Saturday, June 14, 2008

Feeble, Zubir!

Sime Darby's president/CEO says he was just following orders.
"My view was actually different," Ahmad Zubir Murshid told The Edge on the sacking of ex-Golden Hope people in the merged Sime over 120 million futures losses that took place before the merger.
How is his view different? We don't know. But the writer Kathy Fong tells us that Zubir is infuriated by accusations that he the sacking was a "purge" of Golden Hope officials in the company.
"This has infuriated Ahmad Zubir who says he was merely following a decision that was taken by the Board, which has been described by some as being tough and attuned to high governance standards. The Sime board comprises people such as Tun Musa Hitam and Andrew Sheng (former chairman of the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission), who are known for their highly ethical corporate standards."
Musa Hitam known for "high ethical corporate standards"? Since when? I mean, it's something else if you say that Musa Hitam is known for "high ethical political standards". And even then, you will be inviting controversy!

Also, I find it hard to believe that the president/CEO of the world's largest plantation merger has a "different view" but could not convince his Board to listen to his view?

Btw, Zubir is believed to have met Nor Mohamed Yakcop, the Second Finance Minister, on Friday.

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

Bru,

The BOD was doing the purge job as a matter of ethicallity.TM is a political beast that calls the order.Datuk has to tow the line and i presume there is a shadow government here to select more to come gonnabe purged angles....locally or internationally.

My 2 sen thoughts.

Putri Camelia

donplaypuks said...

The CEO, especially that of an MNC, can privately disagree with his Board at their meeting. Once the Board has decided on a policy decided by the vote of its majority, that's it. It becomes the Co's policy.

Thereafter the CEO cannot publicly voice a dissenting view. If he does, he has to resign or be powerful enough to overthrow his Board.

So, where is Zubair coming from exactly?

This is not the BN Govt where Ministers, IGP, AG can all claim to support the PM & Govt's policy, and then express 'a private opinion'which is completely at odds with it.

Bad habits not only die hard, they tend to spread out in all directions and corrupt.

Please send all GLC CEO's & top management on a course on the Rules of Engagement. Toe the official line, or FO, CEO !!

friend of razidan said...

Oi, zubir,
I don't buy it for a second, just like i dont buy the flip flop pm who says one thing and does another. you and him the same kind. the problem with u is that you are too cunning to follow what board tells u to do. you didn;t even give a shit about pnb who is your actual master. you wantd to sack razidan & gang becos they was a threat to you and yor plans. now you're trying to divert the attention away from u. i bet musa hitam would say that the board was only following yr recommendations. musa, you better deny it!!

Anonymous said...

Let see. Will he use the same reason to dispose off Minamas's share. He does not want but just follow the Board's instruction? And he has a different view too? Someone told me that the legal due diligence had recently completed.

From Macai

A Voice said...

Everything Musa Hitam touch is disaster.

Ini bala tuhan ke atas SD. The same bala Malaysia is facing becasue of this man. Dosa seorang master backstabber. Perpetual revenge. True blue thorn in the flesh.

Still nothing compared to the present condition of the country with Musa advising Abdullah.

Belum apa2 Synergy Drive dah rugi sampai begitu banyak.

Losses of such quantum cannot be attributed to traders. The managment must have taken over a small loss position of a trader. It likely a case of running a loss position with the hope of it turning around.

Wonder if Board took over the loss position. Then, it would be a case of Musa running a future position.

Gawd ... The man knw nuts abt economics. He described a successful economic model as copycat economy.

Only idiot thinks he is brilliant.

Anonymous said...

Bru

Nah, dont think he's being feeble. There's more to it than what is being reported. Best to wait and see what happens next. My guess is that there will be more sacking - and new faces will come in (maybe they are already identified and waiting).

And that Simedarbywatch blog - is not really credible. Not when the comments have been edited.

Nonetheless...something is definitely brewing.

OrangJauh

Baling Resident said...

He is a political beast (TM) remember the Memali incident?He instructed the Iban rangers to shoot the innocent people when Mahathir was out of the country.Those were innocent muslims,our braders and sisters were killed.No mercy.

