KUALA LUMPUR (July 26): Prasarana Malaysia Bhd president and group chief executive officer (CEO) Masnizam Hisham (pictured) may see her three-year tenure cut short as she is said to be leaving the company amid criticism from lawmakers that it had caused the cost of the light rail transit line 3 (LRT3) project to balloon.
She took the top spot at the state-owned transportation company in January, replacing Datuk Seri Azmi Abdul Aziz, whose term ended on Dec 31 last year.
If her departure materialises, it would be the latest in a string of high-profile departures at government-linked companies.
People familiar with the matter told The Edge Financial Daily that Masnizam’s resignation is “inevitable” as it was during her tenure that Prasarana had attempted to seek additional funding from the government for the construction of LRT3.
On July 10, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng revealed that the projected total cost of the LRT3 project had spiralled to a whopping RM31.45 billion from the original estimate of RM9 billion when the project was launched in 2015, blaming it on Prasarana’s poor management.
Guan Eng also revealed that Prasarana sought an additional financing of RM22 billion in the form of government guarantees on March 30, on top of the initial RM10 billion granted in 2015 to finance the project.
On July 12, Lim said the government agreed that the project would continue, but at a much lower cost of RM16.63 billion and a reduced size.
“It is expected that she will leave soon. She is the CEO when Prasarana asked for more money [for LRT3] and it was not a small sum. Some people also say that she was instructed to do it — to raise money,” a source said.
When approached at the Parliament lobby yesterday, Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Amiruddin Hamzah said he is unaware of any leadership change at Prasarana, wholly-owned by Minister of Finance Inc.
Masnizam was previously CEO of Prasarana Integrated Management and Engineering Services Sdn Bhd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Prasarana.
She has served Prasarana for 12 years from 2005 as the head of legal division and as company secretary at RapidKL. Among other positions Masnizam has held at Prasarana are group head of the procurement division and head of strategic communications and marketing division, as well as head officer of infrastructure services.
This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on July 26, 2018.
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