Saturday, December 31, 2011

Dear God/It's 2012!

Dear Readers and Commenters,

I know we are going to start 2012 with a bang or two, with one or two rogues in the bag for corruption, the Flee Anwar Campaign, etc. My court case against those guys will come up again at the KL High Court in the middle of January 2012 (it was filed against me in Jan 2007, so that also makes it the 5th anniversary of Bloggers United!). It should be General Election year, so so everybody says, and 110,000 Felda settlers have a chance to become glocals with 2012's most-anticipated IPO.

May all of you remain healthy of body and mind throughout the new year.

And may Dear God keep Malaysia and my loved ones safe.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Datuk ZZ

The Benchmark has a story that will concern the Istana as much as it should concern us the rakyat. No mention of which palace is involved but you read between the lines and you may get it. As I see it, the blogger is trying to send a warning to the palace. Of interest is the reference to a Datuk ZZ from a sleepy era "who claims to have the Sultan in his pocket".

Read Save the Sultan, Nab the Boys.

A Big Fish in the South: The-Friday-before Intermission

 Amok and the clean-up of Iskandar. While we wait for the fish to be marinated, let's rewind a little to around  the time just after Arlida Ariff was replaced as CEO of Iskandar Investment Berhad (IIB). (Note: her husband was charged court on Monday, the first in a list of people expected to be tried on the recommendation of the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commisison). In March, Earnst & Young had just completed the audit ordered by Khazanah, the major shareholder of IIB (it owns 60% of IIB, EPF and Johor state government's investment arm Kumpulan Prasarana Rakyat Johor (KPRK) each owns 20%). It was reported that E&Y found cases of mismanagement and criminal breach of trust, among other things. Khazanah chief Azman Mokhtar, or Amok to his friends and to bloggers, studied the E&Y report and discussed with stakeholders the next course of action. Aides said he was keen to invite the relevant authorities in and let them probe deeper the findings of E&Y. Nothing to hide and he wanted the rogues out. He was proposing that Khazanah/IIB lodge a police report and another to the MACC. Strangely, not everyone was in favour of his idea. A representative from Kumpulan Prasarana (who was, in effect, the representative of Johor state government) who sat on the IIB board, in particular, was not too keen to go along with Amok's idea. But Amok was adamant and the IIB Board called in the cops in April this year to investigate tbe findings of E&Y. A certain Board member was adamant that a report to the MACC was unnecessary but the MACC eventually came into the picture, nevertheless.

A short story, but it should put some things in proper perspective and accord credit where it's deserved. Of particular interest to corruption-watchers should be the value of potential collaborations between the MACC and forensic auditors such as Earnst & Young.  

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Next change: A big fish in the South

Latest: MACC probes Iskandar kickbacks. NST's playing the story big, so I reckon something's brewing ...

Updated: Big Cat says Big Fish are found not only in the South but also in high places in KL. Read her latest posting h e r e. One of them very big fish is Azman Mokhtar, the Khazanah boss, Big Cat says. Is he, really? Let's see ...

Original posting:-

Johor assemblymen to be charged for corruption. The Malaysian Anti Corruption Commision is getting very busy in Johore. On Monday, the husband of ex-CEO of Iskandar Investment Berhad was charged in court with corruption. Today, a former Senior Vice President pleaded guilty to charges brought against him by the MACC.

After this, I hear, an ADUN or Assemblyman in Johor will be brought to court to face corruption charges related to the IIB.

Of course, some jokers will say this is a sign that the general election is nigh, especially after the conviction of Khir Toyo. They are not wrong, I tell you. But the dudes at MACC, they tell me GE or no GE, they will still go out fishing for more big fish. In the case of the IIB, the Commission had great help from Earnst & Young. And, of course, some bloggers, notably the now-defunct Irdawatch.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

From Kelantan, an open letter to YB Liow

One can never be 100 per cent happy with our hospitals, be it private or government. Earlier this year, I published an open letter to our Health Minister from a fellow blogger in Johor. YB Liow responded swiftly and effectively to that letter. A blogger in Kelantan, who lost his mom on Dec 20, complained to the papers about the hospital's shoddy treatment. What the hospital should have done was to contact the blogger and his grieving family personally, not to engage in a media exchange. Hence, the open letter to the Minister.

