SUBANG JAYA, March 12 — Former Khazanah Nasional Bhd managing director Tan Sri Mohd Sheriff Mohd Kassim said today he was surprised when the prime minister claimed the state investment firm was set up to help the Bumiputera.
Speaking at the ‘Malaysian Strategic Financial Outlook Forum’ earlier today, the member of pro-moderation group G25 said he had deliberated as to whether Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad was given different information on Khazanah’s role.
“When Tun Mahathir came up with the statement, we were all surprised and wondered [about] his intention or whether somebody has been feeding him some new ideas.
“But I am happy to say there was a meeting between the MD at the time and Tun was given the explanation… he was reminded what Khazanah was set up for and he had accepted it,” said Mohd Sheriff, referring to Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar who resigned from Khazanah on July 26, 2018.
Dr Mahathir had in last July said Khazanah was created to support Bumiputera equity in Malaysia but had diverged from this objective.
He said the fund was expressly set up to prop up the value of shares allocated to the community and prevent these from being sold off to other groups.
The Edge Media Group chief executive Datuk Ho Kay Tat said at the forum that Khazanah was never established to support the Bumiputera.
He said there were other agencies set up for this purpose.
“I don’t know where it was coming from… there were other agencies that were supposed to help develop Bumiputera.
“When Tun said that, there were some concern whether it was an indication that the government wants to sell some of these assets back to entrepreneurs,” said Ho before about 100 participants at the forum, which was organised by the Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute (ASLI).