This is a developing story.
Say hello to the new managing director of Khazanah.
After the resignation en masse by all nine of Khazanah’s old board members last week, 48 year old Datuk Shahril Ridza Ridzuan has been announced as the government fund’s new MD after heading up the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) for five years.
He joins Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed, who was announced as chairman of the board earlier in the week. According to reports, also on the new board are Dato Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali, Tan Sri Mohd Hassan Marican, Dr Sukhdave Singh and Goh Ching Yin.
Wanting to set the record straight, outgoing managing director Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar penned a detailed five page letter which covers his 14 years with the nation’s wealth management fund:
Shahril’s credentials look good on paper – he’s an Oxbridge graduate, was MD of the Malaysian Resources Corporation Berhad (MRCB) which saw KL Sentral flourish as a commercial hub in the Kuala Lumpur and also has a background in corporate recovery and credit restructuring following 1997’s Asian Financial Crisis.
Hopefully we see these glowing credentials translate into some cha-ching for the Malaysian population.
You can kiss goodbye to the entire Khazanah Nasional board of directors as all nine of them have handed in their resignation letters.
Their resignations have been confirmed by Khazanah Nasional themslves and come as a result of a unanimous decision that Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s administration should determine the company’s new leadership structure.
As the government’s investment fund with a function to manage Malaysia’s commerical asset portfolio, where does that leave the government now that there is no one at the helm?
On the 24 July, managing director of Khazanah, Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar and his fellow members decided to step back from the wealth fund board in a meeting two days prior to their announcement.
There is speculation that the members’ resignations are a reaction to Mahathir’s criticism of the fund two weeks ago.
The Twittersphere is already alight with reactions to the unfolding events:
It is estimated that Khazanah’s investments have an approximate net worth of RM115.6 billion.
According to The Star, “Any new leadership Dr Mahathir installs at Khazanah in the coming weeks will likely pursue management changes to the group’s stable of investments,” leaving serious questions in the minds of investors.
Bankers have offered their two cents by offering the possibility that the move was made to plant seeds of doubt in the minds of foreign investors whose shares are listed in Khazanah’s entities.
In the past, Mahathir had voiced out his concerns over Khazanah’s deviation from his original intent for the investment fund to hold shares for bumiputras. Conversely, there are rumbles of concern around the idea that Khazanah may be privatised and give rise once again to the cronyism that has beleaguered Malaysian politics for the past few decades.
As part of his concern, Mahathir has also lamented the fact that Khazanah has now become a mechanism for the previous government to reward politicians and non-professionals with lucrative packages of dubious merit.
Either way – they both only benefit a specific group in society.
Additional text by June See.
Source: The Star, The Straits Times