My takziah to blogger Jalan Sehala for his loss. I hope - am sure - YB Liow will attend to the matters he has raised in the letter a s a p.

Monday, December 26, 2011

The Vatican's chief exorcist and Yoga the devil's work

Anak si-Hamid, who still spends some of her precious time in England, draws our attention to this Daily Mail's story quoting the Vatican's Chief Exorcist as saying that "yoga is the devil's work .. it leads you to Hinduism". Read here.

Remember, our blogger didn't say that; Father Gabriel, 85, a priest since 1954, did. But AsH does wonder, as we must all do: Why are our liberals so quiet about Father Gabriel's statement? Where is the outrage?

When they banned yoga for Muslims in Malaysia about a year ago, everybody used it as a stick to beat us with.
Read AsH's The Pot and the Kettle.

Looks to me we Muslims and the Christians may have found a new common ground in yoga .. 

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas in Malaysia

A young Muslim girl under a Xmas tree in Bangsar

Updated: I suppose we need to brace for another "anxious" phase as Rev Eu, at a Christmas tea yesterday, described the Malaysian Constitution as a "bully". Clearly, some religious leaders are more interested in politics than godly matters. And we wonder why religions in Malaysis are so screwed today?
See Let's Talk About "Rights" Rev Eu for context. 

Original article

Malaysians celebrate so many festivals each year but none as elaborate, merry and joyous as Christmas. The Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists in this country know that as well as the Christians. There's no white Xmas and the Santas here are too tanned and sometimes "metallic black", to quote a racist politician, but we celebrate Xmas as we celebrate all other festivals - in togetherness and regardless of race or religion.

So I can't understand how some Malaysians could feel otherwise, as in this article For Malaysian Christians, an Anxious Holiday Season. I believe these people are in the minority.

To everyone else, Merry Christmas! 

Friday, December 23, 2011

Malaysian Courts and Double Standards

Will the judges be cowed? Pic from MOLE
 The High Court found the ex-Selangor Menteri Besar guilty as charged yesterday (One year jail for Khir Toyo - NST). Someone asked me, wasn't he your friend? Ca't you help him? And Shahrizat is in a lot of trouble over the NFC issue, isn't she? Are you helping her?

There is no stopping the system when all the engines are fired up. Shahrizat's predicament was triggered by the Auditor-General's report, which was tabled in Parliament and made public. Yes, it was the AG that exposed NFC, not some anonymous whistleblower or the some wannabes from Pakatan Rakyat, and not the Alhabshees of Umno who reportedly gave out packets of Menglembu ground nuts to the Wanita reps during the recent Umno general assembly. Again, Najib Razak, he did not stop the report from being made nor did he try to sweep anything under the carpet. As PM, he ensured that the system is not tampered with. He allowed his AG to do his job. 

Khir Toyo was tried by the same court of law that has been accused countless of times, mainly by the people who make use of the system most, of having been cowed and compromised [by Mahathir] and subservient to the Executive. But the same system and the same courts have tried and banished several big politicians from the government before. My friend Khir Toyo is not the first one. And he will certainly not be the last one. Former Transport Minister Ling Liong Sik is being tried by the same Malaysian judiciary. So is Anwar Ibrahim.

Lim Guan Eng, the DAP Penang Chief Minister, won his defamation suit against Utusan Malaysia middle this month, and he is now RM200k richer. He is now suing the New Straits Times for defamation after NST snookered itself by agreeing to apologize to Kalimullah Hassan. The article NST was sorry about involved Kali and Guan Eng, but no apology was offered to the Opposition leader! 

In October, a judge hugged Karpal Singh on --- after ordering a businessman to pay the DAP strongman RM2 million in damages.It was a spontaneous act of compassion, Karpal defended the hugging judge later on. [And there I thought that if the judge really needed to show compassion, she should have hugged the dude who would have to fork out the RM2 million].

