Et tu, Khazanah?

It used to be proud to hold a strategic role for the country. It desperately needs to act as one, now

ONE cannot help but feel utter sympathy for Machang MP Wan Ahmad Fayshal Wan Ahmad Kamal. Due to his approach and controversies, the MP also known as Mat Jargon (one who is fond to use rare jargons and terms) struggles to be taken seriously and it’s probably impacting his ability to influence decisions despite being a full-fledged Parliamentarian.

On March 4, while debating at the Dewan Rakyat, Ahmad Fayshal urged the government to stop the nation’s sovereign wealth fund, Khazanah Nasional Bhd and national pension fund Employees Provident Fund’s (EPF) reported plans to collaborate with Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) to form a coalition, purportedly to take Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) private.

He was dismissed, point blank. The transport minister in the same August House, after a week, casted Mat Jargon’s assertion aside as a mere “assumption by the Opposition.”

Sounds logical.

This was, after all, the GIP which is wholly owned by the world’s largest asset manager, BlackRock.

It is an open secret that BlackRock Inc, a US$10 trillion (RM46.87 trillion) fund manager, is one of the most nefarious mafioso of capitalism.

It is heavily invested in the American terror military industry which has been, for decades, supplying weapons responsible for the deaths of countless civilians in wars and attacks against Palestine, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Yemen, among other places.

BlackRock is identified among the major funders for the top five military contractors in the US — Lockheed Martin Corp, Boeing Co, Raytheon Co, General Dynamics Corp and Northrop Grumman Corp. Despite rhetoric by its CEO Larry Fink to complement its ESG strategy, BlackRock has no intention of pulling out from the highly profitable industry. Its investments are making a killing on killing. No dispute there.

With the current hideous war crimes committed by the Israeli Zionist regime against the people of Palestine, in Gaza, in the West Bank, no one would think that anyone from Malaysia could even stomach sitting together with parties remotely connected to the American military industry.

The Zionist regime is estimated to own 614 aircrafts including 362 units of Lockheed Martin-made F-16 fighter jets, 48 units Boeing-made Apache helicopters and approximately 2,200 tanks including those made by General Dynamics. All of those have and are actively being deployed to bomb, kill and obliterate civilians, hospitals, residentials, infrastructures in the concentration camp that is Gaza, which does not own any military vehicle let alone jets, helicopters or tanks.

Since October, more than 35,303 Palestinians in Gaza — more than two-thirds children and women, all civilians — have been confirmed murdered by the terrorist state. No less than an additional 10,000 went missing under the rubble, feared dead. More than 80,000 are injured, denied healthcare assistance and the rest — the other 2.1 million plus Gazans — remains under siege, starved to death.

Malaysia has long condemned these Israeli atrocities. We have made our position very clear. We went to the United Nations to condemn the terrorist regime and its war crimes, genocide included.

Early last week, the prime minister, despite threats by the US, displayed our strongest support for Gaza and Palestinians by visiting their Hamas resistance leaders in Qatar.

Well, last Wednesday, Khazanah somehow did announce that it is collaborating with GIP after all.

Leading a consortium consisting of itself, EPF, GIP and the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA), Khazanah is offering RM12.3 billion to other MAHB investors to take the national airport operator private.

Khazanah and EPF will collectively retain 70% of MAHB, while GIP and ADIA will hold the remaining 30%. The Government of Malaysia, as the sole shareholder of Khazanah, will retain its special share rights in MAHB.

This is so wrong. In many ways.

Strategically, MAHB is effectively the concession holder of almost all airports in Malaysia.

Just a few months ago, in March, the government extended MAHB’s operating and land lease agreements for 39 airports in the country by another 35 years to 2069. All five international, 17 domestic and 17 short take-off and landing airports in this beloved sovereign country of ours.

It surely cannot be more strategic than that. Every country in the world understands this.

Two years within the opening of Gaza International Airport in 1998, the Israeli regime almost immediately started bombing the runways and airstrips, under all sort of criminal pretexts. The airport had to be shut down in 2001. It was a strategic move by the Zionist regime to paralyse and control the movements of Palestinians. Israel understands this.

Commercially, that Khazanah is taking over a bigger liability, and internationalising a company it already owns, does not make sense. MAHB offers Khazanah a consistent dividend stream with its 33% stake. Last year, Khazanah received approximately RM22 million in the form of dividends, despite passenger volume reaching not even half of what it was before Covid-19.

Does Malaysians do not have the RM5.5 billion needed to take up the 30% valuation of MAHB? No? This is a concession interest that would make any patriotic billionaire proud to hold on to. There are reports of tycoons having to leave the country to invest half a billion in cement companies in Africa. 

GIP, despite its holdings in airports around the world — Sydney, Edinburgh, London City are the bigger ones — have nothing to shout about. None of the airports it owns is among Skytrax’s best in the world. Only the Sydney Airport is ranked as a four-star. The inclusion of Kuala Lumpur International Airport, already a three-star airport, would only serve to GIP’s portfolio credential.

And, politically? Well, if the trails leading to the bloodied hands of BlackRock are not clear enough, nothing will.

In the midst of increasing global humanity movements standing up for the brutalised, ravaged Palestinians, no Malaysians, not only Mat Jargon, would want to be another pawn for the criminal, murderous Zionist terrorist state.

Khazanah is the sovereign wealth fund of the Government of Malaysia. It used to be proud to hold a strategic role for the country.

It desperately needs to act as one, now.

  • Asuki Abas is the editor of The Malaysian Reserve.


Monday, May 6, 2024

More quality investments, please

Monday, June 17, 2024

Pick rollback low-hanging fruits

Monday, February 20, 2023

EVs: Why incentivise opulence?

Monday, November 27, 2023

Don’t lose the Gaza narrative