Subang MP Wong Chen has demanded accountability from three Malaysian banks with substantial investments from government-linked funds over their decision to extend sizeable unsecured loans to Genting Hong Kong which is now in financial trouble.
Malayan Banking Berhad (Maybank), CIMB Group Holdings Berhad and RHB Bank Berhad are expected to take a major hit as they are the key unsecured creditors of Genting Hong Kong with total loans amounting to US$600 million (RM2.51 billion), according to Singapore's Straits Times.
Wong (above) pointed out that many of the major investors in these banks are institutions that managed the savings of Malaysian taxpayers.
According to shareholding records as of Dec 31 last year, Maybank's biggest investor is Amanah Saham Bumiputera through Amnanahraya Trustees Berhad with a stake of 34.01 percent, followed by the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) at 12.94 percent and Permodalan Nasional Berhad (PNB) at 7.09 percent.
Meanwhile, the largest shareholder in CIMB is Khazanah Nasional with a 25.7 percent stake followed by EPF (15.3 percent), PNB (11.8 percent) and Retirement Fund Incorporated (KWAP) at 6.3 percent.
In RHB, the public institutions that have large shareholdings include EPF (42.3 percent), PNB (6.1 percent) and KWAP (5.89 percent).
Wong stressed it is the duty of the government to safeguard these investments.
"The government is supposed to look after taxpayers' money and a large percentage of working adults are EPF depositors.
"That being the case, the public has a right to know whether these unsecured loans were approved in a reckless manner.
"In particular, bankers who approved these unsecured loans must step up now to justify their actions," the PKR lawmaker said.
Maybank, however, maintained that it won't face major financial trouble as a result of Genting Hong Kong's default.
On Jan 18, Genting Hong Kong, which is primarily involved in the cruise industry, filed to wind up the company after being unable to pay its debts.
The cruise industry has been severely hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Genting Hong Kong today announced that its chairperson and chief executive officer Lim Kok Thay has resigned following the winding-up action.
His resignation took effect on Jan 21. Lim holds a 76 percent stake in Genting Hong Kong.
The billionaire is also the chairperson of Genting Group which owns casinos in Malaysia and Singapore and is also involved in the plantation and energy sectors.