It was leaked that Director General of Filem Nasional (FINAS) Mohd Naguib Razak’s term ends on the day Malaysians celebrate the 55th commemoration of nationhood. The bet is who will be the next man to head the agency which is supposed to develop and promote local movie-for-cinema industry.
The minister-in-charge of information, communications and culture Dato’ Seri Dr Rais Yatim Ph.D appointed this filmmaker to to the top FINAS job last September. And it is for only one year. This is not peculiar to the Minister as he also appointed Chairman and CEO of Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commission Dato’ Mohamad Sharil Tarmizi for only one year term. Unlike Dr Rais who is fast approaching seventy, both are men in their early forties.
The former Director General of RTM Dato’ Ibrahim “Tiger” Yahya’s appointment was also for two years.
Dr Rais has been back in the Federal Government since November 1999, after he managed to take back his Jelebu Parliamentary seat after an interregnum period of nine years lost in the woods of Malaysian mainstream politics. For the record, Dr Rais was sacked from the Cabinet in April 1987, when he proclaimed “I have burned my bridge with Dr Mahathir” as he was firmly backing then Minister of International Trade and Industry Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah for the UMNO Presidency challenge on 25 April 1987.
He stayed on with Ku Li and when UMNO was de-registered on 4 February 1988, Dr Rais stood by Ku Li when they tried to form UMNO 46. Both of them and their supporters because dissenters when UMNO was re-established and they went on to incorporate Parti Semangat 46. Dr Rais became the Deputy President of Semangat 46. For the next two elections, Semangat 46 tried to unseat UMNO but they failed.
When Semangat 46 was dissolved and its members brought back to the UMNO fold, Dr Rais found himself back where he once was. After the 10th general elections in November 1999, then Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad brought Dr Rais back into the Cabinet. He was then the only ex-Semangat 46 politician to be accorded with a ministership.
So if Dr Rais could remain continuously in Cabinet since 1999, why is he having this habit to appoint CEOs of all agencies that report to him in very short stints? What does he expect for these men to achieve within one to two years in the job?
These posts are strategic in their respective industries and also tactical for the implementation of policies set by the Ministry. These agencies supposed to formulate their own game plan and execute it, after getting the policy approved from the Ministry. The Minister is not supposed to have a hand in the executive decisions that these agencies do.
Unless the Minister insist that every major decisions made by these men goes through his desk for approval first. Then, it is justifed why these men are appointed for very short stints. At least to how the Minister act and behave is his own ‘little kingdom’.
Our ‘Thirteen Million Ringgit Plus” question is the decision of public screening of the much awaited ‘Tanda Putera’ been rescheduled from its original date on 13 September indefinitely is the result of FINAS DG would no longer be Naguib but instead someone else?
The appointment of Naguib as the DG for FINAS a year ago is without controversial. Earlier, it was highly speculated that the job would be given to Ahmad Idham. However, the industry was vehemently against it. Knowing how things are with the Ministry, it is highly unlikely for the speculation of Ahmad Idham’s appointment was not pointing to where the Minister’s choice was heading.
Then, come what may, decisions to screen the movie about lives of Tun Abdul Razak Hussein and Tun Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman between May 1969 till January 1976 should be decided much earlier on grounds in tandem with why FINAS supported Pesona Pictures to make the movie in the first place. Making a movie is about performing arts, being put through the proper processes of finesse.
Never the less, it was that that the Minister was grousing about Naguib being in FINAS. However, no one would want to bet whether the Minister is willing to admit that he made a mistake on the appointment of DG FINAS. Just like the Police report he made against Datuk Rocky almost two years ago.
Too many blunders from one Minister. And people are watching. Minister, please take note of that. Probably, now is the best time for him to reflect of his own relevance to the ‘bigger picture’.