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IPOH, March 12 ― Human Resources Minister M. Kulasegaran said recent appointees to the board of the Human Resources Development Fund (HRDF) were all trustworthy former corporate titans.
“You are not going to appoint (former prime minister) Najib. Although there are recommendations, an evaluation process still needs to take place,” he said when contacted recently by Malay Mail.
The minister was embroiled in controversy after being accused of appointing a law firm to act as a collection agent for unpaid HRDF dues.
This prompted allegations the minister also installed cronies into the HRDF.
Speaking to Malay Mail, the minister claimed the allegations were spread by those who were unhappy that they were not appointed.
“You do not get it so you get upset la. (We) cannot satisfy everybody,” he said.
However, Kulasegaran admitted he knew most of the board members.
When asked if he knew them in a personal capacity, he declined to confirm this.
“Doesn't matter. Does it matter?” he asked.
He said the people should instead look at the appointees’ credentials.
The minister said they had earned more in their prior roles.
“Previously when they were in private sector, they were earning RM150,000 monthly.
“They are retired now and I decided they were movers and shakers of the industry hence should be taken in to serve. It is a national duty. These people came in to rejuvenate and bring their expertise,” he added.
Citing former managing director of Hume Industries Bhd Datuk Quah Thain Khan as an example, Kulasegaran said the latter initially declined the appointment.
The minister said he persisted in courting Quah before managing to convince him to accept the appointment.
“(After) he came, (he) brought in new ideas. That is how we formed the Governance Oversight Committee (GOC), the first among all GLC which is to correct the wrongs (of previous administration) and suggest ways to overcome it,” he said.
Kulasegaran, who is also Ipoh Barat MP, said he likewise did not join the Cabinet for monetary rewards.
“I was a successful practising lawyer. I took a pay cut to come here. There are so many others. (People) can make allegations but all (appointments) are above board,” he added.