Supermax boss clears air on apology to Najib

KUALA LUMPUR: Supermax Corp Bhd managing director Stanley Thai said today his recent apology to Prime Minister Najib Razak for supporting the opposition in the last general election is not linked to his court case on insider trading.

At a press conference today, Thai said he was neither under pressure nor had he been intimidated into apologising to Najib.

The clarification comes after Selangor Menteri Besar Azmin Ali questioned the timing of Thai’s apology.

The tycoon is appealing a five-year jail term and RM5 million fine for insider trading offences related to Supermax unit, APL Industries Bhd (APLI).

“People like me who were born in the 1960s and 1970s were affected by policies of previous administrations, so it’s appropriate to apologise to Najib because what I said in the previous election isn’t related to the current administration,” Thai said.

However, he declined to specify which administration or policies he had been critical of.

Thai also said he had apologised “immediately” after the last election. But his interview with The Edge, on July 9, 2013, seems to contradict this.

Then, Thai, who was asked why he openly supported the opposition, said: “Someone had to come out and open the floodgates to the change we believe in. There are too many grumbling CEOs who dare not voice their complaints publicly for fear of being victimised or blacklisted.”

When pressed on this by FMT, he reiterated that he had made mistakes.

“I acknowledge the mistakes I made in the last election and I apologise publicly to the prime minister.

“In fact, I support the current administration,” he said, adding Najib’s administration had introduced good policies and infrastructure projects, including the goods and services tax, Pan Borneo Highway and rail projects which supported the growth of the economy.

He also praised the BN manifesto, saying if it was implemented well, it would be excellent for the country.

Thai said he wanted to make his stand clear that he didn’t want to get involved in politics, now that GE14 was weeks away.

He explained that his involvement in GE13 started after his private and casual comments about why the Chinese community didn’t support the government made at a media dinner were published and exploited by opposition politicians.

He acknowledged that he had attended opposition ceramahs and a rally in conjunction with GE13, and regretted being influenced by opposition propaganda.

Thai also said Supermax respected former federal minister Rafidah Aziz’s decision to resign as Supermax chairman.

Rafidah, who has been critical of Najib’s administration, quit Supermax shortly after Thai apologised to Najib last week.

“I had advised Rafidah to stop talking about politics in our working group chat. Probably she didn’t like what I said or highlighted to her; maybe my decision to apologise caught her by surprise.”

Thai said Supermax was looking for Rafidah’s successor, adding an ideal candidate should come with a professional background.

Following Thai’s apology last week, Supermax Corp’s shares surged as much as 6.9%

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