Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Malaysia and Rohingyas: Using our vast experience to help the refugees

Updated Fri 22/5: Damned if you do, damned if you don't: The Malaysian Dilemma by Anak Si Hamid

Original Posting

Wed, 20/5/15: I read Helen Ang's Najib gomen caves in to pressure, about PM Najib Razak's "lack of gumption" to stand by his own Administratiion's decision not to allow the Rohingya Muslims to land on our shores. But if this is a "weakness" on the part of the Prime Minister, it is one that we should welcome with open arms. 
Please let the Rohingyas in. Lead this regional effort to save these Boat People.
Bernama's full story H E R E

Msia, Indonesia couldn't wait any loner, says Anifah 
I never had doubts whatsoever that Anifah Aman, our Foreign Minister, would do the right thing, ie find a temporary solution quickly to resolve the life-and-death crisis facing the 7,000 Rohingya refugees out there in the sea. I am very proud of him. 
As veteran journalist Nuraina Samad wrote on her Facebook yesterday, there is no country more experienced than Malaysia in this region when it comes to helping refugees like the Rohingyas are concerned. For decades we were giving the Vietnamese Buddhists and Christians refuge in Pulau Bidong and in Sabah/Sarawak while the international community decided who they wanted to take in. Today, most of these "Boat People" are doing very, very well in the US, Australia, Europe and else where, thanks to us. [Read Nuraina's entry H E R E.
Myanmar is a disgrace. Anyone disagrees?

As the Chair of Asean, Najib must send the message to Myanmar to be civilised, get Thailand and the other member countries to help Malaysia and Indonesia in dealing with the issue, and start making those calls to world leaders. 
The international community will take its time to deal with this matter. Why? It concerns not just Muslims but poor Muslims and there is no oil at stake so this will be very low in terms of priority for most of them. Our esteemed critics should be gunning their razor sharp words at the internaitonal community and their hipocrisy instead of attacking our own ...
p.s. I sure hope the Lim Guan Eng is still with the Federal Government on this.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Najib Razak tells foes ("them who might have hidden agendas") to not undermine AG and PAC

Updated: Dr M unmoved by Najib's FAQs, says they do little to erase his doubts about the PM's leadership. "I was the first Umno president to be elected under a new party Constituion in an open and democratic manner".
The NST has the story h e r e

Original posting
Monday, 18/5: The thing is, his detractors are well aware of the fact that the AG has been investigating the 1MDB and that the NurJazlan-led PAC, which includes YB Tony Pua as a member, is starting its own probe soon. It's as if they don't want the Accountant General's office or the PAC to find out the truth. It's as if they want to stick to the perception ...

Expect the PM to use his blog more to speak out against those he said "might have hidden agendas".

It is unfair for certain politicians to convict the government in the court of public opinion way before the actual facts are laid down by lawful authorities, namely the Auditor-General and the bi-partisan Public Accounts Committee (PAC). 
When concerns began to be raised, I wanted a detailed explanation, so I ordered the Auditor General and PAC to investigate 1MDB’s books. Anyone found guilty of embezzlement or misappropriation will be brought to justice. 
We are expecting the release of the preliminary report by Auditor General very soon. In the mean time, please do not speculate and form conclusions without the information that will be laid out by the Auditor General, who will provide a detailed report into 1MDB’s finances. 
We all want detailed answers but it is only proper to let the auditors do their job and tell us clearly what the situation really is. If we pre-empt it, we would be undermining them, as many others have done. This is not the proper procedure. If we are sincere in finding out the truth behind those allegations, we need to get the information from legitimate sources (like the Auditor General) and not third-party news portals or online blogs that might have hidden agendas.

Check out Najib's defence against 13 issues that have been raised in recent days H E R E 

Friday, May 15, 2015

The first thing 1MDB's board and management got to do (after ignoring Nazir Razak's call)

Updated, Saturday, with apologies to YB Tony Pua for overlooking the fact that the 1MDB's "threat" to take legal action was also about him and NOT just about Nazir Razak. Read TMI's Sila heret saya dan Nazir Razak ke makhamah, Pua beritahu 1MDB. DAP's Pua must be credited as one of the earliest to have laid the foundations for others, including Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, to launch their attacks on 1MDB and use the Fund to initiate the current campaign to force Najib Razak to step down as Prime Minister. Ironically, Pua also sits on the Public Accounts Committee, which will start investigation proceedings on 1MDB this week (19/5). The PAC is chaired by Umno's YB Nurjazlan Rahmat, who is often seen as "more Opposition than Opposition". 
Updated:1MDB responds to Nazir Razak, "reserves the right to take legal action"

Nazir: Loden, Arul and Co should quit

Original posting

Friday: I hope the Prime Minister's younger brother will not say later that the Press had taken him out of context in Nazir Razak skewers "irresponsible" 1MDB board, says directors should quit. [Malay Mail Online, 14/5]. Like he did 5 years ago after they had quoted him on the bastardisation* of the New Economic Policy that favoured Bumiputeras just like him. Why do I hope he'd stick to his guns this time? Because I happen to agree with him. No, not about the bastardization of the NEP but about the people running 1MDB: they should answer allegations against the Fund, or quit!
“It is your basic responsibility. There’s a complete mistrust in your financial situation. You have to responsibly deal with that. But instead you sit there and wait for AG ... To me that’s irresponsible. If you do that then it’s better for you to step down and let someone else come in and take over.”
I have made my views known before when Hazem Rahman was the elegantly silent CEO of 1MDB: if he couldn't speak up to defend his own organisation, he should pack up and go. [Malaysian corporate scenen in early 2015: Staying, moving up, moving out].  

