KUALA LUMPUR: Certain quarters have been trying to use their high-level connections to acquire Pharmaniaga Bhd below market value, revealed defence minister Mohamad Hasan.
Speaking at the launch of the Armed Forces Fund Board (LTAT) Strategic Plan 2023-2025, Mohamad, also known as Tok Mat, said the matter was even raised at Cabinet meetings.
“There were people who made bids through top leaders to buy our company at a low price (but) I refused. Over my dead body,” he said.
“Let me handle this. Let us manage this company together, and I am sure we can revive it.”
Pharmaniaga was classified as a Practice Note 17 (PN17) company in February after it posted a net loss of RM664.39 million in the fourth quarter of its 2022 financial year (FY2022).
The company is controlled by Boustead Holdings Bhd, which holds 52% of its shares.
LTAT is Boustead’s parent entity. LTAT also holds an 8.6% direct stake in Pharmaniaga.
In an apparent reference to the controversies surrounding LTAT, Mohamad said the pension fund should not betray the trust that has been placed on it.
He also stressed that such controversies would reflect poorly on him as the defence minister. LTAT is a statutory body under the purview of the defence ministry.
“I do not want to meddle too much (in LTAT’s issues) but, at the end of the day, I’m the one in charge of it,” he said.
This comes as the finance ministry established a special purpose vehicle (SPV) to take over Boustead Naval Shipyard Sdn Bhd (BNS), the company responsible for the controversial littoral combat ship (LCS) project.
The LCS project, said to be the largest defence procurement in Malaysia’s history with a total cost of RM9 billion, came under intense scrutiny last year after the Public Accounts Committee revealed that not one of the six ships had been completed although Putrajaya had paid out RM6.08 billion.
BNS is a subsidiary of Boustead Heavy Industries Corporation Bhd, which is a unit of Boustead Holdings.
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