Mara may face hefty bill for Badlisyah’s exit

by AFIQ AZIZ / pic by TMR FILE

MAJLIS Amanah Rakyat (Mara) may be presented with a hefty compensation bill for 20 professionals who were brought into the organisation by Mara Corp Sdn Bhd CEO Datuk Badlisyah Abdul Ghani.

Badlisyah, and about 20 executives he brought in, were engaged by Mara from September last year to create value at Mara Corp, but was told to go on garden leave just a month later in October, for reasons not disclosed.

Badlisyah was officially suspended from his CEO post in November.

The severance compensation for the whole team, including Badlisyah, is expected to total about RM10 million and will be presented to the Mara Council soon, according to people familiar with the situation.

The council is scheduled to meet at the end of the month, but is likely to postpone until February due to the spike in Covid-19 infections.

“The decision to terminate and pay off Badlisyah and his team was made last week.

“However, it is still unknown how much they will be paid and because they still have 20-month contract, the full sum to compensate all of them would reach almost RM10 million,” said the source, who wants to remain anonymous.

Badlisyah’s speedy exit raised speculation when it was leaked in December that he had been placed on garden leave.

Among the speculations was in-house resentment towards the group of highly paid executives, between RM20,000 and RM25,000 on average, according to sources.

Badlisyah, who was previously Lembaga Tabung Haji deputy group CEO, is said to be paid more.

It is understood that Badlisyah was allowed to bring in his own management team of “specialists” to unlock value for Mara Corp’s commercial assets amounting to about RM400 million.

The group was supposed to improve Mara’s education, financial services, property, aerospace, retail and transportation businesses.

Only Badlisyah has been officially put on garden leave, and the fate of his specialist team has not been officially announced.

However, it is believed that the Mara Corp board is likely to recommend their termination as well.

“The quantum of compensation is not clear yet, so some bargaining processes are expected as the terminated parties would seek for the full remaining payment as stated in the appointment letter,” the source said.

Mara chairman Datuk Azizah Mohd Dun, when contacted by The Malaysian Reserve (TMR), said she cannot comment on details of the matter and that no decision has been made.

“We will issue an official statement when the time comes,” she said.

Mara DG Datuk Azhar Abdul Manaf told TMR that the decision derived at Mara Corp is purely a “corporate decision”.

“The process is ongoing. Just wait. I cannot comment because it’s the company’s decision,” he told TMR.

According to the Federation of Public Listed Companies Bhd president Tan Sri Megat Najmuddin Megat Khas, any breach of contract will require the terminator to pay the full amount due in the contract.

“But there must also be the basis of the termination. Do they have this in the first place?

“If they can prove it, then it can be terminated without paying off.

“However, after all, any party can bring up the matter to the court if they feel they are being treated unfairly — including the employee if they feel it was an unfair dismissal,” Megat Najmuddin told TMR.

Asli Centre of Public Policy Studies chairman Tan Sri Dr Ramon Navaratnam said any decision made by Mara Council must be done in a fair and equitable manner.

Ramon said any act of negligence or violation in the rules of regulation must be tried in a fair process.

He said this is important and necessary in terms of maintaining good governance and setting an example of high standards for other organisations in the public and private sectors.

“The person involved must be treated fairly, and equitably and reasonably, then people will not really feel unhappy and complain, and they will feel that justice is done and seen to be done.

“This can only come with more transparency and the practice of integrity as human resource relations.

“But the authority must be sure that they are doing the right thing in the right way,” he added.