(24 March 2001)

KOTA KINABALU: Former Chief Minister Datuk Yong Teck Lee said the decision by State agency Warisan Harta to acquire North Borneo Timber Sdn Bhd shares from Suniwang Holdings Sdn Bhd as part of a composite share swap was not his personally but the Warisan Board of Directors.

He told the court Friday that implementation and execution of Board decisions was left to the management and that he was not involved in the implementation.

He said his role ended after the Board meeting and that being the non-Executive Chairman of Warisan Harta, he did not have any vetoing power to block or approve any proposal.

He was answering questions by his lead counsel Simon Shim on the second day of a libel suit he has brought against Tanjung Aru MP Yee Moh Chai pertaining to the latter's statements on the deal to the media.

Yong further said he resigned from all the posts that came with the office of the Chief Minister upon conclusion of his term (under the rotation system).

Continuing the Examination-In-Chief at the High Court, Yong said one Warisan Board did express reservations over the proposed deal with Suniwang Holdings Sdn Bhd.

He did not say who this person was, but that the reservation was expressed when the proposal from Suniwang was discussed after a follow-up of the paper on the meeting he chaired.

He said he only came to know about Suniwang's proposal to Warisan when he received the notice of board meeting about the first or second week of December 1997.

"The management presented the paper and then discussion was open to members of Board. (They) may ask questions, seek clarifications, express reservations and ask for any further information before a decision is reached," he said when asked how the meeting was conducted.


The meeting that discussed the Suniwang proposal was attended by a "fully constituted baord" meaning himself, the Minister of Finance or his alternate director who is the Assistant Minister of Finance, the State Secretary, the Permanent Secretary of the Finance Ministry and two independent directors.

The Board's decision was that the proposal be sent back to the management to see how or if it can be improved, he said.

To another question, he said there was a subsequent board meeting when the management came back to the Board and presented a new paper as follow-up. This meeting, chaired by him, was attended by "basically the same people".

Yong said the decision at that particular meeting was "basically to agree to the improved proposal and further ask the management to obtain legal opinion to protect the interest of the company" from Messrs Shelly Yap Leong Tseu Chong Chai & Co.

He said he found the press statements by the defendant Tanjung Aru MP Dr Yee Moh Chai objectionable when it was stated that he (Yong) had something to hide and that the investment was made by him.

Yong also told the court that the Chief Minister's Press Office had issued a press statement on Dec. 29, 1997 to assure the people that the State Government would explain the matter in due course because it is accountable for all the actions that it has made.


Datuk Yong Teck Lee
Member of Parliament for P150 Gaya / State Assemblyman for N13 Likas






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