Earlier this week, ex-Selangor exco member Mohd Sharif Jajang was found not guilty by the courts that convicted Khir Toyo [before that he had won a RM400,000 suit against The Malay Mail for articles published when I was the Editor]. I think Guan Eng is going to win his suit against the Umno-owned NST, no thanks to the apology to Kali, who was the paper's own ex-supremo from a failed era. 

And you know what, I think many expect Anwar Ibrahim to walk on 9 January 2012. 

But so what? He may be your friend or your master, if he's done something wrong he should not get away with it, right? Same with Khir Toyo, Ling Liong Sik, Shahrizat Jalil, Lim Guan Eng, Kalimullah Hassan and everybody else.

But Yang Arifs, whatever you decide, no hugging afterwards, please! Takkan tu be tak reti, ye tak? 

And be prepared for Malaysia's great double standards when you rule against them. I quote fellow scribe Desiderata:
"IF there is one case of double standards from Malaysia, esp wrt to lawyers who are also politicians, it is always OKAY if the judge found in favour of their client. But when the decision is against them, hey, cry "FOUL" or the other "F" word."
updated: Anwar's supporters are piling up the pressure on the judges to rule in favour of the Opposition de facto leader. Not all varsity students want to be associated with him, though, h e r e.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

MoF raps Ministry, orders open tender for multi-million RM projects

A tender issue for Shafie Afdal
 Tendergate. Sabahkini, leading news portal in Sabah, calls it Tender-gate and has promised a series of newsbreaks on the issue, which involves the MoF (Najib Razak, the PM, is Minister of Finance) and the Ministry of Rural and Regional Development (Shafie Afdal is Minister). The article attaches a copy of a memo from MoF rapping Shafie Afdal's sec-gen for approving an RM11 million rural roads project in Sabah and Sarawak without calling for a tender. The MoF, in the memo, orders a probe into this (and, I've learned, several more similar projects) and wants Shafie's ministry to take action against the ministry officers involved.

Good for the MoF, transparency and openness. We await Shafie ministry's explanation on this matter. Hopefully, it can come before Part Two of Sabahkini's Tendergate series.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Now Rozali v Felda [then, Rozali vs Selangor govt]

ONE of the factors Pakatan Rakyat hopes will help it in trying to retain Selangor at the next general election is the water issue in the state. In fact, it was one of the reasons why it won in Selangor in the last general election of March 2008. That's why one of the first things that Khalid Ibrahim did as Menteri Besar after PRU12 was to adjust the water rates, which was an election promise and go after Syabas, the company that has been making tons from the privatization of water. 

The dude who owns Syabas is Puncak Niaga boss Rozali Ismail and you should know him as he has a high-rise building in Shah Alam named after himself.

Now, after years of benefitting from the state's biggest privatization program, the Tan Sri is throwing his support behind the faction in Felda that is going against the proposed listing aimed at elevating the status of settlers and their families.

Whatever Rozali wants out of this, I doubt it's good. 

Updates soon on the 10.45am press conference at Grand Cyrstal Hotel, KL

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

PRU13: The Statesman and his two states

One of the reasons for BN's poor performance during the 12th General Election was Dr Mahathir. He was fighting with Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who had aides who thought they were big enough to take the statesman down. The Opposition only had to ride on Dr Mahathir's wrath into March 2008. The rest is history.

Come PRU13, Dr Mahathir won't be out to take down a Prime Minister. In fact, I hear he's agreed to help Najib to campaign in two states, states that fell to Pakatan Rakyat partly because of the BN infighting, sleepwalking and arrogance back then.

So, it's going to be a little different this time around.

Proton-DRB and of Syed Mokhtar having to flee Johor

Updates by The Mole: Khazanah to make necessary discloure on any Proton sale courtesty of Bernama

I met a seasoned investment banker who, I found out later, used to work for KJ when KJ was an ECM director not too long ago and the first thing he asked was, "What do you think of the general elections?". Luckily for me, I was with a "bebas" politician who answered that question and more. It turned out that seasoned I-banker & Co had been talking about the latest deal in town - DRB eats Proton, that story you first read on this blog before The Edge unabashedly frontpaged it as their "breaking story" - before fate and sambuca brought us together.

