Dr M, Azmin on Khazanah board

PETALING JAYA: Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali will join Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad on the board of Khazanah Nasional Bhd.

The others appointed to the board are former Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) president and chief executive Tan Sri Hassan Marican, former Bank Negara deputy governor Sukhdave Singh and former Securities Commission (SC) executive director Goh Ching Yin.

According to a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office, the appointment of the managing director of Khazanah will be made at a later date.

Last Tuesday, nine directors on Khazanah’s board, including MD Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar, gave their undated resignation letters to the government, ending 11 weeks of impasse on the future direction of the sovereign wealth fund.

Since May 9 after the Barisan Nasional government was toppled in the 14th general election, the government has not named any of its appointees to the board of Khazanah.

The strongest signal that the new government wanted to see a change in Khazanah came after Dr Mahathir criticised the sovereign wealth fund for deviating from its original objectives.

After failing to see Dr Mahathir, Azman and the board handed in their undated resignation letters last Tuesday. It is learnt that the resignations were accepted and dated as of July 28.

It is believed that Azman will meet Dr Mahathir today.

A new MD is to be named in the next two days to replace Azman. At least four people have been identified and leading the pack is Datuk Yusof Annuar Yaacob, the chief executive of Deutsche Bank Malaysia.

The others are Datuk Charon Mokhzani, the group MD of Malaysian Industrial Development Finance Bhd, and Datuk Mohd Zafer Mohd Hashim, who was formerly the chief executive of Bank Pembangunan Malaysia Bhd.

The fourth is Raja Shahreen Raja Othman, who is currently the chief executive officer of Selangor’s Menteri Besar Inc. He has served the state since 2014.

The appointment of Azmin to the Khazanah board underlines the carving out of the sovereign wealth fund from the Finance Ministry. Previously, Khazanah was under the Finance Ministry, but under the new government, it is expected to be under the Prime Minister’s Office.

Hassan is a member of the Council of Eminent Persons and serves several oil and gas and energy companies in Singapore that are majority-owned by Temasek Holdings. Since leaving Petronas in 2010, the only notable Malaysian company that he was a director in was Sarawak Energy Bhd.

Dr Sukhdave resigned from Bank Negara in November last year, ahead of the expiry of his term as deputy governor in April 2019. He had served the central bank for 31 years.

Speculation was rife that he left after not being able to work with former Bank Negara governor Tan Sri Muhammad Ibrahim, who has since resigned.

Goh is an investment banker and was appointed as executive director of the SC in 2007. He left the SC in 2016 and is now on the boards of Maybank Investment Bank and other companies such as Shangri-la Hotels (M) Bhd .

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