Tok Mat’s stand on MAHB is not Umno’s – Zahid

UMNO deputy president Mohamad Hasan’s statement on the sale of Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd’s (MAHB) shares to a company linked to US asset management firm BlackRock is his personal view, says Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

The Umno president said the party’s position is consistent with Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim’s stand on the privatisation exercise.

“I even spoke with (Mohamad) last night and he said it was his personal view.

“For Umno, it’s clear. Our stance on this matter is the same as the prime minister’s,” said the deputy prime minister at a press conference here.

Yesterday, Mohamad, also known as Tok Mat, said Umno ministers had pleaded with sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional Bhd against selling MAHB shares to Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP).

The foreign minister also said the deal was not decided by the Cabinet, expressing hope that it could be reviewed despite already being at a “very advanced stage”.

Previously, Umno Youth chief Dr Akmal Saleh had also called for the deal to be scrapped.

Meanwhile, Zahid said the Cabinet had discussed the matter several times before this, but not in detail.

However, he said, the matter was discussed in great detail during a meeting with government backbenchers ahead of the Dewan Rakyat meeting, which started today.

CNA recently reported that the government could no longer renege on the MAHB privatisation plan as a formal offer had been made.

Criticism of the deal broke out because GIP is to be acquired by BlackRock later this year. BlackRock has been accused of “profiteering from genocide” through its stakes in US defence firms that manufacture weapons allegedly used by Israel.

GIP has said BlackRock is not involved in the move to privatise MAHB, in which GIP and the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority will have a 30% stake in MAHB, with Khazanah holding 40% and EPF 30%.