Anwar should direct Yong Teck Lee to uphold the two key factors of transparency and accountability to restore confidence and to give the public a full explanation of the Warisan Harta-NBT deal

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling Jaya, Friday): Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim declared in Kota Kinabau yesterday that transparency and accountability are among the key factors required to overcome the adverse economic situation facing the country and restore public and investor confidence.

Anwar should direct the Sabah Chief Minister, Datuk Yong Teck Lee to uphold the two key factors of transparency and accountability to restore confidence and to give the public a full explanation of the Warisan Harta-North Borneo Timbers Bhd (NBT) deal.

Anwar said the Sabah State Government had given him a full explanation on the controversial share swap deal involving Warisan Harta and Suniwang Holdings Bhd. in connection with the purchase of three million NBT shares by Warisan from Suniwang.

A government which is committed to transparency and accountability could not leave the following questions about the Warisan Harta-NBT deal hanging unanswered:

Firstly, whether it is not true that the entire Warisan Harta-Suniwang deal over the three million NBT shares on Dec. 22 last year involved the following elements:

Warisan Harta bought 3 million NBT shares from Suniwang at RM31.50 per share, or a total sum of RM94.5million.

This involves a share swap, where

On paper, the positions of Warisan Harta after the complex exchange with Suniwang involving share swaps and cash payment is supposed to be as follows:

At the end of the complex deal, Warisan Harta is supposed to get the following:

Thus, even on paper, Suniwang would have a better bargain, getting RM182.4 million worth of 32 million shares in return for the swap of 3 million NBT shares, 4.79 million Sungar Bun shares and RM50 million cash, which totalled only RM180.9 million - making Warisan Harta losing RM1.5 million in the bargain.

But in reality, Warisan Harta has lost more than RM1.5 million as its so-called RM180.9 million worth of the complex deal has depreciated considerably as a result of the crash in the fall in the value of both NBT and Sugar Bun.

At the close of trading this morning, NBT was traded at RM8.10 per share, which means that the worth of 3 million NBT shares is only RM24.3 million and not RM94.5 million, the price it paid, incurring a loss of RM70.2 million. The price of Sugar Bun at the close of trading this morning was RM5.10 per share, or a loss of RM12 million.

Harta Warisan has therefore lost a total of RM82.2 million for buying over the 3 million NBT shares and 4.79 million shares from Suniwang. This loss figure would be RM83.7 million if the RM1.5 million loss in the full exchange is taken into account.

Yong Teck Lee has studiously avoided explaining whether Suniwang had paid Warisan Harta the RM50 million cash, which would have mitigated the loss from RM83.7 million to RM33.7 million.

The people of Sabah are entitled to ask whether Harta Warisan has lost RM83.7 million or RM33.7 million.

In his explanation last week, Yong claimed that Warisan Harta had acquired three million NBT shares without having to pay a single sen, and in addition getting RM50 million cash as part of the deal.

It is time that Yong tell the people of Sabah and Malaysia the whole truth in keeping with the principles of transparency and accountability as underlined by Anwar in Kota Kinabalu yesterday.


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