'If Syed Mokhtar falls sick, there goes the country'
Reliable information that UMNO-linked tycoon Syed Mokhtar Al Bukhary has been given the approval to conduct a due diligence study on KTM Berhad has caught the attention of PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu .
“I have been told he has obtained approval to conduct due diligence on KTM Berhad, is this another act of fattening UMNO’s political war chest?” he asked.
Mat Sabu cited sources who said that the BN government would be receiving a kickback by stripping KTM Berhad’s assets.
He said such maneuvers were done in the case of Maju Expressway's sale at RM1.7 billion without recovering the public fund invested into the project.
The Kuala Lumpur-Putrajaya highway, funded by some RM1 billion in public funds, was sold by Maju Holdings Sdn Bhd to EP Manufacturing Berhad (EPMB). Maju Group chairman, UMNO-linked Abu Sahid Mohamad had invested a mere RM60 million into the project but was said to have handsomely profited from the sale without returning the public money.
Mat Sabu also pointed out rumours that Syed Mokhtar had also offered to take over PLUS highway. If true, he said the tycoon would be having an overwhelming control over the country’s logistic sector.
“At present, he controls several ports and there is plan to acquire other ports in the country.
"So if he catches fever, Malaysia will pass out,” he quipped.
Syed Mokhtar has recently acquired Penang Port, having owned the ports of Johor and Tanjung Pelepas through his flagship enterprise, MMC. It was said that he was eyeing Northport Berhad at Klang port.
“If Syed Mokhtar is successful in acquiring PLUS and KTM and 60 percent of the country’s export has to go through those ports along the Malacca Straits, just imagine how powerful he is," said Mat Sabu, who also pointed out speculation that former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad was behind the plan.
Mat Sabu questioned whether Mahathir wanted to acquire all strategic logistic infrastructure in the country so that in the event BN lost power at the coming polls, he would have the power to leverage.
Saying companies linked to the tycoon have a reputation of being saddled with huge liability, Mat Sabu asked what would happen to the country’s infrastructure if Syed Mokhtar’s empire went bust.
“If he stumbles, it means that the government must help him by giving all sort of grants and easy loans. Ultimately, the people bear the brunt,” he said.
Saying it was strange that Syed Mokhtar was allowed to control the country’s infrastructure at will, he suggested that the government might as well sell of the Transport ministry.