State Financial Secretary’s departure not sudden

Sarawak State Secretary Datuk Amar Jaul Samion

KUCHING: Datuk Amar Ahmad Tarmizi Sulaiman’s appointment as the state financial secretary was actually extended twice prior to his departure from office at the end of last month.

His retirement was therefore not sudden as alleged by an opposition politician, Sarawak State Secretary Datuk Amar Jaul Samion clarified.

He said Tarmizi was appointed by the state government as the Deputy State Financial Secretary Oct 1, 2002 on contract basis.

On July 1, 2004, Tarmizi was promoted as state financial secretary on a contract basis, which was to expire upon him attaining 55 years of age.

Jaul was responding to a statement by Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB) president Datuk Seri Wong Soon Koh who claimed he was puzzled by the sudden departure of Tarmizi.

“His tenure as state financial secretary was further extended for another period of more than four years from July 1, 2016 to Oct, 28 2020 when the state government agreed to review his retirement age from 55 to 58 years.

“Upon expiry of this revised contract, his service was further extended by the state government for another seven months from Oct 29, 2020 to May 31, 2021. As such, the departure of Tarmizi was not ‘sudden’,” he added.

Jaul also said that the state government was appreciative of the services and vast contributions of Tarmizi when he helmed the office of the State Financial Secretary.

“Under his leadership, the office of the State Financial Secretary has developed many good officers. These officers are highly experienced, committed and of high calibre, who are capable of running the affairs of the State Financial Secretary’s Office and management of the state’s financial affairs,” he said.

With the new state financial secretary, Jaul said that he is quite confident its officers would be able to play these roles equally well, even during the trying times with the wise guidance and leadership of the Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg, who is also the finance minister.

“Despite the unprecedented worldwide economic disruption, the state financial position remains strong and stable, and with the various initiatives and innovative revenue engineering strategies introduced by the chief minister, will augur well for Sarawak’s future financial position.

“Rest assured that the financial affairs of Sarawak are in good hands,” said Jaul.

Earlier, Wong in his statement said it should be acknowledged that Tarmizi has had a distinguished service record for a total of 17 years. 

“Under his capable leadership, the state had been repeatedly accorded with a ‘Clean Certificate’ for its public account, year in year out, successively throughout his tenure of office for 17 years which is a testimony of his good governance practices,” he said.

In addition, Wong said that international rating houses, Moody and Standard & Poor’s had maintained the state had repeatedly in the past 17 years under him, had very commendable investment-grade credit ratings.

“These assigned ratings reflect a sustained record of sound financial management and performance, underpinned by strong reserves and prudent budgetary practices.

“Also under him, the state reserves had been steadily built up from a mere RM5 billion in 2004 when he took office to RM31 billion in 2019,” he said.

Wong went on to say that these outstanding achievements had been the results of the continuous disciplined culture inculcated by him in the state financial management over the years.