66,000 Maika shareholders should stop crying for 20 years and assert their fundamental right to stakeholder democracy by  attending the MAIKA AGM on 30th December in full force to “house-clean” MAIKA by electing   a completely new  Board to  re-open and re-investigate MAIKA scandals, including the infamous 10 million Telekom shares hijacking scandal which had been worth more than the  original RM106 million MAIKA subscription

a meeting of Maika Holdings shareholders
by Lim Kit Siang

(Kuala LumpurThursday): The Cabinet did a most  extraordinary and unheard-of  thing yesterday – something which had never happened in the history of the Cabinet in the nation’s 46-year history.  I do not believe that there are many who can give the correct answer as to what was  this extraordinary Cabinet action yesterday even if given three guesses. 

First guess. Was  it the Cabinet decision to  postpone the implementation of the RM14.5 billion double tracking rail project, which had created a crisis of transparency and international relations with China and India and the first test of leadership of the new Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi because of the last-minute award to late-comer Malaysia Mining Corporation Bhd-Gamuda consortium in utter disregard  to fair, competitive and transparent award of the country’s single biggest privatisastion contract and three years of government-to-government negotiations with India and China resulting in the issue of unrevoked Letters of Intent to Indian Railway’s Ircon International Ltd for the northern stretch from Ipoh to Padang Besar and China Railway Engineering Corp (CRET) for  the southern stretch from Seremban to Johore Bahru?   

No. Such a Cabinet decision yesterday  should be a foregone conclusion as any other outcome would have caused irreparable damage to the authority, credibility and legitimacy of the new Prime Minister  after he had told the nation and the world in Tokyo  last week that the project should be postponed.  However, Abdullah’s statement yesterday that the Cabinet recognized the Letter of Award to the MMC-Gamuda consortium for the double tracking rail project, without any reference to the unrevoked Letters of Intent to the Indian and Chinese companies, has created doubts as to whether the Cabinet decision marked the first blow against undesirable public procurement practices which disregard principles of fair, transparent and  competitive bidding  for public projects or it was because of some unstated objectives.  As a result, although Abdullah passed his first test of leadership, it has created ambiguity which detracted the decision as a clear and unequivocal test-case  of Abdullah’s pledge of a “clean and  incorruptible” administration. 

Second guess. Is it because close on the heel of the postponement of the RM14.5 billion double tracking rail project, the Cabinet had instituted a wide-ranging  review and re-look at all mega projects to refocus development strategies on education, healthcare, agriculture and the welfare of the ordinary rakyat –  mega-projects like the RM1.1 billion “crooked half-bridge” to replace Malaysia’s half of the Johore-Singapore causeway or the RM9 billion Bakun project?  No. 

Third guess.  Is it because the Cabinet, in keeping with Abdullah’s exhortation to the Cabinet Ministers to tell him the truth, had discussed the widespread unhappiness and objections to the haphazard, badly-conceived and poorly-formulated National Service Training programme? The Chairman of the National Service Training Council, Prof Datuk Dr. Ahmad Fawzi Mod Basri sought to allay the anxieties and fears of parents whose 18-year-old daughters and sons  had been conscripted by declaring that the national service is not a “torture camp”.  Universities and colleges are not “torture camps” but the breakdown of discipline in unrestrained raggings had in the past made them the  traumatic experience of “freshies”.  Did the Cabinet yesterday come to grips with this problem? No! 

What then am I referring to?  I am referring to the Cabinet decision yesterday to reject  Employees Provident Fund (EPF) proposal to disallow contributors to withdraw their savings in a lump sum upon reaching 55. 

Human Resources Minister, Datuk Dr. Fong Chan Onn told The Star which carried it as an exclusive front-page headline “Govt ‘no’ to EPF” that the Cabinet Ministers discussed the EPF proposal “at  length” and reached the  consensus that the government should not stop the members from withdrawing all their savings upon reaching 55. 

Why did the Cabinet “discussed at length” the EPF proposal when the EPF Executive Officer Datuk Azlan Zainol, had said on Sunday that it was only “at the thinking stage” and that any final decision would have to get the approval of the Ministry of Finance? 

Why didn’t the Cabinet discuss the cry of the 66,000 MAIKA shareholders for 20 years for justice and yet have the time to discuss “at length” the “non-issue” of the EPF proposal, which had been shot down by all quarters, including the Prime Minister himself? 

The answer is very obvious – because of the coming general election.  It is all done with an eye to the 10.4 million EPF contributors who will be able to vote in the general election. The question is why the Cabinet has ignored the 66,000 MAIKA shareholders? 

The 66,000 Maika shareholders should stop crying for 20 years and assert:

  • Firstly, Their citizenship and voting rights to demand that the Cabinet address their grievances and institute a full inquiry into the mismanagement and abuses of power of MAIKA Holdings in the past two decades; and
  • Secondly, their fundamental right to stakeholder democracy by  attending the MAIKA AGM on 30th December in full force to “house-clean” MAIKA by electing   a completely new  Board to  re-open and re-investigate MAIKA scandals, including the infamous 10 million Telekom shares hijacking scandal which had been worth more than the  original RM106 million MAIKA subscription 


* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman