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Hilmi Yahaya should be promoted from Parliamentary Secretary to Deputy Finance Minister as he had single-handedly handled the Finance Ministry portolio in Parliament in the past 15 months with little help from the two Finance Ministers and totally no help from the two Deputy Finance Ministers
Media Conference Statement (2)
(Petaling Jaya, Friday): Datuk Hilmi Yahaya should be promoted from Parliamentary Secretary to Deputy Finance Minister as he had single-handedly handled the Finance Ministry portolio in Parliament in the past 15 months with little help from the two Finance Ministers and totally no help from the two Deputy Finance Ministers.
The Finance Minister is the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi who now heads four Ministries – Prime Minister’s Department, Finance, Internal Security and now Federal Territories Ministry with the Minister Tan Sri Mohamed Isa Samad on indefinite leave until the outcome of his appeal in UMNO against his six-year suspension as UMNO member for money politics and corruption. Furthermore, Abdullah also heads 24 Cabinet task forces and committees.
The second Finance Minister, Tan Sri Nor Mohamed bin Yakcop is a Senator who rarely makes an appearance in the Dewan Rakyat.
The two Deputy Finance Ministers (the majority will be stressed to remember their names) don’t make any contribution at all in parliamentary proceedings, forcing Hilmi to single-handedly shoulder the weight of the Finance Ministry portfolio in Parliament, fielding questions and replying to debates on matters affecting his Ministry. All these circumstances have made Hilmi the most hard-working parliamentary secretary in Parliament, which itself warrants his promotion as Deputy Finance Minister.
On Wednesday, during question time, I had asked Hilmi a supplementary question on GLCs (Government-linked companies), and he said he did not have the answer at the time but would give me a written reply. More than 48 hours have passed and I have not yet received Hilmi’s written answer.
The Minister for the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz, who is responsible for Parliament, should ensure that Ministers, Deputy Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries are required to honour within 24 hours or at most 48 hours their undertaking to give written explanations or replies to queries posed by MPs whether during question time or debates.
In my supplementary question to Hilmi on the GLCs, I had asked for a report card on the one-year revamp of GLCs since May last year. I had referred to a CIMB Bhd study that found GLCs to be less productive users of capital, more geared and lagging significant in terms of total shareholders’ returns.
The study showed GLCs posting an 11.3% ROE (return on equity) against 13.7% for non-GLCs. They were also less productive, with a profit per employee of RM109,000, against RM127,000 for non-GLCs. In terms of gearing, GLCs had an average debt-to-equity ratio of 60%, versus 35% for GLCs.
GLCs, the report said, forged ahead only on size. From the list of Top 100 companies, 22% were GLCs contributing a disproportionate 44% of market capital.
The general view therefore is that GLCs make the most noise, occupy the grandest buildings and employ the most number of workers, yet by every other measure fall woefully short of the expectation of their biggest shareholder, the Government.
I also asked Hilmi about the poor performance of the high-profile GLCs in the past year despite the revamp with new CEOs whose total take-home pay could exceed RM100,000 a month, like Telekom Malaysia Bhd (TM) with its host of problems from Streamyx broad connection, Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB) with frequent power outages like the recent blackout in the Golden Triangle in Kuala Lumpur or Proton Holdings Bhd. with the recent complaint by its chief executive officer that the national car project had been sabotaged by the government’s automotive policy.
If I still do not get any written answer by Hilmi, I will ask for a ruling by the Speaker next week that all undertakings by Ministers, Deputy Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries to give written answers or explanations during question time or debates should be complied within 24 hours or latest 48 hours.