KUALA LUMPUR, April 3 — Khazanah Research Institute (KRI) chairman Nungsari Ahmad Radhi has confirmed today he quit the outfit, amid speculation of a “purge” of figures seen as critical of the Perikatan Nasional administration.
Nungsari, who has been with the think tank as a trustee since its inception, resigned on March 31 after he was told that its benefactor, Khazanah Nasional Berhad, no longer has “confidence” in his leadership.
“This is all voluntary work to develop a research institute. KRI is a separate legal entity from Khazanah but fully funded by its charitable arm, Yayasan Hasanah, KRI’s only benefactor,” he told Malay Mail in a text reply.
“I served as long as I had the benefactor’s confidence. When I no longer have that confidence in me, it is appropriate that I step down. Not an issue.”
The economist took over as chairman after Tan Sri Andrew Sheng left the board in 2018.
Nungsari’s resignation fuelled speculation that he was sacked because of a joint letter penned with Muhammed Abdul Khalid, the former economic adviser to Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, criticising the PN government’s response to the Covid-19 crisis.
Malay Mail had published the letter in full here.
Nungsari did not confirm or deny the allegation. But Malay Mail was made to understand that the Prime Minister’s Office had conveyed its displeasure with the article.
Nungsari’s close relationship with figures aligned to former prime minister Dr Mahathir had also caused unease among PN’s top leadership and may have led to the fallout, according to an insider source.
Malay Mail was made to understand that Khazanah director Datuk Shahril Ridza Ridzuan himself had conveyed the government’s displeasure about the letter with the former KRI chairman. Nungsari did not confirm or deny the allegation.
The former KRI chairman’s sudden resignation came as Muhyiddin ordered a major shake-up at state agencies to have all those appointed by the Pakatan Harapan government either sacked or voluntarily step down.
Earlier this week, the Prime Minister’s Office also announced that Muhyiddin has taken over as Khazanah’s chairman, together with Finance Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz and former director Datuk Mohammed Azlan Hashim as new board members.