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Saturday, June 29, 2013

It’s payback time as PM dishes out goodies to Umno loyalists

Senior Umno politicians are in for a windfall, possibly as early as next week,  when Prime Minister Najib Razak rewards their loyalty with appointments as chairman and board members of Government-linked companies (GLCs) and government agencies.

Among the plum positions available are senior positions on the board of Tenaga Nasional, Telekom, Mara, Perbadanan Usahawan Nasional Berhad, Tabung Haji, PNB, government officials told The Malaysian Insider.

A list of vacancies currently available and positions soon to be available in GLCs and government agencies is being prepared for the PM.

Those in the running for chairman positions are former Federal Territories Minister Raja Nongchik, former Deputy Finance Minister Awang Adek as well as veterans Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed, Tan Sri Rais Yatim and Datuk Azeez Rahim.

The politicians to be rewarded are a mixed bag. Some, like Raja Nongchik were defeated in the general election but are still viewed by Najib as allies and likely candidates for the next general election.
Others, like Azeez of the Putera Umno wing were elected as Members of Parliament but could not be appointed to the Cabinet. And then there were a few who did not create a fuss when asked to make way for new talent and not contest the elections.
In the past, prime ministers were wary of putting too many politicians on the board of GLCs, upset that their inclusion could result in a clash of cultures and priorities with the professional management and ultimately lead to poor performance of those companies.

But Najib is having to embrace a new approach for two reasons – the long line of Umno politicians outside his office since the May 5th general election and his own party elections later this year.

In at least two occasions recently, the PM used his discretionary powers to recommend a chairman for two GLCs, overriding the list of choices offered by the incumbent GLC executives.

Among the restless are some 60 Umno division chiefs who were not fielded as election candidates on May 5th as well as giantkillers who defeated opposition bigwigs but were not rewarded with Cabinet positions and finally, those who agreed to give way to new candidates for their parliamentary seats.

Several Umno politicians have already been given senior positions in GLCs and government agencies including Datuk Ghani Othman, who was defeated by the Democratic Action Party's Lim Kit Siang in Gelang Patah. He was made the chairman recently of the one of the largest listed plantations in the world, Sime Darby.

Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop was made deputy chairman of Khazanah Nasional, the government’s strategic investment fund. 

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