KUALA LUMPUR, July 5:
The appointment of outgoing CIMB Group chief executive officer Datuk Seri Nazir Razak to Khazanah Nasional Berhad’s board of directors has drawn fire from Pakatan Rakyat. PAS central committee member and Kuala Krai Member of Parliament Dr Hatta Ramli described the appointment, effective Sept 1, as a daring move that smacks of nepotism by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak. “Nazir may have the credentials, but this is a government investment arm that we are talking about. “I’m speechless that the Prime Minister’s brother has been appointed as a board member, as if no one else is capable of the job,” he said. “Maybe Najib doesn’t trust others, but we are talking about the rakyat’s money and he should have picked the best candidate from the relevant industry.” Perak DAP chairman Nga Kor Ming said Najib’s appointment of Gerakan president Mah Siew Keong to head the Hindu Endowment Board was already a classic example of inappropriateness. “How can you get a dog to catch a rat when the cat should do the job? “Najib must prove that the appointment of Nazir to Khazanah is based on merits and not nepotism.” The Taiping MP suggested that Nazir’s previous track record should be used as a benchmark and a key performance indicators (KPIs) test should apply. “Khazanah is our sovereign fund and it involves public interest. So, only the best shall be allowed to manage it.” Bayan Baru MP Sim Tze Tzin said the appointment was a worrying trend in cronyism. “With due respect to Nazir’s successful career in banking, the appointment opens the suspicion of conflict of interest, which Malaysia should avoid at this juncture. “Khazanah is best managed by independent professionals on its board of directors who can manage our country’s wealth and assets without any association to top politicians.”
PKR central committee member Chang Lih Kang said the entire process of appointment was problematic and not transparent for an investment wing of the government that uses public funds. “Appointment of directors in such an important institution should be carried out in a meticulous way,” said the Teja assemblyman.