On Feb 23, Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad was in Sarawak to declare open the US$1.7 billion 1st Silicon (M) Sdn Bhd plant at Sama Jaya Free Industrial Zone, near Kuching.
Lo and behold, who was seen standing beside the prime minister but the state Attorney-General JC Fong who is the company chairperson. Obviously, he represents the state's participation in the company.
Fong is not only the chairperson of 1st Silicon, but also a host of other companies in Sarawak. This situation begs the question as to why the state's highest prosecutor is involved in so many companies. Obviously, this sets a dangerous precedent for Malaysia as no other attorney-general in Malaysia has ever been appointed a director of any state-controlled company.
How is he going to prosecute companies in which he is involved, if they were committing criminal acts? No judge has ever been appointed a director of a state-controlled company either for the very reason that it is not proper to do so. Why should this be an exception for Fong?
It is noted that at the federal level where the government is an investor in a company through the Finance Ministry, a representative of the ministry or an experienced corporate captain would be appointed to represent the government. Why can't this be done in Sarawak for companies in which the state government is an investor?
It is hoped that the Sarawak state government will take steps very soon to remedy the situation.