When principled men speak and frogs croak

June 27, 2017

When principled men speak and frogs croak

By The Malaysian Insider

Shamsul of Petronas

Honesty. Candour. Fearlessness.

These qualities are so refreshing about Petronas chief executive officer Tan Sri Shamsul Azhar Abbas. He speaks the language of a man who cares more deeply about doing the right thing by his company, and ultimately, by his country, than clinging to the coveted position as the boss of the national oil company.

He calls a spade a spade and not because sharp words are going to grab him a share of headlines, but because he knows that endemic rent-seeking is leading the country’s piggy-bank and financier of all our excesses to a bad place. He has to wave the red flag, shout at the top of his voice and be the bearer of bad news because everyone else is in denial. Because UMNO politicians and their supporters in Perkasa like Datuk Ibrahim Ali believe that the country’s one, constant source of revenue is theirs to pillage.

So it was expected that Shamsul’s candour in an interview with the Edge Weekly would provoke a response from the country’s instigator-in-chief, the purveyor of all nonsense and defender of the rent-seeking culture, Datuk Ibrahim Ali.

Among other things, Shamsul said that Petronas resources belonged to all Malaysians, and not just Malays. He was spot on saying that because the Petroleum Development Act 1974 does not mention Bumiputeras. Shamsul lamented the fact that Petronas was under pressure to back inexperienced businesses, while he was more interested in stressing the importance of meritocracy.

“In 2010, we structured the whole organisation, including the composition of the board…I brought in new capable people. The talk was that I got rid of all the government servants, brought in the non-Malays, opened up Petronas, which belongs to the Malays, to the non-Malays.

“Are we not interested in competence? This is a predicament I am facing at this point of time…I am being pulled back by politics, by interested parties, by parties with vested interests, by agendas that are outdated…I am a Malay too. I am proud to be one. You think I don’t want to help my own people. Of course, I want to help them but in the proper way. Not through handouts and spoon-feeding, ” said in the interview published on June 21.

Ib AliIbrahim, who finds any discussion on meritocracy and competence offensive, has found much wrong with what Shamsul said and now is calling for his head. Ibrahim represents all that is wrong with this blessed and resource-rich country. He claims he is fighting for Malays when he is in fact trying to perpetuate a system where a small group of Malays have benefited tremendously from government contracts, approved permits and the like.

He adores the current political patronage system because it provides the perfect eco-system for Perkasa, Isma and other right-wing groups to thrive.To hell with what is good for Petronas or Malaysia.

You can bet that there will be a steady drum beat from now on for Shamsul to step down as Petronas CEO.But you can bet your last ringgit that Shamsul will not be cowed, especially by a politician who failed to win a seat in what was supposed to be his stronghold.

If Shamsul has to go, he will but on his terms and by speaking honestly about Malaysia’s most prized asset.We used to have an abundance of men like the Petronas CEO in the Malaysia of old; men who did not decide matters based on colour or creed; men who put principle before self. Ibrahim would not understand these concepts.


11 thoughts on “When principled men speak and frogs croak

  1. Shamsul and his predecessor, Tan Sri Hassan Merican, are superb managers. They have done well in a very difficult job. Shamsul will be in demand after his retirement from Petronas. Of that we can be sure. As a man of substance, he will have no problems to find things to do. Men of his honesty and integrity and managerial skills are a rare breed these days.–Din Merican

  2. Bro Din, peluang terbaik Kak Ros untuk meletakan calon nya as MD. Dah lama menunggu. Kali mereka akan betul2 sapu bersih Petronas. With regards to Ibrahim Katak, let’s forget about worthless man. Bad omen n’ sial ‘to your blog jika nama atau gambar dia keluar. Thnks

