KUALA LUMPUR, June 17 Malaysia's government has
postponed until October a controversial legislative amendment
that would create an investment panel within the country's tax
revenue agency - a proposal that has been criticised for putting
taxpayers' money at excessive risk.
An official withdrew the legislation on Tuesday after
opposition lawmakers warned of potential misuse of taxpayers'
money because of the panel's wide investment mandate, including
shares, bonds and initial public offerings.
Deputy Finance Minister Ahmad Maslan, in a statement to the
parliament, denied that taxpayers' money would be used by the
agency for investments, stating the bill would only allow the
Inland Revenue Board to invest its own institutional savings.
If passed, the bill would have established a panel of which
five out of the seven appointees would be chosen by Prime
Minister Najib Razak, who is also the Minister of Finance.
The bill did not specify a limit on the amount the panel
The proposal was launched amid a controversy over the
1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) sovereign investment fund,
chaired by Najib and which is struggling under $11 billion in
"The pressure put on by the opposition, the press and
linkages to 1MDB-related investments has forced the government
to re-evaluate its position to create what looks like another
sovereign wealth fund," said Ong Kian Ming, an opposition
(Reporting By Trinna Leong; Editing by Stuart Grudgings and