What are the ministers for, ask opposition MPs over Faizal’s new role

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Faizal had not even completed university but would be paid tens of thousands a month.

Ahmad Faizal Azumu’s appointment as a “minister-level” special adviser to the prime minister has raised eyebrows among opposition MPs who questioned the purpose behind the new position.

In announcing the Bersatu deputy president’s new role, the Prime Minister’s Office said Faizal would be advising Muhyiddin Yassin on matters related to community networking and communication as well as socio-economic development.

Klang MP Charles Santiago said this meant that the ministers in charge of community development and socio-economic planning were incapable of doing their jobs and asked if this was what Muhyiddin was implying.

The DAP MP said it also implied that the prime minister did not trust his own ministers, adding that Muhyiddin himself had no sense of direction.

He told FMT that Faizal’s appointment had nothing to do with the ongoing health crisis but was merely a political promotion, warning that it would only create more anger among Malaysians.

“I thought it was a joke. I don’t know what else to say. I think the prime minister is running a Cabinet of comedians. It’s like a circus. It’s terrible. What’s the point?

“If he was replacing the energy and natural resources minister, then I would understand, since there’s a vacancy. But this position…why? I don’t see any reason at all,” he said.

“Now, he’s just trying to strengthen his position, and this will lead to the biggest Cabinet in the world. It’s just to secure the position of the prime minister.”

Segambut MP Hannah Yeoh also slammed the appointment, saying the Perikatan Nasional Cabinet had dozens of posts held by people who did little work.

“If contract doctors and hospitals are upgraded just like this, surely our Covid-19 cases can reach zero,” she said in a Twitter post.

Lembah Pantai MP Fahmi Fadzil questioned how many more advisers Muhyiddin needed, pointing out a number of ministers already cover the areas that Faizal would oversee.

“For the community, we have the unity minister. For communication, we have the communications and multimedia minister. For socio-economy, we have the economic affairs, rural development and the entrepreneur development and cooperatives ministers.

“Does Muhyiddin not have enough advice?” he asked in a tweet.

Faizal’s appointment saw him become the third “ministerial-level” appointment after Bintulu MP Tiong King Sing and PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang, who are special envoys to China and the Middle East, respectively.

He is also Muhyiddin’s second special adviser, after Dr Jemilah Mahmood was appointed to advise the prime minister on public health.

The Tambun MP was previously the Perak menteri besar before being ousted in a confidence vote in the state assembly last December. He was then replaced by Perak Umno chief Saarani Mohamad.

Amanah vice-president Mahfuz Omar also took issue with the appointment, sarcastically praising Muhyiddin for finding the solution to the ongoing health and economic crises.

“When people are going hungry and losing their income, he goes and gives a job and minister-level income to Peja. Congratulations Peja,” said the Pokok Sena MP, using Faizal’s nickname.

Meanwhile, Beruas MP Ngeh Koo Ham questioned Faizal’s qualifications for the advisory post, pointing out that Faizal had not even completed university but would be paid tens of thousands a month. – FMT