The drama surrounding the appointment of former Permodalan Nasional Bhd (PNB) president and group CEO Jalil Rasheed took a fresh twist with the Securities Commission (SC) on Thursday demanding answers even after Jalil resigned from his post on Tuesday.
The SC in a strongly-worded statement said it found discrepancies in the submission relating to the academic and working credentials of Jalil.
Jalil served as PNB’s president and group chief executive for barely nine months. He was appointed to the post on Oct 1,2019.
Sources say the SC was made aware of the discrepancies after Jalil was appointed as chairman of Sapura Energy Bhd on Jan 31 this year.
He resigned as chairman of the oil and gas company on June 15 and was replaced by Tan Sri Hamid Bugo, who is also chairman of Petroliam Sarawak Bhd.
Jalil replaced Datuk Hamzah Bakar at Sapura Energy when he was appointed chairman but questions over his credentials were raised by the company, which then informed Bursa Malaysia but was then directed to bring their concerns to the attention of the SC, say sources.
The SC then contacted PNB, which it oversees, for clarification but in a space of less than a week when questions over Jalil’s future was first raised by The Edge, he tendered his resignation amidst a media firestorm over the issue.
Social media was abuzz with conjecture over his resignation and Jalil told his side of the story in a letter to staff of PNB and on social media on the harassment he has encountered in the wake of news of his impending removal.
With him vacating his post, it has been reported that Ahmad Zulqarnain Onn was earmarked as his successor.
Ahmad Zulqarnain, 47, has impressive credentials along with him being deputy managing director at sovereign fund Khazanah Nasional Bhd with experience in investment banking and asset management.
But the statement by the SC on Thursday shows that this issue is far from over despite Jalil leaving PNB.
“The SC had sought clarification from relevant parties regarding these discrepancies.
“PNB’s response to the SC’s enquiries is still pending, ” it said.
The SC says that a Capital Market Services Licence (CMSL) holder is required under its licensing handbook to seek the SC’s prior approval for the appointment of its chief executive.
“In doing so, a CMSL holder and its board of directors are required to conduct due diligence on the individual’s capability and competence to lead the licensed entity.”
It further added that as a CMSL holder, PNB is required to ensure that all information submitted to the SC for the appointment of its former president and group chief executive, including his work experience and academic qualifications provided in the application forms and supporting documents, are true and correct after it has conducted due diligence enquiries.
“This requirement is clearly stated in the relevant application form, ” said the capital market regulator.
“This includes assessing, among others, the individual’s ability to exercise due skill and diligence in assuming the position.
“In addition, the SC will also conduct regulatory assessments on the background of the individual with relevant law enforcement agencies, ” stated the SC.
The SC’s requirements and practices are comparable with the standards applied by other capital market regulators in the region.
PNB responded to the SC statement yesterday by saying it views the public statement with great seriousness, and wishes to state that it has established an inquiry team to investigate the matter.
“An initial response to the SC has been made today, and a more detailed reply will be forwarded to the SC following the completion of the inquiry in the very near term.
“PNB will continue to extend its full co-operation to the SC and any other relevant authorities in relation to this matter, as has been done in all our previous dealings with the regulatory authorities, ” it says in a three-paragraph statement.
But SC’s insistence for an answer now puts the spotlight on PNB chairman Tan Sri Zeti Akhtar Aziz.
It was reported by Focus Malaysia that former Khazanah Nasional Bhd Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar was in the lead to be appointed chairman of PNB should Zeti be replaced.
Sources, however, says Tan Sri Samsudin Osman, who was made interim acting chairman of Sime Darby Bhd recently, was tipped to replace Zeti should a decision on the position of chairman at PNB be made.
Zeti’s contract is to expire soon.
Samsudin was the former chief secretary to the government and long time chairman of the Employees Provident Fund from 2007 to 2020. His stature of a former chief secretary and tenure as EPF chairman gives Samsudin the clout and credentials should a decision on the position of chairman at PNB come into question.
PNB has had a history of appointing former chief secretary to the government with Tun Ahmad Sarji Abdul Hamid being the chairman of the fund from 1996 to 2016 after leaving the civil service.