Sunday, January 31, 2016

Who else's getting Saudi money and why the MACC might have been ill-advised

KL, last day of January 2016:
If you're tired of tired of the anti-Najib bullshit that Jebat Must Die, Clare Rowcastle Brown and the blocked-for-a-day OutSyed The Box and Din Turtle and the rest of the Geng Loceng have been dishing out, and you ain't swallowing the crap you think the not anti-Najib bloggers like Lim Sian See, Big Dog, A Voice and RPK (and Rocky's Bru, of course) are shoving down your throat, there are always those in between:

Najib Razak in the clear - Where did it all begin?
By Gopal Raj Kumar

"...  Bersih, Sisters in Islam, the PKR, PAS, the Christian evangelical churches and yes the Vatican’s representatives in Malaysia through various organizations, donations and alliances are recipients of Saudi money in one form or the other. Several Sultans of Malaysia have also been recipients of the largess of the Saudi royal family over the years which they have not disclosed ..." 

[Read on and, if any, please leave comments h e r e]

Thursday, January 28, 2016

MACC Boss speaks out

Updated 29 Jan:

Still the Boss

Original Article
Kuala Lumpur, 28 Jan:
Looks like Abu Kassim has had enough with overzealous officers and even panel members giving press statements as if they were sole and authorized spokesmen of the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC). Or, worse, as if the MACC is a platform for them to state their political aspirations. 

Good move, Tan Sri. Don't let them get carried away. 

p.s. I was not the only one who noticed the excessive "freedom" of giving statements from within the MACC of late. 
Some tweets from yesterday:

OutSyed The Box, Outboxed

Syed's last posting, from my blogroll

KL, Jan 28
I'm not in tandem with a lot of things my old friend Syed Akbar Ali writes on his popular blog these days, especially his provocative postings on Islam, but if blocking his blog is the work of our authorities, ie Salleh Said Keruak's ministry or its subsidiary MCMC*, in the name of protecting the public at large or for whatever reasons, I have to strongly disagree. 

Blocking the blog after it has notched nearly 30 million page views does not only seem like an afterthought, it smells like a cheap aftershave too. 

If the blogger has indeed violated the laws of this land, have the cojones to go charge him in court and face the wrath of the Rakyat :-! Former Attorney-General Gani Patail did (and look how popular he is today with the anti-Najib crowd). 

Gani didn't just charge Syed Akbar, he also took RPK to court (and perhaps a few other bloggers I don't remember or know of in those heady Mahathir vs Abdullah days)!

p.s. I'm assuming that this is the evil work of our authorities. I stand corrected - there have been cases of perasan (full of oneself) bloggers who'd shout government clampdown when it was just a malware attack. 

* From MCMC's official site:

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

It wasn't bullshit. Najib has been telling us the truth all along

Updated 1pm 27/1:

The Mole has the story from the BBC, h e r e.
Remember it's the BBC, not Sarawak Report, Wall Street Journal, the Malaysian Chronicle or one of those so-called Geng Loceng blogs. Of course, WSJ has its own take and SR's Clare Brown is thoroughly scorned (by the Saudi Arabia royal family or by the Malaysia AG, I'm not sure) in her column in one of the British tabloids. Go ahead, google them if you haven't had enough of trash and half-truths. Malaysia is still a free country ...

Original article:
"The involvemet of the Saudi royal family is an unexpected twist ..."  - Reuters

KL, 27 Jan:
It was Dr Mahathir Mohamad, unfortunately, who said that no Arabs could have donated such a generous sum to Prime Minister Najib Razak [Najib's RM2.6 billion donation claim is bullshit, says Dr M - TMI Aug 10, 2015].  

I say unfortunate because the Attorney-General has now confirmed that the money was, in fact, a gift from the Royal family of Saudi Arabia. 

Apandi Ali didn't use general terms like "unidentified Middle-Eastern benefactor" or "Arab donors" which the media have been using the last many months, the AG spelled out "Royal family of Saudi Arabia".

