Datuk Isham Ishak
Ministry of Transport Malaysia
Datuk Isham Ishak started serving as the Secretary General of the Ministry of Transport Malaysia from 25 November 2019. Previously, he was the Secretary General of the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture Malaysia from 17 February 2019 until 24 November 2019 and he also held the position of Secretary General of the Ministry of International Trade and Industry from 2 July 2018 until 16 February 2019. In addition, he also served as Deputy Secretary General (Trade) in the Ministry of International Trade and Industry from 2016 until 2018.
Born on 18 June 1970 in Johor, Datuk Isham successfully assisted Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) and Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) in Malaysia while serving as the Chief Operating Officer and Deputy Chief Executive Officer at SME Corporation Malaysia, an agency under the Ministry of International Trade and Industry from 2014 to 2016.
Datuk Isham also served for 5 years in the United States, from 2006 to 2011, as Minister Counsellor (Economics) at the Ministry of International Trade and Industry Office in Washington D.C. where he successfully increased the flow of investments between both countries.
Datuk Isham Ishak was also given the opportunity to serve as the Special Officer and Senior Private Secretary to Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz, Minister of International Trade and Industry from 2004 to 2006. He also served as the Special Officer to the fifth Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
Since he started his service in the civil service in 1995, Datuk Isham was appointed as Malaysia's Chief Negotiator for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (RCEP) from 2016 to 2018. He was also Malaysia's Deputy Chief Negotiator for the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA). - later known as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) - from 2011 to 2015. Apart from that, Datuk Isham also represented Malaysia as the Senior Official (SOM) at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC).
Datuk Isham Ishak was one of the first officials in the Malaysian Government to start negotiating the Rules of Origin (ROO) as stipulated under the World Trade Organization (WTO). He also represented Malaysia at the Developing-8 Organization for Economic Cooperation (D-8) negotiations.
History was made for the first time in the ASEAN region where Datuk Isham has represented Malaysia as the ASEAN Senior Economic Official (SEOM) and Senior Officials’ Committee for the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Council (SOCA) - two of the three main Pillars of ASEAN - during his tenure as a Malaysian civil servant. He has also represented Malaysia in the High-Level Task Force on ASEAN Economic Integration (HLTF-EI) which is the highest economic advisory body in the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC).