KUCHING: The claim that the salaries of 32 political secretaries to the chief minister contribute to wastage of public funds did not go down well with Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) supreme council member Dato Ahmad Ibrahim.
Ahmad argued that the large number of political secretaries reflects the size of Sarawak, which is about the same as Peninsular Malaysia.
He adds that while Sarawak has only one chief minister, Peninsular Malaysia has 11 Menteris Besar (MBs) – each with several political secretaries.
He also pointed out that each federal minister has one political secretary.
Ahmad was of the view that the number of appointed political secretaries in Sarawak still cannot match Peninsular Malaysia.
Recently, a Democratic Action Party (DAP) Sarawak member Dr John Brian Anthony claimed that having 32 political secretaries in Sarawak was ‘a waste of public expense’.
“The question we should throw back at them (critics) is how many political secretaries (pol-secs) are attached to every minister at the federal cabinet currently. Check with them whether or not a federal deputy minister is entitled to have pol-sec(sic)?
“(I) have been told that Chong Chieng Jen also has a pol-sec. Imagine the waste of taxpayers’ money,” said Ahmad, referring to Deputy Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumers Affairs Chong Chieng Jen, who is also DAP Sarawak chairman.
According to Ahmad, pol-secs basically have the same function but in the peninsula, they are appointed by and to all the federal cabinet ministers including the prime minister, whereas in Sarawak and Sabah, they are appointed by and to the respective chief minister.
Ahmad called upon John Brian ‘to be fair in his criticism and not to be so biased’ – adding that such claim could confuse the people.
“He (John Brian) was also being unfair in attacking GPS (Gabungan Parti Sarawak) leaders. What he should do is to work together towards protecting Sarawak’s interests under the Malaysia Agreement 1963.
“As a patriot and a Sarawakian, we all should put politics aside and fight for our common interest and rights,” stressed Ahmad.