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Maika AGM date a ploy: shareholders

Contributed by Anonymous on Wednesday, August 15 @ 08:09:46 CDT

K Kabilan
Aug 15, 07 Malaysiakini
The Merdeka Day eve date for MIC’s beleaguered investment company Maika Holdings' annual general meeting has come under fire from shareholders who accuse it of wanting to prevent a good turn-out for the meeting.

They also charge that the venue for the AGM - the Sime Darby Convention Centre in Bukit Kiara, Kuala Lumpur - was too remote and unknown to most of the shareholders. Maika Holdings have said that both the date and venue have nothing to do with preventing a good attendance.

Maika Holdings shareholder businessman VK Vembarasan (photo), told malaysiakini that Aug 30 was unsuitable as it preceded a long weekend. Aug 31, a public holiday, falls on a Friday this year.

“Not just Maika shareholders, other Malaysians too would be on leave and be attending various functions organised at the state and national levels,” he said.

“Are they (Maika directors) trying to prevent the attendance of the shareholders?” he asked, adding the venue for the meeting was at a place which had limited public transport.

Shareholder A Mutthiah, also expressed his disappointment with the location of the venue.

“I have not even heard of this place, let alone going there to attend the meeting. How do I get there?” he asked.

He also agreed that the date chosen for the AGM was not suitable as well.

“First of all, I have not received any notice calling for the AGM. Secondly, I have made plans for that long weekend,” he said.

“Are they delaying in informing the shareholders about the date, hoping that most of the shareholders would not make it on such a short notice? Most of them would have made plans for the long weekend,” he said.

Several other shareholders contacted by malaysiakini also said that they have not received the AGM notice from Maika. They were unanimous that Aug 30 was an unsuitable date for the meeting.

Company denies charges

Maika chief executive officer S Vell Paari, who is also the son of MIC president S Samy Vellu, was not available for comment.

However, a Maika official told malaysiakini that the AGM notice to shareholders were in the midst of being sent out to shareholders who should be getting them by the end of next week the latest.

The official also denied claims that notices were being sent out at the last minute as an attempt to make it difficult for shareholders to attend the AGM.

“And what is wrong with Aug 30? It is not a public holiday. The meeting is in the morning. We don’t see it as a problem at all to hold the meeting on that day,” said the official who wanted to remain anonymous.

The official said that it was up to the shareholders to attend the AGM ‘if they think it is important’ stressing that the venue too was not an issue with most of the shareholders.

A notice on the AGM has also been published in today's Tamil Nesan, added the official.

This year’s meeting is expected to be a fiery affair with many shareholders priming themselves to grill Vell Paari and his board of directors on the proposed sale of Maika’s cash cow - the insurance division of Oriental Capital Assurance Bhd - to an engineering firm for RM129.8 million.

The deal can only be concluded with the approval of the shareholders.

Buy-back scheme

Another matter on the agenda is the proposed Maika Holdings share buy-back scheme mooted by Samy Vellu last year. Then the Works Minister said that Maika would pay RM130 for every RM100 invested in the investment company.

To date, nothing has materialised on that front. Maika officials previously told malaysiakini that a similar scheme would be put to the shareholders at this year's AGM.

Shareholders will also be keen to know if they are being offered any dividends this year. Maika has only paid its shareholders cash dividends on seven occasions to date, the last being in 1995.

Recent Maika’s meetings have been notoriously known for their ill-tempered tone and, at times, punch-ups.

Last year’s AGM ended in controversial cir*****stances when shareholder and DAP national vice-chairperson M Kula Segaran (pix) was roughed up by a MIC state assemblyman for asking questions pertaining to the investment company’s finances.

Maika, a brainchild of Samy Vellu, was established in 1982 purportedly to enable Indian Malaysians to have a share in the country’s economic growth.

The company raised RM106 million in 1984 from 66,000 investors but some shareholders - after seeing little returns on their investments - have since accused the company of squandering the capital through dubious channels.

Many Maika shareholders were estate workers who had pawned their family jewellery and withdrew their life savings to invest in the company. The investment company, however, has been a spectacular failure with many of its business ventures failing to take-off.



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