Thursday, December 02, 2021

HRDF is now a Corporation

KL, 2 Dec: 
M. Saravanan 
HRDF 28 years. 
Jamil Salleh, Chairman of HRD coordinating body for a new single-window portal
Industrial Revolution 4

M

Friday, November 05, 2021

MACC gave Tommy Thomas 681 names to be charged in the 1MDB case but only FOUR went to court. Why?

Updated 1234pm Nov 05 // Read also EdisiSiasat and Latifah Koyak: Moneypulasi

WHEN TOMMY THOMAS was the Attorney-General, new and smelling likes roses, and the Pakatan Harapan government led by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad was in power (and witch-hunting was hot in progress), the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) offered 861 681 names of individuals and entities to be charged for alleged corruption, alleged money laundering and alleged other crimes related to dethroned PM Najib Razak’s 1MDB. Tommy Thomas decided, and it would have absolutely nothing to do with selective prosecution or political pressure, if you ask him, to charge only FOUR. No action was taken against 857 677 others that had been identified and investigated by our anti-graft body. The MACC chief then was Latifah Koya, a shrilled  voice of civil conscience until landing herself that powerful job, thanks to Dr Mahathir (and her souring ties with her own party president Anwar Ibrahim). Anyone remember her making a fuss about Tommy Thomas’ call? I don’t. 

So if it wasn’t politics or a desire to kick Najib while he was down, why did the AG Tommy Thomas decide NOT to charge all 861 681 individuals and entities on MACC’s list?

In his article in The Vibes today, lawyer Rajan Navaratnam offered possible reasons for what many have already concluded as selective prosecution on the part of the Attorney-General’s Chamber.

Excerpts: 

IN the past, there have been cases where the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) – on the recommendation of several law enforcement agencies – had withdrawn charges that were preferred against several individuals such as Datuk Noor Ehsanuddin Mohd Harun Narrashid, Riza Shahriz Abdul Aziz, and Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan, involving alleged crimes of corruption and money laundering.

The AGC in exercising its discretion was criticised by several quarters – although in some cases, the court had only granted a discharge not amounting to an acquittal, which means the prosecution has the power to reinstate the said charges at a future date. 

 

Read lawyer Rajan Navaratnam’s thought-provoking (A timely consideration for deferred prosecution agreements).

Sunday, October 24, 2021

FIVE people will end up as billionaire cronies from our 5G sellout, the rest of us will pay, pay, pay

THEY SAY Anwar Ibrahim does not have that ‘killer instinct’. I think it’s true, sometimes. The Opposition leader was one of the first to raise questions about the RM11 billion 5G conundrum back in July but there was hardly any follow through. 

Not too late, though. During the Budget 2022 debate in Parliament, Anwar can still lead a campaign to voice out against this opaque, highly-suspicious and potentially disastrous scheme. We need to press PM Ismail Sabri to go back to the drawing board and review the nation’s 5G rollout.

Our 5G story so far: 

Instead of assigning 5G spectrum to multiple private mobile network operators (such as Celcom and Maxis), Malaysia’s previous government led by Muhyiddin Yassin decided to go with a SWN (single wholesale network) approach. According to GSMA Intelligence, only three networks in this whole wide world have been rolled out, with other markets beset by slow progress and delayed or cancelled launches. Kenya, Russia and South Africa abandoned SWN projects, while those that are live today have all experienced difficulties. (Read GSMA raises concerns over Malaysia’s 5G rollout).The rest of the world, in the meantime, decided it would be smarter to auction their 5G to their existing telcos. The Thais, for example, whom we think are not as smart as us, raised US$3.2 billion  from their auction exercises recently. The Canadian spectrum auction raised a whopping US$8.9 billion.  Singapore and the US are also expected to earn billions of dollars from selling their 5G spectrums via open tenders, not SWN.

