Groups, activists to gather as pressure grows for Anwar to axe deal with 'genocide-tainted' BlackRock

groups, activists to gather as pressure grows for anwar to axe deal with 'genocide-tainted' blackrock

Groups, activists to gather as pressure grows for Anwar to axe deal with 'genocide-tainted' BlackRock

Civil society activists, social media influencers, politicians and NGOs will be coming together to protest the government's move to bring a company owned by US investment giant BlackRock into a consortium to manage airports in Malaysia, in what has been seen as mounting pressure on the firm facing accusations of involvement in Israeli war crimes.

The "Tolak BlackRock" forum tomorrow will see speakers such as former health minister-turned-podcast personality Khairy Jamaluddin, former Kedah menteri besar Mukhriz Mahathir, and former foreign minister Saifuddin Abdullah.

The forum, to be held at the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall, will also feature NGO leaders such as Nazari Ismail, who leads the local chapter of global anti-Israel movement Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS), and Azmi Abdul Hamid, who heads the Malaysian Consultative Council of Islamic Organisation.

Hishamuddin Rais, a veteran activist among those behind the forum, urged the public to "come and hear what BlackRock is about".

"How is BlackRock related to Malaysian airports, Israel and the Palestine (conflict)?" he said in a short clip.

Tian Chua from the Palestine Solidarity Secretariat which is organising the forum said the event was not aligned with any political group.

The former PKR vice-president said it was intended to spread public awareness on the risk of BlackRock's involvement in the management of the country's assets.

"For example, MAHB will be privatised and will have 45 years of monopoly in the management of airports nationwide, up to 2069," he said, referring to government-owned Malaysia Airports Holdings where a company owned by BlackRock is set to take a 30% stake.

"In the end, we're stuck for 45 years without a way out."

Tian Chua also said Malaysia had had bitter experiences from monopolies.

"Like Bernas, now the government complains about this monopoly that was already signed by the previous government.

"So, we are stuck with a decision that is not in favour of the government," he said, referring to Padiberas Nasional, the company with the sole licence to import rice.

The BlackRock issue has emerged as one of Anwar's greatest challenges since his appointment to the top post, and comes against a backdrop of claims that he is more friendly with the US and Israel, with critics citing past statements including his interview with the Wall Street Journal in 2012 which quoted him as saying that he would "support all efforts to protect the security of the state of Israel".

Anwar has taken pains to change that perception with speeches and statements criticising Washington's support for Israel, in addition to his attendance at meetings with global Muslim leaders in the wake of Israel's bombing campaign in Gaza last year which has so far killed at least 35,000 Palestinians.

Under the plan announced last month, BlackRock-owned Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) will hold a 30% stake in a consortium to manage MAHB, alongside government investment fund Khazanah Nasional and the Employees Provident Fund (EPF), both entities under the jurisdiction of the finance ministry led by Anwar.

BlackRock's well-documented role in strengthening Israel's economy as well as its heavy investments in the US' weapons industry has made it a target of pro-Palestinian protesters who accuse the company of profiting from genocide.

Among the companies in which BlackRock invests are McDonald's and Starbucks, where it is the second largest shareholder, and which have been at the receiving end of a global boycott of Western interests accused of colluding with the Zionist regime.

BlackRock also invests in Lockheed Martin, holding a 7.4% stake in the defence firm.

Lockheed Martin, which has multi-billion-dollar investments in Israel's defence and aerospace industry, came under the spotlight in Malaysia after pro-Palestinian groups protested its inclusion in the Defense Services Asia and National Security Asia exhibition in Kuala Lumpur early last month.

Previously, more than 20 organisations urged Putrajaya to cancel GIP's participation in MAHB, telling the Anwar-led government that its "commendable support for the Palestinian cause will be seen as merely hollow words" if it goes ahead with the plan.

Anwar has defended the decision while training his guns on opposition leaders whom he accuses of "incitement".

GIP's involvement in the deal has also been questioned by aviation experts who say it will not bring any added value to Malaysia's airports.

They also say that airports currently under GIP have not even made it to the list of best airports.

Meanwhile, Tian Chua said the "Tolak BlackRock" forum was not a last resort in the campaign to stop the airport deal and the firm from increasing its stake in Malaysia.

"Ultimately, the government must comply with the will of the people in its decisions.

"This is important because the airport is the most critical infrastructure and the main gateway in Malaysia," he said.

However, Singapore-based Channel News Asia reported that Putrajaya is unlikely to reverse its decision.

"This train has left the station and the time to back out is no longer an option because a formal offer has been made," CNA quoted a finance ministry official as saying.

OTHER NEWS

4 hrs ago

Albertine reunited with her family

4 hrs ago

Honor 200 Lite: 6.7″ 5G smartphone with 108MP camera and 512GB storage for RM1,299

4 hrs ago

US wary of China-Russia cooperation in increasingly strategic Arctic

4 hrs ago

Maybank reassures customers its systems secure amid claims Maybank2u database published on dark web forum

4 hrs ago

Cops find missing girl, 370km away

4 hrs ago

India's Modi sets aside billions for jobs, allies in post-election budget

5 hrs ago

'Cocaine Sharks' Discovered in Brazil Raise Alarm Over Ocean Pollution

5 hrs ago

Retired since 2018, Penang ferry ‘Pulau Kapas’ sinks at Butterworth Wharf

5 hrs ago

Iconic Penang Ferry “Pulau Kapas” Sinks, Leaving Behind A Sea Of Memories

5 hrs ago

Steph Curry scores 13 points vs Germany in Team USA's final showcase game before Olympics

5 hrs ago

US strikes deal with Jasmine Loo to recover US$85 million in funds linked to 1MDB

5 hrs ago

Be more forgiving of George Town Festival 2024 teaser video, says Zaid Ibrahim

5 hrs ago

Taiwan shutters offices ahead of typhoon that worsened rains in the Philippines, killing 8

5 hrs ago

'Green Wave' expected to continue in Nenggiri, but with a slim majority - Analyst

5 hrs ago

Take action against Air Selangor over water cuts, Fomca tells SPAN

5 hrs ago

‘Time Bandits' Review: Taika Waititi's Apple TV+ Take on the Terry Gilliam Cult Classic Rewards Patience

5 hrs ago

Russia charges Russian-German lawyer with treason

5 hrs ago

Who is Israel targeting in its attacks on the West Bank?

5 hrs ago

Russia-Ukraine war: List of key events, day 879

5 hrs ago

Estonia will support Ukraine 'until victory', new PM says

5 hrs ago

Asia markets open lower as traders assess Japan, Aussie business activity data and U.S. tech earnings

5 hrs ago

Barcelona preparing new contract for Fermín López - report

6 hrs ago

Court throws out 2 suits to remove Han Chiang School’s sole trustee

6 hrs ago

K-pop superstar Jackson Wang to attend Louis Vuitton’s new store opening at Pavilion KL tomorrow (VIDEO)

6 hrs ago

PAS leaders met Umno counterparts to revive alliance for GE16? Not with me, president Zahid says

6 hrs ago

Fiorentina’s midfield needs help, and quickly

6 hrs ago

QB Matthew Stafford's reworked contract seems like a win for Rams

6 hrs ago

Iconic Penang ferry 'Pulau Kapas' sinks at Butterworth Wharf

7 hrs ago

Could Brandon Ingram be an alternative to Markkanen for the Warriors?

7 hrs ago

Severe penalty if rep jumps ship, Bersatu Youth chief says ahead of Nenggiri poll

7 hrs ago

Nicolás Maduro: The leader who promised to win 'by hook or by crook'

7 hrs ago

YOURSAY | Double standards over funding for school

7 hrs ago

‘Deadpool & Wolverine' Review: Ryan Reynolds and Hugh Jackman's R-Rated Bromance Is an Irreverent Send-Off to Fox's X-Men Movies

7 hrs ago

Don Buchwald, Longtime Agent to Howard Stern, Dies at 88

7 hrs ago

Las Vegas Raiders free-agent signing abruptly retires from the NFL

7 hrs ago

Artistic works capture China-Malaysia friendship

7 hrs ago

MBSJ urged to prune trees blocking parking bays in Bandar Kinrara

7 hrs ago

'Time Bandits' Review: Lisa Kudrow Is the Reluctant Boss in Apple TV+'s Giddy Time Travel YA Adventure

7 hrs ago

Penang DCM Jagdeep says treating ankle problem, amid rumours of gardening leave to sort out personal issues

7 hrs ago

Gaza release deal has to happen now, hostage's mother says