n 2000, Maika, the MIC’s loss making investment arm was sold to tycoon G Gnanalingam’s G Team Resources for RM106 million. Sixty-six thousand Maika shareholders had been clamouring for the listing of its priced asset, OCA, by Maika itself. But the MIC and their saviours had other plans, shattering 29 years of hope for recovering their investment.
Last year, Tony Fernandes bought over OCA from G Team Resources and renamed it TUNE insurance Bhd, marking it for listing after six months of acquisition. It is expected that TUNE insurance will have a market capitalisation of RM1 billion.
Why were Maika shareholders left in the lurch without proper compensation? The 66,000 shareholders had invested ther hard earned RM1,000 per lot of the Maika shares in 1981. All they got back in 2010 was RM800 per lot.
And those who took loans had to pay back with interest, and many relinquished their loan along the way. Most Maika shareholders were poor and wanted to do their part and responded to the call of the MIC president in 1981.
Quite a number died while still in debt. At the time of the selling of Maika holding with its priced asset OCA, all their sacrifices were for naught.
Maika directors and MIC promoters got away scot free and Gnanalingam and Tony Fernandes took away the priced asset of Maika for themselves. BN and the prime minister conveniently got themselves out of a politically embarrassing situation. But poor Maika shareholders who waited for 29 years were dumped.
The RM146 million payment for 74.1% OCA stake by Tony Fernandes would have left clean RM40 million for Gnanalingam to be redistributed to charities. Many ex-Maika shareholders expected that they will be included in the charities list. Unfortunately they were left out here too.
TUNE holding also bought another 3.75% of OCA from G Team Resources and 1.92% from GYRSS holdings Sdn Bhd which is another investment arm of Gnanalingam and family. In all of these wheeling and dealing of OCA shares, were Maika shareholders compensated? They seem to be completely left out in the disposal of Maika shares.
However the real issue is not the RM40 million gain but rather the lost opportunity by not listing OCA by Maika itself. It’s really perplexing why Maika didn’t want to list OCA on its own. Had it done so even with a market capitalisation of RM300 million, Maika shares would be worth RM3 each which is much better off compared to the repayment of RM800 per lot of 1,000 shares after 29 years?
Why didn’t MIC get the support of Bank Negara and the finance ministry and list the OCA in Bursa Malaysia themselves? Is MIC hiding something from Maika shareholders? At least TUNE insurance could have offered its insurance shares to ex-Maika shareholders. Why the gross injustice to Indian Malaysians? Can we trust BN and prime minister Najib Tun Razak anymore?
If the Indian Malaysians don’t wake up, the Maika saga will be buried and forgotten once and for all after the 13th General Election. Indian Malaysians have been shortchanged once too often. Will the ghost of Maika holding resurface before the election to haunt MIC and BN? Will the blatant betrayal of Maika shareholders by MIC leaders, opportunistic businessmen and Umno leaders be held accountable?
Would the impending listing of TUNE Insurance cause controversy and anger among Maika shareholders? Are Indian Malaysians forever left out not only in government policies but robbed of their own hard earned assets? Is there any hope for Indians under MIC/BN rule?