Second privatisation wave: Now that’s scary…

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I was paying only casual attention while Najib droned on over the radio when tabling his Budget in Parliament yesterday.

But my ears pricked up when he mentioned a “second wave of privatisation”.

The Bernama headline says it all: ‘Companies Under MOF Inc And Other Viable Agencies To Be Privatise’ (sic).

Why only the viable agencies? Is this going to be more of “privatisation of profits and socialisation of losses” – at the expense of the Malaysian public?

The first thing that crossed my mind was: which cash cow is going to be handed over to which crony now? Don’t tell me they are going ahead with plans to privatise cash cow Plus Expressways Bhd, which is owned by Khazanah (24 per cent directly and 40 per cent indirectly).

Plus Expressways owns 100 per cent of Projek Lebuhraya Utara-Selatan Bhd, which operates the North-South Highway. Last year, Plus Expressways earned a profit before tax of RM1.5 billion on the back of RM2.2 billion in toll collection.

A low-profile firm, Asas Serba, recently made an audacious proposal to take over all 22 highway concessionaire firms for RM50 billion. (Where are they going to get the money from?) The firm is reportedly led by four businessmen, two of whom are former senior executives of the Renong conglomerate.

S Jayasankaran, writing in the Business Times on 19 October, reported:

IT APPEARS that the staggering RM50 billion (S$20.7 billion) proposal from little known Asas Serba to buy all 22 highway concessionaires in the country is a serious one.

The proposal – first reported by BT two months ago – calls for the company to buy over the tolled highways and cut tolls by 20 per cent on the premise that owning all of the nation’s tolled highways would result in economies of scale and, presumably, lower costs.

That this is a proposal considered seriously by the government cannot be denied. Nor Mohamad Yakcop, the minister of the Economic Planning Unit, dismissed the notion last month only to be contradicted by his boss Prime Minister Najib Razak.

Mr Najib, who is also finance minister, said he hadn’t seen the proposal yet, which implied that he was waiting to see it. This is a sharp reversal from the same Mr Najib who, two months ago, said that Khazanah, the investment arm of the federal government, had no intention of selling Plus Expressways, the biggest toll concessionaire in Malaysia. The premier is also the chairman of Khazanah.

You can check out some of the other likely targets of privatisation among Khazanah’s portfolio of companies here.

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(Except for one share owned by the Federal Land Commissioner, Khazanah’s shares are owned by the Minister of Finance Incorporated.)

It looks as if the trend of neo-liberal policies is likely to continue.

At this rate, if and when a new party or coalition takes over federal power over from the BN, most of the profit-making or “viable” government agencies could have been privatised, leaving only the deficit-incurring agencies left in the government’s stable (i.e. in the hands of the Malaysian public).

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wuhenryPhua Kai LitPJboydonplaypuksLau Pek Recent comment authors
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Phua Kai Lit
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Phua Kai Lit

Hi Gerakan K You are entitled to your opinion. I stand by my comparison i.e. comparing UMNO’s increasing fascistoid metamorphosis to the real thing. “1Malaysia” = meaningless slogan reeking of odour… How many Malaysias are there at the moment? Is this all they can come up with after spending millions of ringgit on the public relations company? Why not something like “Unite for a Better Malaysia?” Some of the UMNO allies of your Gerakan junior partner political party (decisively rejected by the Penang voters) spew all sorts of racist and ultranationalist stuff in the MSM. Including Najib’s DPM who plays… Read more »

wuhenry
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wuhenry

A scorched earth policy is a military strategy or operational method which involves destroying anything that might be useful to the enemy while advancing through or withdrawing from an area.

The PR is advancing from 5 states ( including Perak) and is advancing to PutraJaya in the coming 36 months.

The logical way is transferring all assets that might be useful.

Phua Kai Lit
Guest
Phua Kai Lit

“Ein volk, ein reich, … ”

“1Malaysia, 1KetuananUMNO, 1 kleptocracy”

Gerakan K
Guest
Gerakan K

What a stupid comment! Our PM is good enough to pursue 1Malaysia concept which promotes greater understanding and acceptance and you made nasty comparison with the renowned evil’s slogan. I pity the organization that employs you.

PJboy
Guest
PJboy

…heard (daim)
is doing well in africaland and now he is
back for more…

PJboy
Guest
PJboy

highway robbery everday @ toll gates by
selected few on all drivers… rich..

donplaypuks
Guest

The “trained economist’s” budget must rank as the worst ever since 1957.

But what is truly scary is that the rape of the national coffers has been officially announced. We can’t say we were not warned!!

dpp
We are all of 1 race, the Human Race

Lau Pek
Guest
Lau Pek

Indeed the privatization plans seem like last gasp grabs, else why the need for some entity like asas serba. The saddest truth is that the very civil servants and GLC servants are assisting those that are impoverishing the nation without realizing that the Malays themselves will be impacted greater than others by virtue of their numbers.

r
Guest
r

the Putra transport system, which cost RM4.486 billion;

the STAR-LRT bailout costing RM3.256 billion;

MAS bailout costing RM2.802 billion respectively;

the takeover of the National Sewerage System costing RM192.54 million;

the Seremban-Port Dickson Highway costing RM142 million;

the Kuching Prison costing RM135 million; and

the Unit Kajian Makanan dan Gunaan Orang Islam costing RM8.3 million.

luke
Guest
luke

well, the country’s top investment bank cimb (may) need the biz so that its share price can go to 20 bucks. not it is already back to approx 13. if u didnt know the family owns around 10% of the group…

ANN BK3
Guest
ANN BK3

The GE13 (clock) is ticking away and they have to ‘strike while the iron is hot and to make hay will the sun shines’. The viable agencies they (may) SAPU and leave the sick and loss making ones behind. Deep down they know that their end is near and it’s so crystal clear that this 2nd wave of piratization is their ‘1 for the road’. If they manage to bulldoze this exercise smoothly, then what is left for the in-coming Federal Govt. (should there be one) and the rakyat will only be ‘skin and bones’.

mct
Guest
mct

Agreed! It’s the usual privatization of profits and socialization of losses, as is the normal scam. Not very much the public can do about it once the BN government is set on it.

Only hope that the opposition will give the public a good and strong reminder when the time to change the present government comes around.

zozdaniel
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zozdaniel

The privatisation of the Malaysian Tolled Highways are a big surprise to many, knowing well that the concession periods of these highways are going to expire soon. Any negotiation to extend the concession perids tentamount to sellout of ordinary Malaysians’ interest. Why then are the government moving in this path!!! Whatever actions taken must always have the consideration of the Rakyats at heart. Not mere words, which serve to camouflage evil intent. The Barisan Government need to be reminded that the wrong doings buried undergoung shall be exhumed when time comes. Please do not Rob from the Malaysians again, for… Read more »

Singapore
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Singapore

POOR MALAYSIANS.

SOB SOB!

You elected this PM. You asked for it.
DON’T COMPLAIN NOW!

lakian
Guest
lakian

No worry,this is just a small case…. whatever way of acquiring wealth… but they live,eat,… and die too.
They are infact robbing… from their own.
You can see … S’wak, (large portion of) the whole state is owned by (a certain politician) alone. If he proclaims that he is no.2richest who guts to say no.1? But life is life all need to die one day.Chinese always say you are robbing in advance from your coming generations.If the rakyat really sense ,the rakyat can do the judge.

albert69
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albert69

Why is everyone so surprised about the RM50B offered by Asas Serba when it is backed by 2 former heads of Renong?

Who were the powers behind Renong? None other than Diam and his boss Mahatiar! … Malaysians do have short memory and have forgotten how the great Diam with the blessing of Mahatiar…

lee wee tak
Guest
lee wee tak

privatisation suppose to reduce tax, increased efficiency and effectiveness of the service providers

however, the profit guarantees according to the toll concessionaires and IPPs bastardised this scheme into an abomination for generations

Malaysians by and large take these punishment manfully, I wonder is it the feudal mindset of ours?

Time to stand up and say no!

If in Parliamen, we do not have enough like minded voices, civil protest should be made. Not advocating violence but strong pressure like boycott etc

zackeye
Guest
zackeye

They will take the company and strip all assets and then sell back the lost company to the government at the original price that they paid at the start of privatisation. Just like MAS and Indah Water.

Nihilist
Guest
Nihilist

Social critics have been writing about the “privatization of profits and socialization of loses” in regards to the U.S. and elsewhere. However, in my opinion, there is more to it in the case of this Tanah Air of Malaysia. In Malaysia, it is more appropriate to call our culture, a “culture of plunder” so long as there are still resources to be plundered. Can you imagine when there is no resources left. Scary thought….

caravanserai
Guest
caravanserai

People you have a choice Do it right when GE call You can’t be dilly dally all along Bee Anne will take it all Privatization isn’t working Bee Anne will colour you blind Employing PR world to beef up image It is a long way down our deep pockets Tell me has privatization works? It never has been during Dr M watched Cronies smiling all the way to the banks We bailed them out when economic crisis came Now 1Malaysia Najib will go the way Under economic crisis he wants his second wave Benefitting cronies what else is new…. People… Read more »

Kazakh47
Guest
Kazakh47

Has the previous privatisation initiated by Tun Dr Mathathir REALLY brought on any tangible benefits to the Rakyat? I don’t really see any cause I am still being force to pay for water and electricity at higher cost and I see the BN govt bailing out their useless cronies at billions ringgit tags. I strongly urge the rakyat to strongly oppose this new round of privatisation because I believe it is not meant to benefits us but UMNO. Come 2013 Umno may be kick out bt the voters and this round of privatisation could be their attempt to transfer the… Read more »

nkkhoo
Guest

I thought Najib was saying second of wave “piratization”.

nkkhoo
Guest

Correction…type too fast. I thought Najib was saying second wave of “piratization”.

Penangite
Guest
Penangite

It is not a surprise. The BN/UMno govt will need all the cash they can get their hands on to fund GE13. This GE13 will definitely be the most expensive elections ever because the waves of Peoples Power is now too strong for their existing low funds.

Angela Ooi
Guest
Angela Ooi

Another creative way to rob the country. This is the reason I will give my vote to anyone other than BN. And even if LGE did nothing during his term of service in Penang, at least the state would not be indulging in sweetheart deals and other dubious projects at hugely inflated prices just so BN can continue to fuel their gravy train.

Gerakan K
Guest
Gerakan K

No need to worry about this privatisation. 1Malaysia PM Najib will take care for all of us. Expect some improvement for streamyx broadband after privatisation of TM.

Morning Dew
Guest
Morning Dew

Gerakan K, we have already seen your spots-lah. Susah nak cari makan lagi di sini.

Gerakan K
Guest
Gerakan K

What do you mean of “cari makan”?

karma
Guest
karma

The people have to pay more, the service as bad as it is, some cronies will enrich themselves. Why not privatise the no-money making agencies by having better people to manage but retain the cash cows? No, the system does not allows this. The failed policies have failed the systems. At the end of the day even the privatised agencies will be bailed out giving reasons to do so. As it is many privatised companies under Khazanah are not making it.