It applies the same with Sime Darby which he is heading now,he will get rid those who is a threat to future of new SD.Of course Dato Zubir will deny,but deep inside him.....what to do cari makan la bru...

MalaysiaClubJakarta said...

Please return back the Minamas Plantations back to PT Indofood.At the time of forced sale the procedures were wrong.

They change the time table to suit malaysian (Guthrie)game.It still belong to PT Indofood,give it back to us.What say so Datuk Azman Mokhtar? Its a risky game,was there any due diligence when it was purchased in 2001?

There seems to be a mass cover ups by the malaysian side.The land usage rights are mostly expiring...when can SD gets its ROI in this turbulance on goings?Can you carry out more forensic investigations there now,due diligence is not adequate!!What rule of engagement in Indonesia??

Ask the Sime Darby Watch blog owner,he is from Guthrie anyway,he seems not to know anything about Minamas,perhaps he has better agenda to run down Sime Darby.

Donpaks said...

FU donplaypuks,SD is GLC and it should be run by competent bumi's.if not why we invest our unit trust.Its just that Mohan /Azmir felt it was his right timing to kill the others.Sekhar place his card well.Musa will definitely instruct Datuk Zubir to promote him,Thats what we call Multi National Company.We like to call for non confidence vote for SD Board of Directors.

What happen to Baring's were similiar to SD,bit in Sime Case its politically motivated.

donplaypuks said...

Donpaks said:'FU donplaypuks,SD is GLC and it should be run by competent bumi's'.

By what law or policy should SD and GLC's be run by Bumis? I too own shares in SD and in unit trusts. As far as I am concerned, the right qualified person, by merit, should lead any GLC, whether he is a Bumi or not. Otherwise, you will get this problem that UMNO thinks it has the right to decide who shall be Chairman of F1 or Islamic Uni. The findings of the RCI will tell you the disaster of promoting incompetent people (e.g. in the judiciary) above others, based mostly on Bumi or not issues.

If he cannot agree with his Board, the CEO should resign. Remember, the Board is responsible to all Shareholders who are the only owners of SD, not UMNO.

Its this kind of silly sttitude that will kill the GLC's, if $120 million losses is not enough of a warning!

Promote and go by Meritocracy or perish!

Anonymous said...

Kesian SD, jadik camni bila dah merger. Elok dulu bila sorang trang tang tang - sume ok. Ups down sendiri sendiri, Gah jugak seantero dunia - tak de politik.

PakAndeh

Dhahran Sea said...

Rocky Bro,
This is just another witch hunting exercise as directed by the 4th floor kids&SIL... you toe the line or else... now the golden hope boys, few days back sanusi junid... what else will come tomorrow. I hope to see when THEY (the 4th floor kids) will be asked to leave... lets see how they sulk!?

Anonymous said...

so zubir that means you are an idiot! when the board ask you to jumpu, you jump.

Now, people know that you are materialist guy. By the way, are the board member damn stupid to terminate people service without proper conducts or they want to change the director of finance so that they can control the tender

bandar sunway semenyih

Bandit said...

