PETALING JAYA: Datuk Seri Ismail Bakar is set to be appointed as the top bureaucrat at the Treasury, taking over the post left vacant following the removal of Tan Sri Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah last month, as the government steps up efforts to clean up the financial mess left by the previous administration.
Ismail, 58, was the budget director at the Finance Ministry (MoF) before he was moved in November 2014 to head the civil service at the Transport Ministry.
Barely a year later, he was again transferred to the Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry Ministry where he is the current secretary-general.
“Given his wealth of experience, no doubt he is the best man for the job,” said a government source.
Known for his no-nonsense approach, Ismail’s return to the MoF comes when the ministry is facing one of its most trying times.
The new government has intensified investigations into 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), a company 100% owned by the MoF and the subject of a global money-laundering probe.
It has been revealed by Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng that the Government has been paying 1MDB’s debt obligations for the past one year.
Further investigations into the so-called “red files” that were previously off-limits to most Treasury officials have unearthed new details about transactions by the previous administration.
On Monday Lim said he was shocked to discover yet another multi-billion-ringgit bombshell.
The Finance Minister said he would summon Irwan and former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak to explain the RM9.4bil oil and gas pipeline deal signed by Suria Strategic Energy Resources Sdn Bhd.
Irwan, who was the chairman of 1MDB and Suria Energy, was put on leave on May 14 from his post at the MoF and had his contract shortened to June 14 by the new government.
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, immediately after taking over the government following Pakatan Harapan’s general election win on May 9, said “certain heads must fall” if they are found to be involved in wrongdoings.
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