MDEC chief back at work after graft probe

Tan Wan-Peng Melati A. Jalil

MDEC chief Yasmin Mahmood has been cleared of any wrongdoing in relation to the agency's partner in the ADAX project, the Centre for Applied Data Science, to produce data professionals for the country. – MDEC pic, August 14, 2018.

MALAYSIA Digital Economy Corp (MDEC) chief Yasmin Mahmood returned to work today after being on voluntary leave over a graft probe into the agency’s Asean Data Analytics Exchange (ADAX) project.

It is learnt that Yasmin, who went on leave for six weeks, has been cleared of any wrongdoing in relation to MDEC’s partner in ADAX, the Centre for Applied Data Science (CADS), to produce data professionals for the country.

ADAX was approved by the government in 2016, with US$37.7 million (RM150 million) in funding spread over four years.

“I can confirm that I am back after six weeks of absence,” Yasmin told The Malaysian Insight today.

“I just want to focus 100% on working with the ministry, industry and stakeholders to ensure that our digital economy agenda continues.”

Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo ordered an investigation into ADAX last month, over alleged conflict of interest between the programme’s managers and training providers.

Today, he did not comment directly on Yasmin’s reinstatement as MDEC chief, but said he has received a report on the ADAX case and will issue a formal statement after studying it.

“I just received the report today. Please check with MDEC because as far as I’m concerned, while the parliamentary session is ongoing, I’ve asked them to communicate that decision (to) me, and I am waiting (to see) the report,” he told The Malaysian Insight at the Parliament lobby.

Asked about the status of the probe into ADAX, he said he believes the details are in the report.

“Let me have a look at it because I haven’t looked at it yet. I only know these things from reporters because they have been asking me.”

ADAX is a private-public joint venture between MDEC and CADS, and is aimed at creating a talent pool in big data analytics.

At its launch on March 28 last year, ADAX CEO Sharala Axryd said the goal was to produce 20,000 data professionals by 2020, out of which 10% would be data scientists.

Yasmin, who joined MDEC in September 2014, was recently named among the 100 most influential people in digital government by the Apolitical website.

In 2016, she initiated a probe into abuses in the foreign knowledge workers’ approval process and governance. – August 14, 2018.

Sign up or sign in here to comment.