KUALA LUMPUR (Dec 31): George Kent (M) Bhd (GKM) chairman Tan Sri Tan Kay Hock will take legal action against the author and publisher of an article, which claimed he was seeking to sell his entire shareholding in the water meter manufacturer and that his attempts to procure a buyer were unsuccessful due to legacy issues.

In a statement today, Tan said the article entitled “Tan Kay Hock to exit George Kent?” published by Focus Malaysia on its online portal on Friday (Dec 27, 2019) further claimed he was not available for immediate comment, prior to its publication.

"In light of the seriousness of the implications arising out of the article, I shall be instructing lawyers to seek appropriate legal recourse which shall include a demand from the author and publisher of the article to retract the false statements and misleading insinuations and to publish an appropriate apology and clarification. I will also be seeking that the author and publisher of the article undertake not to repeat the statements and insinuations in any form. In the meantime, I reserve all my rights whatsoever.

"I wish to clarify and state as follows:- Firstly, I am not aware of any prior attempt by the author or publisher of the article to contact me for confirmation of the truth of the statements or for my comments in relation to the article.  

"Secondly, the statements are entirely fictitious and there is absolutely no truth in them. It is well known that GKM is very close and dear to my heart. My family and I invested in GKM as far back as 1982, and we have seen the company grow exponentially over the years from the time of our involvement. GKM today is recognised in the industry as being a market leader and model public corporation. I have every intention of further contributing my experience and knowledge for the benefit of GKM and its continued expansion and development. As such, it would be preposterous to suggest that I am actively seeking to divest my shareholding in GKM. For the same reason, I wish to state that I have not sought nor spoken to any party about selling my shares in GKM," Tan said.

Tan said the article further insinuates that GKM’s share price, financial and operational performances have been adversely affected by various factors.

He said the factors relied upon are completely misplaced and are contrived to create a false and misleading picture concerning GKM. He said GKM’s performance is largely determined by economic and commercial factors and this has been completely ignored by the article.

"I am aggrieved by the deliberate false statements and the misleading insinuations, as they portray a situation of uncertainty in GKM, which is attributable to factors which are unrelated to the wellbeing of the company. Such a characterisation is both unfair and totally unwarranted.

"It is regrettable that the article seeks to rely on an unnamed source for its information concerning the statements, without affording me a reasonable opportunity to confirm whether the statements are in fact true and to comment on the article. I can only infer that the reliance on the unnamed source and failure to provide me with a reasonable opportunity to respond, is in furtherance of a malicious agenda to injure my reputation and business interests.

"In pursuing such an agenda, the perpetrators are also injuring GKM and its other shareholders who comprise of both institutional investors and members of the investing public, generally," he said.

GKM's annual report shows Tan owns direct and indirect stakes of 4.99% and 39.15% respectively in the company, as at April 30, 2019.

At 5pm today, GKM's share price closed down 0.5 sen or 0.54% at 92.5 sen, for a market capitalisation of RM496.64 million. The stock was traded between 91.5 sen and 93 sen today.

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