I refer to media reports which claim that an UMNO politician, Dr Mazlan Ismail, may be appointed to succeed Mohamed Sharil Mohamed Tarmizi as Chairman of the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC).
Dr Mazlan unsuccessfully ran under the UMNO ticket against Anwar Ibrahim in the last General Elections.
Mohamed Sharil’s contract has not been renewed and it has bee alleged that there are plans for Dr Mazlan to replace him.
UMNO-owned Utusan has publicly critised Sharil and promoted Dr Mazlan.
This, if true, is a very disturbing development.
This has nothing to do with Dr Mazlan’s personal qualifications.
However, the public interest would be better served if crucial regulatory bodies are led by technocrats.
This is especially true for the MCMC, which oversees Malaysia’s increasingly crucial online sphere.
It is important that all of MCMC’s decisions and actions are undertaken without the slightest suspicion of political favour or bias.
Moreover, a non-political appointee will also ensure that Malaysia’s tenuous practice of freedom of speech is not further eroded.
As such, I hope both the relevant bodies in the Federal Government and MCMC will provide the public with clarification on this matter immediately.