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Scrutiny GLCs, enlarge economi cake, eradicate poverty

Press Statement
by Dr Tan Seng Giaw  


(Kuala Lumpur, Wednesday) : There must be effective scrutiny of government-linked companies (GLCs), expansion of economic cake, meaningful restructuring of society and eradication of poverty.

Any attempt to reduce socio-economic imbalance must be based on expanding economic cake, instead of benefitting only a small group of people. Since the 70s last century, we have repeatedly stressed this principle. The Government reaffirms it, insisting on enlarging economic cake and denying the practice of robbing Peter to pay Paul.

Since 1970, the Government has implemented the New Economic Policy (NEP), intending to restructure society and eradicate poverty, in order to avoid one race dominating the civil service and another controlling the private sector. Reducing the socio-economic imbalance is essential.

In the last 37 years, the whole society has been transformed with rural-urban migration and increasing number of foreign labour.
irregularities, unjust steps and wanton waste in the implementation of NEP have caused disaffection and discontent among all races.

Malay equity was supposed to reach at least 30% by 1990. Now, the Government insists that it is only 19%. Some researchers maintain that it is over 40%. Equity ownership continues to be controversial. As long as the Government does not overcome factors that make some Malays sell their equity when the share price is attractive, some economic measures appear unfair and there is wanton waste, the equity target will remain elusive.

Who dominate the public sector and who control the private sector will remain sensitive. Malaysians are amazed.

The Government goes through definite channels such as GLCs to participate in business. Major GLCs include Tenaga Nasional Berhad
(TNB), Malayan Banking, Petronas, Mas and Telekom Malaysia Berhad (TMB). The total investment in GLCs is over RM113 billion. Some such as Mas were managed badly, incurring big losses; the new leadership in Mas is turning it around. National Car, Proton, is in a dilemma.

We need effective scrutiny of GLCs. The Cabinet has a High Impact Investment Committee headed by Datuk Seri Najib. Suggestions include a Cabinet Committee on GLCs and Parliamentary Select Committee on them. Which is more effective?Parliamentary Select Committee is more independent.

The Governemt keeps saying that it wants enlarged economic cake. No single race should predominate either the public or the private
sectors. But then, we find that the top echelon of the Finance Ministry and most government departments are dominated by one race.
The same applies to GLCs. All major appointments in government departments and GLCs should be based on merits, not on race or



*Dr Tan Seng Giaw,  DAP National Deputy Chairman and MP for Kepong

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