Think tank says GLCs are shifted to suit PH

by SHAZNI ONG/ pic by RAZAK GHAZALI

A REPORT by a think tank claimed of reconfiguration of government-linked companies (GLCs) had taken place since the Pakatan Harapan (PH) took power to suit the government.

Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs report titled, “GLC Monitor 2019: State of Play Since GE14” said some enterprises were now under the jurisdiction of ministers primarily from one party, namely Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu).

IDEAS senior fellow Prof Edmund Terence Gomez (picture) who co-authored the report said it seems to indicate that the GLCs are a tool in the power play today.

“They are tools in the sense that the divestment of these assets will go into the hands of the well-connected people which will be a mechanism to reinforce current political elites, even if they are displaced from power,” he said after presenting the report in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

The report claimed a large number of GLCs have been moved from the Ministry of Finance (MoF) to ministries controlled by Bersatu ministers, as well as the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MEA).

The PH government had changed the ministerial reporting lines of some GLCs in five key ministries. The ministries namely are the Prime Minister Department (PMD), MoF, Ministry of Rural Development (MRD), Ministry of Entrepreneur Development (MED) and the newly-formed MEA.

However, the report did not mention that state-owned enterprises which were previously headed by politicians like Majlis Amanah Rakyat, Federal Land Development Authority (Felda), Felcra Bhd, Perbadanan Usahawan Nasional Bhd and other agencies which are now headed by professionals.

The report also did not highlight the losses incurred during the previous administration and political influences on agencies like Felda, PR1MA, Retirement Fund Inc and Khazanah Nasional Bhd.

The report also did not study the smaller size of the board members of many of the state-owned agencies which had previously been bloated with political appointees with lucrative salaries.

Three of these ministries are led by Bersatu members — PM Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (PMO), Datuk Seri Rina Mohd Harun (MRD) and Datuk Seri Mohd Redzuan Yusof (MED). PKR deputy president Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali leads the MEA.

“Although Lim Guan Eng of DAP was appointed as minister of finance, effective control of key government enterprises under its jurisdiction, including sovereign wealth fund Khazanah and the leading Bumiputera-based investment fund Permodalan Nasional Bhd, was transferred to Dr Mahathir’s PMO.

“These two government-linked investment companies have enormous investments in Malaysia’s leading publicly-listed companies, thus giving the PM’s significant influence over these enterprises,” he claimed.