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Asiaweek: Down And Out In K.L. [Halim Saad, Renong]
By Chris Wong

1/9/2001 10:20 am Sat

[Walau apa pun Halim naik dan turun di zaman Mahathir juga. Malah beliau kerapkali membela Renong bila pembangkang mempertikaikan keistimewaannya. Jika Mahathir betul-betul berwawasan seorang seperti Halim tidak seharusnya dibiarkan membolot banyak projek raksaksa namun masih rugi jua.
- Editor



Down And Out In K.L.

For years, Halim Saad has embodied Malaysia Inc. As head of government-linked Renong, he built one of the country's most powerful business groups. But Halim's star has fallen. Prime Minister Mahathir - determined to entice investors back to a more transparent, depoliticized Malaysia - recently removed Halim and installed Azman Yahya to clean up the mess.

JUNE 1984 Halim becomes one of two directors of a newly formed investment holding company called Hatibudi. Within a year, it acquires United Engineers (Malaysia), or UEM, which becomes one of the nation's dominant construction companies

JULY 1987 Opposition politicians challenge a major construction contract awarded to UEM. Months later, a Malaysian court rules that the nation's dominant political party, UMNO, is illegal. That touches off a restructuring of the party and its assets. By early 1990, many of the assets are consolidated by Halim under a listed company called Renong

AUGUST 1995 Renong and subsidiaries UEM and Time Engineering soar. Renong stock hits an all-time high, up 113% on the year. Time Engineering is touted as one of the best picks in Asia, while UEM is winning construction contracts around Malaysia, including the contract to build a sports complex for the country's 1998 Commonwealth Games.

NOVEMBER 1997 UEM props up the stock price of a plummeting Renong by buying one-third of its parent. Halim pledges to make good on any loss UEM incurs buying Renong

FEBRUARY 2001 An IPO by Time Engineering subsidiary Time dotCom bombs on its first day, prompting an outcry against banks and government-linked pension funds that invested in the initial offering - only to see the value of their holdings plummet

JULY 2001 Mahathir announces that UEM will be bought by the government and installs Azman Yahya to head restructuring efforts, which will likely include UEM