Don’t go overboard in debating BlackRock issue, think of country’s interests — Anwar

Any polemics related to the BlackRock issue linked to the Israeli regime could affect Malaysia’s interests as a developing country, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

(The Edge) – Speaking at the July monthly assembly of the Prime Minister’s Department here on Monday, Anwar reminded everyone not to be “excessive” in discussing the controversial BlackRock issue.

Anwar, who is also Finance Minister, explained that the presence of the giant investment company in Malaysia all this while had not hindered Malaysia’s stance in voicing out against the Israeli regime’s atrocities against the people of Gaza.

“History shows that compared with other countries, we (Malaysia) are among the clearest and firmest (in voicing out against Israel); don’t demand more than that. We are a developing country; look at our level of capability. Don’t let a strong desire to show off undermine the country’s interests. That is our principle in general.

“…and the cruelty Israel committed against Palestine is very clear; no one is disputing it. (But) if there is a company like Microsoft or Google showing sympathy towards Israel, we will oppose it. (However) do you think we should close all paths and cooperation with them?” he said.

It was reported that data reviews show BlackRock already has interests and shareholdings worth RM24.7 billion in companies listed on Bursa Malaysia and RM7.9 billion in Malaysian government and corporate bonds.

According to publicly available data, as of May 2024, the global investment firm already holds equity investments in 100 listed companies in Malaysia across all industrial sectors, including three banking institutions in the country.

Anwar explained that in 2018, the then Prime Minister (Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad) had in London emphasised the need for the firm to enter Malaysia, while in 2021, the then Prime Minister (Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin) approved a proposal by the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) to entrust BlackRock with managing a special EPF fund amounting to RM600 million.

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