Only minister can sack me, Finas chairman tells critics

Soo Wern Jun
Finas chairman Datuk Hans Isaac speaks during a press conference in Kuala Lumpur December 12, 2019. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

AMPANG, Dec 12 — Datuk Hans Isaac reminded critics today that only the Communications and Multimedia Minister can remove him as the chairman of the National Film Development Corporation (Finas).

Hans was responding to calls made by representatives of six film associations who had on Tuesday demanded that he step down as Finas chairman for “failing to do his job properly”.

“My appointment was made by the minister. I will not back down (to these calls), only the minister can sack me.

“If at all the minister decides to sack me, I will respect (this decision). At least before I leave, I have done my best,” he told a press conference at the Finas headquarters here.

Hans’ position came under fire when industry players had alleged that he “interfered” with the duties of Finas chief executive officer Ahmad Idham Ahmad Nadzri, and influenced the decisions of Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo when dealing with the arts and entertainment industry.

The associations who made these allegations were the Professional Film Workers’ Association of Malaysia (Profima), Malaysian Muslim Consumers’ Association (PPIM), Persatuan Seniman Malaysia, the Malaysian Digital Creative Industry Association (PIKDM), Komuniti Filem Titiwangsa (Komfit) and the Malaysian Cinematographers’ Association (MySC).

“These allegations came from a few individuals, I respect them, but we have a lot of work to do.

“I have been in the industry for 27 years, and I sense that these individuals are not the voice of the people. They do not represent the 500 members they have.

“Show me proof of these allegations. Come and meet me,” he said.

Hans was also accused to have brought in his “cronies” to be part of the Finas board and the reason behind Ahmad Idham’s request to shorten his two-year contract as CEO to only a year.

The alleged cronies, who are also the board were said to be backing Hans on interfering with Ahmad Idham’s work.

Those who made the allegations deemed this interference as a result of Ahmad Idham not being to do his job effectively.

When asked to clarify these allegations, Hans denied doing so.

“I can only execute my duties through the board (following the Act), not as an individual or a chairman.

“From when I took over as chairman, I have only taken over two things, KWSP and Socso (Employees’ Provident Fund and Social Security Organisation), but because the CEO told me that he didn’t understand matters related to EPF. But I only took on this responsibility with the permission of the board.

“The second thing is FFM (Malaysian Film Festival). The CEO told me that he didn’t understand what these events are all about, so that is how (through the board), I was made the chairman of FFM. All these were minuted during the board meeting,” he said.

He added that it was Ahmad Idham who requested for his tenure to be shortened, as opposed to what is being reported in the news reports that Finas made the decision to cut short the CEO’s two-year contract.

Asked if he was planning to take action against those who made the allegations, Hans said if it comes to a point that it is affecting this image, he would do so.

“I will take action. I am a person of integrity and I don’t know anything else besides that.

“I was raised by a naval officer with discipline. I’m always honest with what I say.

“If those allegations are affecting my image, I will take legal action,” he added.

It was reported that the associations who are against Hans are planning to meet Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to highlight their dissatisfaction with Gobind, Hans and the Finas board.

Hans has since denied that he and Ahmad Idham did not see eye to eye and this was not the cause of the CEO abruptly leaving Finas.

Commenting further, Hans said, Ahmad Idham’s leaving will not affect Finas’ future plans.

Last Monday, Ahmad Idham’s contract with Finas was shortened from two years to a year. His last day is on March 10.

Finas deputy chairman Affendy Ali Dally added that a replacement for the CEO post will only be announced after Ahmad Idham has ended his tenure.

“We want to respect him and let him complete his contract.

“We have a few names in mind, but nothing concrete,” he said when by reporters at the side.

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