Finance minister confirms no plans for Khazanah to inject ailing Malaysia Airlines with RM5b Covid-19 aid

Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz a press conference following a visit to the Employees Provident Fund’s headquarters in Kuala Lumpur June 12, 2020. — Picture by Miera Zulyana
Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz a press conference following a visit to the Employees Provident Fund’s headquarters in Kuala Lumpur June 12, 2020. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

KUALA LUMPUR, June 12 — Malaysia’s sovereign wealth fund does not plan to provide a RM5 billion assistance to the national airline bleeding losses due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz said today.

The finance minister who is also board member of Khazanah Nasional Berhad refuted news reports that had been circulating of such a cash injection.

“No, I have never heard of such a thing,” Tengku Zafrul said during a press conference following a visit to the Employees Provident Fund’s (EPF) headquarters along Jalan Raja Laut.

International business wire Bloomberg quoted anonymous sources yesterday as saying that Khazanah is mulling a plan to provide as much as RM5 billion to assist Malaysia Airlines due to the drop in bookings resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Tengku Zafrul also said the ministry is not planning to provide bailouts or financial assistance to the aviation industry in general.

Malaysia Airlines itself issued a statement yesterday and said it has not received any commitment by Khazanah to do so.

In his first official visit to EPF’s headquarters as minister, Zafrul expressed his confidence in the fund’s management of its assets.

“As of the end of 2019, EPF has approximately RM924.75 billion in assets. Its report for the first quarter of 2020 will be released in the nearest future.

“Presently EPF has 14.6 million members and 7.6 million active contributors. The fund has done well in managing its assets throughout,” he said.

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