IDS should have respected Sabah CM’s wishes, says ex-CEO

Former CEO of the Institute for Development Studies Sabah, Johan Ariffin Samad. (File pic)

KOTA KINABALU: The former CEO of the Institute for Development Studies (IDS) Sabah, Johan Ariffin Samad, said it should have waited for a decision by the chief minister before announcing his departure on Friday.

Johan expressed surprise over the announcement via a press statement, saying his removal was against the wishes of the board of directors “who have supported me and fought for me to remain”.

In a WhatsApp message to FMT, he said his removal was the result of a boardroom struggle.

Johan said he was actually only CEO of IDS for two months – and not six months – since former CEO Hasnol Ayub was the “substantive CEO” up to March 31.

He said his contract was terminated by the board on May 31 and claimed it was done without notice.

“I had met the chief minister twice after the news broke on the boardroom struggle.

“At the last meeting on June 12, when I was called to his office, he said he needed more time to sort out matters.

“I had respected the wishes of the chief minister as the chief executive of the state and IDS should have done the same as my appointment was consented to and approved by the chief minister.

“My removal as CEO is also against the wishes of the board of directors who have supported me and fought for me to remain,” he said.

On May 29, one day before the long weekend in conjunction with the Harvest Festival, the IDS board voted 6-5 not to confirm Johan’s appointment as CEO.

Johan met with Chief Minister Shafie Apdal on June 3 and was told to remain in the post until things were sorted out.

According to reports, as recently as last Wednesday, Shafie had said the issue was still being discussed and he was hoping to meet with IDS non-executive chairman Simon Sipaun to hear his side of the story.

However, Sipaun issued the statement on Friday, announcing the release of Johan as CEO.

It is unclear whether Sipaun had met with Shafie before the announcement but he had previously told FMT the decision had been made by the board.

On the allegations of mismanagement and financial losses by IDS from 2016, which appeared both in the mainstream and social media, Johan believed these are best answered by Hasnol and Sipaun.

He also said he had been barred from entering his office to collect his personal belongings.

As such, he said he was exploring all avenues to redress the situation and to protect his good name.

In his announcement, Sipaun said a letter had been sent to Shafie, dated June 3, informing him of the board’s decision.

He also said deputy CEO Anthony Kiob would take charge of the day-to-day activities of IDS.