The recent appointments to Khazanah Nasional’s board of directors showed that Pakatan Harapan can’t keep its promises, said MCA deputy president Wee Ka Siong.
This followed Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s appointment as Khazanah chairperson, while Economic Affairs Minister Azmin Ali became one of its directors.
Others on the board are Mohd Hassan Marican, who is also a member of the Council of Eminent Persons, Sukhdave Singh and Goh Ching Yin.
Wee said Harapan had promised during the 14th general election to reduce the power of the prime minister, and that there would not be any political appointees in government-linked companies.
“Even if they wanted to appoint politicians to the board of Khazanah, shouldn't they have appointed the finance minister to the board instead since Khazanah is fully owned by the Minister of Finance Incorporated, a body incorporated pursuant to the Minister of Finance (Incorporation) Act 1957?
“Is the finance minister only fit to be a bookkeeper and take care of Tabung Harapan but not qualified enough to sit on the board of our country's only sovereign fund?” he said in a Facebook post today.
For the record, Promise 22 of the Harapan manifesto states among others: “The Pakatan Harapan government will ensure the appointment of state and national GLC board members will be made based on merit and professionalism, not based on politics.”
It did not promise that the prime minister cannot be appointed to GLC posts, but did promise that the prime minister cannot hold any other cabinet portfolio.
It also promised to decentralise the powers of the prime minister and Prime Minister’s Department (PMD) by moving some of these agencies under the PMD to other ministries, and by creating a stronger check and balance mechanisms.
Relevant powers would also be decentralised to other bodies, including to the Parliament.
This is the role of Permodalan Nasional Berhad (PNB), he said, whereas Khazanah was supposed to be the sovereign wealth fund for all Malaysians.
“Based on this reason, the prime minister had also said that Khazanah will eventually sell the shares of profitable companies that it owns to unspecified bumiputera owners.
“The fear is that this could now open the door of what happened in the past where the most lucrative government assets had been passed to the hands of a few fortunate cronies or proxies,” he said.