Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Who's killing the Malaysian corporate giants?

Synergy Drive Sdn Bhd?
You've probably never heard of the company. But you will and you will hear a great deal about it in the days, weeks and months to come. You will first hear of Synergy Drive Sdn Bhd at about the same time you hear the news tomorrow that trading of Sime Darby, Kumpulan Guthrie, and Golden Hope on the KL Bursa has been suspended.
By Monday, when the people at CIMB call for the press conference to announce the mega merger of the three giants, you'll know the names of the people behind Synergy Drive Sdn Bhd. You would have heard some of those names before and you will wonder who, really, are behind those names. You'll wonder if there's going to be transparency.
You will wonder who will benefit from the "death" of these three Malaysian corporate giants.
But one thing you'll know for sure, it won't be you.

Bernama reports:
"Govt supports PNB's merger of Sime Darby, K. Guthrie & Go0lden Hope"
"At least two years before merged entities gain from economies of scale"


  1. Anonymous10:07 pm

    Bro Rhocky

    Who else? Is it that difficult to gus who! Of course, the Son-In-Law or the mamak in the NST, who lied inthe June 11 article, will be included.

    Not surprsing at all. If ECM Libra can be done, why not for these 3 corpoarte giants to be taken over by a small comapny.

    I am sure that we are waiting for the Generla Elections to come to throw the Father-In-Law out to the kampung to tanam sayor.


  2. Anonymous11:01 pm

    I would not be too surprised to see names that are connected with Khairy for sure. Yes, it won't be yours or my or any peace loving, nation loving, down-to-earth Malaysian like you and me who do not aspire to be up there with the elites of the UMNOputra, or the very well connected Chinese towkays who would, at the very first opportunity run to kiss the hands of these amok-prone, racist bent, mouth-frothing and KERIS WIELDING goons.

  3. Anonymous11:19 pm


  4. Anonymous11:29 pm

    Sdr Rocky,

    Saya membaca berita itu dengan hati yang sangat tersentuh. Kalau benarlah berita itu, hati saya akan lebih pedih dan merintih. Apa sudah jadi dengan Malaysia? Politik huru-hara. Ekonomi sengsara. Agama dipersenda. Bangsa dihina. Susah payah Sime Darby dan Guthrie dimiliki, Pak Lah dan konconya senang-senang menyiatnya kini.

    Pak Lah tak jumpa lagi Imam Al Ghazali dan Shafie sebab kalau benar dia mencari, maka bukan Islam Hadhari yang mahu dicanangkan merata negeri tetapi masyarakat Hadhari yang sepatutnya dia pelopori.

    Pak Lah, Pak Lah cetek benar pemikirannya sampaikan masyarakat dibiar sengsara sedangkan dia dan konconya hidup kaya-raya. Pak Lah, Pak Lah pendek sungguh akalnya sampaikan masyarakat hidup merana sedangkan dia dan konconya tidur lena bahagia.

  5. Anonymous11:35 pm

    good post rocky, very mysterious. i'll take a wild guess but deep down inside me i know it's the right guess. i can't believe that sime darby one of the better corporations in malaysia and still is will fall to the hands of SIL. 1 question, where and how could SIL have that substantial amount of money to fund the take over? i think me and you know the answer, sense sumtin fishy in the Kementerian Kewangan or Khazanah Nasional?

    now i understand what AAB meant by "work with me, not work for me". he wants our cooperation for him to do all this bullshit.

  6. Anonymous11:37 pm

    Sorry Bro Rocky,

    hey,somebody hacked aisehman!!!

  7. Anonymous12:36 am

    who the hell do they think they are? these people who mess around with the nation's assets, with the GLCs.
    It does not matter if this attempt to enrich themselves and put their finger in the country's financial pies is known to AAB. It really does not. If he is aware of this and is allowing it, then he is not fit to ... If he is not aware, then he really not fit to...
    Of course it has to be these rich companies -- Sime Darby, Guthrie and Golden Hope -- these cash-rich companies. What else adn where else can they source their funds to do whatever it is that they are planning to do.
    They have no right to do this. Why is there no protest, no objection?
    This is unacceptable.

  8. Anonymous12:38 am

    Sdr Rocky,

    Mohon menyimpang daripada tajuk blog Tuan.

    Sekadar ingin berkongsi kegembiraan dengan Tuan kerana Sdr Datuk Ahmad A Talib telah melancarkan blognya -- Pahit Manis -- sebentar tadi di

    Terima Kasih.

  9. Anonymous1:37 am


    We should expect the usual suspects to emerge from this deal.

    I would like to hazard a guess on the expected explanations, by analysts, the media, the three (reluctant) CEOs and finally the guys behind Synergy Drive, CIMB, and perhaps a boutique investment bank, to say in the next few days:

    (Note: This is also to help the biz journalists out there have a head start their stories.

