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TJ MK AWSJ: Mokhzani Berundur dari Kepentingan Bisnes
By Leslie Lopez
1/5/2001 6:22 am Tue
Mokhzani berundur 'nama' dari dunia koporat dengan
melepaskan pegangannya di dalam Pantai dan Tongkah. Hanya
pembeli Pantai diketahui siapa tetapi yang memiliki Tongkah
adalah Bare Trustees yang tidak diketahui siapa dibelakangnya.
Ramai analis berpendapat Mokhzani seperti terdesak menjual
sahamnya di saat harga agak murah. Belia dikatakan sedang
dihenyak hutang peribadi RM200 juta banyaknya.
Mokhzani adalah satu-satunya anak Mahathir yang aktif di dalam
politik sambil berniaga. Daim dikatakan kurang senang dengan
beliau dan beberapa anak Mahathir yang lain. Pengaruh Mokhzani
dikatakan adalah sumber Daim dan Mahathir berkrisis. Daim amat
geram sikap Mahathir yang berdegil untuk meletak batu asas
kesinambungan kepimpinan dalam Umno serta amat kecewa dengan
beberapa karenah perniagaan anak-anak Mahathir.
Hubungan Tun Daim dan Datuk Mokhzani renggang berikutan satu
kes penjualan saham Bank Phileo Allied Bhd. Melalui Avenue
Assets Bhs, Mokhzani memegang 18% saham bank itu yang mempunyai
Rm1.2 bilion tunai dalam tangan. Beliau bercadang untuk menjualnya
kepada peniaga Hong Kong yang bernama Lee Ming Tee untuk
melangsaikan hutang peribadinya tetapi cadangan tersebut telah
ditolak oleh pihak regulator saham yang melapurkan kepada Daim.
-Terjemahan Ringkas Man Kubur-
Malaysian Prime Minister's Son Retreats From Business Interests
By LESLIE LOPEZ
Staff Reporter of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia -- In an unusual move, one of Prime Minister
Mahathir Mohamad's sons declared last week he was giving up his
business interests in a bid to protect the family name and to dull
attacks accusing his father's administration of nepotism.
But some analysts said Mokhzani Mahathir's move may be tied to the
political intrigue gripping the government after the recent decision
by Daim Zainuddin, Malaysia's powerful finance minister, to take a
two-month leave of absence, amid talk of a widening rift between the
finance chief and Dr. Mahathir.
Analysts also said Datuk Mokhzani's decision to sell his interests in
two listed concerns -- Pantai Holdings Bhd. and Tongkah Holdings Bhd.
-- highlights how the nexus of business and politics in Malaysia has
become a serious drag on Dr. Mahathir's efforts to shore up his waning
political clout over the ruling United Malays National Organization,
or UMNO, party.
"By getting out [of business] Mokhzani has done well because it
removes any opportunity for attacks against his father about favoring
his sons in business," says Shahrir Samad, a senior member of the UMNO
Supreme Council, the party's main policy-making body.
The U.S.-trained petroleum engineer sold his 32.8% interest in Pantai
for 56.9 million ringgit to little-known businessman Lim Tong Yong,
who controls listed soapmaker Paos Bhd. The deal values each Pantai
share at 2.80 ringgit, a steep discount to the roughly seven ringgit a
share Datuk Mokhzani paid for his holdings in Pantai when he took over
the company in 1996, investment analysts say.
Less certain are the terms for Datuk Mokhzani's disposal of Tongkah, a
debt-heavy investment holding company. Datuk Mokhzani announced late
last week that he had sold his 12.6% interest in Tongkah through Bare
Trustees, a nominee concern. The identity of the buyer remains
In a brief telephone interview, Datuk Mokhzani said he was giving up
his business interests because of the repeated attacks from political
opponents that his rise in the corporate world has been because of his
political ties. "I'm fed up with all these allegations. In this
political climate, everything these companies do is construed as
favoritism, and this is unfair to other shareholders of the
Datuk Mokhzani couldn't be reached over the weekend to discuss whether
the sale of these companies would help settle his personal debt
On his plans, Datuk Mokhzani said he wanted to "take a step back and
reassess" his position, adding that he was considering spending more
time in politics.
One oft-cited case of alleged favoritism by the Mahathir
administration is the move in mid-1998 by Petroliam Nasional Bhd., or
Petronas, to acquire the shipping assets of Mr. Mirzan, who was facing
financial problems at the time. While most analysts concede that the
national oil corporation paid a fair price for those shipping assets,
the use of a state agency to pay cash for a politically well-connected
company without a competitive bidding exercise stoked allegations of a
Datuk Mokhzani is the premier's only son who is active in politics,
and many UMNO officials say his clout within the party has increased
significantly in recent years.
Several political analysts and businessmen close to the government say
that his growing influence has been a source of irritation to Dr.
Mahathir's relationship with Finance Minister Tun Daim. Many people
close to the two politicians say Tun Daim has griped in recent months
about Dr. Mahathir's reluctance to put a leadership succession in
place. Tun Daim has also expressed frustration over the business
dealings of the premier's children.
Several businessmen note that relations between Tun Daim and Datuk
Mokhzani were ruffled recently over the proposed disposal of
real-estate firm Avenue Assets Bhd., a listed company in the Pantai
group. Avenue Assets holds 18% of Phileo Allied Bhd., a
financial-services company that has a 1.2-billion-ringgit cash hoard.
Datuk Mokhzani was planning to sell the company to Hong Kong
businessman Lee Ming Tee. But the proposed deal, which people close to
the transaction say would have covered much of Datuk Mokhzani's
personal debt obligations, was thwarted owing to strict conditions
imposed by Malaysia's stock-market regulators, who report to Tun Daim.