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Saturday, October 31, 2020

Stay out of LTAT and Boustead boards, Patriot tells politicians


Arshad Raji says it is Armed Forces personnel who will be at the losing end if those appointed to LTAT are incompetent.

PETALING JAYA: The National Patriots Association (Patriot) has reiterated its call for politicians to stay out of the board of the Armed Forces Fund Board (LTAT) and Boustead Holdings (Boustead).

Patriot president Mohamed Arshad Raji said only those who are qualified should be appointed.

“Politicians should not be appointed to fit into the politics of patronage agenda. This is because cronyism and the practice of partiality in government-linked companies (GLCs) is a cancer that festers into eventual bankruptcy.

“That is why Patriot has always maintained that only competent people be appointed to the boards in LTAT and the Boustead Group,” he said in a statement today.

He added that it will be the military personnel who will be at the losing end when companies do not perform because of the incompetency of those appointed.

Arshad also raised the issue of the RM1 billion unaccounted for in the non-delivery of the six littoral combat ships (LCS) which was highlighted by former deputy defence minister Liew Chin Tong recently.

Liew had called for a probe into the missing funds after it was revealed that so far RM5.94 billion had been paid out of the total RM9 billion for the LCS project despite the project not having been completed.

“When there was consistent bad press towards Boustead subsidiaries BHIC Navaltech and the contractor, Boustead Naval Shipyard, regarding the non-delivery of the six littoral combat ships (LCS), the management of LTAT and Boustead Group remained silent.

“This missing RM1 billion might not have gone into the Boustead Naval Shipyard account and the funds appear to have been diverted,” Arshad said, urging the defence ministry and defence minister to quickly provide answers on the issue.

“The management of LTAT and Boustead Group must not cover up any crime committed if the RM1 billion was illegally misappropriated.”

He added that any good corporate leader would have immediately defended its position or at least tried to minimise the damage.

He also blamed Mindef and the government for the problems arising in the non-delivery of the LCS, saying it was “because of their procrastination in approving the variation orders and the extension-of-time requested by the contractor”.

On the recent announcement that LTAT has been granted an extension until Feb 2, 2021 to decide on its proposed privatisation plan for Boustead, Arshad said this was the second extension given by the Securities Commission (SC) since LTAT first announced the privatisation plan in May.

“The apparent indecision reflects poorly on the management and is unfair to investors. The privatisation plan has an offer price of 80 sen per share.

“Indirectly, this puts a cap to the rise beyond 80 sen in Boustead shares and pressing down the share price of its four listed companies — Affin Bank Bhd, Boustead Plantations Bhd, Pharmaniaga Bhd and BHIC,” he said.

In July, Boustead had announced its transformation plan for the next three years.

“But we have not been given any details on this plan so far. The boards of LTAT and Boustead seem to be only good at making announcements, but not at decisive actions.

“The boards have failed to provide clear directions for the group,” Arshad said.

LTAT owns 59.42% of Boustead Holdings Bhd, with interests ranging from plantations to finance. - FMT

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