Critics Condemn Firing Of GLC Directors To Make Way For Replacement By Perikatan MPs

Political critics claim that the move is to "buy" support from the Perikatan Nasional (PN) parliamentarians to stay loyal to the current Prime Minister, who came to power through political manoeuvring dubbed as the 'Sheraton Move'.

Cover image via Azhar Ramli/New Straits Times & Asyraf Hamzah/New Straits Times

Last Sunday, 12 April, Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan said all government MPs who are not in the Cabinet will be given a position in government-linked companies (GLCs)

The Minister in the Prime Minister's Department (Parliament and Law) said that out of the 18 MPs from his party PAS, eight of them are ministers and deputy ministers, while its party president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang has been made the Prime Minister's special envoy to the Middle East.

"This leaves nine more MPs. Alhamdulillah, I understand all government MPs will be given the responsibility to manage GLCs," Malaysiakini quoted Takiyuddin as saying.

"This is because all of them are qualified. They are MPs."

Assuming that the government has 114 parliamentarian seats and that Takiyuddin's statement is true, that would mean at least 45 MPs from the ruling government will get plum jobs at GLCs.

This is on top of the current big size of the Cabinet, which has 69 ministers and deputy ministers - 18 more positions than Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad's Pakatan Harapan administration.

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department (Parliament and Law) Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan.

Image via Azhar Ramli/New Straits Times

The news has come as a shock to many political analysts as GLC appointments can be viewed as "political rewards" in exchange for political loyalty

Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS) pointed out that rewarding MPs with high-salary GLC top posts "creates room for cronyism, patronage, abuse of power, and corruption", reported The Malaysian Reserve.

"It indicates that political affiliation may become the sole criterion in these appointments," said the libertarian think tank.

A political scientist from Sunway University, Wong Chin Huat, echoed the same, saying such an arrangement proves that the government MPs control Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin as much as he controls them, reported Malaysiakini.

The Perikatan Nasional (PN) government was formed after a week-long political manoeuvre, dubbed as the 'Sheraton Move', with the sole intention to take down Pakatan Harapan (PH).

"Putting them on the government's payroll is to buy off Parliament to give PN unchecked powers," said Wong.

Another political scientist from Universiti Putra Malaysia, Mohamad Izani Mohd Zain, added that PN did not come into power with a manifesto or through an election, thus it allows the coalition to go on its campaign of political appointments without restraint.

PH had in the past repeatedly criticised the appointment of politicians to head GLCs and government entities

When PH came into federal power after the 14th General Election (GE14), they walked the talk by appointing several non-politically affiliated technocrats, such as banker Hasnita Hashim as the MARA chairperson and ex-diplomat Noor Farida Mohd Ariffin as the Human Resources Development Fund (HRDF) chairperson.

However, after some time, the coalition appointed some DAP members to hold GLC top posts.

Image via Malaysiakini

PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim recently commented that the public is welcome to criticise the former government's decision, but he clarified that only MPs with impressive academic and professional credentials were given the jobs.

"We did not make it a rule that every single appointee must be political in nature. Although we can be questioned in some decisions, but certainly, the excesses the government propose now is unprecedented and indefensible," The Star quoted Anwar as saying.

He said that awarding MPs with GLC top posts during the COVID-19 pandemic is "a crime" to the nation.

"If you make it a rule that every single MP will be given additional position and perks when people are struggling to eat, this is to me a crime and therefore, we will oppose this," Anwar said on Tuesday, 14 April.

A day earlier, 13 April, former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak hit back at PH's rhetoric, citing news reports that Dr Mahathir had once pledged not to appoint politicians to plum jobs but later broke the promise.

As of now, four politicians from the government have been given chairman positions in GLCs, while more are rumoured to come next week

Image via SAYS

Four of which are MPs from different parties:

Sabak Bernam MP (Bersatu)
Mohd Fasiah Mohd Fakeh appointed as the chairman of the Social Security Organisation (SOCSO).

2. Tasek Gelugor MP (Bersatu)
Datuk Shabudin Yahaya appointed as the chairman of the Federal Land Consolidation and Rehabilitation Authority (FELCRA).

3. Machang MP (UMNO)
Datuk Ahmad Jazlan Yaakub appointed as the chairman of the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB).

4. Pasir Mas MP (PAS)
Ahmad Fadhli Shaari appointed as the chairman of Skills Development Fund Corporation (PTPK).

Image via SAYS

Citing sources close to the matter, New Straits Times reported there are other MPs rumoured to be appointed to GLC top posts as well:

Arau MP (UMNO)
Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim rumoured to be appointed as the chairman of FGV Holdings.

6. Gua Musang MP (UMNO)
Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, or more popularly known as Ku Li, rumoured to be appointed as the chairman of Petronas.

7. Padang Terap MP (UMNO)
Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid rumoured to be appointed as the chairman of Telekom Malaysia (TM).

8. Tanjong Karang MP (UMNO)
Tan Sri Noh Omar rumoured to hold a high position in the Malaysia International Shipping Corporation (MISC).

9. Besut MP (UMNO)
Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh rumoured to hold a high position in the Federal Land Development Authority (FGV).

10. Gerik MP (UMNO)
Datuk Hasbullah Osman rumoured to hold a high position in Syarikat Perumahan Negara (SPNB).

11. Batang Lupar MP (PBB)
Datuk Seri Rohani Karim rumoured to hold a high position in Padiberas Nasional (BERNAS).

Meanwhile, at least 33 top officials from 14 GLCs have or are going to be removed

Khazanah Nasional office in Putrajaya.

Image via Enterprise TV

Universiti Malaya Political Economy professor Terence Gomez compiled a list of outgoing GLC top officials, vacating top positions in Khazanah Nasional, MARA, Bank Rakyat, and even Bernama.

"A whole slew of GLC appointments is expected in the coming weeks," said Terence.

On 9 March, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced his Cabinet line-up comprising a total of 69 members:

Read more stories about the Sheraton Movement here:

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