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Saturday, May 22, 2010

Sime Darby: PAS calls for special panel, suspension of top officers - Harakahdaily


KUALA LUMPUR, May 21: PAS has called for the suspension of Sime Darby chairman Musa Hitam, its CEO Azhar Abdul Hamid and its Vice President of Utilities and Energy Division Hisham Hamdan to facilitate an investigation into losses amounting to RM1.63 billion by the giant corporation.
"Any investigation will be made difficult by their continued presence in the organisation," said the party's information chief Idris Ahmad in a statement today.
Idris said the people viewed with suspicion the reasons given for the loss, such as cost overruns incurred from projects in Qatar and the Bakun dam.
"Why was there nothing done to put a brake on cost overruns at the early stage?
"As a seasoned corporate player, Sime should have gauged its investment capabilities in both projects," he said.
Following revelation of the losses, pressure has been mounting on Musa and other top officials of the government-linked company to resign.
Musa, a former deputy prime minister, said he was prepared to resign if auditors investigating the losses could prove his guilt.
“I do not mind stepping down but it must be based on facts. At this point it is not clear yet who should be held accountable," he was reported as saying in the local media.
Describing the losses as gigantic, Idris said the investments by Employees Provident Fund (EPF) and the government's asset management company Permodalan Nasional Berhad, which own 66% of shares in Sime Darby, would also be affected.
Idris said instead of Sime carrying out an internal investigation, a special panel appointed by the government should be formed to probe the company.
He said Sime should take lessons from Pos Malaysia Berhad which had used its losses as an excuse to call for its privatisation.


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