Monday, June 21, 2010
Talent solution raise questions on integrity of NEAC member
The public today have an expectation on how the country is to move forward with new ways on how the economy is being planned and driven to meet the challenges of globalisation and current global financial crisis.
Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Najib is meeting that expectation with ambitious, if not courageous, new ideas. The New Economic Model and 10th Malaysia Plan is now being crafted and carved out of the reminiscence of Mahathir-nomics.
It set a high growth and an economic pace that warrants the expectation to be a developed nation by 2020 despite undergoing a five-and-a half year of socio-economic-political-cultural setback and ‘flip-flop’ policies of Tun Abdullah's slumbering tenure.
Despite such high expectation, the public too demand upon Government to practise a high level of transparency, professionalism and good governance.
This lead to a 'tale of shit on a tail being wagged'. The shit will hit the ceiling and dirtied the walls.
It is a case of 'double dipping', by a member of the highest economic planning body i.e. the National Economic Action Council (NEAC), namely one Datuk Dr. Hamzah Kassim, that will destroy every good effort made by the PM.
Hamzah is regarded as a leading human capital expert in the nation and highly spoken of by industry and amongst academics.
He sits in the NEAC having the specific interest in human capital that is being advised, formulated and planned for the Government as policies and implementation programs.
It is strongly believed that PM Najib’s recently announced plan for a ‘Talent Corporation’ in the 10th Malaysia Plan presentation to the Parliament two weeks ago was the brainchild of Hamzah.
Hamzah also sits on the board of Encorp Bhd and thought to have a close association to Dato’ Mohd. Effendi Nawawi, the former Minister in-charge of EPU.
This former ISIS researcher-turned-consultant is the Group CEO for local consultant Innovation Associates (IA). The IA Group was spinoff from Ernest & Young Cap Gemini when the Malaysian partners decided to start their own some eight years ago.
The group’s mainstay of business is consultancy, technology (which include ICT) and human capital management. They even have dedicated subsidiaries for these business activities.
Hamzah is the Group CEO of IA Group of Companies and plays a very active role in the business development of these subsidiaries.
The question arise is how could an NEAC member, who is planning and formulating the human capital for the Government and later become policies, blueprints and implementation programs, be awarded and is still pursuing Government contracts?
Hamzah and IA Group was awarded contracts and is now actively pursuing Government awarded business opportunities under Ministry of Human Resource, Ministry of Higher Education, Ministry of Education, NCIA, IRDA, ECER and Khazanah Holdings Bhd.
Recently, IA Group formed a joint venture with Felda Prodata Systems Sdn. Bhd. to develop ICT business opportunities.
IA Group is an IT player is believed to ride on Felda’s position being a GLC and PM Najib’s close affinity for the land reform agency that turned into a full fledged business entity.
Hamzah is also believed to be very close to Felda Group CEO Dato’ Mohd. Bakke Salleh, who has been announced as the upcoming Group CEO of Sime Darby Bhd.
Now that Bakke is the Group CEO for a Malaysian MNC with very large regional operations in China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, the Philippines, Australia and some African states, Hamzah would naturally ‘ride’ on all the opportunities that will open to him and the IA Group.
Hamzah's integrity is at stake here. He is a Commissioner of the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC).
This raises more question. Could and most importantly, should an MACC commissioner, who is also member of the NEAC, canvass in direct and indirect business opportunities and contracts from Government and GLCs?
Probably, PM Najib should seriously look into the ‘talents’ that is being brought to advise the Government in official capacity.
It is unwise to have a ‘talent solution’ on personalities such as this but open his administration, policies and implementation to attacks and obviously position that is undefendable.
Najib should not be over reliance on official and advisors but establish his own back channel to do thorough background check and ensure the integrity of personalities filling up important places in Government and GLCS.
As it is, Najib's standard political answer to believe in the capability of Tan Sri Amirsham to fill the post of NEAC Chairman has proven him wrong.
He is believed to have selected Amirsham based on the recomendation of Tan Sri Nor Mohamd Yakcop. It was in the twilight of Amirsham's career and at a time his integrity is seriously being questioned for Maybank's overpriced purchase of Bank Indonesia Internasional (BII).
His questionable integrity has now translated into his wrongful appointment of NEAC members such as overly theoretical and ignorance of Malaysia Danny Quah, bias leaning against Malay Dato Nicholas Zachery, Melayu liberal Prof Norma, and Hamzah the 'double dipper'.
Najib's had again overrelied on Sime Darby officials' line of reasoning to select Dato Mohd Bakke Salleh as CEO without a thorough assessment of his performance at Felda, Bank Islam and Tabung Haji and understanding the organisational match.
All the candidate offered or so-called shortlisted by Sime Darby have the experiance to manage conglomorate organisation. Other than Sime Darby, there is too few in Malaysia. Managing such organisation requires unique skills.
There is no question that the prerogative to appoint also lies with the PM. However, he need to know that such oversight may prove disastrous and it is not impossible that the recent Sime Darby financial problem will lead to a bigger and more serious financial scandal in the future. It has happened elsewhere before and it had happened in the 'original' Sime Darby.
And, scandals are something Najib should avoid by miles, despite Merdeka Centre giving false ‘feel good’ vibes of 72% of Malaysians polled to have agreed with his plans for Malaysia.
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