    (Also a tip to biz journos, now start looking at other firms and common shareholders for possible mergers since the guys behind Synergy Drive has a huge appetite. Think financial institutions, think EPF, PNB, etc)

    Some of the synergistic rationale for the merger:

    i. PNB, being the controlling shareholder in these firms would like to consolidate its plantations and property assets, which on their own are large for each of these giants.

    ii. the combined giant with billions in market capitalisation will draw interest in our Bursa Malaysia. It could become one of the destination for investors interested in exposure in plantation sector.

    For example: Foreign investors interested in exposure in the edible oil market would naturally be drawn to our Bursa because of the three firms combined market share in global palm oil.

    Taking into account firms like PBB Oil Palm, IOI, TH Plantations (Aha!), etc, the argument may hold some water.

    iii. the sum of these firms put together is greater than its parts.
    Malaysia has yet to unlock the potential what these firms could be when welded together.

    Expect some other developments,such as some of the assets of the three firms - i am looking at really Sime's engineering and auto biz - to be stripped/sold, presumably because they are out of sync with the core biz of the new plantations/property-based entity.

    I think the biggest uncertainty will be with Sime's international businesses - in over 40 countries, if I am not mistakenn. But I guess they could be consolidated and spun off into something like Sime International or Synergy Global, etc.

    With whom could these assets end at?

    They will of course deny it, but remember what happened at Proton. They said they will keep Proton intact, but soon Augusta was sold for a ringgit.

    One thing for sure, for a corporate exercise of this magnitude, with billions of assets involved and scores of international rules and regulations to get through, the commissions alone could run into tens of millions, perhaps even more. Expect some big fat bonuses at some of the usual suspects.

    Some in the know could even, if they wish, to benefit from dealing with privileged information, though I am sure they are all clean.

    ps/ I wonder how the thousands of estate workers are going to benefit from this.

    ps/ all these deals are starting to make my head spin.

    What's next. Someone making up an unbelievable story of some people using khazanah money to bet on the world cup in the guise of investing, but was cleared by the ACA because his boss backed him up. They think I am so gullible to fall for such out of this world story?

    Rumour mongerers! Bru, don't ever let them in.

  10. ketawa dek Lee Kuan Yew aja la korang ni!!!

  11. I don't understand. If truly the election in this country has been rigged, why didn't PAS/DAP cry foul? What about international observers? Gerrymandering is one thing, but outright fraud?

    We need a strong opposition, or at least a movement strong enough to form an alternative government. Let us remove all barriers and work together to achieve true independence.

  12. Anonymous7:41 am

    Who is their proxy?
    Who is their chairman?
    Who is their CEO?
    Who is their main shareholder?
    It's OK when the banking sector merge within their own player.
    But to monopoly LAND,plantation and property sector it smell stink.
    Can't imagine the consequences if this corporate takeover finaly fall into wrong hand.They will wipe out(sapu) all rubber and palm oil estate from south to the north,from east to the west until near your own tanah pusaka..

  13. Anonymous9:03 am

    At 8.54 am

    The following public companies have requested suspension of trading based on their announcement in Bursa:-


    These companies received a letter from CIMB on behalf of Synergy Drive Sdn Bhd ("Synergy Drive"), stating that Synergy Drive will be proposing a material corporate exercise involving a significant change in business direction.

  14. Anonymous9:10 am

    And what all the malays do?


    We are pathetic!

  15. Anonymous9:51 am

    Bro Rocky,

    They told you so a week ago! The show must go on.

    15 November 2006,
    Utusan Malaysia

    KUALA LUMPUR 14 Nov. – Pergerakan Pemuda UMNO memberi amaran kepada Ketua Pegawai Eksekutif (CEO) yang menerajui syarikat milik kerajaan (GLC) supaya tidak memperlekehkan keupayaan ahli UMNO dengan tidak memberi kerjasama kepada mereka.

    Naib Ketua Pergerakan Pemuda UMNO, Khairy Jamaluddin berkata, setiap CEO berkenaan harus sedar bahawa tanpa UMNO mereka tidak mungkin memegang jawatan tersebut.

    Katanya, pelantikan mereka ke jawatan itu sebenarnya berpunca daripada kekuatan UMNO di dalam kerajaan dan bukannya disebabkan CEO terbabit merupakan antara mereka yang terbaik.

    ‘‘Selekeh sangat ke kita hingga mereka (CEO) ini memandang rendah kepada keupayaan kita. Kita dilayan umpama sampah. Mereka tidak sedar jawatan yang mereka pegang itu adalah hasil daripada usaha UMNO.

    ‘‘Tanpa UMNO mereka tidak akan dapat memegang jawatan sebagai CEO. Kita bukan tuntut projek yang berbilion-bilion cuma kita sekadar meminta bantuan yang sepatutnya daripada mereka,” katanya sambil disambut dengan tepukan gemuruh dan sorakan daripada perwakilan pergerakan itu.

