Not wrong for SS to sit on many boards, says Talib

Sarawak Legislative Assembly Sitting, November 2017

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KUCHING, Nov 15: The appointment of state secretary Tan Sri Mohd Morshidi Abdul Ghani as a director on many boards is to provide a link, says Minister in the Chief Minister’s Office (Integrity and Ombudsman) Datuk Talib Zulpilip.

The Jepak Assemblyman said since Morshidi is performing, the latter “has been kept”.

“Having a senior government servant (to sit on many boards) in GLCs (government-linked companies) is a link. As simple as that.

“The link is necessary. If the person is not performing as you are trying to say, then we remove the person.

“If he is still effective, keep him there,” said Talib while delivering his winding up speech at the State Legislative Assembly here today.

He was responding to DAP Padungan assemblyman Wong King Wei who raised the question of Mohd Morshidi being “overpowering” as Morshidi is sitting on many boards as a director.

Wong said some of Mohd Morshidi’s directorships are conflicts of interest, citing the example of the latter’s directorship in Petronas and Petros.

Wong went on to point out that when a person holds too many positions, it increased the opportunity for corruption and abuse of power.

He argued that there should be a check and balance, and a single person should not hold so many posts. It was also about the ‘principle of integrity’.

He requested a response from Talib after interjecting his remarks into Talib’s speech, when the latter gave way.

In response, Talib welcomed Wong for raising the issue and commented that both the opposition and the ruling coalition may work together to ‘improve things’.

“We make sure we work together to see improvement,” said Talib.

Wong however, asked for details as how would it be done for ‘things to be improved’ as the state government seemed to have done nothing to improve the situation where one person (referring to Mohd Morshidi) has been holding numerous posts simultaneously.

“This is something that should have been done already but the minister (Talib) has not given any tangible answers to this August House. Can I have a clear answer from the minister?” Wong asked.

At this point, State Legislative Assembly Speaker Datuk Amar Mohd Asfia Awang Nassar interjected and pointed out that it was not against the law for a top bureaucrat to hold many directorships as there was no law preventing so.

Mohd Asfia went on to remark that Talib had given an answer and that should be enough for Wong.

Wong who was not satisfied with Mohd Asfia’s and Talib’s answers kept pressing for a more detailed one and tried to keep on pushing the issue.

The exchange came to a close when Talib finally answered that Mohd Morshidi’s position as a director on multiple boards was only to provide links between the GLCs and the government. — DayakDaily