Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar emphasises need to prioritise qualifications over party loyalty.
PETALING JAYA: Senate president Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar says the Dewan Negara cannot be a “dumping ground” for politicians who fail to win parliamentary seats during general elections.
Wan Junaidi said party loyalists are often prioritised over the best candidates when appointing senators.
“When appointing senators, it should no longer become the ground for (the prime minister) to appoint all the politicians who couldn’t get elected,” he said in an interview with The Star.
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“Just because the person is good in his party or a ‘big guy’ in the party but ‘tak laku’ (unable to win) in the constituency, you want him to become a senator?”
In the Anwar Ibrahim-led administration, five individuals who lost in the recent 15th general election were appointed as senators and subsequently assumed roles as ministers and deputy ministers.
They are Tengku Zafrul Aziz and Zambry Abdul Kadir from Umno, and Saifuddin Nasution Ismail, Fuziah Salleh and Saraswathy Kandasami from PKR.
Wan Junaidi, the former Santubong MP, said individuals with expertise in such fields as information technology, advanced technology, and artificial intelligence should be appointed as senators to contribute valuable insights when forming policies.
“When the Federal Constitution was created in 1956, information technology, advanced technology and AI were not known,” he said.
He also said it was important to appoint representatives from disenfranchised groups, such as the Orang Asli, Penan and Bajau Laut communities, who might not have the chance to serve in Parliament.