Change rules on political appointments, says ex-Transparency chief

Former federal territories minister Khalid Samad had appointed his political aide to DBKL’s advisory board.

PETALING JAYA: A former head of Transparency International Malaysia has called on the government to revise the rules on political appointments to government bodies, after the composition of Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) came under scrutiny over its inclusion of a former minister’s political aide who is being investigated for corruption.

Ramon Navaratnam, who is also a former honorary adviser to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, said the appointment of an Amanah man who was the political secretary to former federal territories minister Khalid Samad could be seen as a conflict of interest and cronyism.

“It will raise questions of objectivity, impartiality and integrity. Even if everyone conducts themselves professionally, it will affect public perception. It is not a post in a political party, it should not be filled by politicians but professionals.There’s simply no reason to appoint a politician,” he said.

DBKL comes under the purview of the federal territories minister.

Police recently arrested Azli Yusuf, who was political secretary to former federal territories minister Khalid Samad, over an investigation into allegations of bribery and fraud.

Ramon Navaratnam

Khalid said Azli was a victim of a broker who had used the aide’s name. He later said he had appointed Azli to DBKL’s advisory board.

“When things like this happen, regardless of the outcome, it reflects badly on the person who appointed him, their party and administration,” said Navaratnam.

He said the new Perikatan Nasional administration and Khalid’s successor in federal territories ministry should be wary of such practices and avoid them.

Putrajaya should come up with rules and best practices to bar the appointment of politicians, and avoid any conflict of interest or cronyism, Navaratnam added.

“Often the focus is on politicians heading government agencies or government-linked companies. This is wrong too and should be stopped.

“We must also not forget about political appointments to smaller positions. The bottom line is that we have produced a sufficient number of professionals to fill positions in government agencies and government-linked companies.”

Politicians should stick to politics, he said.

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