But to be fair - and Nazir should have pointed this out - new CEO Arul Kanda has not been sitting on his ass doing nothing. He's issued quite a few statements to defend 1MDB, raised the money to  avoid default with Maybank, and is now busily calming down some panicky lenders in Singapore, or so say some newspaper reports friendly tot the Sarawak Report. Nazir could have pointed out also that Chairman of the Board Loden Wok Kamaruddin had even gone to see former PM Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad months ago to brief the Old Man on the 1MDB's operations (this was before Dr M started calling for Nazir's brother to step down or be removed as PM). And not forgetting that big bro Najib has also not  been keeping quiet.

The thing is: there are just too many of them attack dogs.

And Arul and Loden's problem is that the calls (whether to respond to a certain allegation or not) are right now being made by "one or two experts" in Putrajaya. I was told the names of these people and I'm sorry to say these people are hardly experts.

In order to effectively defend itself against those attacks, 1MDB needs to have full, 24/7 control of its communications and media strategies at its immediate disposal. Right now, its media strategies are being planned and carried out from the Prime Minister's Office perhaps by virtue that the PM is Chairman of the Advisory Board. I don't see how this has benefitted anyone other than those who are opposed to 1MDB.

So if you ask me the first thing the Board and the Management of the 1MDB got to do, assuming that they will ignore Nazir's call for them to quit, is to reclaim that ability to defend themselves from the so-called experts in Putrajaya.

Basic, right? 

Friday, May 08, 2015

Tabung Haji and 1MDB: Two players on the same side

Keeping TRX land.  I have quoted the guys at The Benchmark before, so I have to say that those guys, though anonymous, can be credible sometimes. Which is uncommon as far as anonymous bloggers are these days. In the case of their latest scoop re the purchase of TRX land by Tabung Haji, however, I think a better analysis would have helped give the right perspective to the whole issue.  
I would suggest my Dear Readers check out news portal The Malaysian Digest for this: Tanah 1MDB dibeli Tabung Haji lebih murah dari MRCB. [see below; wonder if there's an English translation]. 
I haven't had the chance to look at the details of the transaction or speak to the management of Tabung Haji, but I'd imagine the deal between the two corporate players would be a win-win one. 1MDB could have sold to Ananda Krishnan or Francis Yeoh, or the (mainland) Chinese, for twice or three times the value, easily. But that means losing yet another Bumiputera-held prime land in KL. And with such prime property, you cant go wrong even in the worst of economic times. 

KUALA LUMPUR: Lembaga Tabung Haji (TH) memaklumkan telah membeli sebidang tanah di pusat kewangan Tun Razak Exchange (TRX) milik syarikat pelaburan 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) berjumlah RM188.5 juta iaitu pada kadar diskaun berlandaskan nilai pasaran semasa dan ia telah dinilai oleh sebuah badan penilai bebas profesional.
Menurut Timbalan Pengarah Urusan Kumpulan dan Ketua Pegawai Eksekutif TH, Datuk Johan Abdullah, pembelian plot tanah tersebut adalah sejajar dengan strategi pelaburan hartanah TH yang memberikan tumpuan kepada sektor domestik.
"Pelaburan ini merupakan keputusan komersial yang menepati selera risiko dan telah melalui semua proses penilaian dalaman yang terperinci.
"Pembelian hartanah pada harga RM188.5 juta adalah pada kadar diskaun berlandaskan nilai pasaran semasa dan ia telah dinilai oleh sebuah badan penilai bebas profesional," katanya dalam satu kenyataan hari ini.
Terdahulu, Malaysian Digest melaporkan satu dakwaan yang tersebar di beberapa blog menyatakan TH telah membeli satu plot tanah di TRX pada pertimbangan RM2,860 sekaki persegi dengan peruntukan keseluruhan RM194 juta untuk dibangunkan sebuah pangsapuri khidmat setinggi 40 tingkat.
Sementara itu, satu plot lagi akan dibeli pada pertimbangan RM3,900 sekaki persegi membabitkan pertimbangan RM578 juta yang akan dibangunkan dengan sebuah menara 74 tingkat dikenali 'Signature Tower'.
Bagaimanapun, Johan dalam kenyataan sama menafikan dakwaan bahawa TH membeli Signature Tower (Fasa 2) seperti yang dilaporkan beberapa blog.
Dalam perkembangan sama, beberapa blog turut mempersoalkan pembelian tanah 1MDB oleh TH yang dikatakan dibayar dengan kadar berlipat kali ganda daripada harga tanah asal yang dibeli oleh 1MDB sebelum ini.
Berdasarkan rekod, harga tanah di sekitar kawasan berkenaan releven dengan nilaian yang dibeli TH.
Merujuk laporan The Star bertarikh 7 April menyatakan bahawa syarikat Malaysian Resources Corporation Bhd (MRCB) juga membeli sebidang tanah milik Kedutaan Jerman di Jalan Kia Peng (berdekatan TRX) dengan harga lebih tinggi iaitu RM259.16 juta atau pada kadar harga RM3,188 sekaki persegi.
Jika dibuat perbandingan, ia jelas menunjukkan harga tanah yang dibeli TH adalah lebih murah berbanding MRCB.
Sementara itu, menurut sumber pasaran hartanah, pemaju hartanah komersial, Kumpulan Mulia dari Indonesia juga sedang berbincang mengenai pembelian tanah 1MDB bagi membangunkan Signature Tower.

- mD