PM: No sale of MAHB to foreign firms, ownership boosted to 70pct [WATCH]

KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim today stressed that there was no sale of Malaysia Airport Holdings Berhad (MAHB) to foreign companies.

During the prime minister's question time in Dewan Rakyat today, he said the share deal with Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) through the MAHB consortium had allowed Khazanah Nasional Bhd and Employee Provident Fund's (EPF) ownership to increase from 41 per cent to 70 per cent.

"Currently, the change has allowed Khazanah and EPF's ownership to increase by 41 per cent to 70 per cent.

"This is different from the narrative (provided by certain quarters) outside, there is no sale of MAHB to a foreign company.

"All this while, foreign companies only own 27 per cent and this is what is being owned by GIP and Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (Adia)," he said.

Anwar said this in response to Datuk Mohd Shahar Abdullah (BN-Paya Besar) who enquired the prime minister about clarification on the decision made by a consortium of government-linked investment companies on the sale of MAHB shares to GIP.

Collectively, Malaysian investors would own 70 per cent of MAHB. Adia and GIP will hold the remaining 30 per cent.

He also said the issue of MAHB sale to foreign companies was not an issue as the matter did not arise.

"Is there any sale involving the airports? No. This exercise only involves management. MAHB is the company that manages the airports, (and) the airports remain the property of the Malaysian government.

"This is similar to how MAHB was permitted by the Turkish government to manage Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen International Airport where we were given the rights to manage, but ownership remains with the Turkish government," he said.

Anwar also assured that the key management positions namely MAHB chairman and chief executive officer (CEO) would still be held by Malaysians.

This, he said, was as out of 145 companies that took part in the consortium to take over MAHB, only five companies were deemed suitable by Khazanah.

"The condition agreed upon by Khazanah is that the chairman and CEO must be Malaysian. But other companies wanted management rights, hence, this is why GIP was chosen."

Khazanah last month announced that it was leading a consortium known as the Gateway Development Alliance (GDA) consortium in a conditional voluntary offer to buy all shares in MAHB that it did not own.

Besides GIP through GIP Aureus Pte Ltd, the consortium's shareholders also included EPF and Adia.

However, concerns arose after BlackRock, an American asset management company with pro-Israeli links, acquired GIP where the transaction is expected to be completed in the third quarter of this year.

Meanwhile, GIP had reiterated that BlackRock was not in any way involved in the transaction relating to MAHB privatisation through GDA.

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