KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 23 ― Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) said today it is satisfied with Khazanah Nasional Bhd’s explanation over the loss of RM6.3 billion last year compared to a profit of RM2.3 billion in 2017.
Following an inquiry proceeding with the sovereign wealth fund in April, the bipartisan PAC said it recognises several changes following the government change last year that led to the results: including a change in the government’s telecommunication policy, financial reporting standards, and a change in investment strategy.
“PAC takes note about drastic government’s policies, including in the telecommunications sector, that made a major impact on several telecommunications companies held by the government through Khazanah,” PAC chairman Datuk Noraini Ahmad said in a statement.
She also took note that Putrajaya has implemented Financial Reporting Standards 9 from January 1, 2018, causing Khazanah’s account ending December 31, 2018 to report an accumulated impairment of RM3.1 billion on March 2019.
“PAC also takes note that the previous investment strategy had a too high risk since around 80 to 85 per cent was focused on just nine to 10 companies. This strategy has exposed Khazanah to a higher investment risk.
“PAC takes note that Khazanah has started acting from the aspect of the new investment strategy to expand and diversify its investment. Khazanah has also taken steps to reduce its operating cost,” she added.
In the April 1 inquiry, the PAC summoned then senior deputy secretary-general of the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Mohd Zuki Ali, and Khazanah managing director Datuk Shahril Ridza Ridzuan for an explanation on the fund’s financial bleed.
In March, Khazanah posted a pre-tax loss of RM6.3 billion for 2018, compared with its pre-tax profit of RM2.9 billion in the preceding year, after recording impairments totalling RM7.3 billion ― more than triple the RM2.3 billion amount seen in 2017.
Khazanah’s portfolio value as measured by its net worth adjusted declined to RM91 billion as at December 31, 2018, a 21.6 per cent drop from RM116 billion year-on-year.
Realisable asset value also fell to RM136 billion from RM157 billion during the same period.