by AZREEN HANI / graphic by MZUKRI MOHAMAD
CHANGES for the top posts in Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB) and the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) announced yesterday were the result of differences in company direction between top management, sources said.
The change at EPF was made as the retirement fund was projected to record good numbers, especially on dividends payout, while at the same time it was heavily criticised for its handling of the government’s i-Sinar programme to allow contributors to withdraw savings during the pandemic.
Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Utama Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz had, in fact, acknowledged the government’s awareness of complaints over i-Sinar.
“Your voice is heard and the improvement will be made soon,” Tengku Zafrul said on his official Facebook page when contributors complained of various restrictions and conditions for their withdrawal applications.
Yesterday, the EPF named Datuk Seri Amir Hamzah Azizan as the new CEO to replace Tunku Alizakri Alias effective March 1.
“Tunku Alizakri will be continuing his contributions towards public service in a different capacity.
“It is with a heavy heart, we bid goodbye and thank you to Tunku Alizakri for his unwavering dedication and service to the EPF spanning seven years, first as deputy CEO (Strategy) and then as CEO,” EPF chairman Tan Sri Ahmad Badri Mohd Zahir said in a statement.
Sources told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR) that a difference of opinion at TNB — where Amir Hamzah’s future had been hanging on a balance — presented the opportunity for the government to initiate the corporate shake-ups.
Speculation was rife that the 53-year-old’s term as the national power utility’s CEO could be cut short, not helped because he was appointed under the previous government, even though he still had 17 months left on his contract.
The change in government in March last year has resulted in terminations and new appointments taking effect under the Perikatan Nasional government.
TNB named Umno VP Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid as its chairman in May, replacing Tan Sri Ahmad Badri Mohd Zahir — a former Treasury secretary general who was then appointed as the EPF chairman.
“At the end of the day, there were many ‘irreconcilable differences’ between the top heads (in TNB),” a source who requested anonymity said.
“Appointing Amir (Hamzah) to lead EPF is wise because he has the qualification, experience and tenacity to lead the institution,” another source said.
It was also learned that a few names had been submitted to the Prime Minister’s Office and the Treasury to replace him.
TNB yesterday announced Datuk Baharin Din, its current chief distribution network officer, as the new CEO effective next month.
TMR reported in December that if the post is filled by an in-house candidate, apart from Baharin, those who could be next in line were COO Datuk Roslan Abd Rahman, chief power generation officer Datuk Nor Azman Mufti and chief retail officer Datuk Megat Jalaluddin Megat Hassan.
“The board of directors wishes to extend our appreciation to Amir Hamzah for his service. Throughout his tenure, he has endeavoured as part of his mandate to improve transparency and corporate governance, as well as enhance efficiencies within the organisation.
“We wish him every success as he continues to serve the nation in his new role,” said Mahdzir in a statement yesterday.
Read our previous report here