The Muhyiddin Yassin administration saw 5G as a legitimate means to build a war chest (for the next general election). That’s the talk, anyway, and of course they will says it’s crap but then again, the facts are: the people pushing hard for the idea sat/sit on high-level economic advisory committees; the SPV created to oversee the SWN is Digital Nasional Berhad, which comes directly under the Minister of Finance, who was appointed by Muhyiddin (or, some says, by the King himself); Digital Nasional Berhad’s plan is to spend RM11 billion to get 5G to Cyberjaya, Putrajaya and KL by Christmas this year (and nationwide by 2024), whereas, f we were to auction the 5G spectrum to the existing players (Celcom, Maxis, etc), the Government could be earning (instead of spending) RM12 billion! 

If more talk (or more crap?) were to be believed, this 5G scheme will benefit FIVE people, who will end up with hundreds of millions in their bank accounts to last at least 5 generations. All five are already shameless cronies: a former banker who became a media baron; his good pal who used to lord over the 4th floor operations of a former prime minister; a royal pain; a former banker who came into the government via the back door and harbours /hopes to run in the next general election; and a former Prime Minister.

They must be stopped.

P.S. Former Cabinet Minister Mohd Shafie Afdal was also one of the early ones to raise the red flag on Muhyiddin-Tengku Zafrul’s 5G grand scheme. Instead of spending RM11 billion, Shafie said the Government could easily EARN RM12 billion from the 5G spectrum. Perhaps Anwar and Shafie should set aside their differences for once and work together and stop this 5G spectre. 

Tengku Zafrul, the MOF, tables the 2022 Budget this Friday.

Saturday, October 23, 2021

Ah, Iskandar Mizal Mahmood!



ANY MOVEMENT
involving the top brass of any GLC will get noticed. And when the appointment is timed just days before the tabling of the Budget, which is the 'moment of truth' for any incumbent Minister of Finance, as in the case of the appointment of Iskandar Mizal Mahmood as managing director of Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad, it will raise an eyebrow or two. 

On top of that, this is MAHB. You'd remember how the Minister of Finance was compelled to come out with a public assurance that Subang Airport, one of the 39 airports operated by MAHB (and, more importantly, one of the most lucrative), would not be given to a 'friendly' property developer to run? MOF Tengku Zafrul Aziz was unhappy with the previous MAHB MD, Mohd Shukrie Mohd Salleh, for opposing the Subang Airport deal, or so legend had it. 

Of course, I didn't buy into such talk. I believe any MAHB chief in his right mind will NOT support such sellout. Nor would any decent MOF, for that matter.

The fact is, Shukrie's contract was up. He had done an excellent job under the circumstances, that is clear. The airports trade union pointed out that under Shukri, nobody had lost their jobs despite the pandemic. The entire MAHB board and management deserve our praise.

It would seem that Iskandar Mizal has his work cut out for him. He is coming on board at the tail-end of the pandemic (we wish) and just as the economy is picking up (we hope) and borders opening up (we pray). And he's got three decades of experience in so many fields, including as a mere manager at MAHB some 20 years earlier. Aviation is key to Malaysia's economic recovery. Feet on the ground, head in the clouds and I'm quite confident Iskandar will be up to the task. 


Read also: MAHB shares wishlist for Budget 2022

Friday, October 22, 2021

Against Nur Sajat's slurs, silence is NOT an option, JAIS

'SORRY, NO COMMENT': Jais mum on Nur Sajat's allegations. I find Jais' stand  to remain silent totally inappropriate. Nur Sajat, the millionaire publicity junkie and LGBT poster boy now happily exiled in Australia, made some damning accusations against the Selangor authorities in charge of Islamic affairs: Religious officials assaulted, groped me". Playing dumb in this case is dumb. Jais needs to clear its name. Lodge a police report against Nur Sajat and use all means to take her to court. And sue New York Times, too. At the very least, Jais ought to deny the allegations.

Unless, of course, Sajat didn't make up any of it and that the allegations are true. Are those allegations true, then?  

In 2017, I wrote about a court case involving Majilis Agama Islam Selangor and a consortium of banks led by Bank Muamalat. MAIS came down hard on this blog. It lodged a police report against me and went to all the media, including national television, to demand an apology from me while reserving their right to sue defamation. The following year, it was ordered by the High Court to pay the banks RM326.7 million but this was later reversed by the Appeals Court. This month, the Federal Court reaffirmed the decision in favour of MAIS. Read MAIS lega tuntutan hutang Bank Muamalat ditolak.