RM1.20 plunge in Tenaga’s shares yesterday a powerful no-confidence vote by the market on the appointment of Jamaludin Jarjis as new Tenaga chairman

Media Statement (3)
by Lim Kit Siang 

(Petaling Jaya,  Tuesday): Probably no corporate appointment in Malaysian history has been met with such an avalanche of adverse market reactions as Datuk Jamaludin Jarjis’ appointment as the new Tenaga Nasional Bhd. chairman, replacing Tan Sri Ahmad Tajuddin Ali.

The adverse stock market reaction to Tenaga shares is a powerful vote of no confidence in Jamaludin, with Tenaga shares plunging RM1.20  yesterday, which is Tenaga’s biggest  decline in two years and  a 9.8 per cent dive  to RM11 - the share’s biggest  one-day drop since Sept 8, 1998 and the lowest since Jan 12 this year.

Tenaga's fall alone dragged down the market's key share index by over one per cent yesterday. The KLSE Composite Index was down 3.1 per cent, slipping 23.50 points to 743.52.  Speculation of Jamaludin's appointment had already driven down Tenaga shares, which  closed 3.9 per cent lower last Friday.

There was further bad news for Tenaga yesterday  when  Prudential-Bache Securities downgraded its ratings and 2000 profit forecast  for Tenaga, cutting  its call on Tenaga to "accumulate" from a "strong buy", saying the departure of executive chairman Tajuddin Ali was negative news and there was uncertainty over the capability of Jamaludin.

The strongest objection to Jamaludin’s appointment as Tenaga chairman is that it is a political appointment, as he is not only UMNO MP for Rompin, but Barisan Backbenchers’ Club Chairman and Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee  in Parliament.

With his political responsibilities and commitments, there can be no public confidence in  Jamaludin’s appointment as Tenaga Chairman as nobody would believe that he would be able to put public interest above political or party interests.

As Jamaludin’s appointment  as Chairman of one of the biggest state-run utilities  companies is completely incompatible with his position as UMNO MP, BBC Chairman and PAC Chairman,  Jamaluddin must choose one or the other - and if he decides to continue as  Tenaga Chairman, he must   relinquish  his three parliamentary positions, resigning not only  as Chairman of PAC and BBC, but  also as MP and retire from active UMNO politics.


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman