The Borneo Post picture
Recent revelations have highlighted significant concerns regarding the operations of Sarawak's government-linked companies (GLCs). Allegations of corruption and misuse of funds have come to light, underscoring the need for thorough investigations and potential reforms.

The Allegations
Several instances have been reported where senior executives within these GLCs have been involved in corrupt activities. For instance, a senior executive was recently remanded by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) over a corruption case involving RM500,000 linked to a tender worth RM70 million​ (The Borneo Post)​. Additionally, reports have surfaced suggesting that some subsidiary companies of GLCs were created without clear missions or trading activities, serving primarily to provide non-existent jobs to family members of influential individuals​ (Sarawak Report)​​ (Sarawak Government)​.

The Need for Maturity
GLCs in Sarawak have received substantial financial support from the state government over the years. This support was intended to foster growth and stability, enabling these companies to contribute meaningfully to the local economy. However, it is now time for these entities to demonstrate financial independence and operational maturity. The continuous reliance on government funds is not sustainable and undermines the principle of accountability and efficient resource management.

The Call for Investigation
If the allegations are true, it is imperative to conduct comprehensive investigations to uncover and address any malpractices. The misuse of GLCs for personal gain not only tarnishes the reputation of these entities but also hinders economic development and public trust. Proper oversight and stringent measures must be implemented to ensure that GLCs operate transparently and contribute effectively to the state's economy.

Moving Forward
Addressing these issues requires a multi-faceted approach:

Strengthening Regulatory Frameworks: Implement robust policies to ensure transparency and accountability within GLCs.
Independent Audits: Conduct regular and independent audits to monitor financial and operational activities.
Legal Action: Pursue legal action against individuals involved in corrupt practices to deter future misconduct.
The time has come for Sarawak's GLCs to stand on their own and operate with integrity and accountability. Ensuring these companies are free from corruption and nepotism will be crucial for their long-term success and the overall economic health of the state.

Sarawak Government Reposition Itself

In a significant move towards financial independence, the Sarawak government has announced that it will cease capital outlays for certain government-linked companies (GLCs) starting from 2027. This initiative will begin with the Sarawak Economic Development Corporation (SEDC) and Bintulu Development Authority (BDA), as disclosed by Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg.

Transition to Self-Reliance
Premier Abang Johari emphasized that these GLCs must now seek their own funding sources, akin to private enterprises. He stated, "I have given instructions for the first two GLCs, namely SEDC and BDA, that by 2027 the government will no longer be giving funds to them. They are on their own." This means these entities will need to secure capital, increase their investments, and explore profitable business ventures independently. Furthermore, these GLCs will be expected to return dividends to the government.

Lean Management and Efficient Resource Use
This strategic shift aligns with Sarawak's broader efforts to adopt lean management practices aimed at sustainable and profitable efficiencies. The Premier highlighted that funds saved from this initiative would be redirected towards upgrading essential infrastructure, such as schools and clinics, thus benefiting the public and strengthening the state’s financial position.

Addressing Allegations of Mismanagement
This move also comes amidst allegations of corruption and mismanagement within some GLCs. There have been reports of subsidiary companies created without clear missions or trading activities, allegedly to provide fictitious jobs to family members of influential individuals​ (Sarawak Government)​. If these allegations hold true, it is crucial to conduct thorough investigations and halt such practices immediately. Ensuring transparency and accountability within GLCs is vital for maintaining public trust and ensuring the effective use of state resources.

Potential for Income Generation
Abang Johari pointed out that SEDC and BDA have significant potential to generate their own income. For instance, SEDC's involvement in methanol production and BDA’s investment opportunities in Samalaju position them well for financial self-sufficiency. He added that while these entities will no longer receive direct funding, the government will provide guidance to help them navigate this transition.

The Sarawak government's decision to end financial support for SEDC and BDA marks a pivotal step towards fostering a culture of self-reliance and accountability among GLCs. This move is expected to curb financial leakages, optimize resource use, and ultimately enhance the state’s economic resilience. As Sarawak moves forward, it is crucial to ensure that all GLCs operate with the highest standards of integrity and efficiency, thereby contributing positively to the state’s development.

Source: The Borneo Post