    Beliau berkata demikian ketika menggulung perbahasan pada Perhimpunan Agung Pemuda UMNO di PWTC di sini hari ini.

  16. Anonymous9:54 am

    NSTP also up big time. Hahah.

  17. Anonymous10:02 am



    You too hard to yourself. At least you realise such a thing is happening. First step to solve a problem is to admit there is a problem.

    Being a mere citizen I will spread this news as that is all I can do. I will make others realise the corruption of the current administration. I advice you tempua to do the same unless you have the connection or capacity to do more.
    Our time to act would be when election comes about. I will do in my capacity not to allow such an incompetent and useless leader to have such a mandate ever again.

  18. Anonymous10:22 am

    Sdr Rocky,

    Whatever the Prime Minister cum Minister of Finance does with Sime Darby, Guthrie and Golden Hope, he MUST protect and guarantee the interest of the MINORITY SHAREHOLDERS, who, in this case, include millions of Permodalan Nasional Berhad’ unitholders.

    This is an opportunity for the Prime Minister to fulfill his pledge at the Umno Annual General Assembly in Kuala Lumpur last week to continue to implement the NEP-type programmes.

    He could use this mega merger to protect and enhance the Bumiputera share of the corporate sector via the PNB.

    He could use the mega merger to enhance the value of the three GLCs for the benefit of their shareholders.

    He could use the mega merger to create possibly one of the largest plantation-based companies in the world so that it can truly enjoy the economies of scale and drives his agricultural revival programme.

    He could use the mega merger to create more employment at the time when the number of unemployed graduates and school leavers, according to government statistics, is nearing 100,000.

    He could use the mega merger to “reward” the best corporate sector managers in the country by putting them at the helm.

    Remember, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and his key advisers raided the London Stock Exchange in early 1980’s to gain control of Guthrie.

    Let’s hope that this time around our current Prime Minister will do as well, if not better.

  19. Anonymous10:23 am

    Instead of dealing or kautim with 7 CEOs, if these 7 companies are mergered into one, they will have to deal with ONLY 1(ONE) CEO only. It is definitely easier and cheaper to kautim. This will ensure swift looting, if they want.

    Of course the catalogue of reasons for merger will be as usual rationale. This they can leave it to CIMB or any Tom, Dick & Harry or Abu, Hassan or Ali consultants to goreng out.

  20. This is not Islam Hadhari...this is YAHUDI!
    For Mr. PM. Menjawap la kau nanti dalam kubur................

  21. Anonymous10:41 am

    I feel sick already….

    Whatever names appear on paper for the deal, we know there are other names involved. To this greedy lot, negative publicity is a small price to pay for the amount of money they make from the amount of business they control. As far as they and their partners in government are concerned it is legitimate on paper. The usual form-hides-substance modus operandi. But regardless of the players in this deal, the government isn't genuinely interested in preventing ufair business practices that eventually kill the smaller enterprises. They raise fuel prices, toll, electricity and water and in the same breath warn farmers and small time retailers to not raise their prices to show their false concern for the man on the street. Some may recall that they even take the trouble to publish a financial analysis of why a kedai mamak’s price of roti canai should not be affected by the fuel increase. At the end of the day, the man on the street is forced to swallow it. (No pun intended).

  22. malays??

    they will do the usuals...
    bertuhankan ringgit
    berimamkan dollah
    berwalikan khairy

  23. Anonymous11:20 am

    are we going to be another banana republic or are they going the Thaksin way?

    its for us to decide.

  24. Anonymous11:30 am

    Synergy ... minyak Petronas?

  25. Anonymous11:31 am

    Melayu Boleh, Malaysia Boleh, Apa pun Boleh in Boleh Land.

    Mana Keris Hishamuddin dan Umno? Boleh kah keris yang sakti(as bulshitted by MP Mohd Alwi in NST today) menyelamatkan negara indah kita ini?

    Wahai Tuhan, ajarlahlah pengkhianat negara ini supaya lebih berwaspada dan beramanat.


  26. One thing we will know for sure: we won't get to know the men behind it; we will also hear of the proxy bosses. Remember Tan Sri Yahaya? He was worth RM2.5b and by the time of his death his children inherited on $20million. They were shock to discover that the 60% of DRB shares owned by their father, 40% was in fact assigned to others but the loan from Tabung Haji of $300 million was absolutely his liability. At the end of the day, his net worth in DRB, his flagship company, was a net RM20 million. I wonder, an analogy will arrive when Syed Mokhtar's time comes.

  27. Anonymous12:06 pm

    Dear Rocky,

    I can't agree more with JV Morgan. It's the "one ring to rule them all" modus operandi. Smacks of the insidious style of kaum bintang nabi daud!

    No prize for guessing who are the bought Malaysian puppets... just follow the money trail.

