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MINISTERS, HEADS OF GLCs & AGENCIES : ARE THEY REWARDED BASED ON ‘SHEER COMPETENCE’ OR ABILITY TO ‘SMOOTHEN CONTROVERSIES’?

Over the past month or so, there have been much news, debate and criticism about the alleged excesses of the Women & Family Development Minister, Shahrizat Jalil ….. involving the cow rearing project that had been awarded to her family company, helmed by her husband and children.

We then had the (not so) surprising announcement from the CEO of Tenaga Nasional Berhad, Che Khalib, expressing his ‘desire’ not to have his contract extended …… apparently due to the inability of the utility company to raise electricity rates in order to cover ever-rising costs.

And then of course, we had to be told by a foreign newspaper that Securities Commission chairman, Zarinah Anwar, will not be having her contract extended ……. allegedly due to the actions of her husband.

The news and speculation have been never ending …… but hold on, don’t these people, from Minister to CEO of a GLC plus a senior securities regulator have something in common?

Yes, they do …….. they have all been effectively appointed by the UMNO led government of Malaysia.

And what do you think their Key Performance Indicators would be every year?

The common KPI for all of them …….. would be to ensure that besides raising their organisation’s profile to a positively higher level, more importantly, the head honchos have to ensure that NO DISREPUTE of a material nature arises in their respective entities.

No material disrepute, conflicts or fall-outs ……. even for those transactions involving parties perceived to have vested interests of the controversial kind.  

They are expected to smoothen these glitches up with the minimal of fuss, full of classy professionalism and articulated in the most convincing manner expected from a person of that ranking.

They are not expected to run rough-shod over their peers and more importantly …… not to use undue leverage in order to obtain compliance (read: justification for their action)  …… lest they risk creating the perception of practising corruption of the subtlest kind!  

Most importantly, they cannot compromise fundamental or sacred issues in order to meet their objectives, notwithstanding its controversial nature!

That would be sacrilege!

Once anyone of them falls into the trap …… of doing exactly what is NOT expected of them …… they become a liability to the very entity that appointed them in the first place i.e. UMNO!

Retaining these ‘out of line’ individuals would tantamount to tying a rope (connected to a slab) around the ‘neck’ of UMNO and throwing that slab into the sea!

Based on the above criteria, it is quite clear as to who UMNO would retain or replace!

I do wonder if this has anything to do with the perception of weakness or compromise amongst Malaysia’s key institutions, agencies and corporations e.g. judiciary, MACC, etc!

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