The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (BERSIH) condemns the political appointment of the MP for Alor Gajah, Mohd Redzuan Md Yusof as the Chairman of Boustead Holdings Bhd. Boustead is a Government-Linked Company (GLC) owned largely by the Armed Forces Fund Body (LTAT) which is a statutory body under the Ministry of Defence.
Even though the BERSATU member has been touted as having much experience across public and private companies, his political affiliation and role as a lawmaker makes his appointment circumspect and it can be seen as yet another case of the government soliciting support from MPs through non-ethical means. It presents the possibility of systemic abuse and this will only come at the expense of the country’s development and the economic performance of such agencies. More concerning is the possibility of large-scale financial abuse, as happened in 1MDB. Boustead itself has been suffering losses since 2018.
Additionally, appointing MPs to directorships and Chairmanships diverts their attention from their duties to service their electorate and as lawmakers. More importantly, it is the role of an MP in Parliament to check the government, including the performance of all GLCs under the supervisory of the executive. Therefore, MPs should not hold positions in GLCs. It also prevents qualified professionals with good track records from being appointed to lead these organisations.
This move to appoint Mohd Redzuan as Chairman is reminiscent of former Prime Minister (PM) Muhyiddin’s style when he appointed over 20 MPs and ADUNs to such positions to shore up power for his weak administration. BERSIH hopes that PM Ismail Sabri is not following in his footsteps and instead will be more reform-minded and progressive.
BERSIH reiterates its call for the enactment of a well-defined GLC Act that will prohibit elected representatives from being appointed to directorships and chairmanships. Some GLCs already have stipulations such as SOCSO which prohibits the appointment of an elected representative as chairperson based on its incorporating statute. The Act should also provide legally-binding appointment criteria and stipulate recruitment and reporting mechanisms for greater transparency.
BERSIH also urges the government to set up a Parliamentary Select Committee to scrutinise the appointment processes in GLCs and statutory bodies. Instead of political appointments made ‘behind-the-scenes’, such appointments should be merit-based and made through a transparent and rigorous process of vetting in Parliament.
Having qualified professionals appointed to lead these state-owned enterprises will also contribute to better corporate governance leading to better economic performance. The current toxic mix of politics and business encourages cronyism, corruption, patronage, and abuse of power. This ailment has plagued Malaysia for decades and to progress, we need to put an end to such abuse of power.
The Steering Committee of BERSIH