Zahid says Tok Mat’s remark on MAHB deal personal view, Umno on same page as Anwar govt

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, June 24 — Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi today clarified that Umno stands with the Anwar government over the acquisition of Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) that involves the BlackRock-linked Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP).

Zahid, who is also the Umno president, said the statement by his deputy Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan was merely the latter’s personal view.

“Umno’s position is clear, it’s the same as the prime minister. The opinion given by Tok Mat yesterday is his personal opinion.“I met him yesterday and he explained,” he told reporters at a press conference here, referring to Mohamad.

Yesterday, Malay newspaper Sinar Harian reported Mohamad — who is the foreign affairs minister — claiming that the share deal involving sovereign fund Khazanah Nasional Bhd and GIP was not a collective Cabinet decision.

He was quoted saying that ministers from Umno disagreed that the deal should not proceed but “the transaction has already advanced way too far”.

In response, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has urged all parties, particularly the opposition, not to politicise the deal, and while everyone has the right to disagree with the government, they should not undermine its efforts in raising issues concerning Gaza.

GIP is a leading infrastructure investor that manages US$112 billion (RM527.5 billion) of assets on behalf of its investors, which comprises approximately 500 institutional investors globally.

Together with two Malaysian government-linked investment companies — Khazanah via its wholly owned subsidiary UEM Group Bhd and the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) — GIP formed a consortium called Gateway Development Alliance (GDA).

GDA and its shareholders has on May 15, 2024 announced a pre-conditional voluntary offer to acquire all the shares in MAHB not already owned by the Consortium, at an offer price of RM11.00 per share which is equivalent to RM18.4 billion.

GIP is owned by BlackRock, reported as the world’s biggest asset manager with huge investments directly in Israel. Among companies the fund invests in are Lockheed Martin, RTX, Northrop Grumman, Boeing, and General Dynamics — firms that are said to manufacture weapons and vehicles that are used in Israel’s brutal military campaign against Palestinians.

GIP has since reiterated that BlackRock Inc has not in any way been involved in the transaction relating to MAHB's privatisation.

Read Malay Mail's explainer on the issue: What’s behind the controversy of MAHB’s Khazanah-EPF takeover, and what does Israel have to do with it?