GLCs’ reshuffle sees return of politicians at top posts

Speculations are rife that there will be more appointments in the near future as the govt seeks to bolster position for upcoming parliamentary sitting on May 18

by DASHVEENJIT KAUR/ pic by TMR FILE

THE changes at government-linked companies (GLCs) are expected to continue as the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government seeks to cement its position for the upcoming parliamentary session on May 18.

To date, six politicians from the government have been appointed to helm various GLCs as speculations are rife that there will be more appointments in the near future.

The most recent appointment was Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh (picture) as chairman of the Federal Land Development Authority (Felda), replacing Tan Sri Mohd Bakke Salleh.

The move came after Mohd Bakke tendered his resignation at Felda to take up his new appointment as chairman of Telekom Malaysia Bhd.

Idris, who is Besut MP, was the higher education minister between 2015 and 2018, prior to that he was the second education minister with a combined portfolio of the education and higher education ministries from May 2013.

Appointments at GLCs have been a central issue during and after the 14th General Election when the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government promised and took steps to ensure that politicians were not appointed to head GLCs and related agencies.

A month after PH’s win in 2018, former Prime Minister (PM) Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad spared no time to reform the nation’s administration and its GLCs. This resulted in changes at the nation’s key companies including Petroliam Nasional Bhd, Khazanah Nasional Bhd, pilgrim fund Lembaga Tabung Haji, Felda and Majlis Amanah Rakyat (Mara).

However, not long after taking over the federal administration, the PN coalition terminated a slew of appointments made by its predecessor.

On April 1, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin took over the chairmanship of Khazanah, exactly one month after being sworn in as the eighth PM. New Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz was also appointed to the board of Khazanah.

More boardroom changes followed at state-owned institutions and corporations such as Federal Land Consolidation and Rehabilitation Authority (Felcra), Social Security Organisation (Socso), Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB), as well as Felda.

Tasek Gelugor MP Datuk Shabudin Yahaya was appointed as Felcra chairman, succeeding Datuk Nageeb Wahab. Machang MP Datuk Ahmad Jazlan Yaakub became the chairman of the MPOB, replacing Mohd Bakke.

Another significant appointment took place at Bursa Malaysia Bhd, which saw Tan Sri Abdul Wahid Omar appointed as non-executive chairman, following the revoking of Datuk Shireen Ann Zaharah Muhiudeen’s position over governance issue.

Abdul Wahid, who previously chaired Malaysia’s largest fund management company Permodalan Nasional Bhd from August 2016 to June 2018, was also a former minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of economic planning from June 2013 to June 2016.

Pasir Mas MP Ahmad Fadhli Shaari has been appointed as the chairman of Skills Development Fund Corp or PTPK in early April.

It was reported that Umno deputy president Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan had declined a GLC chairmanship offer, stressing that he wants to focus on party matters instead. Mohamad was widely tipped to chair Tenaga Nasional Bhd, a post which later went to Padang Terap MP Datuk Mahdzir Khalid.

Mahdzir’s predecessor, Tan Sri Ahmad Badri Mohd Zahir, is now the chairman of the Employees Provident Fund, replacing Tan Sri Samsuddin Osman.

Additionally, Sabak Bernam MP Datuk Mohd Fasiah Mohd Fakeh was also speculated to become the chairman of Socso, but local media reported that a clause in its act bars “a member of any legislature” from taking the post.

Meanwhile, Simpang Renggam MP Dr Maszlee Malik rejected his appointment as Mara Corp advisory committee chairman.

Among names speculated to fill in other chairperson posts include Jelebu MP Datuk Jalaluddin Alias for Uda Holdings Bhd and Cameron Highlands MP Ramli Mohd Nor at Amanah Raya Bhd.