The government’s long-held practice of appointing party politicians to head government-linked companies (GLC) is a matter of concern.
This is expressed in the ‘strongest possible terms’ by the Anti-Corruption Advisory Board of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) in a statement released today.
“In every instance, they (politicians who head GLCs) have fallen well below the ethical standards we have come to expect from those in positions of trust,” the advisory board’s chairman Tunku Abdul Aziz Tunku Ibrahim said.
“Politicians, by and large, bring to the job the political habits and practices of a lifetime, practices from a different culture, and a different environment which are at variance with the requirements of disciplined corporate leadership, based on uncompromising trust,” he added.
However, the board acknowledged that there are exceptional cases where politicians ‘may with absolute justification be appointed’.
These exceptional cases, the board said, are politicians with an unblemished reputation for personal integrity, possessing appropriate high level experience in large business organisations, and who have an exemplary record to show of promoting and practicing good governance.
However, with regards to the general practice of appointing politicians to head GLCs, the board opined that the government has a clear duty to do away with this unhealthy practice which is not helping in the fight against corruption.
Previously, in his personal capacity, Tunku Abdul Aziz told Bernama that in order to keep graft in check, politicians should not be appointed to run GLCs.
Speaking to the national news wire in February this year, Tunku Abdul Aziz said politicians who hold GLC positions may face conflict of interest leading to abuse of power and responsibility.
Meanwhile, the Anti-Corruption Advisory Board urged the MACC to investigate reported corruption in Felda Global Ventures Holdings (FGV) with due care and attention, without fear or favour.
“What is happening at FGV is a matter of immense public interest; after all it is one of Malaysia’s important national corporate institutions.
“The ongoing full blown turf war has seen the company’s market capitalisation drop dramatically by at least RM1.1 billion,” Tunku Abdul Aziz said in the same statement today.
He also expressed the board’s concern on claims of possible corruption at FGV, including those made by its suspended CEO, Zakaria Arshad.
In related development, the board welcomed the upsurge of confidence in the MACC as shown by the requests to probe suspected corrupt practices at FGV.
“The Advisory Board will give the MACC its unequivocal support and every encouragement to carry out its investigations thoroughly, without fear or favour, with its usual due care and attention for which it has deservedly earned a name for itself,” Tunku Abdul Aziz said.
FGV made headlines recently after its CEO was forced to go on leave pending investigation into payments by its subsidiary Delima Oil Products Sdn Bhd.
The government then announced it had appointed Idris Jala as an independent party to scrutinise the suspension of Zakaria and three others by FGV’s board.