KUALA LUMPUR: The Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS) expresses concern over the Prime Minister’s recent appointment of Nurul Izzah as senior advisor on economics and finance.
Nurul Izzah is highly competent and qualified given her three terms as a Member of Parliament, and she possesses a Master’s degree in Public Policy from an esteemed university abroad.
Additionally, she has led a credible study on multi-dimensional poverty with Prof. Fatimah Kari as lead researcher, who is also IDEAS’ Senior Fellow.
Nevertheless, the impression that this gives is that she has been appointed because she is the daughter of the Prime Minister.
While IDEAS is confident in her ability to contribute meaningfully through national service, and we also appreciate the fact that she is not drawing a salary, the appointment done in this manner is counterproductive and easily leads to questions regarding nepotism and conflict of interest, and even other public policy decisions that will be consequently made by this administration.
It may also set a precedent for other similar appointments of family members, which may further jeopardize the administration’s reputation.
Further, Pakatan Harapan has long championed the issue of good governance – it is therefore not surprising that questions are being raised as to whether due process was adhered to in this appointment.
There must be more transparency in the appointment of advisors, including the terms of reference.
IDEAS hopes that while problematic, this appointment will ultimately serve the interests of the rakyat and that Nurul Izzah will work alongside the relevant ministries to achieve reforms that the country so urgently needs, including addressing structural economic issues that have long plagued the nation, such as on the challenges of social protection, fiscal balance, tax reforms and industrial competitiveness.