By Emmanuel Samarathisa
MALAYSIA'S largest highway operator PLUS Malaysia Bhd will remain in the hands of its shareholders sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional Bhd and the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) after a Cabinet meeting today (Jan 15) on the matter, say sources.
At the time of writing, it is not known why the Cabinet decided to maintain the status quo but this quells months-long uncertainty over the fate of one of the country’s most prized assets.
Khazanah managing director Datuk Shahril Ridza Ridzuan said on Jan 14 that neither the fund nor EPF had been formally approached to begin discussions on the sale of PLUS. Khazanah through UEM Group Bhd owns 51% of PLUS while EPF holds the remaining 49%.
“Any decision on a sale from a governance point of view needs to be done properly through the current owners of PLUS, that is Khazanah and EPF. That part has not started.
“We have never put up the assets for sale. There is actually no bidding process, so there are no bidders. These are all unsolicited offers which were made to the government rather than the current shareholders,” Shahril told reporters that day.
On Jan 13, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said the Cabinet would discuss and decide the proposed takeover of PLUS and four Gamuda-related highways at a meeting today. The decision on the Gamuda-linked highways is unknown at press time. – Jan 15, 2020