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Zahid: Keep politics out of Khazanah board appointments

Published:  |  Modified:

Following the mass resignations of Khazanah Nasional's board of directors, their replacements should be appointed with corporate principles in mind and without political interference, said opposition leader Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

In a statement today, Zahid said this was to ensure that moving forward, Khazanah's development, as well as that of government-linked companies under it, were not affected by the leadership change.

"With the resignations, the opposition is worried about Khazanah's foreign investment portfolios as well as the situation of dozens of GLCs under it.

"The opposition is also concerned that companies under Khazanah will undergo a crisis following the government's move to fire or force to resign leaders of the said companies who were appointed by the previous BN administration," said Zahid.

Although the transition would provide the prospect of promotions for civil servants, the government could also put its own nominees to fill the void, he pointed out.

"What is troubling that the resignation of (Khazanah's) board of directors included those who had really served the company with excellence and contributed to its growth.

"Khazanah's investment portfolio can be impacted if the appointment of its new board of directors is made without due diligence and with political considerations above corporate interests in mind," said the Umno president.

Thus, Zahid urged the government to appoint candidates who were qualified if not more than the outgoing line-up of Khazanah.

"Khazanah is involved in a six-phase property development project in Singapore with the republic's Temasek Holdings.

"At a time where the country's relationship is shaky due to the cancellation of the High-Speed Rail (HSR) project, any development in Khazanah will directly impact our diplomatic relationship with Singapore," he revealed.

Had deviated claim

It was reported earlier today that nine members of Khazanah's board had signed and sent in their undated resignation letters to Putrajaya.

This included Khazanah managing director Azman Mokhtar, executive committee board chairperson Nor Md Yusof and the other directors namely Nazir Razak, Nirmala Menon, Mohamed Azman Yahya, Mohammed Azlan Hashim, Yeo Kar Peng, Andrew Sheng Len Tao and Raja Arshad Raja Uda.

Earlier this month, Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad had stated that the sovereign wealth fund had deviated from its original objective of helping the bumiputera by enriching itself instead.

Khazanah was established in 1993 during Mahathir's first tenure as prime minister.

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