A thorough independent audit is needed on the Selangor state agencies that are owed RM391 million by Talam Corp Bhd to find out how the debt arose and who is responsible for allowing it to linger. What wonders it would reveal!
The stage agencies concerned are subsidiaries of Selangor Development Corporation (PKNS), Kumpulan Darul Ehsan Bhd (KDEB), Permodalan Negeri Selangor Bhd (PNSB) and Yayasan Pendidikan Selangor.
State agencies usually come under the purview of top Selangor government leaders, and if these debts go back a decade as has been reported, then those responsible in the previous administrations have to be held accountable.
State agencies are believed to have entered into joint ventures with Talam to develop huge land banks. It was supposed to be a “win-win situation” – but obviously something went wrong, somewhere. Talam reportedly secured large landbanks in Ampang, Sepang, Puchong, Bukit Jalil and Rawang, all prime areas.
Unaudited results for the six months ended 31 July 2009 showed that Talam posted a profit before tax of RM2.6 million, down from RM38.6 million for the corresponding period in 2008.
The Group recorded lower revenue and pre-tax profit for the second quarter ended July 2009 of RM42.0 million and RM0.3 million respectively, compared to RM61.4 million and RM2.3 million in the first quarter.
On 28 September 2009, Talam’s deputy chairman Tengku Sulaiman Shah Al-Haj Ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Salahuddin Ab Aziz Shah Al-Haj resigned.
On 14 August 2009, Talam’s Company Secretary resigned, to be replaced by a new Secretary.
On 31 July, KEuro, a major shareholder, reportedly moved to reduce its shareholding in Talam Corp Bhd, from 41.5 per cent in February to 31 per cent.
On 23 March 2009, Messrs Deloitte KassimChan tendered their resignation as the auditors of Talam and Kumpulan Europlus Bhd. A month later, an EGM was held to confirm the appointment of new auditors, Messrs Baker Tilly Monteiro Heng. The new auditors would handle Talam’s accounts for the financial year ended 31 January 2009.
According to the Edge:
Both Talam and Kumpulan Europlus had on Monday received notice of nomination from shareholders, Pengurusan Projek Bersistem Sdn Bhd and Sze Choon Holdings Sdn Bhd respectively, to nominate Messrs Baker Tilly Monteiro Heng as the auditor for both companies… According to sources, the departure of Messrs Deloitte KassimChan was based on a mutual basis and rationale behind the resignation was due to the fees structure.
According to Bloomberg data, Pengurusan Project Bersistem currently holds 2.47% stake or 47.71 million shares in Talam. Sze Choon is a company in which Tan Sri Chan Ah Chye and Puan Sri Datin Thong Nyok Choo have substantial interest in, according to Kumpulan Europlus’s FY08 annual report.
Who is Chan Ah Chye? He was a project manager at PKNS in the early part of his career.
He has over 37 years of experience in the property and construction industry since he started his career with Messrs Binnie & Partners (M) Sdn Bhd and later joined Perbadanan Kemajuan Negeri Selangor (“PKNS”) in 1971 as a Project Manager handling project designs, management and property development. Tan Sri was awarded the prestigious “Property Man of the Year 1998” by Federation Internationale Des Professions Immobilieres (“FIABCI”) in recognition of his achievements in property development. Tan Sri was conferred the Honorary Doctorate of Science (Engineering) by the University Malaya on 11 August 2003. He is also currently an Executive Director (President/ Chief Executive) of Kumpulan Europlus Berhad.
Chan is the spouse of Thong, a major shareholder of Talam.
In December 2008, Talam was served with a winding up petition after the Malaysian government obtained judgment for over RM10 million against one of Talam’s subsidiaries for corporate taxes dating back to 1998-1999. Talam announced it would be meeting with the tax department to work out a mutually acceptable settlement scheme. The winding-up petition was withdrawn a month later.
Clearly, it has been a troubled past year.