Zubir’s devious red herring
Sime Darby CEO Ahmad Zubir Murshid has audaciously deflected the blame to the company’s board for his contemptuous and cruel sacking of Razidan Ghazalli and Muhammad Mohan Kittu Abdullah, while ruthlessly forcing the resignations of Sabri Ahmad, Dr Anhar Suki and Azmir Yahya, all senior executives at the now defunct Golden Hope Plantations.
Deflect all you like but I’m sticking to the game plan that Zubir skilfully orchestrated the board in such a way that they had no recourse but to accept the findings of audit reports and recommendations that the board should punish the five GHopers accordingly. If Zubir was arm-twisted by the board to hand out the walking papers to the five, why didn’t he show remorse or compassion when he confronted them separately in his office? Why did he arrogantly and condescendingly told one of the five, who pleaded for time to pray, to do so quickly at a nearby surau instead of giving him 24 hours to think over the get fired or resign ultimatum? Why didn’t he empathise with any of them by saying that "my view was actually different" from the board in that canned interview with The Edge? It just doesn’t add up.
After studying the two audit and media reports, it is patently clear that the RM55 billion corporate behemoth culled its senior workforce not for ethical reasons or transparency of governance but for something more treacherous. The punishments were a “red herring”, primarily executed to remove Razidan as Sime Darby CFO and countervail the corporate malfeasance that he suspects, knows, had discovered and would have exposed if he had to. One of the malpractices Razidan uncovered may haunt Zubir worst – the appointment of property developer Brunsfield Group to construct the RM900 million Sime Darby’s World HQ that by-passed the required tender process.
The appointment of Brunsfield was done without the knowledge and approval of the supervisory committee of the Property Division. Brunsfield, in turn, appointed a company in its group as project manager, both of which did not go through the proper tender process. Zubir is now back-pedalling furiously to get the Sime Darby Board to ratify Brunsfield’s appointment next week.
A certain Tengku Badlishah who made the Brunsfield appointment did not have the authority to do so. In a nutshell, Sime Darby’s board sanctioned the RM900 million project but did not approve Brunsfield as the main contractor for the project’s construction. There are also pertinent questions as to who are behind the Brunsfield Group, their ultimate shareholders and what special relationship the group has with Zubir. The interesting point is that Sime Darby is trying to mask these appointments to give the appearance that there had never been a conflict of interest.
Of course, the reason for the punishments against the five GHopers commented by Zubir in a general email to staff and reported by the Sime Darby website, which also doubled up as a Press statement, was deceptively plausible and offensively foul because they conveniently ignored both the Ghope internal and KPMG Forensic external audit reports that back-tracked the trading losses to a reckless rogue trader whose unbidden greed breached Golden Jomalina’s set trading limits while he flagrantly bought CPO futures.
The internal report focused on the rogue trader’s wild transactions before he hastily abandoned ship and disappeared, but because KPMG blamed the Ghope management for failing to monitor the rogue trader, Zubir seized on their account to strengthen his case against Razidan. Both auditors discussed how trading business was traditionally done but KPMG refused to consider internal audit’s conclusion or understand the real nature of the oil palm futures trading operations.
Yet, there was a third audit report scripted by Sen Gupta, adviser to Sime’s Corporate Assurance Department. The contents are unknown and I am unsure if it was tabled before the board but in all likelihood, it was damaging to the GHope 5.
During the run-up to the Sime-Ghope-Guthrie merger, Zubir’s composition of his desired management team collided with one infuriating snag – PNB had insisted that Razidan be given the CFO’s post, which meant nudging aside Sime’s Sekhar Krishnan to take care of a bloated Corporate Services with a Datukship thrown in for good measure to placate him.
Razidan took up his new posting with the enthusiasm of a wet blanket, knowing very well that he would be the sacrificial lamb in a den of bad, hungry wolves. But he did his best and began scrutinising Sime’s business ventures and projects within his ambit, building within months a comprehensive report that highlighted questionable deals that swallowed huge funds.
Propelled by the fear that these questionable deals would be picked up by Razidan’s incorruptible accounting radar, Zubir plotted a scheme to not only get rid of Razidan but get rid of him with his and PNB’s name smeared and discredited. Zubir set forth his machinations by going for the jugular, a viciously calculative move that required killing a single irritant mosquito with mass fogging. It also meant that to make Razidan’s expulsion “look good”, the four other GHopers had to be sucked into the disciplinary hurricane inasmuch as Sabri, as the ex-Ghope GCE, still had to assume much of the blame for the fiasco.
Thanks to the chain-effect of oil palm futures trading losses triggered by the rogue trader named Badrul and unwittingly signed off by Mohan, Zubir was presented with a fortuitous opportunity to crucify Razidan. The audit reports will show that Razidan and Anhar entered too late in the picture to effectively stop the losses but they did the next best thing – have the losses audited and recorded in the Golden Hope 2007 annual report. Sabri, in an unconscionable move, foolishly failed to officially highlight his board of the losses.
The questionable committee – a corporate kangaroo court of sorts – charged, indicted and executed the five and this was sufficiently explained in a posting by my collaborator, Muhammad Ali, in Rocky’s Bru. But there’s more. The charge that the five had “failed to discharge their functions to the standard of care that were reasonably expected of them” is pure humbug. I’ll lay it out in chronological order the vetting mechanism that scoured the audit reports which contained disclosures of a RM77.5 million trading losses:
1. In an internal audit conducted by GHope in January, 2007, as part of the of the annual audit cycle, internal audit head Raja Anuar Hassan did not discover the losses because it was cleverly concealed by the rogue trader.
