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Najib questions Khazanah's sale of hospital chain for RM8.42bil

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Former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak has questioned Khazanah Nasional Berhad's sale of a 16 percent stake in IHH Healthcare Berhad to Japan's Mitsui & Co for RM8.42 billion.

"The world's second largest hospital can no longer be known as a Malaysian-owned group nor can it be a national pride as it is owned by a Japanese group.

"It will not be impossible at the group's chairperson who has all this while been a Malaysian, would be replaced by a Japanese soon.

"The country is losing an opportunity to build a global multi-national company," he said in a Facebook posting.

Najib said that when he came into office as prime minister in 2009, The Pantai Group hospitals were only worth RM5.2 billion.

The Pekan MP said during his time, the group acquired other hospitals including Singapore's Parkway group and was in 2010 restructured as IHH.

"After this group was listed on Bursa Malaysia, its value increased to RM25.6 billion.

"Today, IHH is estimated to be valued at RM50 billion and the largest group in Malaysia with 14 hospitals and also four in Singapore, 21 in Turkey and nine in India.

Najib said the sale at RM6 per share was below IHH's 2018 peak of RM6.42 and blamed the current fall in share price on the Pakatan Harapan government.

According to Bloomberg's data, IHH's share price had fluctuated at around the RM6 maark until August.

Subsequently, the share price began to slump and hit a low of RM4.54 per share on November 13.

The downtrend coincided with the currency crash in Turkey, where IHH has a large number of hospital.

IHH's share price closed at RM5.25 a share yesterday.

Najib questioned if the sale was intended to boost Khazanah's dividend to the government to cope with the abolition of the Goods and Services Tax.

"What other assets will be sold?" he questioned.

The new government has had to deal with a revenue shortfall after reverting to the Sales and Services Tax (SST) on top of inherited debt from the 1MDB scandal.

The Najib-led Barisan Nasional fell from power in its first defeat in 61 years since independence, amid of accusations that he misappropriated billions in 1MDB funds.

Najib, who is facing criminal prosecution over the alleged misappropriation, has denied wrongdoing.

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