  28. Anonymous12:27 pm

    bro..bru....i m simply lost seeing the economic scenerios in malaysia
    laymen like me can be hoodwinked by the powers-to be i have no choice but to exercise my right to vote to the oppositin comes the general election.

  29. Anonymous12:29 pm

    Malaysia semakin cemerlang, gemilang, terbilang!

  30. Anonymous12:35 pm


    Just got back from court. Razak Baginda got bail for hte mureder charge under section 302 of hte Penal Code involving death sentence like drug cases under 39B of Dnagerous Drug ACT. Razak got bail with RM1 million and need not deposit the money and no passport being impounded. Great justice!!! There are so many people being charged with charged under section 302 and didn't get bail and detained in prison.

    This was the second case where a person charged under section 302 and got bail. The other case was Mahinder Singh who was quite old and sick.

    By the way, the prosecution (DPP) did not object to the basil application like wht they normally do in other cases.

    Malaysia is a boleh land. Anything semua boleh. If our court is like this how does foreigners going to have confidence in our system of administration.

    When you are rich and welll connected, there is another set of special laws applicaable to you.

  31. Anonymous12:37 pm


    Please answer me. How do we, the bumiputras (not UMNOputra!)benefit from the new CIMB Bank? The same question goes to this Synergy Drive-around! How do we benefit?

    Please answer me someone!

    Hantu Gigi Jarang

  32. Anonymous12:39 pm

    Lets wait for the details of the takeovers/mergers, if these thieves and robbers are really plundering the country's wealth, I guess our only hope would be for Dr Mahathir to come forward and pursue the matter to "lobang cacing".

  33. Anonymous12:42 pm

    Got this from MyKMU

    How far is the truth to the myth? You decide.


    Terdapat satu kisah, disuatu zaman, dimana seorang Bendahara yang amat baik akhlaknya, Amirul A Bahari, diberikan peluang sebagai Pemerintah Maharaja, apabila Memanda Kekanda sebelum itu, Mutawakkil Mahmood, seorang bekas tabib kampung, memilih untuk mengundurkan diri dan lama kemudian, membuka sebuah warung pau.

    Sebelum berundur, Mutawakkil Mahmood bercadang untuk mengadakan sistem bot penambang diseluruh negeri, dari Kampung Utara ke Kampung Selatan, bagi memudahkan para pedagang membawa buah buahan dan hasil masing masing kepasar pasar dipelbagai kampung sepanjang laluan bot penambang ini dengan efisyen dan murah. Cadangan ini besar dan ramai rakyat menjangka ianya akan memajukan lagi pengeluar hasil dikampung kampung.

    Apabila Pemerintah Maharaja Amirul A Bahari mengambil alih, beliau terus MEMBATALKAN perencanaan membina sistem bot penambang demikian. Ramai rakyat terkejut. Perjalanan rundingan dengan Pemerintah Maharaja dan Pembesar Pulau Selatan juga terbantut, walaupun dikatakan Amirul A Bahari amat akrab dengan Rosli Si Along, Pemerintah Maharaja yang mengambil alih dari Gosok Tong dan ayahandanya, Rosli Kuyu masih lagi bertenaga memberikan sepatah dua kata kepada jemaah khairahnya. Amirul dikatakan rajin mengadakan permainan congkak persahabatan bersama Gosok Tong, bagi mengiratkan silaturahim dengan kuli kuli Pulau Selatan.

    Baru baru ini, seorang bekas Pegawai unit tempur elit Force 130 yang telah minta didisband itu menemui cerita bahawa anakanda Amirul A Bahari, Khairuddin Amirul, seorang pedagang kayu api dan pembina sampan, BERCADANG untuk menjadi seorang pembangun kampung dan ladang TERBESAR diKepualuan ini. Beliau bercadang untuk mengumpulkan beberapa kebun dan pemilik kebun untuk dijadikan satu gedung yang besar dan kuat.

    Khairuddin juga dikhabarkan bercadang untuk mengambil alih gedung yang menguruskan perniagaan bot penambang utara-selatan sediada. Ini kerana gedung ini mempunyai banyak kebun kelapa merata Mukim, terutama diPulau Selatan, ditempat bernama Teluk Pintu dan kebun ini amat bagus dibangunkan sebagai kampung. Jika kampung ini boleh didirikan dikebun Teluk Pintu, maka lumayan hasilnya. Ini juga amat bersangkutan dengan kunun kunun perjanjian antara Penghulu Mukim bahawa jika berlaku keadaan dimana bot penambang tiada lagi boleh disambung perkhidmatan kePulau Selatan, maka Penghulu Mukim Pulau Selatan berhak mengambil kebun Teluk Pintu, yang dikatakan berharga itu.

