Dato’ Seri Nazir Ariff Bin Mushir Ariff, Deputy Chairman& Executive Director of Ivory Properties Group Berhad
This guy has been around for many years – he is already 66 years old and he was there thick with the previous Penang State Government. He is an Accountant by training and a Fellow of the British Institute of Management and was the Managing Director of Escoy between 1988 and 2006. Thereafter, he remains as an Executive Director of Escoy till today. Presently, he is also an Independent Non-Executive Director of Texchem Resources Berhad and Sogo (KL) Sdn Bhd.
He is the Chairman of Malaysian International Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Penang and the North Branch), Director and Trustee of Socio-Economic and Environmental Research Institute, a member of the Invest Penang Advisory Services Panel, Penang Economic Action Council and the Penang Halal Hub Committee and a council member of the Wawasan Open University. He was also the Past President of Majlis Dato’ Dato’ Pulau Pinang and Past President and founder member of Penang Heritage Trust. He is actively involved in social and charitable work, namely as President of Children Protection Society and Trustee of World Wide Fund for Nature of Malaysia.
He used to be very supportive of the BN Penang Government and he benefited from his relationships with many previous BN leaders in Penang. In fact, the biggest boo-boo he made was to erect a giant poster of Tan Sri Koh Tsu Koon and displayed it prominently outside his HQ in Birch House in the 2008 GE but when the political tsunami swept Lim Guan Eng into power, Nazir had to immediately scramble and remove and dismantle that giant poster of Tan Sri Koh Tsu Koon and had to spend over 6 months doing PR with Lim Guan Eng to get into his good books. He also immediately abandoned his long-time friends and politicians in the BN and jumped straight into Lim Guan Eng’s camp.
But Nazir was lucky and saw an opportunity and took it because it was early days in 2008 then where DAP hardly had any Malay supporters. So Nazir was one of its true blue Malay supporter that Guan Eng can trot out on display, never mind if Nazir is actually more Indian than Malay, just like Zairil Khir Johari is more Chinese than Malay. But that is the Guan Eng-style. He wants instant supporters and instant results. So Nazir was appointed as the Malay face in many State committees by Guan Eng.
Of course, Ivory saw the opportunity and quickly appointed Nazir as its Executive Director despite the apparent conflict of interest considering that Nazir has a role in the new Penang State Government.
One of Ivory’s first mega project was the ambitious Penang Times Square – supposedly modelled after the world famous New York Time Square and all the famous Times Squares in the world but today it stands as a testament of a massive failed project in the heart of Penang. There are no branded goods in Penang Times Square but a motley group of small time retail shops no better than the pasar malam stalls. Even the anchor tenant, Sunshine Supermarket has given up and abandoned its space leaving this building almost empty like a ghost building. The air conditioning systems are not working or probably not turned on to save electricity and the maintenance is almost zero. This is one shopping centre which gives Penang a bad name and repels tourists. Guan Eng should really be ashamed of himself that he allows such a travesty of a building to mar and disgrace his administration.
So while Low Eng Hock is the guy doing the PR taking care of all the Chinese DAP leaders, Nazir is the face that runs to the various state government departments to deal with fellow Malay state civil servants and smoothen things out. It is a classic Ali-Baba scenario ala DAP and seeks to perpetuate, demean and reinforce the stereotyping of the Malays and smacks of racism.