Who is he?
Mr. Idris Jala of Malaysia is a minister without portfolio in the Prime Minister’s Department, and the Chief Executive Officer of the Performance Management and Delivery Unit (PEMANDU). PEMANDU is a government unit established in 2009 to oversee implementation of Prime Minister Najib Razak’s Economic Transformation Program (ETP) and Government Transformation Program (GTP). He is also a senator in the Dewan Negara, Malaysia’s upper house of parliament.
Before joining the current administration, he was the CEO of Malaysian Airlines from 2005 to 2009, where he successfully reversed the company’s massive losses. He previously worked for Shell, the international oil and gas conglomerate.
Why is he in the news?
Mr. Idris recently traveled to Canada to discuss a bid by Malaysia’s state-owned oil company Petroliam Nasional (Petronas) to acquire Progress Energy Resources Corp. Petronas’ $5.3 billion bid was approved December 7 along with a separate $15.1 billion bid by China National Offshore Oil Corporation’s (CNOOC)for Nexen Inc.
Petronas’ bid was initially rejected October 19 by Canadian industry minister Christian Paradis, who said the takeover did not represent a “net benefit” for Canada, which is required under the country’s foreign-investment law. Idris met with Canadian deputy industry minister John Knubley to assure the Canadian government of Petronas’ operational independence from the Malaysian government.
What can we expect from him?
Idris was recruited to the government for his success as the CEO of Malaysian Airlines, and we can expect that he will contribute his skills to the public sector, increasing government transparency and transforming public services.
His years of experience in the energy industry proved valuable for the Malaysian government to support the important deal between Petronas and Progress Energy, as Malaysia seeks to boost its oil and gas production through overseas acquisition as supply is depleted at home.