Media Statement by Tony Pua, DAP National Publicity Secretary and Member of Parliament for Petaling Jaya Utara in Kuala Lumpur on Monday, 16 September 2013 in Kuala Lumpur
Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Paul Low said on Saturday when asked by Malaysiakini whether it was all right for Najib, who is also president of Umno, to ask GLCs and government departments to spend more advertising money with Utusan Malaysia.
"He is the PM and he sets the priorities. It's a transparent (decision) but it's favouring some... so not all can agree with the decision," said Low, who is in charge of transparency and good governance.
Low said that he would only remind GLCs to carry out their fiduciary duties properly and that he will give his feedback “internally”. He also declined to say what advise he would give to Najib in this case of the prime minister's vested political interest in seeing Utusan thrive.
Datuk Paul Low must not just give his feedback “internally”. His own conscience must surely agree that the directive given by Datuk Seri Najib Razak for the Government to advertise more with the Umno-owned paper reeks of a major conflict of interest and is severely detrimental to the taxpayers’ monies. And hence, he must do everything within his power as the Minister in-charge of transparency and accountability to ensure that the Prime Minister retracts his misguided directive.
Datuk Paul Low cannot be wishy-washy around the subject by making garbled and baffling statements like “it’s a transparent (decision) but it’s favouring some… so not all can agree with the decision”. No one could serious understand what he was talking about or what he was suggesting.
Is Datuk Paul Low telling the GLCs to ignore the directive by the Prime Minister and carry out their “fiduciary duties” by only making expenditure which brings real returns and value to the company?
And what about Government Ministries and Departments which fall under the Prime Minister’s direct jurisdiction – should they to, defy the instruction by Dato’ Seri Najib Razak?
Malaysians would be extremely naïve to actually believe that the Prime Minister’s open and public directive would not be taken at face value. In fact, we would not be surprised if after Najib’s rallying call to rescue Utusan Malaysia, these officers do not go to the extremes to plan and concoct all sorts of advertisements with the Umno-owned daily to demonstrate their undying loyalty to the Prime Minister.
If Datuk Paul Low is unable to reverse such clear cut abuse of power by the Prime Minister himself, then how can he expect to make a difference with processes to make the Government more transparent and accountable?
The Minister should not waste time becoming window dressing by the Datuk Seri Najib to present a semblance of “reform” within the Government. Unless Datuk Paul Low is happy being made used of by the Prime Minister, he should start planning to pack his bags because it has now been made crystal clear, that Umno interest is above everything else.