Frankly Speaking: Khazanah Nasional 2.0

This article first appeared in The Edge Malaysia Weekly, on July 30, 2018 - August 05, 2018.
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The offer to resign by the entire board of directors at Khazanah Nasional Bhd, which was duly accepted by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, has ended weeks of speculation about what will happen at the country’s sovereign wealth fund.

With realisable assets worth almost RM160 billion, including controlling stakes in local giants like CIMB Holdings Bhd, IHH Healthcare Bhd, Tenaga Nasional Bhd and Axiata Bhd, Khazanah needs to be in good hands.

Despite its successes over the past 15 years, there are obviously some aspects of Khazanah’s set-up that Mahathir is not happy about. Going by his recent statements, these include the company’s executive compensation model and its investment objectives.

One can debate the merits and demerits of how Khazanah has been managed, and there will always be two sides to it. But the fact remains that the PM decides who runs Khazanah and the direction it should take.

Offering their resignations was the right thing for the outgoing board to do and they should be lauded for that. We hope the new board will be appointed quickly and that some old members are retained for the sake of continuity.

The new mandate should also be crystallised as soon as possible so that all stakeholders of Khazanah will know what the new government wants them to do.

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