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KUALA LUMPUR, April 14 — PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has lambasted the move to make Perikatan Nasional (PN) MPs not holding any government positions GLC heads, calling it “unprecedented and indefensible”.
He described the measure as “excesses and nonsense” which must be stopped, especially in light of the near-economic emergency that Malaysia is facing due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
“I am of the view that if you have one or two MPs with exceptional credentials, then it can be considered (to place them as GLC heads). I do not think it will become a major issue,” Anwar said during a Facebook Live session.
However, to make it a rule wherein every single MP is given additional positions and perks is something that he deems unacceptable.
“To do so when people are struggling to eat, this to me is a crime, and therefore, we will oppose this,” Anwar said.
Likewise, when asked if PN and the former Pakatan Harapan (PH) administration differed in this respect, the Port Dickson MP said he will not defend any excesses on either side of the political divide.
“But to do justice, get the facts right. Beforehand (under Pakatan) there were many professionals with impressive academic credentials who were given offices and accompanying tasks.
“We did not make it a rule where every appointee must be political in nature. So although we can be questioned with regard to some of those decisions, it certainly cannot compare to the excesses the government is proposing now,” Anwar said.
His opinion was also sought on whether legislation can be changed or amended to allow the government to borrow for operational and development expenditure, given his background as the finance minister from 1991 to 1998, to which Anwar said he agrees if it means more space can be given to help alleviate the problems of the poor.
“But the government must take effective measures beforehand to ensure no wastage can occur. This is only achievable if all forms of exorbitant spending still ongoing in the country is stopped altogether.
“Bear in mind doing so is to move for a motion to basically deal with an emergency situation in which funds can be disbursed outside of normal financial rules. I am open and supportive to the idea but let me be frank when I say the national interest and the interest of the poor override all other political considerations,” he said.
On Sunday, Minister in the Prime Minister's Office in charge of Law Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan made the announcement regarding PN MPs as GLC heads, adding this was due to the fact all of them are qualified.
However, Takiyuddin also said the appointments will depend on legal procedure, since some GLC positions fall under the purview of the respective minister responsible while others require the assent of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.