SINGAPORE (July 23): After the 1997/98 Asian financial crisis (AFC) that wreaked havoc on Asian currencies and equities, the government created agencies such as Danaharta and the Corporate Debt Restructuring Committee to rescue and restructure various companies that owned assets deemed to be of strategic and national importance. The group of companies affected included the Renong/UEM conglomerate, the MAS/ TRI/Celcom group and the trio of MRCB/ TV3/NSTP. All were controlled by individual businessmen.
After their debts were restructured, new capital was injected. The Employees Provident Fund (EPF) ended up in control of Malaysian Resources Corp (MRCB), TV3 and NSTP. The other assets, however, ended up with Khazanah Nasional, the country’s sovereign wealth fund.
Khazanah was started in 1993 under the Minister of Finance Inc (MOF Inc) to play a “catalytic role in driving various strategic and national initiatives”. Its involvement in the economy and corporate sector was transformed in a major way when it was tasked to take over those assets whose ownership had to be shifted to the government after the AFC.