Ahli parlimen Petaling Jaya Utara memberitahu wartawan bahawa soalan tersebut yang diajukan kepada Kementerian Kewangan dihalang oleh Speaker Dewan Rakyat kerana ia berdasarkan andaian.
“Jika kumpulan syarikat mempunyai hutang sebanyak RM34.3 billion, dan apabila tidak mampu untuk membayarnya, kemampuan syarikat yang lain untuk membayar hutang juga akan terjejas.
“Pada tahun 1997, kerajaan terpaksa menebus hutang syarikat, dan terpaksa membeli LRT, memberi pinjaman kepada Tan Sri Halim Saad yang berjumlah RM3.2 billion yang tidak dibayar balik,” kata Pua yang merujuk kepada syarikat kumpulan Renong semasa krisis ekonomi pada 1997.
Pua berkata, beliau kesal bahawa Datuk Seri Najib Razak, yang juga merupakan menteri kewangan, tidak menjawab soalannya hari ini kerana ia bakal mendedahkan risiko kepada krisis ekonomi.
“Syarikat beliau (Syed Mokhtar) berhutang sebanyak RM34.3 bilion, lebih dari sepuluh peratus dari hutang korporat nasional, dibandingkan dengan Renong sebanyak RM20 bilion, iaitu cuma lapan peratus.
“Ini adalah perkara serius dan bakal menjadi masalah kepada kewangan dan industri perbankan di negara ini,” kata Pua lagi.
Syed Mokhtar memiliki syarikat perhotelan Tradewinds, MMC Corporation dan pada awal tahun ini telah berjaya dalam bidaan untuk menswastakan Pelabuhan Pulau Pinang yang mendapat kritikan dari kedua belah ahli politik Barisan Nasional (BN) dan Pakatan Rakyat (PR).
Timbalan pengerusi Majlis Ahli Parlimen Barisan Nasional (BNBBC), Datuk Bung Mokhtar Radin berkata, “Syed Mokhtar umpama raja kerana banyak bank di belakangnya.”- malaysian insider
Is gov't hiding something about Syed Mokhtar's debts?
The government may be hiding details of a "potential economic disaster" from the public, claims an opposition MP.
"I suspect they are hiding something about the commercial debts of business tycoon Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary's (right) business empire.
“It is a potential economic disaster waiting to happen," alleged Petaling Jaya Utara parliamentarian Tony Pua.
He alleged that the situation is similar to what happened when the Renong group collapsed last time, throwing the economy into near chaos as its over RM20 billion debts to local banks then became mad debts.
As of now, Pua alleged that Syed Mokhtar's group is borrowing in excess of RM34 billion from financial institutions.
The Petaling Jaya Utara MP told reporters that his attempt to raise the issue in Parliament was thwarted when the Speaker rejected his question to the Finance Ministry on the basis that his query was based on assumptions.
“I did not pick these figures from the sky. These figures are based on annual reports published by the companies themselves as well as memos forwarded to Bursa Malaysia,” Pua (picture) said.
He reminded reporters that when he raised a question on how much the tycoon’s companies owed in an earlier parliamentary session, the Finance Ministry had said the figures were confidential.
“Listed companies must publish an annual report detailing information of their debts. So it is public information, not confidential information,” he said.
“This is unhealthy for the country and this could create a potential financial disaster for us in the years to come,” Pua said.
“If a group of companies owe RM34.3 billion, when one entity cannot pay its debt, the ability of all the companies to pay their debts will be affected.
“In 1997, the government had to bail out companies, they had to buy out the LRT, give a loan to Tan Sri Halim Saad who had to pull of a corporate exercise and this led to RM3.2 billion not paid back,” Pua said, referring to the collapse of the Renong Group during the financial crisis in 1997.
Pua said he regretted that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who is also finance minister, chose not to answer his question in Parliament today as the debt also raises the risk of a financial crisis.
“His (Syed Mokhtar) companies owe RM34.3 billion, more than 10 per cent of the national corporate debt; Renong owed about RM20 billion, which was only 8 per cent.
“This is a serious matter and a threat to the finance and banking industry of this country,” Pua said.
Syed Mokhtar has holdings in hotelier Tradewinds, MMC Corporation and earlier this year won the bid to privatise Penang Port which sparked criticism on both sides of the political aisle.
Barisan Nasional (BN) Backbenchers Club deputy chief Bung Mokhtar Radin has said that “Syed Mokhtar is like a king with so many banks backing him.”- malaysiakini/malaysian insider