Finance minister: Government looking to divest non-core holdings

A. Ruban
Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said the move will complement efforts by one of two announced committees tasked to rein in the government’s chronic overspending.— Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 29 — Putrajaya will explore ways to monetise holdings in assets and companies that are neither critical nor strategic, said Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng.

He said the move will complement efforts by one of two announced committees tasked to rein in the government’s chronic overspending.

“To augment these measures, the federal government would monetise some of its holdings in non-critical, non-strategic companies in an orderly fashion while engaging in planned and scheduled public auction of state land,” Lim said in a statement.

“Previously, these land assets were often sold at steep discounts to politically-connected entities under opaque arrangements, which had deprived the federal government of additional revenue.”

He also announced the formation of a Public Finance Committee and Tax Reform Committee to sustainably reduce the nation’s deficit.

The first will be co-chaired by Lim and Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Azmin Ali and will explore fiscal consolidation without jeopardising the growth of the local economy.

The Tax Reform Committee will study measures to address tax leakages and tax evasion.

Separately, Lim said the 2019 Budget will be tabled in Parliament on November 2 and invited the public to submit their feedback to his ministry from now until Sept 30.

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