Minister of Finance Incorporated: Ownership and Control of Corporate Malaysia

Authors: Terence Gomez with Thirshalar Padmanabhan, Norfaryanti Kamaruddin, Sunil Bhalla and Fikri Fisal
New Pb286 pp.
Subjects: Law & Business, Malaysia
Condition: Good
Publisher: SIRD
Published: 2017
ISBN: 9789670960807
Price: RM45.00

This is a study of Malaysia’s new political economy, with a focus on ownership and control of the corporate sector. It offers a pioneering assessment of government-linked investment companies (GLICs), a type of state-owned institution that has long prevailed in the corporate sector but has not been analysed. Malaysia’s history of government-business ties is unique, while the nature of the nexuses between the state and the corporate sector has undergone major transitions. Corporate power has shifted from the hands of foreign firms to the state to the ruling party, and well-connected businessmen, and back to the state. Corporate wealth is now heavily situated in the leading publicly-listed government-linked companies (GLCs), controlled through block shareholdings by a mere seven GLICs under the jurisdiction of the Minister of Finance. To indicate why these GLICs are important actors in Corporate Malaysia, this study provides a deep assessment of their ownership and control of Bursa Malaysia’s top 100 publicly-listed enterprises.

‘By focusing on GLICs, Minister of Finance Incorporated ignites new debates around the role of the government in the Malaysian economy. Through excellent academic research, novel insights are provided about the old question of ownership and control of Corporate Malaysia. Terence Gomez, and his team, further the research on government-business ties, enhancing our knowledge of GLICs by mapping out their corporate influence. This highly thought-provoking book offers timely and considered analysis of the concentration of power in the office of the Minister of Finance.’

 Elsa Lafaye de Micheaux

Centre for Southeast Asian Studies (Paris), Rennes 2 University

 ‘Minister of Finance Incorporated is an authoritative and meticulous account of changes in ownership and control of Malaysian corporations. The study traces the receding role of politicians in publicly-listed companies and the remarkable concentration of economic power in the office of the Prime Minister, the Ministry of Finance and its holding company, MoF Inc., along with six other GLICs. Minister of Finance Incorporated’s scrupulously empirical X-ray of Corporate Malaysia is presented in a lucid, well-organized and fluent manner.’

Jan Nederveen Pieterse

University of California, Santa Barbara

Posted in Books, Economics, Politics

The Development of Malaysian Capitalism

Author: Elsa Lafaye de Micheaux
New Pb425 pp.
Subjects: History & Biography, Economics, Malaysia
Condition: Good
Publisher: SIRD
Published: 2017
ISBN: 9789670960555
Price: RM65.00

As Malaysia grappled with bitter ethnic and political tensions at the end of the 1960s, the government initiated growth-oriented economic reforms to promote cohesion in the young, multi-ethnic nation. The large scale and lasting effects of these policies forged the countries’ exceptional economic development: by 2020, Malaysia will likely enter the club of ‘high-income’ countries.

This volume comprehensively surveys Malaysia’s political economy, mapping the intersecting forces that inform it: economic growth, broader Asian development, the weight of colonial institutions, the influence of Islamic finance, and the sometimes ambiguous role of the state. It offers a discerning overview of Malaysian capitalism through readings of its history since 1874 – from the colonial economy through modernisation and accelerated development, up to its recent passage in global crises. The author details the causes and conditions of Malaysia’s economic success; the result is a compelling portrait of a young capitalist nation sitting at both the geographic centre of Southeast Asia and at the crossroads of sovereign development.
Posted in Economics, History, Politics

Malaysia in Troubled Times

Author: Shankaran Nambiar
Format: Paperback 117 pp.
Subject: Economics, Malaysia
Publisher: SIRD
Published: 2016
Price: RM25.00

The recent past has been tumultuous for Malaysia. Malaysia has been rocked by economic uncertainties, political turmoil and allegations of financial scandals. The economy has had to face domestically generated shocks and well as those emanating from external sources. Regional developments have been fast-paced, too. ASEAN has acquired greater significance, and there has been a convergence of interest in the area. The US, China and India have directed increased interest in the region, demanding appropriate policy responses from Malaysia. At a micro level, issues such as education and health have generated controversy and they could turn out to be problematic if not handled carefully. These issues, if ignored, could adversely affect Malaysia’s economic development. If addressed correctly, Malaysia will move up the ladder of development. The present collection of essays attempts to capture the challenges that Malaysia faces. This book is essential reading for anyone interested in Malaysia’s growth and development.

