Khazanah owes lawmakers, people an explanation, says Mahathir

Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad suggests that Khazanah divest its stake in some GLCs. (Benama pic)

MANILA: Khazanah Nasional Bhd (Khazanah) owes the lawmakers and people an explanation about its first pre-tax loss in 13 years in 2018, Dr Mahathir Mohamad said.

The prime minister said the sovereign wealth fund should also have a comprehensive plan and an action plan to revive its position so as not to continue to suffer losses.

He said one of the main causes of losses suffered by the company was due to the unsatisfactory performance of Malaysia Airlines Bhd (MAB).

“This is not an easy thing to do. However, I am confident that they have plans to address the problems faced by their low-performing companies.

“Maybe they will divest their stakes in some companies (government-linked companies),” he told Malaysian journalists on the last day of his three-day visit to the Philippines here today.

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 seen in 2017.

Mahathir said even though there have been no discussions on his proposal to Khazanah to divest non-performing companies, it was one of the approaches it could do to enable it to return to profitability.

“The companies that are not part of Khazanah’s core operations, sometimes they are doing something that other people should do. Perhaps they (Khazanah) need to study such a thing.

“Divesting businesses is one of the ways to reduce the losses suffered by Khazanah,” he said.