Tuesday, November 24

Idris wants to stay neutral


No politics for me, says Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department who is fully committed to overseeing govt’s KPI initiatives and bringing positive changes for nation.

SWAPPING IDEAS: Idris (left) confers with some of the GTP Open Day participants.

SWAPPING IDEAS: Idris (left) confers with some of the GTP Open Day participants.

KUCHING: Bario’s illustrious son Datuk Seri Idris Jala is placing work before politics.

He has no intention of contesting the next state or parliamentary election or joining any political party.

He said yesterday he wanted to remain totally committed to his task of overseeing the government’s key performance index (KPI) initiatives as Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department.

Idris is also chief executive officer of Performance Delivery and Management Unit (Pemandu) whose scope of duties include assessing the progress of the Government Transformation Programme (GTP) aimed at enhancing effectiveness and accountability of the government.

He said he felt privileged to be a member of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s cabinet despite not belonging to any political party.

He pointed out that it was important for him to remain neutral, saying he is not a politician and his main task is to help move the business forward and make sure they (Pemandu) contribute to society.

“I am fully committed to contributing in whatever way I can and to seeing if we can succeed in making changes,” he told reporters on the sideline of the GTP Open Day at Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK).

Idris was responding to questions on whether there were plans for him to contest as a Barisan Nasional (BN) candidate in the next election.

Political observers consider Idris as a potential candidate due to his impeccable track record in the corporate sector and his ethics and approach towards work.

Before his appointment to the Federal cabinet and as senator in September last year, he had been a successful corporate figure. As the CEO and managing director of Malaysia Airlines (MAS) from 2005 to 2009, he was credited with turning around the national carrier’s flagging financial fortunes.

The affable 52-year-old from the picturesque highlands in northern Sarawak also spent 23 years with Shell, holding the posts of managing director in Shell MDS (Malaysia) and vice- president of Shell Malaysia Gas & Power (Malaysia) between 2002 and 2005.

Idris said it was important for the government to function in accordance with the needs and aspirations of the people.

“The government is elected by the people. So it has to do what the people want. I think we are fortunate to have a Prime Minister who understands this,” he added.

Asked would Bario get more allocations now that he is a full Federal minister, he said the public should not think like this.

Projects, especially for infrastructure development, must be based on researched initiatives and projected objectives as well as the factors of needs and necessities, he explained.

“Take a look at Bario. It’s small and has very few people. I cannot develop it just because I am from there. However, I believe we will spend money on building a road from the airport to Bario Asal.”

He said more internal roads may be built but pointed out that to simply say a road would be laid from Marudi all the way to Bario might not be justifiable.

“How can you justify spending billions on a small number of people there,” he added.