2. One of the big four international auditors, Ernst & Young, led by Habibah Abdul, came in later to conduct their routine annual audit of the Golden Hope Group accounts for the financial year ended June 30, 2007 (Audited Accounts) and reported the loss under Note 37, which covers financial instruments and sets out the fair values of financial assets and liabilities not carried at fair value on the balance sheet. A RM77.5 million item was described under Note 37 as a “financial liability that represents unrealised losses from forward commodities contracts as at June 30, 2007’’.
3. Ernst & Young presented their completed Audited Accounts to the GHope audit committee, whose chairman was Mohammad Abdullah, a chartered accountant. The committee went over the Audited Accounts and recommended its approval.
4. Then the Audited Accounts, which contained the RM77.5 million trading losses, went before the Golden Hope board of directors under the chairmanship of (now Tun) Ahmad Sarji Abdul Hamid and they too approved the accounts.
5. In their briefings to both the GHope audit committee and the GHope Board, Ernst & Young did not specifically highlight the RM77.5 million trading losses.
6. When the merger was played out, the Audited Accounts containing the RM77.5 million trading losses were made available to the merger exercise advisors as part of documents needed for the due diligence (process) – among those whose fingerprints were on the accounts were CIMB and, various committees set up to facilitate the merger.
7. In the Synergy Drive prospectus to shareholders, there was also disclosure of the RM77.5 million trading losses.
There you have it. At one end of the vetting landscape is the rogue trader Badrul and at the other end, Razidan but in between the two were the formidable vetting mechanisms. So, the question is, where does the buck stop in this long chain of command and well-embedded filters? Razidan’s complicity and culpability was non-existent. It still boiled down to Zubir’s “red herring”. The lone wolf rogue trading and failure of these filtering mechanisms served as fodder for Zubir to build his case against Razidan.
In a court of law, the 7-prong disclosures I have outlined would have been more than enough to kindle reasonable doubt against Razidan’s culpability. His sacking was unjustified but Zubir saw it as ideal – killing a handful of Ghope birds with one poisonous stone.
And what has PNB done to protect Razidan, their nominee in the Sime Darby senior management? Nothing! PNB CEO Hamad Kama Piah tragically failed to act despite knowing earlier that the vultures were after the five GHopers. He did nothing to either intervene or to at least come to the five’s defence, or prepare a replacement CFO in case the worse happens. It was as if he was complicit in doing Zubir’s bidding. Hamad Kama Piah acted dishonourably too.
Prior to the merger, he sweet-talked Razidan into accepting the Sime job although Razidan was headhunted and offered a lucrative job elsewhere. However, Razidan felt duty bound to accept the Sime position. Here was a man ready to sacrifice for a higher calling and Hamad Kama Piah abandoned him like a sitting duck. This is also an abject lesson for ambitious PNB executives. Be wary of PNB promises of blossoming careers. As exemplified by Razidan, it may be your last.
Because Zubir glibly deflected the blame of punishments to the board, I am antagonised to pose these queries to PNB’s nominees on the Sime Darby board:
1. Did they scrutinise the audit reports? Were both auditors called in? Because the 2 reports had different conclusions.
2. Did they ask for the 5 to appear before the Board to tell their side of the story?
3. Did Ahmad Sarji, who had a long, mentoring relationship with Sabri, question the shaky evidence or at least tried to deter the punishments?
4. Did Henry Barlow, an ex-planter and ex-Ghope director who knows deeply about the way futures trading go, explained lucidly that such losses are a routine inventory in the palm oil business?
5. Did Halim Ismail, an accountant and ex-Ghope director who sat in the Panel of Inquiry, put up a solid defence for the five?
6. Were the board members asked to each cast a vote to decide on the five’s Catch-22 punishment? If it did, how did it swing?
7. For now, could the PNB 5 forget about corporate governance because this is not about governance but conflicts of interest that brought down the Golden Hope 5, based on shaky evidence?
8. Could the PNB 5 discern the truth from Zubir’s spin? Have they asked, what is the truth? Despite knowing the Ghope 5 for a long time and despite no concealment, so why the hell were they punished?
Perhaps issues of confidentiality may stop the PNB 5, including Ahmad Sarji, from publicly defending their people or chastise the board’s collective decision, but certainly, on the basis of fair play and justice, they could come out with a dissenting murmur to at least put up a decent defence for the five. There may be company law provisions and the board’s code of conduct to halt Ahmad Sarji and Co from sounding off but there are subtle ways to make their views known. But based on media reports, I, for now, consider them just as culpable as how Zubir makes out the five GHopers, unless the PNB 5 can transmit a contrarian voice or message.
I have a sequence of complex things-to-do for Razidan. When the opportune moment arrives for you to regain your good name, you must come out swinging as if your life depends on it. You have nothing to lose because you have lost terribly. Be a man on fire. Hit Zubir where it hurts most – exposing Sime’s irregular deals. The company may have posted colossal profits but only you can save its soul. It is possible that you are the only person capable of shaking Zubir and his cohorts to the core. That’s how powerful you are and that is why they fear you most. By branding you the chief scapegoat in these vile dismissals, Zubir has made you a corporate martyr, with many of your concerned colleagues and ex-colleagues, and loyal subordinates already rallying to your worthy cause. The special solat hajat the other night was solid evidence of this valued backing.
One more thing: Zubir condescendingly views you as a patsy with no redeeming fighting qualities. He also took the calculated gamble that your IR complaint for unjust dismissal would take two years to mature while in that period, Zubir would have laundered Sime Darby’s questionable deals and legitimised them, but only if you don’t engage him. Be reminded that you are dealing with an unscrupulous bastard who didn’t think much of burying you and your colleagues alive. Don’t let down your people who will deploy themselves for your soon-to-be cause célèbre.

