Thursday, February 01, 2007

Mother of all PRs

Former editors to become BIG-money PR men for Khazanah projects?
A former Singapore Straits Times operative is said to have been made the PR (Public Relations) consultant for the US$15 billion South Johor Economic Region. The man, who is in his early 40s and is believed to hold a Singapore PR (Permanent Resident), was given the lucrative job by Khazanah Nasional Bhd, my sources told me.
The ex-Singapore ST operative set up the PR company after leaving an English daily loyal to the Prime Minister recently. His partner in the company is said to be a former editor of The Star.
Khazanah Nasional, incidentally, was in the news this week after the PM denied news on the blogs that the Government had bought a whopping US$60 million corporate jet for his use. Abdullah Badawi had said that the Government was only leasing it from a subsidiary of Khazanah Nasional. The PM is chairman of Khazanah Nasional. [Dr Mahathir commented on the plane purchase here]
The chairman of Khazanah is known to be quite fond of the former Singapore ST operative. This liking may or may not have to do with Mr Singapore PR getting the SJER job but my sources said the man's familiarity with Singapore [and vice versa] makes him an ideal candidate for the job, especially given the fact that the SJER is meant to draw Singapore investors in a big way.
A source told me the PR job for the US$9 billion merged plantation entity has been reserved for them, too, but I can't immediately confirm that. Synergy Drive, the company that's putting together the merger, uses the services of leading PR firm Alpha, I was told.


  1. Anonymous10:51 pm

    You mean Brendan Pereira and Wong Sulong?

    Sulong is a surprise.

    Pereira is to be expected.

    Must confirm or Mr Pereira will sue you one more time.

  2. Anonymous11:36 pm

    Yeah, another good plan to be tycoon.

  3. This is a blockbuster story but why the coyness in not naming the names.

    Verifying facts, I suppose, as all responsible bloggers/journalists do.

    Awaiting with bated breath....

  4. Anonymous12:55 am

    if it is true, pay day mate. lets calculate. say 2% of combined project of RM24.0 billion and that works out to RM480 million rite?

    hey bru. you are great. breaking news again ala cnn style. cant wait to hear the name. I have my guess up in my little brain. If thats the guy, let our "mr dont know" explain. you bet he will fumble again.

    by the way, bru your networking and info source must be darn great. be careful; think you are getting on their nerves by now.

    good luck bru.

  5. Anonymous1:20 am

    hmmmm..who could they be??

    *whistling* *drumming fingers on table*

    wow, do at least oNE of them have YOU to thank?

    but isn't this the same story during every regime~~~~~~~~:D

    hope u r keeping well. :D

  6. Anonymous7:47 am

    Y A W W N ......same shit.
    patronage.... taking good care of their servants. but in the worse possible way.
    we know who they are, don't we.
    yep, i agree with FL2020... one of them oughta thank you.


  7. I got up pretty early today just to catch:

    a)Updates on this blockbuster
    b)to see how I felt today, considering Pasquale's promise for a better day.

    Nope. Nothing yet. OK, more coffee!

  8. Anonymous10:35 am

    Sial betul la...

    pagi pagi mai blog, I'm greeted with this story. Goes to show laa...this whole angkat, ampu, bodek business really pays.

    but what if khazanah negara tergadai? looks like the people at the top tak sayang negera, tak sayang rakyat.


  9. Anonymous10:46 am

    If the other guy is wsl, I read somewhere he is an australian PR, am I correct?

  10. hmmm, can a slick s'pore-wise guy save Johor from the bureaucratic incompetence that surfaced during the back-to-back floods? Let's not even mention the spin-doctoring needed to to assure would-be investors that Johor is not an environmental-disaster wating to happen, again. Can Johor hire God to help her instead?

  11. Rocky!

    I have raised the clarion call as far back as the 80's about Singapore operatives under specific instruction from their handlers (Sporean) plotting to control but I was scoffed of as paranoid. However, one man did take me seriously and the matter was put on red alert, but only for a short while (he still asked me whats happening to the country). Now, Singaporean will control our backyard by controlling the Synergy plantation merger and the South Johor Economic Region (SJER) which in reality is an expansion of the Singapore metropolitan into Malaysia, and in which in reality our moronic leaders cannot see this coming at all or our leader has been blackmailed into "agreeing" into so many things.

  12. Anonymous11:03 am

    You forgot to mention that the former Star editor partner is also known for his rabidly pro-government views and whose favourite phrase according to reporters at the Star is, Syabas Pak La! It's all paid off for them, what you say?

