MPs call for inquiry into Maika scandal

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KUALA LUMPUR (March 13): The government’s recent move to hold an inquiry into Bank Negara Malaysia’s (BNM) foreign exchange dealings in the early 1990s has prompted some opposition lawmakers to call for a similar inquiry into the Maika Holdings Bhd scandal. 

“If that (BNM inquiry) can be done, it is relevant for the federal government to also take the same action towards the issues surrounding Maika Holdings, which involved the Indian community,” G Manivannan (PKR-Kapar) told reporters at the Parliament building. 

Maika was initiated by then MIC president Tun S Samy Vellu in the 1980s as an investment vehicle, with a focus on the Indian community.

It raised RM106 million from some 66,400 shareholders — 70% of whom were low income earners — for its investment activities, but its profits were allegedly channelled elsewhere. 

In 2013, G Team Resources & Holding Sdn Bhd, led by tycoon Tan Sri G. Gnanalingam and Datuk S. Kunasingam, took over Maika. In 2015, G Team agreed to reimburse Maika shareholders who had yet to surrender their shares. 

“Even though MIC and the federal government have tried to resolve this problem, those responsible have never been brought to the face of justice,” Manivannan said.  

On top of calls by opposition leaders, the Minority Rights Action Party (MIRA), which is a strategic partner of Pakatan Harapan, has also prepared a memorandum demanding the setting up of a royal commission of inquiry (RCI) into the Maika scandal. 

“Pakatan Harapan chairman Tun Mahathir Mohd has also promised to MIRA that if the coalition takes over as the federal government, we will conduct a thorough investigation on this issue,” Manivannan added.  

According to MIRA, Maika had in 1990, raised a RM50 million loan to take up 10 million shares in Telekom Malaysia at RM5 apiece, but it later only acquired one million shares.  

The balance nine million Telekom shares were taken up equally by three other companies under the purview of Samy Vellu, namely SB Management Services Sdn Bhd, Advanced Personal Computers Sdn Bhd and Clearway Sdn Bhd, the document said. 

G Team too was not spared in MIRA's RCI request document. 

In April 2012, the company had sold Maika’s 74%-owned insurance firm Oriental Commercial Assurance (OCA) to Tune Group for RM153 million. A year after Tune Group listed the firm — then renamed Tune Assurance — it amassed a market capitalisation of RM1.2 billion. 

“The G Team pledged to channel profits from the sale of OCA to the Indian community, but that was not fulfilled,” the document said.