MIER reviewing viability of RM50b PLUS takeover bid

MIER chairman Tan Sri Dr Kamal Salih speaks during a press conference in Kuala Lumpur October 1, 2019. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
MIER chairman Tan Sri Dr Kamal Salih speaks during a press conference in Kuala Lumpur October 1, 2019. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 6 — The Malaysian Institute of Economic Research (MIER) is reviewing the viability and doability of a proposal from an individual group for the takeover of Khazanah Nasional Bhd’s 51 per cent stake in the Projek Lebuhraya Utara-Selatan (PLUS) Malaysia Bhd.

MIER chairman Tan Sri Dr Kamal Salih said the think tank is evaluating the feasibility of the proposed buyout offer of RM50 billion from the Malaysian individual group.

“The study is expected to be completed by year-end. We will bring the proposal to the government on behalf of the collaborating partners once it is ready,” he told reporters on the sidelines of a discourse par excellence themed “Shared Prosperity Economy: Lessons and Measures” here today.

The discourse was jointly organised by the Academy of Professors Malaysia and MIER.

Kamal said the lock cost of fund from the new proposal is much lower compared to others who wanted to raise bonds in order to finance the takeover.

Without disclosing details of the individuals involved, he said the offer could help the government reduce the toll rates.

 ”The government is in dilemma as it had promised in the election manifesto to abolish tolls. To do this they need to nationalise or privatise the toll (roads). But the government could neither afford to buy back or let go of the stake due to high investments made,” he said.

Kamal said there are many wealthy Malaysians, particularly those with assets overseas, who could take over PLUS and reduce the toll rates to RM3 per entry to cover the maintenance cost.

“Our money overseas is to the tune of RM1 trilion, almost equivalent to our debt. If that money could be brought back, some of it could be used to take over some of these assets,” he said.

Kamal said these resources should be repatriated to the country to generate new industrialisation to spur the economy and bring good impact to the people.

This is in line with MIER’s research plan for the 2019-2023 period dubbed “Crouching Tiger Plan” comprising three main objectives, namely tackling income and wealth disparity, creating a progressive economy that is of high value and knowledge-based, as well as for the country to emerge as a leading economy in Asia, he added. — Bernama

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