Johor to discuss with SAJ Ranhill’s biggest shareholder on possible takeover

Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin (third from left) showing the Johor Budget 2018 book before entering the state assembly at Bangunan Sultan Ismail in Kota Iskandar, Johor on Nov 23. Looking on are State Public Works, Rural and Regional Development Committee chairman Datuk Hasni Mohammad (left), Housing and Local Government committee chairman Datuk Md Jais Sarday (second from left), State Secretary Datuk Azmi Rohani (second from right) and Johor Tourism, Domestic Trade and Consumerism Committee chairmanDatuk Tee Siew Kiong (right). - ABDUL RAHMAN EMBONG/The Star

ISKANDAR PUTERI: The state government is open to all options if it wants to increase its existing equity in the water operator company SAJ Ranhill Sdn Bhd.

Johor Public Works, Rural and Regional Development committee chairman Datuk Hasni Mohammad said the exercise would be done through a discussion with the major shareholder.

He said there would be no mandatory general takeover by the state government to increase its existing 20% to 51% and eventually emerging as the single largest shareholder in the company.

“If we were to do it (the exercise), we will do it mutually and not through a hostile takeover,’’ Hasni told reporters during a break outside the state assembly hall here on Sunday.

He was asked to comment on suggestions made by Ayub Jamil (BN-Rengit) and Ali Mazat Salleh (BN-Bukit Permai) on whether the state government has plans to up its 20% in SAJ Ranhill to 51%.

Hasni said the state government would sit down with the largest shareholder of SAJ Ranhill – Ranhill Holdings Bhd president and chief executive officer Tan Sri Hamdan Mohamad – on the matter.

Ranhill is currently the exclusive water operator for Johor through SAJ Ranhill which accounted for almost 75% of total revenue in 2016.

“It is up to him (Hamdan) if he wants to reduce its stake in SAJ Ranhill which could pave way for us to up our equity in the company.

If the exercise is implemented, it is a pure business decision,’’ he added.

Hasni said the state government only involved in monitoring the operations of the water operator company to ensure it was able to provide water supply in Johor including increasing or decreasing water tariffs.

He said the decision on capital and operating expenditure of SAJ Ranhill was the prerogative of the company as the state government had no say in the day-to-day management of the company.

Hasni said Johor was the only state where water operator comes under a private company.

Meanwhile, state Tourism, Trade and Consumerism committee chairman Datuk Tee Siew Kiong said a feasibility study would be conducted to develop Tanjung Leman into an international tourism destination.

He said the East Coast Economic Region had identified the 404.68ha along the Tanjung Leman coastal line which has the potential to become the tourist playground in Mersing district.

“We expect to investments worth RM3bil in the tourism-related projects to be undertaken over 13 years,’’ said Tee.

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