KUALA LUMPUR: The Employees Provident Fund’s (EPF) right to vote in the proposed mega merger of RHB Capital, CIMB Group Holdings Bhd and Malaysia Building Society Bhd (MBSB) is "critical" as it needs to protect the interest of its members.
EPF’s CEO Datuk Shahril Ridza Ridzuan said on Monday: "All we ask is that the parties involved be aware that the EPF represents the interest of 14 million people and our right to vote is critical to protect their interests.”
He was speaking to reporters at the sidelines of the EPF International Seminar.
A decision on the EPF's voting rights in the three-way bank merger is courting controversy after an unsigned letter, purportedly from unhappy board members of RHB, was leaked last Thursday night.
“We hereby express our strong objection to the submission of the application to Bursa Securities to apply for a waiver to permit the EPF to vote on the resolution to approve the proposed merger of businesses and undertakings of CIMB Group and RHB, whether by way of the proposed acquisition of CIMB’s businesses or otherwise,” said the letter.
The letter argued that the merger was a related-party transaction under Bursa Malaysia’s listing rules.
It went on to say that the EPF, as a major shareholder and related party of RHB Cap, should abstain from voting on the merger, because the transaction involved the “interest” of the EPF due to its large shareholding in CIMB and would see the retirement fund’s shareholding increase if new RHB Cap shares are issued to CIMB.
The letter also dissected the points raised by the EPF in its letter to the board members, opining that it felt allowing the EPF to vote contravened existing listing rules.
One of the key points raised in the letter was the request for an exemption for the EPF to vote in the EGM.
The EPF owns 41.5% of RHB Cap and is its largest shareholder.