Former corporate bigwig Halim Saad has filed a suit against the government, former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad and ex-second finance minister Nor Mohamed Yakcop for forcing him to relinquish his stake in the Renong-UEM group and rights vested in him without adequate compensation 22 years ago.

In a 34-page statement of claim filed in court last week, Halim claimed that Mahathir and Nor Mohamed were “the prime movers in respect of the said compulsory acquisition and deprivation”.

According to the filing, the stake comprised 372 million shares, representing 16% of Renong Bhd’s entire share capital.

Halim claims the shares, which were acquired by government investment arm Khazanah Nasional via its subsidiary in 2001, belonged to him personally and not to Umno, a fact acknowledged by current Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim in Parliament on Nov 24, 1997.

Anwar was the deputy prime minister, finance minister and Umno deputy president at that time.

Halim claims that at that time, UEM held a 32.6% stake in Renong, while Renong held 37.92% in UEM.

“This crossholding, together with the plaintiff’s (Halim) single largest stake in Renong, had the effect of the plaintiff indirectly further controlling 32.6% of the voting shares of Renong,” the statement of claim said.

Halim said that as controlling shareholder, he had a vested right to carry out a general offer on UEM and was preparing to carry it out.

However, Halim alleged that he was ordered by Mahathir, both directly and through Nor Mohamed, not to proceed with the general offer because the government wanted to acquire all UEM shares through Khazanah.

“In line with this, the plaintiff (Halim) was also directed to exit UEM and Renong (and all their subsidiaries), both as shareholder and director,” the statement said.

He said he eventually disposed of his entire stake in Renong at a loss.

Prior to that, Halim said UEM board members Syed Amin al-Jaffri, Ramli Mohamad and Azman Yahya, met the then prime minister to express their views but were told to “stay away from the matter”.

“Sometime after July 14, 2001, the then chairman of the Securities Commission (SC), Ali Kadir, summoned the whole board of directors of UEM to his office and reprimanded the board for allowing the cross-shareholding between UEM and Renong to take place,” the statement said.

Halim claims the directors were told that they could be subjected to prosecution over the matter.

Ali is also alleged to have told them not to extend any assistance to Halim in connection with a put option that he held and to resign from the board, the statement said.

Source : FMT

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