Anonymous said...

So what's the problem? You hv all your bosses there at the round table asking you to sack some arses - no matter what you say will change their decision - tak kan nak gantung diri kut? Tak kan nak resign kut? Dia pun cari makan.

Maybe he should not hv spoken to the media of his differing views...that makes the situation more tricky.

Why zoom on zubir? why not zoom to his bosses?

Aku pon ada boss gak, kalau depa suruh aku tak promote orang ni orang tu..cammana nak buat? Aku write report dlm file, ada gak black and white yang aku propose, tapi kalo tak lepas jugak, nak buat camana...? Takkan nak kondem aku kut seluruh dunia...tengok boss aku laa..

Duuhh..?

Whyohwhy

spy leman said...

Rocky,

Musa Hitam known for "high ethical corporate standards"?

It's true what. Can see him at Bukit Bintang high class karaoke with his corporate friends.

Anonymous said...

This Bandit fellow must be one of Sime's ex directors whos been sacked before.

So much anger there mate! Your posting is so colorful and full of superlative words - that I'm not buying 100% of it. The hatred towards zubir sounds too personal. But good read though.

MrCool

Michelle said...

hmmmmm who could that director be? I wonder....

Anonymous said...

Now that issue has been blown open, I also would like to raise a suspicious issue.
Why do Sime Darby Group, who is probably the biggest developer in Msia need to JV with Brunsfield on its lands? They even JV with Brunsfield for projects in Australia. Is Sime Darby really that bad in property development that it has to partner a contractor like Brunsfield ? It smelt of a stupid decision but then again stupidity also reflects greed......

UEP Home Buyer.

kelanasepi said...

apa apa pun berserah pada yang ESA....

Anonymous said...

i guess with Brunsfiels it will be a value added venture,whats your worry anyway?
The sale of houses are quite poor in the Klang Valley,perhaps UEP can reduce to cost price to boost the sale,those house are good but in this trying time,we have to makeup to so many things,but it should be given to employee of Sime Darby first.Agreed?

Admiring UEP