DAP MPs and leaders to meet EPF Chairman Halim Ali on Wednesday to ask EPF to rescind its RM269.28 million participation in the Time dotCom IPO bailout which has caused RM96.29 million losses in the first week of the company's public debut

Media Conference Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling Jaya, Monday):  DAP MPs and leaders will meet the EPF Chairman Tan Sri Abdul Halim Ali on Wednesday on the lowest EPF dividend in 25 years when it declared six per cent dividend last year, the EPF's role in Time dotCom initial public offering (IPO) bailout, the safety and quality of the EPF's RM181 billion funds, EPF's accountability, transparency, professionalism and the need for a mechanism for the EPF to be directly accountable to the 9.7 million EPF members.

The 9.7 million EPF contributors want to know why with it its highly-paid and highly-qualified panel of professionals, EPF could invest RM269.28 million to take up 3.22 per cent or 81.6 million shares of the Time dotCom when the market had no confidence whatsoever in the IPO at the price of RM3.30?

According to Malaysian Issuing House Sdn Bhd (MIH), which handled the applications for the Time dotCom IPO, a total of 572 million Time dotCom shares were issued at RM3.30 apiece for the IPO, which is part of the restructuring exercise of the Time Engineering group. Applications were received for only 142.86 million shares, or 25% of the total made available
for public subscription.

Of the total shares issued, 343 million shares were allocated for the public, eligible employees of the Time Group and eligible dealers of Time Wireless Sdn Bhd, and 144.54 million for entitled shareholders of Time Engineering.

According to MIH, 14,558 applications for 29.738 million shares were received in respect of the category of shares made available to the Malaysian public, eligible employees and dealers. This represented a subscription rate of 8.6%.

MIH said the share registrars had reported that application for 28.96 million shares had been received in respect of the restricted offer for sale, for which 144.539 million shares had been allotted. The take-up rate in this category was 20%.

It said the placement of 84.15 million new ordinary shares and ordinary shares to specific investors and a turnkey contractor of Time Wireless had been successfully concluded.

Two stark facts stand out from these figures:

Firstly,  the revelation from the MIH that  if the  placement of 84.15 million  new ordinary shares and ordinary shares to specific investors and a turnkey contractor of Time Wireless is excluded from the subscriptions received, the take-up for Time dotCom's IPO would be only about 12%.

Secondly, excluding Time dotCom shares that were privately placed or subject of restricted offer for sale, individual investors applied for  only 29.738 million shares or a mere pittance of 5.2% of the 572 million shares offered.

When private and corporate investors fight shy of the Time dotCom IPO, as evidenced by the high rejection rate of 80% of the restricted offer for sale, why did the EPF acted like "fools who rushed in where angels fear to tread"?

Did the EPF investment panel act judiciously and  independently when it decided to commit RM269.28 million of EPF funds for 3.22 per cent or 81.6 million Time dotCom shares based on the cirteria of security, liquidity and yield - when every prudent investor  was keeipng a ten-feet barge-pole distance?

If the answer is in the positive, then there is something very wrong with the judgement, competence and professionalism of the EPF Investment Panel, the  EPF Board and their professional advisers and drastic actions should be taken immediately to revamp and replace them as they have become a threat to the safety and quality of the RM181 billion EPF monies.

I do not believe that the EPF Investment Panel and its advisers were able to exercise independent and impartial judgement with regard to the use of the EPF monies in the Time dotCom IPO bailout, which would mean a violation of the statutory duties of the EPF and an unlawful investment of EPF monies.

The EPF Chairman should convene an emergency  joint meeting of the EPF Board and EPF Investment Panel to consider how the EPF could  rescind its RM269.28 million participation in the Time dotCom IPO bailout, as the EPF should be the last institution to be involved in such a bailout for the sake of Renong and Tan Sri Halim Saad at the expense of the life-savings of  9.7 million EPF contributors.

At the end of the Time dotCom IPO bailout, despite its making double history as the country's biggest offering as well as the  biggest flop when it was undersubscribed by 75 per cent, Tan Sri Halim Saad was laughing all the way to the bank as he had ended up RM900 million cash-rich.

Halim Ali should  demand that Halim Saad reimburse the EPF for the RM96.29 million losses suffered by EPF in the first week of Time dotCom's public debut and to rescind EPF's participation in the Time dotCom IPO bailout and impress on his namesake in Renong that under no circumstances should any restructuring, retiring and bailout of some RM25 billion debts of Halim Saad and Renong be at the expense of the 9.7 million EPF contributors.

Time dotCom has again been heading south when the stock market opened this morning, touching RM2.04 per share before 10 a.m. When Time dotCom crashes through the RM2 barrier to reach RM1.98 per share, it would  be equal to a
40 per cent loss of value of the IPO price of RM3.30, and EPF's investment of RM269.28 million in Time dotCom would involve a colossal loss of Rm107.71 million.

The issue at stake is whether one person, Halim Saad, should be allowed to cause the losses of some RM100 million by 9.7 million EPF contributors, or the staggering and astronomical losses of RM574.87 million for the three institutions of EPF, KWAP and Danaharta -  the battle of one versus the rest.

I am very disappointed that the the MTUC President, Senator Zainal Rampak and the CUEPACS President,  N. Siva Subramaniam and four other trade union representatives who sit on the EPF Board have failed to  explain why they had allowed EPF to misuse the EPF funds in the Time dotCom IPO bailout.

It is also shame that not a single Barisan Nasional Minister, Member of Parliament or leader had said a single word in the past week to show outrage and condemnation of the scandalous use of government-linked funds and agencies for the Time dotCom IPO bailout.

Is there not a single Minister or Member of Parliament from UMNO, MCA, Gerakan, MIC or the component Barisan Nasional parties from Sabah and Sarawak who is outraged by the colossal  losses amounting to RM513.90 million  suffered by three institutions of EPF, KWAP and Danaharta  in the past one week as a result of the misuse of their funds in the Time dotCom IPO bailout?

And is there not a single Minister or MP  from the 14 Barisan Nasional parties who dare to speak out to convey  the national outrage over such criminal misapplication of the provident and pension trust funds to bailout one select company and one special individual?

I call on every Barisan Nasional MP taking part in the policy debate, in particular the MP for Arau Mastika Junaidah Husin and the MP for Klang Dr. Tan Yee Kew who would be moving and seconding respectively the Motion of Thanks for the Royal Address beginning tomorrow   to speak out against the scandal of EPF, KWAP and Danaharta bailout of the Time dotCom IPO, jeopardising the retirement funds of 9.7 million EPF contributors and the pensions and gratuities of 800,000 civil servants and to demand full accountability and transparency in the management of funds of
government-linked institutions.

All   Barisan Nasional MPs who dare not  speak out against the  scandal of EPF, KWAP and Danaharta bailout of the Time dotCom IPO in Parliament should not stand up to take part in the parliamentary policy debate  on the Royal Address as they would have failed in their parliamentary duties to represent the people's interests against that of one person - Halim Saad.


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman