An independent body to study equity ownership in Malaysia
DAP National Deputy Chairman and MP for Kepong Dr Tan Seng Giaw proposes that the Government set up a truly independent body to study the equity ownership of public-listed companies and the effects of affirmative actions on all races in the country.
Dr Tan comments on the Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute (ASLI)'s admission in the media that there were shortcomings in the assumption and calculations that led to its claim that the estimated Bumiputera equity ownership may be as high as 45%. In 1970, the New Economic Policy (NEP) set the target at 30% Bumiputera ownership.
The Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has not accepted the ASLI findings. On 8 October, 2006, Umno Vice-President Tan Sri Muhyddin Yassin asked ASLI to withdraw its study, adding that it should not challenge the wisdom of the Government.
It is time that the Government appoint a genuinely independent body to study the effects of affirmative actions and the equity ownership of publiclisted companies by all races. The implementation of NEP means various affirmative actions. For instance, billions of shares have been offered especially with Initial Public Offerings (IPOs) when companies are listed, in particular since 1970. How many Bumiputeras have kept their shares? How many have sold them for huge profits? Where have they deposited their money? What happen to those Bumiputeras who deserve to be helped, but have not been given opportunities?
Huge companies such as Sime Darby, Guthrie, TNB and Pernas are government-linked companies (GLCs). They are major players. They are companies owned by 25 million Malaysians. If we assume that there are 60% Bumiputeras and 40% Non-Bumiputeras, then 60% of the shares of these GLCs are owned by Bumiputeras and 40% by Non-Bumiputeras.
Different definitions produce different findings. When Bumiputera quity is mentioned as 18.5%, there is no visible outcry.
How do Malaysians get to the bottom of the equity ownership? How do we face globalisation?
Tan Seng Giaw