I ‘never compromised principles’ as MDEC chairman, Rais Hussin says


DATUK Dr Rais Hussin Mohamed Ariff (picture) has stepped down from his post as the Malaysia Digital Economy Corp (MDEC) chairman yesterday, stating that he never compromised his principles in performing his duties.

In a statement, he informed his desire to resign to Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz in mid-August 2021.

He later reiterated the same desire to the new Communications and Multimedia Minister Tan Sri Annuar Musa in early September.

Rais Hussin said at times there were some very difficult decisions made, which are unpopular but the right decisions, guided by good governance and integrity.

“It would have been much easier to just ‘follow’ instructions from the shareholder ministry and/or the supervisory ministry, but that would be tantamount to a huge battle of conscience.

“I have always believed in doing the right thing anchored on the right principles. Anything less would have crossed my redlines that I have drawn for myself,” he said.

Rais Hussin did not explicitly state what the difficult decisions were, or anything that had prompted him to vacate his post.

He, however, said much work on reinventing MDEC were done during his tenure including board of directors’ and management restructuring, improvement of governance and integrity with new discretionary authorisation limits, setting strategic direction through Malaysia 5.0 and the holistic digitisation of MDEC operations.

Besides that, credible open tender for procurement was intensified, open and transparent grant administration was implemented based on “know how” and not “know who” principles, he said.

Rais Hussin said he has been vocal in many ways, driving changes in MDEC by listening to various stakeholders, particularly the industry and the people in charting out the digital economy for the many.

He reiterated that government-linked companies reforms must take place as credibly as it can be, as soon as it can be, without political or any other forms of interference as it is after all funded by people’s monies.

“MDEC is a very critical agency that requires utmost attention and empowerment. It cannot be treated as a mere project management or event management company, nor can it be vendor-driven. It has a bigger and important role in charting the digital economy of the nation,” he added.

His recent remarks against Transport Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong over the cabotage policy issue has attracted criticisms by shippers and maritime industry players.

Rais Hussin had on Sept 30 tweeted: “Minister with an IQ of cabbage should not be talking abt cabotage policy. Tech giants have written many times to the 2 PMs under PN, about the exemption of cabotage policy for submarine cable repair.”

Wee had told Dewan Rakyat last week that the cabotage policy is not the sole reason for Malaysia’s exclusion in the Apricot project. He had also said that the government will discuss the policy this month.