KUALA LUMPUR, May 25 — The government should address claims of an Israeli-linked company holding stakes in Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB), said former Bangi MP Ong Kian Ming.

Free Malaysia Today reported Ong as urging the government, Khazanah Nasional Bhd, and Employees' Provident Fund (EPF) to hold a press conference to clarify the deal, rather than wait until the next parliamentary session to clear the air.

“When the Parliament session comes next month, they will have to answer these questions eventually. Instead of waiting and allowing the opposition to control the narrative, why not confront the issue directly with a public engagement through a press conference?” the portal quoted Ong saying in the latest episode of his podcast, “Are We OK?”

His statement comes after reports that Khazanah and EPF announced plans to take over MAHB through a consortium and privatise the airport operator. Khazanah will increase its stake in MAHB from 33.2 per cent to 40 per cent and EPF from 7.9 per cent to 30 per cent , giving Malaysian investors a 70 per cent stake in MAHB.

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The remaining 30 per cent will be held by two parties: Abu Dhabi Investment Authority and Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP), a subsidiary of BlackRock, one of the world’s largest asset management companies, which has investments in several defense industry enterprises.

The government is now facing pressure to drop its deal with GIP as BlackRock reportedly owns major shares in companies that manufacture arms that supply Israel, enabling it to continue its actions against war-torn Palestine.

Ong also said that Transport Minister Anthony Loke's response to a memorandum opposing the deal as he had reportedly advised Machang MP Wan Ahmad Fayhsal Wan Ahmad Kamal to send the memorandum to the appropriate authority, as his ministry only serves as a regulator for MAHB and is not involved in its business deals.

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“This response may not be proactive in addressing whether the MAHB board was consulted on the privatisation,” Ong said.

Ong said it was important to properly clarify this issue to the public.

“It makes sense to have a press conference where the government can explain the rationale behind this privatisation exercise,” he said.