Mr SIB who used to work with the SIL said it was his professional opinion that DRB got Proton because it also has gotten VW. If you remember, VW had been in talks with the national car since when Dr Mahathir was still PM and they almost clinched a deal. Under Mahathir's successor, however, things went differently as almost everything else went awry, and Proton lost MV Agusta instead for one euro. VW struck a deal with DRB, owned by Syed Mokhtar, the tycoon who turned pariah under Pak Lah and who is now a darling again and seems to be making up for lost time and opportunities.

Of course, like everyone else, our seasoned IB thought Khazanah or Proton should have announced the Proton-DRB deal instead of Dr M, who is just the Adviser to Proton. But that shows that the advisor post can be a very powerful one, as long as one is on the ball. Take note, all advisers.

Now, I was told there is another, more compelling, reason for Syed Mokhtar getting Proton (especially in view that both Naza and Sime Darby, the other two, contenders for Proton are capable of taking the national car to great heights: SD has BMW to beemerize Proton and Naza has Peugeot and Kia, if you want to talk about symbiotic and strategic relationships).

And the reason is not because VW is with him but because Syed Mokhtar is moving north, and not just figuratively. He who built Port Tanjung Pelepas into a Keppel threat and took away Senai from Malaysia Airports is said to be exiting Johore. Yes, some said his rapport with The Sultan of Johor has become untenable (there is no rapport in the first place). To facilitate the exit (or compensate him for his impending losses) Syed Mokhtar gets Penang Port and Proton, and maybe one or two other deals. After all that area called Iskandar is booming big time soon [see Big Cat's latest report on Irda, here] and Syed Mokhtar, most probably Malaysia's richest Malay as nobody seems to know what Daim Zainuddin is really worth, stands to lose big in terms of lost or missed opportunities.

In any case, that is the story I heard.

Understandably, my new seasoned investment banker friend took a while to respond as he contemplated whether to humor me or be frank.

"That is the first time I am hearing this, that he got Proton because of that reason.

"If it is all true, who gets PTP and Senai?"

Sunday, December 11, 2011

13th GE: Making way for new faces


Nah, this posting isn't about Khairy Jamaluddin. Some people tell me he wants to become the Menteri Besar of Negri Sembilan, that the incumbent, Mat Hassan, has served his last term, for sure, but I tell them this is no longer what-Khairy-wants, Khairy-gets era. If Najib Razak wants to offer KJ as Negri MB that's his prerogative.

After all, it's true that nearly all, if not all, of the MBs and CMs in the states under BN have served their last terms. These YABs are likely to retire after the 13th General Election or go back to Federal. Najib Razak is also looking at potential MB candidates for Kedah and Selangor, just in case the Pakatan Rakyat loses these states in PRU13. Not sure if Mukhriz Maahthir fancies himself as MB material, but Umno stalwarts say the boss is considering the guy. [Read Umno to take over Kedah?]

It is also true, according to the stalwarts, that Najib is hoping that ALL former Cabinet ministers from BN will offer NOT to seek re-election so as to give him a chance to introduce younger, fresher candidates. So far only Idris Jusoh, the ex Terengganu MB, has said he will not see re-election. 

In his latest posting Semua Parti akan janjikan calon "Winnable" [interpretation by The Mole, here], Kadir Jasin says Najib will have his list of "winable" candidates ready in a month or two. Within two months is what KJ says in the Bernama article above, too. Interestingly, 

KJ also said he won't camp outside Seri Perdana if he's not picked and has asked Umno Youth members not to sabotage the party if their candidates are not chosen by the PM, which was what happened in PRU12. I hope they remember that, when the time comes.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

La, they lodged a police report against a blogger

Big Cat's posting dated Nov 14 A Little Warning to IRDA has driven the Iskandar  Regional Development Authority silly, silly enough to lodge a police report. 

I say it's silly because, firstly, the blogger made it quite clear that he meant well. So the comments (125 as the time I write this, 102 when the Federal Commissioner with IRDA lodged that report on Nov 26) touched some raw nerves but so what? If they had badmouthed the Sultan of Johor, by all means lodge as many reports as you like; otherwise, best to regard them comments as poison pen letters.

