Friday, June 13, 2014

Indian business group chides Francis Yeoh over ‘crony capitalism’ issue

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Indian business group chides Francis Yeoh over 'crony capitalism' issueThe Malaysian Insider – 6 hours ago

YTL Corporation's Tan Sri Francis Yeoh (pic) should not forget that he has become a rich man with the help of the Barisan Nasional government, an Indian business group said today, in an obvious rebuke to the business tycoon's recent remarks about crony capitalism in the country.

The Malaysian Associated Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MAICCI) secretary-general Datuk M. Davendran also challenged Yeoh to reject stakes in the Johor power plant, the Bestari.net school wireless plan and other government projects to prove that he has not benefitted from Putrajaya's sweetheart deals.

Instead, Davendran pointed out that Yeoh had a history of benefitting from the government dating back to the 1990s when YTL Power International was given a contract to build an Independent Power Producer (IPP) during the administration of former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

"Yeoh had clearly contradicted himself gravely on the matter of crony capitalism as he had obviously built his wealth with government help.

"Those who live in  glass houses should not throw stones and Tan Sri Francis Yeoh should be smart enough to know this," Davendran said.

"If Yeoh was sincere about dispelling the notion that he was a party to sweetheart deals from the government, he should reject the stake in the 4A power plant deal involving Tenaga Nasional and the Sultan of Johor as well as the Bestari.net project, too" he added.

Not stopping there, Davendran also called on Yeoh to provide details of government projects and the gains from such projects over the past 25 years.

This he added, was necessary to proof Yeoh's assertion that 80% of his business was done abroad, in suggesting that there was minimal presence of his businesses in Malaysia given his unhappiness over the government's dealings with the private sector.

Yeoh got embroiled in controversy recently following a news report that he alleged inaccurately portrayed what he told an audience at a talk at government agency Pemandu.

Francis was quoted as lamenting the culture of crony capitalism in Malaysia and added that cronyism and the current penchant for racial and religious rhetoric was holding back Malaysia on the global stage.

He also allegedly said that the bulk of YTL's business was now in Singapore, the United Kingdom and Australia – jurisdictions where there was meritocracy and rule of law and where a businessman did not have to kow-tow to the prime minister.

He later clarified that during the presentation he attempted to dispel the notion that crony capitalism was rife in Malaysia.

He also denied that YTL received the IPP concession because he was a crony of Dr Mahathir. – June 13, 2014.

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