Bersih slams PM, govt over political appointments

PETALING JAYA: Electoral reform group Bersih has slammed Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim and the government over recent political appointments to government-linked companies (GLCs).

Bersih chief Thomas Fann expressed regret that Anwar’s government was continuing the practice of appointing politicians to GLCs despite the PKR president’s push for reforms over the past two decades.

He said political appointments smacked of political patronage and was a disservice to voters if it involved currently elected representatives.

“Their time and attention would be divided between discharging their parliamentary and corporate duties. MPs and assemblymen should be banned from holding positions in GLCs,” Fann said in a statement today.

“GLCs are custodians of public wealth and resources and we need to appoint people who are best qualified to add value to these corporate entities instead of draining its funds through lucrative pays and perks.

“In the worst case scenario, funds could be corruptly diverted for personal gain.”

He urged Putrajaya to be publicly accountable for any political appointments and to put a clear process in place to ensure the best candidates were selected based on their qualifications.

“(This should apply) even if they are non-elected politicians like Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki,” he said, referring to the former Umno Youth chief who was appointed the new chairman of Mara last week.

Yesterday, deputy prime minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi confirmed Asyraf’s appointment and said he had given the Umno man his appointment letter last Friday.

Last week, it was also announced that PKR’s Balik Pulau MP, Bakhtiar Wan Chik, had been appointed chairman of MyCreative Ventures Sdn Bhd.

Bakhtiar is a former deputy tourism, arts and culture minister. MyCreative is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Minister of Finance Incorporated and reports to the communications and digital ministry.

(First published by Free Malaysia Today on 13 March 2023: