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EWOG ‘Acknowledges and Respects’ SSM’s Decision to Freeze Trust Account Funds

KUALA LUMPUR: The Companies Commission of Malaysia (SSM) issued an order letter to freeze funds in the trust accounts of East West One Planter’s Scheme, East West Horizon Planter’s Scheme and East West Planter’s Scheme 1 on 28 April, to which the East West One Group (EWOG) responded that it acknowledges and respects the decision.

According to SSM, the move was a follow-up to the investigations it conducted on the companies under EWOG.

“The order letter was sent to Pacific Trustees Bhd – the trustee for EWOG – on 5 April 2024, aimed at safeguarding the interests of investors in the schemes. It is a follow-up to the proposal by EWOG as the main holding company to carry out a recovery and restructuring plan for the schemes by utilising funds in the trust accounts,” SSM said.

Through the directive, SSM said Pacific Trustees is required to maintain funds in the Trust Account, Reserve Fund Trust Account and Sinking Fund Trust Account, wherein the said funds are prohibited from being withdrawn and transferred to the management company in line with the provisions of Section 48(4)(a) of the Interests Scheme Act 2016.

“However, this fund freeze is subject to a recovery and restructuring plan for the schemes, upon approval by a majority of investors in the investors’ meeting,” it added.

Meanwhile, in a statement by EWOG, the company said, “EWOG is fully committed to cooperating with SSM and all regulatory bodies. We are taking necessary steps to ensure compliance and facilitate a thorough and transparent review process.”

According to the company, the management of EWOG has sought to bring the ongoing issues to the planters through the organisation of planter’s meetings as provided by the trust deeds and the Interest Scheme Act 2016.

However, those attempts have been disrupted by a minority group of planters through court actions.  The latest was an ad interim injunction that halted the meetings scheduled on 5 April 2024. Regrettably, the interim injunction also interrupted ongoing rehabilitation efforts, which commenced early last year.

“This disruption in rehabilitation work poses a significant challenge to safeguarding and enhancing the investment interests of the majority of our stakeholders.

The delay in rehabilitation has severely affected the yield of our plantations, making it increasingly difficult to restore and maintain the health and productivity of our biological assets, ultimately impacting the value of our investors’ holdings,” the company said.

To this end, EWOG urges all planters to come together to support the rescheduling of the planter’s meeting.

“It is vital that the voices of all the Planters are heard, and a decision is reached to path the way forward for all our schemes,” it added.

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