    Ini dikatakan peluang yang diambil sepenuhnya dari usaha ayahandanya berbaik baik dengan Pemerintah Maharaja Pulau Selatan, ditunjukan dari selalu bermain congkak bersama menimbulkan kemesraan, sambil bertepuk tepuk belakang. Ini juga sinergi dengan cerita adinda ipar kesayanganya, Beruk Hitam, berkecimpung dengan perdagangan emas dan berdagang emas dengan peniaga dari Pulau Selatan.

    Mungkin perlahan lahan kebun kebun bagus milik pekebun Mukim Besar Nusantara akan tergadai akibat opportunists segelintir ini.

    * Hikayat ini adalah cereka semata mata. Ia tidak melibatkan sesiapa hidup atau mati. Jika ianya bersamaan dengan kisah mana mana orang masih hidup atau mati, ianya secara KEBETULAN semata mata.

  34. Global Branding of Malaysia

    Malaysia is joining a number of countries, from the United Kingdom to South Korea, New Zealand and Canada, seeking to brand themselves to the world in name of foreign direct investment and in an effort to increase their lobbying power. Branding differs from marketing in that marketing is specific to certain areas, such as tourism. "Branding a country must emphasise the collective identity of every component of that society," In a word, it's about selling a personality.

    Singapore, is seen as clinical and cold but it is clean, efficient, and business-friendly. United States, is long associated with a progressive, dynamic business environment and hip lifestyle. Italy is associated with passion and verve, Germany with engineering excellence, Switzerland with fine craftsmanship and elite banking, Japan with cutting-edge design, technology and reliability.

    Malaysia is known for its’ inefficiency, corruption, indifference and now, a creeping streak of religious fundamentalism. Also noted is Malaysia’s ability to come up with fantastic slogans like “Bersih, Cekap, Amanah”, “Malaysia Boleh”, etc. In the early 80’s, Malaysia was one of the Asian tigers. Now 20 years on, Malaysia is nothing more than an Asian pussy. Thank you to the leaders of Malaysia. Take a bow, UMNO.

    Now imagine if UMNO “leads” this country for another 20 years. Wow…..

  35. Anonymous1:23 pm


    Has anyone completed the checks of Mmaya Maju and Synergy? Who are the shareholderrs cause once the shareholders are known, its obvious who's proxies they are.


  36. Anonymous1:47 pm

    Dead on Bro,

    You're right on the target with this news. All this are being orchestrated by PNB (with AAB consent of course). SDB, Guthrie and GHB had no idea what hit them. May god has mercy on us.

  37. Anonymous2:46 pm

    Sdr A Kadir Jasin,

    Mergers have never been about creating more job opportunities. When you merge 3 super giants of that sort, there are bound to be synergy as the name of the acquirer suggest. Synergy is a taboo word for corporate employees and cashout, unlocking assets are among some of the key words used by owners to make money.

    The other aspect that I am not optimistic lies in the fact that we do not have senior public servants nor GLC heads that can manage a corporation of that size and diversity. With the merger, we are looking at major industries in:

    Oleo chemical
    Massive Land Banks
    Control over many motor assembler and distributors (including BMW, Hyundai)
    Massive Property Development Unit
    Engineering and Maintenance Unit
    Trading and Distribution
    Manufacturing and Industrial Unit

    We have seen that our CEO’s seem to be able to excel in one or two of the areas above. I have not seen anyone who can manage all of it at one go.

    So that leaves us to the speculation of what they are going to do with such a huge animal? Asset stripping and sell of the so called non-core assets to raise cash? Cornering the market on certain industry to the point of almost monopoly? If TH were to be involved, combined with GH and Guthrie and Sime, I do not see other plantation stock that is worthy of comparison.

    But my question is still about why the 3 and what do they see there? Control over commodities in the country? Control over land bank for more equitable distribution along the national agenda?

    I think I just kacau the sarang tebuan a bit, I leave it to fellow bloggers to ponder more ….

  38. dont worry! our dear PM will just come out and say" SAYA TAK TAU"

  39. Anonymous3:36 pm


    Probably you've missed Dato'Zubir the GCEO of Sime Darby. He's been managing Sime Darby well. Why not him?

    Why these 3? It's not only these 3, a few more will come in. I heard 9.


  40. Anonymous3:39 pm

    PNB is not agreeable to the merger of the three, from what little I've heard. In fact, PNB despises the way the young upstarts from the 4th floor have been ordering for this and that from PNB and the 3 giants, each time exposing their green-ness in matters of corporate realities. Nor Mohamed Yakcop's best brains won't be able to make it in any of the three giants, let alone all of them! Someone stop them, please! Anyone!

  41. Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (Talkasia Transcript)
    POSTED: 1:44 a.m. EST, November 23, 2006

    AR: Anjali Rao
    MM: Dr. Mahathir bin Mohamad

    Hello, I am Anjali Rao in Putrajaya, Malaysia. This is Talk Asia!

    My guest today is the former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.

    Dr. Mahathir ruled his country for 22 years, taking it on as a tropical backwater and transforming it into one of Asia's most industrialized nations.

