Thursday, March 15, 2007

Ministers' wives are not government officials

I am in full agreement with Mr. Mansor Puteh for highlighting a truly weird "Malaysia Boleh" phenomenon, as he described it, regarding wives of ministers "tailing" their husbands here and there and everywhere.

As a former aide to a minister, I fully supported his views (Malaysiakini, Mar 15) under the heading: Ministers should leave their wives at home.

Yes, that is where they (the spouses) should be unless protocol requires them to be with their husbands.

Mr. Mansor wrote that some of them (the wives) follow their husbands on their overseas duties. He said and I quote: "I find this to be totally inappropriate as these women can be seen to be interfering in the official duties of their husbands. Besides, they are not officials in the Malaysian cabinet and have no function whatsoever other than being the wives of the ministers."

On top of that, he added, one also needs to ask, who is paying for their first-class plane tickets, board and lodging? Worse, if they also bring along a special assistant.

In most cases that I was aware, the government paid for the first-class or at least business-class air tickets, board and lodging.

"What the authorities must do now is to discourage, or ban them, from taking advantage of the fact that their husbands are ministers. We can understand that the prime minister and his deputy may be allowed to bring their spouses, but this cannot be a habit, and can only happen when they are attending special functions," Mr. Mansor said.

As Malaysians, Mr. Mansor said we have the right to stop this habit so that ministers cannot be charged for taking avantage of their position. This habit cannot be allowed even if the ministers say they pay for their wives expenses. The fact that their wives are around means that these ministers' attention will be distracted.

I would like to add that on the local front, ministers' wives should not follow their husbands on the stage for what ever reasons. They should be seated. I noticed that the wife of a certain minister would follow her husband on the stage and most of the times she would be the only female there. In the first place, she has no business to be there. Wives of former prime ministers did not follow their husbands on the stage but remained seated unless permitted by protocol.

As stated by Mr Mansor, ministers' wives are not ministers or members of the administration. They are just spouses. That is all.

There should not be more than one captain in charge of a ship. In certain cases, ministers' wives acted as captains. Well, this is Malaysia ... Malaysia Boleh!


long johnsilver said...

bro syed,
you have to tell mansor that majority of the ministers are being controlled by their wives - your ex-boss probably one of them! only you can verify this statement. maybe mansor didn't understand what the marriage is all about because he is still solo!

Syed Imran said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Syed Imran said...

Bro Long Johnsilver,

A warm welcome after having gone for a while!

I am not so sure about your statement that the majority of PM Abdullah Badawi's ministers are being controlled by their wives. I am aware of four cases only but no names, please. You know, we are becoming like Singapore, sue, sue and sue (saman lah!). Mansor has a point, you know. It does not matter whether he is single or otherwise. It does take a married man to say that.

Mat Jerman said...

I agree wholeheartedly that Ministers should leave their wives at home.

It should also apply to sons, daughters, Son In Laws, relatives and others non office bearing people.

Clark Gable of Pulau Duyong said...

dear Syed,
The practise of abusing all goverment facilities as their birth right dont end with Ministers .it goes down to all heads of dept too.
My Boss when I was with the Goverment made a point of taking home all the gifts given to him as Head of Dept.
No one seems to consider that as odd.

Anonymous said...

Pak Tuan,
Well well well, What more to Bolehland...if they bring their wife along the expenses falls back to the government budget.If you see the break down of they step foot on the foreign land from hotel to car rent and etc....etc....most of the time the officers arraging to all this just could not firgure out where to get the budget....