All-round praise for new Mara head

Hasnita Hashim now heads Mara. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: The recent appointment of Hasnita Hashim as the new chairman of Mara, the government’s Bumiputera economic powerhouse, has received praise from different quarters.

Many have also been left in awe of the qualifications possessed by Hasnita, who has a PhD in nuclear physics from Oxford, is currently a board member of Malayan Banking Bhd and heads the Maybank Asset Management Group.

Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO) communications officer Tan Heang Lee welcomed the appointment of more women as board members, as women need to be represented in the highest level of decision-making.

“This helps ensure government and corporate policies reflect women’s perspectives.

“The recent appointment of women to the boards of statutory bodies and GLCs is part of positive steps towards closing the gender gap in government and corporate leadership,” she told FMT when contacted.

Tan said as of December 2017, women make up 19.2% of board members of the top 100 public listed companies on Bursa Malaysia.

Tan also pointed out that research has shown that having more women on boards leads to better organisational performance.

She cited a Harvard Business Review article, which stated that increasing women’s participation in corporate leadership, from zero to 30%, is linked to a “15% increase in the profitability for a typical firm”.

Hasnita’s appointment also earned praise from Syahredzan Johan, an aide to DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang.

“The more I see the CV (curriculum vitae) of the new Mara head, the more I’m impressed. She has a PhD in nuclear physics from Oxford, is an actuary and has 26 years’ experience,” he said.

Syahredzan said he was of the view that good progress had been made, considering how major corporations like Bank Negara Malaysia, Mara, Permodalan Nasional Berhad (PNB) and Permodalan Usahawan Nasional Bhd (PUNB) are now being helmed by women.

“Mara and PUNB got rid of old male politicians, such as Annuar Musa/Awang Adek Hussin and Ali Rustam and replaced them with women corporate leaders.

“This was not possible before the May 9 polls,” he said.

BNM is currently headed by Nor Shamsiah Mohd Yunus, PNB by former BNM governor Zeti Akhtar Aziz and PUNB by entrepreneur Hazimah Zainuddin.

Netizens have also lauded the new appointment, with Azian Nawi saying that Mara has created history by appointing a chairman from among truly qualified and experienced individuals.

“What is important is that for the first time they are being chosen from professionals, rather than from politicians,” Azian said.

The impressive CV also left the likes of Sim Soo See amazed, tweeting: “It is more like: Mouth. Open. Wide”.