Former premier Najib Abdul Razak today alleged the government was focusing on minor losses incurred by Khazanah Nasional Bhd, while ignoring the major gains made by the sovereign wealth fund.
In a Facebook post, Najib questioned why Economic Affairs Minister Mohamed Azmin Ali's was picking on Khazanah's failed investment of US$20 million (RM80 million) in an online lingerie business.
“Azmin forgot about the company's RM6 billion profit from business with Alibaba, as well as billions more from IHH Healthcare, a subsidiary of Khazanah.”
According to Najib, Khazanah's investment in the online lingerie business, called Zivame, was done using the RM6 billion profit Khazanah gained from doing business with Alibaba in 2014.
"As a strategic investment company, Khazanah's objective is generating income as well as investing to benefit the country and this could involve investing in the garment business.
"Khazanah's overseas investments could also help Malaysia become a global player and not remain a 'jaguh kampung' and this, in turn, will benefit the rakyat," he said.
Najib also pointed out that the online lingerie business was still operational and "expanding" and said the "so-called losses" revealed by Azmin have yet to be ascertained.
"Online businesses normally incur losses first, but may reap in huge profits later," he said.
Khazanah, overall, has been a success story, Najib said, with the fund upping the value of its assets from RM33 billion to RM134.5 billion during his stint as the prime minister.
"Khazanah had also paid billions in dividends to the government and spent billions on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programmes.
"The 'unspoken' gains of Khazanah will be used by the government as one of the sources to fund the void left by the abolishment of GST," alleged Najib.
Khazanah's board of directors last week offered to resign en masse after Mahathir's criticism that Khazanah had strayed from its original objective.
The government accepted the resignations with Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad now its chairperson and Economic Affairs Minister Azmin Ali one of its directors.
Others on the board are Mohd Hassan Marican, who is also a member of the Council of Eminent Persons, Sukhdave Singh and Goh Ching Yin.