KOTA KINABALU: Datuk Dr Yusof Yacob is fully aware of the tasks entrusted to him as the new chairman of state government investment arm Qhazanah Sabah Berhad (QSB).
"It is without doubt not an easy job. However, I have had the privilege of actively engaging with the management team across the group,” he said, after delivering his first annual address during a town hall session at the Sabah International Convention Centre (SICC) here on Tuesday (March 21).
"For me, it is imperative that we harness the readiness of one another to not only create a profitable company rather one that only places an emphasis in a positive working environment driven by mutual respect," added the 67-year-old Sindumin assemblyman.
Dr Yusof replaced Datuk Seri Salleh Said Keruak, following the political crisis that was triggered after Sabah Barisan Nasional-Umno pulled its support from Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor and his Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) government.
On his role, Dr Yusof said that the function of the Board was to provide a strategic direction for execution by the management and thus reducing the need for interference.
He added that he holds on to the principle of good governance and transparency and added that he believes that an optimum ecosystem shall be subject to continuous review to ensure sustainability, relevancy and agility.
"The management, the Board and the employees are each fitted into the company’s niche, which without it all the aspiration may not be realised," said Dr Yusof.
"We have to create symbiosis to build unity in diversity and only then will we move as one force. This is what I aim for above others, and this is the main reason I am here," he added.
Dr Yusof then said that he is determined to transform the growth for the government linked investment company (GLIC) and its people.
"QSB has a lot of potential and can grow further but certain rules need to be followed, and the main thrust is good corporate governance (GC) which must be practiced at all levels of QSB," he said.
"There should be no hanky-panky going around in QSB. We should look at the intent of our regulatory procedures governed by the principle of GC and follow them," added Dr Yusof.
He said that any decision made must stand up to scrutiny via practice of thorough assessment and due diligence that are driven by transparency to avoid bad planning and personal interest.
When asked on business outlook, he said there were four pillars, of which should be envisioned by QSB’s management prior to any business ventures to ensure an impactful outcome for Sabah
Firstly, he said, their investment pipeline must align with the aspiration of the state which is to create a significant spillover impact that can be used to alleviate the socio-economic level higher than what it is.
He added that structured and impactful investment decisions are crucial in relishing QSB’s pursuit to increase distribution of dividend to Sabah, making QSB an active contributor to the state’s revenue.
Dr Yusof said that QSB also needs to ensure that its diversified operations are not redundant to ones operated by other equally important GLCs such as Sabah Economic Development Corporation (Sedco) and Sawit Kinabalu.
He added that Sabah should also, he said, fully capitalise its natural resources that include river and solar to provide renewable-based energy catering to the increasing energy demand in Sabah.
"This is what QSB aims to do via joint ventures with carefully selected partners that can provide technical expertise and technology transfer to our local workforce," said Dr Yusof.
"Our overarching priority is preserving the environment in whatever we do, at the same time retaining optimum investment return which is only possible if we adhere strictly to the practice of good governance," he added.
Dr Yusof said QSB’s role as strategic economic partners to the state undoubtedly brings the need to empower the local small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and youth community.
"SMEs form the backbone of the economy, hence, we are committed to ensure their participation in any of our joint venture projects moving ahead either at upstream or downstream industry," he said.
"This is so we can avoid scenarios of our own people being sidelined in any mega project. We strive to be the catalyst in providing our own youth and our own SMEs with business and employment opportunities," added Dr Yusof.
He said he also aspired for QSB to jointly work with non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to create a larger impact to the community.
As value adding to support the state’s initiatives in economic transformation, Dr Yusof said, QSB has also continuously shown its support in giving back to the community in need via carefully structured corporate and social responsibility (CSR) initiatives.