Political appointees by ‘unity government’ go much deeper than Muhyiddin’s or Ismail Sabri’s administrations

Jobs for the boys, as Mat Sabu politicizes agriculture


Agriculture and Food Security Minister Mohamad Sabu (centre) with those appointed to lead major agriculture-related agencies under his ministry in Putrajaya. Photo: Facebook

To compound the long list of political appointees to government linked companies (GLCs), agencies, and as advisors in ministries, the Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Mohamed Sabu just appointed a number of political hacks to lead agriculture based agencies.

Three Amanah politicians were appointed to head agencies under the MOAFS. They were Faiz Fadzil as the chairman of the Fisheries Development Authority, and Mahfuz Omar as the chairman of the Farmers’ Organization Authority. Both men stood for election under Pakatan Harapan in the last general election, and were defeated. Aminuddin Zulkipli, a former Amanah assemblyman in Perak, was appointed chairman of the Federal Agricultural Marketing Authority (FAMA), an important agency for the marketing of smallholder produce.

Mat Sabu appointed PKR’s Azman Ismail as chairman of the Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (MARDI), and the DAP’s Sheikh Bagharid Ali as chairman of the Malaysian Pineapple Industry Board.

Malaysia Madani Style?

Mat Sabu introducing the new political appointments said ‘I am confident of the knowledge, credibility and experience they have in leading and shouldering the trust and responsibility in supporting and ensuring reforms in line with the aspirations of Malaysia Madani’.

Prime minister Anwar Ibrahim defended the appointments by saying those appointed were qualified for the jobs, and subject to ‘stricter rules’. DAP secretary-general talking from the DAP playbook said these appointments were not business positions. Only as far back as March 26, Loke pledged there would be no political appointments to GLCs, and that statutory bodies were different.

These appointments were made, overriding Pakatan policy that there should be no political appointments to government linked companies (GLCs), government agencies, statutory bodies and ministries as advisors.

Pakatan criticized Muhyiddin’s political appointments as contravening the principles of good governance.

These new political appointments are part of a trend of this administration. UMNO’s Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki is chairman of Majlis Amanah Rakyat (MARA). Former UMNO Kepala Batas MP Reezal Merican Naina Merican is chairman of MATRADE, and Kelantan UMNO chief Ahmad Jazlan Yaakub is chairman of Felcra Bhd. PKR’s Ledang MP Syed Ibrahim Syed Noh is chairman of the Malaysian Digital Economy Corporation. PKR Balik Pulau MP Bakhtiar Wan Chik is chairman of MyCreative Ventures Sdn Bhd, under the finance ministry, and defeated PKR Kapar MP Abdullah Sani Abdul Hamid, is the chairman of Tekum Nasional.

These all make a mockery of Loke’s March 26 statement.