Call for Securities Commission and  KLSE investigation into the last three-minute manipulation of the stock market  by TMT stocks for the past three months

Media Conference Statement 3
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling Jaya, Tuesday): On 24th March 2001, I had called on the Securities Commission and the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange to  investigate market manipulations in  the stock market  through massive  institutional  purchases of  TMT stocks- Telekom Malaysia Bhd, Malayan Banking Bhd and Tenaga Nasional Bhd -  in last three minutes of trading to jack up the Kuala Lumpur stock exchange composite index (KLCI).

I had referred in particular to what happened on 21st March 2001 when the local bourse had earlier in the day plunged to a 23-month low of 638.5 points  in early trading after investors dumped heavyweights, but  at the end of the day’s trading, the KLCI  rebounded strongly to close at 673.24 following  institutional buying of  the Big Three “TMT” stocks - Telekom Malaysia Bhd, Malayan Banking Bhd and Tenaga Nasional Bhd - especially in the last three minutes of trading.

It had been conservatively estimated that RM19 million worth of purchases for the Big Three “TMT” stocks took place in the last three minutes on 21st March and that in the last 30 seconds, the KLCI  was pushed up 13.18 points from 660.06 to 673.24.

Such institutional manipulation of the KLSE in the last few minutes of trading again took place on Friday, 23rd March 2001, when some RM16 million of institutional interventions through the TMT stocks in the last two minutes before the end of trading pushed  up  the KLCI by two points in the last 30 seconds from 667.26 to 669.27 at 5 p.m.

The three government-controlled TMT stocks of Tenaga, Maybank and Telekom together make up almost 40 per cent of the index's capitalisation and wield a powerful influence on market direction.

Last Friday KLSE executive chairman Mohd Azlan Hashim denied that there had been price manipulation in blue chips to shore up a sliding Malaysian market.

He said: "When you talk about movement in the marketplace, it is not really that unusual or something that you don't expect to see."

He said the KLSE  surveillance and investigation divisions monitored the market continuously and would investigate the situation if warranted.

I am flabbergasted by such complacency shown by the KLSE executive chairman which is not calculated to enhance public confidence in corporate governance and integrity of the KLSE.

Yesterday, such last-minute institutional manipulation  of the stock market to boost up the KLCI before the end of trading again took place where over six million ringgit purchases of the TMT stocks pushed up the KLCI in the last minute of trading by 4.77 points from 645.97 points at 4.59 p.m. to 650.74 points at 5 p.m.

If not for the last-minute RM6 million institutional intervention to purchase the TMT stocks, jacking up the KLCI by 4.77 points, the KLCI would have ended yesterday lower than Friday’s index of 646.13, which would not look good especially when the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr.Mahthir Mohamad would be presenting the Third Outline Perspective Plan (2001-2010) in Parliament today.

It is not very flattering for the transparency and integrity of the KLSE that it could be so easily manipulated just to create the “feel good” atmosphere for the Prime Minister to present the OPP3 in Parliament!

Indeed alarming questions are raised by yesterday’s last-minute institutional interventions to buy over RM6 million TMT stocks, as illustrated by the following:

Stock      4.59 pm     5 pm     last-minute     last-minute
                                change          volume

KLCI       645.97      650.74   4.77 pts

Tenaga     RM11.60     RM12.10                  200 lots
Maybank    RM12.40     RM12.60                  500 lots
Telekom    RM11.60     RM11.70                  200 lots

Questions crying out for answer are:

  1. How did Tenaga’s price jump 50 cents in the last minute from 4.59 p.m. to 5 p.m.?  If there had been institutional manipulation of the KLSE in the last minute of trading, could there be abuses where private individuals in the know could buy in at lower prices at the beginning of trading to benefit from the last-minute institutional purchases at artificially jacked-up  and pre-determined prices?
  2. The price of Telekom was RM11.60 at 4.57 p.m. There was no trading for the next two minutes of 4.58 p.m. and 4.59 p.m.  How did it jump ten sen to RM11.70 in the last minute?
  3. What  are the funds running into millions and even tens of millions of ringgit involved in the last-minute institutional purchases to manipulate the KLCI - were EPF, Pensions Trust Fund, Tabung Haji and other government-linked funds and agencies involved?

Despite the denial by the KLSE executive chairman of last-minute institutional interventions in the KLSE to manipulate the KLCI, I understand that such stock market manipulations have been going on for the past few months.

The Securities Commission and the KLSE must act firmly to protect their own credibility as well as the transparency and integrity of the stock market by launching a comprehensive inquiry into stock market manipulations, particularly in the last few minutes of trading in  the past three months.

I propose meeting the KLSE executive chairman Mohd Azlan Hashim on these market manipulations and to ask for the records of all stock market trading in the last few minutes in the past few months, as KLSE possesses such records - unless these information have suddenly become a state secret under the Official Secrets Act.


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman