Mahathir: Some Malaysian state-owned entities may be listed

Some analysts have speculated the Malaysian government could list a small portion of its stake in state energy firm Petronas to generate revenue. (Reuters)
Updated 19 March 2019
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Mahathir: Some Malaysian state-owned entities may be listed

  • Malaysia is saddled with debt and liabilities of more than 1 trillion ringgit ($245.52 billion)
  • A government panel to cut debt is looking at strategies

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia may list certain state-owned entities to cut government debt and liabilities, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said on Tuesday as it seeks new revenue sources to boost its fiscal position.
Mahathir, elected in a stunning upset last year, has blamed the previous administration of Najib Razak for saddling Malaysia with debt and liabilities of more than 1 trillion ringgit ($245.52 billion).
A government panel to cut debt is looking at strategies, such as “identification of opportunities on potential asset monetization, which means mature unlisted government entities may be listed in the stock market,” he said.
State-linked companies could also pare equity stakes, he told a conference of investors in Kuala Lumpur.
“The key guiding principles for monetising any of our assets is that the disposal or monetization must never be done at fire-sale prices, and any disposal of shares, monetization of assets, auctions or other measures will be done in an orderly manner.”
He did not identify specific companies or fix a timeframe for the plan, however.
Sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional announced a new strategy this month, saying it was gearing up to be a “long-term real return provider” to the government through its commercial investments.
Last month Reuters reported, citing sources, that Khazanah’s new strategy aimed at delivering more cash to the government by pruning stakes in non-strategic assets.
Some analysts have also speculated the government could list a small portion of its stake in state energy firm Petronas to generate revenue.
Petronas is the sole manager of Malaysia’s oil and gas reserves. Although some of its subsidiaries are listed on the national stock exchange, Petronas is fully owned by the government.
Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said last year the government had no immediate plans to sell stakes in state-owned companies, but did not rule out the possibility in the future.
Lim and Mahathir have blamed corruption scandals in the previous administration for Malaysia’s large debts. The fiscal situation was also hurt after the new government scrapped an unpopular consumption tax, in line with a campaign promise.
Former premier Najib has been slapped with dozens of corruption charges since his defeat in May 2018, many related to alleged money laundering at state fund 1MDB.
He has pleaded not guilty and has consistently denied any wrongdoing.


Turkey says trying to convince US to allow Iranian oil imports

Updated 47 min 35 sec ago
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Turkey says trying to convince US to allow Iranian oil imports

  • US demanded that Iranian oil buyers stop purchases by May 1 or face sanctions
  • The decision was more stringent than expected, and caught several key importers to plead with the US

ANKARA: Turkey is trying to convince the United States to allow refiner Tupras, its biggest oil importer, to continue buying crude oil from Iran free of sanctions, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said on Friday.
Washington on Monday said it will not renew exemptions granted last year to buyers of Iranian oil, including Turkey, and it demanded that buyers stop purchases by May 1 or face sanctions.
The decision was more stringent than expected, and caught several key importers who have been pleading with Washington to continue buying Iranian oil sanctions-free.