Posted in Books, Economics

Anything but the Law: Essays on Politics and Economics

Author: Tommy Thomas
Format: Paperback 340 pp.
Subjects: Economics, Malaysia, Politics
ISBN: 9789670960074
Publisher: SIRD
Published: 2016
Price: RM50
“With legal acumen and moral vision, Tommy Thomas presents a compelling narrative for a version of statehood that is inclusive and accountable …  
 Thomas offers a riveting chronicle and judicious analysis of two contentious political issues – the bifurcation of Islamic state vs secularism and the social contract …
 The author laments that his foray into economics is with much trepidation; but he seems to be an advertent economist in his essays on unbridled US market capitalism and financial crisis. This might turn him into a ‘public enemy’ of the ‘robber barons’ …
 The book is the erudition of a public intellectual, who passionately argues for a just and equitable society.”
Anwar Ibrahim
Former Deputy Prime Minister & Former Leader of the Opposition
“It is an intellectual joy to read in print, Tommy Thomas’s distinctive and irrepressible wit as he takes on a myriad of issues that have affected our beloved country … Readers would be awakened to the horrific realization that what Malaysia is today has, in more ways than one, sharply deviated from the visions of our founding fathers. Hopefully this will wake them up to rescue our country from spiralling downwards to despair.”
Lim Guan Eng
Chief Minister of Penang
“A fine collection of essays on political and constitutional affairs by one of the sharpest legal minds in Malaysia. A must read for anyone who wants to have a better understanding of the issues facing us as a nation and people.”
Ho Kay Tat
Malaysian Insider & Edge
Posted in Economics, Politics

Malay Ideas on Development: From Feudal Lord to Capitalist

Author: Shaharuddin Maaruf
Format: Paperback, 204 pages
Subjects: Economics, Social Studies
ISBN: 9789670630281
Publisher: SIRD
Published: 2014
Price: RM30.00

“…Formally speaking, the New Economy Policy had been replaced by the New Economic Order, which had been promulgated in the name of liberalism. Thus it may seem that the issues and concerns addressed by the book had been rendered irrelevant by the shift in policy. Against such proposition, I must say that my book addresses itself to the question of ideas, principles and weltanschaaung beyond mere policies and formality. It is therefore too early in the day to conclude that the new liberalism has definitively replaced the New Economic Policy (NEP) as an era and ethos, throwing into question the relevance of this book. It may well turn out to be that the issues and concerns of the book transcend superficial policy changes in a more fundamental way.”

– Shaharuddin Maaruf
University of Malaya

“The sweep through the history of Malay political ideas which is to be encountered in Malay Ideas on Development from Feudal Lord to Capitalist – a sweep achieved with analytic skill and clarity – will stimulate new readers to seek more detailed examination of one targeted writer or another. Creating such desire is an indication of the book’s effectiveness. Juxtaposing one thinker with another, setting modern debate in the context of traditional political thought, proposing categories or streams of political thinking – ‘capitalistic nationalism’, ‘traditionalistic nationalism’ and so forth – is the best possible way of promoting a greater interest in the history of Malay political thinking, and not just as an academic enterprise. Shaharuddin Maaruf is one of a small handful of scholarly pioneers whose work has the capacity to enrich the quality of political debate in Malaysia.”

-Anthony Milner
Basham Professor for Asian History,
Australian National University

Posted in Economics, English Books, History, Social Studies

MALAYSIA@50: Economic Development, Distribution, Disparities

Authors: Jomo Kwame Sundaram and Wee Chong Hui
Format: Paperback, 198 pages
Subject: Economics
ISBN: 9789675832963
Publisher: SIRD
Published: 2013
Price: RM40.00

Malaysia has grown and changed a great deal since it was formed on 16 September 1963. It was then seen as an unlikely nation hastily put together as a federation of British controlled territories in the region. Brunei’s refusal to join at the eleventh hour and Singapore’s secession before its second birthday only seemed to confirm such doubts.

Yet, it has not only survived, but even thrived, often cited as a developing country worthy of emulation. Ruled by the same ruling coalition since the mid-1950s, it has been tempting to emphasize continuities, and there certainly have been many.

Looking back at its last half century, this volume first considers changes in development policy in response to national as well as international developments. The remaining three parts consider how public policy has been influenced by and has, in turn, influenced economic distribution, public finance and economic federalism.

Besides the familiar focus on ethnic disparities, regional and other distribution issues are considered. The following discussion of government taxation as well as spending also focuses on distribution implications. Although constitutionally a federation, Malaysia has been more centralized than most federal states.

