Thursday, August 13, 2015

Arul Kanda, up close and personal

updated with full video of the "live" interview
No problem wooing investors. In his very first "live" tv3 interview, Arul Kanda is frank, honest and all smiles. The president and group executive director of 1MDB comes across as confident and not arrogant, a good listener, very articulate in his analyses, totally engaging. And, yes, that smile. How some people would love to wipe that smile from his face. Call it the RM42billion-that-never-vanished smile!

There will always be cynics, but one viewer, cynical before watching the question-and-answer on 1MDB, was moved to write in and admit:

Apabila mendengar penerangan Arul Kanda dan mengikuti penjelasannya dengan riak muka yang yakin dan tenang, ini rumusannya:

1. Cara dia (Arul) memandang dua wartawan tv3 itu nampak dia tidak bimbang atau nampak menyanggah, tetapi telah menerangkan dengan baik.
2. Ketika rata-rata melihat 1MDB seakan sudah 'kalah' , Arul dengan penjelasannya yang tenang, meyakinkan dengan sesekali diselangi dengan ungkapan Alhamdulillah dan  InsyaAllah, telah mengubah persepsi negatif tentang 1MDB (sekurang kurangnya waktu terdekat ini).
3. Arul menerusi penjelasannya agak berjaya mewujudkan empati kepada sesiapa yang menonton tv3 malam ini.

1MDB has been the subject of incessant and sometimes insane attacks in the last 8-9 months by interested parties (who basically want PM Najib Razak to step down). But after the RM42 billion claim turned out to be not true (accusers later adjusted the figure to RM26 billion before revising it further to just over RM2 billion) and Swiss national Andre Justo was arrested (the former PetroSaudi employee will be facing blackmailing charges in Thailand very soon), much of the political ploy against Najib has shifted away from 1MDB and landed on the US$700 million "political donation" that found its way to the PM's accounts. There was a brief attempt to link even that money indirectly to 1MDB but that, too, gained no traction because it was a lie.

Arul Kanda said that "we are the most investigated company in Malaysia". Understatement. As I see it, 1MDB is also the most maligned Malaysian company ever. And none of the earth-shattering allegations and claims made against it has ever been substantiated or proven. So far nobody has apologised for the maligning but I doubt Arul's interested in getting one, either. He's always maintained that without the politics, the 1MDB would have been there already. With the politics, it's just going to take a little bit more time to get there.

 I hope to upload the interview's video for you when it's available on YouTube, Inshallah. In the meantime, I will let Arul Kanda speak for himself and the future of 1MDB through this morning's headlines:

"In 1MBD, every major decision whether strategic assessment or rationalization plan, will go through our board of directors, shareholders and the Ministry of Finance.
"We have debates and discussions, and that is not an intervention... it is how we implement governance within the company through its three stages."
“The PAC is very professional ... is the best among the investigators because it is made up of members of parliament from both the government and the opposition. 
“(The suspension) made it hard for us as we want to explain ourselves and counter all these allegations.”
“We have acquired Edra Global Energy Berhad which we can raise RM16 billion.
“In June, we signed a deal with  Abu Dhabi’s International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC) that can raise another RM16 billion. 
“We are trying to bring development partners into Bandar Malaysia in which the project will be valued at RM11-12 billion.” 
“When we see the challenges, we have to take action. That is important. When things do not go according to plan, we have to make corrections and that is what the rationalisation plan is for,” he said. 
“When you look back in hindsight it is easy to point out what should have been done. Hindsight is 20-20."

The 1MDB debt rationalisation plan would not be affected by the depreciation of the ringgit as it owns US dollar assets, said Arul Kanda.
He said this would enable the company to pay its external debts denominated in the US dollar.
“We have power companies in foreign countries such as Bangladesh and Egypt.
“1MDB is the largest independent power producer in both countries.
“We also have assets in Abu Dhabi and Pakistan. All these assets are funds in the form of US dollars,” he said.
This means 1MDB has a natural hedge for which cash flow is accepted in US dollars to pay off debts, he said, adding 1MDB also has many other assets that could be pledged against the US dollar.
A calm and eloquent Arul Kanda also said 1MDB was on the right track to meet its strategic development objectives.
“Alhamdulillah (thank God), for 1MDB, there is no problem in wooing investors, the problems are (dealing with) political accusations and allegations,” he said.


  1. Knp ghani patail di pecat??? Nk sembunyi ap??? Jwp soalan nie dulu br blh ckp 1imdb bebas di siasat. Sila3.

  2. Anonymous9:26 am

    then how about we go with nothing to hide 2, bring in najib bring in arul kanda. tht is, if they have nothing to hide.

    such cosmetic talk with astro awani, one would argue prepared question, prepared answer. after who can verify that this is not the case?

    are we gonna be force again with words that have no backings such as " kami tidak menyediakan soalan terlebih dahulu"

    should we take it at face value just like all the so called explanations regarding 1mbd and najib's account.

    i look forward to hear answers that are not answering the questions again.

  3. Anonymous10:03 am

    Ha, ha , ha , a born spinner praising a compulsive liar.......when you get to meet the liar face to face, ask him about how the cash which he claimed he saw with his own eyes could turn out to be units......TDM too wants to know about "this cash transformed into units" thingy.

