Offers must meet demands, Dr M says on PLUS takeover

KUALA LUMPUR: Dr Mahathir Mohamad says Putrajaya will consider any offer by companies keen to acquire highway operator PLUS Malaysia Bhd although these must meet the government’s demands.

“If they meet our demands, we will entertain their offers,” the prime minister told reporters at the Parliament lobby here today.

He added that a committee is reviewing ways to deal with the country’s debts and will provide its suggestions soon.

On Saturday, PLUS’ majority shareholder Khazanah Nasional Bhd reiterated that it would not sell any of its strategic assets.

Khazanah managing director Shahril Riza Ridzuan said the group had so far rejected all takeover offers from local and foreign private entities, adding that “we are not interested in selling”.

Khazanah owns 51% of PLUS while the remainder is owned by the Employees Provident Fund. The highway operator was taken over in 2011 with a transaction value of RM32 billion.

On Malaysia Airlines, Mahathir said there had been many offers from both foreign and local companies.

He said the government had not spoken to Japan Airlines on its purported bid to purchase a stake in the national carrier.

“But it’s up to Khazanah to decide,” he added.

On talk of obtaining a second Samurai bond loan from Japan, he said the purpose of the money must first be identified.

On the whereabouts of fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho, Mahathir said there had been no progress so far.

Top cop Abdul Hamid Bador recently said that police know the location of Low, better known as Jho Low, and are hopeful of bringing him back by year-end to assist in investigations into 1MDB.