How could Tan Koon Swan contemplate joining the Cabinet when he ‘had not slept since Nov.18’ over the Pan El crisis?

by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and Mp for Kota Melaka , Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Wednesday, 4th December 1985:

How could Tan Koon Swan contemplate joining the Cabinet when he ‘had not slept since Nov.18’ over the Pan El crisis?

The new MCA President, Tan Koon Swan, said in a press conference yesterday that his immediate concern was the ‘wound in the party before contemplating whether to join the Cabinet’.

How could Tan Koon Swan contemplate joining the Cabinet when, in his own words, yesterday on the Pan El crisis, he had ‘not slept since Nov.18’ to rescue Pan El, which triggered off the suspension of the Kuala Lumpur and Singapore Stock Exchanges for the first time in history.

With the Pan El ‘baby’ in Tan Koon Swan’s hand, I am not very sure whether the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, would be receptive to the idea of having Tan Koon Swan in the Cabinet at this moment.

I find Tan Koon Swan’s explanation as to why he had ‘not slept since Nov.18’ over the Pan El crisis most baffling and intriguing. Tan Koon Swan had maintain right from the beginning that he was not personally involved in the Pan El crisis, and that his involvement was ‘solely on the basis that any untoward event in the company would have serious ramification on the financial industry in both Malaysia and Singapore because of Pan El’s extensive operations’.

Tan Koon Swan must be the only person in the world who is prepared to spend two ‘sleepless’ weeks over a corporate crisis over which he had no direct involvement . I do not know whether Tan Koon Swan is acting out one of the chief responsibilities of the MCA President, namely to go to the rescue of insolvent public listed companies. Would Tan Koo Swan go to the rescue of the tens of thousands of retrenched workers and unemployed?

Nobody is going to believe that being the main actor in the Pan El crisis; Tan Koo Swan has no interest whatsoever in the outcome of the Pan El affair. His attempt to deny personal interest and involvement in the Pan El crisis would only serve to undermine his own public credibility.

Tan Koo Swan said yesterday that he had no knowledge until Oct, 85 of the $140 million forward contract of the Pan El to buy share in Grand United Holdings and Supreme Corporation. Although Tan Koo Swan is not a director of Pan El nor was he involved in its management, does he expect the public to believe that as executive director of Grand United Holdings and managing director of Supreme, he could have been ignorant of the $140 million forward contract to buy Grand United and Supreme Share for one whole year from Oct. 1984 to 1985?

It is today reported from Singapore that Pan Electric’s forward purchase of shares could be as high as S$250 million rather than the originally reported S$140 million. Tan Koo Swan should give full detail of Pan El’s forward contract purchase of shares, explain how much was meant for the Grand United Holdings shares and Supreme shares respectively, and when Pan El paid $40 million margin deposit margin deposit for the forward purchase, and what has happened to this money, or whether there had been any other payments.

Tan Koo Swan should give the Malaysian public a full explanation of the Pan El crisis, and its ramifications with Grand United Holdings and Supreme, because the Pan El crisis is not a matter of his personal involvement, but concern the stability of the capital market in Malaysia and Singapore, and the direct financial interest of all stockholders in the Kuala Lumpur and Singapore Stock markets.

Tan Koo Swan should realise that with suspension of the Kuala Lumpur and Singapore Stock Exchanges because of the Pan El scandal, ordinary Malaysians have been adversely affected because of the further setback in the financial and economic recovery of the country.

KLSE Chairman’s contradictory directive most shocking in adding further confusion when he should be the pillar of confidence and integrity

The contradictory statement by the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange (KLSE) CHAIRMAN, Abdul Razak Sheikh Mohamood, is most shocking, adding more confusion to the bedlam in the stock market when he should be the very symbol and pillar of confidence and integrity.

When KLSE Chairman announced the suspension of the KLSE on Monday morning, Abdul Razak said that obligations under already made between brokers and clients would remain unaffected by the suspension.

Yesterday, however, the KLSE informed brokers that all payments to or from brokers in respect of outstanding contracts would be withheld until further notice.

I find Abdul Razak’s response to queries about the motive of such contradictory directives, whether it was to protect ‘certain quarters’ in Particular the ‘short-sellers’, even more shocking, when he said “There are no short sellers under the Securities Industry Act.”

A Chairman of the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange who is not prepared to admit the existence and widespread practice of ‘short sellers’, not to mention the unhealthy effect such ‘short-sellers’ bring to the stock market by turning it into casino , is not fit to remain as the guardian of the stock exchange.
If Abdul Razak is not mindful of his duties to protect the stock exchange from the pernicious practices of ‘short-selling’, and in fact, is party to KLSE decision to contradict his earlier statement by halting all scrip delivery which help ‘short-sellers’, then he should resign as KLSE Chairman, and let others take over the watchdog role.

Call on Education Minister to release quota for government-sponsored student so that more Malaysian private students could pursue higher studies in Australia and New Zealand

The latest shock for Malaysian students intending to further higher studies overseas is the decision by Australia’s newly-established Overseas Students Office to reject applications for the further studied by hundreds of Malaysians even before they receive their matriculation examination results. Many of the rejected students have passed the required English proficiency tests, the results of which were announced three weeks ago.

The rejection letters were received two or three days after the matriculation examination which ended on Nov. 25. Previously, rejection and approval letters were based on both the English test the matriculation examination results, which are announce in January.

The Minister of Education, Datuk Abdullah Badawi, should intervene directly with The Australian education authorities, who seem to have broken their word not to restrict the entry of Malaysian students into the country for higher studies.

I understand that the Malaysian Government had got the Australian and New Zealand government to agree to reserve certain quota of places for the government-sponsored students. As a solution to the present problem faced by Malaysian students intending to pursue higher studies in Australia and even New Zealand, I would call on Datuk Abdullah Badawi to release the quota for government sponsored students so that more Malaysian private students could pursue higher studies in Australia and New Zealand.

The sponsored students the government had intended to send to Australia and New Zealand should be educated locally, which would save the country considerable, as it costs the government four times the amount to sponsor a student abroad than to sponsor him locally.