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KINIBIZ As Eco World Development Holdings Bhd (ECO World) shares’ spectacular free-fall since late April appears to have slowed down - it finished 4 sen lower to RM4.56  yesterday - the question that still burns is who really controls the developer.

Among the names the market throws up are well-known multi-billionaire Syed Mokhtar Albukhary ( left ), former finance minister Daim Zainuddin and former SP Setia head honcho Liew Kee Sin or some combination of all of them. Daim denies his involvement while the others can’t be contacted.

While the same group of three shareholders will still control the company, there will be significant shifts in their stakes. Currently control of fast-emerging developer Eco World appears to rest with major shareholders Liew Tian Xiong (Liew Kee Sin’s son), Abdul Rashid Abdul Manaf and Eddy Leong Kok Wah - chairperson and deputy chairperson respectively of Eco World. Presently the trio collectively have a 65 percent stake in the company.

Abdul Rashid was previously chairperson of SP Setia for 15 years since 1997 to 2012 and Leong deputy chairperson when Liew Kee Sin was CEO and a major shareholder of the same company. They are therefore very close associates of Liew Kee Sin. Leong left SP Setia in 2013  and Abdul Rashid  a year earlier, the duo emerging in  Eco World where they occupy identical positions.

Liew Kee Sin tendered his resignation from SP Setia in January and his last day with the company was April 30. He joined the Eco World board as non-executive director on May 5. It is estimated that some 280 staff of SP Setia have now joined Eco World, most of them at the senior level, including Eco World’s current CEO Chang Kim Wah. This probably marks an unprecedented mass migration from one property company to another in Malaysia.

“Sometimes you even see Eco World’s cleaning ladies wearing SP Setia shirts,” joked one corporate observer to KiniBiz some time back.

For the full story, go to KiniBiz .