Shukry’s termination was due to his involvement in the tampering of 1MDB’s audit report
By SHAHEERA AZNAM SHAH / Pic By TMR
The government yesterday sacked Bank Kerjasama Rakyat Malaysia Bhd (Bank Rakyat) chairman Tan Sri Shukry Mohd Salleh (picture) with immediate effect, as Putrajaya continues to purge its entities of questionable, politically-linked individuals.
The sacking came a day after Auditor-General (A-G) Tan Sri Dr Madinah Mohamad revealed that Shukry, who was the former principal private secretary of Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak, had directed changes to the final audit report on 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).
The National Audit Department had said orders for the changes in the audit report were directed by former Prime Minister Najib.
The changes involved the removal of a paragraph or paragraphs mentioning the presence of Low Taek Jho at one of 1MDB’s board of directors meeting.
The fugitive businessman, better known as Jho Low, is said to be the central figure to the multibillion scandal and siphoning of US$4.5 billion (RM18.86 billion) from 1MDB, according to the US Department of Justice.
Madinah said the other crucial deletion from the report was the financial status of 1MDB.
The revelation of the 1MDB audit report tampering had created a public uproar over the credibility of the previous government.
The Ministry of Entrepreneur Development (MED) said the termination of Shukry’s tenure was due to his involvement in the tampering of 1MDB’s audit report.
Its Minister Mohd Redzuan Md Yusof said the termination was done pursuant to Section 5 and subparagraph 2(2) of the First Sche-dule of the Banking Act Cooperation of (Special Provisions) Act 1978 (Act 202).
“Following this, decisions made during his service in Bank Rakyat, which have an implication on Bank Rakyat, will be reviewed and cancelled if it affects the interest of the bank,” he added.
Shukry was appointed as Bank Rakyat chairman on Jan 3, 2017.
Madinah in her statement said the directives to make the changes to the audit report in 2016 were made on the grounds that it was a sensitive issue and to prevent it from being manipulated by then political Opposition.
The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission had commenced an investigation into the allegation that the 1MDB audit report was tampered with.
The police have also launched an investigation into the allegation and are expected to call up several people for questioning.
Since Pakatan Harapan took control of Putrajaya in the May 9 general election, many heads, chairman and board members of government-linked entities and companies have been removed as the government works to refresh these organisations.
Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute (ASLI) Centre of Public Policy Studies chairman Tan Sri Ramon V Navaratnam said such moves and investigations must continue to entirely “polish” the country of all the damages.
“The government and anti-graft agency have to do everything it takes to completely clean up the country, and if this is part of the process, so be it.
“The rule of law must prevail at all times,” he told The Malaysian Reserve.
Ramon said more individuals are expected to be put under investigations regarding the country’s past wrongdoings.
“We expect more investigations to go on until the system is cleared up. The investigation has to continue and remain neutral, regardless who is involved, as long as it is necessary.
“It must carry on until there is an entirety to the clean up because one bad apple can spoil the whole barrel,” he said.
Federation of Public Listed Companies Bhd president Tan Sri Megat Najmuddin Megat Khas said the termination is the government’s prerogative.
“The termination is the government’s prerogative because Bank Rakyat is a cooperative entity and it acts in accordance with the government or minister’s approval,” he said.
Megat Najmuddin said cooperative entities are governed under the Cooperative Societies Act.
“The bank is a cooperative company, which applies a different set of rules and regulation in governing it. (Cooperative companies) cannot apply the same corporate governance rules regarding the removal of the position in their management,” he said.
MED said the appointment of the new chairman of Bank Rakyat will be made after the selection process is completed.
Madinah in her statement also named other figures related to the “interferences” prior to the audit report being presented to the Public Accounts Committee on March 4, 2016.
She said in a meeting on Feb 22 — within the presence of the former chief secretary to the government Tan Sri Ali Hamsa, former A-G Tan Sri Ambrin Buang and Shukry — Najib had ordered the removal of the paragraphs stating the two versions of 1MDB financial statements for the year ending 2014.
Shukry was appointed as the principal private secretary to Najib on April 15, 2015.