With special envoys, minister asked why he needs more advisers

·2-min read
With special envoys, minister asked why he needs more advisers
With special envoys, minister asked why he needs more advisers

Opposition politician Lee Chean Chung has questioned why Foreign Affairs Minister Saifuddin Abdullah needed additional special advisers when Putrajaya already had special envoys plus well-trained public servants.

The minister recently appointed Pahang Gerakan chairperson Ranndy Yap Kim Heng as his special adviser on East Asia.

In a statement today, Lee pointed out that the government has an existing special envoy to East Asia - backbencher Richard Riot.

There is also a special envoy to China - backbencher Tiong King Sing. China is part of the East Asian region.

Along with Middle East special envoy Abdul Hadi Awang, the PKR treasurer noted that these three envoys cost more than a million ringgit in public funds every year.

“The monthly salaries of the officers and secretaries of these special envoys alone cost more than RM145,653 per month or RM1.7 million per year.

“This does not even include the salaries of the special envoys themselves...

“The cabinet already has a special envoy to China, why can’t the minister (Saifuddin) communicate more (with the envoy) instead of appointing more consultants?” Lee asked.

Regarded as being on the same level as federal ministers, special envoys are paid RM27,227 per month plus given their own offices, vehicles, chauffeurs and mobile phones.

Aside from appointing Yap, Saifuddin (above) also named Yayasan Felda general manager Mohd Banuri Aris as his new “international welfare consultant”.

He stressed that both Yap and Banuri will be serving without any pay or allowances.

'Outsiders' over professionals

Even if these new special advisers were not paid, Lee criticised Saifuddin for bypassing expertise within Wisma Putra for non-professional “outsiders”.

PKR's Semambu Assemblyperson Lee Chean Chung
PKR's Semambu Assemblyperson Lee Chean Chung

“The ministry already has a thorough training programme for diplomats and we have many professional diplomats who can provide professional advice.

“But Saifuddin is now rewarding or taking care of his own people, which can be seen as an insult to professionals within the ministry,” said the Semambu assemblyperson.

He warned that these appointments may also be seen as a “joke” on the international stage.

“Using diplomatic positions as a political bargaining chip is not what a professional Foreign Affairs Ministry should be doing.

“Advisory services provided by a non-professional can become an international joke,” Lee cautioned.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting