Khazanah Nasional Berhad will be revamped to return the sovereign fund to its original aim of owning and guarding national assets on behalf of Malaysians, said Economic Affairs Minister Azmin Ali.
The revamp is among the first steps Khazanah will take under its new board unveiled yesterday, Azmin told reporters.
Khazanah’s role had changed under the former Barisan Nasional administration and it kept making bad investments, leading to losses every year, he said.
“Over the past few years, they diversified their investments and these did not give good returns. Almost every year, they are forced to write off certain investments.”
Azmin did not specify how much Khazanah had to write-off but said the figure was “huge”.
He added that Khazanah’s return to its old role would also allow it to increase Bumiputera participation in the economy, whether through holding shares, property or other investments.
“Maybe the investment panel did not look at this seriously to the point where the investments that were approved resulted in big losses.
“So, this must be looked at again as we want an economic policy that is fair to all Malaysians.”
In a statement released by the Prime Minister’s Department yesterday, Azmin was made director on Khazanah’s board together with Mohd Hassan Marican, Dr Sukhdave Singh and Goh Ching Yin. Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad was appointed as chairman.
The statement also said the firm’s new managing director will be appointed at a later date.
Azmin also refuted suggestions that his and Dr Mahathir’s appointments meant that the Pakatan Harapan government was going back on its promise to install only professionals to head government-linked companies (GLCs).
“It is true we don’t want politicians to hold important posts in government-linked companies and statutory bodies, but in this context, Dr Mahathir is there by virtue of being the prime minister.”
Whereas in his case, Azmin said, he was chosen as a director as he is economics minister who is responsible for planning the nation’s economy.
Khazanah’s remaining board members and its managing director will be professionals with a strong sense of integrity, he said.
Meanwhile, Azman Mokhtar ended his tenure today, with his staff giving him a rousing sendoff. – TMI