It was mentioned on the Radio and TV but not played up in the Press that some 1. 6bil ringgit worth of shares reserved for the Bumis under ASM had not been taken up. Hence it's going to be opened to the free market and anyone can buy up to a maximum or 20,000 shares.In spite of the lack of capacity to absorb all the shares offered to the Bumis, PNB is contemplating on issuing new shares, certainly to attract more savings and investment from the Bumis.
If the Bumis cannot absorb even existing opportunities, how can they respond positively to new ones? Will such move increase Bumiputra equity share which has remained stagnant at 19 or 20% in the last 19 years while the non-Bumi share has shot up to
more than 50%? If PNB was responsible for improving Bumi equity all these while, has it really accomplished what it was set out to do, accepted that it might have accomplished other goals magnificently well?
Equinas has now seemingly taken over the role to improve the equity issue. What assurance is made that the new shares issued will be taken up by the Bumi with their limited resources, unless the shares are bought and held in their interest by resource-rich Bumi companies like MARA, Felda, Felcra etc? Without such assurance the chance for Bumi equity to increase will become just a pious hope.And such a hope, I'm afraid, will not facilitate the achievement of national unity and stability.
PS. "1.6b ASM units sold out in a day" (NST July 23, p.9). The units not taken up by Bumis were sold in a day in the open market.
What a success and what a proud proclamation of success! But is it in line with the main objective of PNB? Or is that objective just to make as much profit as possible irrespective of who is getting richer and what happens to the equity factor in the nation? Raise and sell more shares in the open market PNB, and the stagnant 19 % Bumis' share of the market may yet sink to 0. The Bumis will sell out for a quick profit anytime.