Hands off GLCs, DAP man reminds Mukhriz

Dr Boo Cheng Hau.

PETALING JAYA: A DAP leader has questioned Kedah Menteri Besar Mukhriz Mahathir for suggesting that there is nothing wrong in politicians holding posts in government-linked companies (GLCs).

Former Johor DAP chief Dr Boo Cheng Hau said Pakatan Harapan must honour its pledge to stop political interference in GLCs.

“As an interim step to separate politics from business and economy, it is best to appoint non-political professionals and civil servants to the posts through the legislature and public scrutiny,” said Boo, who is still part of the Johor DAP top leadership.

Yesterday, Mukhriz said that the involvement of politicians in GLCs should not be viewed as political interference.

He said politicians in GLCs such as the State Farmers Organisation (PPN) and the Area Farmers Organisation (PPK) can help improve the agricultural sector.

But Boo competitiveness can be increased if business and politics are separated.

“The government cannot play both the role of economic regulator and player at the same time,” he added.

Aira Azhari of the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs said as a principle, politicians should not get involved in GLCs.

“If we start making exceptions for certain sectors like agriculture, where will the lines be drawn?

“We should not think that politicians can solve problems better than those who have been working in the industry and have shown their capabilities and expertise on the matter.”

She said there are many examples of conflicts of interests as well as corruption involving politicians in GLCs.

However, Bersih 2.0 chairman Thomas Fann meanwhile said there are factors to be considered before banning politicians from heading GLCs.

He does not see a problem if a politician is qualified and has no conflict of interest issues.

“But how would one know if the politician is qualified, or if there is no conflict of interest unless the appointment process is done by an independent committee?” he said.

“If a politician who is unqualified is appointed as political patronage, then it is wrong and against the PH promise in the manifesto, where it is stated that these appointments would be based on merit and professionalism and not on politics.”