  3. Dato Din, please don’t put TS Shamsul and TS Hassan Merican on the same league , they are poles apart , ask few PETRONAS insiders , they can tell you the difference………….
    Read what I wrote again. I did not compare the two. They served different masters. One had to deal with Mahathir and Daim and the incumbent has Rosmah to contend with. She wants Mustapha Ong to take over so that she can get more handbags and designer clothes. Najib is useless as far as I am concerned. But if you know, why don’t you tell me the difference (s) between TS Hassan and TS Shamsul. I know TS Hassan well; his Dad was my late father’s classmate at Anderson School; they both hockey for Kedah. I don’t TS Shamsul.–Din Merican

  4. For all we know Dato, Shansul must have seen some signs for his imminent removal and that is why he sounded those few sentences… I personally think his days are numbered… really sad about this coz we have a useless PM who will continue to remain silent and let things continue to slide deep into the gutter… and it is alleged this morning he twitted that Malaysia is third best in medical care in the world… my Onde-Onde went flying out of my mouth out of the window when my wife read it to me…

  5. Here is one proud Malay standing up to the extremist Malays. Another is Ahmad Hadfiz Baharom , who with his ” cool ” mind and pen wrote an excellent essay about why Malays should stand up against extremists in their midst. Now lets hear from others – so we can together silence these extremists once and for all.

  6. Before we go eulogizing over a statement remember a swallow doeth not a summer make.
    Sham may be a great man whatever thst may mean in this context but it’s actions that speak.
    If not happy with being pullen yon hither and thither just go. I know of many top-class long-serving MISC men who just left when they saw where Petronas was leading the company after Mahathir instructed that infamous takeover to ssve his precious son who tried to be the Onasis of the East. One even gave 24-hrs notice with a fat check to the Co. No grand statements of right and wrong.

    Anyway to sidetrack a mite, look whereMISC is today- another subsidiary of Petronas rather than an international shipping giant in its own right as it was once before. Take away its oil rich psrent and no one will look at it twice.

    Coming back to statements by the great icons, i am tempted to say unicorns, of Malaysian industry the CIMB boss too made some grandiloquent statements but did it mean anything?

    Talking while enjoying the perks is easy but put your money where your mouth is. It’s easier to be respected then.

  7. Malaysia’s Petronas has been in existing for many years now but they still depending on foreign technologies like the production sharing schemes with the foreign companies in oil exploring.

    Petronas should learn from Chinese oil companies, develop and design own technology…..

  8. The wealth of the nation belongs to ALL Malaysians. Any charitable hand-outs, for the needy and mentally challenged, physically handicapped, and lazy beggars like Perkasa Malays, should be purely based on means tested need basis. Should not these be the case, than other have the right to call Perkasa Malays as beggars and lazy bums. No two way about it.

  9. ‘..a swallow doeth not a summer make.’ Mr Bo

    I’ll agree with that, my friend. However, TS Syamsul probably didn’t anticipate the vitriolic and fanatical backlash that plastered him onto the back wall. Not that he bothers overmuch.

    The fact of the matter is that frogs, toads and other amphibians need ‘water’ to breed. Petronas is a sacred cash cow, that funds their nefarious activities indirectly, just like our tax money.

    I have no inkling whether ‘Magna Mater’ or Big Mama has any influence wrt Petronas, but it’s obvious that since Octo resigned as ‘advisor’ things have been looking up in terms of cash flow, efficiency and a decrease in risky ‘adventurism’ in overseas investment.

    But the underlying political tinkering is far from over but it would be prudent to professionalize whatever is left of it’s management. The Pengerang IPC development with it’s scaled down Hubris, is a case to point. That leaves many parasitic bottom feeders disturbed, angry and hungry.

    Perhaps that is why these parochial amphibians, who once considered it as THE corpulent, fecund, opulent Symbol of Fertility (akin to the Earth Goddess) and Malay-ness are starting to feel the ‘dryness’ and desertification.

  10. There is a strong culture of misguided ‘ entitlement ‘.

    With decades of bad, irresponsible and corrupt political leadership, some Malay/Muslim self serving career politicians were able to exploit and take full advantage of this situation……support me and I will fight for whatever you want at all cost.

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