In resigning MDEC Chairman stresses need for Board to be given necessary latitude, independence to do right thing
By Dr Rais Hussin October 6, 2021
- Never compromised principles in performing duties
- MDEC very critical agency that requires utmost attention & empowerment
“Our lives begin to end, the day we become silent about things that matter.”
Martin Luther King Jr.
I have resigned as the Chairman of Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC). Today, I chaired the last Board of Directors' (BoD) meeting as the Chairman of MDEC.
I have communicated my desire to resign to the Minister of Finance in mid August, while I reiterated the same to the new Minister of Communications and Multimedia, Annuar Musa, in early September. Annuar listened attentively and understood my desire to resign.
The journey in MDEC has been a very intense and enriching one, particularly MDEC being a critical agency that spearheads and drive digital economy of the nation.
Much work on reinventing of MDEC have been done - BoD and management restructuring, improvement of governance and integrity with new Discretionary Authorisation Limits (DAL), setting strategic direction through Malaysia 5.0, and the final piece of it, shall be the holistic digitisation of MDEC operations.
Credible open tender for procurement was intensified, open and transparent grant administration was implemented based on “know how” and not “know who” principles anchored on four core objectives – speed, rightful recipients, good governance and integrity.
The Input-Output-Outcome-Impact (IOOI) model replaced Input-Output (IO) model where the outcome and impact to the industry and the MANY are given importance more than speed to spend the budget at hand under IO model.
I have been vocal in many ways driving these changes, as time is of immense essence. Listening to various stakeholders, particularly the industry and the people in charting out digital economy for the MANY.
I was blessed with very active Board members from various strata of skills, knowledge and experience that helped drive these changes. Ably complemented by then CEO, Surina Shukri. Continuous Improvement (Kaizen) must be the way going forward.
It is also critical that the BoD must be allowed the necessary latitude and independence to do the right thing as the fiduciary responsibility that comes with it demands so. The BoD cannot and must not be a rubber stamp for anyone - be it shareholder ministry or supervisory ministry.
Fiduciary responsibilities requires Board members to stay independent, objective, responsible, honest, trustworthy, and efficient. Board members, as stewards of public trust, must always act for the good of the organisation that they represent.
I can say now I have some invaluable experience in reinventing a GLC and the challenges it entails. It must be reiterated that GLC reforms must take place as credibly as it can be, as soon as can be, without political or any other forms of interference. GLC is after all funded by people’s monies.
Be that as it may, MDEC is a very critical agency that requires utmost attention and empowerment. It cannot be treated as a mere project management or event management company, neither can it be vendor-driven. It has bigger and important role in charting the digital economy of the nation.
The recent pandemic has shown that how important and critical digital economy is, in all spheres of human existence. This will only grow in months and years to come, with greater intensity.
I have, at all times never compromised my principles in performing my duties. At times there were some very difficult decisions made, unpopular as it may be, but they are the right decisions, guided by good governance and integrity.
It would have been much easier to just ‘follow’ instructions from the shareholder ministry and/or the supervisory ministry, but that would be tantamount to a huge battle of conscience. I have always believed in doing the right thing anchored on the right principles. Anything less would have crossed my red-lines that I have drawn for myself.
My parting word to my MDEC colleagues would always be the same: Do the right thing always, and stay by your right principles, no matter what.