UPDATE, 31 July 2010: Khazanah buy-back 23.9% Parkway block cost rakyat a whopping RM935 million! Click here for story.
The government should immediately launch an investigation into the fiasco!
I am not at all amused over the fight for control of Parkway Holdings Ltd (Parkway) between Khazanah Nasional Berhad (Khazanah) and Fortis Healthcare Ltd of India, which harbors a “vision to become a global healthcare provider.” You can read the full report by the Star here.
Let me remind all and sundry, that at the core of this “battle” lies the sweet fruit called Pantai Hospital that has been wickedly plucked and eaten by an outsider supposedly under the watchful eyes of the caretakers of our national garden.
The bitter fruits of this dereliction of duty on our part were manifolds. First, there was the unwholesome and ill-gotten gains by a few through blatant abuse of power and probable collusion by interested parties. Then there was the breach of our national security because of the ultra-sensitive database falling into foreign hands. Followed by the needless and sinfully high cost expended to buy-back our shares that were originally squandered willy nilly. Let us not factor in the derision of our national pride as the enemy would have had scoffed at our idiocy while laughing all the way to the bank – for no price can ever redeem our national shame suffered.
The rakyat, in the final analysis, is the biggest loser and it is also on their backs that the burden of taxes to be collected will fall on to help pay for this colossal fiasco.
The full weight of the blame should bear down heavily on the shoulders of the then Minister of Finance II who gave the initial nod to unconscionably sell off Pantai Hospital in the first place. If he had done his due diligence, carried out his duty responsibly and protected our national interest placed in his care we would not have had a situation where Khazanah would be forced to become the financial ambulance for the first bailout buy-back of Pantai Hospital shares costing an over-priced $800 million. For the rakyat who possess a modicum of intelligence, it is not unreasonable for them to come to the conclusion that it appears the then Minister of Finance II must think Khazanah is his personal financial cash cow to be squeezed and milked regularly for his gross mistakes. The then Minister of Finance II’s sin was he seemed very interested and too eager then to pawn off Pantai Holdings to Parkway, a Singapore company, for the proverbial song.
By association, the Chairman of the Securities Commission then, and who is still the incumbent, equally shares the condemnation for sleeping on the job during her watch as there was massive sale of shares involved. For her ostensibly neglect of duty then the needless high price we paid for was not only the country’s national interest and security being compromised but also the country’s treasury suffering a severe raid that resulted in a final pay off to the Singapore company that was exceedingly, inexcusably and unforgivingly high!
Khazanah would not have had to appear to become the personal coffer of the personality in the Ministry of Finance to pay for his very expensive mistakes wrought by his own hands, if the first error was not committed. And there would not have been a need for a second or perhaps a third time for Khazanah to be abused and plundered at will. But Khazanah did become the victim of the first sin involving Parkway.
And now it is abused again in buying back another 23.9% of the shares at S$3.95 per share? Which “represents a price/earnings of 39 times Parkway’s FY09 earnings and 25 times prospective earnings, compared with the peer average on the Singapore stock exchange of 23 and 18 times respectively”?
Should it really be asked, is “Khazanah over-paying for this asset?” Are we so dumb now that we cannot tell a rhetorical question when we are presented with one? Let us not stop here but go a little further. Do two wrongs make a right?
All told, if the tug-of-war to buy a majority stake in Parkway at this juncture is not, and has not been, the irresponsible work of seemingly reckless and unreliable people, then, I have to admit, I don’t know what is.
In my pengkianat and pengrompak Negara speech in parliament here I spoke at length about the lack of enforcement to bring corporate crooks to book and I will repeat my call here for the minister concerned and Prime Minister to revisit the cases I have highlighted, including the above, and to take immediate actions against those responsible for and who were, and are continuing to be, the perpetrators of corporate malfeasances in this country in the interest of the rakyat and nation. Before it is too late.