And, secondly, when you decide to do a Rais Yatim on bloggers, you end up getting a lot more people reading the article and wondering why you are so afraid of shadows. In the end, you make things worse for yourself and your organisation.

Them PR people should have told you: There are many ways to skin a cat, pardon the pun.

Wasting the cops' time: The report lodged with the Danga Bay police, JB

Monday, December 05, 2011

Air Asia X CEO and the "tin kosongs"

Kucing kurap and Tin kosongs. I can understand Azran Osman Rani is not amused by the way some people have been criticizing Air Asia or Air Asia X but calling those who criticize AA names is not on, I did tell him in response to his tweet this morning. A lot of us rooted for Air Asia when it was a victim of the industry bullies; today, some of us still are, even though AA and Osman's boss Tony Fernandes are perceived as the big bully. Many of us mean(t) well and "tin kosong" is an unkind thing to call us. Maybe the noise soounds to Azran like the noice empty cans make but some of us just want to see all the players - Air Asia, MAS and Malaysia Airports - work together in the nation's interest. Some of us don't give two hoots about your brashness or how big your ego is.

Sure, a lot of people have called Tony Fernandes names and recentlyeven the YBs, from Wee Choo Keong to Anwar Ibrahim and Bung Mokhtar to Tan Seng Ghiaw, have been talking, sometimes bitching, about the man and his airline in Parliament. Like Tony said in an interview with the Borneo Post recently, he has even been called "kucing kurap"  (actually, a YB used that on Air Asia, NOT Tony Fernades, see screenshot below).

But how many of his critics called him that? And if Azran thinks the whole world is against Tony and Air Asia (and Azran himself, of course), dig up the good things people have said about Tony and the praises they have heaped on Air Asia. Dr Mahathir said some flattering stuff about Air Asia recently. Even the King has conferred Tony a Tan Sri-ship at such a young age.

I am sure that without the critics, Tony would not be quite where he is today.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

When a government-linked paper campaigns against a government-linked co

Why the Star should have said NO. The non-editorial people at The Star may be guffawing all the way to the bank with this bonus Air Asia ad.

I won't be too quickly too happy if I were them.


1. Because airport tax is a source of government revenues. Not everyone has to pay. An airport tax is charged only to the consumer (Air Asia uses "guests"). In other words: You don't fly, you don't pay; You fly, you pay. Same in other countries; the only difference is you pay through your noses if you fly to Heathrow, Changi and elsewhere. Our airport tax is second cheapest in the region after Indonesia, and still one of the cheapest in the world. And we know that we have one of the most stunning airports on Earth.

2. Air Asia's ad/campaign is misleading.

"Air Asia does not derive any profit from the airport tax collected from guests as the entire amount goes to MAHB"
Look, NO AIRLINE IN THE WORLD derives any profit from airport taxes. That's why it's called airport tax and not airline tax. Airport tax is for government (or the party appointed by the government) to maintain an airport, improve it, and build new airports, etc. In our county, MAHB is the government-linked company tasked to do all these and more. Airport is the main door to every nation so there's the issue of security, having to make sure Air Asia planes land on time and not hurtle to the ground, etc. So, other than the government, the biggest beneficiary of airport tax is the airline company.  [In Air Asia's case, there is that other story about it collecting our money we paid to the government/MAHB, to the tune of over RM100 million, and not passing it on to the government/MAHB. Ultimately, the airline paid the money to MAHB but not fully. But that's another story.]

3.Now that the Star has accepted ads to deny the government (or GLC) of their source of income, I am sure YB Tien Chua will be inspired to take the same path. Can it say NO? Of course the Star won't accept ads from PKR or DAP but what would stop those ad people in the Star from accepting ad campaigns from some affected, victimized or concerned parties.

