(Petaling Jaya, Saturday): Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said in Kuala Trengganu yesterday that the Petronas, MISC and Konsortium Perkapalan deal was not a bailout and that the government has asked Petronas and MISC to engage an independent valuer to determine the price of the assets they intend to purchase from Konsortium Perkapalan Bhd. and its subsidiaries.
He said preferably they should engage a foreign valuer as this would help rebut insinuations by the foreign media and to eradicate any impression that the deal is to bail out Konsortium Perkapalan Bhd. which is headed by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamadís son, Mirzan.
He said the assets, comprising 44 vessels for transporting liquefied natural gas (LNG), liquefied substance and dry commodities and bulk cargo as well as a controlling stake in Asia LNG Sdn Bhd and Asia LNG Transport Dua Sdn Bhd, should be valued at current market price to further avoid any allegation of manipulation. The government should put up a convincing case in Parliament next week that five bail-outs are not underway, three involving EPF bailing out UEM, Sime Bank and KUB, in the fourth case with the government bailing out Bank Bumiputra and fifthly, Petronas bailing out Konsortium Perkapalan Bhd.
Yesterday, Anwar also said that earlier skepticism of the decision by KUB Malaysia Bhd to divest its 30.01% stake in ailing Sime Bank Bhd. to purchase a 32 per cent stake in Malaysia Mining Corporation (MMC) from Permodalan Nasional Bhd alleging it was a bailout had been proven wrong and baseless once again as KUB made the purchase at RM2.50 per share which is actually higher than MMCís last quoted price of RM2.30 per share.
Public dismay over the bailout of KUB cannot be so easily dispelled. It has been reported that KUB is likely to be involved in a share swap with Permodalan Nasional Bhd. over the acquisition of the 32 per cent stake in MMC for RM668.91 million.
Instead of paying the RM668.91 million in cash for the shares, KUB will pay PNB in the form of new shares in RHB Holdings Bhd. which Rashid Hussain Bank would issue to it for its 30.01 stake in Sime Bank.
If the whole KUB exercise is not a bailout, a proper and satisfactory explanation should be given as to why in the RHB buy-up of Sime Bank, KUB, which owns only 30 per cent of Sime Bank, would be getting RM670 million while Sime Darby gets only RM100 million for 60.35 per cent of Sime Bank.
It serves no purpose to blame the foreign media for regarding these corporate exercises as bail-outs, as they are also regarded by Malaysians as bailouts. What is important is to present a convincing case to all, local as well as foreigners, that the government has not reneged on its assurance that there would be no bail-out or corporate restructuring in its effort to restore confidence.