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Lim Guan Eng, declined to fix a specific time-frame when it could be done. (NSTP/AHMAD IRHAM MOHD NOOR)

PUTRAJAYA: The Finance Ministry is willing to consider the Defence Ministry’s request for an annual budget allocation of at least one per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP) each year, subject to the economic situation.

Its minister, Lim Guan Eng, declined to fix a specific time-frame when it could be done.

“If the economy permits, I will give it serious consideration,” he told reporters here today.

Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu had made the request on Monday, which was also agreed upon by opposition members of parliament in Dewan Rakyat.

Last year, Malaysia’s GDP stood at US$354.35 billion (RM1.48 trillion).

The government had increased the Defence Ministry’s allocation from RM13.9 billion this year to RM15.6 billion next year.

Meanwhile, commenting on Bursa Malaysia’s move to lay down prohibitive conditions on the majority shareholders of four highway companies which the government hopes to acquire for RM6.2 billion, Lim said it was the bourse’s authority to do so.

Quoting sources, the Straits Times reported that Bursa Malaysia had forbidden the owners of the companies, public-listed Gamuda Bhd and state-owned Permodalan Nasional Bhd (PNB) from voting on the deal at the mandatory special shareholders meeting to approve the plan.

It added that the prohibition, issued last month, was grounded on the fact that the deal contravened the bourse’s rules against related party transactions, and that the interests of minority shareholders could be undermined if the sale was bulldozed through.

Approval from Gamuda and PNB would virtually guarantee the deal going through.

The government was reported to have wanted to seal the deal so that it could fulfil its election promise to scrap toll charges.

Earlier, Lim witnessed the signing of a joint venture (JV) agreement between Northern Gateway Logistic Centre Sdn Bhd and One Northern Hub Sdn Bhd to develop and operate a truck and inland clearance depot at Kota Perdana Special Border Economic Zone (SBEZ), in Bukit Kayu Hitam, Kedah.

Also present were Ambassador of Thailand to Malaysia Narong Sasitorn; Finance Ministry secretary-general Tan Sri Ahmad Badri Mohd Zahir; Finance Ministry deputy secretary-general (policy) and Northern Gateway Sdn Bhd chairman Datuk Asri Hamidon; PKT Logistics Group Sdn Bhd chairman Datuk Jalilah Baba and PKT Logistics Group chief executive and managing director Datuk Dr Michael Tio.

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