Malaysia opposition says government wants to scrap foreign ownership cap for 1MDB power sale

PKR secretary-general Rafizi Ramli said that the Malaysian government wanted to sell the entire power assets of 1MDB. PHOTO: AFP

KUALA LUMPUR (REUTERS) - A Malaysian opposition leader said on Monday (Nov 16) the government wanted to sell the entire power assets of state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) to a consortium of Chinese and Qatari firms, a move that would go against current ownership laws.

The law caps foreign ownership at 49 per cent. Mr Rafizi Ramli, the secretary-general of the Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), said the Energy Commission, the state body that oversees power assets, has proposed to the Treasury Department to scrap the foreign ownership limit.

"The wish and the suggestion by the federal government go against the existing rule that allows foreign investor to hold up to a maximum of 49 per cent equity stake in the energy sector to protect national interests," Mr Rafizi said in a statement.

Officials at the Energy Commission and 1MDB could not be immediately reached for comment.

1MDB, the subject of multiple investigations amid allegations of financial mismanagement and graft, is seeking to pare back US$11 billion (S$15.66 billion) in debt by selling assets, including Edra Global Energy Bhd.

1MDB said in October that it had received "final, binding and fully funded offers" from three investors, comprising both domestic and international parties.

State power firm Tenega Nasional said it was one of the bidders. Sources have said a Chinese and Qatari firm has also bid for the assets.

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