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THE Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih 2.0) expresses concerns at the recent appointments of Ahmad Jazlan Yaakub (Machang MP) and Hasan Arifin (Rompin MP) as chairman of Felcra Bhd and Tenaga Nasional Bhd respectively, and calls for political appointments in government-linked corporations (GLCs) to be stopped immediately.
Members of Parliament should focus on their role as lawmakers and perform oversight functions over the government of the day, including the performance of all GLCs under the purview of the executive.
There will be direct conflict of interest between the role of running GLCs and the role of scrutinising government’s management of GLCs when MPs themselves are appointed to hold positions in GLCs.
GLCs must not become a tool of the ruling parties to access rich resources for their political campaigns, to expand their political patronage or to entice elected representatives to party-hop in order to stay in power. We must also not forget how the scandals of 1MDB, Felda, Tabung Haji and others went out of hand when helmed by politicians with billions of ringgit lost at the expense of the rakyat and the effective functioning of the GLCs.
We call on GLCs to be headed by professionals with the relevant experience, proven track record and personal integrity to ensure that all they are well-managed and the public interest is safeguarded.
We further call on a new law to be adopted to make appointment of chairpersons and board members of GLCs to be based on merit, in order to ensure transparency and accountability. Under the new law, elected representatives should be banned from holding positions in GLCs. The law should also compel all GLCs to enhance disclosure and transparency through periodic reports that include important information such as appointment of chairpersons and directors, as well as their remuneration.
A bipartisan Parliamentary Select Committee should be established to screen all appointments of chairpersons and board members of GLCs.
This would restore public and investor confidence in GLC corporate governance, which has become tainted in recent years. – October 4, 2021.
* Media statement by Bersih 2.0 steering committee.
* This is the opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insight.