PEMANDU should be open and transparent about how much its staff are being paid and whether they hold directorships in other government agencies / GLCS / publicly listed / private companies

Media Statement by Dr. Ong Kian Ming, MP for Serdang, on the 31st of October 2013 in Kuala Lumpur

In a comment piece in Malaysiakini yesterday[1], Mr Goh Wei Liang, a senior analyst at PEMANDU’s communications team under the Economic Transformation Program (ETP) tried to justify the high pay that the directors at PEMANDU were receiving. In this comment piece, he estimated that the monthly take home pay of a JUSA A civil servant which is equivalent to a PEMANDU director is actually RM29,631.53 comprising of the following components:

Item Amount (Monthly in RM)
Salary 17331.46
Minus Taxes -3533.26
Entertainment Allowance 4000.00
Housing Allowance 2000.00
Fixed Allowance 2500.00
Higher Management Special Incentive 1250.00
Maid Allowance 500.00
Home Maintenance Allowance 166.67
Meeting Allowance as Board Member* 2500.00
Fixed Annual Allowance as Board Member** 2916.67
Total 29.631.53

(*) Assume member of 5 boards of councils / GLCs, RM500 / meeting per month

(**) Assume RM7,000 / board, 5 boards councils / GLCs

Mr. Goh, from PEMANDU, also implies that he thinks that PEMANDU directors are underpaid compared to civil servants since a PEMANDU director with a monthly salary of RM40,000 only takes home RM30,572.92 after taxes (compared to a JUSA A officer’s take home pay of RM29,631.53) and does not have the job security and lifetime pension of a civil servant or a gratuity, first class return tickets from KL to London or paid holidays.

Mr Goh also makes the following two recommendations to the Chief Secretary to the Government: (i) A revision of the remuneration packages to be productivity and results drives (ii) Downsize the civil service by maintaining efficient and productive staff only

In trying to argue that PEMANDU directors are underpaid, Mr Goh assumes that PEMANDU directors do not hold other positions elsewhere including as directors at GLCs and other government agencies. This is patently untrue.

Mohamad Emir Mavani Abdullah, who is currently the group President and CEO of Felda Globa Ventures (FGV) and whom I’ve accused of having a PhD from a degree mill[2] was the PEMANDU Director in charge of the Financial Services and Oil & Gas NKEAs in 2012 when FELDA was about to be listed. In the FELDA listing prospectus[3], where he was named as a Director in PEMANDU as well as in FGV, he was also listed as the CEO of the newly established Malaysia Petroleum Resource Corporation (MPRC) in the Prime Minister’s Department as well as serving on the board of the Malaysian Nuclear Power Corporation. In addition, he was also listed as being a director in 7 other companies – Mega-Wan International Sdn Bhd, Sterling Advisory Services Sdn Bhd, Sanjung Impian Sdn Bhd, QPIC-Botree Technologies Sdn Bhd, EIM Systems Sdn Bhd, E&H Consulting Sdn Bhd and FAHC. Mohamed Emir also received 150,000 shares of FGV during the listing process.[4]

I presume that Mohamed Emir would have received a salary as the CEO of the MPRC as well as director fees as a director in the Malaysian Nuclear Power Corporation and in FELDA Global Ventures (before it was listed). I also presume that he would have received director fees in the 7 other companies mentioned above. It seems that PEMANDU directors, unlike civil servants, can sit on boards of private companies. This would have taken his monthly and annual salary way above the RM40,000 monthly director that a top PEMANDU director is paid.

In the interest of transparency, I call upon Dato’ Idris Jala as CEO of PEMANDU to reveal the pay structure of PEMANDU directors inclusive of bonuses and allowances as well as the salary structure of all the contract staff in PEMANDU. This is even more necessary after Dato’ Idris was quoted to have said that the huge increase in the Prime Minister’s Department to RM16.45 billion was ‘justified’.[5]

In addition, I also call upon Dato’ Idris Jala to disclose whether any other directors in PEMANDU, prior and current, are also directors in other government agencies, GLCs, publicly listed companies or private companies. The directors of the respective National Key Economic Areas (NKEAs) hold tremendous influence in shaping the policy landscape in these areas. It is in the public’s interest to know if there are possible conflicts of interest which may arise as a result of holding multiple directorships in both the public as well as the private sector.

Finally, I call upon Dato’ Idris Jala to explain if he agrees with the view of his staff, Goh Weng Liang, that public sector pay should be reviewed and linked to productivity and that the public sector should be downsized so that only the efficient staff is retained. Is this one of the strategies under the Public Finance Strategic Reform Initiatives (SRIs) to reduce the government budget deficit?