Wee: When did Khazanah become private company?

PETALING JAYA: A former federal minister has criticised Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad for saying that sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional “is not the government”.

In a Facebook post, Wee Ka Siong said to his knowledge, under the Barisan Nasional administration, the government never sold Khazanah to private parties and that he was shocked by Mahathir’s remarks.

He was commenting on Mahathir’s remarks at a press conference today, in which he said Khazanah was free to do business as it is not the government.

Mahathir was commenting on criticisms over Khazanah’s possible involvement in the third national car project through its subsidiary, Silterra.

“Since when did Khazanah become a private entity under the Pakatan Harapan administration? Is this the shared stand of PKR, DAP, Amanah and PPBM or just Mahathir’s personal view?

“Who is the person who appointed himself as Khazanah chairman recently?

“How is it possible that Khazanah has no links with the government?” said Wee in reference to Mahathir, who was previously announced as Khazanah chairman.

Wee also said if Khazanah wasn’t the government, then why was Economic Affairs Minister Azmin Ali recently interested in its investment into a lingerie company.

“At that time, he said it was about the people’s money. What about now?”

Wee then questioned where Silterra, one of the possible partners for the project, would get the money to invest in the third national car.

He also urged Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng to clarify if any investment by Silterra would involve public funds as he had previously said the third national car project won’t involve public funds and would be a private sector initiative.

Previously, Wee said the government’s decision to name Khazanah subsidiary Silterra as a possible partner for the project cast doubts on Putrajaya’s promise that public funds would not be used.

Wee said Silterra, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Khazanah, was also one of its biggest loss-making companies.