BUTTERWORTH: The appointment of Datuk Dr Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki as Majlis Amanah Rakyat (Mara) chairman is based on merit and his qualifications, says Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
The Deputy Prime Minister said Asyraf was not only a politician but also an expert in Islamic banking.
"He is a banker by profession and holds a PhD in Islamic banking," he told a press conference during a working visit to the Penang Regional Development Authority (Perda) here on Sunday (March 26).
The Rural and Regional Development Minister said it would be a waste if Asyraf's knowledge and experience were not used to benefit an organisation, especially one concerned with rural development, among other matters.
He had been asked about criticism by Opposition MPs and electoral watchdog Bersih over recent political appointments including Asyraf, the Umno secretary-general, being made Mara chairman.
He said based on Cabinet guidelines and advice by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, such appointments must also take the person's background and qualifications into consideration.
He said the government would not appoint someone who could not contribute to an organisation.
At the same press conference, Ahmad Zahid also confirmed that Wanita Umno chief Datuk Dr Noraini Ahmad has been appointed Rubber Industry Smallholders Development Authority (Risda) chairman.