Registrar’s Office before they were appointed.