The government will continue to sell many of the companies owned by Khazanah Nasional Bhd, but those giving good returns will not be easily sold off, Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad said.
According to Bernama, Mahathir was responding to a question on whether Khazanah would continue to sell down its shares in government-linked companies.
"There would be some control over certain industries, but as to government involvement in business, we’ve always believed that the government should not be in business.
“We’re not good at it," Mahathir was reported as saying at a dialogue session with fund managers at JP Morgan's headquarters in New York yesterday.
He added that it would be better for businesses to be carried out by business people.
On another matter, the prime minister said the government was looking into the possibility of listing one of Petronas' subsidiaries to make Bursa Malaysia more attractive, and Petronas Carigali was one of the candidates.
He said that selling Petronas shares would not be good for the government as Petronas is needed to support the government.
"But what we agreed is to look at the subsidiaries. We may sell off the shares of the subsidiaries because that will not affect Petronas that much. One of them is (Petronas) Carigali, but there are also a few others," Bernama reported Mahathir as saying.
Mahathir also said the government was looking at appealing to Sabah and Sarawak on oil royalty payments.
He said a 20 percent royalty payment would mean that Petronas’ strength would be undermined and it would no longer be a competitive international oil company.