A CEO as Selangor menteri besar?

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SHAH ALAM: A corporate personality as menteri besar if Barisan Nasional (BN) retakes Selangor?

BN – particularly Umno – is pursuing this strategy to reform itself if given a chance to lead this "crown jewel" again.

According to sources, three corporate personalities and a serving senior civil servant are being considered for the top job.

"It is in line with the prime minister's transformation policies and he wants the people – especially Selangorians – to believe in Umno and BN again," said a party source.

Selangor has not been very lucky with Umno menteri besar, with the last three embroiled in court cases and personal issues. Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Khir Toyo, who was the menteri besar when BN lost the state in the 2008 general election, was recently sentenced to a year's jail for graft.

"There have been many issues concerning corruption, abuse of funds and land grabs which caused BN to lose Selangor.

"We need to reassure the people that the person who will lead Selangor is someone with a good track record in financial management and running a huge company," said a party source.

The names of these individuals were given to The Malay Mail but we were not allowed to reveal them. They are individuals with experience in running government-linked companies, including financial institutions, and state subsidiaries. This is certain to cause displeasure among Umno leaders eyeing the top job.

Names being bandied about are Tanjung Karang MP and Minister for Agriculture and Agro-based Industries Datuk Seri Noh Omar and former works minister and Sepang MP Datuk Mohd Zin Mohamed.

When contacted, Mohd Zin who is Selangor Umno liaison secretary, said the proposal was still being studied. "Well, if it is what the prime minister wants, we must consider," he said, adding that research was on-going on the matter.

However, he said one must be careful in selecting the personality.

"You look at Selangor today; is Khalid a good leader?

"Just because you are a good manager doesn't make you a good leader," he said, referring to Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim who has been besieged by internal politicking and renegade civil servants.

"Running a state and corporate management are two different things," said Mohd Zin.

"There are a lot of factors that we need to consider. It is not as easy as that," he said, adding that whoever was chosen must be compatible with the prime minister's policies.

"The candidate must be on the same page as the 1Malaysia slogan which is putting people first. "A corporate man can be good as he will take orders, but then you are dealing with other politicians also. It must be someone of strong character," he said.

The chosen individual may have to stand for elections although there is a provision that allows the ruler to appoint a non-assemblyman as CEO to the state, reporting to the executive council.

Under such a scenario, there could be a politician who is appointed menteri besar although the day-to-day running of the state is by the CEO.

Political secretary to the Selangor Menteri Besar Faekah Husin said the BN's reform agenda was not genuine.

She said this was evident in some recent corporate decisions with regards to appointments in its related companies. "(If they were genuine) They would not suggest (Umno Youth leader) Khairy (Jamaluddin) to lead PUNB (Perbadanan Usahawan Nasional Bhd).

"Petronas is another example. We lost a great mind like (former Petronas CEO) Tan Sri Hasan Merican," she said.

Selangor state executive councillor for Tourism, Consumer Affairs and Environment Elizabeth Wong echoed Faekah's remarks, saying the question was whether BN had the political will to wipe out corruption and cronyism.

"To date, BN cannot answer for Cowgate, PKFZ and exorbitant defence spendings. As a comparison, the BN government federal budget is in deficit for the past 10 years with increasing national debt whereas Selangor is balanced with the highest cash reserves in 25 years.

"BN can't even manage its own state finances. Perhaps, it should appoint a corporate figure to head its own states first!"

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