Last week, nine members of the Ministry of Finance Inc-owned Khazanah Nasional Bhd’s board of directors resigned. Seen as part of the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government’s plan to restructure the country’s institutions, the mass resignation was said to be a move to “facilitate a smooth and orderly transition under the new government”.
The Khazanah board have since been replaced with PM Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad at the helm with the surprise package being the appointment of Economic Affairs Minister Mohamed Azmin Ali as one its directors.
Some are criticising Dr Mahathir for this move, calling it a return to ‘political appointments’ in the country after the punishing May 9th elections.
They are talking about some failed ventures during the first tenure of Dr M in power, pointing out that it was then the age of political meddling in some of these government-links entities.
Nevertheless, we also learned that more top executives with over 100 MOF Inc-linked companies are expected to resign, including those sitting on the boards of Keretapi Tanah Melayu Bhd (KTMB) and Malaysia Rail Link Sdn Bhd (MRL).
The PH has given clear directives for all political appointees on the boards of these companies to vacate their posts asap.
The clean-up will continue and will go into the next few months but it will also touch other institutions where things got messy. They include the think tanks and possibly some govt-owned or govt-linked media outlets.
“Everybody knows Dr Mahathir met with the board members of several institutions last month. They include that of the Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ISIS),” said a source.
The message is clear. “You did not perform and the institution’s name has gone into the doldrums.”
“Over the years, some of these institutions were turned into mere rubber stamp institutions. Doing nothing but giving full support and approval to the previous government’s initiatives.
“But these initiatives, however questionable they were at times, were not criticised by board members or by the top guns in such institutions,” said the source.
Perhaps it is time for the top officials helming these institutions to take a look back and realise the importance of having credible entities around, whether PM Najib Razak or Dr Mahathir in power.
In June, TISG wrote that the top-brass of the local think tanks in Malaysia should go.
The cleaning-up act in the country under Dr Mahathir has reached these entities. Now, it is up to the chiefs and members of these institutions to act.