Do you know what the Royal family of Saudi Arabia will do if it the AG's claim is not true? First, they will issue a statement to deny the claim and then they will sue Apandi's ass off! 

So far, they have not done either. I don't think they will. 

Whether the RM2.6 billion case is closed or not is now irrelevant, at least to me. I am just thankful to wake up on this day, as I am sure millions of people in this country are, to have been shown the truth in the scandal that has planted seeds of doubts ad distrust in us. 

That the man has been telling the truth about the donation all along. 

He didn't bullshit us.


Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Why we won't be a colony of the USA with the TPPA

D for ?: This anti-TPPA Dude is too lazy to even spell Malaysia out

Puchong, 26 Jan:
The other day, my daughter asked me to tell me what I understood about Asean. So I started from the beginning, how our forefathers founded the grouping with its neighhours, out of fear for the Communist invasion and the need for these newly-Independent nations to find strength in their diversity. They were many naysayers of the new grouping back then but today we are on the verge of an AEC that will provide Malaysian enterpreneurs a market of half a billion people. 

Precursor to ASEAN

Mind you, Malaysia was not a sleeping partner in Asean. We have never been that in any of the regional and international bodies, trade organisations, associations, trade agreements, etc that we are part of. 

In Asean, we pushed for Zopfan; in the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) we campaigned against Yugoslavia over the ethnic-cleansing in the Balkans; in the United Nations we pushed the war against Apartheid in South Africa and the unlawful and often violent Jewish occupation of Palestine, even when we were not part of the world body's Security Council; we sent our soldiers to take part in peace corps operations all over the world; we shouted at the top of our lungs for Rich countries to forgive the debts of the Poor at World Bank and IMF meetings; we stood our groud at APEC and demanded for "level playing field", much to the chagrin of the US and Australia; we threatened to pull out of the Commonwealth; we have had to shame our laidback OIC brothers into action countless times; and so on and so forth.

Malaysia a member of the World Bank, 1958

We have never allowed others to dictate the agenda to the point of compromising on our sovereignity. Never. Even when the Afta was formalised, we made a sure we bought some time (an additional five years, if I'm not mistaken) for our national car industry ie Proton to adapt. Myanmar would not have been accepted as an Asean member if not for Malaysia's insistence that we adopt constructive engagement with the nation at a time when the US wanted the world to boycott the Burmese.

Tun Razak climbs the Great Wall, 1974
Don't forget, tiny as we are, we even made major initiatives to gather other peoples and unite other nations. We took the lead in the South-South Cooperation and created the LID that, in turn, gave birth to SAID. We became known for a while as "Champions of the South". An expensive foray but worth it, many would insist.

Perhaps we deserved more success in our effort to create the EAEG (later East Asia Economic Caucus) but that was not to be. It was defeated not by the Americans, mind you, but by the lack of consensus among own neighbours, some of whom were not quite comfortable with our agenda of excluding the Americans in a grouping that would include China. 

APEC: There was no "selfie" back then
Today, we are close to the US while remaining closer to China (or the other way round). 

Malaysia-US ties wefie-d
In all these regional groupings and world bodies and federations and FTAs, Malaysia has  never ever been "colonized" by the US or Russia or China. We didn't kow-tow to the Serbs, De Klerk, Tel Aviv, Beijing, Canberra or even "big brother" Indonesia. We dictated the South agenda but we were never accused of trying to colonize the Africans or the Latin Americans.

I, therefore, find some Malaysians' objection towarsd the TPPA so amusing and their fear that this would lead to neo-colonisation, that we would be forced to kow-tow to the American capitalists , and lose our Independence somewhat childish. 

Judge ourselves by our own track record, stupid!

Pay attention to the last para. 

