RM2b gov’t guarantee for BPlant buyout: Kadir slams betrayal of trust by Bumiputera biz leaders

WHAT is the use of ailing government-link corporations (GLCs) being in business for time immemorial only for the government to continuously bail them out without even reprimanding the management that is responsible for their underperformance?

Such is the question posed by veteran journalist and blogger Datuk A. Kadir Jasin after Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was reported to have said earlier this month that he had just approved RM300 mil in financial aid to Boustead Holdings Bhd and was considering another RM2 bil to support the Armed Forces Fund Board (LTAT) which has continued to incur losses.

For context, LTAT is Boustead Holdings largest shareholder with a stake of 97.63% as of June 12.

On Monday (Oct 9), the Finance Ministry agreed to provide a government guarantee for LTAT to take out a RM2 bil loan to undertake the general offer it proposed to privatise its 68.01%-controlled Boustead Plantations Bhd (BPlant) at RM1.55/share.

This was revealed by Defence Minister Datuk Seri Mohamad Hassan in Dewan Rakyat on Monday (Oct 9). LTAT is expected to fork out RM1.11 bil to acquire the remaining 716.66 million shares that are equivalent to a 31.99% stake in BPlant that it does not control.

“What’s is the purpose of doing business if one has to rely on government funding and taxpayers’ money to avoid bankruptcy? Better don’t do business,” chastised the former Bersatu supreme council member in a recent Facebook post.

Kadir Jasin

Kadir further lamented that catastrophes of the past are still occurring as the result of incompetent or untrustworthy Bumiputera management (or both).

“They betray their trust and responsibility even though they share a good salary and capital,” berated the National Journalism Laureate. “The situation worsens when politicians and unrelated parties intervene corruptly and oppressively in public projects.”

Kadir went on to blame such unscrupulous Malay business leaders “for frustrating the government’s policies and plans to develop the Malay/Bumiputera community”.

“Their corrupt practices, breach of trust and incompetence have caused more and more Bumiputera to become poor while the economic gap between Bumiputera and non-Bumiputera widens,” regretted the former editor-in-chief of the New Straits Times.

“Specifically about LTAT, the board members and managers are not ordinary people. They are well-known corporate executives and respected former military commanders. From the beginning of its establishment until now that is the line of leadership.”

Added Kadir: “But they dashed the hopes of nearly 135,000 military retirees who get pensions and allowances from LTAT.” – Oct 11, 2023


Main photo credit: The Star

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