Introduce law for GLCs, economist urges Anwar 

Coverage by: Free Malaysia Today (FMT)

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PETALING JAYA: Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim has been urged to introduce a law to regulate government-linked companies (GLCs) similar to enactments in New Zealand and Scandinavian countries.

Economist Edmund Terence Gomez said such a law should include the formation of an independent commission that would vet appointments of GLC chairmen, CEOs and board members and the way the entities operate.

The appointment of members to this commission, Gomez said, must be subject to parliamentary review.

“What Anwar has started by removing political appointees in GLCs is good,” he told FMT.

“(But) if the economy is in dire straits, the first thing we want to reform are the GLCs, government-linked investment companies (GLICs) and Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs) because they are the ones that revive and drive the economy.

“But he must give the commitment to take politics out of GLCs.”

Earlier this week, it was reported that all political appointees in government companies have received letters notifying them that their services have been terminated.

Gomez, who has authored books and papers on GLCs in Malaysia, said Anwar needs to appoint competent people to helm GLCs and GLICs instead of establishing politicians for patronage.

“GLCs have been used in the past by every ruling party to consolidate their power at the grassroots level.

“When it comes to CEOs, the board of directors can decide openly and transparently,” he said.

He also said the proposed commission should be empowered to review the salaries of GLC and GLIC bosses.

On the appointment of retired politicians and civil servants to GLCs, Gomez said some among them have the experience and knowledge required to run these bodies.

“I am saying this because the volume of expertise is not out there like some may think.

“Those qualified prefer to work in the private sector and abroad as they are paid much more. They are also not subjected to scrutiny when helming GLCs where they are answerable to the government and to shareholders,” he said.

“All in all, Anwar faces a huge task in dismantling a culture that he was part of while in Umno, but he has to for the good of the nation,” he added.




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