    Known for his outspoken ways, Dr. Mahathir has been scathing about the successor he hand-picked, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

    By his own admission, Dr. Mahathir has a big mouth and he is not afraid to use it.

    Block A

    Dr. Mahathir welcome to the show. Let's first address the question that everybody has been asking recently. What on Earth is going on with you and the current Prime Minister?

    MM Obviously we have differences, perceptions of things and all that differ, and there are some instances where I feel very strongly that he has let down Malaysia. So, I was forced to make some criticism.

    AR In what way do you think that he has let down Malaysia?

    MM I finally try to stop myself from getting involved, but over this bridge issue, he had said something that was not the true.

    AR The bridge from Malaysia to Singapore?

    MM In a way, it struck our sovereignty. We have the right to do the bridge on our side and there is no question of asking Singapore whether we should build or we shouldn't build a bridge. But he has apparently made the decision that even a bridge built on our side must have the approval of Singapore. This is our country, we are an independent, sovereign nation. There is no question of asking other people whether we can do something in our country.

    AR He has told us that he felt that his decision was made with best interests of the country at heart. That must have been his decision to make though. Wouldn't you agree?

    MM Yes, his decisions! But I disagree with him as to that being the best in the interests of Malaysia. We need to have this bridge which allows the water to go through. But the most important thing is that there is a huge traffic jam, because we have the CIQ in the wrong place at the end of the causeway is almost at the center at the heart of town of Johor Baru, and there is always a congestion there.

    AR In the run up though, to Prime Minister Abdullah's appointment, one of the things that you were saying is that you are both two very different people and that you have two different approaches to taking the country forward. Is it really fair now to hold those differences against him?

    MM Well, I made a promise not to interfere. But I did not think that he would do things which are in my view detrimental to the interests of the country. At that stage I thought I must come out and, well, be critical.

    AR Yes, that is one of the things that I just going to quote back to you. Because last time that Talk Asia spoke you in 2002, I asked Whether you take on a behind the scene political role as Singapore founder father Lee Kuan has? And you said: No. I just don't think I should be interfering with things. Isn't this what you are doing now? The dictionary definition of interfering?

    MM It is. I admit I am interfering now, because the atmosphere has changed completely. We now have a country where nobody is allowed to criticize the government and above all, not criticize the prime minister.

    AR But criticism against the government was severely restricted when you were in power.

    MM No. No. I disagree with your view. Certainly CNN has been a critical of me and I have allowed CNN to be seen by everybody. We have the Herald Tribune printed here, we have the Wall Street Journal, Asian Wall Street printed here. They have been critical. If you care to read the local papers in Malaysia you will find that they are always critical of the government.

    AR Let me bring you back to the dispute at hand. Even your ruling party UMNO has asked you to pipe down a bit about your criticisms of Prime Minister Abdullah. Why is it so important to you to keep going with that opposition against him? Because there are now suggestions that UMNO itself could end up being deeply divided between those on your side and those on Prime Minister's side.

    MM Well, this is not something new. It has happened in UMNO many times. In fact in 1986 the Prime Minister himself was on the side of a group which tried to challenge me, actually challenged me and there was contest for the leadership of the party and I managed to win. He lost. He and his friends lost. So, this has not ended up with UMNO being broken up completely.

    AR Do you think that shows, then, that by your criticisms of him, it's actually reflecting more on you having a negative impact on yourself, rather than reflecting on him?

    MM I think you will find out that it has a negative effect on him also. It is not always on me. I know what I am talking about.

    AR When we spoke to Prime Minister Abdullah about exactly this, he said that, you know, politically speaking, the way that you speak out against him doesn't affect the way he runs the country or conducts his business affairs, but on a personal level, he still sees you as friend. (Mahathir smiles) How do you respond to that? Do you still see him as a friend?

    MM Yes. This is not a personal quarrel between him and me. This is about issues. You see? We can be friends, but on issues we can differ. And I am going to differ, but what I don't like is his attempts to muzzle me. I never muzzled him. I allowed him to speak. I allowed everybody to speak during my time. But here, he doesn't allow me to meet any UMNO people, he doesn't allow me to meet even academies, he doesn't allow me to meet civil servants. Invitations issued to me to go and speak have been cancelled.

    AR This isn't though the first time you've had a dispute like this on such a higher level. You fired your deputy Anwar Ibrahim, who then served six years in jail. Yet he had once been your chosen successor for Prime Minister, as Mr. Abdullah then ended up being. How do you account for that? Because of the common threat in both of these is you.

    MM In the case of Anwar, he looked to me like a good candidate and everything went well until we discovered certain moral deficiencies on his part, which to me does not qualify him to become a Prime Minister.

    AR You believe that he was gay.

