Teresa Kok: Bakke Was Most Qualified for MPOB

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Bakke Salleh was the “most qualified” person to helm the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) and his removal by the present administration was a grave mistake, said former primary industries minister Teresa Kok.

In a statement today, Kok said Bakke had experience in the plantation sector with Felda, FGV Bhd and Sime Darby Bhd.

“His termination was a grave mistake and a loss for the palm oil industry,” said Kok.

MPOB is a government agency responsible for the promotion and development of Malaysia’s palm oil industry. Bakke was appointed as agency’s chairperson on July 31, 2018 for a two-year term.

According to Singapore’s Straits Times, Bakke has been asked to leave ahead of the expiry of his term.

Apart from his corporate experience, Bakke is also known for quitting as a 1MDB board member in 2009 over the company’s questionable dealings with International Petroleum Investment Company (Ipic).

At the time of writing, Bakke has not responded to Malaysiakini’s request for comments.

Meanwhile, Kok said many other industry players in the commodities sector sitting on government boards or councils have also been axed.

Kok said this should not be the case as the commodities sector represented RM142.2 billion or 12.7 percent of the nation’s total exports in 2019.

“It is, therefore, crucial that indispensable senior and very experienced players be appointed to lead the boards and councils to further enhance this sector, especially when the national economy is heading towards a possible recession.

“Whilst the appointment of chairpersons, directors of boards and councils is the absolute prerogative of the minister, such powers must be exercised wisely, taking into account the paramount interest of this pivotal industry and the national interest as a whole.

“I hope politics was not the basis of the terminations,” added Kok. – Malaysiakini