By Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General, MP for Tanjung and Assemblyman for Kampong Kolam, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Saturday, Oct. 4, 1986:
Has Pernas borrowed $200 million from a consortium of Japanese banks to part-finance its purchase of 51% UMBC stake from Daim Zainuddin’s family companies?
It was announced yesterday that Pernas has acquired the 50.4% stake in UMBC shares owned by Daim Zainuddin’s family companies – Daan Sdn. Bhd and Dani Sdn. Bhd.
Although details of the price was not given, it has been estimated that Pernas would have to pay more than $350 million for the 50.4% stake in UMBC from the two Daim Zainuddin family companies, and that the cost per UMBC share in the region of $8.50 per share.
The acquisition of UMBC shares by Daim Zainuddin’s family companies in 1984 had been dogged by controversy every step of the way, for various ethical, legal and political questions about the various UMBC transactions had not been answered.
The Malaysian public is still waiting for a satisfactory explanation for the 1984 UMBC transaction where the Daim Zainuddin companies acquired 41 per cent of UMBC from Multi-Purpose Holdings, when Daim Zainuddin was Minister of Finance; as well as the 1985 UMBC transaction then the two Daim Zainuddin family companies increased their stake in UMBC to majority control of 50.4%.
Now, there is a third UMBC transaction in 1986, the sale of the 50.4% UMBC stake of the Daim Zainuddin family companies to Pernas, and the government must satisfy the Malaysian public that the sale had been conducted at ‘arm’s length’ without raising new ethical, legal and political questions.
The DAP will question the Pernas purchase of the 50.4% UMBC stake of the Daim Zainuddin family companies in Parliament, which meets on Monday for two months.
Pernas should explain why last year, it declined to take up 7 million UMBC shares during a rights issue at $4.50 a share, and yet at a time of great economic depression, when share values of all institutions including banks have fallen to a all-time low, Pernas should pay almost double the price for the 51% UMBC stake of the Daim Zainuddin family companies at around $8.50 per share!
It was reported in yesterday’s papers that Pernas had obtained a $200 million Euro multi-currency syndicated loan from a consortium of Japanese banks, like Industrial Bank of Japan, Yasuda Trust and Banking, Taiyo Kobe Bank, Daiwa Bank, Saitama Bank, Tokai Bank, Mitsubishi trust Banking Corp., Mitsubishi Bank.
Has Pernas borrowed this $200 million from the Japanese banks to part-finance its purchase of 51% UMBC stake from Daim Zainuddin family companies, and is this to the nation’s interest Malaysia’s heavy external debt burden in this reckless manner.
I want to ask why the Ministry of Finance and Bank Negara approved Pernas to increase Malaysia’s national foreign debt burden for this purpose?
Call on Deputy MCA Minister who have borrowed $20 Million from a co-operative to attend the Thean Hou Temple Hall meeting of co-operative depositors in KL tomorrow right to justify his action.
The MCA and its leaders must bear greater responsibility than anyone else for the $1.6 billion Co-operative Finance Scandal, which have brought unrelieved hardships and sufferings to the 540,000 depositors for two months.
The MCA must bear this responsibility for many reasons, such as:
1) It was the MCA which, through KSM, and other politically-motivated co-operatives, which was responsible for convincing the Malaysian Chinese of small means in the towns and new villages to put their life-savings in the co-operative finance branches;
2) The immediate cause of the $1.6 million Co-operative Finance Scandal must be traced to the Pan KL scandal of MCA leader, Tan Khoon Swan, which not only wiped out $16 billion from the Malaysian stock exchange, but also dealt the co-operatives a fatal blow.
3) The bad example set by MCA leaders at various levels in making use of the co-operative depositors’ funds for their own selfish interest, rather than for the good of the depositors.
I had mentioned that a Deputy MCA Minister had taken a $20 million loan from a co-operative which had not been serviced, and I hope he was the courage to come to the Thean Hou Temple meeting of co-operative depositors tomorrow night in Kuala Lumpur to explain and justify his $20 million loan.
The Thean Hou Temple Hall meeting of co-operative depositors in KL tomorrow will be the first of the nation-wide mass meetings the DAP is organizing to let the Government, Cabinet and Parliament know the hardships the Government is causing 540,000 depositors by keeping the freeze on their $1.6 billion deposits indefinitely.
If Datuk Lim Kheng Kim is unable to financially prop up Sing Pin Jih Pao, he should hand over the ownership right to the Chinese community to attempt rescue the 47-year old Penang daily.
Tan Sing Pin Jih Pao has entered into its sixth day of closure and the Chairman of Sing Pin Jih Pao, Datuk Lim Kheng Kim, seems to have difficulty in coming out with a $450,000 letter of security and $100,000 cash to enable the Chinese Penang daily to resume publication.
If Datuk Lim Kheng Kim is a unable to financially prop up Sing Pin Jih Pao, he should hand over the ownership right of the 47-year-old daily to the Chinese community to attempt to rescue the paper.
The management of a Chinese newspaper is not an ordinary business undertaking, but a sacred cultural trust responsibility for the Chinese community. Datuk Lim Kheng Kim would be setting a good example of putting Chinese community interests above his own business interests if he is prepared to hand over the ownership right of Sing Pin Jih Poh at this critical juncture to the Chinese a community to save the daily from liquidation.
I welcome the concern expressed by Penang Chief Minister, Dr. Lim Chong Eu, over the Sing Pin Jih Poh crisis, and propose that the Penang State Government make an advance of $100,000 as revolving fund to enable the Sing Pin Jih Pao to resume publication, while a long-term plan is worked out to rescue Sin Pin Jih Pao. The Penang State Government has a direct responsibility to help ensure that one of its two Penang Chinese dailies does not close shop.