7. Berbanding dengan perjanjian perdagangan bebas yang sebelumnya, TPPA mengambil kira kepentingan isu-isu khusus kepada Malaysia dengan memberikan pengecualian di dalam hal-hal seperti hak Bumiputera, perolehan Kerajaan, syarikat milik Kerajaan dan sebagainya. Di samping itu, Malaysia mempunyai kebebasan untuk menarik diri daripada TPPA dengan memberi notis bertulis selama 6 bulan. Maka TPPA bukan kontrak yang mengikat Malaysia selama-lamanya. Sekiranya TPPA dilihat merugikan negara maka Malaysia sebagai sebuah negara berdaulat berhak untuk menarik diri daripada perjanjian tersebut.

We can check out anytime we want, but why would we ever want to leave?

Thursday, January 21, 2016

The sins of the father?

Updated 23 Jan:
And now, the end is near ...

It's Najib Razak who will be singing Dr Mahathir's signature number in the days to come. Such is politics. 
But if the PM decides that Mukhriz Mahathir's position is no longer tenable, given that it does look untenable, he will find the younger man a suitable role to assume on his team. It is hard to imagine Najib kicking out anyone for good. He brought in Saifuddin Abdullah despite an unacceptable defeat in the last GE, placed many ex-Umno people who had left Pakatan to serve him in many important posts, including Senatorships and as ambassadors, and retired several seemingly useless and meaningless ex-Cabinet Ministers in cushy corporate nests. 
Mukhriz oozes potential. With the right position and environment, he'd fulfil his promise.

Original posting 

A very nice man
KL, 21 Jan
I'm not going to beat around the bush: the so-called coup against Mukhriz Mahathir is the inevitale implication of the actions of his father, Tun Mahathir Mohamad. 
Not the only reason, for sure. The Menteri Besar has not performed and has failed to deliver, they said. He spent too much time in Kuala Lumpur, others complained. But those are by-the-way factors, if true. The main reason why the Umno leaders in the state want Mukhriz replaced is because Mahathir has decided to keep up attacks on Najib Razak, come what may.
You didn't expect all the President's men (and women) in Kedah to remain idle, did you? Sooner or later, something would give. Inevitable. 
I like Mukhriz. There's nothing not to like about the man. He's not just a nice man but a very nice man. But nice men, I am reminded often, don't win wars. That's why daddy has been winning all the battles he'd chosen to fight before this. That was why Pak Lah was doomed from the start (the people around him were nasty but Pak Lah was a nice man).  
And the reason why Najib is still standing long after they expected him to drop dead (politically) after Mahathir had launched his incessant attacks late 2014, abetted by the Opposition and other foes in general. 
Mukrhiz says he's a rakyat's MB by the Sultan's consent. But he was picked and put there by Najib Razak. The PM and Umno President is his Boss, whether he likes it or not. He won't be the first MB to be removed and he won't be the last for failing to show support for the Boss.
Only two men, together, can save Mukhriz now. Mahathir and Najib. 
Pic by FMT
What are the chances? Will Mahathir ease his attacks on Najib to ensure his son's political survival? I don't see Najib's ex-boss going on the defensive. On the contrary, I expect the attacks on Najib to intensify.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

The case of MACC's curious Para 3

Apandi Ali
KL 20 Jan
As expected, the Attorney-General Chamber has thrown back to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) its investigation papers on SRC International and the RM2.6 billion donation. The AG has asked for further clarifications and that the MACC resubmits the two papers ASAP. 

If you think AG Apandi Ali is trying to be difficult here, you are absolutely right. Gani Patail, when he was AG, sent back to the cops and anti-graft boys so many of their papers so regularly that even the top brass of the PDRM and MACC were known to have cursed him (behind his back, as far as I know) for being difficult. 

But did the AG do it on purpose? No. Gani often reminded me that his job was to make sure that the MACC and the PDRM would go to court with a very strong case. Despite all that, it didn't always end well for the prosecution. 

Abu Kassim, MACC boss

We must remember that Gani never had to deal with a case involving a sitting Prime Minister. He served three PMs in his day.

