Tun Abdul Hamid Mohamad


With respect, in Malaysia, many individuals go into politics because they want to make money quickly. The easiest way, it seems to them, is to use power to make money. To them, power is everything, the short-cut means to get rich. They have little respect for the law, the rules and ethics. To them, power supersedes all. It is “who” that matters, not “what” because “who” may or may not be able to give them what they want while “what” will only tell them what is right and what is wrong, which they are not interested in.

Every politician who has succeeded to hold a post in the party hierarchy generally aims for or expects a government post, as minister, deputy minister, political secretary etc. But, there are not enough posts for everybody, despite the fact that the number of ministers and deputy ministers have been increased tremendously over the years to meet the demands of the component parties and to please and pacify those wielding political power.

In addition, there are those who are already holding posts in the Government and whose terms have “expired” or who, for some reasons, should to be removed from their posts.

Besides, there are also those political heavyweights who lose in the general election and they have to be given something.

How do our leaders solve this problem?

Over the years, they are given the posts of Chairmen in GLCs and government agencies. They are appointed not because of their integrity or expertise in the particular field but simply to give them a good pay as compensation for not being able to offer them a government post or for removing them from government post.
So, to begin with, they are appointed not because they are suitable for the posts. If they just sit and collect their pay and allowances every month, letting the professionals to run the company or agency and do not interfere in the management, their presence would not affect the company or agency adversely.
Unfortunately, they don’t. They are used to wielding power and getting more. That is when abuse of power or misuse of public funds comes in. As a result, we read one scandal after another in GLCs or government agencies involving such political appointees. Surprisingly, they are not charged in court but are quietly removed from their posts.
I think enough is enough. For the sake of the country, this practice has to be stopped. GLCs and government agencies must be run by professionals with the necessary professional qualifications and the relevant working experience. Politicians should be confined to political posts. If there are not enough political posts for them, it only means that they are not good enough for such posts or there are too many of them. They should try something else.
In any event, joining politics to earn a living is starting on a wrong premise. They should build their own careers first. When they are economically and financially stable, only then they should go into politics. They do not have to be Donald Trumps. At least, they should have a steady income to fall back on and sufficient funds to maintain their own family. If they can’t even provide for their own family, how do you expect them to bring prosperity to the nation?
There should be no compromise when it comes to appointment of people to run a GLC or government agency. Integrity must be the first criteria. Of course, integrity comprises honesty and free from allegation of wrong doing of any kind. The second criterion is professional qualifications, expertise and relevant working experience. Political consideration is totally irrelevant for a post in a GLC or government agency. Such posts are not for politicians unless they have all the qualifications mentioned above.
Unfortunately, many politicians, whether they are in the government or the opposition, place their personal interests above everything else. As a result, they are prepared to compromise their principles, if any, and embrace their sworn enemies if it benefits them. Such politicians only have two short term considerations: (1) what do I get; and (2) what do I lose.
30 06 2017
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