PETALING JAYA: The rights of minority shareholders must be taken into consideration and they must be given a chance to make choices, Perbadanan National Bhd (PNB) and Guthrie Bhd former chief executive officer Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim said.
Commenting on the proposed merger of Sime Darby Bhd, Golden Hope Plantations Bhd and Kumpulan Guthrie Bhd, he said all shareholders should hold a meeting to discuss the proposal as it raises corporate governance issues.
He said it was necessary to understand the intricacies of the proposal and to make informed decisions.
Mergers and takeovers are part and parcel of the capital market, but the focus should be on increasing efficiency, he said.
Abdul Khalid also said that while the final documents had not been provided to shareholders, there were various statements by CIMB, government leaders and the substantial shareholders regarding the proposal by a special purpose vehicle Synergy Drive Sdn Bhd to take over and merge the three PNB-linked companies, that had given rise to cause for concern.
PNB's statement that it had no idea of the proposal and would have to study it first was very frightening, he said, adding that PNB is the major shareholder in two of the companies and has substantial holdings in the other.
This calls into the question PNB's ability to manage and control its assets, said Abdul Khalid, who is also Parti Keadilan Rakyat treasurer.
He also questioned how PNB could still be in the dark about the merger when Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, and later Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, publicly supported the move.
He asked how this could happen when the Prime Minister and his deputy were both trustees of Yayasan Pelaburan Bumiputra, the parent entity of PNB.
Abdul Khalid was also of the opinion that the possibility of increasing efficiency in the plantation sector was minimal.