Apandi, on the other hand, is saddled with this responsibility from the the word go. We are talking about the country's numero uno here. Naturally, the AG would want the MACC to be meticulous. If he's being difficult with the MACC, it's because it is his job to to ensure that the MACC knows what it is doing. 

And do the people at the MACC know what they are doing? After reading the three-para statement which they sent out to the Press late Monday, I'm curious. For all good intents and purposes, it should have been a two-para statement. 

The third paragraph was rather odd.

Why make reference to a report by a news portal that most Malaysians can't access to? because it has been banned by the government?
Shukri Abdul, MACC deputy chief

Unless you wanted people to have access to that exact bit of information!

It's Comms 101, ladies and gentlemen. 

And true enough. The third para is the one that is forming yet another negative perception against the Prime Minister in the minds of some people. Read AG and MACC Chief are playing musical chairs, by Malaysiakini 20 Jan. 

p.s. I was told that some press statements issued by the MACC recently didn't go through the normal channel, ie the Corp Comms department. That's even more curious, if true.

Read also:
AG kicks probe back to MACC, Malay Mail Online 

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

1.2 million Cinas are not registered as voters, too!

Latest stats from the Election Commission (SPR), 5 Jan 2016 
  • Eligible to vote (21 and above) 17,658,700 Malaysians
  • Already registered as voters 13,468,946 
  • Yet to register 4,189,754
  • Malays 43 per cent (1,803,188) 
  • Chinese 29 per cent (1,222,134)
  • Indians 9 per cent (378,931) 
  • Sabah Bumiputeras 7 per cent (298,910)
  • Sarawak Bumiputeras 9 per cent (302,391)
  • Orang Asli 0.71 per cent (30,736) 
  • Others 3 per cent (153,564)

The Melayus may form the largest number of Malaysians who have not registered to vote, as lamented by my friend Zaini Hassan, the controversial Cuit Sikit author, and he's right: the Malays are hopeless when it comes to their right (and those entrusted to register the Malays as voters are hopeless, too). 

But the real bad news, ladies and gentlemen, is that the Chinese are just as bad as the Malays when it comes to this right/duty. And the Indians and the Orang Asli are just as hopeless as the Sabah/Sarawak Bumis when it comes to this duty as citizens. We, Malaysians, regardless of race or religion, are an irresponsible, disinterested lot when it comes to charting our own future. We let others do it for us and blame them when we feel that they have made a poor choice!

No that I think we've made a poor choice during the last elections!

Perhaps it's time we make voting compulsory for all Malaysian citizens above 21 years of age. 

Morons said some 40,000 Bangladeshi workers voted in our last GE!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

AWO on Moody's: Not a downgrade lah

Updated: 12 Jan 2pm
Lucky 13: Before I forgot, there's this piece about Bloomberg putting us in the 13th spot of a world ranking on GDP growth (projected) fro 2016: Bloomberg forecasts Malaysia to have among the highest GDP growth in 2016 
Scroll down for Table

Original article
“It’s not a downgrade. The rating remains at A3 ... it’s more of the revision in outlook from positive to stable and that’s to take into account the slowing growth in China and the continuate drop in the commodity prices and in particular, the oil prices.” - Abdul Wahid Omar

KL, 12 Jan:

Funny how some Malaysians rub their hands in glee over the slightest "negative" news they hear on their own country. 

Every crisis is an opporunity for this lot. It's a chance to heap blame on the Government of the day, to "prove" to their followers how incompetent the Prime Minister is, how corrupt everybody (else) is, how poor governance is, etc.

Fortunately, not that many Malaysians are idiots. And we have someone like Abdul Wahid Omar, the Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, who is clearly cleverer than the nay-sayers and hand-rubbers. 

Read Bujai's latest posting h e r e to learn why the latest Moody's ratings on Malaysia is NOT a downgrade. 

