A boost to transparency, but caution advised

KUALA LUMPUR: A comprehensive study must be conducted before embarking on the move to appoint Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) representatives to the board of directors of government-linked companies (GLCs) and government-linked investment companies (GLICs), says Transparency International Malaysia.

Its president Dr Muhammad Mohan said the intention behind the move, announced by the Prime Minister at the congress’ delegates meeting yesterday, was good and would improve transparency and governance in those companies.

“However, the key issue here is we need competent, qualified, reputable people of high integrity to sit on the board to ensure public funds and assets are protected,” Muhammad said when contacted for his comment.

Earlier yesterday, Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced that GLCs and GLICs must appoint a representative from MTUC to their board of directors to boost integrity and ensure employees’ voices were heard in their decision-making process.

Muhammad said it was important to have people take the board seats not only for the perks and benefits.

“This concept is practised in several countries in the European Union, where the employees’ interests are protected and, at the same time, the selection of representatives is based on their knowledge, competence and integrity.

“A proper study should be done before embarking on this move,” he said.

MTUC deputy president Mohd Effendy Abdul Ghani welcomed the measure, saying it would provide a platform for the voices of employees to be brought to the board level.

He cited as examples GLCs such as the Employees Provident Fund and Social Security Organisation where MTUC representatives were appointed as board members.

“The precedent is already there and we can see how by appointing MTUC members to the board, there is more balance,” he added.

PKR’s Kapar MP Datuk Abdullah Sani Abdul Hamid, who is a labour activist too, also appreciated the move.

“This is one of the issues that we have fought for for a very long time,” said Abdullah, formerly an MTUC leader.

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