Other thant SAY NO TO AIRPORT TAX INCREASE, possible campaigns in the run up to PRU13 period, which will affect government coffers and tarnish its image:
(Tien Chua Sdn Bhd does not benefit directly from toll charges)

(Tien Chua Sdn Bhd does not profit at all from GST)

(Tien Chua Sdn Bhd won't go bust if petrol is free!)

p.s If you have other campaign ideas against the government or its GLCs, please pass them on through my comment box. I will personally despatch them to YB Tien Chua and cc it to The Star.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Where's the song for Sungai Besi, Tony?

Explaining Tony's 3 misconceptions. I won't blame you if you thought I was going to blog about Tony Fernandes. Both YB Tony Pua, the DAP MP, and Tony Fernandes, the new Tan Sri who's gone from underdog to misunderstood, are on rottweiler-attack mode. Funny thing their targets are airports: Tony F obviously wants to run an airport, and I don't think he'd mind if the Government hands him KLIA2 on a platter. Tony P's target is the development of the Sungai Besi airport, a project crucial to Najib Razak's "Greater KL" plan. Both have misled the general population somewhat, perhaps without realizing it.
In Tony Pua's case, he has created 3 big misconceptions in his attacks against the Sungai Besi project:
Misconception #1. That the 1MDB had gotten the Sungai Besi land from the Government for a song.
The fact is, the air base land in Sungai Besi is still Government land because 1MDB is wholly-owned by the Government as its sole shareholder. Federal Government lands are held under the name of the Federal Lands Commissioner. The beneficiary is the Government. When ownership of the Sungai Besi land went to 1MDB, the beneficiary is still the Government. 
When the ultimate owner is the same, ie the Government, there can be no sale. Tony Pua can't accuse the Government of selling land to iself or, for that matter, buying land from itself. 
Sg Besi airbase land still belongs to the Government of Malaysia
Sometime last year, the PM in his blog introduced the concept of strategic development. It is development that goes beyond building and selling properties. It is about unleashing the full potential of government land as game changers for long-term economic growth.
It is an easy-to-understand concept. And there is nothing secretive about 1MDB's sole shareholder – the Government of Malaysia – intending for such development to be undertaken by a Master Developer with the dynamism of the private sector and yet owned and controlled by the Government.

Misconception #2: That RM1.6 billion was the meagre sum 1MDB paid the Government.

Where did he pluck this figure from? If the MP cares to check the Hansard, the RM1.6 billion is what 1MDB will pay to relocate and develop nine new relocation sites for RMAF, Police Air Wing and the 31st Artillery currently in the Sungai Besi air base. Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Dr Awang Adek stated this when replying to points raised in the Budget winding up at committee stage in Dewan Rakyat on 3 Nov 2011.
 “ ... ini merupakan perkongsian kos yang akan ditanggung oleh 1MDB dan juga Kerajaan Malaysia untuk membangunkan kawasan Sungai Besi. Kos awalnya ialah dari segi memindahkan operasi TUDM dan juga Polis Udara daripada kawasan tersebut kepada kawasan-kawasan lain.

"Perkongsian kos adalah sebanyak RM1.1 bilion yang akan ditanggung oleh kerajaan dan RM1.6 bilion ditanggung 1MDB dan RM1.1 bilion inilah merupakan pecahan untuk beberapa tahun, RM400 (juta) untuk tahun 2012 dan 400 lagi – jadi tidak harus dilihat sebagai suntikan kepada modal."
Misconception #3: No open tender for the Sungai Besi land.

As I've explained, the land was an outright transfer within the Government. From then on, as blogged by the PM, there will be an open process. 

Did Tony Pua miss the blog? Did he also miss the announcement by the Malaysian Institute of Planners? MIP is organising an independent international competition to design a Bandar Malaysia that can be the future model for sustainability and liveability. The competition is governed by the best global practice in every aspect including transparency and key criteria will include value creation for a better living environment and sustainability.

The Sungai Besi served the country well. It was our first international airport that led to the growth of several industries, aviation, travel, tourism and hospitality.  It later became the birthplace of the Royal Malaysian Air Force when Malaysians protected the country’s airspace.

For a national project as game changing as Bandar Malaysia, it is only logical for the Government maintains ownership and control through its fully owned 1MDB.

Coming soon: Tony's airport dream