The Najib administration and its supporters defended the proposal by Perbadanan Permodalan Nasional Berhad to build a 100-storey skyscraper earlier by stating it was a private company’s initiative.[1] And so, the government should not be blamed for the proposal. I seriously doubt PNB was a private company but perhaps, it is a matter of definition.

This week, the Deputy Prime Minister said something that convinced me that it is not a matter of definition. As in politics, it is a matter of convenience and dishonesty.

What did the DPM say?

He was commenting on an issue completely different from the tower. It was about wages of GLCs in the plantation sector.

He believed plantation workers at government-linked companies should received higher wage since commodity prices are at good levels. Bernama reported that he said that the Cabinet agreed to review the wages for these workers.[2] The government will meet these GLCs to discuss the issue.

This raised a flag in my mind. Which plantation companies are government-linked?

At least one name comes to mind: Sime Darby. Sime Darby is linked to PNB, the same entity that some people, including the DPM, argued that PNB is a private entity.

Then again, it could be Felda that is both a GLC and not involved in the tower, hence I could be wrong. In the report, no name was mentioned. So, I decided to give the issue the benefit of the doubt.

That was, until I saw a television news report in which the DPM actually mentioned companies linked to PNB. So much for PNB-and-its-private-initiative-100-storey-skyscraper line.

The Najib administration and its supporters defended the proposal by Perbadanan Nasional Berhad to build a 100-storey skyscraper earlier by stating it was a private company’s initiative. And so, the government should not be blamed for the proposal. I seriously doubt PNB was a private company but perhaps, it is a matter of definition.

This week, the Deputy Prime Minister said something that convinced me that it is not a matter of definition. As in politics, it is a matter of convenience and dishonesty.

What did the DPM say?

He was making a statement on a completely different issue. Nevertheless, it reveals the kind of honesty that the argument used to defend the tower lacks.

The DPM believed plantation workers at government-linked companies should received higher wage since commodity prices are at good levels. Bernama reported that he said that the Cabinet agreed to review the wages for these workers. The government will meet these GLCs to discuss the issue.

This raised a flag in my mind. Which plantation companies are government-linked?

At least one name comes to mind: Sime Darby. Sime Darby is linked to PNB, the same entity that some people, including the DPM, who argued that PNB is a private entity.

Then again, it could be Felda, and I could be wrong. In the report, no name was mentioned. As such, I decided to maintain give the issue the benefit of the doubt.

That was, until I saw a television news report in which the DPM actually mentioned companies linked to PNB. So much for PNB-and-its-private-initiative-100-storey-skyscraper line.

To me, these people think that PNB is a private company in some circumstances, and a GLC in another, based on convenience. I call that downright dishonest.

Mohd Hafiz Noor Shams. Some rights reserved Mohd Hafiz Noor Shams. Some rights reserved Mohd Hafiz Noor Shams. Some rights reserved

[1] — KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 1 — Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin today said public opposition towards the proposed 100-storey Warisan Merdeka was due to a lack of clear explanations for the RM5 billion project, which he stressed was a private venture despite belief it was a government effort.

When asked about the concerted protest against the project on social media outlets, personified by the ”1M Malaysians Reject 100-storey Mega Tower” Facebook page, the deputy prime minister reiterated that the undertaking would not be government funded.

He also highlighted that the project will be solely borne by PNB Merdeka Ventures, which is a wholly-owned unit set up by Permodalan Nasional Berhad (PNB) to undertake the RM5 billion skyscraper project on land it bought from Pengurusan Danaharta Nasional Berhad in 2000. [Warisan Merdeka misunderstood, DPM says. Melissa Chi. The Malaysian Insider. November 1 2010]

[2] — PUSA (Sarawak): The federal government will hold discussions with the plantation-based government-linked companies (GLCs) to review the wages of their workers, especially since the prices of palm oil were ”good”, said the Deputy Prime Minister.

Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said on Friday, Feb 18 the review of the wages was agreed to at the Cabinet meeting last week and it would be expedited. [Muhyiddin: Federal govt to meet plantation-based GLCs over workers wages. Bernama via The Edge. February 18 2010]

3 Responses to “[2320] Not so private initiative now”

  1. on 19 Feb 2011 at 18:39 Bobby

    http://bkho.blogspot.com/2011/02/parliament-passes-malaysians-with-no. html

  2. on 21 Feb 2011 at 09:32 hishamh

    Permodalan Nasional Berhad (PNB) is quite distinct from Perbadanan Nasional Berhad (Pernas). In any case the DPM overstates the case (with reference to wages) – while Sime Darby is majority owned by PNB, they’ve never been terribly impressed with that particular fact. So I wouldn’t subscribe too much to the government’s (and PNB’s) influence here.

    Felda of course is another matter entirely.

  3. on 21 Feb 2011 at 12:16 Hafiz Noor Shams

    Yeah, I meant Permodalan.

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