‘Why appoint Samy, Ong as special envoys?’

Leven Woon, FMT

DAP’s Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng questioned the need for Putrajaya to appoint BN politicians as second ambassadors to foreign countries that is costing taxpayers RM20,000 to RM27,000 per individual per month.

He said it is redundant to appoint former MIC president S Samy Vellu, former MCA president Ong Ka Ting and Rompin MP Jamaluddin Mohd Jarjis as special envoys to South Asia and India, China and the US respectively.

“If we already have ambassadors in those countries, why do we need to appoint another special envoy to these countries? If people like Samy Vellu and Ong have vast experiences in dealing with the India and China governments, why don’t we appoint them straight as ambassador?

“We can have two ambassadors to one country, so by the same token can we have two prime minister as well?” he asked at a media conference today.

He said when the question was posed to the government, the reply he got was that it was because Malaysia’s ambassador to China Iskandar Sarudin does not speak Mandarin.

Citing a parliamentary reply, he added that a special envoy post carries the weight of a minister, and the positions were only created after Najib Tun Razak became prime minister in 2009.

On top of the three special envoys, there were four other BN politicians appointed to advisory or special envoys positions in the Prime Minister’s Department:

  1. Rais Yatim as special advisor on social and cultural issues, with RM27, 227.20 monthly allowance
  2. Johari Baharum, as special advisor to the Northern Corridor Economic Region, with RM21,500 allowance
  3. Abdullah Mohd Zin, as advisor on religion issues, with RM25,106 monthly allowance
  4. Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, as advisor to women development and entrepreneurship, with RM27,227.20 monthly allowance.

Lim asked why the government is flip-flopping on Shahrizat, having accepted her resignation as women minister last year after NFC scandal but only to re-appoint her to the same portfolio again.

“If she is still an asset to the government, they shouldn’t have accepted her resignation in the first place,” he said.

He also said the advisory posts of Shahrizat, Rais and Abdullah Mohd Zin also overlapped with those of a minister.