Malaysian taxi drivers have had their suspicions of government backing behind Uber confirmed after it was revealed that Khazanah Nasional Berhad has been investing in the ride sharing service. Khazanah’s director Mohd Raslan Md Sharif has confirmed that the state-owned investment arm has an indirect interest in Uber through an investment in General Atlantic LLC.
It is unknown how much KNB is investing, although Uber itself is currently valued at about $51 billion (about RM218 billion). However, it should be noted that the state owned sovereign wealth fund is an independent entity, and is unlikely to actually have influenced any government policy against ride sharing services as a whole.
Despite this, Klang Valley Taxi Drivers Action Committee (JKBPTLK) chairman Zailani Isa Usuludin accused the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission of aiding Uber’s growth in the country. Zailani also accused the Ministry of Finance of being the invisible hand behind the rapid expansion of ride sharing services in the country.
Naturally, Zailani also stuck to the script and suggested that an injunction against Uber’s operations would be filed later this month. He also claimed that a similar injunction would be filed against the MCMC; despite the Commission having nothing to do with the regulation of ride-sharing apps.
It is not unusual for sovereign wealth funds to have a diversified portfolio, although it is a little surprising to see KNB being linked to Uber. To be fair, it isn’t a direct link as the investment first goes through a third party; but it is a link nonetheless. With that being said, we’re still wondering how the MCMC keeps getting dragged into this mess.
[Source: The Sun Daily]