PETALING JAYA, 24 January 2020 – A prominent social activist says the proposal to make Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad a “mentor minister” after he leaves office is fine but it should not come at the expense of taxpayers.
In a statement, Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) adviser Kua Kia Soong said he believed Mahathir himself would agree to his suggestion, given that the statesman has complained about the strain civil service salaries, allowances and pensions have on national coffers.
“Just like the proposal to have ‘special advisers’ for our inexperienced ministers, they should follow the example of Tony Pua, who offered his services to the finance minister on a voluntary basis so that he would not be a burden on the national budget.
“After all, the Pakatan Harapan government has been bellyaching about the RM1 trillion national debt ever since they were elected.”
Earlier today, economists Yeah Kim Leng of Sunway University Business School and Adli Amirullah of the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs said a plan for Mahathir to become a mentor minister after stepping down may allay concerns of the business community.
They also said he could provide guidance to inexperienced Cabinet members. However, other political analysts said the idea may be impractical.
Neighbouring Singapore had in the past appointed its first prime minister Lee Kuan Yew as mentor minister, a post he held between 2004 and 2011.
“So please, let us have as many mentor ministers, special advisers to ministers or what-have-you as the government needs, as long as Malaysian taxpayers do not have to pay for them,” said Kua.
First published in Freemalaysiatoday.com, 24 January 2020