ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday May 4, 2008
Vol. 42 - No 49
Financial Times  

SLT top brass, media visit Malaysia at Maxis’ expense

By Bandula Sirimanna

Telecom giant Maxis, part of the Global Telecommunications Holdings (GTH) of Malaysia, is playing host to visits by several senior officials from Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) and a group of Sri Lankan journalists – a few weeks after buying a 35 percent stake in SLT.

Last week a high powered SLT delegation headed by its Chairperson Leisha Chandrasena visited Malaysia and including the Chief Financial officer, Chief Administrative Officer, Chief HR and Legal Officer, Chief Business Development Officer, Chief Marketing and Sales Officer and SLT-Mobitel CEO visited Malaysia and the Maxis’ office on a briefing and familiarization tour.

Maxis, which is upping its stake by buying more stock in the market, wants full management control including the handling of finances of SLT. Next week another powerful SLT delegation of the SLT left for Malaysia for further talks while a group of business journalists including a representative from The Sunday Times is leaving for Kuala Lumpur next Saturday on a fully-sponsored visit to ‘learn about Maxis’.

Sri Lanka’s Treasury holds a 49.5% stake in SLT. Large stocks of SLT shares in the market have been grabbed by the Malaysian investor raising its stake. SLT employees, in the meantime have expressed concern on the action taken by the present SLT management to promote 50 more officers as heads of sections equivalent to that of Deputy General Managers. A senior official of SLT, concerned about the developments, told The Sunday Times FT that this will create an additional burden to the company as officers in the grade are to be given many perks He said that the work at SLT had been neglected as some officers were eagerly awaiting for their promotions while others were expecting a change of management.

He said SLT functions had been greatly affected as the present management has adopted a wait and see attitude during this transition period. Union sources said the present management should not make drastic changes without consultation of the other big stakeholder. Maxis is yet to name a CEO or get involved in management affairs. Its nominee is expected to be made shortly and when its nominees to the board are finalised.


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