Recently, Permodalan Nasional Berhad (PNB) came under media attention following the announcement of what is said to be their lowest dividend pay-out in history.
On December 18, PNB Chairman Tan Sri Zeti Akhtar announced a total distribution of 5.5 sen per unit for Amanah Saham Bumiputera (ASB) unitholders. This includes a 5 sen distribution and a 0.5 sen bonus.
Lowest dividend in history
The announcement straight away drew criticisms from the public with reports headlining the dividend pay-out as the lowest since it was launched in 1990.
Keywords such as ‘ASB Terendah’ and ‘Jumlah Pengagihan’ appear as main news in the first five days following the announcement.
According to its Chairman Tan Sri Zeti Aziz, the income distribution totalling RM9 billion would benefit more than 10 million-unit holders. She also highlighted that 2019 has been a tough year for businesses in general, hinting at the possibility of the low pay-out.
Zeti via The Edge Markets said;
The strong criticisms came to the attention of the Minister of Economic Affairs Azmin Ali who came forth in defence of PNB.
“PNB has done its best”
In his statement to Malay Mail, Azmin whom appeared at number 3 in the ‘Influencers’ list said the company had done its best to ensure both depositors and shareholders would get their return despite the country’s weaker economic situation.
While the Economic Affairs Minister said the low pay-out was partly due to the previous government’s fault, former premier Najib Razak took it as way to poke fun at the Mahathir-led administration who is constantly pointing fingers at Barisan Nasional (BN) for their failure to please the people.
“Sandakan also our fault”
In response to Azmin’s statement, Najib cynically implied that Azmin’s alleged gay sex scandal which happened at the Four Points hotel in Sandakan was also BN’s fault. Many were entertained by Najib’s ‘comeback’ response. The post received more than 1000 comments and 13,000 reactions including the ‘haha’ emoji face.