Three months into office, Mara Corp group CEO ‘suspended’

Something is brewing in Mara Corporation (Corp) Sdn Bhd that suggests a possible change in leadership.

This despite the hiring of a new group chief executive officer (CEO) three months ago.

Datuk Badlisyah Abdul Ghani’s appointment as group CEO for the impact investment and commercial unit of Majlis Amanah Rakyat (Mara) was announced on Sept 3.

Mara Corp chairman Datuk Dr Syed Muhamad Syed Kadir was quoted as saying then: “His credentials and experience in business, finance and investments meet our expectations of the group CEO, to successfully fulfil Mara Corp’s mandate.”

However, Badlisyah was “suspended” last month and the board of directors appointed Noor Irwan Marmin as acting CEO effective Nov 20. The staff were informed of the change.

Noor Irwan is attached to Mara and is a board of director at Furniture Industry Technology Centre – a wholly-owned subsidiary of Mara.

It remains unclear why Badlisyah was “suspended”.

It is understood Badlisyah had, among others, intended to carry out an audit on Mara Corp.

Badlisyah had previously served Tabung Haji as deputy CEO. He is also a former CEO of CIMB Group Islamic Banking and CIMB Islamic Bank Bhd.

The fate of 20-odd professionals hired during Badlisyah’s stint to oversee various sectors within the company – namely education, financial services, property, aerospace, retail and transportation – remains unknown.

Repeated efforts to obtain Badlisyah’s comments proved futile. When contacted, an official from Mara Corp said “there was no official statement” regarding the matter.

It remains to be seen if compensation will be rolled out if the services of Badlisyah and the team of professionals are terminated.

There is no information about Mara Corp’s management on its website as it only lists the board of directors chaired by Syed Muhamad.

The board of directors comprises Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Zuki Ali, Treasury secretary-general Datuk Asri Hamidin @ Hamidon, Rural Development Ministry secretary-general Datuk Dr Ahmad Jailani Muhamed Yunus, Mara director-general Datuk Azhar Abdul Manaf, founder of Holiday Villa Hotels & Resorts Tan Sri Datuk Azman Shah Haron, Gig Tech Holdings Sdn Bhd executive director Datuk Sri Megat D. Shahriman Zaharudin, former Labuan MP and Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia Labuan chief Datuk Suhaili Abdul Rahman and Mohd Hisham Mohamed.

A Nov 26 letter sighted by Twentytwo13 shows Suhaili had been appointed Mara Corp executive director and chairman of the executive committee board for two years beginning Dec 1, 2020 until Nov 30, 2022 – pending approval from the Mara Council and Mara Crop board of directors.

The letter was signed by Rural Development Minister Datuk Dr Abdul Latiff Ahmad.

Efforts to contact Dr Abdul Latiff were also futile.

Dr Abdul Latiff was quoted by Bernama in October as saying Mara Corp was in the process of restructuring its business focus to enable it to be involved in other strategic businesses to build its economic strength.

Established in 2016, Mara Corp’s objective is to manage and develop Mara’s commercial entities under a single entity.

Talk of Mara Corp closing down surfaced last year.

While several economists had hailed the move saying decisions were often politically motivated and not aimed at meeting socio-economic needs, several groups including Malaysian Malay Chamber of Commerce and Malay Economic Action Council had requested that Mara Corp be given a chance to strengthen its business.

Here’s the round-up of The News Normal today.

RM1.17BIL SPENT SO FAR TO HANDLE COVID-19

A total of RM1.17 billion has been spent by the Health Ministry until Oct 31 to handle the Covid-19 pandemic in the country.

The expenditure from a RM1 billion allocation approved by the Finance Ministry and other existing allocations were used to buy equipment, medical supply, consumables, personal protection equipment (PPE), reagents and test kits and other services to curb the spread of Covid-19.

“The allocation was spent at government health facilities, including hospitals, health clinics and dental clinics,” said Deputy Health Minister II Datuk Aaron Ago Dagang in reply to Wan Hassan Mohd Ramli (PAS-Dungun) during Question Time in the Dewan Rakyat.

A total of RM275 million was spent on Covid-19 Special Allowance for the ministry’s frontliners while RM262 million was used to buy PPE.

Aaron said RM210 million was used on reagents and test kits in addition to payment to outsource private laboratory services for Covid-19 screening tests.

90 PER CENT OF HOUSING FOR FOREIGN WORKERS NOT IN LINE WITH LAW

A total of 1.4 million (or 91.1 per cent) foreign workers in Malaysia live in places that do not meet minimum standards under the law.

Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri M. Saravanan said he found the statistics “very worrying”, given the Covid-19 pandemic.

Saravanan said as at Oct 31, the government had received applications for Certificate of Accommodation for only 143,587 or 8.89 per cent of the 1.6 million foreign workers in the country.

Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, who chairs the Cabinet Committee on Foreign Workers, said the certificate will be a prerequisite for hiring foreign workers from July 1 next year.

He said employers must obtain the certificate from the Human Resources Ministry before a visa is issued by the Immigration Department.

465 ATTEMPTED SUICIDE CASES REFERRED TO HEALTH MINISTRY UNTIL JULY

Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba today said 465 cases of attempted suicide were referred to the Health Ministry between January and July this year.

The cases, however, were not necessarily due to the impact of Covid-19, he said.

Dr Adham told the Dewan Rakyat 9,502 cases of mental disorders and suicidal behaviour were also recorded from January to July 2020.

15 MORE SUSPECTS REMANDED IN BORDER SHOOTING CASE

Fifteen more men have been remanded over the shooting incident involving the General Operations Force (GOF) and smugglers at the Malaysia-Thailand border near Padang Besar last week.

This brings the number of those arrested so far to 37.

The remand order against the suspects aged between 20 and 40 who are all Malaysians was issued by Kangar High Court assistant registrar Siti Nor Hasliza Md Ali.

On Nov 24, GOF member Corporal Baharuddin Ramli, 54, was killed, while his colleague, Corporal Norihan a/l Tari, 39, was severely injured during the shootout with the smugglers.

REACH OUT TO LOVED ONES BEFORE IT BECOMES JUST A MEMORY

Columnist Rita Jong shares memories of two good friends – journalist Mohd Nayan Abdul Rahman and lawyer Gerard Lazarus — whose sudden passing last Friday is a reminder that we need to reach out to long-lost friends or family members because we never really know the true value of a moment until it becomes a memory.