The recent sale of 90 million Plus Expressway shares by Malaysia’s state pension fund Khazanah Nasional could signal moves by the government to accelerate the reduction of its big holdings in government linked companies (GLCs), analysts say.
Coincidental or not, Khazanah’s sale of about 90 million Plus shares in the last week of November — around the time Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak visited New York to pitch Malaysia to investment funds — has raised expectations the government is finally committed to paring its stakes to inject more liquidity into the stock market and to give the private sector more room to manoeuvre.
Hmm. Now, I’m no economic expert, but I suspect there’s more than one angle to this.
Perhaps this will indeed boost the stock market, increase things with fancy names like ‘trading velocity’ and so on, but: we are talking about public goods here.
Highway concessions in Malaysia are notorious for being overpriced, crony laden institutions that make fat profits off the rakyat.
If I’m not mistaken, the DAP recently did a costing that suggested the government can buy over PLUS, and then after less than 10 years, abolish tolls completely along the PLUS highways. (Maintenance? Road tax)
Now that’s what I call rakyat-centric. Why should we be paying forever for something that has been paid for in full?
This brings to mind the water issue and other privatisations. I am sympathetic to minimal government intervention on some big theory level, but in the Malaysian context, I think way too much money goes to crony capitalists at the expense of the man in the street.
It just seems wrong to let rich people profiteer in a way that burdens the rest of Malaysia considerably (man, the amount of toll I’ve paid in my lifetime…).
Again though, I’m not Mr. Economy. What do you think about all this? Experts?