This issue was raised by economist Datuk Zainal Aznam Mohd Yusof (NEAC), who called such a move real reform to denying politicians of the opportunity to head GLCs. He also believed that reform could be achieved if there was a blanket ban on the appointment of politicians to head GLCs.
“Why not say politicians cannot be appointed, no matter which political divide you are from, or whether or not you are corrupt?” Zainal Azman had said at a forum in Kuala Lumpur, in reference to the appointment of former Umno vice-president TS Mohd Isa Samad as chairman of Felda effective January 1 this year.
The Umno disciplinary board in 2005 had suspended Mohd Isa’s membership for three years after he was found guilty of money politics during party elections.
At the same forum, Maybank Investment chief executive officer Tengku Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz said the appointment of Mohd Isa had been unsettling news for the market.
DS Najib has defended selecting politicians to head government-linked companies (GLC), saying they were appointed based on their competence and not because of their background, the government was not bound by any policy, such as denying politicians of the opportunity to head GLCs.
The government makes the appointment based on the competence of an individual, regardless of whether he or she is a corporate person, former government officer or ex-politician.
Najib said there were politicians who possessed qualifications, such as a Masters in Business Administration (MBA), were experienced in the corporate field, were seasoned in administering ministries and so on.
Technically these economist and Maybank CEO are the manager type leaders. They know ABC management and technically superior in their fields. But beyond that they know nothing the way leaders think. The way UMNO politicians think.
You cannot simply pick up any politicians from no matter which divide you are from. The government must pick up politicians who know the philosophy of managing GLCs suit to UMNO objectives. What are UMNO objectives? 53 years after independence , UMNO had manage Malaysia well so to speak.
For stategic GLCs of course, the goverment needs to appoint the politician that UMNO trusts most. After all DS Najib as PM knows his decision making is based on high input informations. Especially for Felda matters.
However, Felda, whose chairmen have normally come from Umno, is not a GLC but a federal agency in charge of land development that caters predominently to Malays.
It came under attack by Pakatan Rakyat leaders last July when Putrajaya admitted the authority’s cash reserves had plunged from RM4.08 billion in 2004 to RM1.35 billion in 2009 where these diminishing value due to the world economics recession.
Felda currently administers about 480 settlements nationwide with 112,635 settlers. TS Mohd Isa is the best UMNO politician who knows well how to manage Felda not only the wellbeing of Felda but also the wellfare of settlers and to retain their support to UMNO in the next general election.