Thursday, January 13, 2022

Tun’s OK

13 Jan: Really good to know that Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad is ok and resting at home. 

The shock many Malaysians felt over the sudden death of Serbegeth Singh, at the age of 61, is such that we really are in need of some good news, any good news, that concerns our mortality. The passing of a dear old brother in journalism, Abdul Wahab Mohamad Ali, hit some of us hard. He was, like Serbie, only 61. I knew Wahab during our reporting days back in the 80s and 90s. He was with national news agency Bernama and I was reporting for Business Times. Mahathir was a much younger prime minister but older than Shebby  and Wahab were when they died. 

Such is life, you don’t know when death will come to end yours. The good die young, the best live forever. 

Get well soon, Tun. Recuperate in peace. 

Saturday, December 11, 2021

EPF can also avoid making stupid decisions and mistakes

Do political big guns still clinch govt contracts for companies?
 Subahan may have just done that for his

KL, Dec 11: While we’re on the subject of dealing with stupidity, (Refer 5G: How the Govt can avoid making stupid decisions and stupid mistakes), we may want to add to our watchlist the RM1 billion deal to build affordable homes in Selangor which involves the Employees Provident Fund (EPF). 

Why? Because EPF is you and me and every Malaysian who has been working like a dog to get the economy going and it is our business to make sure we don’t end up with the short end of the stick. Read EPF may not get the best from Kwasa Land affordable housing deal. 

The report said there are industry insiders who suspect that the bidding process for the mega project was not more than a window dressing. Meaning to say that the winner - Gagasan Nadi Cergas - may have already been decided even before the tender was called.

“The way it was done, if at all, suggests that the other bidders stood no chance,” said a person familiar with the process, who insisted that Kwasa may have not abided by the tender process required of subsidiaries of public institutions.

These are suggestions that the EPF out to address. The onus is on the Fund to reassure investors that the tender or selection process was transparent and above board. Guarantee that our investment in this project - EPF’s first foray into building affordable homes - will bring us maximum possible returns. We sorely  need it, especially after what we have gone through during the pandemic. (Remember, 32 per cent of EPF contributors have less than RM5k in their accounts, says Tengku Zafrul). 

As I see it, the trust issue resulted in the fact that little known Gagasan Nadi Cergas has Subahan Kamal, a big gun in Selangor (and national) political scene, on its team. It’s not a crime to put politicians on a company board, of course, but it is not encouraged. Ask the Securities Commission why: Don’t appoint politicians to company boards, says Security Commission.

The EPF and its subsidiary Kwasa Land are sitting on properties that are potentially valued at billions of ringgit, money that could make us the long-suffering EPF contributors smile in our dreams, at least. They need to conduct business professionally. Keep the politicians at bay.

Thursday, December 09, 2021

5G: How the Govt can avoid making stupid decisions and stupid mistakes

Ask us (the long-suffering consumers) what we want

Bangsar, Dec 9: It’s always good to review a decision, especially one involving something as colossal as the country’s 5G rollout, to make absolutely sure that we are doing the right thing. The investment involved is huge and the impact of 5G on all of us will be phenomenal. We can’t afford stupid mistakes. 

In this context, Communications & Multimedia Minister Annuar Musa’s latest remarks in Parliament (There is merit in reconsidering model for 5G rollout: Annuar) should be taken positively. 

My only concern is that he is making the statement at a time when everything seems to be in place and we Malaysians have gotten all excited to rock and roll with the rest of the world with 5G (Telekom Malaysia, for example, has just signed up for the national 5G trials!). 

I’m especially concerned that Annuar said the review decision came “after receiving feedback from telcos and industry players”. The first thing that came to my mind is this: If it took them so long to provide their feedback to the government, imagine how long it will take them to bring this 5G thingy to our homes, schools, factories, and lives? 

On the same note, I’d like to say this to YB Annuar. If a review is what we want, then don’t listen to just the telcos and industry players (who are they, by the way?). Don’t just listen to the people at the Digital National Berhad, even though the Government was the one that mandated them to implement all 5G projects with the telcos and industry players. And if you are not listening to your experts and professional regulators who make up the MCMC, then don’t listen to your civil servants who surely don’t know any better. 

And don’t just listen to the Opposition.

Listen more, instead, to the long-suffering telco consumers. Heck, listen ONLY to them if you want to listen at all. Get our feedback. Find out what we want and why we have been so unhappy all these years with our connection, reception, and whatever internet shit we’ve been paying for.

If Annuar and his colleagues in the Cabinet really have to do this, do it right. Protect the consumers and not the tycoons and cronies. Guarantee that when we get 5G, we don’t get conned again by some corporations that are concerned only with profit margins and bonuses for themselves and fat dividends for their shareholders. Only by listening to the people and prioritising their interest will the Government avoid making stupid decisions and stupid mistakes.

P.S. And here’s the thing: At the same time Annuar is talking about the review, Singapore is said to be keen in doing their own review of its 5G rollout approach. I was told that they actually think that our single whole network approach should be the way to go. Don’t take my word for it, ask them.

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


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.


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).