Mustapha Mohamed’s appointment as adviser to Finance Ministry a bad precedent as it is a position without accountability

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling Jaya, Tuesday): Finance Minister, Tun Daim Zainuddin should give a satisfactory explanation during his presentation of 2000 Budget in Parliament on Friday for the appointment of former second Finance Minister, Datuk Mustapha Mohamed as adviser to Finance Ministry after his defeat in the recent general election  as it creates a bad precedent as an appointment without accountability.

Although Tun Tan Siew Sin and Daim himself had previously been appointed Economic Adviser to the Government, this was after they had stepped down as Finance Ministers and not because they had been defeated in a general election.

Mustapha’s appointment as Adviser to the Finance Ministry would be the first appointment of its kind, as this would be the first time an adviser is appointed to a Ministry, as Siew Sin and Daim were previously appointed as Adviser to the Government coming directly under the Prime Minister.

Is Mustapha going to set a precedent whereby Ministers defeated in a general election could be appointed as Advisers to the Ministries they had headed previously, as for instance the appointment of Datuk  Seri Megat Jund Megat Ayub as Adviser to the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs and  Datuk Annuar Musa as Adviser to the Ministry of Rural Development?

Datuk Paduka Abdul Hamid Othman, who was defeated by Professor Datuk Shannon Ahmad in Sik, Kedah has already be re-appointed a Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department through the parliamentary backdoor of the Senate.

In any event, what are Mustapha’s duties and functions (and remuneration) as adviser to the Finance Ministry, and couldn’t  these duties be performed by the political and  the civil service leadership in the Finance Ministry?

Mustapha’s appointment smacks too much of the creation of  "jobs for the boys" for Barisan Nasional candidates defeated in the general election at the public taxpayers’ expense.

Last week, Mustapha said that he will help the Finance Ministry to speedily implement Budget 2000 which will be retabled in Parliament on Friday.

Daim has two deputy ministers, Datuk Dr Haji Shafie Haji Mohd Salleh and  Datuk Chan  Kong Choy and one parliamentary secretary Hashim Ismail for the Finance Ministry. Is the political team in the Finance Ministry so weak that he needs to rope in Mustapha as adviser to the Finance Ministry to "speedily implement Budget 2000"?

If  Mustapha’s services in the Finance Ministry is so indispensable, then the Barisan Nasional should create a parliamentary vacancy for  Mustapha to  contest in a by-election to return to the Dewan Rakyat so that he could be re-appointed as Second Finance Minister and be  be accountable directly to Members of Parliament.  Or is the Barisan Nasional leadership worried that Mustapha would not be able to win in such a by-election?


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman