Prasarana: Nizam’s removal remain

by AFIQ AZIZ / pic by ARIF KARTONO

PRASARANA Malaysia Bhd said the group maintains its decision to sack Muhammad Nizam Alias (picture) from the president and group CEO (PGCEO) post, despite the latter claiming no knowledge of his removal.

The public transportation firm issued what was described as the “final statement” on Muhammad Nizam’s termination on Saturday, stating that the appointment of COO Datin Norlia Noah as the group’s acting PGCEO remains as decided in a board meeting before.

“Prasarana confirms the board of directors of Prasarana had convened on Feb 22 and came to the decision to end the services of Muhammad Nizam,” Prasarana said.

Chaired by Datuk Seri Tajuddin Abdul Rahman, Prasarana has 11 board members, with Malaysia Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) former chief commissioner Tan Sri Abu Kassim Mohamed and former deputy chief Datuk Seri Mustafar Ali became the latest appointee effective Feb 21, 2021.

It was previously reported that Prasarana had suspended Muhammad Nizam and told him to go on leave on Dec 9, with a special committee comprising the board of directors probing alleged misconduct.

Following this, Muhammad Nizam was served a show-cause letter which indicated that he had shown signs of insubordination when the board and chairman instructed him to investigate MRCB George Kent Sdn Bhd, the joint-venture party tasked with constructing the Light Rail Transit 3 project.

The continuous “testy relationship” between Muhammad Nizam and Tajuddin was said to have led to the former being suspended and dismissed from his role.

For the record, Muhammad Nizam’s appointment was announced by Tajuddin, who was appointed as Prasarana chairman in May last year.

Last Friday, the debacle at Prasarana seemed far from resolved as the former PGCEO claimed that he was not informed by the company’s board over his dismissal.

Muhammad Nizam, who was suspended in December, said he did not know about the termination until last week, when Prasarana’s non-executive chairman, Tajuddin, announced the appointment of Norlia as the acting PGCEO.

Tajuddin did not divulge any details on why the board decided to terminate Muhammad Nizam, but the Umno lawmaker had said the former PGCEO was suspended due to an insubordination issue and internal inquiry is ongoing to look into the matter.

Last Friday, Muhammad Nizam responded to Tajuddin’s statement, saying the conflict-of-interest element was brought up due to Tajuddin’s participation in the inquiry against him — risking bias consideration in the investigation.

“As you know, I was suspended as PGCEO of Prasarana on Dec 10, 2020, on inter alia allegations that I was not cooperative enough with the non-executive chairman on his forceful requests to appoint certain contractors and execute certain matters.

“On Jan 22, 2021, those allegations were dropped and I was just accused of being somewhat ‘impolite’ to the non-executive chairman on a particular occasion.

“That is how I understand it to be. I was then told that the board would decide on this matter and revert to me,” he said.

Muhammad Nizam claimed to his knowledge, Prasarana’s board members have also not made any decision to terminate his tenure and said he also yet to receive a formal notice from the board to that effect.

“Not with standing this, the non-executive chairman has proclaimed my departure at a press conference on March 9, 2021.

“In my view, the said chairman himself is conflicted from participation in the inquiry and decision as the allegations originate from and concern his relationship with me. No one should be a judge in their own cause,” he said.

Muhammad Nizam said the press conference by Tajuddin “may give the impression that he had a role in the decision concerning my tenure”.

In the same statement, Muhammad Nizam also questioned Prasarana’s governance in handling the case.


Read our previous report here

Norlia is Prasarana acting PGCEO