Just when you think nothing can surprise you anymore in Malaysian politics, some news appears and it makes you so frustrated and sick at heart!
There must be many career-minded personnel in various government, semi-government and private organisations who have worked hard to climb the career ladder only to be thwarted by family members of the top guns, by those who know them or by someone adept at ‘apple polishing’. The latter group invariably land up getting the plum jobs.
It is demoralising for those who actually deserve the position because, often, these new appointees do not have relevant expertise.
When Nurul Izzah Anwar was given the job of senior adviser to her father, the prime minister and finance minister, many people felt fed up with this ‘family given jobs’ issue.
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We were about to give her the thumbs up for eventually giving up the position, only to end up frustrated she had accepted an invitation to join the secretariat of the special advisory panel to the PM.
Can somebody tell me what the difference is between these two jobs, please? When we look at the names and qualifications of those in the panel announced by the PM, how or where does Nurul Izzah fit into this group of prominent names in business and economics?
Is Nurul Izzah going to be the secretary to the panel, taking notes of all their meetings, and then she goes and advises her father about what was discussed? Maybe the chairman, Hassan Marican, could elaborate and enlighten us.
The other frustration is over the appointment of Nazri Aziz as the Malaysian ambassador to the US. Isn’t this annoying? The PM said that this was done six months ago and the deputy PM said this appointment was made during the tenure of Ismail Sabri Yaakob, the previous Prime Minister.
Were there no other better existing career diplomats to take on this all-important job? There surely must be some more qualified Malaysian diplomat who should have got this position as a promotion, rather than handing this position over to Nazri.
The deputy prime minister seems to think Nazri is a suitable person who will be able to forge closer ties between the US and Malaysia. He added Nazri would be able to arrange meetings between the prime minister and the US government or corporate leaders during the PM’s visit to US.
What relevant background does Nazri have that makes him a suitable candidate him for this position? As far as can be ascertained, he has an educational background in law and is qualified as a barrister of Lincoln’s Inn and has retired from politics since 2021.
So is this position given as a ‘gesture of thanks’ for his years of service in the government or Umno?
Nazri has been in the government under various prime ministers for many years and is not a stranger to controversy, to put it mildly. He has even made some ill-considered remarks in recent years.
Does the unity government think that having someone with such a contentious background would be an advantage to it?
Hence, Nazri’s appointment must be a huge shock and disappointment to those in the Malaysian diplomatic service.
There go opportunities for hard-working career diplomats whose promotions just got blown out of the water, because of political appointee(s)!
Sad to say, this will not be the end of these kinds of appointments as they happen all the time. Such appointments end up creating an indifference that seeps into our lifestyles and value judgements. We judge people and situations without empathy and do not have the ability to walk in another’s shoes.
Those who work hard and rise up the ranks deserve their promotions and those who get jobs because of ‘who they know’ should back off (gracefully)!
jem is an Aliran reader