Najib defends GLC appointments, says based on competence

By The Malaysian Insider

KUANTAN, Feb 9 – Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has defended selecting politicians to head government-linked companies (GLC), saying today they were appointed based on their competence and not because of their background.

The prime minister said that in making such appointments, the government was not bound by any policy, such as denying politicians of the opportunity to head GLCs, as urged by economist Datuk Zainal Aznam Mohd Yusof, who called such a move real reform.

“We (the government) do not have such restrictions. The government makes the appointment based on the competence of an individual, regardless of whether he or she is a corporate person, former government officer or ex-politician,” he told reporters after chairing the weekly cabinet meeting at the Pahang Foundation complex, here.

Najib said there were politicians who possessed qualifications, such as a Masters in Business Administration (MBA), were experienced in the corporate field, were seasoned in administering ministries and so on.

He was responding to a question on the statement by Zainal, a National Economic Advisory Council (NEAC) member who believed that reform could be achieved if there was a blanket ban on the appointment of politicians to head GLCs.

“Why not say politicians cannot be appointed, no matter which political divide you are from, or whether or not you are corrupt?” Zainal Azman had said at a forum in Kuala Lumpur, in reference to the appointment of former Umno vice-president Tan Sri Mohd Isa Samad as chairman of Felda effective January 1 this year.

The Umno disciplinary board in 2005 had suspended Mohd Isa’s membership for three years after he was found guilty of money politics during party elections.

At the same forum, Maybank Investment chief executive officer Tengku Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz said the appointment of Mohd Isa had been unsettling news for the market.