Just two days after Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim had axed all political appointees to government-linked companies and government-linked investment companies, Deputy Prime Minister Zahid Hamidi announced the reappointment of former Machang MP Ahmad Jazlan Yaakub as Felcra chairman.
Ahmad Jazlan’s tenure had been terminated two days earlier following a collective cabinet decision on 14 December to terminate all political appointments, which were a drain on the economy of the country.
Zahid was bound by the cabinet decision, but he chose to ignore it and reappoint Ahmad Jazlan in total defiance of the cabinet decision. It was sheer arrogance of power that blinded him to his responsibility to the cabinet decision.
His action was tantamount to showing the middle finger to Anwar and his cabinet.
It is clearly the infamous Umno DNA taking over – which doesn’t respect the decisions of the highest authority in Umno, the delegates’ conference. The supreme council had acted contrary to an earlier decision of the Umno delegates conference – regarding cooperation with Pakatan Harapan – without any consequence. It is this DNA that came into play when Zahid unilaterally appointed Ahmad Jazlan.
Anwar’s predecessor, Ismail Sabri Yaakob, had made 234 appointments from August 2021 to September 2022. These were political rewards to buy loyalty and support for Ismail Sabri to remain as then PM. These appointments were not based on the competence or the qualification of the appointees, which would have enhanced the performance of the government-linked companies and government-linked investment companies and yielded profits for these firms to benefit the nation.
Zahid said although the cabinet had decided to terminate the contracts of political appointees to government-linked companies, he believed that Ahmad Jazlan should continue in the position irrespective of the cabinet decision.
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Going against the cabinet decision is nothing short of insolence. Zahid was being insensitive and couldn’t be bothered to respect the cabinet decision. His action shows he is not a team-player and he doesn’t respect and honour his fellow cabinet members.
He is in the cabinet not because he possesses any extraordinary skills or competence; he is there because of some political arrangement and realignment, not because of any special ability.
He is the deputy PM not because he and his party, Barisan Nasional, won the recent general election, but because the 30 BN MPs facilitated the formation of the ‘unity government’.
It is a good thing that Anwar has put the appointment of Ahmad Jazlan on hold. He should never allow this appointment to come into effect. That would be insulting the cabinet decision and condoning a wrong.
Zahid had defied the cabinet and insulted Anwar, the Prime Minister. His action runs counter to the collective responsibility of cabinet members and cannot be tolerated or condoned.