  13. Anonymous11:04 am

    So..are we going to have "original" taglines like...

    WPI...The People's Place (paper)

    WPI ... For the Place (News) that Matters!

    ..hehe...just a thought...

  14. Anonymous12:07 pm


    You must agree that Khazanah has every perogative to award the PR Consultant job to any successful PR firm after a formal tender/bid process. If everything is done above board and the job is being awarded to the successful bidder.

    If Khazanah decides to award the PR Consultant job to a company "controlled" by certain 2 individuals, then Khazanah's management has to answer for their action.

    Singaporean opearives plotting to control the backdoor of Malaysia is such a crock!

    If Khazanah wants to do things globally then do it! You should direct your commets to Khazanah to explain the rationale behind the award of the PR Consultant job.

  15. Anonymous12:31 pm

    question is was there a bid or tender exercise? do they have the experience and what is their track record?

    its the way that is being done and this has tongue wagging that it is a swetheart deal.

    By the way, we can shout till our throat is hoarse. the government does not give a damn anyway at this moment. beware, the government rathers slap the messenger of truth with OSA then to take care of the rakyat's interest. read www.ktemoc.blogspot
    latest article and you see how the government works.

    when will our malaysian brothers wake up and voice their grievances? that's why, i am starting to post these days and we need more so that the government will have to sit up to take notice.

    good luck msia and she loads of it to climb out of the widening black hole.

  16. Anonymous12:49 pm

    pasquale ,

    kalau tak silap esok 03/02/07 hari yg anda janjikan?

  17. Anonymous12:56 pm

    Ex-Singapore Straits Times operative? That phrase sounds all too familiar!

    Rocky, I don't know anything about blogging but sounds like treading on thin ice to me. Anyway, you're the expert.

  18. Anonymous2:05 pm

    whats there a tender? do the people behind the company has any experience and track record in this field. what is the financial position of the company and overall monetary and human capacity to undertake such a big project? if all are affirmative, cant say much. it is the government right. short of that, buddy and sweetheart deal, my friends.

    lets wait for details and not jump the gun. otherwise, our dear PM will allege bloggers are spreading lies.

    god bless m'sia.

  19. Anonymous2:19 pm

    Hi Rocky,
    I have a degree in Corporate Communication same with Datuk Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Deputy Minister of Information. Why can't Khazanah give the job to me. I am a Malaysian, voting for BN in the previous elections ( next election still on the fence) Whose welfare is my government is looking after, Malaysians or Singaporeans. What is the qualification of that singaporean?

  20. Anonymous2:44 pm

    Wah!! This is what we call...err what did u say, "you scratch my back and I scratch yours." Dont worry Rocky, now there will not be a suit against you on this, because you did not name them.....hah, hah hah!!!

    These fools wanna use the law to shut up people, stupid idiots.

  21. Anonymous2:44 pm

    Wah!! This is what we call...err what did u say, "you scratch my back and I scratch yours." Dont worry Rocky, now there will not be a suit against you on this, because you did not name them.....hah, hah hah!!!

    These fools wanna use the law to shut up people, stupid idiots.

  22. Clever piece of writing, Rocky.
    Lots of things implied but no names. Let the guy's lawyers spend hours analysing it to see if they can do anything about it....

    Anyway, no need for the guy to worry about plagiarism here. PR men plagiarise all the time...have you noticed how often a new PR statement sounds like something you come across before ?

  23. Anonymous5:28 pm

    Alpha is handling the PR work for Synergy Drive. They did all the media work including the announcement last week. I doubt they will change firm mid-stream.

    elizabeth w

  24. Anonymous5:31 pm


    Pasquale's assertion about Singaporean operatives is not what u claim "such a crock".Apart from stating that, I wont even bother to explain.

    U can believe it or u can choose not to.

    Anyway, since rocky's post touch's on Khazanah and singapore operatives, Pasquale has every right to express his opinions on the post here( unless Rocky states otherwise like he did in the instance of his court case post, I'm sure rocky welcomes comments) and not necessarily in front of Khazanh's management as u unfairly alluded to.

    Btw, globalisation is driven by two things

    1) Technology

    2) Politics, especially as define by the advance countries thru the IMF, WTO, OECD and to a lesser extant the World Bank.

    Of the two, it is the second, which is the more influential.

    One area of globalisation which is pushed very hard is free trade and it has a lot of critics, not just from the developing countries but also from within the so called first world, because it is pushed not on the basis of just economic science and technological development, but aslo as much, if not more so, by politics and special interest, especially from within the same advanced countries.