Rafizi prefers "downgrade"

Bloomberg's GDP in 2016

Monday, January 11, 2016

The Rehabilitation of The Edge

KL, 10 Jan 
I've never missed a single copy of The Edge since its owner Tong Kooi Ong confessed to having promised to pay US$2 million to Xavier Andre Justo for information on 1MDB that the French national had allegedly stolen from his former employer, PetroSaudi, and the subsequent 3-month ban imposed by the Home Ministry was reversed by the Court.
I guess I was curious to see how Tong and his editors would be treating stories related to 1MDB afterwards, after the bizarre US$2 million confession, especially. 
For months before the confession and the ban, The Edge, along with the rabidly anti-1MDB London-based portal Sarawak Report, had been pounding hard on the 1MDB and Arul Kanda like there was no tomorrow, so hard that it would be unfair to blame anyone for suspecting that Tong might have a vendetta against 1MDB, its chief Arul Kanda, its Advisor the PM, or all three! 
The weekly's latest edition is a treat for the curious like me: it features Arul Kanda and 1MDB on their cover* and 6 full pages of stories inside! 
Check out the cover. The Edge asks itself a question about 1MDB: Is it mission accomplished for Arul?

On page 52, the Edge answers its own question: It is mission accomplished at 1MDB for an old RMC old boy. 
That all-important question mark has been dropped!  

But does that mean Arul has won them over? It seems that way to me. The whole report on Arul and 1MDB was glowing, if you ask me. Others may not think so and accuse me of reading too much between the lines. I initiated a discussion on Twitter last night to gauge what others think of it. 

Rehabilitation of the Edge?
If this was the 20th century, I'd be inclined to believe it!

p.s. I've decided to include some excerpts of the interview with Arul Kana below but if you can, Dear Readers, beg. steal or borrow a copy of The Edge's latest and read all about it with an open mind. To be fair to the two writers, it is an excellent Q & A!

THE EDGE: Let's just go back, before we dwell on the restructuring. With 20/20 hindsight, would you say that 1MDB took on too much risk at an early stage? Was this the right business model? 

To me, the use of debt is not wrong. In your day­to-day life, when you buy a house, it is debt funded. When you buy a car, very similar. Debt creates a certain discipline that you have to repay the debt and, therefore, run your business in a particular way.
The use of debt in a government-owned company also frees up funds that would otherwise have to be injected as equity. It can be used for development projects and so on and so forth.
A lot of firms use debt. Banks are a good example,they are highly leveraged entities. Where
it becomes a concern is where the maturity of the debt and the cash flow of the company don't match.
Even in that scenario, many development companies will tend to refinance debt so you don't necessarily anticipate until the project is finished.
And if you look at 1MDB, that is what happened. If you look through the financial statements over time, debts were taken, they were repaid, new debts were taken on, as the company grew and the business profile increased.
But clearly you need confidence to do this.
And this confidence comes in many ways. For, example, you doing what you said you would do. Achieving a plan as envisaged. It has to do with market environments in general. It has got to do with achieving certain criteria and guidelines. When that doesn't happen, and you can debate the reasons for that, then you have these problems. I am not trying to simplify the issue.
Rather, what I am saying, the model to me is fine. What caused the cash flow mismatch was the inability to hit the target which was the IPO.        

THE EDGE: There is this perception that the only thing 1MDB has done is strip the assets and sell them to foreigners and we are left with nothing.

I think that is completely unfair. The asset acquisition went in tandem with the debt acquisition. For example, if you buy a house RM100,000 house with a RM90,000 loan. You then buy a second, third, fourth and fifth house. You now have RM5000,000 of houses and RM450,000 of debt.
Let's say you cannot rent out those houses, and you cannot pay the mortgage. You either get a new infusion of cash to pay the mortgage or reduce the loans or you have to sell the houses.
That is where 1MDB is today.
1MDB took on debts to buy assets. Now some of those debts have become due. And we are in a position where it is difficult for the shareholder to add additional equity. Therefore, the only option is to dispose of those assets in order to reduce debt.
You can't have your cake and eat it. You can't say, 'solve the 1MDB problem', and at the same time, 'you can't sell assets'.

