Can the four special envoys, Hadi Awang, Tiong King Sing, Richard Riot and Vigneswaran produce their 100-Day Report Cards?

The answer by the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Special Functions) Abdul Latiff Ahmad yesterday on the number of special advisers and special envoys of the Prime Minister, Ismail Sabri is both a shocker and an eye-opener.

The first question that comes to mind is why is the Prime Minister having so many special advisers and special envoys as he already has a jumbo-sized Cabinet of 31 Ministers and 38 ministers and a full complement of High Commissioners and Ambassadors all over the world?

Is Ismail Sabri prepared to ask for specific approval from Parliament authorising him to appoint Special Advisers and Special Envoys? Otherwise, this is not parliamentary government but Special Adviser Government in Malaysia!

At present, Ismail Sabri has four special envoys - Abdul Hadi Awang (special envoy to the Middle East), Tiong King Sing (special envoy to China), Richard Riot (special envoy to Japan, Korea, and Taiwan), S Vigneswaran (special envoy to India and South Asia).

Can the four special envoys, Hadi Awang, Tiong King Sing, Richard Riot and Vigneswaran produce their 100-Day Report Cards? If the four super-Ambassadors are unable to produce their 100-day Report Cards, what are they useful for?

I had previously asked whether Malaysia’s special envoy to the Middle East had been banned from Saudi Arabia, and had never visited Saudi Arabia since his appointment as far back as April 2020, but no answer had been forthcoming.

What is the use of an Ambassador or Special Envoy of a region when he cannot visit the country or region he is supposed to be responsible?

How many times have Tiong King Sin visited China since his appointment and what had he done to justify his appointment? The same question applies to Hadi, Richard Riot and Vigneswaran.

Latiff told Parliament that the sixth Prime Minister, Najib Razak had the most number of advisers and special envoys during his premiership from 2009 till 2018.

It does not mean that the deviations and abuses of power by Najib is justification for Ismail Sabri to do the same when he becomes Prime Minister.

If so, Ismail will be perfectly justified to turn Malaysia again into a “kleptocracy at its worst” as during Najib’s tenure as Prime Minister and have his own 1MDB scandal.

When the book of Najib’s political communications adviser for six years, Romen Bose, “Final Reckoning – An Insider’s View of the Fall of Malaysia’s Barisan Nasional Government” hit the bookshops yesterday, the surprise element was not that Bose had written an account of Najib’s fall from power, but that nobody has ever heard of him until his book came out.

We cannot have a secretive government where the Prime Minister has an army special advisers who are paid by public funds and yet Parliament and the people know nothing about it.

This secretive government must stop immediately!

Lim Kit Siang MP for Iskandar Puteri