CM answers opposition’s charge of SS holding too much power

Sarawak Legislative Assembly Sitting, November 2017

KUCHING, Nov 17: It is acceptable for State Secretary Tan Sri Datuk Amar Mohamad Morshidi Abdul Ghani to sit in 36 statutory bodies as a director or member, says Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.

Responding to the charge by opposition lawmakers that too much power is concentrated in the State Secretary, Abang Johari explained that the State Secretary is not a person but an institution.

“I and my cabinet are very happy and appreciative of the performance and efficiency of the civil service. In hindsight, sometimes I begin to wonder if our friends from the opposition bench are running out of issues and ideas to talk in this Dewan,” he said in his winding-up speech at the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) today.


He said State Secretary is a statutory post provided in the State Constitution for which certain specific functions are prescribed, which the person holding that position must perform by himself or by committees of persons or a task force as directed by the cabinet of which he is the secretary.

“Those powers are not personal powers. The principal job of the State Secretary is to ensure that the civil service implements properly the policies of the government of the day.”

He emphasised that most of the positions held by the State Secretary are statutory positions and none of positions held by the State Secretary has infringed any state laws.

“The person sitting on the board need not necessarily be him but can be his representative acting on his behalf.

“I am also making sure that the boards of statutory bodies and GLCs c(government-linked companies) comprise government representatives as well as professionals and experts in their fields. As a result, the role of politicians is kept minimal in these statutory bodies and GLCs.”

He also added that there is no conflict of interest in the appointment of the State Secretary as a director in Petronas and he clarified that the State Secretary is not a member of PETROS.

Meanwhile, Abang Johari also explained at length on the necessity to embrace the digital economy, even though many people in remote areas do not have basic amenities such as water and electricity, which was raised in DUN.

“If a government has all the money in the world, the government will make sure that no one shall be deprived of basic amenities that now constitute a comfortable modern life. But no government in the world has all the money to do all the things it wants to do. That is the reality.”

He said it is therefore crucial for the government to go for a balanced approach towards development. — Dayak Daily