Monday, March 26, 2007

Khazanah: We didn't appoint Fox

So who got Fox the plum job? Khazanah Nasional has denied appointing Fox Communications for the Iskandar Regional Development project. Its head of communications Ahmad Shahizam shot this response via e-mail at 7.03 pm:
"With reference to your post today titled "Khazanah owes me one", we would like to re-iterate that our previous correspondence with you on this matter stands and that there is no change in our response of 5th February 2007, as the facts remain the same.
For the benefit of your readers, we hope that you will check your facts fully on this matter and we consider this matter closed. This will be the final comment we will be making on this subject. Khazanah reserves the right to evaluate and appoint prospective advisers in accordance with our internal policies."
This has left me with more questions than answers. Who appointed Fox Communications as c0nsultants for the Iskandar project, which is under Khazanah, then? Was it the PM's Department or the Finance Ministry? Or was it the Johor state government? Does Khazanah have any relationship with Fox?

I strongly feel that Khazanah should clearly state what Fox's role is and assure us that all procedures are being strictly adhered to to ensure fair competition and a level playing field.
I do not consider the matter closed.
The matter must remain open until Khazanah comes clean with clear and straight forward answers. No one is questioning Khazanah's right to appoint whoever it wishes to in accordance with its internal policies. But taxpayers money is involved and Khazanah owes it to them to be more transparent and professional. Business people are anxious and want to know if they are obliged to accept the services of advisers who make themselves out to be close to the powers that be. Reassure them, Khazanah.

In the meantime, let me share with my readers a bit more information on Fox. Following a lead given by Kawan, a regular poster in this blog who indicated that a bureau chief of a mainstream newspaper may have quit to join Fox Communications as a senior consultant for the Iskandar project, I made a few queries and found out that the bureau chief meant by Kawan is veteran Ravi Nambiar from the New Straits Times' Johore Bahru bureau.
Incidentally, those queries led me to the discovery that Lionel Morais, who was made Crime Editor of the Malay Mail in 2003, has gone to Johore Bahru to "cover" for Ravi Nambiar until young and promising Sheridan Mahavera arrives from Kota Bahru to head the JB bureau.
When Lionel returns to Balai Berita, he will assume his new position as the NST's Deputy Chief News Editor. He will assist Chief News Editor A. Kathiresan and Executive Editor for News K.P. Waran.

25 comments:

  1. Anonymous9:27 pm

    Either Khazanah has a real serious proble or Ahmad Shahizam Shariff is a real pawn...Khazanah considers this matter closed? That's "ketelusan" for you then...we don't like what you are accusing us of so we don't want to talk to you anymore...so there!

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  2. Anonymous9:47 pm

    Is the NST not required to follow the country's racial ratio in their employment policy? What has khazanah got to say about this?? or hisham? or KJ?!!

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  3. Rocky, me thinks doublespeak is being used here by Khazanah so as to provide plausible deniability.Fox's services are being used but the bill is being paid by another business entity - in no way linked to Khazanah via equity holdings.Smoke screen stuff.
    As far as Khazanah is concerned, they have not appointed Fox.And they speak the truth and nothing but the truth.Perhaps you should rephrase your questions to them.

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  4. Anonymous10:41 pm

    Rocky, continue to search for the truth. A lot of nonsense is going on. Rocky, continue to fight against idiocy, lies, deceit, hypocrisy, plagiarism. Lead the revolution, Rocky.

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  5. Rocky,

    Remember the A319 airplane justification?

    You'll get the same on this.

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  6. Anonymous11:40 pm

    ayoyoh..apamacam?..itu macam kalu Khazanah kasi tukar nama KasiAna Holding.

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  7. Anonymous12:00 am

    Hi,
    Was there....and greeted you at 6.45pm.
    Used to comm with you @maxis.blackberry. Several times smsed... guess you have changed the nos from celcom2x68x7x as there was no replies.
    Btw, good luck & always with you Bro.

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  8. Anonymous12:23 am

    Rocky,

    First of all, to be fair to that Shahizam guy, he did actually reply to your queries within 24 hours of your first post.

    In my opinion, there is nothing here that shows Fox have been appointed as SJER's PR consultant. Ravi Nambiar may have left NST for a SJER consulting job, but that does not prove Fox have nailed the PR job.

