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NGO reps, technocrats add value to cabinet

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NajibPETALING JAYA, May 17-  Several analysts lauded Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s decision to bring in NGO leaders and technocrats into the cabinet line up.

“These individuals will carry strong weight in the administration and help in Najib’s transformation agenda,” said Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM) political analyst Mustafa Ishak.

Yesterday, Najib unveiled his post general election cabinet line-up, which saw Maybank president Abdul Wahid Omar and Transparency International Malaysia (TI-M) president Paul Low appointed as Ministers in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).

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Hindraf supremo, P Waythamoorthy was also appointed as a deputy minister in the PMO.

Heaping laurels on the appointment, Mustafa said that individuals such as Wahid is a well respected corporate individual in the region who had played a major role in making Maybank an established bank in Malaysia.

“His track record says it all. Wahid is one man who knows what the economy and the market need. He will definitely add value to our administration,” he said.

On Waythamoorthy’s appointment, Mustafa said that it showed that the prime minister is concerned on the well-being of the Indian community and other minorities in the country.

“Waythamoorthy knows the need and the aspirations of the Indian community. He will be helpful in coming up with ideas to address the plight of the Indian community.

“Not only can we apply his ideas to bring Indians back to mainstream development but also use the same thoughts to help other minority communities in Malaysia,” he said.

As for Low, Mustafa said that the TI-M president’s appointment into the cabinet showed that the Barisan Nasional (BN) government is serious in eradicating corruption in the administration.

“If the government can curb corruption, we can bring more foreign direct investment to the country and help strengthen Malaysia’s integrity in the international arena,” he said.

Check and balance

Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) political analyst Mohamad Zaini Abu Bakar also shared Mustafa sentiments, saying bringing these non-political leaders into the administration would certainly help in Najib transformation agenda.

“It’s good to bring in NGO leaders and technocrats. We definitely need these people’s expertise in their respective fields,” he said.

Zaini added that the trio could also act as a “check and balance” from within the system and they would help facilitate the much needed reforms for the country.

Citing Wahid as an example, Zaini said that the former could bring in corporate style of administration into the public sector in order to improve efficiency.

Zaini was also particularly in favour of Low’s appointment into the cabinet and even called the latter an icon of integrity.

“Corruption can weaken governance. With a man of Low’s stature in the system, we can definitely curb leakages and facilitate in the nation’s growth.

“On top of that, the trio can also help bring the government and the people closer by improving on the delivery system,” sai Zaini.

Analyst Khoo Kay Peng also lauded the trio’s appointment into the Cabinet but warned that their image would in tatters if they failed to initiate reforms in the government.

“It’s going to be a challenge to people like Waythamoorthy. If he can’t fulfill the pledge made with Najib recently, it will not bode well for his image,” he said.

He also described Low’s appointment as a strategic move in order to show to the public that the government was serious in fighting corruption.

“But it will be tough for Low to monitor everything as a lot of procurement deals are done within the respective ministries and not necessarily scrutinised by the PMO.

“So if Low becomes another Koh Tsu Koon, then it will be another problem,” said Khoo.

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