Defending his daughter’s adviser role, Malaysia PM Anwar says Nurul Izzah will ensure government transparency
Mr Anwar said that Ms Nurul Izzah took on the role of senior economic and finance adviser to the prime minister in order to help him.
KUALA LUMPUR: Amid criticisms over the appointment of his daughter as a senior adviser, Malaysia Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim on Tuesday (Jan 31) said that Ms Nurul Izzah Anwar’s role will be limited.
Mr Anwar told local media that his daughter will not have any opportunity to enrich herself in her role as senior economic and finance adviser to the prime minister. It was reported previously that Ms Nurul Izzah is not getting paid for the role, which took effect on Jan 3.
“She will not have the power to take on or directly manage any project or tenders herself,” he was quoted as saying by The Star.
Mr Anwar added that Ms Nurul Izzah’s role as senior adviser will help to ensure transparency in his administration while ensuring that proper processes are in place for tenders and procurements.
“I accept criticisms, but on her appointment, that is all to it. She will also ensure that proper procedure is followed when it comes to contracts and tenders,” he was quoted by The Star as telling reporters after the launch of the National Sports Award 2021.
Mr Anwar reportedly said that Ms Nurul Izzah did not take on the role “to take projects” but to “help” him.
“My daughter was eager to help me in any way she could. If she came to help me without being given an official position, people will question her intentions even more severely than they do now,” he said.
Mr Anwar also denied claims of nepotism in his daughter’s appointment, adding that some of his critics were in no place to criticise him as they themselves had given “millions of ringgits worth of contracts” to their children.
“Nepotism is where (a family member) is given a position to abuse power, enrich themselves, obtain contracts and get paid a huge sum … This is not the case,” he was quoted as saying by Free Malaysia Today, though he did not elaborate on the allegations.
Following reports that Malaysia’s global Corruption Perception Index (CPI) had dropped from 48 in 2021 to 47 last year, Mr Anwar on Tuesday pledged that he would not commit acts of corruption or bribery.
“I will personally guarantee that there will be no acts of corruption, bribery or misuse of power during my term as prime minister,” he was quoted as saying by The Star.
“I also pledge my administration’s willingness to fully cooperate with any investigations launched by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission.”
Opposition politicians, including Perikatan Nasional chairman Muhyiddin Yassin and its secretary-general Hamzah Zainudin, have been calling for Ms Nurul Izzah to step down from the role.
Kedah's chief minister Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor has also questioned the arrangement of Ms Nurul Izzah being a senior adviser without pay.
"I don't think there is such a position. If you render your service but there is no salary involved, what is that? This is not an NGO (non-governmental organisation), this is the government,” he was quoted by New Straits Times as telling reporters after attending the state-level Chinese New Year dinner on Tuesday.
Mr Sanusi is a member of the Parti Islam Se-Malaysia.
Separately, Communications and Digital Minister Fahmi Fadzil also defended Ms Nurul Izzah’s appointment, saying that there were others that were appointed to be Mr Anwar’s advisers. Among them is Mr Hassan Marican, the former president and chief executive officer of Petronas.
“The term adviser is clear because they will not touch on policy matters, have no source of authority - including to call for meetings - as well as are not paid any salary,” he was quoted by Bernama as telling the media after his ministry’s monthly gathering on Tuesday.
Mr Fahmi is the information chief of Parti Keadilan Rakyat, of which Mr Anwar and Ms Nurul Izzah are the president and vice-president of the political party respectively.