    MM Yeah, well I believe that he has done something that is wrong. Now he is suing me of course about that. But, what happened is I didn't catch him by the scuff of his neck and throw him in jail. I expelled him from the government, which is my right. I expelled him from government, then the police then took action, proper action. He was charged in court and tried for nine months. He had nine lawyers defending him and he was found guilty, and he was sentenced. So that means that here in this country even if you are the highest official, you are not above the law.

    AR So the only way you would support him is in the case he was compliant?

    MM In the case of Anwar, he was tried. I didn't catch him by the neck and throw him into jail.

    AR No, but you sacked him.

    MM I sacked him, but that is my right. That is my right!

    AR Dr. Mahathir, stay with us. We'll pick this up in a few minutes. Still to come on the program, we'll broach an always testy topic, religion. And we will find out whether Dr. Mahathir's stance has softened at all on the world's Jews. Stay tuned.

    Block B:

    AR Welcome back to Talk Asia, with my guest Dr. Mahathir Mohamed. Dr, it was in 2003 that you made those comments about Jews which are still being discussed today. Is this still the way you feel?

    MM Yes. I still feel that way. Because I can't understand this. You cannot say anything against the Jews but they can say anything they like about Muslims, about other people. You know, we have been called terrorists and things like that, that is alright to everybody. But if you go to 4 countries in Europe and you say well actually it was not 6 million Jews who died in the holocaust but is was 5million,9 hundred and 99 thousand you are going to be thrown into jail!

    AR Still though, when you make comments like that about Jews, as a Muslim yourself, are you not just helping to foster the deep animosity that already exist between Islam and the Jewish community?

    MM Well they should stop saying things and they should stop killing Muslims. They have no right to invade Lebanon and destroy everything.

    AR But we remember how all that started, of course, with Hezbollah going across the border and abducting two Jewish soldiers.

    MM Before that, the Jews had already captured so many of these Lebanese in southern Lebanon. Why was that not reported? Why did not Hezbollah invade Israel to bring back some thousands of their people who have been captured by the Jews?

    AR Is that what you would advocate?

    MM Well I would not advocate that simply because Hezbollah is not capable of doing that. But the Jews make use of their military power to destroy everything, because two of their people have been captured. When thousands of Lebanese were captured, nothing happened.

    AR Does that ever concern you that by being so vocal about those views you are creating an image of the whole country of Malaysia, which is known for being an accepting multi-faith society taking that image and turning it on its head?

    MM No. I don't think so. We here are very rational. We live in a multi-racial, multi-religious country and we have no problem, because we don't have people who go around killing people, taking other people's land and when people try to get back their land you do all kinds of things to them. It doesn't happen in this country.

    AR President George W. Bush issued a rather stern rebuke over those comments you made about the Jews. He has been trying to prove to the Muslim world for the past five years -- since the war on terror started -- that it is not a campaign of The West vs. Islams. How do you think that he is doing on that score?

    MM I think it's a campaign of the West against the Muslims, as far as Bush is concerned. The first thing that came out of him: "we should have a crusade." You see, but of course, later on he amended that. But at heart, that is what he has in mind. And you know what disaster he has caused?

    AR Still though, Malaysia is cooperating of course in the War on Terror, which was initiated whilst you were in office. How much of a challenge is it for a Muslim country, albeit moderate, to be seen as a close ally of Washington yet making sure not to tread on any religious Islamic sensitivities back home?

    MM We are against terrorism and it so happens that the US is also against terrorism, but we don't agree with the way the US goes about fighting against terrorism. But we will continue our fight against terrorism, where we are convinced that these are terrorists. We don't go around killing Muslims just because they are Muslims, therefore they are terrorists. We don't arrest them and exam their shoes or whatever.

    AR Something which really did strike at the heart of Islamic sensitivities recently were those comments given by Pope Benedict. His address to an academic gathering. What he did, was that he came out with an ancient quote referring to Islam as evil and inhuman. What are your takes on those comments and the reaction of the Islamic world, given that the Pope had argued that these were not representative of his own views?

    MM No. When you quote somebody, it's because you want to bolster your own arguments. So, he believes in what he quotes. He believes the Islam was spread by the sword. You know, the Catholics were very intolerant in the past they used to massacre Jews, they had the Inquisition. For 800 years, Spain was under Muslim rule. There were Christians, there were Jews living there, but when the re-conquest was completed by Ferdinand and Isabella, they were given three choices: either leave Spain, or convert to Christianity, or be put to death.

    AR No one doubts that Christianity has an extremely bloody history, as do most religions, but the Pope may well have been looking at situation today, where when we see major attacks, such as 9/11. We see them being perpetrated by extremist Islamists.

    MM No. It is not just them. They are defending themselves. That is the only way they can defend themselves.

    AR How was September 11 defending oneself?

    MM Well if they have fighter planes and all that, they would launch a conventional war. But this is the only thing that they can do. I don't agree with doing that, but when you push people to a corner they will do extraordinary things.