    After all, to evaluate the merits of free trade, we can draw some lessons by the experience of NAFTA.

    Enacted in 1994, it created at the time, the largest free trade area encompassing the US, Canada and Mexico. It has not brought all the benefits that its advocates predicted, while at the same time, it has given weight to some of its critics, that the cost in terms of lower wages, growing unemployment and loss of national sovereignty outweighs the PURPORTED benefits of increased efficiency and growth.

    Key word is PURPORTED.

    Critics of Nafta include both, left and right economist, like Stiglitz, Tobin and Bhagwati among others.

    So Khazanah can always claim that it is doing things under the name of globalisation, but globalisation is no excuse for selling the sovereignty of our country, if that is what Khazanah is indeed doing.

    Even if other countries are submitting to the current way that globalisation is being implemented, why should we?

    After all many countries like South Korea and Indonesia were sceptical of liberalizing their capital markets in the mid 90s,another key aspect of globalization, but finally relented to the pressure of the developed countries thru the OECD.

    They were sceptical because they felt they were not ready for it, that it would encourage hot money and speculation, and it would turn their financial markets into a casino for the rich.In short, it would add instabilty into their economies, and ingrediant which is bad for any economy regardless of its position on the developmental ladder. And, their pessimism were vindicated by the Asian Financial Crisis of 97-98.

    Unfortunately for them, they were right and the OECD were wrong but after bearing witness to the destruction wrought on their nations, being right in this instance, offerd empty consolation.

    It is no coincidence that two countries that resisted the OECD's version of globalisation, like India and China,which restricted short term capital flows were spared the worst effects of the 97-98 crisis.In the case of China they dint even allow the market to determine the exchange rate of the renminbi

    So again i ask, even if other countries are submitting to the current interpretation of globalisation, why should we?

    After all every country is unique and there is no one size fits all economic policy. What works for them may not work for us and in the context of globalisation, herd instinct has not had a good track record- so in terms of right approach to globalization,follow it at your own peril.

    Now, I am not saying i am against the theoretical objectives of globalization which owes its theoretical pedigree and origins to David Ricardo's( 1772-1823) theory of comparative advantage, but i am aware that there exist a huge gulf between theory and reality.After all a theory is just a simplified version of the world and not nessacrily an accurate simplification- what its theoretical framework takes into account may not be as important as what it ommits.

    Notwhistanding the limitations of Ricardo's idea, over the last 50years,development in economic theory has added many factors that Ricardo was not aware of. Now, at the level of theory there is such a thing as static comparative advantage and dynamic comparative advantage.

    If we approach globalization from the lenses of the former, which is how globalization is generally presented to us thru the mainstream media, than we may trade long term benefits ( such as TFP potential, which is the most important ingredient for sustained economic growth and technological sophistication) for short term gains.

    The history of South Korea economic growth in the last 5 decades is testomony of this. And so does the history of Germany's growth, if u look at it from the period of Bismarck until now, as was demonstrated by David Lendes of Harvard.

    Thus concernedcitizen, events in the past, our own and others, have counseled caution and even pessimism, when welcoming such sound bytes like globalization. As such we should be weary of any party, including Khazanah for instance, if they justify their actions under the name of globalization.

    When involving the interest of our country it is irresponsible to be too sanguine. Even in the event we were to make a mistake, it'll be safer to make a mistake on the side of caution.

    When it involves scrutinizing the actions of entities who can effect the sovereignty of our country like hazana,i prefer to commit the error of being extra vigilant and skeptical rather than the mistake of being overly cavalier.

    The former is a mistake we can afford to make while second is simply, something we cant.

  25. When I grow up, I wanna be a sycophant and make big bucks!

  26. I am afraid you got the info wrong. They are not looking for a PR man but a tourist promoter for Kelantan expert at spinning those tops long enough for tourist to snap photos.

    I sense it is the end of career for someone in somethign and moving on to something else.

    I see the Synergy Drive job is the bread and butter, with SJER as teh cherry, if it could ever could get itself properly launched. Still lots of local resistance.

  27. Anonymous7:54 pm

    Malaysian have to ask their Thailand friend what they think about Singapore in term of business,spying,manipulation and art of lies.
    Do you think that the Thailand really stupid when they said that the Singaporean are spying on them.
    Not really... but Malaysian is..
    Thailand is one of most industrialist country in SEA and they know what kind of people(singaporean)they handle for.
    *Thailand have one of the best intelligence unit in the region.

    They know about the art of deception and they know that with SG there's no permanent you can call a 'friend'.

