Currently there are 30 ministers and 27 deputy ministers in the cabinet handling about 24 ministries. The information can be obtained in the website of the Prime Minister’s Office.
We rued the chance of having a smaller number of ministers as bigger number doesn’t necessarily mean better quality of governmental’s performance.
In fact for the past 10 years, the quality of ministers has greatly diminished. They are now being reduced to become clowns and ridiculed whenever announcements are made.
This of course, due to the failure of communications teams as well as having limited intelligence in public relation skills vis-a vis in dealing with all media interactions.
But recently, we are overwhelmed with a new phenomenon.
This phenomenon is called – “Advisors with ministerial status”.
They are advisors who are also ministers, or in other words, they are ministers but with no ministry to govern except for giving advice directly to the Prime Minister.
We have lots of those recently.
However we would like to point out that it is not something new.
Previous Prime Ministers from the first to the fourth have appointed advisors in official status. For instance, Tun Dr. Mahathir had among others, a science advisor, a religious advisor and economic advisor during his premiership.
But these advisors did not hold ministerial status.
It seems we can have two sets of cabinet ministers; the real ministers, and the false ministers. So which directive should the civil servants obey?
After a long arduous task of justifying the benefit of having these ‘ministerial advisers’, we can conclude that they serve no purpose at all other than denting a few more million ringgit to the national coffers for the next 5 years. Certainly their existence is not practical at all.
But these are not the worst of the lot. The worst of the lot would be non-executive chairmans who are behaving like ministers.
Take for instance, Syed Hamid Albar.
He is just a NON-EXECUTIVE Chairman of Suruhanjaya Pengangkutan Awan Darat (SPAD) but often times, he is calling the shots and making announcements.
If the announcements are done with due care for the government, then it shouldn’t be a problem. But more often than not, he seemed to jumped the gun and bypassed even the Ministry of Transport when trying to promote himself.
We would like to remind Syed Hamid Albar that his position as NON-EXECUTIVE Chairman is sort of a golden handshake package for his service as politician and minister for the past dozens of years.
It is certainly not a launchpad to re-start his career in politics!
So when Syed Hamid Albar announced that there will be a review in public transportation fares by implying that there could be a price hike, he had not only deliver anxiety to the public, but had ultimately deliver another blow to the government’s public perception.
With so many impending price hikes – electricity, tolls (this is still under review) and the previous hike in petrol and sugar prices, did Syed Hamid Albar think he is giving the government a favour by throwing this curve ball?
Sometimes the best policy is to keep quiet until the matter is fully confirmed. Certainly announcing a price sensitive issue like this will create panic and more dissatisfaction among the public towards the government. And it’s just regarding a ‘review’?
Did he divulge to us about the deadline of this review? Will the outcome of this review be known next week? Or would it be next month? Or end of next year?
What if after all the study has been done, it is recommended that there shouldn’t be any price hike? Wouldn’t all this anxiety and negative public perception be unnecessary and premature?
When even the boss of KTM did not say anything and all other rail operators are looking at getting special rate for electricity usage instead of a price hike in fares (increase in electricity tariffs will increase rail’s operating cost therefore, it is better to get special rate from TNB over the usage to mitigate drastic increase).
Now isn’t that a better solution than telling the public outright that they have to fork out more on fares on top of other things that will be increased?
Even the CEO of SPAD is saying:
“We are currently studying all fare structures in the public transport sector. We will listen. We will study their proposal for a special electricity rate and probably will support it since after all, the public transport companies are providing service to the masses,” he said.
This matter is just one big public relations disaster from Syed Hamid Albar.
We think he should leave the matter to the industry experts.
We still remember how he sent a reporter to jail under the ISA and in justifying the arrest, he cited his infamous reply – “it was for her own safety”. This was during his time as the home minister in 2008.
And we would like to know why he, as a NON-EXECUTIVE Chairman is giving out all the announcements for SPAD all this while? Is he so in dire need of public attention that he has to be at the forefront of everything SPAD-ish?
Maybe Syed Hamid Albar should vacate his position as the NON-EXECUTIVE Chairman of SPAD and demote himself to become its CEO instead. Or better yet, as its Corporate Communications Manager.
Although the Transport Ministry is currently vacant and the position is temporarily filled with Hishamuddin Hussein, we doubt that it will suit him based on the negative perception surrounding his last stint as a minister.
Barisan Nasional could not afford anymore attention seekers in its fold. People can see through the desperation.