Concern over Penang Port bid by Syed Mokhtar

Concern over Penang Port bid by Syed Mokhtar

Posted on 29 May 2012 – 05:26am

GEORGE TOWN (May 28, 2012): Three MPs are questioning whether Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar al-Bukhary would turn Penang Port into a feeder port for his operations in Johor if his privatisation bid for the former was succesful.

Tanjung MP Chow Kon Yeow said the Finance Ministry had on March 29 confirmed that Seaport Terminal (Johore) Sdn Bhd, which is a holding company for the Port of Tanjung Pelepas (PTP) in Johor, had initiated due diligence process on Penang Port while in the final stages of completing a reported sale-and- purchase agreement with MOF Inc, the Finance Ministry’s investment arm.

Both Seaport Terminal and PTP are owned by Syed Mokhtar.

“The Penang government has written to the prime minister expressing interest to take over the port,” Chow told a press conference with Bukit Mertajam MP Chong Eng and Bukit Bendera MP Liew Chin Tong here yesterday.

Chow said the federal government must explain why there was no open tender if the move was confirmed.

The three MPs expressed concern that Seaport Terminal may potentially engage in “asset stripping” by transferring seven Super Port Panamax cranes, recently bought by Penang Port and which can cater for 8,000 TEU vessels, to PTP.

“It is strange that the government approved the purchase of the cranes but did not dredge the port,” Chow said.

Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin had announced in April 2010 that the RM351 million dredging scheme for the northern part of the Penang channel, which has been delayed, would be included in the 10th Malaysia Plan.

The project has yet to take off. The port needs to be deepened from the current 11.5m to 14.5m to receive large transhipments from 4,000 TEUs ships (20-footer equivalent) to 8,000 TEUs vessels.

Chow also asked Penang Port Commission chairman Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek, who is also MCA president, to deny he had rejected the proposal to dredge the channel during a meeting of the National Economic Council on Aug 8 last year.

Penang Port chairman Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahaya said there had been no decision on the privatisation.

He denied that that the port would be turned into a feeder port if privatised.

He said that due to Penang’s location there was a huge potential to tap into the the lucrative market catchment around the Indian ocean, including India, Bangladesh, Thailand and northern Sumatra.

 

http://www.thesundaily.my/news/390991

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