Bring in the marines!

American Philosopher George Santayana’s wise words were about reminding us that those who did not learn from history are doomed to repeat it all over again. It is very true in the recently announced Sime Darby’s 30% acquisition of Eastern & Oriental Bhd. Something is gravely amiss here. In fact, its now inter-twined into something complicated and very suspicious.

Another Brick in the Wall cautioned about the ‘insider trading’ which involved E&O Chairman Dato’ Azizan Abdul Rahman. Datuk Rocky highlighted that the husband of Security Commission Chairman Tan Sri Zarinah Anwar bought 500,000 sharesof the company where he had interest in.

Of course, he was privy to all the potential deals. This include SP Setia’s and ECM Libra’s initiative to take control of the Penang based luxury property development company. ECM Libra already started to acquire 5.2% of E&O in May. It demonstrated their intention to me a substantial player of the company.

Kalimullah “Riong Kali” Hassan is not new in this game. The scandalous ECM Libra taking over four-times-bigger Avenue Capital is still fresh in our minds. Notorious SC Chairman Zarinah still yet to explain all the irregularities and even securities laws broken in that mid 2006 deal, where almost all capital market players would never forget the December 2005 response of PM ‘Flip-Flop’ Dato’ Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s when asked about his son-in-law Khairy Jamaluddin’s involvement in the takeover bid of the MOF Inc controlled company, “I don’t know. I’m not involved”.

This deal becomes slightly more complicated as the ‘adviser and arranger’ is none other but CIMB.

Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission should initiate an investigation to this take over immediately, which should cover Azizan’s role, Zarinah’s indirect role, Riong Kali’s probable leakage of the deal to media and most importantly, the decision to pay the premium of E&O.

Last year’s summarily sacking of Sime Darby CEO Dato’ Seri Ahmad Zubir Murshid and admission of the RM 1.7 billion losses aggregated due to mismanagement and fraud is still so fresh. And yet Chairman Tun Musa Hitam, who failed to take responsibility of the major humiliation in the failure of system, controls and reporting of the 1 million acres plantation-based conglomerate had the audicity to lead Sime Darby board of directors went ahead to acquire this company with the unexplained premium.

The whole episode is very dodgy. This would not be good for Prime Minister Dato Seri Mohd. Najib Tun Razak’s effort to win the rakyats’ confidence in his transformation programs, which include transparency and doing away with corrupt practices. Worse still, when the majority shareholders of Sime Darby Bhd are the unit trusts under Permodalan Nasional Bhd, where more than eight million Bumiputera investors put their life savings in.

Its time to bring in the Marines. Semper Fi!

Published in: on September 7, 2011 at 01:48  Comments (5)