Privatisation of Power Generation in Malaysia: Impact on the Entry of Malays into Power Business


  • Ramasamy Thillainathan IDEAS Policy Research Berhad



Power sector, independent power producers (IPPs), privatisation, promoting Malay entry into business


This paper reviews Malaysia’s experience in privatisation in power generation from the first half of the 1990s and the role it played in promoting Malay entry into business. In the pre-1949 period, privately-owned independent power producers and distributors (IPPs and Ds) were the dominant players. The government-owned integrated power utility, Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB), became a monopoly only since 1976. TNB’s finances were strained during the Asian Financial Crisis (AFC) period, but contracts were honoured despite strong calls for renegotiation of power purchase agreements (PPA). With the open tender era from 2012, the PPA terms have become very competitive. However, as TNB can continue to bid, this has not made for a level playing field. With competition and fall in interest rate, there has been a significant decline in internal rate of returns (IRRs). Guaranteed off-take enabled some concessionaires to still earn a good equity IRR through aggressive gearing. Development of a more active and liquid bond market has played a key role in privatisation.


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Author Biography

Ramasamy Thillainathan, IDEAS Policy Research Berhad

IDEAS Policy Research Berhad