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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Maika: A story of shattered dreams of Indians

G-Team Resources today extended to July 13, its deadline for Maika shareholders to submit their forms to redeem their share cash value.

However, most shareholders who spoke to FMT said the heartache of this entire episode runs deeper than just getting their money back, albeit lesser than what they invested.

“It is the suffering we have had to endure the past 28 years,” said an emotional P Maniam. “I bought the shares for RM1,000 in 1984, which was a big sum for me as I was merely an odd-job worker.”

“As far as I remember, I received dividends twice. After that, only the yearly prospectus was sent to my home,” said the 58-year-old senior citizen from Sungei Way.

He also recollected attending the infamous Maika AGM in 2007.

“There were many youths there claiming to be proxies of their parents. However, when we raised questions during the AGM, we were beaten up by the youths,” said Maniam.

“Worse still, the police who were present just stood there and did nothing,” he added.

Maniam said his father-in-law who also purchased Maika shares is now deceased and his children are left to pursue whatever balance is left of his investment.

“If there are still any Indian Malaysians wanting to vote for MIC, they are fools,” said Maniam, who proclaimed himself a staunch DAP supporter.

Another disgruntled shareholder, M Tanasegaran, 51, said he made an investment after being persuaded by a friend, a bank manager.

“He told me it will provide good returns later on. However, I only got a dividend of RM100 for several years after investing RM2,000,” said Tanasegaran.

When asked whether he had attended any of the firm's AGMs, he said he only attended the first three.

“Everytime you raised a question, you got pummeled physically by certain people. Why take the risk?” said a visibly upset Tanasegaran.

B Pathmavathy, another shareholder, said she decided to take up the current offer as she feels there are no better options left for her.

“I have just undergone a bypass surgery at the National Heart Institute and I require additional funds to pay for my follow-ups,” said Pathmavathy, who invested RM500 years ago.

One-stop centres

A staff member of the Maika team processing the share certificates told FMT that they were doing their best to make things easy for aged shareholders to sell off their stocks.

“As shareholders, they are the boss and we would like to make things easier for them,” said the staff who wished to remain anonymous.

“All they have to do is to bring their orginal share certificates to make their claims. If they have lost them, they just have let us know of their old identification number.

“Later they have to produce a signed a letter from the Commissioner for Oaths to back their claims.”

The staff also said that they have set up various one-stop centres in Perak, Penang, Malacca, Johor, Negri Sembilan and Kuala Lumpur.

“Several CIMB branches in KL, Penang, Pahang and Negri Sembilan are also assisting us on this matter.”

When asked when the shareholders will receive their cash payment, he said they will receive it once the G-Team has owned 51% of the shares.

“Right now we have 47% of the shares in our hands. Once we achieve 51%, we will make the payouts within 21 days via bank drafts or we will deposit it in their CIMB bank account,” he said.

G Team Resources said that it had sent out letters to all 66,000 Maika shareholders, informing them of the buy-over.

But it is understood that about 60,000 of the letters were returned as most shareholders were no longer living at the stated addresses.

Businessman G Gnanalingam offered to buy out Maika shares for RM100 million via G Team Resources in April, paving the way for a final solution to the long contentious problem plaguing the Indian community.

courtesy of FreeMalaysiaToday

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