I didn’t mean PNB, Pua says on sale of government assets

PETALING JAYA: Damansara MP Tony Pua today sought to clarify his recent comments on the possibility of Putrajaya selling government assets in order to pay its RM1 trillion debt, announced by Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad at an investors conference last week.

Pua, who is political secretary to Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng, said he had elaborated at a subsequent panel that this might involve the realisation of value of selected non-core assets held via entities like Khazanah Nasional Bhd or Permodalan Nasional Bhd (PNB).

“I would like to make a clarification and correction to my statement above that any sale of our assets, if at all, will not involve PNB.

“This is because while PNB is an entity incorporated and managed by the government, the funds and investments by PNB belong to the unit holders, not the government,” he said in a statement.

He also apologised for any confusion that might have arisen from his comments, saying it was unintended and much regretted.

During a panel discussion at the “Malaysia: A New Dawn” conference on Oct 9, Pua said Khazanah and PNB would review and offload non-strategic assets as part of the government’s cost-cutting drive.

He said Khazanah, as one of the stakeholders and key government-linked companies, and PNB will be reviewing their stakes.

This followed Mahathir’s comments at the same conference that the sale of some of the country’s assets might be necessary to pay off debts accumulated under the previous administration.