KUALA LUMPUR: Labourer M. Senthilathipan used up all his savings to buy 2,000 units of Maika Holdings Berhad shares at RM1 each in 1984.
He thought he could sell the shares of the MIC investment arm when the price goes up, and use the money for his children’s education.
Years later, he did not receive anything – not even dividends on his investment.
To make matters worse, Senthilathipan passed away five years ago and his younger brother, M. Ragawan, has been trying to sell off the shares to help the family.
“To me this is a piece of worthless paper. My brother pooled all his savings to purchase the shares,” he said yesterday, while showing reporters the share certificates.
“At one point, people were offering a mere RM0.30 for each share,” Ragawan said.
Senthilathipan's fate is similar to that of some 66,000 investors hoping to strike some wealth from Maika shares.
Maika Holdings is now facing a winding-up petition.
According to a newspaper advertisement on Sept 5, Buildcon Concrete Sdn Bhd filed the petition at the Kuala Lumpur High Court commercial division on July 16. The hearing was initially fixed for Oct 9 but was postponed to next March 11.
Ragawan and over 100 Maika investors lodged police reports here and in Penang, Ipoh and Kedah yesterday, urging the authorities to investigate the whereabouts of some RM106mil of Maika funds collected since 1984.
In response, MIC president Datuk Seri S Samy Vellu has assured investors that he would not allow Maika to go down.
He said Maika, which started with RM100mil, was now worth RM320mil.
“Any attempt by anyone to destroy the company will be dealt with in line with the process of the law,” he said.
He called for a stop to statements on Maika and warned that those attempting to undermine the MIC leadership and the party would also be dealt with in accordance with the law.
An investor, P. Selvi, who has 2,500 shares, said there were a lot of promises made to the Indian community about Maika’s investments but nothing materialised.
“It was a good idea (the Maika shares) but mismanagement caused its downfall,” she said.
Selvi said most of the investors in Maika were uneducated labourers and estate workers who invested hoping to reap some benefits.
Penang Indian Progressive Front (IPF) chairman M.V. Mathiyalagan said people also complained of not receiving the company's annual reports or invitations to its annual general meeting for several years.
On Saturday, IPF urged Samy Vellu to explain the circumstances leading to the petition.
Its president Datuk M.G. Pandithan said he was duty-bound to raise the matter as he was a shareholder and was responsible for bringing in hundreds of shareholders to invest when he was in MIC.
According to information from Maika’s official website, the company had subsidiaries in construction and civil engineering, information technology, insurance services, education and plantation.
It said Maika was originally established to represent the interest of the Malaysian Indian community, and as a professional and profitable Malaysian corporation with 66,000 shareholders, the company has provided attractive returns to shareholders and is targeted to continue real-term future growth in line with the expanding economy of Malaysia and the region.
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