  28. Anonymous10:13 pm

    If the commission is 1%, already US$150mil (RM570mil).
    If 3%, walamak!

  29. Anonymous10:54 pm

    Of course PM is telling the truth. PMB did not buy the plane.
    It was a free gift from Airbus because PMB bought 50 A320 for Air Asia (buy 50 get 1 free, get it). Just ask Qatar Air.

    The lease thing is just a lapse.

  30. I wonder if there are lessons to tell lies .... Our PM needs this lessons badly as there are too much leakage in his lies after lies.

    It is a saying that "after eating some stolen food, you must learn how to clean up your act".

  31. Anonymous12:06 am

    Hey anon@10.54pm, if what you said, "Of course PM is telling the truth. PMB did not buy the plane.
    It was a free gift from Airbus because PMB bought 50 A320 for Air Asia (buy 50 get 1 free, get it). Just ask Qatar Air.", then the situation is even worst!

    Hahahahaha! Now they even make a killing on that freebie. Do they need stewardess too? Am available. But seriously, do we need one now when a few of the earlier planes are still in flying condition?

  32. Anonymous1:06 am

    To Mat Rempit Hubris,

    Firstly, I must thank you for sharing your thoughts on the "Globalisation".

    Yes, you are right. We have every right to express our thoughts and opinions in this or any blog. Responsibly, of course...

  33. Anonymous6:30 am

    anybody got a copy of the lease agreement? maybe we can work out the lease payments, and the buyout out clause at the end of the lease period. no?

  34. Anonymous11:35 am

    I really "tabik" this Mat Rempit Hubris guy! He has laid out his argument so well, backed by credible references and relevant details. This is the kind of informed analysis that Malaysians must develop in order to be taken seriously - here or elsewhere, on local or foreign soil. There is something universal and truly global about a logical mind!

    Not knowing much about economic or political theories and hypotheses, I'd just like to make my usual observation that chronyism is a natural law that drives people to seek those that share their dreams and values.

    It's akin to the animal instinct to herd or flock together, especially in the face of predators!

    I'm thus not shocked that there is "polarisation" (hate the word!)or racial segregation in schools, colleges and universities. We are comfortable with people who share our eating habits and preferences. I believe this is one of the founding causes of the lack of interracial rapport among the young.

    Re cronyism in the business/corporate world - what's new. Just think of the guilds and associations in some communities which support their own cronies.

    When it comes to government contracts I agree the open tender system is necessary to give the semblance of fairness and equality and equity. But let's face it the personal factor - chrony influence, ampu bodek, stringpulling, duit kopi etc behind the scenes -is the order of the day!

    It's the same everywhere even in the nations that laud/lord democratic and egalitarian principles. That is why even in former communist and present socialist societies the gap between the rich and the poor cannot be obliterated.

    I'm inclined to believe (without malice) that God never meant for us to be equal as we understand it in the material and materialistic world.

    Well done Mat Rempit Hubris!


  35. Anonymous11:42 am

    Journalists and editors in Msia quit their jobs to join PR firms or become PR experts. It happens all the time. Quattro boasts of two ex business editors. Prestige has a veteran press man. Alpha's boss was a publisher. Burson, west coast, perceptions and many more. You yourself, Bru, are a media consultant now. The only difference with the two who shant be named is that they have created a new specie: crony PRs.. And they could take home in a monthmore than all the above, combined, take home in a year!!

  36. Anonymous11:47 am

    Biarkan saja lah. Peduli apa kita. Depa nak bagi siapa pun biarkan lah. Kita jangan pening-pening kepala. Kita cadangkan kalau ada apa-projek baru, kita suruh orang yang sama saja minta. Biarkan lah nmereka bolot apa juga kekeyaan negara ini. Kita ramai peminpin politik, biarkan lah mereka lawan kalau mereka rasa apa yang berlaku hari ini tak kena. Tapi kalau mereka pun setuju, apa kita nak kata lagi.

  37. Well said, Gerubuk.

    Now, will somebody give us the place, time and dress code (for those who wish to turn up in disguise in case B.B. is putting up a surveillance team)? Dark pants and blue shirts? You too, ladiez.

    I'm in a serious mood for some respite except for the company of...

    Pasquale gets to be 'emperor' for the evening and we shall all bow in his presence.
    *Who's bringing the guillotine?*

    Menwhile, WWU have let the cat out of the bag.

