Sarawak aims to dominate Malaysia’s banking landscape with July 19 Affin Bank blockholder takeover

Abang Johari addressing a press conference to announce the ASSAR annual interim dividend at Hikmah Exchange Event Centre on July 5, 2024.

By Shikin Louis and Karen Bong

KUCHING, July 5: Sarawak is paving the way to become a dominant player in Malaysia’s banking landscape with the anticipated finalisation of its takeover of a sizable block in Affin Bank on July 19.

Premier of Sarawak Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg expressed confidence in this strategic move and gaining hold of another entity, as he highlighted the historical context where Sarawak previously had six banks, which were withdrawn.


“The Sarawak government will takeover an entity (referring to a commercial bank) as the majority blockholder, which is related to stocks (financial instruments).

“However, I will not reveal further details today. Let’s wait until we get to the official signing ceremony which is expected to take place on July 19,” he told a press conference to announce the ASSAR annual interim dividend at Hikmah Exchange Event Centre today.

Abang Johari emphasised that having its own bank will significantly enhance Sarawak’s role in the country’s banking sector.

“This is the positive sign. We are going to be a dominant player in the banking business in Malaysia. We will play a crucial role.

“While Amanah Saham scrutinises certain portfolios, I look at the micro portfolios to leapfrog Sarawak’s economic growth,” he added.

In February, Abang Johari announced that the Sarawak government would become a blockholder in Affin Bank, with the majority stake owned by Sarawakians, aiming to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

By early May, the Sarawak government is waiting for approval for its acquisition of a maximum 32 per cent share in Affin Bank, as permitted by Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM). Presently, Sarawak holds a 4.95 per cent stake in the banking group and is interested in acquiring an additional 15 per cent from the Armed Forces Fund Board (LTAT), which directly owns 29.7 per cent of the total shares.

According to initial reports, these shares will be managed by Sarawak Incorporated Sdn Bhd (SISB), a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Sarawak government through the Sarawak Financial Secretary Incorporation.

Established in 1998, SISB aims to serve as the strategic investment arm of the Sarawak government. — DayakDaily