Azrul – You Must Stay On Until The Inevitable Happens

Bank Islam’s chief economist, Azrul Azwa Ahmad Tajuddin, has recently been suspended as a result of his political and economic analysis presentation at the Regional Outlook Forum 2013 organised by Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS) on Thursday 10th January 2013.

Singapore Straits Times broke the news that he was predicting a Pakatan Rakyat victory for the impending General Election. This news caught on like wild fire in many on-line news portals and everyone was throwing their two sen worth of opinion on the matter.

Before long, behind the scene actions had taken place in suspending Azrul. He feels that he should resign now since he expects to be dismissed (read here).

Awang Adek questioned Azrul’s professionalism. Bank Islam’s managing director disassociated the bank from Azul’s views stating that he presented his personal opinions.

Now, how do we discover the truth of what actually happened during the Forum and should Azrul be subjected to this torment and resign?

Liew Chin Tong, the DAP MP for Bukit Bendera reported here:

“Azrul discussed three scenarios, namely a narrow win by Barisan Nasional, a narrow win by Pakatan Rakyat and a big victory by Pakatan Rakyat.”

Given the fact that everyone who condemned Azrul never actually knew what he said during the Forum and relied on news reports which, unfortunately, “forgot” to tell the rest of the story, we can surmise that people like Awang Adek and the Bank Islam’s MD jumped the gun in their immediate response.

Recently, another financial analyst Mak Hoy Kit of JP Morgan had warned that Malaysia could be shunned by investors if BN lost power. Neither Awang Adek nor any of his colleagues in Umno-BN protested or raised the issue of professionalism in this instance, which in turn reflects poorly on their own professionalism.

Also given the fact the our Labour Law protects Azrul from unfair dismissal, we think that it is best for Azrul to stay put and see this dispute to the end. A suspension by Bank Islam is part of a Show Cause action to require Azrul to respond and for Bank Islam to investigate any purported wrong doing. It was reported that Azrul was suspended because he breached the bank’s policies.

Malaysians are very sympathetic with Azrul. He was doing his job to the best of his abilities and does not deserve the treatment he currently suffers at the hands of his employers. Support erupted upon news of his suspension at Twitter following #Justice4Azrul.

Finally, all support goes to Azrul. We shall see how Bank Islam treats their chief economist. Perhaps their Domestic Inquiry will find the truth of what actually transpired during the Forum and what Azrul actually said and not solely rely on new reports nor Government’s pressure.

If Bank Islam is professional in treating Azrul, all is well. If Bank Islam dismisses Azrul, then it all hinges on the reasons he is dismissed and how fair the bank conducted itself in their investigations. If the reasons are baseless, Azrul has all the right to appeal to the Industrial Relations office to seek for reinstatement or an adequate resolution to the matter.

So, hang in there, Azrul. Malaysians are standing with you.


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