Kit Siang: Will PM’s special advisers replace cabinet soon?

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Lim Kit Siang has ridiculed Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s administration for hiring many special advisers, on top of a bloated cabinet.

The Iskandar Puteri lawmaker also wondered if Ismail would end up with a bigger pool of advisers than his 38 ministers.

“Is Malaysia suffering from an attack of adviser-mania, where Prime Minister Ismail would eventually have 31 or more special advisers, shadowing the 31 cabinet members, while each minister has a special adviser each?

“When we reach this stage, there will be no need for weekly cabinet meetings, as they can be replaced by weekly special advisers’ meetings,” the DAP veteran said in a statement today.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Abdul Latiff Ahmad told Parliament that Ismail has three special advisers to advise him on health, religion as well as on law and human rights.

Pengerang MP Azalina Othman Said is Ismail’s law and human rights adviser while Kedah Umno chief Jamil Khir Baharom is the religious advisor.

While Latiff said that Ismail has a special adviser for health, neither he nor Ismail has disclosed the identity of the individual.

Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin also has a special adviser in Rosnah Abdul Rashid Shirlin, former deputy health minister.

Lim said the government must justify the appointment of these special advisers when there are already ministers.

He added that such appointments could also reflect the prime minister’s lack of confidence in the ministers concerned.

He also said the prime minister appointed regional special envoys when there were already ambassadors for each country.

Burden to taxpayers

Touching on the same issue, Penang Deputy Chief Minister P Ramasamy questioned the amount of money being spent on these posts.

He said the three will each be paid RM50,000 per month.

“I have no complaints if the funds are coming from the pockets of Ismail. Unfortunately they are from government funds contributed by taxpayers,” said the DAP leader in a statement.

“What is so special about these advisers and what is their area of expertise?

“Surely, given the bloated cabinet, Ismail can get the advice and input from his ministers, if not from heads of the various departments in the country’s civil service.”

Ramasamy said the appointment of special advisers without superior credentials would be a burden to taxpayers.

“Such appointments are not meant to get valuable advice, but reward those who are loyal to him,” he said. – TMI