    From the information that you have disclosed in this posting, I don't think Khazanah have anything to answer to. I suggest you provide direct evidences rather than circumstantial evidences.

    After all, we are all looking for the truth, aren't we?

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  9. "We did not buy it, we leased it".

    Now, it's:

    "We did not appoint Fox, they're just billing us through one of our minor subsidiaries".

    What's the going rate PR firms are charging nowadays? Put that percentage against the RM15 billion project value and you'll get.....a pretty picture.

    Can you smell the 'pong' emanating from this 'rubbish' deal?

    Hope you have a strong nose to weasel out the finer details, Rocky.

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  10. Anonymous1:12 am

    Bro,

    In your posting, Khazanah owes me one, you mentioned “Wong Sulong, the former Star GEIC and a board member of the Bursa Malaysia, is a shareholder of Fox.”
    I also overheard from my Johor friends that he is Ravi Nambiar boss, giving instructions to the former NST Johor Baru bureau chief on how to run and manages the PR for Iskandar Regional Development project from KL.
    Would Sulong compromise his position as Bursa Malaysia Board member and at the same time running Fox Communication?
    As far as I know, Khazanah’s project involved more than a dozen of public listed companies on Bursa Malaysia.
    Under the rules and regulations for any public listed company, the firm must notify or alert Bursa if they enter into a negotiation, agreement or bidding for a new contract or project with anybody, listed or otherwise.
    And in the case of Fox, the firm is tasked to promote the project and its development there. I am sure Sulong, a former business reporter/editor and a person handling the Iskandar PR, would have some knowledge on the involvement of the public listed companies, either currently or future, to enable him to promote the project to the media.
    Would this be a conflict of interest for Sulong - by being on the Bursa and the man who would be generating the hype and publicity stunt for Iskandar.
    But I guess everything is possible now in this Boleh land.

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  11. Rocky Moron!

    Fox Communication is a Singapore creation and those appointed are indeed being appointed by Singapore, namely Temasik! And of course Khazanah is telling the truth! It did not appoint Fox Commu. to take charge of SJER PR and RN formerly a main paper reps in Johore just joined Fox AND is also in the pocket of Temasik, as a little bird told me! Sometime you people cannot put two and two together!Too much belacan and tempoyak in the brain! Oh by the way certain Datuk KH is still in the payroll of the Singapore government! Sigh!

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  12. Hi Rocky,
    Khazanah could be telling the truth here, but not the whole truth. Even though they have heavy involvement the project, they often act in the background and not manage the business operations directly. I thought it was unusual if Khazanah appointed the PR firm for trhe IDR themselves.
    Normally the PR firm would be appointed by an organisation much closer to the business operations. Two more likely candidates as the party appointing Fox for the PR job - the Iskandar Regional Development Authority and the South Johor Investment Corporation Berhad (which acts as the overall developer for IDR). Both, of course, closely linked to Khazanah, but they have "plausible deniability".

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  13. Rocky dude, this may not carry much weight as I heard this at a crowded function but the "large PR firm" handling the project supposedly only is taking care of a small part of the overall project. So maybe we'll have to wait for official clarification to see where things go.

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  14. Anonymous2:38 pm

    What a name - Fox ?
    Yeah fox, go eat all the chickens in the coop.

    Fox .. as usuals Malaysians are fucked

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  15. Anonymous10:42 pm

    The reply from Khazanah smacks of arrogance from the 'know-it-all' kids.
    Shahrir had a point when he recommended that there be a watchdog for Khazanah. Who makes sure they are practising proper governance?
    When Khazanah makes mistakes, who pays? Look at a current court-case for breach of contract by Khazanah just because they don't like the face of the other party.
    Look at the price Khazanah had to pay for just 51% of Pantai when they could have got it much cheaper before it was sold to Parkway.

    I ask you..who oversees Khazanah?

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  16. Khazanah should come out clean in simple English with no ambiguity. As it is the clarification smacks of doublespeak.
    By the way without being seen as racist, why are only Indians seem to be involved in the NST transfers. Aren't there no Malays or Chinese journalists there?

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  17. Need the almost extinct Malaysian Tiger to catch an elusive Musang. Trails left by the Musang is very greasy and filled with gravy indeed!

    Keep trackin' em, Tiger!

