Anthony Loke insists was truthful after MAHB confirms Blackrock-linked firm’s interest

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

PUTRAJAYA, May 17 — Transport Minister Anthony Loke Siew Fook today insisted he did not deceive Parliament in March when he said an Opposition lawmaker’s claim about the planned deal to privatise the Malaysian Airport Holdings Berhad (MAHB) was just an “assumption”.

Loke said he merely responded to the information presented by Machang MP Wan Ahmad Fayhsal Wan Ahmad Kamal that MAHB was to be sold to Global Infrastructures Partners, a logistics investment fund owned by one of the world’s biggest asset managers, Blackrock, which he said was inaccurate.

“I stand by what I said... he said MAHB was going to be sold to GIP, which is not true, so, I did not mislead Parliament,” he told reporters here.

MAHB is the country’s biggest airport operator. Earlier this week, the listed company confirmed reports about Khazanah Nasional and the Employees Provident Fund’s plan to privatise it through a consortium that could involved GIP.

Blackrock is the biggest shareholder of Lockheed Martin, the American fighter planes manufacturer. The asset manager is now the target of boycott calls because of its ownership of arms companies that supply weapons to Israel’s genocidal campaign against Palestinians.

Loke did not answer Malay Mail's query if the information about GIP's possible involvement in the planned bid is new information or if he had been aware about it when he called Wan Fayhsal's allegation an assumption.

Back in March, Loke told the Dewan Rakyat “that there has been no official announcement indicating our intention to sell [MAHB] to GIP”.

Malaysia has no diplomatic ties with Israel and the Anwar government has expressed support for the publicly-led boycott of companies said to be linked to the Zionist administration.

Wan Fayhsal was seemingly trying to accuse the Anwar government of hypocrisy if it agreed with the planned takeover by a consortium that involved partnership with the Blackrock-linked firm.

But Loke today claimed that it was the Machang MP who misled Parliament by saying MAHB was to be sold to GIP.

If anyone, it was actually him that misled Parliament,” the minister said.

Khazanah Nasional Bhd and the Employees Provident Fund currently holds 33.2 per cent and 7.0 per cent of MAHB, respectively.

News reports suggest the two entities will use the consortium to buy up to 70 per cent of MAHB if the deal goes through, while the 30 per cent stake in MAHB would be sold to GIP.

Presently, MAHB manages 39 airports throughout Malaysia, including five international airports, 17 domestic airports and 17 Short Take-Off and Landing airports called STOLports for short.

Additionally, it owns and manages one international airport in Istanbul, Turkiye.