Thursday, February 10, 2011


National Economic Advisory Council (NEAC) member Datuk Dr. Zainal Azman Mohd Yusof at a forum organized by the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS) yesterday February 8, 2011 has said in no uncertain terms that politicians should not be allowed to hold senior positions in companies. 

He believes that corruption that has become synonymous with politicians can be curbed if they are not appointed to any top position in companies, notably GLC’s. 

Simply put, there is a direct correlation between corruption and the appointment of politicians to top position (for reasons best known to the government) in such companies.

Datuk Dr. Zainal Azman further cites the recent appointment of Tan Sri Isa Samad as Chairman of FELDA and describes the latter’s appointment as “a sad day’ for FELDA. Isa Samad, a former Negeri Sembilan MB and former cabinet minister was suspended from UMNO in 2005 for money politics (aka corruption). He resigned his cabinet post as result of the suspension and went into ‘limbo’.

Now Isa Samad is back in politics and having won the by-election in Bagan Pinang, Port Dickson last year. I am of the view that his appointment as FELDA’s Chairman by PM Najib has more to do with politics rather than overseeing the interest of FELDA and the plight of the settlers itself. 

I may be wrong in stating this view, but to have a person who was known to be corrupt speaks poorly of the government’s effort to stem corruption. PM Najib cannot ignore the fact that he now has a corrupt person at the helm of FELDA, and I too cannot accept that Isa Samad was a good choice. Or is Isa Samad in the eyes of PM Najib a reformed person now?

I do not wish to speak of the others that are appointed Chairman’s or Directors of GLC’s, but I am not totally convince that all of them are clean, honest and God fearing. Neither, can I deny that there are some clean, honest and God fearing politicians, some of whom are friends of mine, and they themselves have voiced their disgust and sickened by the actions of some corrupt politicians, in what they see as a betrayal of their race and religion. But I believe corruptor knows neither race nor religion. To them money and greed for wealth is all that they know.

With this clear and unambiguous statement coming from someone of the stature of Datuk Dr. Zainal Azman, I believe it has placed PM Najib in a serious dilemma. Will PM Najib take notice of Datuk Dr. Zainal Azman’s statement and act positively, or will he ignore and give it a further thought? PM Najib has to trade this very carefully. 

And my view is that if PM Najib is to act positively to Datuk Dr. Zainal Azman’s statement, this would make PM Najib unpopular and a sure loss of support. On the other hand, if PM Najib is to ignore and maintain his silence, all likeminded people, both within the party and ordinary Malaysian will jibe PM Najib as being a softie and a leader of no principle.

I may be seen to be hard in my position over this issue, but this is a matter that affects good governance, accountability and the integrity of our leaders in the eyes of the international community. There should be no compromise on issues of corruption, and if the government wants the country to be recognized as a country that is free of the evils of corruption, then PM Najib has no other option but to take on the challenge thrown to him by Datuk Dr. Zainal Azman.


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