Finance Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz has defended the government's decision in appointing politicians to head government-linked companies (GLCs)
He said the move helps provide "check and balance" so that GLCs and statutory bodies are in line with the government's policies and aspirations.
"Political appointments are expected to balance corporate needs that are often profit-oriented, while fulfilling the expectations of the people," Tengku Zafrul said in a written Parliamentary reply dated 6 August.
The question was asked by Kota Kinabalu Member of Parliament (MP) Chan Foong Hin last Thursday.
Chan demanded an answer regarding the appointment of politicians to statutory bodies and GLCs under the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government. He also wanted the government to list out all the names of appointments from members of political parties and their respective salary schemes.
In his written reply, the Finance Minister refused to divulge the salaries of PN members holding such posts
However, he did list out 17 names who were awarded various high-paying positions at statutory bodies and GLCs under his ministry's purview.
The list includes Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali, both holding non-executive roles at Khazanah Nasional.
It also sees PAS central committee member Mohamad Husain holding a non-executive director position at FELCRA Berhad and Pasir Salak MP Tajuddin Abdul Rahman holding a non-executive director position at Prasarana Malaysia, among others.
You can view the full list below:
Tengku Zafrul said only "fit and proper" politicians were given the top posts because they possess the necessary expertise, experience, integrity, and responsibility for the jobs
"It is important to have either operation, technical, or professional experience or specific exposure in related fields to ensure the right person with the right skills is chosen to enhance the structure of a company's board of directors," he said.
He also contended that all appointments are in line with the Malaysian Code of Corporate Governance (MCCG) 2017.
As for the decision not to disclose their salaries, Tengku Zafrul said allowances and incentives of the positions are based on the financial capabilities of each company. He added specific information can be obtained from the companies' financial statements.
Following the minister's response, Kota Kinabalu MP Chan Foong Hin expressed his disappointment over the written reply
According to Malaysiakini, Chan said the question was directed at premier Muhyiddin and he asked for a full list of political appointments to all ministries and government agencies - not just the positions under the Ministry of Finance.
"I want a list of politicians appointed to statutory bodies and GLCs under all federal ministries as opposed to limiting to the Ministry of Finance.
"It is outrageous for the federal government to have redirected my question originally directed at the Prime Minister away towards the Finance Minister. As a result of the redirection, the scope of the question had been greatly reduced," said the DAP lawmaker.
He wondered if the government is trying to be "evasive" and further demanded an answer on why his question was redirected away from the Prime Minister.
In April, politicians from the ruling government started getting appointed to high-paying positions at GLCs, sparking criticism that it was a move for Muhyiddin to buy support in the Dewan Rakyat: