KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 10 -- The disposals of assets by Khazanah Nasional Bhd under the Pakatan Harapan government is not something to be loathed at as it is a normal business practice that had taken place during the previous administration.
Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali said in fact, Khazanah divested 84 assets from 2009 to April 2018 under former prime minister Najib Tun Razak's administration.
He said the prime minister then, who was the Pekan Member of Parliament, disposed of eight assets in 2009, 2010 (seven assets), 2011 (eight assets), 2012 (10 assets), 2013 (six assets), 2014 (six assets), 2015 (10 assets), 2016 (13 assets), 2017 (12 assets), and in the first four months of 2018 (four assets).
"The total number of assets that Pekan had divested were 84. So, for what reason Pekan had to oppose the new government's decision (in asset disposals) to ensure that we get better returns?" he said during the question and answer session at the Dewan Rakyat, here today.
Mohamed Azmin was responding to a question from Datuk Seri Ahmad Hamzah (BN-Jasin) who wanted to know the government's justification for selling Khazanah’s assets as the market declined.
The disposal initiative is not unusual for any national or international strategic investment company, Azmin Mohamed said, adding that besides offsetting the depreciation of the assets, the proceeds from the asset disposals were used to pay off debts arising from Khazanah's non-strategic investments which added no value and good returns to the fund.
"These losses actually occurred under the previous administration but the depreciation was not accounted for in the financial statements, as there was no transparency in financial management at the time.
"That's why when the new government takes over, we take into account the depreciation of the assets under the previous administration, hence, we discovered that the losses had ballooned to RM6.3 billion," he said.
Mohamed Azmin said Khazanah also used the proceeds from the disposals of its assets to make new investments and never used them to pay off government debts.