Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Position of PM’s special officers in government-linked firms criticised - The Star

May 28, 2008

THE presence of the Prime Minister’s special officers as board members in government-linked companies came under heavy criticism in the Dewan.

Saifuddin Nasution Ismail (PKR – Machang) questioned why the Prime Minister’s special officers and political secretaries should be appointed as board members of these companies when such posts could be given to government officers from ministries, whose activities were related to the agencies.

Citing Malaysia Resources Corp Bhd, Utusan Melayu (Malaysia) Bhd, Malaysia Biotech Corp and Inno Bio Ventures Sdn Bhd as some of the companies which had the Prime Minister’s officials as directors, he said:

“They are there not because they are outstanding figures in the industry. They can influence the board’s decision and compromise the respective boards' decisions.

“This is an unhealthy practice which creates a conflict of interest and makes a mockery of the Government’s push for integrity,” he said when debating the Supplementary Supply Bill.

He also questioned how it was possible for the Terengganu Government to not know anything about projects being implemented in the state after they were approved by the Federal Government.

The projects, he said, seemed to “come down from the sky”, adding:

“The Federal Government should also explain the differences in oil revenues paid to the Federal Government and those that had been allocated for Terengganu.”

Saifuddin questioned how a mentri besar had to bow to pressures and influence-peddling from “big towkays” who got big projects funded by oil money slotted for the state.

Marang MP Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang, who debated the bill later, said the Auditor-General’s report revealed that the expenses to organise the Monsoon Cup race was not reported to the Government.

“There is an element of concealment in the event’s finances and I hope the Government will reply on this and take action if any improprieties had occurred,” he added.

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