Banker with PhD in nuclear physics appointed Mara chair

Hasnita is also the 1st woman to lead the govt agency for the advancement of Bumiputera


The government has appointed Dr Hasnita Hashim (picture), an experienced investment banker with a PhD in nuclear physics, as the new chairman of Majlis Amanah Rakyat (Mara).

She is also the first woman to lead the government agency for the advancement of Bumiputera.

Hasnita, whose doctorate is nuclear physics from Oxford University and who is also an actuary, is currently the chairman of Maybank Asset Management Group and board member of the banking group.

She began her career at Coopers & Lybrand Deloitte, London, as an actuary and has led Guidance Investments, a subsidiary company of Guidance Financial Group, as CEO.

Hasnita’s appointment has been hailed as a breath of fresh air following Mara’s underperformance in recent years.

“I think it is a breath of fresh air to see someone of such calibre and from a non-political background to helm Mara,” said Ahmad Yazid Othman, CEO of the Malay Economic Action Council.

“We hope she will be able to upgrade and unlock the true potential of Mara, not just within Malaysia’s context, but to develop the whole economic supply chain and strategic agenda.”

The government yesterday also named a six-member Mara Council that includes professionals seen to be non-political who are expected to turn Mara around.

Hasnita will assume her Mara role from Oct 1, filling a vacancy left by Tan Sri Annuar Musa who was relieved of his duties in January.

The Prime Minister’s Office also announced the appointment of members of the Mara Council comprising people from diverse portfolios such as insurance, automotive and oil and gas (O&G).

Among the appointees is Tengku Mahaleel Tengku Ariff, former CEO of Proton Holdings Bhd.

Tengku Mahaleel has held numerous managerial positions across the industries, including the food and beverage, O&G, aviation and automotive industries.

Tengku Mahaleel graduated from Universiti Malaya in 1970 and completed his Malaysia Institute of Management courses in Company Law and Marketing.

In 2001, he received an honourary doctorate in engineering from Universiti Teknologi Malaysia for contributions to the automotive engineering field.

A new council member is Malaysian Aviation Commission chairman Dr Nungsari Ahmad Radhi. He is also the MD of Prokhas Sdn Bhd, a company under the Ministry of Finance Inc.

Another council member is Allianz Malaysia Bhd CEO Zakri Khir, who has over 29 years of experience in the insurance industry. He joined Allianz in 2000 as the head of industrial business and was later appointed as the head of technical division four years later.

Zakri had helmed the Operations Division of Allianz General Insurance Co (M) Bhd before he assumed his current position as the CEO in December 2010.

He has over 30 years of experience and holds a doctoral degree from Purdue University.

The rest of the council are Mydin Mohamed Holdings Bhd MD Datuk Ameer Ali Mydin, academician Professor Tan Sri Dzulkifli Abdul Razak and Mayban Life Assurance Bhd chairman Datuk Syed Tamim Ansari Syed Mohamed.