PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Barisan Nasional opposes any suggestion for the Malaysian government to dispose part of its stake in Petronas in order to pay off the country's debts.
In a statement issued on Tuesday (May 29), Umno headquarters' strategic communications unit said that the government should instead think of ways to increase the Petronas' performance within and outside the country rather than take the easy way out.
"Barisan Nasional and Umno do not agree with any reason whatsoever if the government plans to sell 25 per cent of its holdings in Petronas to settle debts which have been politicised," it said.
The statement appears to be in reference to an article in The Star last Saturday (May 26), titled, Listing of Petronas among options to increase revenue.
It stated that according to investment circles, the government had many options, some bold and creative, for it to raise finances to cover not only the revenue gap but to also reduce the Government debt of RM1 trillion.
One option was the public listing of Petronas.
The article also quoted an unnamed investment banker who said that the disposal of a 25 per cent stake in Petronas during a listing exercise could easily raise between RM150 billion (S$50 billion) and RM200 billion.
The statement by Umno headquarters' strategic communications unit also denied the government's claim that the country's debts totalled more than RM1 trillion.
It then questioned how the government would come up with the remaining RM800 billion to pay off the country's debts if it managed to raise RM200 billion from the sale.
"Is Pakatan Harapan planning to sell shares in other big companies or privatise some of the present agencies?"
The Umno statement asked whether the government would invite foreign interference in the country's government-linked companies.
It also said that it was possible that Pakatan would think of ways sell off part of the government's stake in Khazanah Nasional and Permodalan Nasional Bhd.