IDEAS endorses Cabinet decision on PLUS, calls for a divestment policy first

IDEAS CEO Ali Salman endorsed the Cabinet’s decision not to sell PLUS Malaysia Bhd. — Picture by Firdaus Latif
IDEAS CEO Ali Salman endorsed the Cabinet’s decision not to sell PLUS Malaysia Bhd. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 16 — The Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS) has endorsed the Cabinet’s decision not to sell PLUS Malaysia Bhd.

In a statement, IDEAS chief executive officer Ali Salman said this announcement would end speculations surrounding the fate of the highway concessionaire.

“In addition, it is imperative on the part of the government as guardian of national assets to produce and communicate a comprehensive Divestment Policy Framework in order to encourage policy clarity and certainty.

“The framework should also fully consider the implications of GLC reforms, which may entail asset sales, to the broader socio-economic dynamics,” he said.

According to IDEAS, since Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s divestment talk, the ongoing speculation about sales of national assets, including PLUS before this, has raised concerns of transparency and governance and this does not inspire public confidence.

IDEAS said this was due to an absence of a clearly laid out framework for government-linked companies (GLC) reform, which should also include divestment.

“A transparent divestment process should be in place before the government engages in privatisation,” he said.

He also noted that this framework should be given added emphasis and urgency in anticipation of the mid-year tabling of the 12th Malaysia Plan 2021-2025 which would outline the long-term economic direction of the country as well as the relationship between the government and the private economy.

So, he said the roles of GLCs as well as statutory bodies have to be revisited and made relevant to better address socioeconomic challenges of the future.

“IDEAS will organise a series of consultative roundtable meetings with relevant stakeholders to contribute towards policy recommendations on reforming GLCs,” he added. — Bernama

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