BlackRock et al – Stop patronising Malaysia!

Had BlackRock or GIP been Malaysian companies, the MACC or Bank Negara would’ve immediately launched investigations under AMLA!

IN THE past decade or so, since the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) saga started unravelling in the international media, one has always dreaded of finding out what foreigners actually think of us Malaysians.

What could they be thinking of an ex-prime minister’s (PM) public claim that hundreds of millions of dollars cash was gifted to him by an Arab prince? Or of another public claim by the same ex-PM’s wife that she saved money since childhood to be able to, among other things, splurge US$6 million (RM28.25 million) on clothes, shoes and jewellery, within the first seven years in power?

Just thinking of it would already made one feel nauseous. Even to this day.

Conversations with non-Malaysians, therefore, were basically limited to local gastronomic attractions or tourist destinations. Thus, “Have you tried nasi lemak?” or “Have you visited the East Coast beaches?” would normally be the intro, and essentially kept that way throughout. Since 2015.

Now, Friday morning, June 21, 2024, the infamous Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) of Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd’s (MAHB) privatisation saga, issued a similar tone of claim to news agencies.

“Hallow Malay-seeya! This is GIP. We just want to say that: One, BlackRock Inc has not in any way been involved in the transactions relating to MAHB privatisation; and, two, BlackRock’s acquisition of GIP will only be completed in the third quarter of 2024.”

That really made one reach for the vomit bucket.

Then we compare it across other statements made by various interested parties, particularly the champions of MAHB’s privatisation proposal — Khazanah Nasional Bhd, Employees Provident Fund (EPF) — GIP’s partners in crime at Gateway Development Alliance (GDA), the vehicle offering to buy up all of the national airport operator’s shares from the public stock market. And it all make sense — they all have one, pathetic single-mindedness resolve, to continuously defend the indefensible.

Barely days ago, an unnamed Ministry of Finance official said that the government cannot renege on its decision to de-list MAHB, claiming that the train has left the station and backing out is no longer an option.

A fortnight earlier, one minister, with an economic extortionist tone, argued that since BlackRock is one of Apple Inc, WhatsApp and Facebook’s biggest shareholders, anyone who feels strongly against the Khazanah-EPF-GIP trinity should therefore ditch their apps and hardware as well.

Prior to that, Khazanah had already claimed that BlackRock is not GDA’s direct partner, and that BlackRock buying GIP deal is only due to be completed in the third quarter of the year (3Q24).

We’ll be in 3Q24 in seven days. So, what will happen once it is completed?

Will BlackRock — the world’s largest fund manager and among the biggest beneficiary of the war against Palestinian civilians — sell its shares in weapon companies Lockheed Martin Corp, Boeing, Raytheon Technologies Corp, General Dynamics and Northrop Grumman Corp, who are arming the terrorist state Israel to the teeth?

In Gaza, on the 259th day of the Zionist regime Israel’s continued aggression, more than 37,431 Palestinians have been murdered, two-thirds of those children and women, all civilians. In excess of 85,653 individuals have been injured, maimed and scarred while an infinite number by the tens of thousands are feared dead, buried under the rubble of residential buildings throughout Gaza.

The Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor estimated that Israel’s bombardment of the GazaStrip—a 41 km by 6 km-12 km area often described as a concentration camp — has exceeded 70,000 tonnes of explosives. This far surpasses the devastation of World War II’s worst bombings, including the 15,000 tonnes of nuclear explosive power over Hiroshima.

Immediately upon Israel’s heightened aggression over Gaza in October 2023, the US government has promptly pushed a multi-billion-dollar bill of foreign military aid. In January 2024, BlackRock CEO Larry Fink, an ardent Zionist supporter, announced buying over GIP in a US$12.5 billion deal. Hardly a month later in February, the US foreign aid bill worth US$95 billion was passed by the US Senate, where a military aid of US$26 billion was specifically allocated for Israel.

And then, three months later in May 2024, GIP et al, fronted by Khazanah and EPF, made the offer to buy out MAHB, the sole concession holder for the next 35 years of almost all airports — five international, 17 domestic and 17 single take-off-and-landing airports — in Malaysia.

Had BlackRock or GIP been Malaysian companies, the MACC or Bank Negara would’ve immediately launched investigations under AMLA!

And the MAHB deal, it seems, more and more likely, to be the top of the icing.

Surely, BlackRock and friends wouldn’t think that we Malaysians could not see through the charade?

  • Asuki Abas is the editor of The Malaysian Reserve.

  • This article first appeared in The Malaysian Reserve weekly print edition