In farewell message, Yeo Bee Yin offers apologies for demanding work ethic, says proud of ministry officials

Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister Yeo Bee Yin speaks during the Sustainable Business Awards Malaysia 2018 in Kuala Lumpur January 29, 2019. — Picture by Mukhriz Hazim
Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister Yeo Bee Yin speaks during the Sustainable Business Awards Malaysia 2018 in Kuala Lumpur January 29, 2019. — Picture by Mukhriz Hazim

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 26 — Yeo Bee Yin today expressed her thanks to all the officials in her former ministry in a heartfelt farewell message, also proclaiming her pride in them for their excellent service while also offering her apologies for being demanding on their performance during her tenure as minister.

Yeo, who headed the Ministry of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change (Mestecc), said she knew that the experience of working with her during meetings and on-the-ground operations may not always have been “pleasant” due to the demanding standards that were set.

“Some of you have been questioned and grilled in a straightforward manner; some had your work rejected and having to redo several times and some of you have been drilled to deliver results or analysis under tight deadlines (remember the standard question of “when?” or the instruction coupled with not so friendly look saying, “by this week”, “2 weeks”, “next update meeting” etc?).

“Indeed, this ex-minister of yours was not the easiest to work with – demanding, precise, impatient and to a point yes, garang! For that, I would like to extend my apologies to any of you who were offended or hurt by me in the process; please know that it was never intentional nor personal,” the Bakri MP from DAP said in a lengthy post on her official Facebook page.

Yeo also stated her appreciation for the ministry officials, saying that she had also learnt a lot from them such as the line of thinking and the way to do things.

“For the record I am very proud to head this office because of all of you. I’ve seen many of you serving the country excellently and sincerely in the civil service. I’ve received good words and compliments about some of you from other ministers, of which I often replied, “of course, he/she is from MESTECC!”.

“In short, these 20 months in office has been an incredible journey for me and I’d not trade it for anything else, not because of the power that come with the ministership, but because of the precious opportunity to serve the people and build the country together with you,” she added.

She also noted the ministry’s achievements in this short period coupled with the recent completion of the ministry’s 73 initiatives last year, and the recent launch of 130 initiatives this year with clear and measurable targets.

Yeo expressed hope that the ministry officials would “continue to serve the nation with integrity and excellence”, noting her speech in the ministry’s monthly assemblies for them to always pursue excellence in everything they do to ensure Malaysians get the best from the ministry.

“Lastly my sincere thanks goes to former Secretary General, Dato Sri Azhar, who’ve guided this young and new minister through my early days, current Sec-Gen Datuk Siti Hamisah, deputy secretaries general – Dr Nagu, Pn Afifah and Dr Azman, all the director generals and CEOs of the agencies under MESTECC, SUBK, SUB, our strategic partners and everyone that we work with for the past 20 months,” she said, referring to Datuk Seri Mohd Azhar Yahaya, Datuk Siti Hamisah Tapsir, Nagulendran Kangayatkarasu, Noor Afifah Abdul Razak and Mohd Nor Azman Hassan.

Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister Yeo Bee Yin holds plastic waste from a container in Port Klang May 28, 2019. — Picture by Mukhriz Hazim
Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister Yeo Bee Yin holds plastic waste from a container in Port Klang May 28, 2019. — Picture by Mukhriz Hazim

Yeo ended her duty as Mestecc minister on February 24.

The ministry was created by Pakatan Harapan after it won the 2018 general election, merging the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI), as well as Green Technology and Energy Components from the Ministry of Energy, Green Technology and Water (KeTTHA) and the Climate Change and Environment components from the Ministry of Natural resources and Environment (NRE).

Back then its lengthy name was a source of amusement to many, until the acronym came about.

Yeo also recalled the early briefings that she received on what the 30 agencies and government-linked-companies under Mestecc do, the period of familiarisation on who is who and the civil service structure, as well as technical knowledge that she had to learn, followed by the days when they worked together on multiple policies and issues including reforms in Malaysia’s electricity-producing industry, single-use plastic, foreign plastic waste, haze and pollution control issues.

One thing that stands out in Yeo’s 20-month career as Mestecc minister is perhaps her declaration that Malaysia would not be a dumping ground for illegal plastic waste smuggled in from abroad.

Last month, Yeo announced that Malaysia had already sent back 150 containers of plastic waste weighing about 3,737 metric tonnes back to their 13 countries of origin since the third quarter of 2019 at no cost to the government, and revealed that 110 more containers containing plastic waste with an estimated total weight of 2,200 metric tonnes would be sent back to nine countries by mid-2020.

On Sunday (February 23) which was also the day when an alleged political plot to dismantle the Pakatan Harapan government was being deployed, Yeo was on an official visit in Pasir Gudang, Johor to test the country’s first early warning system for hazardous airborne pollutants.

Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister Yeo Bee Yin stands in front of a container with plastic waste in Port Klang May 28, 2019. — Picture by Mukhriz Hazim
Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister Yeo Bee Yin stands in front of a container with plastic waste in Port Klang May 28, 2019. — Picture by Mukhriz Hazim

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