Axing political appointees good move towards meritocracy, accountability, says leading corporate figure

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 16 – Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s move to end the contracts of all political appointed in government-linked companies, statutory bodies and state-investment fund is a very good move towards meritocracy and accountability, said a leading corporate figure here today.

This will remove the excess baggage and incompetency in the government system, and ensure that the trend of appointing unqualified political associates to key posts is stopped, he said, commenting on Anwar’s announcement Thursday that the contracts of all chairmen and board members of GLCs will be terminated with immediate effect.

The only unfortunate part is that this will also affect those who have been competent in their appointed positions, he told Weekly Echo on the condition of anonymity.

If there is a way to weed out those ineffective or unqualified political appointees who were merely appointed to their role as a form of reward for their loyalty to the ruling parties, this will be better rather than a sweep of all appointees.

“The ones who are making a difference to the organisations that they are serving, their position should be reconsidered,” he said, adding that it would be an onus on the new government to make changes only where there needs to be changes.

“But if something is working well, why disturb it? Competent people must be allowed to do what they are doing well,” he opined.

Meanwhile, a report in Finance Twitter said billions of ringgit were spent by the Malaysain government annually on retaining these political appointees, with their salaries and other perks running into tens of thousand ringgit monthly.   

It said these heads were everywhere, from companies under the Minister of Finance Incorporated, GLCs, statutory bodies, listed and unlisted companies, and even universities.

According to the report, there were 234 political appointments during the tenure of former prime minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, including 115 appointments made during the earlier term of Tan Sri Muhyiddin as prime minister.