Abdullah Badawi Dropped as Petronas Advisor

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The prime minister said there is no need for an advisory role at Petronas as the company has performed well and its achievements are recognised internationally.

Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) advisor Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi is expected to take his leave from the oil and gas giant after the government issued a notice on the termination of his appointment, Prime Minister (PM) Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad confirmed.

Abdullah, who was appointed to the role in April 2016, will be relieved of his position in the state oil firm during the course of Petronas’ upcoming restructuring exercise.

“He has been given a notice that his term is (up) in the course of the restructuring. He will be dropped,” Dr Mahathir told The Malaysian Reserve in an interview recently.

The 93-year-old political veteran said there is no need for an advisory role at Petronas as the company has performed well and its achievements are recognised internationally.

“Petronas is actually rated by investors as a very well-run company. That is because the people there are…well, we don’t see any signs of stealing money and all that. They do pay better salaries but overall, their performance is recognised by the market as a company that is well-run. That is why it is the only company in Malaysia which is on the Fortune 500 list.

“We cannot really blame Petronas. Surely, its president and group CEO Tan Sri Wan Zulkiflee Wan Ariffin is there. Who appoints him is not relevant if he performs,” he said.

Unlike Wan Zulkiflee, the move to appoint Abdullah as Petronas advisor was a clear political move in reaction to Dr Mahathir’s call for the resignation of former PM Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak on corruption allegations.

It is unsurprising then that Dr Mahathir is now looking to remove his successor from a position he once held for 13 years, following Pakatan Harapan’s victory in the May 9 general election.

“He (Abdullah) is going to be retired because well, we don’t need an advisor anyway. I was advisor for a long time but of course, when I was advisor, I know a little about the business so I do give advice.


“But advisors sometimes don’t give advice, so I think we would be wasting money if we are just paying as a way to give some money to people,” Dr Mahathir said.

The national oil company has gone through several restructuring exercises over the last few years to cope with the challenging global oil price movement and the previous administration’s decision to reduce its dependency on oil-related income.

However, under the Pakatan Harapan regime, the reliance on Petronas is expected to increase in order to cope with the country’s shortage in income and excess in debt.

Petronas’ operating profit has recovered in recent years from a low of RM20.8 billion in 2015 to RM45.5 billion in 2017. Its cash flow has also improved over the same time-frame from RM69.6 billion to RM75.7 billion, mainly due to higher oil prices and lower spending.

Earlier this month, the company announced the appointment of industry old-timer Datuk Ahmad Nizam Salleh as its new chairman, while Wan Zulkiflee remains as president and group CEO. – The Malaysian Reserve