Man about town, Minister of the Crown

Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohd. Najib Tun Razak should put up 1MDB CEO Arul Kanda Kandasamy as a member of Dewan Negara and seriously consider appointing him as a Cabinet Minister in charge of all development under TRX City, instead of a civil servant.

Prime Minister Najib’s statement today:


17th May 2017

1.      Over the past decade, Kuala Lumpur has taken its rightful place as one of the leading capitals of Asia. It is a city that brings together people from different backgrounds, ethnicities and cultures, which attracts tourists from around the world, and increasingly serves as a regional and international business hub.

2.      This is a result of our unwavering focus on economic development, and the significant investments we have made across infrastructure and transport, that together have had a marked impact on Kuala Lumpur. While we can all be proud of the city it is today, I have a bigger vision – of a city that is one of the leading capitals of the world, driving forward Malaysia’s national transformation.

3.      Bandar Malaysia is key to this.

4.      The biggest development site in Malaysia, in a key strategic position in our capital, it will become a new city centre for Kuala Lumpur – a vibrant new community for young people and families to live in, a thriving new centre for businesses both big and small, and a truly exciting new destination for those, including tourists, looking to enjoy the arts, culture and all Malaysia has to offer.

5.      Rather than just office and residential towers, we want Bandar Malaysia to be a catalyst for fast-track economic development and employment, including the new KL Internet City – the key hub of the world’s first Digital Free Trade Zone. We want to create an iconic development to drive tourism. And we want to create a transport nucleus for Malaysia, with Bandar Malaysia set to host the Kuala Lumpur to Singapore high speed rail, MRT lines, KTM Komuter, Airport Express Rail Link and twelve highways.

6.      Given the importance of this project, it is critical that Bandar Malaysia has the right leadership, the right partners and the right ownership structure to ensure that its full potential is realised – to serve the people and the national interest.

7.      To this end, I am pleased to announce the appointment of Tan Sri Dr Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah – the Secretary General of Treasury – as the Chairman of both TRX City and Bandar Malaysia. He will head a team with overall responsibility for these projects and the monetisation of 1MDB’s remaining real estate assets. Furthermore, in order to ensure that the nation and the people benefit to the greatest extent possible, the Ministry of Finance will retain 100% ownership of Bandar Malaysia.

8.      With these developments, the work of the Budiman Committee – which was established in 2015 to oversee the rationalization exercise of 1MDB – will come to an end.

9.      TRX City and Bandar Malaysia will shortly be announcing a request for proposal (RFP) process, inviting expressions of interest for the role of master developer of Bandar Malaysia. Contrary to some erroneous reports, the termination of the previous agreement is final, and it will not be reinstated. The selection process for the master developer will involve very strict criteria, including a proven track record, speed of delivery, content creation, and the financial capability to deliver a project of this scale. The highest possible value will be sought to ensure that the best deal for the taxpayer is obtained.

10.  I have full confidence that, under Tan Sri Irwan’s leadership, the prospects for and development of Bandar Malaysia will go from strength to strength.




The Old Putra who is a law graduate of the prestigious London School of Economics have extensive corporate experience, mainly in investment banking and international finance, at various institutions in London, Bahrain, Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

It befits the role which has been announced to be filled by the Chief Secretary of the Treasury Tan Sri Dr Irwan Siregar. The civil servant has no practical corporate experience except representing the Federal Government in many corporations of strategic interest.

Two days ago, Prime Minister Najib announced that Arul would continue to serve 1MDB.

The Malaysian Digest story:

Arul Kanda Remains 1MDB CEO, To Be Involved In TRX Development, Says Najib

Pic: Bernama

Pic: Bernama

BEIJING: Arul Kanda will continue to remain the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) and will also be involved in the development of the iconic Tun Razak Exchange (TRX), Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said today.

“I have full confidence in him,” he said.

Arul Kanda has provided good leadership for the resolution of the rationalisation of 1MDB and “he will continue to be there,” Najib, who is also the Finance Minister, told Malaysian journalists at the end of the two-day Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation here today.

As far as Bandar Malaysia is concerned, Treasury Secretary-General Tan Sri Irwan Serigar Abdullah would be in charge.

“But, Tan Sri Irwan will be in consultation with Arul Kanda with respect to the future development of Bandar Malaysia,” he said.



The announcement in Beijing is two weeks short of the second anniversary of Arul presenting the ‘Rationalisation Plan’ of 1MDB to the Cabinet and approved.

1MDB financial woes have since been resolved with the successful decoupling of Edra Energy Bhd from strategic investment corporation portfolio and disputes with IPIC is solved with amicable solution.

The notion to appoint Arul is not without precedent. Previously, former Maybank CEOs Tan Sri Amirsham Abdul Aziz and Tan Sri Abdul Wahid Omar have been appointed Minister in Prime Minister’s Department in charge of Economic Planning under two Prime Ministers.

The slight difference is that both are chartered accountants. However, law trained investment banker Arul had served the board of several corporations under RHB Group, namely RHB Investment Bank Bhd., RHB RHB Islamic Bank Bhd. and RHB Capital Bhd.

The extensive experience and exposure of this Kuala Lumpur-born, Kelantan-raised  and living in Perak when offered admission to the Royal Military College barely at thirteen, the 41 years old man would bring a lot of benefit and input to the Cabinet.

He would equally be very useful as a participating member at the forum for Federal Government’s strategic decision making and drive the EPU and ICU of the Prime Minister’s Department, as well as TRX City.

Arul would unlikely be interested in politics. Just like Amirsham and Wahid, he would prefer to remain as a professional whilst serving in Prime Minister Najib’s administration.

Hence the appointment at present time would actually add value to the Government, way ahead of the much anticipated 14GE. One area which his extensive turnaround experience could provide is the custodian to the transformation program of ETP and GTP.

Using Wahid as a model, Arul could just serve for the duration of a senatorship term which is three years.

He would also complement Cabinet Ministers such as Minister of Finance II Dato’ Seri Johari Abdul Ghani, MITI Minister Dato’ Seri Mustapha Mohamad and Minister in PM’s Department Dato’ Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan up at arms in Parliament against the Opposition on economics and finance matters, in the likes of Tony Pua, Rafizi Ramli and the lot.

It seems that the right strategic decision is to get the man about town who has proven to be a strategic asset, as part of Prime Minister Najib’s strategic decision making team.

Published in: on May 17, 2017 at 23:59  Leave a Comment