Malaysia's GLC Transformation Programme in the Context of the Bumiputera Policy

Author Name KUMAGAI Satoru (IDE-JETRO)
Creation Date/NO. August 2017 17-J-055
Research Project Comprehensive Research on the Current International Trade/Investment System (pt.III)
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This paper tries to understand the reason why government-linked corporations (GLCs) have been chosen as a method to achieve the 30% Bumiputera equity target set by the New Economic Policy (NEP), from the viewpoint of corporate governance. The Malaysian government has clearly stated that it will protect the Bumputera Affirmative Action during the negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) and actually succeeded to make the Bumiputera policy exempted from the final agreement. To understand the behavior of the Malaysian government in the trade negotiation, we need to understand the history and the backdrop of the Bumiputera policy, which is stated in the Federal Constitution of Malaysia. We also need to consider that the GLCs are the solution to the various management issues that the government actually faced in the past. A kind of "soft budget constraint" for the public enterprises is inevitable under the Bumiputera policy, and the current form of GLCs, where capital is held by the government while managed by professionals, is a solution. Thus, space for compromising in the fields related to the Bumiputera policy and GLC for the Malaysian government are both very much limited in future trade negotiations.