Set up ministry to oversee GLCs, urges academic

Prof-Terence-Gomez-glcSUBANG JAYA: An academic has called for the establishment of a ministry as a coordinating unit for all government-linked companies (GLCs) in the country.

Prof Terence Gomez from Universiti Malaya said it would be a place to concentrate all the information on GLCs in the country.

He said the coordinating unit would be responsible for looking out for the GLCs and revamping them wherever necessary.

“This would be the first step. Now it is too dispersed. The left hand does not know what the right hand is doing.

“In most cases, we do not know who these GLCs are. We do not know how many there are. We do not know the extent of the ownership of other companies.

“From our own research, we nailed down 68,000 companies. But who is finally responsible for bringing them all together? Nobody at the moment.”

He was speaking to reporters after giving a talk entitled “The Government’s Business: Politics, Policy and the Corporate Sector” at Monash University here tonight.

He said things have largely been left to the different government-linked investment companies (GLICs), which does not lead to greater coordination.

Even among the GLICs themselves, he said there is no coordination.

“This is all not good.

“If we bring them in, in a more coordinated manner to work in the economy, from a considered point of view in terms of looking at each sector and how to develop it, this can be a very well running economy.

“It will be far more unified, far more structured, far clearer in terms of policy direction and goals in the economy. It can be done, and it will be good for the economy,” he said.

When asked what would happen to the GLCs and GLICs in the event that BN loses power in the next general election, Gomez pointed to states like Selangor and Penang, where the opposition has taken over.

However, he said the question was whether the state governments there had revamped the system.

“Unfortunately, Selangor and Penang are running their GLCs like how BN ran theirs. They are appointing politicians to the GLCs, the board of directors.

“Revamp is already happening at the federal level. What are the states doing?”

Gomez said Selangor had already got off to a start with the creation of Menteri Besar Incorporated (MBI), which attempts to coordinate all GLICs under it.

He added that Johor had done a great job with its Johor Corp, which is thriving.

“We need this coordinating unit with dynamic leaders and competent professional elites running these enterprises. They can do great things.

“The basis of appointment should be merit. You do not play the fool with these companies and give them to people who are politicians.

“It will not help the companies grow,” he said.