Perkasa wants Ekuinas to guard Bumi shares

By Adib Zalkapli, The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 9 — Perkasa president Datuk Ibrahim Ali suggested today that Ekuiti Nasional Berhad (Ekuinas) buy the shares of five soon-to-be-listed Bumiputera companies, as a way to keep the firms in the community’s hands.

The Independent Pasir Mas MP also hoped that the new unit to promote Bumiputera economic participation, Teraju, would also look into assisting small Bumiputera companies.

“Yes, out of RM52 billion Bumiputera shares, now there is only RM2 billion (still accounted for); I am also upset, but there is Ekuinas now.

“The government can ensure that those shares can only be sold to Ekuinas,” Ibrahim told reporters here today.

The former deputy minister said such intervention would match the criteria for affirmative action that Perkasa has been fighting for.

“This is what we call affirmative action or guided economy,” said Ibrahim.

The setting up of Ekuinas was made as part of the government’s efforts in liberalising the economy by cutting the 30 per cent Bumiputra equity quota and trimming the role of the Foreign Investments Committee (FIC).

The government had provided Ekuinas with an initial fund of RM500 million, which is expected to eventually grow to RM10 billion to hold equity in companies in Malaysia.

Putrajaya also operates sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional Berhad, mutual funds such as Permodalan Nasional Berhad (PNB), pension funds Employees Provident Fund (EPF) and Kumpulan Wang Persaraan (KWAP) that are active in the local bourse although their shareholdings are not considered Bumiputera stakes.

When launching Teraju yesterday, Najib had said the unit will lead, co-ordinate and drive Bumiputera economic participation through new and existing initiatives, propose institutional reform to increase effectiveness and act as the secretariat for the Bumiputera Agenda Supreme Council (MTAB) that oversees Bumiputera economic development.

Najib had previously promised that reforms to the economy would still see to the needs and interests of the Bumiputera community, which comprises of the majority Malay population as well as indigenous people such as the Orang Asli.