Frankly Speaking: Changing of the guard at Muhibbah Engineering?

This article first appeared in The Edge Malaysia Weekly, on June 27, 2022 - July 03, 2022.
Frankly Speaking: Changing of the guard at Muhibbah Engineering?
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Recent changes in the board of construction and marine engineering company Muhibbah Engineering Bhd suggest a changing of the guard at the helm.

Three directors, including 80-year-old co-founder Ooi Sen Eng, have left the board. The other two directors who have retired or resigned are Tan Sri Zakaria Abd Hamid and Abdul Hamid Ibrahim. Zakaria, who is also the chairman, is 78 while Abd Hamid is 73.

After their departure, the only other person who is more than 70 years of age on Muhibbah’s board is the other co-founder, Mac Ngan Boon. Mac, 78, has been the face of Muhibbah, which diversified from civil engineering and construction works to cater for the oil and gas industry.

There are six other directors on the board, including Mac’s son, Chung Jin, who is the deputy chief executive. At 48, he is the youngest board member.

These changes do not appear to be something that was planned well ahead. The departure of the three board members were announced after the company held its annual general meeting (AGM).

Zakaria and Abd Hamid were supposed to be re-elected to the board, but the resolutions were withdrawn during the AGM.

The resolution to extend a share issuance scheme (SIS) to Ooi and another director, Mazlan Abdul Hamid, was also withdrawn. According to the company’s announcement, Mazlan was not entitled to the SIS because he was not an executive director of Muhibbah.

Most of Muhibbah’s board members have been with the company for many years and are probably contemporaries of Mac and Ooi. As the co-founders hit 80, the other older board members have also left the company.

Perhaps it is to pave the way for new faces to be appointed.

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