PETALING JAYA: A political analyst is of the opinion that it would be difficult for any government, including the Perikatan Nasional administration, to shed the perception that political appointments are to reward individuals for their support.
Azmi Hassan also said it is tough to convince the people that such appointments are actually based on merit, even if the government were to explain the matter at length.
This is especially so when those appointed are MPs.
“There is still this stigma that every political appointment is to reward the appointee,” he told FMT, adding that there were always those who were more qualified for a post compared with politicians who were appointed.
“It becomes more complicated when it involves a parliamentarian and in a scenario where the PN government is in need of support from government MPs, there is bound to be accusations that the appointments were made to garner support.”
Azmi, however, did not dismiss the notion that some organisations needed political clout and on that basis, such appointments would be welcomed, especially if the said individual had the expertise and qualifications.
On Tuesday, Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Aziz said all political appointments were made based on qualifications, experience and expertise “as part of good governance”.
Tengku Zafrul had said this in response to a query from his predecessor, Lim Guan Eng, who asked what measures were being taken to address the decision by Fitch Ratings to downgrade Malaysia’s credit rating.
Lim said the federal budget failed to overcome the dip in credit metric, especially political stability, and the failure to adopt good governance and transparency could be seen in directors being replaced at GLCs with political appointees.
Azmi disagreed with Lim, saying that the downgrade by Fitch was based on two factors – the country’s gross domestic product and political instability.
Meanwhile, Awang Azman Pawi, a political analyst from Universiti Malaya, said the PN government’s statement that it had been more transparent with its political appointments compared with Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Harapan would not be able to win over the people.
This was because the ruling coalition had made too many such appointments.
“Plus, most of them are fresh faces who are not known to the people and this creates doubt,” he said.
Awang Azman said political appointments were not against the law. However, he said, PN must ensure that their political appointments comprise those who can perform well and push the agency they are in to greater heights.