Home run hiatus

Dr Mavani: The future face of FELDA businesses

Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohd. Najib Tun Razak has set a new agenda for succession planning to see ‘home grown talents’ within GLCs. This was transpired during his meeting with TNB staff on 3 September 2012.

KUALA LUMPUR (Sept 3, 2012) : Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak today announced that Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) is the first government-linked company to raise the retirement age from 56 to 60. He said this was in accordance with the implementation of the Minimum Retirement Age Act 2012 passed by Parliament recently.

The prime minister also announced more good news for the TNB employees. He said the TNB board of directors and management had agreed to raise the employer’s rate of contribution to the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) for the 56-60 age period. He also said that new employees of TNB would contribute to the Social Security Organisation (Socso) beginning Sept 1 this year. Najib made the announcements when addressing an assembly of TNB employees at the TNB Sports Complex, here.

The event was also followed live over a video telecast by almost 30,000 TNB employees throughout peninsular Malaysia and Sabah.

Najib said he hoped that all TNB employees would garner better benefits and be more motivated to discharge their duties. “And, what was expressed by your representatives will be your firm commitment to work hard. “As such, TNB will excel and in 60 years from now, it will achieve greater excellence,” he said. Najib said the challenge for TNB now was to fulfil the Key Performance Indicator (KPI) pertaining to supply of adequate electricity and energy at a high rate of reliability compared to the early stages where it had to supply power to small towns and the rural areas.

“When we talk of quality, it goes with reliability. This does not apply just for domestic consumers but for industrial users such as in the sophisticated electrical and electronic fields where a slight disruption can result in huge losses,” he said. Najib said he hoped that TNB would continue to grow and become more established through a well-planned human capital development programme.

On the appointment of Datuk Azman Mohd as the new CEO of TNB, Najib said he had fulfilled a pledge to TNB employees to appoint a home-grown talent to the post. “TNB is an organisation whose excellence is beyond doubt. As such, when it came to a transition in the top management, I told their unions that if they had someone from within, I will appoint that person as the chief executive.

“In accordance with our slogan of “Promises Fulfilled”, my pledge to the TNB employees has been fulfilled. We are proud of the home-grown talent of Datuk Azman who is qualified to be the CEO and President of TNB,” he said. Meanwhile, TNB Executives Association president Abdul Shukor Hassan said TNB employees welcomed today’s announcement. – Bernama


However, this is ‘home grown talents’ is not a program that has been realised by the Prime Minister’s Office. For starters, unlike the practice of Utusan Malaysia which promoted their talents within, last year Dato’ Abdul Jalil Hamid was taken from PMO’s own outfit and appointed as the Group Managing Editor of NST Group. Syed Faisal was brought into Malaysia Airports recently, speculated to be the ‘replacement’ CEO. So were several movements within Petronas.

Taking talents not from within has been the practice if the ‘Level Four Boys’ influenced administration of the previous leadership, firmly practiced by the Head Honco Nor Mohamed Yackop. They prefer to ‘head hunt’ CEOs and make sure these CEOs deliver what is required of them to do, based on the letters. They employ ‘McKinsey’s best practices’ in determining the succession plan.

The ‘other’ considerations are either nearly or totally omitted. ‘Return on Investments’ (ROI) was the primary deliverables.

That practice and legacy has now transpired by Idris Jala and his PEMANDU Government own consultants. They are have been proven to be insensitive for the opinion they made, let alone decisions that they would formulate. In the complexity of Malaysia, moving forward cannot be purely on a typical text book linear formula.

Hence, the regime change for one of Prime Minister Najib’s own corporate exercise baby.

This ‘talents within’ succession plan program is not true for FELDA Global Venture Holdings Bhd. (FGV). FGVH just announced that a director, who was an appointee from PEMANDU Dr. Mohammed Emir Mavani Abdullah as the CEO (designate) when the current Group CEO Dato’ Sabri Ahmad tenure ends in July.

Thursday January 3, 2013

Emir is new FGVH CEO designate

PETALING JAYA: Felda Global Ventures Holdings Bhd (FGVH) has appointed Mohammed Emir Mavani Abdullah as CEO designate to replace Datuk Sabri Ahmad once his tenure ends on July 15.

