Patriot to politicians: Stay out of LTAT, Boustead!

POLITICIANS should steer clear from the Armed Forces Fund (LTAT) and Boustead Holdings Berhad’s (Boustead) boards.

In a statement today, military veterans’ group, the National Patriots Association (Patriot) said that only qualified individuals should be appointed to hold positions on both boards.

“Politics of patronage should not be there as cronyism and the practice of partiality towards government-linked companies (GLCs) is a cancer which will lead towards mismanagement.

“That is why Patriot has always maintained that only competent people be appointed to the boards of LTAT and Boustead,” said its president Brig Jen (Rtd) Datuk Mohd Arshad Mohd Raji.

In August, Bank Negara Malaysia approved LTAT’s plan to privatise Boustead, in the armed forces pension fund group’s move to restructure its investments.

The proposed privatisation is expected to cost around RM660 mil, or 80 sen per share.

In September, Boustead issued a statement clarifying that it was not trying to thwart the privatisation plan, claiming it had not received any further feedback from LTAT.

On Oct 27, the Securities Commission of Malaysia (SC) granted LTAT a four months extension for the latter to come up with its privatisation plan, adding the regulatory body will not entertain anymore extension after this.

The new deadline is set to expire on Feb 2, 2021.

LTAT owns 59.42% of Boustead, with interests ranging from plantations to finance.

Probe the missing RM 1 bil

On that note, Arshad also questioned Boustead on the issue of the RM1 bil unaccounted for, in the non-delivery of the six littoral combat ships (LCS), exposed by former deputy Defence Minister Liew Chin Tong recently.

“When there were questions over Boustead subsidiaries BHIC Navaltech and its contractor, Boustead Naval Shipyard, regarding the non-delivery of the LCS, both LTAT and Boustead remained silent.

“This missing RM1 bil might not have gone into the Boustead Naval Shipyard account and the funds appear to have been diverted.

“LTAT and Boustead’s management must not cover up if there were crimes committed involving the RM1 bil pay out. The Defence Minister must respond to this,” he said.

Arshad added that any right thinking corporate leader would have responded to the matter decisively to minimise the damage.

Arshad also fingered the Defence Ministry, alleging the non-delivery of the LCS were due to “their procrastination in approving the variation orders and the extension-of-time requested by the contractor”.

Liew, a DAP leader, had urged the authorities to investigate into the missing funds, after it was revealed that so far RM5.94 bil had been paid out of the total RM9 bil for the LCS project , despite the project being delayed till now.

On SC’s extension to LTAT, Arshad reminded them that this was the second extension given by the regulatory body since May.

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

“This actually puts a cap to the rise beyond 80 sen in Boustead shares and pressing down the share price of its four listed companies, which are Affin Bank Bhd, Boustead Plantations Bhd, Pharmaniaga Bhd and BHIC,” he said. – Oct 31, 2020

Subscribe and get top news delivered to your Inbox everyday for FREE