Wrong to classify YWP as foundation, it’s a private company

Khalid Samad

It was confirmed by Federal Territories Minister Khalid Abdul Samad in a parliamentary reply recently that Yayasan Wilayah Persekutuan (YWP) – of which he is chairman – is a company incorporated under the Companies Act. And interestingly, it is limited by a guarantee given by Kuala Lumpur City Hall.

In other words, YWP is in reality a private company even though it bears the name of a foundation. The name is merely a smokescreen for obvious reasons.

I’m very interested to know how and why the Companies Commission of Malaysia (CCM) agreed to a private company taking on the name of a foundation. An explanation from CCM would help clarify matters.

CCM should set things right immediately. A company is a company – there is no way it can be allowed to be called a foundation. CCM has got it wrong!

This case is the first of its kind. The precedent set by YWP is bad as it can lead to abuse of power. What if other ministries did likewise – set up foundations (in reality private companies) with the respective ministers designated as the chairman – and in the process putting them in the enviable position of securing lucrative contracts? After all, doesn’t charity begin at home?

The unique business model of YWP makes it easier for the foundation to secure lucrative contracts such as the operation and management of all parking lots in Kuala Lumpur as well as procuring a 99-year lease on prime land in Taman Rimba Kiara carved out as a public park.

If the so-called foundation was not under the ministry, would it stand a chance of obtaining the lease on the 12 acres of ‘open space’ prime land (4.9 ha) as in the case of Taman Rimba Kiara?

The answer is obvious. Unless of course the patron or chairman of the board of trustees has very strong connections with the top leadership.

What then is the way forward?

  • CCM should step in immediately and order YWP to convert to a sendirian berhad (private limited)  company and be mindful not to approve future private companies that operate under the guise of a foundation (YPW should be the first and last entity to enjoy this privilege).
  • In respect of the post of chairman of YWP, the articles of association of YWP should be changed to prevent automatic appointment of the Federal Territories Minister as chairman.
  • The Federal Territories Minister has to decide whether he wants to continue being a minister, or chairman of YWP. The minister has enough on his plate and he cannot have his cake and eat it too.
  • To prevent conflict of interest, action should immediately be taken to detach YWP from the Federal Territories Ministry to enable YWP to operate independently just like any private company.

With a new government in place, existing business models and practices definitely need to be evaluated and scrutinised to change with the times in terms of good governance and integrity.

This is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily represent the views of Twentytwo13.

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