Felda DG says told of transparency concerns at state entities

Yiswaree Palansamy

Felda director-general Datuk Othman Omar at the Anti-Corruption and Integrity 2019 forum in Kuala Lumpur September 17, 2019. — Picture by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 17 — Unnamed chief executives of state economic development corporations have expressed concern about unilateralism involving the management of state assets, Datuk Othman Omar asserted today.

The director-general of the Federal Land Authority (Felda) told Malay Mail that he was informed by some that assets under their care have been transferred to the holding firms controlled by their states’ mentri besar or chief minister.

Othman said such a practice raised concerns about the lack of transparency in the management of state assets as such holding firms are typically directed by a handful of people such as the MB or CM, the state secretaries, and senior financial officers.

Without naming any specific states, he said such moves were usually justified as affording flexibility in the management of such assets.

“So they decide just what’s good for the state. Only three people deciding on multi-billion-dollar investment is going to be very hard to be transparent,” he said as a panellist at the Anti-Corruption and Integrity Forum 2019 here.

The arrangement also effectively prevented the state executive councils from monitoring how state resources are being invested.

He compared this to federal agencies that are scrutinised by both the Finance Ministry and the Economic Planning Unit.

Earlier in the forum, Othman also spoke of the financial mismanagement at Felda prior to his appointment.

Othman was named the director-general of Felda in October last year after.

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