Thursday, August 19, 2004

Saham Amanah Sabah SAS - Siapa Ada Salah?

Saham Amanah Sabah (SAS) Siapa Ada Salah

In 1996, the then Sabah Chief Minister Yong Teck Lee persuaded 55,000 Sabahans to invest in SAS – Saham Amanah Sabah – convincing them that it was a great buy which would multiply its value twice or thrice its original price of one ringgit! Today, SAS has reached the point of no return, dropped from RM1 to below 20 sen, incurring over RM400 million losses!

CM sorry about Saham
04 November, 2001

Kota Kinabalu: Chief Minister Datuk Chong Kah Kiat said the State Government is not giving up on the Saham Amanah Sabah (SAS) but that any artificial interference on the stocks will not do it good.

However, Chong said he had full confidence on the capability of State Finance Minister Datuk Musa Aman in turning around the shares back to at least its original standings.

"I cannot bluff you, I cannot bluff the investors and we cannot promise (that the situation would return to normal soon)," he said, adding he believed it may take between two and three years.

Chong said he felt sad for all the investors, including government servants who are facing problems repaying the banks for loans taken to buy the shares. "It was just that the stocks were highly speculative".

Chong was asked to comment on the issue, brought up in the State Assembly which took a weekend break before continuing on Monday, after witnessing the presentation of RM4.734m Federal funds to 84 chinese schools at SM Kian Kok hall Saturday.

According to him, SAS was not the only government-owned shares doing badly, especially with the present world economic downturn.

"Whatever you do cannot bring it (the share price) up until the economy has become better…it is going to be difficult unless the world economy recovers," he said.

"Unless of course we jack it up and do something out of the economic norms," he said, adding this however would not be good.

"The question now is to ensure that the management comprised professionals and to make sure there is no unnecessary interference," he said.

Chong said it was very unfortunate that the counters invested turned out to be sour subsequently because of being highly speculative. "The market was robust but now suddenly boom it plunges. So now we must ensure that the fund has to be fundamentally sound and it cannot be speculative."

Musa is currently looking at all options to see where it can help in recovering the shares. PBS Api Api Assemblyman Dr Yee Moh Chai had in the State Assembly called on the State Government to disclose the full reasons of the disastrous performance of the shares.

He also requested that a salvage plan be implemented to restore the value of SAS to its original issued value of RM1 per share so that the sufferings of all the SAS investors will not be unduly prolonged.

Yee said the government should also ensure no similar pain and suffering would be inflicted onto any potential investors of unit trust if any similar scheme should be launched by the State Government in the future.

SAS records RM15.6m profit; giving 3pc dividend
20 January, 2004

Kota Kinabalu: Saham Amanah Sabah (SAS) is finally seeing some profit. It recorded pre-tax profit of RM15,614,961.18 in the financial year ending Dec. 31, last year, Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Hj Aman announced, Monday.

This meant a three per cent net dividend for its 57,857 investors in 2003, involving cash payouts of RM14.07 million on 469 million units.

Of the number, 45,224 were individuals, 7,407 investors under the Hardcore Poor Development Project (PPRT), 2,178 investors on bank loans and 48 corporate investors.

“Some 79.82 per cent (43,790) are Bumiputera investors and 20.18 per cent (11,067) are non-Bumiputeras,” he said. The profits were achieved through investments in share markets (89.6 per cent), financial markets (6.85) and the dividend market (3.55).

SAS would not be trading from Jan. 2 to 25 in order to organise unit holders’ accounts. Musa, who is also State Finance Minister, said SAS could expect some kind of assistance from the State Government to improve its financial standing.

“But for the moment, SAS’ prospects depends solely on share and financial markets performance,” he said. He also hinted at a possibility of Sawit Kinabalu allocating a sizable portion of its oil palm estates for SAS to develop.

“We are not sure how large the land would be but it will be discussed in the State Cabinet later. It’s part of the restructuring to improve the income of SAS,” he said.

The dividend would be paid via the issue of warrant while the investors under the hardcore poor development programme (PPRT) would be paid in cash of RM100 each or through their Amanah Saham Bumiputera (ASB) account if they have one.

“Since its inception more than nine years ago, SAS has given dividends on six occasions involving a total of RM237.454 million in cash,” said Musa.

The highest dividend payment was 13 per cent in 1995 and 1996.

He said that there were still 32.24 million units of SAS, of which 29.14 million units were for the Bumiputera and 3.10 million units for non-Bumiputera, which can be bought at current value.

Compared with other State-owned trust funds, the SAS was not doing too badly as it still managed to give out the 3 per cent dividends.

Public knows the answer: Chong
11 August, 2004

DEPUTY Chief Minister Tan Sri Chong Kah Kiat said the people of Sabah know who is to be held responsible for the massive Saham Amanah Sabah (SAS) losses.

He was asked to comment on Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) President Datuk Yong Teck Lee’s comment that he (Chong) is more knowledgeable about the SAS matter.

“If you really want to know, why not ask the 55,000 investors who took out their savings to invest in SAS, which now is worth only 20 sen per unit (compared to RM1 at the time of investment),” Chong remarked.

Lodging reports on SAS fiasco
15 August, 2004

Kota Kinabalu: Prompted by the bickering on who is to be blamed for the Saham Amanah Sabah (SAS) debacle, opposition, DAP is lodging reports with the police and Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) to get to the bottom of the matter.

Its Kota Kinabalu chief Hiew King Chiu said the party would lodge the report with the Commercial Crime Unit at the State police headquarters in Kepayan.

“At the same time, we will also file a report to the ACA on Monday. I have spoken to the Director Mohd Shukri and I will request that the ACA conduct a thorough investigation on whether there are really irregularities in the share investment,” he said.

Speaking here Saturday, Hiew said these allegations were highlighted by a senior member of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) in one of its exchanges with Barisan Nasional (BN) counterpart, Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP).

The senior LDP party member had claimed irregularities in the SAS share investment in Warisan Harta, NBT and other listed companies, he said.

Hiew noted leaders from LDP and SAPP had during the past one week made statements pointing fingers at each other for the SAS debacle in the various newspapers.

“Both parties are headed by former Chief Ministers and both are pointing fingers on who was responsible for the plummet of share unit price from RM1 to a dismal 20 sen,” he said.

Neither the two ex-Chief Ministers nor their party senior members had denied when accusing each other of covering up the whole issue, he said.

On the losing end, he said, was the people of Sabah who were urged to invest in the SAS with many to the extent of taking up bank loans or using up their live savings as well as charging their pensions.

“A lot of civil servants had been encouraged to acquire the shares and now they are in the brink of bankruptcy since some are losing in the region of RM300,000 to RM500,000,” he said.

Hiew said since the State Government is managing the fund, the question remains who should be responsible for the total loss estimated to be between RM300 and RM400 million.

The DAP had been approached by many shareholders who requested the party to probe into the matter and find out the actual causes behind SAS’ miserable performance.

“It is only fair that the truth is made known to the suffering shareholders. We will leave the investigations to the police and ACA to give the shareholders the true picture of the situation,” he said.

Hiew said DAP also opined that it is incumbent of the BN State Government as well as the two former chief ministers to inform Sabahans, in particular the shareholders, on what had really happened.

“There should be no further cover-ups. Somebody should bear the responsibility,” he said.

Make public SAS probe findings: Yong
17 August, 2004

Kota Kinabalu: Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) President Datuk Yong Teck Lee hoped findings of any investigation conducted on the Saham Amanah Sabah (SAS) will be made public.

The former Chief Minister said the results of any investigation by the authorities, including by the Securities Commission, should be made public so that the truth would come out.

He said this when asked to comment on newspaper reports that the opposition DAP was lodging police and ACA reports to investigate the SAS debacle.

Speaking to reporters at the party headquarters in Bornion Luyang, near here, Monday, Yong expressed surprise when Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) President Tan Sri Chong Kah Kiat declined to name the culprits behind the losses suffered by SAS investors.

Referring to the comments by the Chong reported on Aug. 11, Yong said he was glad that the LDP now admitted knowing the truth about the SAS issue.

“But his comment that he does not want to reveal the identity of the culprits shows he is deliberately concealing information at the expense of the 55,000 investors of Saham Sabah by saying he wants to give face to the persons who are responsible for the losses suffered by Saham Sabah investors,” said Yong.

“The people have a right to be suspicious who is he protecting and why,” asserted Yong.

“The people of Sabah, especially the 55,000 investors of Saham Sabah, have a right to know the identity of the person whom Chong now says he wants to give face to.

“If there is a culprit behind the losses of Saham Sabah, then these culprits must be exposed. The LDP leadership should not cover up for the culprits,” he said.

"I Am Not Politicising Share Issue"- Chong Kah Kiat

KOTA KINABALU, Aug 19 (Bernama) -- Liberal Democratic Party President Tan Sri Chong Kah Kiat said Thursday he was not politicising the issue over the fall in the value of the Saham Amanah Sabah (SAS) Bhd shares but merely clearing the air on certain facts when making a statement Wednesday on this matter.

"This is not politicising, this is telling the world what should be told. This is explaining to the people what had happened...I'm talking about responsibility.

"If people can stop politicising other matters and if certain people themselves can behave then everyone else also can behave," he told reporters after launching the ICI Colour Solutions Centre in Jalan Bundusang, near here Thursday.

Chong, who is Deputy Chief Minister, was asked to comment on Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman's call for an end to the bickering on who should be held responsible for the fall in the value of the SAS shares.

Musa told a news conference after the cabinet meeting Wednesday that the state government was making efforts to increase the share value of the SAS and hoped the issue would not be overly politicised.

The SAS saga had been hitting the headlines for quite some time in the local press, with Chong urging former Chief Minister and Sabah Progressive Party President (SAPP) Datuk Yong Teck Lee to stop passing the buck.

Chong said Yong should be the one who should explain to the people the decrease in the value of the SAS shares as he (Chong) was not the Chief Minister at the material time (1996-1997).

Some 55,000 investors, who mostly took out their savings to invest in the SAS shares are bearing the brunt of the plummeting share price, now worth about 20 sen per unit compared to RM1 at the time of investment.

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