PM: Nurul Izzah’s appointment to ensure contracts are managed ‘orderly’

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Appointment not to misuse power or enrich his family.

Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim has put his foot down on his daughter Nurul Izzah’s appointment as his adviser for economics in both the Prime Minister’s Department as well as the Finance Ministry, saying it is to ensure that contracts and tenders are managed in an “orderly” manner.

Pointing out that his eldest daughter is taking on the unpaid role, Anwar gave his assurance that the appointment is not to misuse power or to enrich his family like those who grant projects worth millions of ringgit to their children and son or daughter-in-law.

“She (Nurul) is here to help. If she came to help with no positions, that will be questioned and it’s not transparent, nor is it proper,” he told reporters today after attending the National Sports Awards at the National Sports Council in Kuala Lumpur.

“I want to give assurance, God willing, that our administration, even if some are not satisfied with this decision, (we are here to) fight corruption, not to misuse power or enrich any officials or leaders.”

While acknowledging criticisms from civil society, he took a jab at those – former prime ministers – who allegedly granted their family members “hundreds of millions of ringgit” worth of contracts.

“It is inappropriate for those who give hundreds of millions worth of contracts to their children and relatives, some of them worth billions of ringgit, when they were the prime minister and now they are trying to talk about transparency,” he said.

Anwar also stressed that there is no nepotism involved in Nurul Izzah’s appointment, as claimed by several quarters.

“Nepotism is where (a family member) is given a position to abuse power, enrich themselves, obtain contracts and get paid a huge sum.

Bernama

“That is not the case,” the Pakatan Harapan chairperson said.

Nurul Izzah’s appointment as senior economics and finance adviser on a pro bono basis had drawn brickbats, with those in the opposition calling out the move as nepotism and urging Anwar to retract the appointment.

Earlier today, Transparency International Malaysia (TI-M) president Muhammad Mohan questioned Anwar’s decision, saying it may signal that cronyism and nepotism are back.

Muhammad said Anwar himself has spoken extensively against nepotism and cronyism in the past, resulting in people questioning the latter’s recent decision.

Meanwhile, Communications and Digital Minister Fahmi Fadzil said Nurul Izzah has no authority or salary, and she is not the only adviser.

He said that the government under the leadership of Anwar Ibrahim had also appointed several other individuals as advisers, including (former Petronas president) Mohd Hassan Marican.

“The term adviser is clear because they will not touch on policy matters, have no source of authority, including to call for meetings as well as are not paid any salary,” said Fahmi, responding to the issue which has earned Anwar some barbs.

Bernama

Meanwhile, Fahmi also confirmed that he has been appointed spokesperson for the unity government to handle the media.

Fahmi said that Anwar had issued a directive at the cabinet meeting two weeks ago that he (Fahmi) and the Communications and Digital Ministry would act as the representative or spokesperson for the government, especially when dealing with the media.

He said the media conference after the cabinet meeting every Wednesday will be handled by him if the prime minister is unable to attend.

“Any week, for example, that the prime minister is unable to host the weekly media conference, the ministry and I will handle it,” he told the media after the ministry’s monthly gathering.

Fahmi said that as the government spokesperson, the media can refer to him for confirmation of any issues that need to be verified.

“This is to ensure that the issues are referred to the right ministry or minister for feedback,” he said.

Fahmi said his ministry would also discuss with the broadcast stations to provide detailed and comprehensive information regarding government activities that are expected to be aired in the news slot next week.

“Various information is presented by the ministries and agencies but there is no emphasis on the effectiveness of its delivery,” he said.

Fahmi also added that agencies under his ministry such as the Information Department, Bernama and RTM must help the government explain the concept of Madani (to the public).

“Its (Madani) essence is more than just a slogan but the intention of the government,” he said, adding that it was important for his ministry to play the role of studying, interpreting and refining the meaning of Madani for the benefit of the people.