Related News: https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2023/08/27/inappropriate-for-sanusi-to-hold-8-portfolios-says-c4/
Coverage by: Free Malaysia Today (FMT)
PETALING JAYA: It is inappropriate for Kedah menteri besar Sanusi Nor to hold multiple portfolios in the new state government, says the Center to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4).
C4 chairman Edmund Terence Gomez said it was also deeply concerning that Sanusi chairs the state committee for finance as it could hinder the “check and balance” processes of the state.
“Different people should hold such crucial positions. This is to allow check and balance (within the state government), which is how a proper democratic system works,” he told FMT.
However, he acknowledged that this is not an isolated case, with Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim also serving as the finance minister in the federal government.
Gomez also said the number of portfolios in the state executive council could be reduced, pointing out that there may be overlapping responsibilities among exco members which could affect the coordination and implementation of policies.
“Since there are far too many committees, it would be better for them to merge the portfolios. The fewer committees you have, the better the coordination.
“This will facilitate the process of creating and implementing policies,” he said.
Sanusi, who is the Jeneri assemblyman, heads the committees for state planning, mineral and geoscience, land resources, finance, state-linked companies, the State Economic Action Council, development, and external relations.
Gomez expressed concern over Sanusi holding both the land resources and the mineral and geoscience portfolios, in view of allegations linking the menteri besar to the purported illegal extraction of rare earth elements (REE) in the state.
“Since there has been a series of allegations made against him involving the REE scandal, it would have been in his best interest not to take control of such a portfolio.
“Someone else should hold the portfolio so there can be a check and balance when determining how land resources are being utilised by the state. This will help inspire transparency and accountability in governance,” he said.
During the campaign for the Aug 12 state election, home minister Saifuddin Nasution Ismail linked Sanusi to the alleged illegal extraction of REE in Kedah.
Saifuddin had also urged Sanusi to explain why a company issued with a compound fine in January for stealing REE was subsequently given approval to develop a “production forest”.
Production forests are forest lands meant for logging timber and agroforestry production.