The way forward requires greater sensitivity to the complex political economy of Malaysia’s unlikely, but nonetheless resilient federation and ruling coalition.

Posted in Economics, English Books

Malaysia’s Quest for Innovation: Progress and Lessons Learned

Authors: K. Thiruchelvam, Ng Boon-Kwee, VGR Chandran and Wong Chan-Yuan
Format: Paperback, 75 pages
Subject: Economics
ISBN: 9789675832833
Publisher: SIRD
Published: 2013
Price: RM20.00
“Malaysia’s macroeconomic story since independence in 1957 is truly remarkable. From an economy that was entirely dependent on primary commodities, it has successfully navigated over the course of its brief history to become a multi-sector economy with manufacturing and services propelling its growth to its current emphasis on innovation.  It has achieved robust economic growth for most parts of its history but is finding itself dogged by weak technological dynamism due to structural features of the economy.  
This book provides an excellent overview on Malaysia’s science, technology and innovation. It details the country’s present STI landscape and sketches some of the key challenges the country will have to address in its ambition of becoming an innovation-driven economy by the end of the decade. I am pleased to see that the research that was commissioned for the OECD Review of Innovation in Southeast Asia is brought out through this publication, and I warmly commend the authors for their efforts in disseminating this important work.”

– Dr. Gang Zhang
Principal Administrator and Senior Economist
OECD Directorate for Science, Technology and Industry


“The successful latecomers of Japan, Korea and Taiwan targeted science, technology and innovation (STI) infrastructure as the springboard to drive economic growth. This book takes a leaf out of these successful developers to examine Malaysia’s prospects of graduating into a developed nation by 2020. While acknowledging the significant progress achieved since the 1990s in which massive investments were made into creating high technology organizations, physical infrastructure and incentives and grants to support technological upgrading, the book presents the stark reality facing the country, that is, a STI infrastructure that has continued to lag behind the successful latecomers. The book provides a lucid introduction for those who may not be familiar with Malaysia’s STI infrastructure. It presents the country’s achievements, the deficiencies, and what needs to be done to free it from the middle income trap. This is indeed a commendable piece of research.”

– Prof. Dr Rajah Rasiah
Khazanah Nasional Chair on Regulatory Studies
University of Malaya Centre of Regulatory Studies

Posted in Economics, English Books

The New Economic Policy in Malaysia: Affirmative Action, Ethnic Inequalities and Social Justice

Editors: Terrence Gomez & Johan Saravanamuttu
Format: Paperback 394 pp.
Subject: Economics, Politics
ISBN: 9789971696696
Publisher: SIRD & NUS press
Published: 2012
Price: RM50

For more than 40 years, the New Economic Policy and its successor programs have shaped Malaysia’s socioeconomic development and the allocation of political power. The original policy sought to eradicate poverty and achieve economic parity among the country’s various ethnic communities. However, it was based on an apparent paradox – the use of ethnic preference to promote national unity. The policy’s core tenet was affirmative action on behalf of the Bumiputera community.

Drawing on a wealth of statistical and documentary evidence, this major new book provides a comprehensive and rigorous assessment of the NEP. The contributors show that there have been some positive outcomes, among them a considerable reduction of poverty, greater interethnic equity parity and the emergence of a resourceful Bumiputera middle class. But these partial successes have to be weighed against persistent complaints associated with increasing intraethnic Bumiputera income disparities; the emergence of a small, politically powerful and disproportionately wealthy Bumiputera elite; a serious brain drain; and weak human capital. As a result, divisive debates about group rights, ethnic identity and an elusive national unity dominate Malaysia’s policy discourse. The New Economic Policy in Malaysia offers a timely and fresh perspective, suggesting that the long-term implementation of racially-targeted policies reinforces stereotypical ethnic identities and hinders the creation of a more inclusive society.


“…this volume still stands out for bringing together a number of academics renowned for their research on Malaysia. Its composition also constitutes a multi-disciplinary approach and multi-layered perspective on the NEP that is otherwise hard to find, backed by a considerable amount of qualitative and quantitative data that is a valuable resource in itself and a sound point of departure for further research.” – Frederik Holst

“Neatly organised into five parts, and backed by a wealth of statistical data and qualitative evidence, the chapters are well-written and well-argued throughout. As such, it is hard to demur from the general conclusion that race-based affirmative action has outstayed its welcome. This book deserves to be required reading for all Malaysian policymakers.” – Nicholas J. White

Posted in Economics, Politics, Uncategorized