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Axe coming down on non-performing GLCs

26th March, 2019


KOTA KINABALU: The axe is coming down on non-performing state government-linked companies (GLCs), says Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal.

The non-performers will be downsized or closed altogether, as the Sabah government gets down to study their original goal.

Shafie, who is the Finance Minister, said each GLC needs to serve its purpose, but those that had steered away from their core objectives or were embroiled in any abuse, including corruption, would be revamped or closed.

He said GLCs were set up with a primary function to meet Sabah’s economic and development goals, as well as to provide employment for the people.

Sadly, he added, some GLCs have lost their focus, and the government was trying to right these wrongs in an effort to redirect them to their original purpose.

He said the Sabah Land Development Board (SLDB), Yayasan Sabah and Sawit Kinabalu were all set up and given large tracts of land for development and timber concessions to carry out business.

They were then supposed to channel their huge profits to assist in providing education and healthcare, spur rural economies and help the poor.

“Today, they have more or less diverted from their original intentions. I am taking steps to bring them back to their original roles,” he said when opening a seminar on the “Role of the Government in the Economy: Government-Linked Companies”, organised by the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) on Monday.

Shafie said that at least three subsidiaries of Yayasan Sabah, the state’s biggest concession holder, might be downsized or closed with their staff absorbed into other companies or divisions of YS.

“Changes cannot take place in a blink of an eye – we are in the process of changing to make GLCs more transparent.

“We must ensure that there is inclusiveness in our development,” he said, adding that the many issues of corruption and abuse of power reported nationwide in GLCs was a lesson for all.

Shafie said that he was also looking at forming new bodies such as a Sabah Marketing Board to help agricultural producers connect to markets, as currently a lot of unsold vegetables in rural areas were left to rot.

On another matter, he said funds from Petronas corporate social responsibility (CSR) programmes should be spent on more people.

Shafie said that he has spoken to Petronas on the best cooperation with the government to help develop Sabah.

Citing the example of Petronas’ partnership with YS on the Imbak Canyon Conservation Area (ICCA) where the national oil company sponsored RM84 million to YS, he said that the money would only benefit a few, mainly tourists and researchers.

“If that money is given to Yayasan Sabah for scholarship, imagine how many Sabahans would benefit from it,” he said.

Asked to comment on the Pan Borneo Highway project, Shafie said that the federal government will decide whether the project delivery partner concept would be retained or not.

Although it is under the federal government’s jurisdiction, he said that it still needs input from the state government.

“I was told that there will be no more project delivery partner but we will wait and see whether we need it or not but for us, it should be given to the existing government departments.

“Let the government be there, not private, how can we let a private entity manage RM16 billion of money? There is no accountability, no transparency.

“We need infrastructure but it should not be implemented with big leakages such as the compensation of land that cost almost RM900 million,” he said.

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