KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 20 — Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and two others have applied to strike out a suit filed against them by businessman Tan Sri Halim Saad over losses he suffered following the acquisition of Renong Bhd and United Engineers Malaysia Berhad (UEM) shares by the government almost 23 years ago.
The notice of application by Dr Mahathir, former Finance Minister II Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop and the government was filed at the High Court last November 16.
“The claim by the plaintiff (Halim) is frivolous, troublesome and an abuse of the court process. All proceedings against the defendants should be stayed pending a decision of this application,” stated the three defendants in the notice of the application.
Based on the statement of claim and writ of summons filed by Halim last August 2, he intended to make a general offer to privatise UEM as a subsidiary of Renong, thereby enabling him to gain full control and ownership of UEM.
However, the plaintiff claimed that he was instructed by Dr Mahathir and Nor Mohamed not to proceed with the general offer because the government wanted to take over all the shares in UEM through a designated entity namely Khazanah Nasional Berhad (Khazanah) or a party to be nominated by Khazanah.
“I was also instructed to leave UEM and Renong as a shareholder and director including the subsidiaries of the two companies. This obliged me to hand over control of Renong and UEM to the government and further dispose of my Renong shares at a loss,” stated Halim in the statement of claim.
He claimed that Khazanah had acquired all of UEM’s shares through its subsidiary, Danasaham Sdn Bhd, thereby gaining control over UEM, which at the time owned 32.6 per cent of Renong shares.
Therefore, he is claiming, among other things, compensation for the forced takeover by the government between July and October 2001 and a declaration that he is a Renong shareholder.
Meanwhile, the defendants, in their defence statement, denied having forcibly taken over the shareholding of the two companies as the takeover was approved by Halim, who received RM165 million in compensation.
This was acknowledged by the plaintiff through his letter to Khazanah dated May 13, 2003, they said, adding that following the letter, RM165 million in compensation by Khazanah was paid out in two payments to Halim.
The first payment of RM45 million was made on May 22, 2003, and the second one totalling RM120 million on May 26, 2003, stated the three defendants. — Bernama