THE EDGE: One point that people are not comfortable with – the asset sales may have helped bring down the debt but what we have in return is foreign ownership of certain prime assets. Certain parties think power assets should be owned by locals, for example. As for the two prime pieces of land, they have a lot of future value and it would be better if they were owned by the government. Some would also say if 1MDB was not financially distressed, it would not have to hold a fire sale to foreigners. What is your opinion on that?

Let me address your last point first. There was no fire sale. We have got full if not higher value for our assets than what the market anticipated. The land sales in TRX are proof of that ,we set new benchmarks. For Edra, we sold it at almost full value, in terms of equity value on our books.
Same thing for Bandar Malaysia, I don't think  anyone believed me when I said RM11 billion to RM12 billion, but we did it for RM12.35 billion in terms of land value.
Secondly, both processes were run through an international tender. Full opportunity was given to local and foreign investors to take place. We had independent advisers running both processes and Maybank. We even ran a process to choose our advisers.               ·
In terms of Edra, it was never our asset to start with. It belonged to the private sector. Anyway, foreigners are allowed to own up to 49% of power.
If you look at the fuel supply, it is only from TNB and Petronas, so we have control. If you look at transmission and distribution, it is 100% controlled by TNB. PPAs are also 100%-controlled by TNB. As for generation, it has been allowed to be done by the private sector.
We also have a very strict regulatory regime overseen by KETTHA and the Energy Commission. If you look at countries with a very similar regime, like Singapore, they allow 100% foreign ownership. In fact 80% of Singapore's power plants are owned by foreigners. In fact, the largest is owned by a Malaysian company – YTL. If you look at the UK and Australia, they allow 100% foreign ownership.
So foreign ownership in itself is acceptable if you control the input and output and there is a good regulatory regime.
A lot of people don't know this,vbut under the PPAs, TNB has step-in rights if the power plant operator does not perform. We are protected in so many ways. Factually and analytically, there is no issue with foreign entities owning the power plants.
In terms of Bandar Malaysia, we own 40%. Iskandar Waterfront Holdings owns 60% of the consortium. In turn, Kumpulan Prasarana Rakyat Johor owns 40% and Credence Resources con­ trols 60% of IWH. CREC only controls 40% of the consortium, which is an effective stake of 24%. Between KPRJ and 1MDB, the federal and state governments control 54%.
When you look at any other assets in the country, that ownership is very small.And it represents FDI (foreign direct investment).And FDI is important to us.
On the one hand, we need FDI and the opposition complains when there is insufficient FDI. On the other hand, when FDI comes in a controlled manner, when they are paying top dollar through a tender process, why is there any cause to complain?
How do you make money from land? You sell it.

THE EDGE: After selling off the assets, do you think confidence is back? There are still a lot of naysayers out there.
I think those are two different topics, to be honest. If you look at the naysayers, if you compare where they started with –in January, February and March – I think today you will see a big difference.
Where we started off was (allegations of) corruption, criminal breach of trust, etc. And whilst I do not want to prejudice ongoing investigations, the view I have always had is that this is just a business issue.
I think now, most of the critics of the company, they are not criticising the basis of the company or how things were done, as opposed to criminal allegations.
That is an important point that I would like to clarify. 
What I would have liked is to have a time­frame to stabilise the company, in order to maximise value for the shareholder.
Again, if you look back at the global financial crisis, the immediate thing that the government did was to step in and provide funding in order to stabilise the company and then have an orderly resolution process or the disposal of the assets, either through the government or the private sector.
If you look at all the enquiries and the investigations, they were conducted after stabilisation had been achieved. In 1MDB,we had a very different challenge.
Investigations started first, and very early on, which significantly affected our ability to maximise value from the resolution process .
You will notice a significant difference be tween the strategic review and the rationalisation plan, which was announced in June. If you look back at those two announcements, you will see a clear shift. In February, we wanted to continue running the business of the company,albeit in a more independent fashion. Like what we did with Edra, we wanted to do with TRX and Bandar Malaysia .
But subsequent to that, the Sarawak Report articles came out. The Edge articles came out every week. The Government then ordered the Auditor-General to look into 1MDB and report to the PAC. The subsequent investigations commenced, and frankly that left us with very few options.
The best thing would have been for the government to inject capital and stabilise the company. But given the political considerations at the time, it was not possible. The preference was for the company to resolve its own problems.
With a RM950 million loan from the Government, we had to make do. So we had to embark on a disposal process. We signed a joint venture with Land Lease in March. We sold major plots of land in TRX, subsequently we had to announce the sale of Bandar Malaysia and Edra.


