Ismail Bakar takes over as Chief Secretary

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on August 29, 2018.
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KUALA LUMPUR: Treasury secretary-general Datuk Seri Dr Ismail Bakar has been appointed as the new Chief Secretary to the government, replacing Tan Sri Dr Ali Hamsa, who retires today.

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad handed over the letter of appointment to Ismail at a brief meeting at his office at Perdana Putra in Putrajaya yesterday.

In a Twitter post, Ali said: “I am presenting a Nota Serah Tugas (handover note) to @IsmailBakar60 who will replace me as the 14th Chief Secretary to the Government. Congratulations and good luck, DS (Ismail)!”

In June, Ismail was named as the Treasury secretary-general, replacing Tan Sri Dr Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah, whose contract was cut short after Pakatan Harapan formed the government following the 14th general election (GE14) on May 9.

Ismail, approached after his meeting with Dr Mahathir, said he would implement the prime minister’s instructions well to ensure efficient delivery of the public service, Bernama reported.

“In this era, we want to ensure that integrity and accountability are at the best level among the civil servants,” he said.

Ismail said that the performance of the public sector was excellent overall, but it needed to regain the people’s trust.

Ismail, 58, who has served for 32 years in the civil service, has extensive experience in economic and financial management.

He holds a Bachelor of Economics (Hons) degree from the University of Malaya and a Master of Business Administration degree and a doctorate from the University of Hull, UK.

Ismail joined the administrative and diplomatic service in January 1986 and served as the secretary-general of the agriculture and agro-based industry ministry and the transport ministry; budget director at the National Budget Office of the finance ministry and senior adviser at the World Bank headquarters in Washington DC, US.

Ali, who has served as chief secretary to the government for six years, expressed his gratitude to Dr Mahathir and the cabinet for having given him the opportunity to continue serving as the chief secretary to the government following the transition of power after the GE14 on May 9.