What financial guarantees had Halim Saad given that he could honour the multi-billion ringgit "put option" to UEM and whether minority UEM shareholders could sue Securities Commission or KLSE for compensation for losses suffered from such an exercise?


Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling Jaya, Tuesday): The Securities Commission, the Foreign Investment Committee and the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange should give full and satisfactory explanation to the investing public why they had believed that the expected outrage at the FIC reinstatement of the waiver for UEM could be neutralised by the announcement that Renong executive chairman Tan Sri Halim Saad has agreed to a "put option" requiring him to purchase up to the entire amount of UEM’s newly acquired Renong stock at the same price UEM paid for it last year.

Under the "put option", Renong Executive Chairman, Tan Sri Halim Saad, gave the option to UEM to sell him all the Renong shares UEM purchased at cost to him exercisable after two years.

What financial guarantees has Halim Saad given that he would have the financial capability to honour his multi-billion ringgit pledge - and if there are no financial guarantees, could the minority UEM shareholders sue the various regulatory agencies, whether Securities Commission or Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange, for compensation for losses suffered from such an exercise?

Market sentiments had been strongly negative as seen by yesterday’s one-minute 30 per cent limit down and suspension of UEM, as it is viewed as giving Halim Saad interest free credit for two years.

It is most shocking that the new KLSE executive chairman Mohd Azlan Hashim declined at his first press conference yesterday to comment on the waiver reinstatement to UEM and parties acting in concert from having to make a general offer for Renong Bhd. Shares that UEM does not already own. Azlan said: "I am not familiar with the whole issue".

The new KLSE executive chairman should realise that he has imperilled his credibility with such an evasive reply, as it is his job to completely familiarise himself with all the ins-and-outs of the UEM-Renong corporate scandal, as it is a test case of the credibility and integrity of the KLSE as well as the new KLSE Chairman to ensure that the Kuala Lumpur stockmarket has a level playing field for all investors.

The KLSE should explain why UEM and Renong were traded for a minute yesterday before suspension again.

This is because a Securities Commission statement yesterday that the counters were suspended to allow time for investors to digest the latest development on the Renong-UEM deal and to provide for the wider dissemination of the information implied that it was a KLSE mistake to allow the two counters to be traded yesterday.

UEM and Renong would be the focus of the market when it is requoted for trading at the KLSE tomorrow.

(13/1/98)


*Lim Kit Siang - Malaysian Parliamentary Opposition Leader, Democratic Action Party Secretary-General & Member of Parliament for Tanjong