Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The startling lack of integrity at the very top

Should a scholarship defaulter even be considered for the position of director of Petronas, our national oil company?

PM Datuk Seri Najib Razak seems to see no problem. He is reportedly seeking to appoint his special officer, Omar Mustapha, to the board of Petronas. But, the appointment hit a snag when the board of Petronas raised reservations as Omar had reneged on his scholarship obligations.

Omar apparently graduated from Oxford on a scholarship from Petronas in the mid-1990s and worked briefly with the national oil corporation and another government-linked corporation before moving on to join prestigious global consultants McKinsey & Co.

Malaysia Insider carries the article.

Not fulfilling scholarship obligations betrays a lack of integrity and ethics. The scholar owes his fancy degree to contributions from the rakyat. The least he can do is repay that obligation, making good on his debt to the people of Malaysia. Instead, he gallivants of to more lucrative pastures.

Omar can hardly plead financial constraints for reneging on his scholarship commitments. McKinsey consultants are famously well-paid. So, what can the reason be? A misplaced sense of entitlement? Such is the quality of people advising our very top leadership …

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