KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 6 — An Opposition lawmaker today questioned the need for multiple appointments of “special advisers” by the federal government to give counsel on health-related matters which are seen as a waste of taxpayers’ money.
During the Budget 2022 committee stage debate for the Health Ministry, Kulai MP Teo Nie Ching also demanded the prime minister sack his ministers since they were no longer dependable.
Earlier she cited the most recent special adviser appointments to Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin — namely Datuk Rosnah Abdul Rashid Shirlin and enquired whether Rosnah was appointed due to credentials as a former deputy health minister or based on her political clout in Umno as a supreme council member.
“I am wondering why for a ministry with so many experts, with the director-general and his deputies, the minister needs to appoint three more special advisers?
“Why are they appointed and what are their expertise plus contributions? I would also like to know since their appointment, what are the wages and allowances they have received,” she said in the Dewan Rakyat today.
Rosnah, who has a legal background, is a former deputy health minister under former premier Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s government from 2009 to 2013.
She is also a former three-term Papar MP since 2004 leading up to her defeat in the 14th General Election in 2018.
Adding on, the DAP lawmaker further cited a recent disclosure which had stated that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob has three special advisers appointed including one on health.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Special Functions) Datuk Abdul Latiff Ahmad in a parliamentary written reply to Pandan MP Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail on November 13, had said that Ismail Sabri has three advisers, each costing RM50,000 including their staff.
“Not only that, even though we have a minister, two deputies and three special advisers to the health minister, the PM says he needs another special adviser on health.
“I think if the PM is distrustful of the ministers and deputies he appointed, it is better for him to sack them and appoint the special adviser as the minister,” Teo said.
A check on the Health Ministry’s director for the Minister’s Office lists Rosnah, Dimishtra Steven Sittampalam and Datuk Mohamad Iruan Zulkefli as the three special advisers appointed.
Khairy, who was appointed as Health Minister by Ismail Sabri, is assisted by two deputies — Datuk Dr Noor Azmi Ghazali and Datuk Aaron Ngo Dagang.
During the winding-up session later, Dr Noor Azmi did not reply to Teo’s queries and had stated he would do so in a written reply.