Thursday, April 06, 2023

Compromising Backbencher MP's role by 'gifts' of appointment to government agencies/GLCs??? Backbencher MPs must not be appointed to government agencies or GLCs, as it can compromise their Parliamentary duties to monitor the Executive to prevent wrongdoings - MADPET

Media Statement – 6/4/2023

Backbencher MPs must not be appointed to government agencies or GLCs, as it can compromise their Parliamentary duties to monitor the Executive to prevent wrongdoings

When sitting Members of Parliament (MPs) accept appointments by the Executive, being from the Prime Minister and/or the Cabinet, to positions in statutory bodies/agencies or government owned/linked companies (GLCs), their independence or ability to be an effective check against Executive abuses and wrongdoings may be compromised. With such appointments, they may receive additional monies, benefits and powers, over and above their MP’s allowances.

MPs, not in the Cabinet, have a very important Parliamentary role of overseeing and monitoring the Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, his Ministers and cabinet members to ensure that there is, amongst others, no wrongdoing, mistakes, abuses and corruption in government.

This is also the role of MPs that are from parties that today form the Pakatan Harapan-led coalition government who are commonly known as ‘government backbenchers’.

On 7/3/2023, Mohd Sany Hamzan, a government backbencher in Parliament, urged the government to launch investigation into the Pharmaniaga Bhd, a pharmaceutical group that suffered losses, given its link to the Armed Forces Fund Board (LTAT). The MP from the Amanah party, a member of the Pakatan Harapan, amongst others, said that ‘…we cannot compromise on matters related to misappropriation, breach of trust and corruption that plague our country,” (Edge Markets, March 7). After his appointment to a government agency, will he still be critical of the government?

Recently, we came to know that the following MPs from parties, now in government, may have been appointed, although there may be many more cases that we are unaware of.

·         Parit Sulong MP Noraini Ahmad (BN and also now UMNO Women Chief) as chairman of the Rubber Industry Smallholders Development Authority (RISDA)

·         Hulu Langat MP Sany Hamzan(Amanah-PH), has been made deputy chairman of Tekun Nasional, a government loan provider for Bumiputera entrepreneurs.

·         PKR,s Balik Pulau MP, Bakhtiar Wan Chik, have been appointed chairman of MyCreative Ventures Sdn Bhd.  MyCreative is a wholly owned subsidiary of Minister of Finance Incorporated.

MPs in Parliament oversees and monitors the government not just by questions and speeches in the Dewan Rakyat, the lower House of Parliament, but also through investigation and inquiries that in Parliament are done by the Parliamentary Committees, including Select and Special Select Committees.

Members of the Cabinet should not be in Committees investigating alleged wrongdoings

Order 77(4) of the Standing Orders of the Malaysian House of Representatives, with regard the Public Accounts Committee states ‘(4) No member may be appointed or nominated to or act as Chairman or member of the Public Accounts Committee while he is a Minister...’ Minister here includes Deputy Ministers and Parliamentary Secretary.

Rightly, the membership of all Parliamentary Committees including Special Select Committees should not include any members of the Executive. Remember that these Committees when conducting their investigation or inquiries have the power to summon witnesses, and it is odd if the related Minister or any other Cabinet member sits as a member of such Parliamentary Committee. Members of the Cabinet may be observers, but should not be in such Parliamentary committees, where the member MPs therein best be independent of the Executive.

Now, it should also be considered whether backbencher MPs appointed to positions in government agencies/bodies/entities or government-linked companies (GLCs) ought to be excluded from Parliamentary Committees including Special Select Committees who may be investigating a particular issue, which most likely will be linked to the Executive. Rightfully, they ought to be excluded as they who gets extra ‘benefit’ from the Executive may be perceived as no longer being independent of the Executive.

MPs have already much to do

A MP, being a peoples’ representative, is primarily loyal to the people in his constituency and in Malaysia generally, not the party that he is part of or its leaders. Backbencher MPs are not part of the decision-making process of the Cabinet, and as such, they are free to raise their concern or criticisms to matters brought by the Minister or Cabinet to Parliament. They should not ‘blindly’ support all that is said or done by the Cabinet simply because their party is part of the coalition that forms the government, or because their party leaders are part of the Cabinet.

