Former Prasarana group CEO says Tajuddin has an axe to grind

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The former president and group chief executive of Prasarana Malaysia Berhad today described as a conflict of interest the participation of the company’s non-executive chairman Datuk Seri Tajuddin Abdul Rahman in an inquiry against him.

Muhammad Nizam Alias’ statement comes three days after Prasarana named Norlia Noah as acting president and group chief executive officer, replacing him, following his suspension.

“As you know, I was suspended as president and group chief executive officer of Prasarana on December 10, 2020, on inter alia allegations that I was not cooperative enough with the non-executive chairman on his forceful requests to appoint certain contractors and execute certain matters.

“On January 22, 2021, those allegations were dropped, and I was just accused of being somewhat ‘impolite’ to the non-executive chairman on a particular occasion. That is how I understand it to be. I was then told the board would decide on this matter and revert to me,” he said.

Muhammad Nizam claimed that to his knowledge, Prasarana’s board members have also not made any decision to terminate his tenure.

He claimed to also not have received a formal notice from the board to that effect.

“Notwithstanding this, the non-executive chairman has proclaimed my departure at a press conference on March 10, 2021.

“In my view, the said chairman himself is conflicted from participation in the inquiry and decision as the allegations originate from and concern his relationship with me. No one should be a judge in their own cause. 

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“So, with the greatest of respect, it is best he does not play any role in this process. What I am saying is there must be good governance in Prasarana and due process must be done and seen to be done,” Muhammad Nizam added.

He expressed worry that the press conference by Tajuddin “may give the impression that he had a role in the decision concerning my tenure.”

He added that he is also concerned that this may be an attempt to pressure or pre-empt the board in deciding on his matter.

“In my view, the inquiry process has not been satisfactory. Whether or not there has been meddling, I do not want to make any accusations here, that is a matter for the courts of law. I reserve all my rights,” Muhammad Nizam said.

Tajuddin recently confirmed that Prasarana had terminated the services of Muhammad Nizam, who was previously suspended and served with a show-cause letter over allegations of misconduct and insubordination.

“We considered the matter fairly and did not decide at a whim. The issue arose in late November last year. It’s been three months, and in that period, we have paid his wages as usual,” Utusan Malaysia reported Tajuddin as saying.

In January, Tajuddin said Muhammad Nizam was placed on garden leave pending an inquiry into allegations of misconduct and insubordination. The two men’s relationship had reportedly been strained from the start of the Umno lawmaker’s appointment as chairman. – MMO