Chang Ko Youn and S Veerasingam
IPOH, 12 Feb 2009: The two non-elected representatives who were appointed as special advisors with executive councillor status in the new Barisan Nasional (BN) Perak government will not sit in exco meetings nor will they make decisions.
One of the new appointees, Gerakan deputy president Datuk Chang Ko Youn, said having exco status was not the same as having the powers of an executive councillor.
He said this to The Nut Graph when asked to comment on the report lodged with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) this morning by state Pakatan Rakyat leaders.
Pakatan Rakyat is alleging corruption and abuse of power by newly-appointed BN Menteri Besar (MB) Datuk Zambry Abdul Kadir in appointing Chang and Datuk S Veerasingam as advisors with exco status.
Pakatan Rakyat has argued that neither are elected representatives and that there is no provision in the state constitution for a non-assemblyperson to hold an exco’s office.
Pakatan Rakyat also contends that the appointments, announced yesterday by Zambry, are an abuse of public funds because Chang and Veerasingam would be paid exco salaries when they were not elected.
Embattled Pakatan Rakyat Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin described the appointments as illegal yesterday.
This morning, DAP state secretary and lawyer Nga Kor Ming, who is also the Pantai Remis assemblyperson, lodged the report at the state MACC.
Nga said each advisor would stand to be paid RM240,000 annually in salary and allowances.
In response, Chang, who is a lawyer and Perak Gerakan chief, said: “I ask Pakatan Rakyat to show which provision in the state constitution prohibits the menteri besar from making appointments. Although we have exco status, we won’t sit in meetings and we won’t make decisions. We only advise the MB.”
But when asked whether he would be receiving the same remuneration as an executive councillor, Chang said: “I don’t know the terms yet.”
Chang, who is also Gerakan’s legal and human rights bureau chairperson, is in charge of Chinese Malaysian community affairs while Veerasingam will advise the MB on Indian Malaysian community affairs.
In a press conference this afternoon, Nizar said that it was precisely because there was no provision for a non-elected representative to sit in the state executive council, that the appointments were illegal.
“It is so obvious, even before the exco meets, the public’s money is being wasted. It means that next time, [there is] no need [for] elections, just appoint someone to be an exco member,” Nizar said.