    AR Stay with us Dr. Mahathir. We are going to take a short break at this point. Though in a moment, we will discuss Dr. Mahathir's hopes for his nation, plus we'll get personal with the man many here still see as Malaysia's most fearsome political persona

    BLOCK C:

    AR You are with Talk Asia. Our guest today is Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, the former Premier of Malaysia. Dr. during you time as premier one of yours most forward thinking projects was Vision 2020, in which you said you wanted to turn Malaysia into a 1st world, fully developed country by the year 2020. The current Prime Minister says it is on track. What are you thoughts?

    MM Well I don't think we are going to achieve it with the rate of growth that we are seeing today. Everything has been slowed down, ostensibly because we have no money. But I don't believe we have no money. We have plenty of money!

    AR What would their reasoning be for saying that, if you don't believe it?

    MM They say that I've finished all the money when I was running this country. I spent so much money on mega-projects so that, when I left there was no money. That is why they couldn't continue with double tracking, they couldn't continue with the bridge, they couldn't continue with a whole lot of things.

    AR You had such a great hand in turning Malaysia what it is today. How hard is it after 22 years at top to seat back and let somebody else take the reigns?

    MM It is not hard if the person who takes the reigns were to do things that are beneficial for the growth of the country. But what is being done is actually to stifle growth. There is a lot of corruption in this country now, which is something I feel needs to be highlighted.

    AR But the government under your rule was also accused of wide spread corruption.

    MM Corruption, there was, but no to this degree. I mean, leaders, people like me are not corrupted. You may not believe it of course, but that doesn't matter. But today we see the family of the Prime Minister being involved in business, getting contracts and things like that. And, even in a small bi-election money was used. And even a case of my trying to become just a delegate in the convention, money was spent to make sure that I wouldn't be elected in my own division, which I headed for 22 years.

    AR So, away from Dr. Mahathir the politician is Dr. Mahathir the man, who has 7 kids. When you were a Prime Minister did you feel that you were able to devote enough time to them?

    MM No I didn't. I am not bothered by my family or about having to be close to them or anything or like that. They knew I have a job to do and they put up with it.

    AR But having a father and a husband at home would obviously make for a better more tight knit and functional family, wouldn't it?

    MM They were away studying most of the time. They were not at home. And when they come back home having completed their studies, they were doing business, they got married and they stayed away, they have their own family. I have 16 grandchildren.

    AR You have time on your hand these days because you're retired. What do you do with it?

    MM Well, actually I am very busy now because I come to office everyday almost as if I were not retired. I spend a lot of time meeting people who want to call on me and want to see me for advice or whatever. And then I have to spend my time writing. I am trying to write my memoirs and not doing well at all. And then I have to write speeches I get invited to many countries to give talks on various subjects, so I am very busy.

    AR What are the difficulties of writing your memoirs?

    MM Well, it has been a long time and I am trying to do research to make sure I get all the dates right and that kind of thing takes a long time.

    AR You are very famous figure around the world. What is it that you want people to know about you through these memoirs that you don't think we already do?

    MM Some people told me that they would be interested to find out how is it that Malaysia, which was an agricultural country could be converted in an industrialized country. How does a third world country manage to prosper? These are the questions I get asked. Then of course, Malaysia is a multi racial, multi-religious country. How do we manage them? Lots of questions about Malaysia and whenever I go abroad people ask me about these questions and ask me about leadership and things like that. So I talk on these subjects.

    AR We wish you the very best of luck on all these memoirs and thank you very much indeed for speaking to us today. (You're welcome) And that is it for this edition of Talk Asia. My guest for today as Malaysia former Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir Mohamed. I'm Anjiali Rao, see you next week.

  42. Anonymous5:59 pm

    could this be a Replacement Company (RC) for Petronas when malaysia runs out of petrol in 5 years time???

  43. Anonymous6:19 pm

    A. Sariji,

    Yes. Zubir is a capable CEO so far for Sime Darby. I do not know when you merge these giants, the new structure will allow for all 3 to work out the synergy especially in terms of medium and senior management.

    I know the Sime Group is way advanced in terms of management and human capital retention in terms of systems and structure, not sure about the rest.

    Naturally, the senior and middle management would have to fight it out as to who remains and that would be counter productive.

    I do not know the extent of layoffs from such merger would affect the country's already negative sentiment. More joblessness would translate to more crime and other negative social economic impact. Don't you think? On the flip side, those stand to gain may be some 'consultant' and some shareholders, not very much the public and the country as a whole especially at this juncture where the economy is not able to move out from the shock of skill demand and relatively unskilled workforce gap.

  44. Anonymous7:01 pm

    rocky, bloomberg named ppl behind synergy drive here

  45. Anonymous12:58 pm


    As a layman & holder of unit trust in ASN & ASB, I wanna know what is there in store for me.

    Sorry, I sent this earlier under a different thread.


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