(Petaling Jaya, Wednesday): Tenaga Nasional Bhd. received unprecedented battering in the market, falling by 50 sen on Friday and plunging by another RM1.20 on Monday - all because of the slipshod and unprofessional handling of top Tenaga appointments in naming Datuk Jamaludin Jarjis to replace Tan Sri Ahmad Tajuddin Ali as Tenaga chairman.
It was only after the severe punishment in the market that Tajuddin Ali was offered the post of president and chief executive officer, on the same terms and conditions of service as before.
A Ministry of Finance source said that it had always been the governmentís intention to offer the highest executive post in Tenaga to Tajuddin and the delay in the announcement was due to some technical matters which needed to be addressed.
This is the most lame excuse that the Finance Ministry could come up with. Even if it is true that there could be no public announcement until "some technical matters" had been ironed out, such as a formal meeting of Tenagaís board of directors, it is inconceivable that the market and Tajuddin himself could or should be kept in the dark about such an intention.
On National Day eve last Wednesday, Tajuddin was placed in the embarrassing position of having to admit that he had not been told whether his contract to run the state-controlled national power company would be renewed once it expired at the end of the month, forcing him to go on leave.
Tajudinís admission that "At the moment I have not been informed who will be the new chairman or chief executive or whether or not there will be a change in the appointment" resulting in news headlines like "Tenaga head's future in limbo as contract expires" is a most shabby treatment of a well-regarded professional who had served Tenaga and the country well.
Malaysians are entitled to know who are responsible for the shabby treatment of Tajuddin and the slipshod and unprofessional handling of top Tenaga appointments causing the unprecedented plunge in Tenaga shares, for with them at the helm, Malaysia is unlikely to make much headway on good corporate governance.
Jamaludinís debut as corporate chairman created history of sorts, as no appointment had met with such an avalanche of adverse market reactions constituting a powerful vote of no-confidence in him as he is regarded as a political appointee who is not expected to put public interest above political or party interests.
As Jamaludinís appointment as chairman of one of the biggest state-run
utilities companies is completely incompatible with his position
as UMNO MP for Rompin, Chairman of Barisan Backbenchers Club and Chairman
of Public Accounts Committee, Jamaluddin must relinquish his
three parliamentary positions, resigning not only as Chairman of
PAC and BBC, but also as MP and retire from active UMNO politics,
if he wants to stay on as Tenaga Chairman.