Sarawak Deputy Premier: Affin Bank and MASwings Acquisitions Not Linked to MA63 Negotiations

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Dr. Sim Emphasizes Commercial Nature of Acquisitions

Sarawak Deputy Premier Affin Bank and MASwings Acquisitions Not Linked to MA63 Negotiations
Sarawak Deputy Premier Affin Bank and MASwings Acquisitions Not Linked to MA63 Negotiations

KUCHING (May 30): Addressing misconceptions surrounding Sarawak’s recent acquisitions, Datuk Amar Dr. Sim Kui Hian clarified that the purchases of Affin Bank shares and MASwings are not part of the negotiations under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).

Dr. Sim, the Deputy Premier, dismissed notions that Sarawak’s demands under MA63 included these acquisitions. He emphasized that the transactions were commercial in nature, with the state government buying shares rather than demanding them.

“Some people in West Malaysia thought that we are demanding but we are paying, we are buying (for Affin Bank and MASWings) and it is commercial,” Dr. Sim explained to reporters after the White Cat Statue Gawai Dayak lighting-up ceremony in Padungan.

Highlighting the open market aspect of the acquisitions, Dr. Sim pointed out that any entity with sufficient funds could pursue similar purchases. “Anyone can go and buy Affin Bank if you’ve got money. Sabah can go and buy; Selangor can go and buy; Johor can go and buy you know. We don’t stop other people from buying,” he asserted.

The Deputy Premier revealed that the state government’s initial request was for a license to operate its own flights. However, following discussions, the decision was made to acquire MASwings.

“We just said give us the licence so we have our own flights and since our Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has decided, since you want the licence, then why not buy over MASwings,” Dr. Sim elaborated.

He underscored the importance of clarifying the nature of the acquisitions, stating, “I want West Malaysia to understand that we are buying. You can pay also if you want to — not as if we get it for free.”

Turning to the Covid-19 situation, particularly the recent surge in cases in Singapore, Dr. Sim reassured that present measures were adequate. With direct flights to Kuching from Singapore, he emphasized the Health Ministry’s vigilant monitoring of the situation.

Dr. Sim emphasized the need for proactive testing and treatment, stating, “Living with the Covid-19 virus means everyone should test themselves and, if positive, visit the nearest clinic to get Paxlovid to help speed up recovery.”

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