MALAYSIA Tanah Tumpah Darahku


Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Is the gov't even capable of evaluating and picking GLC leaders?

I refer to the musical chairs that is being undertaken by the present government for positions in government-linked companies (GLCs), especially as CEOs and chairpersons of key GLCs.
I also refer to Economic Affairs Minister Azmin Ali, who said “the days of ‘political appointments’” are over because the government wants executives who can perform and deliver in GLCs. “To be clear, we want executives in all the GLCs to be appointed among those who can perform efficiently, and not because of political reward.”
I wish to raise the question of whether the government or politicians possess the skill to be able to evaluate selections for businesses entities, given that they have practically zilch business experience or acumen.
Of the new directors announced for sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional Bhd, only Mohd Hassan Marican and Goh Ching Yin have any business experience. Of the rest, two are career politicians and the other is a regulator.
Surely GLCs must be stuffed with stellar and distinguished business and corporate people. We have so many to choose from, so where are the rest?
Was this a rushed job as the mass resignation by the Khazanah board forced the government to act, lest they be seen as incompetent?
Surely the best person to be the next managing director of Khazanah should be someone who has worked in Khazanah internally.
Many multinational companies promote from within, but in corporate Malaysia, especially GLCs, this is unheard of, except at Petronas. Terry Leahy, former CEO of Tesco rose from shelf stacker to the top job, and John Bond of HSBC is another candidate who rose from the ranks.
How come no one internally was considered for the top positions in Tabung Haji or Permodalan Nasional Berhad (PNB)?
Alas, in Malaysia we just rotate the same people like musical chairs, as if we do not have enough qualified people waiting in line.
A piecemeal approach 
There seems to be a piecemeal approach in dealing with Khazanah’s status.
It appears that Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad has a private grudge against Khazanah, and I don’t think it is because they are paid a lot. It’s better to be paid RM10 or 15 million annually, than getting paid RM20,000 monthly but then putting your hand into the cookie jar or sitting on 20 boards and collecting RM5,000 each monthly without being able to deliver.
First, the prime minister made a snide remark about Khazanah making “funny investments”.
Then when the board resigned, it was denied that it was a witch-hunt, but it was also said that the government won’t tolerate wrongdoings.
Then, lo and behold, to justify the assertion, the Straits Times of Singapore came out with a “scoop” that secret investment losses by Khazanah was the reason why the government is upset. Seriously, "secret"?
What does that even mean, and who has been feeding this to the Straits Times? Do all companies announce all their investment and losses regularly? This is the risk of investment. Can we know how much investment was lost or written off by Singapore’s mighty Temasek Holdings in the same period? Surely they must have lost some money during the 2008 financial crisis as well.
In any case, an RM1.5 billion loss is nothing compared to losses from Mahathir’s pet projects such as Proton, MAS' buyback from private hands and his ill-fated foray into Silterra. You can also read Malaysiakini columnist P Gunasegaram’s article on the full scale of losses in these companies.
If the whole of the Khazanah board is guilty of “wrongdoings” as alluded to in this press release, then how come one of its former directors is now the new chairperson of Tabung Haji?
Isn’t it telling that a fugitive from India like Zakir Naik has managed to meet our prime minister but two of the most distinguished corporate bumiputeras (Khazanah’s former managing director and the former PNB chair) in recent times have not been able to meet the prime minister? This is absolutely ridiculous.
In my opinion, Mahathir has got a bee in his bonnet about Khazanah, maybe because they sold his pet Proton or attempted to sell his pet Silterra.
But then, Proton was sold to a Bumiputera company which is a close ally of all the recent prime ministers and which then sold a stake to a China company.
The reported placing of Petronas, Khazanah and PNB under the Prime Minister’s Office is probably for nothing other than having the three richest government companies under the prime minister so he can just do as he pleases.
The Petroleum Development Act 1974 clearly says Petronas is under the prime minister’s supervision, but there is no such provision for Khazanah and PNB is not a government asset.
PNB, Tabung Haji and the Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) hold monies belonging to depositors; these entities should not have a single politician on board and they should not be allowed to touch them with a barge pole.
Maybe the solution is to place all these companies directly under parliamentary supervision with select committees supervising them. All board members and managing directors would be chosen by Parliament after a debate involving a US Senate-style confirmation process. - Mkini

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.