Malaysiakini Yoursay

Yoursay: Don’t throw baby out with bathwater in Khazanah

Yoursay  |  Published:  |  Modified:

YOURSAY | ‘The accusation that Khazanah has deviated from its original objective is a red herring.’

Khazanah directors offer to quit for smooth transition

Clever Voter: Khazanah Nasional Berhad, as the nation’s sovereign wealth fund, has performed relatively better since its establishment in 1993. The board has members who are well-regarded in corporate Malaysia.

The accusation that Khazanah has deviated from its original objective is a red herring.

It is well-known the heads of those companies under Khazanah - including Telekom Malaysia, UEM, CIMB, Malaysia Airlines Berhad (MAB) et cetera - are known to be close to the previous regime. This is one of the reasons why the new establishment is not comfortable.

Performance-wise, while a few government-linked companies (GLCs) have improved under the GLC Transformation Programme, a number of GLCs have grown too big; in both market share and workforce size, they have become complacent; and their services are not exactly world-class.

A few have monopolised their markets. Some say this is not a risk, but it destroys competitiveness. Corrupt practices are well-known too, especially in government procurement - medical supplies is one example.

Khazanah has its laggards too, such as MAB, which has gone from bad to worse.

Ultimately, the Finance Ministry owns Khazanah, but clarity on what it wants from the management and board in terms of directions and expectations is a must.

The submission of the undated resignations by Khazanah’s board of directors is a clear sign that the current incumbents are demanding exactly that. This is the least they ask for.

David Dass: Let us not throw the baby out with the bathwater. There are good people on Khazanah’s board of directors.

If the objective is to weed out political appointees, go ahead. Otherwise, consider the performance of Khazanah.

Malaysiakini columnist P Gunasegram has written an interesting piece. It should be read by all.

He says that it was never the primary objective of Khazanah to advance the bumiputera agenda. It was a vehicle established by the government to advance the interests of the nation.

Of course, there would have been the incidental benefit to the bumiputera. Permodalan Nasional Berhad (PNB) was that vehicle.

Guna says that if the government wants to raise money through the sale of assets owned by Khazanah, then do so via unit trusts.

This way, the government could bring benefit to all Malaysians and raise money as well. Bumiputera interests could be secured by, say, a 30 percent quota.

Control of management would still be with the government. Appoint only the best minds and the best talent. Of course, that means you pay them well.

RR: This is a good move, but Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng must replace the directors with those who have outstanding qualifications, experience, and capability to lead Khazanah to fulfil its objectives without detriment to minorities’ progress and welfare.

I also see that there are a couple of outstanding personalities among the nine directors resigning. The government should retain them for continuity.

Malaysian: All nine directors sent in undated letters, which mean they are challenging the government to date them. This is totally inelegant and legally incorrect.

Inelegant, because they have challenged the government to decide who should be retained. The government cannot accept all resignations because there will be no directors to appoint new directors and they would have to call for an extraordinary general meeting (EGM). So they have made it difficult for the government (the shareholder).

Legally incorrect, because directors can only leave a board if they resign, are removed at the EGM, or removed or not re-appointed at the annual general meeting.

Shareholders cannot date a director’s resignation letter. The elegant and honourable way would have been to ask the government to appoint new directors that meet the quorum and then resign en bloc.

If the government determines some of these existing directors meet the grade, then they can be re-appointed.

Dawn of a New Era: This is a commendable move on the part of the Khazanah board of directors.

I hope the new board will include people like PKR vice-president Rafizi Ramli, Damansara MP Tony Pua, Amanah vice-president Husam Musa and Klang MP Charles Santiago.

Mamadias: Tony Pua is an MP. No matter how good people think he is, he cannot be part of Khazanah. Otherwise, it will be a hypocritical move by the government.

Maybe Rafizi could be a director since he is not an MP, but he has many cases outstanding against him.

Najib: Khazanah meant to enrich country, not bumis

Clearwater: This is one rare occasion I agree with former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak that Khazanah as a sovereign wealth fund must invest to enrich the country and not certain individuals or ethnic groups.

It must harness all available talents to achieve this aim. Its riches must benefit all Malaysians.

Ferdtan: Good question. We ask the Harapan government to clarify whether the sovereign wealth fund Khazanah is for all Malaysians or only for bumiputera? We want to know too.

For once, thanks Najib. Mahathir, please explain.

Where did the funds for Khazanah come from? If it is from taxpayers' money then the benefits should be for all Malaysians. Period.

Anonymous 2413471460628504: I do not know what Khazanah's original objectives were, I do not know what Khazanah's current objective is, but it should be for the benefit of all citizens of this country.

Responsible Malaysian: When are we going to have a government who really cares for the rakyat instead of enriching the politicians and the cronies through the stirring up of issues related to race and religion?

Perhaps, never.

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These comments are compiled to reflect the views of Malaysiakini subscribers on matters of public interest. Malaysiakini does not intend to represent these views as fact.

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