Azmin defends PNB despite low dividend for ASB

Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Azmin Ali speaks during Redistribution of Wealth-Shared Prosperity session at the Kuala Lumpur Summit 2019 December 20, 2019. — Picture by Miera Zulyana
Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Azmin Ali speaks during Redistribution of Wealth-Shared Prosperity session at the Kuala Lumpur Summit 2019 December 20, 2019. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 20 — Minister of Economic Affairs Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali today defended Permodalan Nasional Bhd (PNB), which has been criticised after announcing the lowest Amanah Saham Bumiputera (ASB) dividend payout since it was launched in 1990.

Mohamed Azmin said PNB had done its best to ensure both depositors and shareholders would get their returns despite the weaker economic climate.

“Aside from the global market and also governance issues in the past, the new PNB management team has tried their level best to ensure that governance and accountability are the pillars in the new team,” he told reporters on the sidelines of Kuala Lumpur Summit 2019 here today. 

Mohamed Azmin said that the government would ensure that PNB is governed strictly, with integrity and accountability.

“We want to make sure that PNB is governed with transparency and accountability, but PNB will explain that. It involves over RM9 billion and it is not a small amount of money,” he added.

On Wednesday, PNB announced a distribution of 5.5 sen per unit for ASB unitholders, comprising a five sen distribution and a 0.5 sen bonus for the year ending December 31, 2019.

The income distribution for the year is lower than last year’s total distribution of seven sen per unit.

The total payout for income distribution will be RM9 billion, benefitting 10 million unitholders who own 167.2 billion units, bringing the fund’s total cumulative income distribution and bonus to RM152 billion since its inception in 1990. 

Meanwhile, Mohamed Azmin said more discussions were needed to find a strategic partner for the beleaguered Malaysia Airlines Bhd as the government had received several proposals from regional and international players.

“We just had our board meeting on December 17 and this matter was discussed, but the proposal which was presented during the board meeting was not attractive enough for us to decide.

“So the prime minister, the chairman and the board agreed that we should look at other options before making the final decision,” he added. — Bernama

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