KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 28 — A think tank has urged the government to form an independent committee to review and assess all government-linked companies.
Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (Ideas) said the panel is necessary for the new administration to promulgate the right policies for economic reform.
The demand is part of recommendations made to address concerns over the extensive influence of GLCs in the Malaysian economy.
The recommendations, compiled in a report to be finalised later today, was a follow up to the groundbreaking research conducted by academic, Edmund Terence Gomez, which mapped out Ministry of Finance Incorporated's wide control of major businesses in the country.
“The primary purpose of this report is to offer these findings to the government, to be incorporated in debates now transpiring about the reforms that Malaysia so badly needs,” the think tank said in a statement.
“These findings will provide insights into the institutional changes that are required.
“This report also calls for the establishment of an independent GLC Review Committee to undertake an assessment of all GLCs in the country, an issue that is needed if the government is to promulgate the right type of policies to reform the Malaysian economy,” Ideas added.
Ideas published Gomez's study, entitled Minister of Finance Incorporated: Ownership and Control of Corporate Malaysia, at the height of public anger over the financial scandal at 1Malaysia Development Berhad.
The state investment fund had been chaired by then prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who also took on the finance portfolio amid strong protest.
Gomez had said his research was driven by the need to secure insights into one fundamental question: to what extent should the Malaysian government intervene in the economy, including through GLCs?
“A related question was whether politicians in power should serve as directors of government owned enterprises,” Ideas said upon launching the book.
The findings from Gomez's study provided important insights into the scale and scope of GLC involvement in the economy, drawing attention to the need to institute urgent reforms to ensure the firms functioned properly and with transparency and accountability.
Despite the significance of the study, there was little public response from any politicians from the then ruling Barisan Nasional government about the findings of this study.