DAP calls for freeze until parliamentary approval for the appointment of
Effendi Norwawi as Higher Education Envoy with Ministerial status, as it
undermines the principles of parliamentary responsibility and Cabinet
accountability of Ministers
by Lim Kit Siang
(Petaling Jaya, Friday): The appointment of former Agriculture Minister Datuk Seri Effendi Norwawi as Higher Education Envoy with Ministerial status undermines the principles of parliamentary responsibility and Cabinet accountability of Ministers, as he is not a Member of Parliament and does not have to attend Cabinet meetings.
His appointment could not have come at a worse time, when the 2004 general election pledge of the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi for accountability, transparency and good governance has come under a cloud because of the arrogant, high-handed and opaque attitude of the Works Minister, Datuk Seri S.Samy Vellu in the mishandling of the RM238 million Middle Ring Road Two (MRR2) Kepong flyover closure scandal, causing sufferings to hundreds of thousands of Malaysians.
Abdullah should not easily forget that despite his landslide March general election victory giving him an unprecedented nine-tenth parliamentary majority, his first Cabinet was greeted with nation-wide dismay and disapproval, not only for his retention of unpopular Ministers but for its jumbo size of 93 Ministers, Deputy Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries – or almost every one of two Barisan Nasional MPs.
Now, there is another appointment with Cabinet rank but not
in Parliament or Cabinet, whose functions are so vague and unclear that the
Chief Secretary to the Government, Tan Sri Samsudin Osman, is quite in the
dark about the purpose of such an appointment, this morning pleading for
“more time to refine the contract terms for Effendi”, before framing the
letter of offer to Effendi as Higher Education Envoy with Ministerial
Is this vague job specification justification enough for the creation of a special super post with Cabinet status, virtually answerable to no one?
DAP calls for the freeze on the creation of the super Cabinet-rank post of Higher Education Envoy until Parliament has the opportunity to fully debate and approve it, as well as the implications of similar appointments on the principles of Cabinet and parliamentary responsibility..
* Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader,
Member of Parliament for Ipoh Timor & DAP National Chairman