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  18. Anonymous8:53 am

    What, exactly, is Fox Communications' role in the IDR? Marketing? PR? Publicity? Or that strange animal known to practitioners as "Marcom" (i.e. Marketing Communications)?

    We are woefully short of information. And, in any case, I have not seen any official notification of Fox's role in the IDR.

    Now, if its PR or Marcom, the IDR authorities would have been better advised to go global and do an international exercise to get the best PR and Marcom companies out there to pitch for the IDR account. And in so doing, help to create a sorely-needed global buzz for the IDR.

    I know that Malaysia has good PR and Marcom companies, but this is a chance for them to pit themselves against the best in the world.

    Maybe the govt is looking to protect local companies? So much for globalisation!

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  19. Anonymous1:12 pm

    Saudara Rocky

    I beg your indulgence to post on an unrelated topic.

    Specifically the proposed RM1.4 billion oil hub in southern Johor, just off Tanjung Pelepas Port.

    The project was awarded, without open bidding, to Asia Petroleum Hub (APH).

    APH is 90% owned by shareholders of the KIC Group and 10% by Trek Perintis.

    KIC is controlled by one Faidzan Hassan. One shareholder in KIC is a certain Mohd Hilmi who heads public-listed Hitech Padu.

    Trek Perintis' shareholder is one Zul Rafique. He is the brother of FT minister Zul-Hasnan Rafique.

    According to a report in the Spore Business Times (http://business-times.asia1.com.sg), the proposed oil hub will have petroleum and bunkering facilities.

    RM1.4 billion in project financing will be provided by CIMB.

    Petronas is believed to have committed to using the facilities for its domestic and international operations.

    Here's the twist: Petronas has considerable bunkering capacity at Spore's Jurong Island. Spore is one of the biggest bunkering centres in the world, with sales of 25 million tonnes valued at S$7 billion in 2005.

    The proposed oil hub will thus compete directly with Spore.

    Annual sales for the proposed oil hub in Johor is expected to exceed US$20 billion, according to APH executive chairman Abdul Rashid Isa.

    A very, very juicy apple, this one!

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  20. Who's 'Foxing' who eh?
    Bro...four days...self imposed blackout.
    Was in Langkawi...do you happen to know any Tsunami victims in Langkawi?
    I now do, and I can say on RM2500 was dispersed to affected households!
    So what was the final figure reported anyway? Any idea?

    It was thanks to Air Asia that I was there. and while there, i spoke to a family who was also on holiday there. They flew MAS on FOC tickets. ....hmmm, which is the budget air? can't tell really!

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  21. Anonymous9:57 pm

    Can someone tell me why all NST news bosses are Indians?

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  22. Anonymous12:33 pm

    Lipreader, err, i think the bosses are indians because indians love the nst. heard 90 per cent of indians read nst, 0.1 per cent of chinese read nst, 2 per cent Bumis read nst, and none of cabinet ministers read at all. hope that answers your question.

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  23. Anonymous11:30 pm

    ha? LM as deputy CNE? please lah...

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  24. Anonymous10:46 am

    let me tell you this, because, many little birds have told me this:

    There was never any plan to promote Lionel Morais to deputy chief news editor. In fact the post was create by You Know Who (cannot mention becos of libel suit). There 3 -- Nuraina Samad, Balan Moses and Saiful Azhar.
    Saiful was made executive editor.So only Nuraina and Balan remained as deputy chief news editors. Then Nuraina left. Kathirasen replaced her. Only Balan remained in that position although he chose to not be at the newsdesk.
    Kathirasen was then made chief news editor, replacing Waran who was made executive editor.
    How did lionel get that post?
    Apparently, an NST former group editor gave a tinkle to NST GEIC an it became a done deal.
    You see, bro, your boy Lionel had a deal with that former GE.
    when he was left out of the list, he got that former GE to make things right for him.
    Even NST group editor, i was told, was shocked. they pulled the rug from under him.
    so, to all those who are wondering why the NST newsdesk is mainly Indians.... so what? that is not the point. they can put indians, or malays or chinese..
    BUT the question you should ask is :are they, the indians, any good? are the malays put there any good?
    Bro, you know lionel. you made him your crime editor. the NST former GE was courting him like crazy. so he must be good-lah.

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  25. Anonymous11:47 pm

    lionel is good. :D
    congrats lionel!
    :D

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