Penang Port in Peril?


The social costs involved in privatisation of public goods have been obvious since this lazy man’s method of nation building became the fashion in the 1980s. In Malaysia, despite huge losses to the public, privatisation continues, and under dubious and less-than-transparent conditions. Penang Port is up next.

The present controversy about Penang Port Sdn Bhd (Penang Port) saw for once members from both sides of the political divide come together in agreement. Penang Port is 100% owned by the Ministry of Finance, but the federal government Cabinet has recently made the decision to privatise it fully to Seaport Terminal, one of many logistical companies owned by the billionaire Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary.

The Penang state government has opposed this move, warning that businessman Syed Mokhtar would strip the port of its assets, including its seven cranes for shipment, to his Tanjung Pelepas Port (PTP) in Johor.

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