Khazanah's directors resign en masse after Mahathir's criticism

Khazanah's directors resign en masse after Mahathir's criticism

KUALA LUMPUR: All nine board members, including managing director Azman Mokhtar, of Malaysia's US$39 billion sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional have resigned in response to criticism from Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.

Khazanah confirmed the resignations in a statement on Thursday (Jul 26), saying that the move will "facilitate a smooth and orderly transition under the new government". 

"The current board has been honoured to serve, and feels it appropriate to offer the new government the discretion and reaffirm the prerogative to form the new board," Khazanah said. 

"We will issue a further statement once we have further details of the reconstitution of the board," it added. 

Local media reports have said that the resignations were in response to Dr Mahathir's criticism of the management of government-linked companies (GLCs).

READ: Days of government-linked company executives getting fat salaries are over, says Mahathir

In an interview with Hong Kong-based news portal Investine published earlier this month, Dr Mahathir was quoted as saying that the top executives of GLCs earn high salaries regardless of their companies' performance.

"The GLCs inevitably lose money, but the salaries of these people (are) very high and they enjoy all this without bothering whether the company makes a profit or not," he said.

Dr Mahathir also criticised Khazanah for "forgetting entirely about holding shares for Bumiputeras". 

READ: Central bank, Khazanah funds used for 1MDB payments

Malaysia's former prime minister Najib Razak resigned as chairman of Khazanah in May after his Barisan Nasional coalition lost in the general election to the Mahathir-led Pakatan Harapan coalition.

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng has said that funds from Khazanah were used by the previous government to meet some liabilities of the scandal-plagued state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

Khazanah's current board of directors consists of nine members, including Najib's brother Nazir Razak. 

Source: Agencies/na(cy)