Retrospective 51% Bumi rule on freight firms ‘unconstitutional’, says Guan Eng

 PETALING JAYA: Lim Guan Eng says he rejected the proposal to enforce the 51% Bumiputera ownership requirement for freight forwarding companies when he was the finance minister in the Pakatan Harapan government.

The Bagan MP told FMT that the proposal to enforce the requirement had been raised during his tenure, but he did not approve it.

“I rejected the proposal on the basis that it cannot be applied retrospectively.

“That is unconstitutional and unfair to the companies.”

Lim Guan Eng.

He said should any freight forwarding company owner suffer losses in complying with the new 51% Bumiputera ownership rule, then the government would be liable to compensate them.

“It is unfair to those who have built and invested in the companies over many years based on existing conditions only for them to be abruptly changed without due recourse.”

Lim added the move would also send the wrong signal to investors that government policies can be changed at a whim.

He said investors want policy certainty, consistency and clarity.

“A failure to ensure this will discourage investors and Malaysia will lose out in competitiveness to other countries.

“I hope the finance minister will do the needful.”

Yesterday, an association of freight forwarders urged the government to clarify its position on Bumiputera equity in logistics companies, with only months left before the year-end deadline.

Federation of Malaysian Freight Forwarders (FMFF) president Alvin Chua proposed that the requirement – calling for 51% Bumiputera ownership of their companies – be deferred to the end of next year.

In a letter dated Sept 18 to the government, Chua said the finance ministry had stated in January that all Customs brokerage licence holders must comply with Bumiputera equity requirements, but did not set any figure.

Licences registered before 1976 do not have a Bumiputera equity requirement, while a 30% quota was imposed on those registered between 1976 and 1990. A 51% Bumiputera requirement was required for licences registered after 1990.

No Bumiputera equity is required for licences held by integrated international logistics service providers.


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