NWP’s boardroom issues dampen investor sentiment

Its board members appear to have fended off a challenge for board control after an EGM requisitioned by 2 shareholders was rejected by the current board 

by NUR HANANI AZMAN / Pic by TMR GRAPHIC

NWP Holdings Bhd’s major shareholders’ tussle for boardroom representation and control has negatively impacted its share price which has fallen to 16 sen last Friday from 25 sen two weeks ago. 

NWP existing board members appear to have fended off a challenge for board control after an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) requisitioned by two shareholders, Datuk Tan Lik Houe and Chang Huan Soon, was rejected by the current board which had deemed it invalid, according to NWP’s exchange filings last week. 

NWP had stated its record of depositors (RoD) had been “leaked” to third parties without the consent of the company, triggered a deeper sell-off after the price rally the stock experienced following the emergence of Kejuruteraan Asastera Bhd MD Datuk Lai Keng Onn, the MD of Kejuruteraan Asastera Bhd, as a substantial shareholder with a 5.4% stake that was acquired from the open market. 

There will be anxiety and concern among the affected shareholders, says Devanesan (TMR FILEPIX)

“The RoD contains shareholders’ personal information such as their full names, the number of shares they hold, central depository system account numbers, identity card numbers and addresses. 

“Needless to say, there will be anxiety and concern among the affected shareholders,” Minority Shareholders Watch Group CEO Devanesan Evanson told The Malaysian Reserve. 

In exchange filings on Jan 17, NWP stated it did not receive any request for the RoD from the third parties nor did it authorise the release. 

The company has since announced a change in its company secretary and replaced the registrar, One Capital Market Services Sdn Bhd, with Aldpro Corp Services Sdn Bhd. 

NWP together with its whollyowned subsidiaries NWP O&M Sdn Bhd, NWP Aquatech Sdn Bhd and NWP Builder Sdn Bhd, have also launched legal action against its MD Datuk Seri Kee Soon Ling and independent non-executive director Yew Onn Chong over fraudulent transactions undertaken by them from 2016 to 2021. 

The company is alleged to have discovered a series of fraudulent transactions undertaken by Kee and Yew from 2016 to 2021, which has caused NWP and its subsidiaries to suffer loss and damages. 

NWP is now seeking RM6.54 million in special damages from the duo in the court along with a ruling on other matters against the defendants. 

Leading to the rejection of the call for the EGM, the timber product manufacturer and trader which has ventured into the construction space, also stated Tan’s claim as a substantial shareholder was false and misleading as the company had discovered he had never been the Registered Holder of the Shares. As such, NWP had instructed its solicitors to demand Tan to rectify the notice. 

Devanesan believed the RoD is a snapshot of the shareholders’ (depositors) holding of securities of a company at any point in time. 

“There is no reason to doubt the veracity and accuracy of the RoD. The person who feels that his name should appear in the RoD must take up the issue with the Central Depository. It is the Central Depository that makes available the RoDs. There may be a valid explanation for the situation. 

“The regulators (Bursa and Securities Commission Malaysia) can only investigate and reply if there is a complaint from the aggrieved party. The aggrieved party is therefore advised to raise the issue formally with the regulators,” he added.