On 12 August 2021, the Prime Minister of Malaysia1 launched the Perkukuh Pelaburan Rakyat (‘PERKUKUH') programme, to re-state the role and renew the capabilities of Malaysia's Government Linked Investment Companies (severally a ‘GLIC' and collectively ‘GLICs').
PERKUKUH seeks to achieve five key outcomes, namely:
- Sharpened clarity on the mandate of each GLIC;
- Enhanced focus on developmental and catalytical investments to spur new growth and enhanced socio-economic impact;
- Crowd-in the private sector while streamlining the role of the government and its agencies in business;
- Future-proof GLICs with best-in-class governance, capabilities and strategies; and
- Strengthen social safeguards and fiscal resilience.
PERKUKUH comprises 20 key initiatives which are to be implemented on a ‘multi-wave' basis through to 2024. The implementation of PERKUKUH will span a wide network of stakeholders such as the Securities Commission Malaysia, which will spearhead the “sustainable investment standard” initiative together with Bank Negara Malaysia. Furthermore, the Economic Stimulus Implementation & Coordination Unit Between National Agencies (LAKSANA), an agency under the Ministry of Finance, will act as the Programme Management Office in driving these initiatives under PERKUKUH, together with the GLICs.
A New Growth Coordination Council, to be chaired by the Prime Minister, will be established to ensure alignment of PERKUKUH with key policy measures such as MyDigital, the 12th Malaysia Plan and Shared Prosperity Vision 2030.
Categorising of GLICs
Under PERKUKUH, GLICs will be sub-divided into two categories, namely Sovereign Wealth Funds (“SWFs”) and Institutional Investors (‘Institutional Investors').
The SWFs will include entities such as Khazanah Nasional Berhad, Kumpulan Wang Persaraan (Diperbadankan), Kumpulan Wang Amanah Negara and Minister of Finance (Incorporated).
On other hand, the Institutional Investors will include entities such as the Employees Provident Fund, Permodalan Nasional Berhad, Lembaga Tabung Haji and Lembaga Tabung Angkatan Tentera.
The Prime Minister explained that the basis of categorisation recognises the different mandates, funding structures and risk profiles of various GLICs to better reflect their particular mandates, strategies and asset liability management.
For SWFs, there will be a re-balancing of focus between financial returns and socio-economic deliverables under PERKUKUH. A key priority will be on patient capital investing in a more strategic and targeted way into new growth areas.
On the other hand, Institutional Investors will retain their mandate of maximising returns of contributors, while playing a synergistic role in contributing to national development. This will include a more cohesive and scaled-up approach to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and supporting national priorities such as Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) and green financing.
The categorisation of GLICs into two categories will assist each GLIC to have a clear focus on its role and to maximise the impact in its portfolios and areas of expertise.
Pooling of management and private sector involvement
PERKUKUH will also seek to optimise the operations of the relevant SWFs and Institutional Investors where the management of certain asset classes are to be pooled to achieve economies of scale and improved returns.
Crowding-in of private sector investments will be encouraged under PERKUKUH. To crowd-in private investments, PERKUKUH will streamline the relationship between the Government and businesses, through among others, the review of golden shares in investee companies, re-defining previous strategic sectors, and determining new areas of national interest.
PERKUKUH seeks to future-proof GLICs with best-in-class governance, capabilities and strategies. Governance practices will be made more robust, such as in leadership appointments, where several guiding principles will be collectively introduced to address common issues such as conflict of interests and accountability. An early initiative to be implemented is the ‘GLIC/GLC 2.0 governance standard'.
PERKUKUH will also enhance the role of GLICs in the socio-economic sphere and social protection and scale-up efforts in new areas such as human capital development, financial literacy and Bumiputera empowerment.
PERKUKUH is the first major review of Government Linked Companies since the Government embarked on the highly successful Government Linked Companies Transformation Programme in 2004 that resulted in a threefold increase in the market capitalisation of the participating entities over a 10-year period. Thus, the launch of PERKUKUH is timely and will assist the GLICs involved to re-focus their strategies and resources on their raison d'etre.
However, one shortcoming is the lack of details given at the launch of PERKUKUH on various important aspects of PERKUKUH. For example, no details are provided of the 20 initiatives under PERKUKUH or what the re-defined strategic sectors and the new areas of national interest will be.
It also remains to be seen whether the PERKUKUH programme will continue in the same vein after the imminent change of the Malaysian Government.
1 YAB Tan Sri Dato' Haji Muhyiddin Bin Haji Mohd. Yassin, who as at the date of this article is currently serving as the caretaker Prime Minister until the appointment of a new Prime Minister of Malaysia.
Originally Published 17 August 2021
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