Saturday, October 12, 2013

Call for Putrajaya to explain duplicity of political appointments in public office

Source: (BY JOSEPH SIPALAN, 11/10/2013)
Lim Lip Eng said Putrajaya has so far not given any explanation as to why there is a need to have senior politicians fill in portfolios that are already covered. — Picture by Saw Siow FengKUALA LUMPUR, Oct 11 — The government must justify the duplication of roles in appointing former and current politicians into public office, otherwise the appointments are merely a waste of public funds, Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng said today.
He said Putrajaya has so far not given any explanation as to why there is a need to have senior politicians fill in portfolios that are already covered by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s administration.
Referring to a written parliamentary reply by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim, Lim said the government is spending over RM174,000 a month just on the salaries and allowances for seven political appointees.
“If they have a solid reason for the appointments, I think the public will accept it. If not, it is just a waste of public funds,” he said at a press conference here.
Lim’s criticism comes at a time when the government is under fire for a laundry list of fiscal mismanagement as highlighted by the Auditor-General’s 2012 Report released earlier this month.
Among the issues raised by the report include over RM11 million overpaid to national telco Telekom Malaysia Berhad and the loss of some RM1.3 million in police assets, which inspector-general of police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar claimed had “fallen into the sea”.
In his written reply, Shahan had listed a host of familiar names among the seven political appointees, including ex-Information, Communication and Culture Minister Tan Sri Rais Yatim, who is now a social and cultural adviser to the government.
Also on the list were Umno’s Datuk Seri Jamaluddin Jarjis as the prime minister’s adviser and special envoy to the United States; ex-MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu as special envoy to India and South India on Infrastructure; ex-MCA president Tan Sri Ong Ka Ting as special prime ministerial envoy to China; and Umno’s Datuk Mohd Johari Baharum as a special prime ministerial adviser on the Northern Corridor economic project.
Completing the list were Tan Sri Dr Abdullah Md Zin as religious adviser to the prime minister and Datuk Seri Sharizat Abdul Jalil as adviser on women’s entrepreneurial and professional development.
Their pay packages range from RM20,000 a month to RM27,227.20 a month, Shahidan had said.
The problem, Lim said today, was that all the appointees  except for Rais and ohd Johari held positions that were already being cared for by others who are in government.
He questioned Putrajaya’s special need for Jamaluddin, Samy Vellu or Ong, noting that Malaysia has long established embassies or high commissions in the US, India and China respectively.
The DAP lawmaker also queried Dr Abdullah’s appointment when Najib had already created a ministerial post under his Prime Minister’s Office to specifically handle Islamic affairs.
Lim added that Sharizat’s appointment made no sense as the Cabinet should not have accepted her resignation as women, family and community development minister in the first place if they felt she was an asset to the government.
“Why the duplicity in the roles? Does it mean that the existing people who are handling the portfolios cannot perform their jobs?” he said.
Related news: ‘Why appoint Samy, Ong as special envoys?’

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