October 24, 2012
Kudos to Bung Mokhtar: Time to Alert the Government
by Nigel Aw (10-23-12)@http://www.malaysiakini.com
UMNO’s Bung Mokhtar Radin (BN-Kinabatangan) today launched a tirade against tycoon Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary for what he described as the businessman’s penchant to monopolise everything under the sun.
Whatever businesses exist in this world, Bung Mokhtar (left) said, Syed Mokhtar wanted the companies pioneered by him to be in them.
“In the sea, he is doing business, on land, he is doing business, in the air, he is doing business.If he can do business in the grave, he will probably do it,” Bung Mokhtar said during the committee stage of the debate on the Budget 2013 allocation for the Finance Ministry.
Bung Mokhtar was complaining about the participation of giant government-linked companies (GLCs) and other private businesses in open tenders for smaller projects that he said would deprive smaller companies of business opportunities.
“So what is the policy? I ask that the Finance Ministry explain. These GLCs should not be allowed to participate in the smaller open tenders, they should focus on their mega projects,” he said.
‘Rakyat angry over monopoly’
After only briefly raising the matter, Bung Mokhtar, who is also BN backbencher deputy chairperson, then went on to repeatedly hammer at Syed Mokhtar.
“Why, when we speak about mega project, there is Syed Mokhtar. This is not a fair business for smaller players. There are many other Malay bumiputeras that want to succeed like him. Don’t let him monopolise everything alone, this is a bad strategy and the Finance Ministry must re-look at it. Other people want to live and do business on this earth too,” he said.
Bung Mokhtar added that the government must act as the people are angry about this and want to see that mega projects are carried out transparently.”This is a problem, he has already taken Penang Port, now he wants to take Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTMB), he wants to take the MRT, he wants everything… It is enough what he has done in Penang.
“They (Opposition) say UMNO has cronies, he (Syed Mokhtar) is the real crony. We don’t have cronies, where is wrong, we will say it out,” he said.
Bung Mokhtar warned that if such monopolies are allowed to continue, especially for mega projects, it will eventually hurt the economy. Pointing to the example of Tajudin Ramli (right) who had controlled Malaysia Airlines, he said eventually it was the government that had to take responsibility for the ailing carrier.
Bank Negara should have acted sooner
This was not the first time he has targeted Syed Mokhtar as he, in June this year, took the tycoon to task for wanting to take over Penang Port in a privatisation exercise.
He had then also criticised the government for treating certain businessperson, including Syed Mokhtar, like “princes“.
Bung Mokhtar, in the house today, also criticised Bank Negara, pointing out the fiasco that ensued after a crackdown on gold investment companies such as Genneva would not have happened if it had acted earlier.
“If Bank Negara investigated five years ago, this incident would not have happened.It is as if Bank Negara never knew about this and has only recently awoken, they have been sleeping before this,” he said.
Investors with such companies have been up in arms after they abruptly found their investments hanging in the balance after Bank Negara moved in on the companies.