Saturday 13 Apr 2024
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KUALA LUMPUR (Dec 11): Supermax Corp Bhd said shareholders without any management role or without position in the company’s board of directors have no authority to make any official statement on its behalf.

This follows an article published by The Star last week, which quoted Supermax co-founder Datuk Wira Cheryl Tan Bee Geok, who owns a 38.38% indirect stake in the company, as saying that there is a need for a “balanced board with more independent directors with the right mindset to provide checks and balances” to drive the group forward.

In its statement on Monday, Supermax said “neither the company nor its management, or any of the board members of Supermax are in any way responsible for any claims made in the article or the correctness of the content therein”.

“The company management and board of directors have not consented nor given any authority to any shareholders to provide the information carried in the above-mentioned article,” said Supermax, who also directed any queries from the media or its shareholders to its corporate affairs unit.

Tan co-founded the company with her husband Datuk Seri Stanley Thai Kim Sim, who is currently Supermax's executive chairman. The duo are shareholders of Supermax Holdings Sdn Bhd, which controls the 38.38% stake in the listed entity.

The latest internal criticism towards Supermax board's governance surfaced eight months after the couple’s eldest daughter, Cecile Jaclyn Thai, stepped down as non-independent non-executive director in April, with Cecile claiming she had been bullied and silenced by other board members, including her father Stanley, when she tried to uphold her fiduciary duties. Her allegations were later dismissed by Supermax, who said they were unfounded.

At the time, Cecile, 35, had opposed Stanley's proposal to buy a new aircraft for US$47.39 million (RM210.32 million) to replace one that was acquired only a year before. Just a month before, Cecile’s sister, Aurelia Joie Thai, 30, also disputed the purchase of the aircraft, which she claimed resulted in attempts to remove her as director at one of Supermax's subsidiaries.

In the article published last week, Tan pointed to the aircraft’s purchase as one of the main causes of Supermax’s continued loss for four consecutive quarters while its peers had returned to the black, aside from a drop in productivity.

She reportedly said that this led to Cecile to be redesignated from executive director to non-executive director, following her attempts to question the purchase and the sole authority of her father in making financial decisions.

Tan said the role of the management includes being responsible in spending and expenses, adding that corporate governance and a good managerial skill set were vital during turbulent times.

“The group is underperforming and more prudency and a robust board composition should be practised from top down. Supermax has the ability to move forward if the right type of leadership were to be practised,” she was quoted as saying.

“Professional differences of opinion and subsequent lively debate are absolutely good and healthy for a dynamic hard-working board of directors. I look forward to working with the team and other fellow board members and doing our best to discharge our responsibilities ethically and professionally without fear for the benefit of Supermax,” she added.

Supermax shares closed one sen or 1.11% higher at 91 sen on Monday, giving the group a market capitalisation of RM2.48 billion. Year to date, the stock is up six sen or 7.06%.

Edited ByTan Choe Choe
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