This is a media statement just released by Aliran:
Here’s another example of how privatisation has not benefited the people.
In 2014, Penang Port Sdn Bhd was privatised to Syed Mokhtar Albukhary’s Seaport Terminal (Johore) Sdn Bhd in a restricted tender for RM170m – a figure that was described as “low” – even though the Penang state government had expressed interest in taking over the port.
Barely three years on, Penang Port Sdn Bhd is now being sold to listed MMC Corp Bhd (which is 52 per cent owned by Seaport Terminal) for RM420m. This means Syed Mokhtar’s Seaport Terminal makes an easy profit of RM210m by flipping the port, which reportedly has over RM1.2bn in debt, over to a listed company.
The profits from Penang Port (last year profit after tax was RM67m) have been effectively “privatised”.
But the dredging of Penang port, estimated to cost around RM350m, has not yet been done. The Penang state government is crying foul as it claims Seaport Terminal was supposed to see to the dredging to deepen the port waters from 11m to 15m. The deepening of the Penang channel was deemed necessary so that larger ships could call at the port.
Did Penang lose out to other major ports in the country, including the Port of Tanjung Pelapas, which falls under Syed Mokhtar’s empire, because the dredging has not yet been carried out?