Is Malaysia suffering from ‘adviser mania’, asks Kit Siang

DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang has asked if Malaysia is suffering from an attack of “adviser mania”, following reports that the prime minister will be getting another special adviser – on health matters.

(FMT) – He wonders if Ismail Sabri Yaakob will eventually have 31 special advisers, shadowing the 38 ministers in the Cabinet, with each minister also having a special adviser.

This follows yesterday’s announcement by special functions minister Abdul Latiff Ahmad that Ismail is to get yet another special adviser to assist him, with the appointment of a health adviser.

In a written parliamentary reply, Latiff said there were three special adviser roles to the prime minister – on law and human rights, religious affairs, and health.

While Pengerang MP Azalina Othman Said and Kedah Umno chief Jamil Khir Baharom have filled up the first two roles, respectively, the special health adviser is “still in the process of being appointed”, he said.

It was previously reported that each special adviser costs the government RM50,000 a month, which is inclusive of the staff and the operations of their respective offices.

In a statement today, Lim said there may be no need for a weekly Cabinet meeting in the future, as they can be replaced by weekly special advisers’ meetings.

“What is the justification for the appointment of the prime minister’s special advisers on portfolios when there are already ministers?” he asked. “Is this not a reflection of (Ismail’s) lack of confidence in the ministers concerned?”

Lim also criticised unnecessary appointments in government-linked companies, and regional special envoys when there were ambassadors to each country.

He said it was ridiculous to have a special envoy to the Middle East “who cannot visit Saudi Arabia”.