The business of the ministries

IN this second article, on political economy issues that must be considered by political parties as they prepare for the 14th general election, my focus is on modes of government intervention in the Malaysian economy. It is well-known that the Government actively intervenes in the economy, primarily through the employment of government-linked companies (GLCs). However, what is not well-known is that federal ministries, under the control of cabinet ministers, also have control of GLCs.

Currently, there are 25 ministries in the cabinet. Of the ministries, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), Ministry of Finance (MoF), Ministry of Rural and Regional Development (MRRD) and Ministry of Science, Technology and Information (Mosti) can be classified as the “Big Four” as they have control of an extremely large number of GLCs. The figure indicates the scale and scope of the business involvement of the MRRD, while I have reviewed the involvement of MoF in the economy in my recently published book, Minister of Finance Incorporated: Ownership and Control of Corporate Malaysia.

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