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  • Writer's pictureFree Malaysia Today

Wong Chen moots IPO for Petronas

By Ainin Wan Salleh, Free Malaysia Today (14 February 2023) KUALA LUMPUR: Wong Chen (PH-Subang) has proposed that the government conduct a feasibility study for an initial public offering (IPO) for Petronas. He said the listing of Petronas on Bursa Malaysia would provide a massive cash injection to pare down the national debt, ensure more financial transparency and better governance for the oil and gas company, as well as improve overall fiscal revenue for the government. “I believe that if Petronas is managed in accordance with high international governance standards, its profits of about RM60 billion a year, on average, can reach RM100 billion per year,” he said during a debate on the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s address in the Dewan Rakyat. Wong Chen said the increase in profits would help bring down the nation’s debt to about 30% of the gross domestic product (GDP) in 10 to 15 years, a “controllable” level. “With a public listing of 20% of Petronas’ shares, we can raise RM300 billion and gain an extra RM60 billion in revenue every year,” he said. He said a detailed study should be done immediately, before factors such as climate change begin to affect Petronas’ asset valuation.

“We should follow in the brilliant footsteps taken by Saudi Arabia through the (Saudi) Aramco listing back in 2019,” he said.

The Saudi Arabian national petroleum and natural gas company, billed as the largest oil producing company in the world, officially listed on the Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul) on Dec 11, 2019.

Public declaration of assets

Meanwhile, Wong Chen also said CEOs of government-linked companies (GLCs) and government-linked investment companies (GLICs) should publicly declare their assets to improve transparency.

He was responding to Wan Ahmad Fayhsal Wan Ahmad Kamal (PN-Machang) who suggested that the requirement for MPs to publicly declare their assets should also be extended to CEOs of GLCs.

The Bersatu Youth chief claimed that Malaysia not only had crony capitalism but also an “overcrowding” of GLCs in the private sector.

“Our GLC CEOs are better paid than MPs but there is no oversight on them,” he said.

In response, Wong Chen said CEOs of GLCs and GLICs would be paid according to commercial rates, but he agreed on the need for transparency.



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