    (timelined - 12.30pm 03/02/07)

  38. I am considering putting into practice what I learn from Blue Ocean Strategy. I plan to start a head-hunting organisation. It will be a breeze, running this outfit. We will head-hunt crooks for the latest scoop. I need to identify a crook (and this is so simple these days....but I will get my top recruiter from the myriad of people who hold honorifics!!!!You got to have a title, credibility mah. Just get a current hot-crook, add a bonus to the normal head-hunting fee, and the like-minded will just buzz in like bees to honey. You dont have to worry about CVs, past experience, how well you can copy...enough for the moment. Gonna get my corporate profile up before somebody beat me to this new so simple strategy...something like the credit card member-get-members that me included got scammed into...legalises money lending with small print "I am telling you now what you are getting into." small that we forgot to read.Got to get to work now before....

  39. Anonymous4:37 am

    To Bon Nini and Concerned Citizen,

    Kind sirs, I have to apologize.I have erred.

    In making my explanation on globalization, somehow or rather i accidentily ommited a sentence. I'm not being pedentic nor self indulgent, but the ommition of that sentence gives an entirely differant meaning on the point of the paragraph.Infact, without that sentence, the paragraph has a meaning which is almost the opposite of what i intended and it also skewers the meaning of the next paragraph. Maybe u didnt noticed it or maybe u were to polite not to point it out, but I have to reinsert for the sake of correction.An error is an error.

    Again, my sincerest appologies, Sirs.

    For the sake of clarity, I will also include the original paragraph where the sentence was ommited. The first 3 words of the sentenced that i accidentaly missed, will be written in bold.

    The corrected part is as follow:

    If we approach globalization from the lenses of the former, which is how globalization is generally presented to us thru the mainstream media, than we may trade long term benefits ( such as TFP potential, which is the most important ingredient for sustained economic growth and technological sophistication) for short term growth. YET, THE THEORY of dynamic comparative advantage, which is largely ignored by the popular media, is generally cited by serious scholars such Stiglizt, Andrew Charlton and Bruce Greenwald etc-etc, as being a more effective analytical tool in explaining the actual experience of countries that had successfully industrialized.

    The history of South Korea economic growth in the last 5 decades is testimony of this. And so does the history of Germany's growth, if u look at it from the period of Bismarck until now, as was demonstrated by David Lendes of Harvard.

  40. Anonymous7:27 pm

    Very academic of you to correct an error of argument! You must be one!
    BTW what makes you think I'm a SIR Mat Rempit Hubris? I wonder which (parts) of my postings give me away!



  41. Anonymous11:40 pm

    To BON NINI,

    No i am not an academic.I'm just a fly on the wall nothing more.BTW, i utilsed the term SIR in an offhanded manner, to be applied when refering to anyone( men and women) who deserves respect.

    TQ and Cheers

  42. Anonymous8:02 am

    The SJER is a project that was shoved down the throat of the Johor State Govt.It was never discussed at the State level Govt which actually has final say on the matter.The State Govt actually found out about it from a leaked document by a loyal Johorean. Read between the lines. Do you really see a lot of Johor Govt press support for the project? It is an AAB initiative and the best Machiavellian strategy is to let him hang on his own rope.

    The SJER is actually a dangerous development to Malaysia. Consider this..Why would you want to give up a strategic piece of real estate to a neighboring country? Why is it economically advantageous to allow Singaporeans to enter the Special Zone without a passport? With all due respect to Singaporeans who are a really smart bunch - do you really need to do away with declaring your passport to do better business in the SJER? Oh by the way can we Malaysians also have a special zone to do better business in Singapore? How about Orchard Road? Or Arab Street where the murtabak is divine. Quid pro quo.

    I am from Johor and I have a special spot in my heart for Singapore. Nostalgia mainly and a fair bit of respect for how they have transformed the island from being a backwater to what it is now.

    But I am also a political scientist and history tells me that nations must tread very very carefully when expanding or retracting their borders. In this particular case, Malaysia is retracting it's border to accomodate the Singaporeans. How can soverignity be maintained at all times in a sort of economic halfway zone? With arms and weaponry bared at all times?Please...

    Is there any benchmark out there for what AAB plans to do and he categorically admitted that the SJER is his vision? If so where? Which country in the world allows such an economic zone to exist and is it successful? I am so curious to know.

    In political science we study how borders are drawn and redrawn against the landscape of history. We note how miniscule events can determine the length and breadth of nations - hence Taiwan, Singapore, Palestine, Israel, Timor Leste, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Georgia, East Germany...

    My biggest fear is that this miniscule event in history(SJER) will one day haunt us. My biggest fear is that one day I will sit in a chair and tell my grandchildren that once upon a time that place called Johor Bahru used to be a part of Malaysia you know...but last time not as developed la..