Malaysian tycoon Vincent Tan divests stake in company after ECRL controversy

Reports said that Mr Vincent Tan's investment might be linked to the Malaysian government's decision not to scrap the East Coast Rail Line project.
Reports said that Mr Vincent Tan's investment might be linked to the Malaysian government's decision not to scrap the East Coast Rail Line project.PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Malaysian tycoon Vincent Tan Chee Yioun said he will be divesting his entire stake in T7 Global Bhd, a contractor for East Coast Rail Line (ECRL) project, after reports his investment may be linked to the government's decision not to scrap the the RM55 billion (S$18.6 billion) project.

Tan Sri Tan, who founded and controls Berjaya Group, one of the country's largest conglomerates, is seen as a close associate of Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.

"These news reports are mischievous and appear to imply a sinister link between my acquisition of a substantial stake in T7 Global and the decision of the Pakatan Harapan government not to cancel the East Coast Rail Line (ECRL) project despite earlier reports to the contrary," he said in a press statement yesterday (June 26).

"I believe these news reports and social media comments are intended to embarrass me and the new government in Putrajaya," he said.

Mr Tan explained that he acquired a stake in T7 Global because the company was well-positioned in the oil and gas services industry, and he was acquainted with its major shareholder.

"I had no knowledge that T7 Global is one of the contractors for the ECRL project when I purchased shares in the company," he added.

Mr Tan said he had begun disposing of some of his shares in T7 Global as of Monday, and intends to dispose of his entire stake in due course.

When asked about the matter at a press conference on Monday, Tun Dr Mahathir had said he was not aware of Mr Tan being a shareholder of T7 Global.

Mr Tan also clarified in his statement that there is no truth to reports that he had invested in a financial startup developing a trading platform called Bitcoin Formula, or that he will be donating RM525 million to Tabung Harapan, the fund set up to help tackle the country's RM1 trillion national debt.