Bersih reminds of past scandals after more MPs appointed to helm GLCs

Electoral reform group Bersih has reminded Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s government of past scandals involving key government-link entities when they were led by politicians.

It said this in response to the government’s decision to appoint Umno’s Machang MP Ahmad Jazlan Yaakub as the Felcra Berhad chairperson and Rompin MP Hasan Arifin as the Tenaga Nasional Bhd chairperson.

“Government-linked companies 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, Lembaga 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,” the Bersih steering committee said in a statement today.

Bersih said the chairperson and board members of GLCs should comprise professionals.

“We call on GLCs to be headed by professionals with relevant experiences, proven track record and personal integrity to ensure that all the GLCs are well managed and the public interest is safeguarded.

“We further call for a new law to be adopted to make the appointment of chairperson and board members of GLCs to be based on merits, transparency and accountability,” it said.

Bipartisan select committee

Bersih said a bipartisan parliamentary select committee should also be established to screen all appointments in order to restore public and investor confidence.

“The law should also compel all GLCs to enhance disclosure and transparency through periodic reports that include important information such as the appointment of chairperson and directors, their remuneration etc,” it said.

Furthermore, it said the legislation should ban elected representatives from holding positions in government-linked companies.

“MPs 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 a direct conflict of interest between the role of running GLCs and the role to scrutinise government’s management of GLCs when MPs themselves are appointed to hold positions in GLCs,” he said.

(First published by Malaysiakini on 4 October 2021: Bersih reminds of past scandals after more MPs appointed to helm GLCs (