The Mamak Dilemma

Another Brick in the Wall

It’s our birthday today and it will be celebrated with a quiet dinner with our other half. At the ripe old age of “35” … sorry for the switch-up, 53, we do not need noisy parties.

However, we can’t have our dinner till we get this off our chest. It’s a real dilemma occupying the cavity in our ears and head. The dilemma hardly compares with Tun Dr Mahathir’s observation in The Malay Dilemma but it is irritating.

It does not matter what many pengampu academician said, but The Malay Dilemma was not a scholarly work. However, we’ve heard our American professors complimenting Tun’s astute observations. It was the premise for his policies for 22 years as Prime Minister. 

Our dilemma is The Mamak Dilemma variant. And, it relates to the appointment of Dato Azeez Abdul Rahim as Chairman of Lembaga Tabung Haji (LTH).

Many would comment that it is a clear cut issue, thus there is no dilemma.

True, there is no dilemma and we should agree. We will not dispute the concern of this circulating SMS disputing Azeez’s appointment:

….. Bolehkah xxx terima seorang wakil rakyat yang menipu kelayakan akademiknya dan PM Najib tanpa berasa malu telah melantik beliau memegang sebuah Institusi terbesar orang Melayu. Itu bab akademik, ada banyak lagi cerita yang tak enak didengar berkenaan misi misi bantuan kemanusiaan yang beliau kendalikan terutama sekali Misi kemanusiaan Somalia yang mengorbankan nyawa wartawan Bernama. Saya telah terlibat dengan NGO kemanusiaan selama hampir 12 tahun, banyak cerita berkenaan Azeez Putra. What is Najib trying to proof? Its look like he is destroying UMNO n our country. Ikhlas xxx

Not only did we agree that his MBA degree was from a dubious then American University, we were one of the first to take potshots at him during the golden era of Pak Lah and the group of young mamak hypnotising Pak Lah to restful bliss.  

However we will refrain from calling him a cheat and give him the benefit of proving that he had undergone the required coursework and thesis and also the necessary accredition.

If we are chorusing concern to raise issues on candidate choices, cabinet appointments, GLC CEOs with “Dr” Emir Mavani” of Felda Global Venture Berhad being the latest raised and now an ongoing series on Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop, we cannot keep quiet on our “now a friend” Azeez.

Is the dilemma because he is “a friend”….?

There was an argument put forward that Dato Anwar Ibrahim himself appointed his inadequately qualified father as Chairman of IOI. It is not a sufficient reply but just returning back the question with another question. [Read MyMassa here.]

It could mean if Anwar is immoral, what is wrong for us to be immoral too. Mampus negara like that.

Someone tossed back PAS’s Dato Mahfuz Omar’s statement against Azeez by saying that he should be grateful for Azeez’s appointment. One day, if PAS ever ruled Malaysia, under-qualified Mahfuz can also be LTH Chairman.

Furthermore, who is PAS to talk when they have the likes of Dato Husam Musa aspiring to be President? Dato Nik Aziz himself was caught helping himself and his wife of land in Gua Musang.
Still not answering. Are we to stoop as low as the oppositions?

Remember that the first Chairman of LTH was Royal Professor Ungku Aziz. There was a high benchmark already set and the position was never filled by politicians. Dato Najib wanted 1MDB to be benchmark of excellence in corporate governance by not having politicians on its Board of Directors.He has to be consistent.

One blogger friend argued that Azeez has the experience from running his own family property business and being on the Board of LTH subsidiaries. Sorry bro, not strong enough an argument. [Read MIK here.] 

We have to be honest to ourself. Having Azeez, LTH will not be seen seriously by the investment community.  LTH is managing RM34 billion worth of assets by millions of depositers saving up to go to the holy land.

This is a sacred trust and depositors confidence is essential. The burden is more than having those with the capability and impeccable integrity but also those “seen to be clean.”

MIK rebuted by saying that there is process and governance in LTH. Azeez cannot just enter the office and ask any staff to issue a cheque to his or proxy’s name. Mahfuz should better answer for Tabung Memali. [Read here]

That we admit is fair comment from MIK. It could also be a debate clincher but it is only us that is not convinced. It is like evading Azeez reputation or negative perception, which ever we view it as.

He has a past and today’s Azeez seemed different.