Malaysia’s Anwar under pressure to abandon BlackRock airport deal over Israel arms ties

But opposition and civil society groups say Anwar and his administration had failed to back up tough words with action, after a consortium including UK-based Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP), bought by BlackRock in January, will announce a voluntary offer on May 15. acquire all shares of Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB).

“As the world knows, BlackRock is the main financier of arms companies that supply weapons that enable genocide in Gaza,” Chua Tian Chang of the Palestinian Solidarity Secretariat said at a rally outside Kuala Lumpur on Thursday.

“At this critical juncture, national assets are going to be handed over to foreign elements that go against the aspirations of the Malaysian people.”

Malaysians have been actively boycott business It is believed to have links to Israel and the United States, causing huge losses to local franchise owners of fast food giants McDonald’s and KFC and US coffee chain Starbucks.
Earlier this month, the Malaysian government was pilloried by the boycott movement. allowing participation from American arms manufacturer Lockheed Martin, which makes the F35 fighter jets used in the Israeli bombing of Gaza, at a defense fair in Kuala Lumpur.

With about 7 percent of Lockheed Martin, BlackRock is the company’s third-largest investor.

In March, the government denied opposition claims that MAHB would be sold to GIP, with Transport Minister Anthony Loke telling parliament the reports were an inaccurate assumption.

But last week’s announcement by the Gateway Development Alliance consortium revealed that Malaysia’s sovereign wealth fund – Khazanah Nasional and national private retirement fund EPF – are set to increase their collective stake in MAHB to 70 per cent. Meanwhile, the remaining 30 percent will be held by the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority and GIP, the BlackRock entity.

MAHB operates all but one of the country’s 40 airports, according to Transport Ministry data, and also owns and manages Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen International Airport in Turkey.

The proposed deal, which is estimated to cost 18.4 billion ringgit ($3.9 billion) when completed in the coming months, has the backing of the Transport Ministry.

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KFC Malaysia temporarily closes some stores amid boycott against Israel

KFC Malaysia temporarily closes some stores amid boycott against Israel

The issue may struggle to find its footing due to the complicated nature of such trade deals, but the government has also been accused of failing to respond to concerns raised by critics, said Syaza Farhana Mohamad Shukri, head of the political science department at the International Islamic Organization. University of Malaysia.

“I don’t think the government has done enough (to address the criticism). There are pros and cons that people will forget about it, but it can be raised again,” Syaza told This Week in Asia.

Chua, however, said doing business with entities that have ties to Israel runs counter to Malaysia’s public opposition to the primarily Jewish state’s attack on Gaza and criticism of the U.S. government’s refusal to “prioritize human rights and humanity”.

“Do not jeopardize our future and our international relations, the credibility and performance of this country, just because we see this as a matter of dollars and cents,” said Chua, former leader of Anwar’s People’s Justice Party.

“We suggest that the government conduct an in-depth audit to ensure that we are free of Zionist links, so that we are consistent.”

Anwar and the government should also live up to public expectations by countering Israeli interests, especially in the case of BlackRock, which has been “the biggest cheerleader for the genocide,” said Muhammad Rafique Rashid Ali, Pejuang party’s information chief. .

“If the people can do everything they can to boycott (Israel and the United States) and support the (Palestinian) struggle, then today’s government must do everything they can to support it,” Rafique said at Thursday’s rally.

“It is important to send a clear message: we will not engage with anyone who supports genocide.”