Tengku Zafrul: Political appointments based on merits

pic by BERNAMA

POLITICAL appointments in government-linked companies (GLCs) and statutory bodies are made based on the qualifications, experience and expertise of the individuals.

Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz (picture) told the Dewan Rakyat that the appointments were not solely based on political interest, but on the policies and regulations under the Malaysian Code of Corporate Governance 2017 (MCCG).

“Regarding the issue of good governance practices, any appointment of board members of a company, including politicians, is made based on suitability in terms of their qualifications, experience and expertise.

“The appointments must also go through various screenings by Bursa Malaysia Bhd, Securities Commission Malaysia, Bank Negara Malaysia, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission and Royal Malaysia Police,” he said yesterday.

He was responding to a query by Lim Guan Eng (DAP-Bagan) on the measures to address Fitch Ratings Inc’s sudden decision to revise Malaysia’s credit rating and the governance practices in Malaysia.

There has been a precedence of appointing political figures in government-linked bodies to maintain the ruling coalition’s political base.

Under the Perikatan Nasional (PN) administration, several MPs have been appointed to helm government agencies and GLCs, including Machang MP Datuk Ahmad Jazlan Yaakub as the chairman of Malaysian Palm Oil Board and Padang Terap MP Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid as the chairman of Tenaga Nasional Bhd.

Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin took over the chairmanship of Khazanah Nasional Bhd, exactly one month after being sworn in as the eighth prime minister.

International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali and Tengku Zafrul were also appointed as directors to the board of Khazanah.

Separately, Tengku Zafrul said the government will continue to implement economic recovery initiatives through Budget 2021 which will contribute to Malaysia’s GDP growth target of 6.5% to 7.5% next year.

He added that there has been no knee-jerk reaction from the financial markets on Malaysia’s optimistic growth target as the local index and ringgit have remained stable.

“Fitch Ratings has projected a growth rate of 6.7% for Malaysia, in line with the government’s projection.

“Other institutions such as the International Monetary Fund projected growth of up to 7.8%, higher than the government’s projection. It signals confidence in the Malaysian economy to rebound,” he said.

Following an economic recovery, Tengku Zafrul said the government will implement consolidation measures and adopt fiscal sustainability guided by the Medium-Term Fiscal Framework and Fiscal Responsibility Act.