Cisco CEO denies he is part of MSC panel

Posted on June 10, 1999 
Filed Under CNET, Julian

By Julian Matthews
Thursday, June 10 1999

KUALA LUMPUR–Cisco Systems president and CEO John Chambers has denied ever being an advisor to Malaysia’s Multimedia Super Corridor project, despite being officially listed as one.

Chambers said he is “not planning to be a part of this panel and has not been a part of it in the past,” in a statement via his executive assistant Debbie Gross.

The list of advisors can be found on the Web site of the Multimedia Development Corporation (MDC), the agency responsible for developing the MSC.

The panel advises Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on the strategic direction and policies of the project and is due to meet for the third time on July 8 in Malaysia.

Advisors include Microsoft chairman Bill Gates, Sun Microsystems chairman Scott McNealy, Intel CEO Craig Barrett, and Acer founder Stan Shih, among others.

The situation is complicated by the fact that there are two lists in existence. On the US mirror site of the MDC, a different list cites additional people who are supposedly advisors, but who have never been members.

Chambers is not mentioned on the other list. However, the second list includes three other people who are not members: Prince Al-Waleed Talal Al-Saud, chairman of Kingdom Holding Co, Dr Robert Metcalfe, vice-president of technology at International Data Group, and John Doerr, a founding partner of Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers.

Doerr said in an email response: “I am not a member of the panel. I have never attended a meeting, in person, by phone, or by video conference.”

Apart from inaccuracies, both lists also show signs of neglect.

According to the lists, Eckhard Pfeiffer, ousted from Compaq Computer Corporation on April 26, is still its CEO.

Philip A Odeen is named as president and CEO of BDM International Inc although he gave up that position when he became executive vice president and general manager of TRW which acquired BDM in 1997.

Neither could be contacted at press time to confirm whether they are indeed members of the panel.

The controversy over the panel members came about when renowned futurist Alvin Toffler, who is a panel member, told CNET Malaysia that he was boycotting the next panel meeting.

Toffler said he had not formally resigned from the panel but his exclusion from the list on the MDC’s mirror site “reflected the de facto reality.”

Toffler said his non-participation is to protest the treatment of fired deputy premier Anwar Ibrahim and Pakistani scientist Dr Munawar Anees. Anwar and Dr Anees were arrested on sex charges last September and both claimed abuse while in police custody.

Anwar’s trial for sodomy began Monday. He is serving a six-year sentence following his April conviction for using his position to get police to quash allegations of sexual misconduct.

Dr Anees, who is Anwar’s former speech writer, alleged police forced a confession that he was sodomized by Anwar last year that led to his six-month jail sentence. His appeal is due next month and he has since fled the country with his wife and two children.

Sodomy is a criminal offence in Malaysia, punishable by whipping and carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in jail.

Published in CNET, June 10, 1999.

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