Mahathir: PAC should check MV Agusta sale if evidence calls for it

(Bernama) — The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) should call up Proton Holdings Bhd for clarification over the controversial sale of Italian motorbike manufacturer, MV Agusta, if there is any evidence to give the reason to do so, said former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

"If they (PAC) have any evidence, they should (call up Proton to provide explanation). I think it is very wrong. You buy for RM300 million and sell for RM4," he told Business Times and Bernama when met at the KLCC Suria here while shopping with his wife, Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohamad Ali.

He was responding to the PAC's move to call up Proton Holdings for clarification on the sale of MV Agusta for one euro.

It is understood that the chairman of PAC Datuk Azmi Khalid wanted Proton Holdings to explain the sale in 2006.

Proton had acquired a 57.75 percent stake in MV Agusta in December 2004 for 70 million euro (RM367.6 million). The company however decided to sell the stake a year later to GEVI s.p.a for just one euro.

The sale helped Proton to write off the unit's losses from its accounts.

Asked if Petronas chief Tan Sri Hassan Merican will continue to serve the national oil company or retire in view of the recent changes with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak's new administration, Dr Mahathir, who is the advisor of Petronas, said he did not know.

"It is for Najib to decide, not me. I am only the advisor."