GEORGE TOWN: The state government should do away with political appointees in government-link companies (GLCs) in the state.
Opposition lawmaker Izhar Shah Arif Shah (PN-Seberang Jaya) said based on the promises and principles of reform advocated by the parties in the Pakatan Harapan coalition thus far, the practice of political rewards through appointments of representatives from political parties should not be carried out.
"This is because, based on an understanding of those reform principles, the practice of appointing political appointees can burden a company and the related GLCs, making them a 'cost centre' instead of a 'Profit Centre'," he said when debating the 2024 Supply Bill on Thursday (Nov 28).
Izhar said to ensure a comprehensive approach regarding agencies, GLCs, and statutory bodies within the state government, the funds provided by the state government in the form of grants or loans should be monitored to ensure a projected return to Penang.
He said in total there were 15 GLCs under Chief Minister Incorporated (CMI) and one GLC under State Secretary Incorporated (SSI).
The first term assemblyman also said these GLCs must be monitored and be given a "Target Expected Return" with the lowest risk factor.
He said allowing these GLCs to not generate income or returns for the state government and relying solely on government grants and contributions from the private sector for any initiatives, programs, and activities is highly unhealthy.
He added that 16 GLCs, a significant portion of them, can function as a State-Owned Enterprise & Business Driver strategy fundamentally.
"These companies have the potential to collectively contribute an estimated RM50mil to RM100mil annually to the state government and also serve as a catalyst for the development of the industry and service centre for the state," Izhar added.
The lawmaker also questioned whether these GLCs under the state government purview have made any investments or engaged in any business activities outside Penang.
"I would like the state to list out any investment that is being made by these GLCs or if there are no any investments made, I would like to know why," he added.
He said from the list of appointed Board of Directors, a leader or chief executive officer with professional experience would be appointed.
He said those appointed should be provided with the vision, mission, and outcomes set by the state government.
He also requested to be provided in writing with the details of any rewards given to the Chairman and Board Members of all GLCs in the state, including the amount and nature of these rewards.