Turning Amanah Ikhtiar private: Are you serious, Najib asks Gov’t?

FORMER Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak was shocked over a media report that suggested the Government-backed private trust, Amanah Ikhtiar Malaysia (AIM) could be sold to a private firm soon.

“There is a media report saying that the Perikatan Nasional Government has agreed in principle, this month, to sell AIM to a private company.

“The excuse given was that the Government wanted to reclaim monies given to AIM and the private company has agreed to help out. I hope this report is not true,” he said, in a Facebook post.

This morning, online news portal Malaysiakini reported that financial services provider, Ace Group would pay off AIM debt to the Government, worth RM 600mil, in return for an equity ownership of the latter.

However, the nature of the equity owner was not mentioned.

AIM chairperson Datuk Seri Lajim Ukin, had confirmed talks with Ace Group were going on, but claimed no decision has been made so far.

However, sources told Malaysiakini that Government officials had agreed to the takeover “in principle”, after a meeting with Ukin.

Let AIM help small traders, not squeeze the agency

Unimpressed by the matter, Najib lashed out at the Government for going on a “selling spree” without taking considering the matter thoroughly.

“Last year, the Government sold off Chemical Company of Malaysia Bhd (CCM), parts of KLCC and MISC Bhd. And now they want to sell off AIM?” he queried.

Touching on AIM, Najib said that tens of thousands of entrepreneurs and small traders have benefitted from the agency, with 99.2% success rate in recovering the loans given.

When AIM was established in 1987, the Government loaned it RM858 mil in its efforts to help entrepreneurs and small-time business people.

“From time to time, AIM used its profits to pay back the Government loans, even though I have never forced them to do so when I was the premier.

“During this pandemic crisis, the Government should be channeling more funds to AIM, so that the latter can disburse them to help small traders, not asking the agency to pay back its loans,” the Pekan MP remarked. – Feb 25, 2021

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