Approval for GLC to buy shares in DreamEDGE given by previous govt, says minister

International Trade and Industry Minister Darell Leiking.

KUALA LUMPUR: The international trade and industry ministry today clarified that the previous administration had given approval for a government-linked company to buy shares in DreamEDGE, the firm that will produce Malaysia’s third national car.

Its minister Darell Leiking said VentureTECH Sdn Bhd is owned by the Malaysian Industry-Government Group for High Technology (MIGHT), a government agency.

VentureTECH, previously known as A-Bio Sdn Bhd, had purchased a stake, reportedly about 10%, in DreamEDGE in 2017.

“Pakatan Harapan was not yet the government. But a certain prime minister who was also the finance minister probably authorised MIGHT and its subsidiary to enter into DreamEDGE,” Leiking told reporters after officiating the Malaysia Aerospace Summit here.

He was asked to comment on Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s statement two days ago that he had not given approval for MIGHT to buy shares in DreamEDGE.

Mahathir was responding to MCA president Wee Ka Siong, who claimed that Leiking and Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng had lied about the funding for the third national car project which they had said would be privately financed.

This followed confirmation by DreamEDGE that the government had invested in the company.

Leiking today said the individual who had made the allegations “did not know the whole story”.

“I pity him,” he added. “It’s sad, but he is learning to be a good opposition.”

He said DreamEDGE had assured that it would not seek government funds, adding that the government would not bail out the project if it fails.

On claims by Sabah Umno Youth chief Aziz Julkarnain that Chief Minister Shafie Apdal and his Warisan-led state government had ruined Sabah’s economy, Leiking said the 6.7% drop in Sabah’s GDP in less than a year was a legacy from the previous administration.

“Those (in the previous administration) who abused their power, that led to this,” he said.

Leiking, who is Warisan deputy president, said whenever his ministry announced positive news, some quarters would attribute it to the work of the previous government.

“So in this case, if he accuses Warisan of being the cause of the drop in GDP in Sabah, it is also easy for me to say it is the work of the previous government,” he said.

Leiking defended Shafie, saying the chief minister had brought in several potential investors and was making progress with the civil service.

“He is doing as much as he can despite all the challenges before him.”