Khairy slams govt on Khazanah, claims lingerie expose is smear tactic

  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 01 Aug 2018

PETALING JAYA: Rembau MP Khairy Jamaluddin has criticised the government on Wednesday (August 1) for its treatment of the Khazanah board.

Referencing viral images of the send-off that Khazanah managing director Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar received from his colleagues on Tuesday (July 31), Khairy said the “telling” pictures showed a leader who is respected and appreciated.

Here is his statement in full:

The viral images of the send-off Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar received from his colleagues yesterday were telling.

It shows a leader who is much respected and appreciated. It certainly did not show someone leaving in ignominious circumstances.

From what I know, Azman was not even given an appointment to brief the new Prime Minister since the last general election.

For more than two months, the managing director of our nation’s sovereign wealth fund was denied the opportunity to even meet and brief the Prime Minister.

This also resulted in the Khazanah board not being able to convene its meetings.

The message was simple: We want you out but we are not going to get our hands dirty since there are no real grounds for your dismissal.

The Khazanah board understood the message. And being the responsible individuals they are, they offered their resignations en bloc.

A new board was then appointed and subsequently announced by the Prime Minister’s Office. This in itself is odd.

Khazanah is almost entirely owned by the Ministry of Finance Inc. Any board appointments must be signed off and announced by the Minister of Finance, not the Prime Minister.

But this was not done, even though the Pakatan Harapan government has promised not to concentrate too much power in the Prime Minister’s Office.

At the same time, the government’s PR strategy has been to focus on the few losses during Azman’s tenure from the investment in UBS to a company selling lingerie on-line.

This is designed to embarrass and deflect from the real numbers that we should be concerned with: Khazanah’s realisable asset value grew from RM65bil in 2004 to RM157bil at the end of 2017.

Its net worth adjusted (which takes out liabilities and dividends paid to the Government) was RM47bil in 2004. At the end of last year it was RM115.6bil.

That is Azman’s legacy. Not the smaller losses that have been highlighted to smear his tenure and reputation.

Another one of Azman’s legacies is succession planning. A leader is only as good as the success of his successor.

In December last year, Azman appointed two deputies, one of whom will most likely succeed him in May when his contract expires.

I hope the two deputy MDs will be among those considered to take over to ensure continuity in executing Khazanah’s mandate as the nation’s sovereign wealth fund.

As I have mentioned previously, Khazanah is now a success story which began with Azman’s appointment in 2004. We must guard against any attempts to break it up and replace it with the crony capitalism of 1990s Malaysia Inc.

Khazanah has gone from being a mere holding entity to a strategic investor looking at opportunities that can realise greater returns and also promote Malaysia’s economy and corporations. They have built a human resource pool of talented managers and executives.

The Opposition will be monitoring the Government’s next moves very closely.

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