Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Selangor should Avoid Off-Budget Spending

Media Statement written by Yeo Bee Yin, Committee Member of Selangor Agencies, Statutorary Bodies and Government-Link-Companies (GLCs) Select Committee (JP-ABAS) and State Assemblyperson of Damansara Utama on Thursday 10 September 2015. 

Selangor should avoid off-budget spending via Menteri Besar Incorporated (MBI) and incorporate such expenditure into the State Assembly approved Budget.

Recently controversy erupted in Selangor legislature when JP-ABAS tabled a report on Dahrul Ehsan Investment Group (DEIG) and expressed its concerns over the newly formed state-owned investment firm. 100% owned by MBI, DEIG will be the holding company for the 74 GLCs currently under MBI with a combined land bank of more than 5,000 acre of state lands and a combined asset value of RM6.3 billion. It is to also to be the “investment holding-arm for the state of Selangor.” [1]

The proponent of DEIG believes that DEIG is necessary in order to separate the conflicting objectives of MBI between people’s welfare and profit maximizing. It is also to ensure “sustainable value creation and broaden Selangor state’s income base away from its current reliance on land related levies and taxes” [2] by rationalizing the 74 GLCs under MBI and consolidating their assets under DEIG. 

I believe that the objectives of the formation of DEIG are noble. In fact, as a commitee member of JP-ABAS, the select committee has gone through many cases of low performance of Selangor GLCs and one of the reasons is the conflicting social and economic functions of GLCs resulting in GLCs inability to benchmark the firms’ financial and operational performance indicators against the industrial average and subsequently the lack of corporate discipline to improve their performances. In addition, restructuring of GLCs and asset consolidation is also what JP-ABAS was pushing for in December 2014 state assembly session by tabling a select committee report listing the reasons why it needs to be done. 

Nevertheless, I believe the above objectives do not need to be achieved by forming DEIG. 

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Malaysia Day: We Are Better Together

Happy Malaysia Day! Since Merdeka Day leading to Malaysia Day, I've been thinking about this question - what made our forefathers from different communities joint hand to give birth to this country, which we now call home? Did they really know each other? Did they really love each other? I don't think so.

I think perhaps what they thought then was that it was better that they learn how to live together despite the differences to achieve a greater goal - freedom from colonialism. They knew that it was better to live together despite the differences than to live under the tyranny of the colonialist. I believe it was the pragmatism of our forefathers and their desire for freedom that bind us together. Our forefather realised that WE ARE BETTER TOGETHER.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

What has Bersih 4 achieved?

“So what exactly has Bersih 4 changed?” a lot of people asked. Many detractors said it was nothing but an “urbanites-feel-good” rally. I beg to differ.