PH political appointees should resign, says PKR’s Wong Chen

PKR’s Subang MP Wong Chen says political appointees should step down once there is a change of government.

PETALING JAYA: A PKR MP has suggested that political appointees by the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government step down given the change in administration, after a week-long crisis which saw Muhyiddin Yassin replace Dr Mahathir Mohamad as prime minister.

Subang MP Wong Chen told FMT that PH should not have made political appointments in the first place, especially in the case of MPs.

He was commenting on a Malaysiakini report in which DAP chairman Tan Kok Wai said the party had decided that its members and leaders would not quit their positions in government regulatory bodies.

Tan, the Cheras MP, said this was because PH was the legitimate government which had received the people’s mandate in the 14th general election.

Wong said MPs should not have been made political appointees but instead deployed in parliamentary select committees and diplomatic friendship groups.

“If these people in government bodies and government-linked companies were purely political appointees and not based on merit or ability, then logic dictates that once the political landscape changes, these appointees have to step down.

“My ultimate wish going forward, whichever government is in charge, is that the culture of political appointments in Malaysia will stop completely.”

Universiti Malaysia Sabah’s Lee Kuok Tiung also said PH’s political appointees should resign.

“Before GE14, PH said there would be no more political appointees in GLCs and that these companies must be headed by professionals. But what did we see in the past 21 months?”

PH’s critics had hit out at the coalition’s political appointments throughout its time in power, including the appointment of former DAP member Hew Kuan Yau as the Malaysia-China Business Council CEO and the appointment of Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdulla, who is Mahathir’s lawyer, as Penang Regional Development Authority chairman.

PPBM Supreme Council member Redzuan Yusof however said it was more important that political appointees remain non-partisan.

“As long as they are non-partisan in carrying out their duties in the regulatory bodies, I think it’s fine,” said Redzuan, who is aligned with Muhyiddin.

“I believe if they can stick to the job and not bring politics into the picture, they will actually provide a healthy check and balance to the government of the day.”

Redzuan said the focus now was on doing what was best for the country, which should include putting politics on the back burner.

“I think it’s unfair for people to cast aspersions on Tan Sri’s administration before he can even begin,” he said, referring to criticism of Muhyiddin and his new government.

“Enough politics, let’s get to work. Now is not the time to worry about individual positions, we need to get the country back on track.”