Spell out role of GLCs, says former EPU chief

Malaysian Institute of Economic Research chairman Sulaiman Mahbob says it is important to study the role of government-linked companies in totality.

PUTRAJAYA: An economist has called for the role of government-linked companies (GLCs), including national carrier Malaysia Airlines Berhad, to be more clearly defined.

Malaysian Institute of Economic Research (MIER) chairman Sulaiman Mahbob said what is important is to study the role of GLCs in totality.

“We have the government and private agencies. GLCs are in the middle, but what is their role? It should be more clearly defined,” he told reporters after taking part in a forum on the sustainability of economic corridors.

Sulaiman was formerly the director of the Economic Planning Unit (EPU) in the Prime Minister’s Office and head of the National Economic Advisory Council during the Asian financial crisis in 1998.

He said that when he was the Telekom Malaysia Bhd (TM) chairman, the GLC carried out many social responsibility programmes, including providing scholarships and helping Bumiputera vendors.

“TM had to shoulder many responsibilities. You can’t compare Telekom to Maxis, it’s like comparing apples to oranges. TM also conducted research and development,” he said.

Sulaiman, however, declined to comment on the government’s stated intention of weighing various options before making a decision on the fate of Malaysia Airlines.

Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad was reported as saying yesterday that closing down the airline was a serious matter, and the government would study the situation before deciding whether to shut down the airline, divest its assets or refinance its debts.