by AZREEN HANI / pic by BLOOMBERG
OPPOSITION leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim demands the Finance Ministry’s explanation on how Genting Hong Kong Ltd is able to get unsecured loans with a combined exposure of US$600 million (RM2.5 billion).
“I urge the Minister of Finance (MoF) to immediately answer the question of why these banks are allowed to give unsecured loans to Genting Hong Kong. How can an unsecured loan to this gambling company be given so easily?” Anwar said in a statement yesterday.
He added that this is because the government through Permodalan Nasional Bhd (PNB), Khazanah, and the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) are the largest shareholders in the three banks.
A report by Singapore’s Straits Times said that how Malayan Banking Bhd (Maybank), CIMB Bank Bhd and RHB — among some the chief unsecured creditors of Genting Hong Kong, with a combined exposure of US$600 million — decide to move forward in dealing with the group would determine if the cruise operator sinks or swims.
Prior to this, Maybank denied the allegations that it will face major financial trouble owing to exposure to Genting Hong Kong, describing it as “baseless”.
RHB Banking Group said it is financially resilient with strong capital and liquidity positions.
“Nevertheless, we would like to state that as a financial services group we exercise prudence in our financial management practices, and in doing so we continue to take proactive measures to ensure that our asset quality remains strong,” it said in a statement.
Meanwhile, CIMB said it does not disclose or comment on specific names or clients.
Anwar also said Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz should explain how the RM2.51 billion loan would be repaid by the bankrupt company.
”Although the company is registered in Hong Kong, the owner is a Malaysian businessman who should at least be asked for his personal guarantee or savings in the company he owns in Malaysia. For me, this explanation needs to be expedited to prevent the Hong Kong Bumiputra Malaysia Finance (BMF) scandal from recurring,” said Anwar.
Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay (picture) has resigned as Genting Hong Kong chairman and CEO, days after the cruise operator said it would wind up its business after failing to secure funding to pay off its debts.
In a Hong Kong Stock Exchange filing, the company announced that Lim had stepped down from his posts, effective Jan 21, 2022.
Genting Hong Kong has filed a winding-up petition in Bermuda, after the bankruptcy of its shipyard in Germany triggered US$2.78 billion of debt and forced Asia’s largest operator of sea cruises to be liquidated.
The owner of Dream Cruise Holding appointed Alvarez & Marsal’s Edward Simon Middleton and Tiffany Wong Wing-sze as provisional liquidators.