Another Brick in the Wall
If three is a crowd, four is a party.
It came to the attention of this blogger that the pioneer of PLUS, Tan Sri Halim Saad and Dato Wong Gian Kui entered a bid for PLUS.
The offer is for Khazanah’s 51% stake for RM5.3 billion and came with 25% discount on toll rates. The discount is not the interesting part of the offer. For comparison, Guan Eng announced an 18% discount during Budget 2020 and MAJU offered a higher 36% discount.
The issues raised against Khazanah in the letter of offer relate to PLUS’ debt status.
Where did all the money raised by PLUS go to?
In the letter sighted, question was raised as to why PLUS still has an unpaid debt of RM31 billion on the 31st year of operation after the original 30-year concession.
The concession was awarded to UEM/PLUS for RM3.4 billion in 1988 for 30 years.
Secondly, since 2012, PLUS collected RM24.5 billion toll revenue, but had only paid RM700 million of its debt. It still has RM30.6 billion. Sukuk debt outstanding.
Where did the money go to?
The letter highlighted that the government still has a guarantee of RM11 billion till 2038, failing which, the government will end up having to pay on a bullet or one-go repayment.
PLUS underwent various corporate restructuring and fund raising exercises over the years, including its public listing.
In the letter of offer, Halim will assume the whole debt of PLUS. The concession will remain so till 2038 with the EPF expected IRR of 10% to be met.
Nor Yakcop is Mahathir’s hatchet-man assigned to seize assets of Malay corporate entrepreneurs such as Halim who were all involved in privatisation exercise during Mahathir’s fourth term.
That exercise saw the end of Malay industry captains developed through the New Economic Policy.
The subsequent administration had to undertake an institutional approach to spearhead the Malay economic agenda. The loss of BN in GE14 resulted in the institutions coming under DAP control and are now being systematically dismantled.
With only a handful of Malays with the financial capacity, the Malays lost their grasp in big business.
Halim lost the suit in court and did not pursue it to the higher court.
Talk is Halim had, voluntarily or “involuntarily”, signed for the transfer. The documentations are in order and are difficult to be disputed in court.
The RM5.3 billion bid is certainly interesting. If there is injustice, he could seek that redemption in the hereafter.
It is unlikely for him to acquire PLUS for free. Even to acquire with money, it is competitive.
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