Agriculture Minister Salahuddin Ayob, on 7 June, was reported to have instructed his ministry staff not to attend any of his political event, implying also that they should not use assets belonging to the ministry.
Patriot applauds the decision of the agriculture minister as it reflects his understanding and knowledge of his dual role, ie as a minister on the one hand, and as a politician on the other. Salahuddin’s statement can be regarded as a hallmark of a true politician, one that does not take advantage of his ministerial position to project oneself as a caring and a worthy politician.
We urge the new government to take the cue from Salahuddin’s statement and to adopt it as a policy for all ministers and deputy ministers. We believe that such a policy will stop the rampant abuse that was so prevalent in the past, thus saving ministry staff from performing functions that are outside the scope of their departmental responsibilities.
Likewise, heads of departments must also issue specific instructions to their staff by defining what constitutes a political task and what does not. We have seen in the past situations where head of departments would issue instructions to their subordinate staff to attend their ministers’ political events, simply to ensure large crowds at those events.
Patriot would also like to commend the action taken by the new government to have a serious relook into the salaries and allowances of political appointees holding positions in government-linked companies. It does not make any sense for a CEO of such a company to receive a salary of RM100,000 per month and equate that to salaries in private firms.
There has to be some reasonable basis to the amount that a CEO, chairman or board members of government-linked company receives in allowances or salaries. The same goes for senior public servants that are appointed to hold positions in the board of GLCs, and to limit the number of positions that they can hold.
BG Dato Mohamed Arshad Raji (rtd) is president of Persatuan Patriot Kebangsaan.