    Nasi Kanda can never ever stand out as a honest bloke.Period.

  4. If that's the case why is Najib still clinging to the Finance Ministerial post?

  5. Anonymous11:53 am

    Where was this guy all along? If he would have put things into perspective earlier, takdela Orang tua gila tu ada modal sangat nak jatuhkan Najib sebab tak buat jambatan bengkok ala kote Anwar tu... Adoihh.

  6. Anonymous12:23 pm

    Mr Arul - you mentioned in the interview session that the total loan undertaken by 1MDB is rm47billion. You also mentioned that IMDB has acquire close to RM20billion worth in assett. What happen to the remaining RM27billion????? wondering why the two TV3 guy don't ask Arul this questions.....or are theu under instruction not to ask????

  7. Anonymous1:20 pm

    ek elleeeh, takat jual "insyaAllah", "alhamdulillah" and things will be hunky dory ??

    Is this the best u can do Rocky ???

    ni RM950juta public fund 1mdb sedut awal 2015, bila nak bayar balik ? sampai healthcare bajet pun kena potong !!! Bab!

  8. Trivikram Jenze2:08 pm

    Mr Arul Kanda is a good guy. I know him personally and can vouch for him

    My name is Trivikram Jenze. I like in Kuala Lumpur.

  9. Anonymous2:24 pm

    Monolog buat apa. Dialog baru terkedu 1mdb.

  10. Anonymous4:56 pm

    funny thing bro. i used to look out for your postings for credibile evaluations

  11. Anonymous8:31 pm

    Penjelasan Arul Kanda mengenai 1MDB menunjukkan beliau memiliki kebolehan dalam menerajui syarikat bermasalah tersebut dan bersungguh untuk membantu menyelamatkannya namun ahli lembaga pengarah pembawa masalah tersebut patut dihalau keluar. Kenapa mereka masih kekal di situ?

  12. Anonymous11:02 pm

    great show arul.

    congrats to your coach - it has to be paul stadlen. just wild guess

  13. Anonymous8:18 am

    This is how you lie with eyes wide open and with a smile. Arul Kanda is good....real good.

  14. charleskiwi4:17 pm

    Assuming the US$700- million is, I say if, they were political donations will Najib be able to show how the where the money has gone to ? This explanation, if ever provided, I would again bet Najib will never be able to, will stop all the accusations are political.

  15. Anonymous5:59 pm

    He's smiling like a FOX

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    url adalah

  17. robin hood8:15 am

    PM is doing what he and his mentor, the repugnant, avaricious and crafty halfbreed Mahathir should have done years ago. Now that this Najib is caught with his pants down, he is just trying to do what his mentor did but he just not as meticulous as the shenanigan. Or shall I, for two reasons one for being too confident and also being too avaricious. As a result what he is suggesting is just trying to prove to all the voters what actually went wrong for him to be caught.
    I am ashamed to have been his class mate and also that he is doing the opposite what he was taught not to do. Just like everything in life there are always some losers and black sheep in the flock and he is a good example of one of these. Shutting the gates after the thief has gone is only reflecting that he is mot only very very careless and arrogant. Sad to say these are things his crafty mentor half breed did not teach him or better to say some teachers will always keep a few tricks to themselves. So sad and so bad just remember nothing now you are trying to do is not going to help you out of this grave you dug for yourself. Please don't forget to take along with you all your ass licking cronies with you and most of all the crafty half breed too. The world would be a better place for all the Malaysians to live !

  18. Anonymous1:09 pm

    “The PAC is very professional ... is the best among the investigators because it is made up of members of parliament from both the government and the opposition.
    “(The suspension) made it hard for us as we want to explain ourselves and counter all these allegations.”

    - PAC ditangguh, baru nak tunjuk muka...macam2 keluar..
    - Bila PAC panggil dulu, minta tangguh 1 BULAN (lebih sebulan)
    - Is it really necessary to wait/postpone for 1 month (more?)...all answers are/ should be in your head..why need time to prepare?! And, prepare for what..??!

  19. Anonymous3:08 pm

    So, where is the money?

  20. Dill Pickles4:49 pm

    So why doesn't 1MDB sue Tony Pua?

    It's not as if Pua is claiming parliamentary immunity.

    So, put your money where your mouth is and go sue Tony Pua!

    That also cannot, ah?

  21. Anon 120pm,

    Inshallah. :-)

    Anon 1153 am,

    You are right. Previously, the 1MDB's comms was not very forthcoming. One of the first things Arul Kanda set out to do (after resolving the Caymans issue and the USD2 bil debt) was to engage more actively to inform the public and also to dispel the half-truths thrown at 1MDB by some politicians and their machais. That's why we see 1MDB in verbal exchanges with YB Tony Pua, for instance, when previously Pua had a field day attacking the fund as he liked.
    It's a great case study for students of PR and mass communications, for sure.

  22. ANon 1003am [and the like],

    Calling Arul Kanda names is allowed here. It just given "Anon" more of the bad name it already has. :-) However, I'm sorry to those who left scores of comments that I decided not to publish for calling me names. Add a line of your half-clever comments aftert the name-calling, and I might publish them ... Good luck!