“The appointment is part of succession planning and to ensure smooth phasing in of the new leadership after the expiry of contract of the current group president or CEO,” said FGVH in a filing.

Mohammed Emir is currently a director of FGVH and has been with the company since July 2011.

He also holds several directorships in, namely, the Malaysia Nuclear Power Corp and the Malaysian Petroleum Resource Corp and is also aNational Key Economic Areas (NKEA) director for the Performance Management and Delivery Unit (Pemandu) under the Prime Minister’s Department.

He is a former adviser to the United Arab Emirates’ finance minister and also a former strategy and policy adviser for the Abu Dhabi General Secretariat.


This announcement is baffling to many. If Dr Mavani takes over from a seasoned-planter Sabri, it means that FGVH nominated an oil and gas man to take care the globally largest oil-palm-plantation-based group of companies.

Currently, FGVH owns and manages 300,000ha of FELDA Plantation and some other plantation based produce besides palm oil are rubber, sugar and downstream derivatives. They own 71 mills, 4 kernel crushing plants and 15 refineries, which include 8 of these refineries abroad. FGVH also owns 11 rubber factories, of which two are in Thailand and one in Indonesia.

FGVH is expanding their plantations in Cambodia, Myanmar and Indonesia. They are also actively getting their plantations in Cameroon and Congo.

If FGVH carries through the plan for Dr. Mavani to replace Sabri, then the former who has over 40 years as a planter and former Chairman of the Malaysian Palm Oil Board is being replaced by oil and gas man. He has not had his hands toiled and soiled on the multilevel complications that were arisen from the Opposition-charged controversies brought forth in derailing the FGVH IPO process. The most major issue was the game-changing to exclude KPF for the FGVH IPO process, unlike what earlier envisaged by Prime Minister Najib.

This appointment is not as how Prime Minister Najib aspired it to be for GLCs, as per the recent TNB CEO appointment. There are other seasoned FELDA management or planter within the rank of top management of FGVH.

So why bring in a oil and gas PEMANDU chap as the designate CEO?

FGVH is not a typical textbook plc. It is a business entity operating on principles and practice of the market with the usual tribulation and commitment to the various statekolders, which include the authorities. However, along the way FGVH make must take a lot of political consideration in the decision making process and most importantly, the implementation process.

FGVH is another marvelous example of the reliasation of New Economic Policy (NEP) and now part of Prime Minister Najib’s ‘Transformation Agenda’. On top of that, Dr Mavani has no relevant experience in dealing with the 112,635 FELDA settlers, who are one of the most important stakeholders of FGVH.

Sabri as the CEO of FGVH goes around various meetings with FELDA settlers to outline how proceeds of FGVH could benefit them. Programs have been lined to ensure that the quality of life of FELDA settlement dwellers be improved.

Can someone like Dr Mavani live upto all these more pertinent and inherently high-political risk challenges?

Never mind the ‘Malay Agenda’. Never mind the fact that FGVH is seen as just ‘FELDA’ in the eyes to the majority. Never mind the fact that many of the Malays see FGVH is Prime Minister Najib’s transformation on what his father started for FELDA 50 years earlier.

Prime Minister Najib multiple ‘home runs’ could face a hiatus, with this appointment. ‘Transformation Agenda’ does not only tantamount to figures and how companies could be worth. Inability to reach out to the stakeholders, would spiral everything into serious disproportions.

More over, these 112,635 FELDA settlers of the 317 FELDA settlements would be the deciding factor of 54 Parliamentary constituencies. That is almost 25% of the Dewan Rakyat standing.

If ever the plan is realised, by the time Dr Mavani comes in as FGVH GCEO 13GE would be done with. However, the insensitivities of persons without the ‘Malay Agenda’ would be translated in the GE immediate next. It would be terrible shame for Prime Minister Najib to have his home runs in hiatus.

*Updated 1600hrs

Published in: on January 7, 2013 at 13:30  Comments (10)