Tan Koon Swan will save the Chinese community or the Chinese community will now have to save Tan Koon Swan?

Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and Mp for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, at the DAP Serdang Anniversary Dinner New Village, Selangor, on Saturday, Dec. 7 1985 at 8p.m.

Tan Koon Swan will save the Chinese community or the Chinese community will now have to save Tan Koon Swan?

I have received adverse comments and reactions to the Thursday ceremony between Tan Koon Swan and Datuk Wong Tok Chai signing a letter of intent with regard to UNICO Holdings Bhd’s consideration to participate in the equity and management of Grand United Holding Bhd.

Tan Koon Swan, the newly-elected MCA President, has often been described as the ‘Economic Wizard’ with the suggestion that in the future of Chinese economic and political salvation lies in his hands.

However, with the UNICO-Grand United Letter of Intent of participation of UNICO in equity and management of Grand United, the question that arises is whether Tan Koon Swan will save the Chinese community or the Chinese community will now have to save Tan Koon Swan first!

In signing ceremony, Datuk Wong said that UNICO, as an investment company promoted by the Associated Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia, hoped that this action would strengthen the Malaysian economy, especially the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange, and hoped that all Malaysian businessmen irrespective of race would join hands to stabilise the current uncertainties of the stock market and hence the confidence of investors of Malaysia.

The first question is what could UNICO’s $59 million paid up-capital do to stabilise the KLSE and capital market, when we take into account that on Thursday’s re-opening of the stock exchange in Kuala Lumpur, $10.8 billion worth of shares were wiped out . Clearly, $50 million is merely a drop to the ocean.

If the intention of UNICO is to save Grand United, then the $50 million of UNICO would be more realistic although it would not be enough even to pay for the entire take-over of Pan El’s forward purchase Grand United shares.

The second question is whether it is right for the UNICO Directors to make use of the share-holding monies of 25,000 shareholders, many of whom are small-timers, for such a rescue-operation, when the prospectus of the UNICO was to pioneer new economic and financial vistas for the Malaysian Chinese community.

What should be the value of the Grand United shares which would be taken up UNICO, at the price before the closure of the KLSE or at the present price- which nobody knows because it would be so low if it is listed the stock exchange?

Has there been a forward contract to purchase the Grand United shares by the UNICO?

Thirdly, I understand that total shareholding of the 16 UNICO directors, all of them very prominent businessmen like Tan Sri Wee Boon Ping, Datuk Wong Tok Chai, Datuk Koh Pen Ting, Senator Kee Yong Wee, come to 518,002 shares which constitute just 1 per cent of the total shares. If the noble intention of the UNICO directors is to ‘stabilise the current uncertainties of the stock market’, isn’t it more appropriate for each of the directors to individually contribute $50 million to a $800 million salvage fund instead of using the $50 million shareholdings of 25,000 small-timers contributing $1000 to $200 each.

These are questions which the UNICO Directors must answer to discharge their public trust and duties to the 25,000 shareholders.