Most MPs have over 100,000 persons within their own constituency, and being their representative in Parliament, these MPs are duty bound to be in constant consultation with the people they represent to effectively communicate their constituents’ views, not the MP’s own personal views, in Parliament regarding Bills and issues discussed. This itself will take a lot of time, and hence it is best that Malaysia consider having full-time MPs.

MPs also need to study Bills and issues that will be raised in Parliament to be able to effectively contribute in the Parliamentary Debate. We do not want mere ‘seat warmer’ MPs that will simply vote as instructed by party whips.

MPs also will get appointed to various Parliamentary Committees and even Special Select Committees, which require more work and time. The effectiveness of Parliament and its Committees can be improved to ensure no more 1MDB or SRC scandals arise. It is better to maintain continuous scrutiny on government, government agencies and GLCs, rather than simply responding after the worse had happened to the detriment of Malaysia.

Being appointed as a Chairman or Director of a government agency or GLC also means additional work and responsibility, and a good MP really will not have the time unless he compromises on his other obligations to the people and to Parliament.

MADPET (Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture, which is also concerned about democracy and human rights, urge for the end of appointment of sitting MPs to government agencies or GLCs; and call for those sitting MPs already appointed to immediately resign from their position and return to be good MPs carrying out their roles in Parliament.

Reforms promised by Pakatan Harapan(PH) to the ousting of the Barisan Nasional(BN) regime in GE14. The lack of speedy changes in their about 22 month rule of PH-led government, may have resulted in a drop in support in GE15. PM Anwar Ibrahim and the PH-led government have a 2nd chance, but if similar practices of the then pre-GE14 BN regime is maintained, including political appointment of MPs and politicians, with no real reforms, then the people may be forced to look elsewhere for change.


Charles Hector

For and on behalf of MADPET(Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture)



Extract From Standing Orders

77. (1) There shall be a Committee to be known as the Public Accounts Committee appointed at the
beginning of every Parliament, for the examination of—
(a) the accounts of the Federation and the appropriation of the sums granted by Parliament to meet the public expenditure;
(b) such accounts of public authorities and other bodies administering public funds as may be laid before the House;
(c) reports of the Auditor-General laid before the House in accordance with Article 107 of the Constitution;

(d)such other matters as the Committee may think fit, or which may be referred to the Committee by the House.


"...A Select Committee other than the Committee of Selection, the Public Accounts Committee, the
Standing Orders Committee, the House Committee and the Committee of Privileges shall be known as
a Special Select Committee. It shall be appointed by order of the House and, subject thereto, shall
consist of such members as may be nominated by the Committee of Selection...."

(2) A Select Committee shall have power to send persons, documents or papers, and shall have leave to report its opinion and observations, together with the minutes of evidence taken before it to the House..."

7) A Select Committee may continue its investigations although the House may be adjourned;>>>

PKR MP is new chairman of MyCreative

The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Minister of Finance Incorporated and reports to the communications and digital ministry.

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Former deputy tourism, arts and culture minister Bakhtiar Wan Chik’s appointment as MyCreative’s chairman takes effect today.
KUALA LUMPUR: Former deputy tourism, arts and culture minister Bakhtiar Wan Chik has been appointed chairman of MyCreative Ventures Sdn Bhd.

The appointment takes effect today.

Bakhtiar, 57, replaces Noor Azmi Mat Said, whose two-year term has expired, said MyCreative Group CEO Junady Nawawi in a statement.

He said Bakhtiar, who is the Balik Pulau MP, can help bring local entrepreneurs and arts activists to the global stage with his vast experience in development and strategic planning, as well as his interest in art, culture and heritage

“It is our collective goal to ensure that MyCreative gives a positive impact on all stakeholders in the creative ecosystem, including artists, entrepreneurs, investors, and the community,” he said.

Junady also expressed his appreciation to Noor Azmi for his contributions to the development of the creative industry.

In the same statement, Bakhtiar said the orange economic sector has the potential to play an important role in contributing to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).

“I am committed to working hard with the MyCreative team to achieve this goal and help ensure the continued success and growth of the creative industry,” he said.

MyCreative is a wholly owned subsidiary of Minister of Finance Incorporated and reports to the communications and digital ministry with the objective of advancing Malaysia’s creative industry through strategic and innovative investment. - FMT, 10/3/2023

 Opaque political appointments: A case for Parliament oversight

Geraldine Tong
Published:  Mar 31, 2023 4:47 PM
Updated: 6:42 PM
Another round of appointing politicians to government agencies, statutory bodies, and GLCs is currently taking place, leading to questions on whether Putrajaya’s appointments were the best people for the job and not for political expediency.

Exacerbating the problem was that Putrajaya has not been that forthcoming with some appointments. For instance, a leaked letter claimed that three politicians were put on the boards of Tekun Nasional and SME Corp. Malaysiakini’s queries to the Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives Ministry on the matter went unanswered.

In the case of Umno women’s chief Noraini Ahmad, her appointment as Rubber Industry Smallholders Development Authority (Risda) chairperson was announced on the agency’s Facebook page, but was quickly taken down.

Eventually, Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who oversees Risda and is the Umno president, confirmed to the press that Noraini had indeed been appointed, without drawing attention to the fact that she had a business degree and was appointed to two other government bodies before - Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (Matrade) and Padiberas Nasional Berhad.

Some civil society groups have expressed concern about the lack of transparency in these appointments and recommended reforms to prevent the exercise from being tainted with conflict of interest, abuse of power, and corruption.

One method, according to the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (Ideas), was to improve parliamentary oversight, but there was currently no framework to do so.

“What Malaysia needs is a consolidated guideline that upholds public interest by ensuring impartiality, competence, accountability, and diversity,” said Ideas CEO Tricia Yeoh in a statement.


She suggested a guideline can be formulated for Malaysia by referring to the UK’s process where public appointment competitions are advertised to the public with selection criteria, and ministers have limited discretionary powers subject to the advice of an independent panel.

Significant roles will also go through a pre-appointment public hearing by a select committee and its candidate list is publicly published.

“For example, some of these stricter criteria should be applied where board members must possess the necessary knowledge, skills, and the right mindset.

Ideas CEO Tricia Yeoh

“In addition, evaluation criteria of individual directors and the board collectively should be transparent, customised to the specific company’s needs and requirements, and explicitly linked to clear consequences for non-performance,” Yeoh said.

Yeoh said it was paramount for there to be consistency in appointments for key public roles as well as maintaining a balance between an open, transparent process while taking into account ministerial discretion and other political considerations, she said.

Take note of past scandals

C4 Centre deputy CEO K Sudhagaran Stanley told Malaysiakini that a high standard of governance in appointing key public positions is needed because statutory bodies and GLCs involve public funds.

There have also been major scandals that tainted important statutory bodies in the past, such as Felda, Felcra, and Lembaga Tabung Haji while they were helmed by politicians, he said.

Similar to Ideas, Sudhagaran said the selection process must include advertising the vacant position, conducting interviews, and comparing the qualifications and experiences of candidates before the most qualified person is appointed. - Malaysiakini,

 - Malaysiakini, 31/3/2023

Those unable to contribute will not be appointed - Zahid

Published:  Mar 26, 2023 8:28 PM
Updated: 8:28 PM
The unity government will not appoint any individual who is unable to contribute to the government organisation or agency they lead, Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said.

Zahid (above), who is also the rural and regional development minister, said that all appointments are made based on cabinet guidelines and on the advice of the prime minister.

"Don’t view it as just because someone has a political position, especially MPs or assemblypersons… their background, credentials and experience are also taken into account.

"This is something that has been done before, but we will not appoint any individual who cannot contribute to the organisation they lead,” he told reporters after paying an official visit to the Penang Regional Development Authority (Perda) in Butterworth today.

Mara chairperson Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki

On the appointment of Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki as Mara chairperson, he said it was based on the Umno secretary-general’s expertise, experience and credentials.

Zahid said Asyraf was not only a politician but a banker with expertise in Islamic banking.

"It’s a waste to have such experience and credentials, but we don't use it to develop Mara together. With the appointment, we hope that he will, together with my ministry’s staff, be able to develop Mara,” he said.

Zahid also confirmed Parit Sulong MP Noraini Ahmad’s appointment as Rubber Industry Smallholders Development Authority (Risda) chairperson and Shaik Hussein Mydin as Perda chairperson.

Political appointments in government agencies became an issue recently following a number of appointments, including Asyraf as Mara chairperson, Jazlan Yaakub as Felcra chairperson and Husam Musa as Syarikat Perumahan Negara Berhad chairperson.

- Bernama - Malaysiakini, 26/3/2023



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