Finance minister: GLCs need to help restart Malaysia’s economy and create jobs, not slow down investments

Ida Lim
·2-min read
A bird's-eye view of Kuala Lumpur July 8, 2020. Tengku Zafrul said he did not want to see GLCs and GLICs slowing down their investments in view of the current economic conditions. — Picture by Hari Anggara
A bird's-eye view of Kuala Lumpur July 8, 2020. Tengku Zafrul said he did not want to see GLCs and GLICs slowing down their investments in view of the current economic conditions. — Picture by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 1 — Government-linked companies (GLCs) should step up now to help drive Malaysia’s economy amid the Covid-19 pandemic by spending and investing more in projects and creating jobs, instead of cutting back on investments, Finance Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz has said.

In an interview with local daily Sinar Harian published today, Tengku Zafrul said that the government currently needs support from the private sector, GLCs and government-linked investment companies (GLICs), urging GLC and GLIC leaders to change their mindset due to the pressure on the economy and the difficulties faced by the public.

“The government will do what it can but GLCs and GLICs also need to help restart the economy, create job opportunities and so on. I’m confident that such efforts will help the country a lot,” he was quoted as saying by the paper.

Tengku Zafrul reportedly said he had already started talks with GLCs and GLICs a few weeks ago, saying that it is now time for them to lead and show that the key performance indicators of GLCs and GLICs do not revolve around recording profits only.

“For now we are still at the stage of discussing how they can help the economy and the public. I think this is important but we are still in talks,” he said.

While noting that the management of some GLCs and GLICs did not agree with his suggestions, Tengku Zafrul argued that this was time for such companies and their subsidiaries — which are still able to help Malaysians — to show leadership.

In the same interview, Tengku Zafrul was reported as saying he did not want to see GLCs and GLICs slowing down their investments in view of the current economic conditions.

“This cannot happen as the government itself is increasing development expenditure as we want to see its impact on the economy.

“GLCs have to spend more capital expenditure or invest in construction projects for example.

“This will create high and huge economic spillover effects. Don’t postpone, I want to ensure that they create job and economic opportunities,” he was also quoted as saying by Sinar Harian.

As for the issue of GLC and GLIC CEO salaries allegedly being too high, Tengku Zafrul said the government does not interfere in such matters and will only provide recommendations.

“To be fair, I have to state that there are GLCs that have already carried out wage cuts,” he said, adding that he was aware that a few other companies had done the same but had not made official announcements.

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