#Update* CHGS voting begins; founder has 50% proxy support

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KUALA LUMPUR (Feb 8): Shareholders of Country Heights Growers Scheme (CHGS) have been given until 3pm to vote on the termination of the scheme and accept its founder Tan Sri Lee Kim Yew's “goodwill package”.

After three hours of emotionally-charged debates this morning, more than 1,300 shareholders of the scheme began a disorderly exit from the EGM, with many casting their votes on their way out.

Several proxies attempted to push for the vote to be postponed to another date to include Lee's “goodwill package” into the circular to shareholders to allow time to consider the new offer.

Earlier, Lee had told shareholders that they could take legal action against him if they failed to receive the return of 90% of capital invested in the scheme within six months of the termination.

The "goodwill package" is an oral offer by Lee to repay 90% of the capital invested by growers within six months, and to give them an additional RM25 million, or a 11.6% yield.

"I personally guarantee the return of the money and the yield. This is legally binding. If not, all of you can sue me," said Lee, attempting to persuade shareholders to support the resolution.

Lee explained that there had not been enough time to include the new terms in the circular, but he “will personally guarantee the goodwill package".

Lee added his offer will only be valid if the resolution on termination of the oil palm growing scheme is passed today.

If the resolution is not passed today, the scheme will default on Feb 14 and trustees will have to call for a meeting for shareholders to decide what course of action to take.

On the brighter side for Lee, it was announced earlier that he has won more than 50% support from proxy votes.

* There are more than 10,000 shareholders involved in the scheme, which has raised funds of RM215.5mil since 2007.

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