The Coalition for Free and Clean Election]or Bersih reprehends three appointments of parliamentary members as heads of Government-Linked Companies (GLCs). The appointments were made by the Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, a politician from the UMNO Party. The three members of parliament appointed are Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki, former UMNO Youth Chief, as the new chairperson of Majlis Amanah Rakyat (Mara), Ahmad Jazlan Yaakob, Kelantan Umno Chief, as the chairperson of Felcra, and Dato Husam Musa as Syarikat Perumahan Negara Bhd (SPNB) chairperson.
“These appointments were announced in the middle of UMNO’s party election and ahead of the upcoming state elections, thus may potentially be perceived as patronage and ‘rewards’ in exchange for support”, said the chairperson of Bersih, Thomas Fann, as quoted from the press release received by rumahpemilu.org on Monday (3/20).
According to a study conducted by Bersih in 2021, government-linked companies (GLCs) have been used to gain political support. At least 25 politicians were appointed as directors in govenment-linked companies during the 2018-2020 Pakatan Harapan government, and 53 politicians were appointed during the Perikatan Nasional government.
“We remind Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim of his initial attempt to streamline GLCs appointment process and combat cronyism”, said Thomas.
Bersih encourages reform of the process of appointing the heads of GLCs or statutory bodies. This is intended so that the process run transparently and appointments are based on relevant qualifications and capabilities.
Three things proposed by Bersih are first, prohibiting of appointment of elected parliamentary member in Government-linked companies. Such prohibiton has already been implemented in India and South Korea.
Second, establishment of a Parliamentary Select Committee to monitor and vet nominations. This committee will allow transparency and ensure that the qualified candidates are appointed through a due process.
Third, enactment of an Act that provide clear definition of GLCs and Government-linked Investment Companies (GLICs) that are applicable in both federal and state levels. Alternatively, the existing regulations such as the Companies Act may be amended to achieve such purpose.
Fourth, the government is committed to implementing an open appointment mechanism.
“Although we may not completely prohibit politicians from holding positions in the GLC or statutory bodies, there should be reforms to the appointment process so that each appointment is made transparently after the candidates have undergone vetting to ensure they have the right qualifications and abilities, and not just 'politics rewards'. ' in exchange for support,” concluded Thomas. 
This news is translated by Catherine Natalia.