THE EDGE: Why is the prime minister the chairman of lMDB's advisory board?

What happened initially was that TIA (Terengganu Investment Authority) was owned by MB Inc Terengganu. At that time, there was a board of advisors. The federal government then agreed to guarantee the sukuk. The original RM5 billion sukuk was for TIA when it was owned by MB Inc Trengganu. At that time, Tengku Mizan, the Agong (and Sultan of Trengganu), was the chairman of the board of advisors.
But when the federal government took over, that was when Article 117 got inserted (into 1MDB's Articles of Memorandum) – that the federal government has the right to determine certain things that impact the guarantee.
And in order to do that, you need someone on the same level as Tengku Mizan. Who else but the prime minister? That's how it started.
When the federal government took over, that structure was there and it was not changed. But from a company law perspective, the chairman of the board of advisors has zero impact on the company.
We have never obtained any permission under 117.We have only always followed the normal Companies Act procedure. We have never invoked 117 for any procedure.
The issue arose when MoF Inc also appointed the prime minister as the Finance Minister shareholder representative. That is where the confusion arose. Under normal company law, board resolutions need shareholder approval. And he signed as the shareholder representative. And that was then spun, when in fact, the chairman of the board of advisors has no legal say.

Thursday, January 07, 2016

Blessing For Malaysia?

KL, 7 Jan: 
I met Ibrahim Sani of BFM at a Christmas party last year where he invited me to come over to the studio to chit chat if I was interested. I said yes without any hesitation and so on the first Monday of 2016 at 930am in Bandar Utama I was in his lair with Melisa Melina Idris and Sharrard Kuttan talking about blogs and politics.  
I was reminded by Melisa at the start of the chit chat that my blog was coming up to 10 years old! Gerrard waited till the end the session to remind me that I once labelled BFM as Bad For Muslims.  
Got to admit, these guys are getting better all the time.

Listen to the podcast h e r e

ps The first time I was invited to BFM was a few years ago (can't remember exactly when but BFM was so tiny back then). The Youtube was uploaded last year h e r e.

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Dr M and One Brave A-G

Updated Jan 07
In Presumed Guilty, blogger A Voice analyses how and why the statement by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, regarding its report on the RM2.6 billion donation to the AG, is being used, abused, manipulated and politicized by various quarters to put pressure on Apandi. If you look at A Voice's previous postings, you will be hard presssed to find a stronger MACC sympathiser on or off blogosphere ...

p.s. For some reason, I've never watched Presumed Innocent, the thriller that inspired A Voice's latest posting, and never heard of Gretta Scacchi. Ignorance can be bliss, indeed.

Original Posting

A brave man
KL, Jan 06
Gani Patail, when he was the Attorney-General, wasn't in Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad's good books. Not at all. 
The former Prime Minister was particularly unhappy with Gani after the PKFZ charges were brought against Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik, a faithful ally. He was also unhappy with Gani when told that there were Americans attached with the AG's Chamber. There were other reasons why he was not pleased with the Sabahan. But Dr M kept his unhappiness with Gani almost to himself. And if Gani knew his ex boss was not pleased with him, he also kept it to himself. 
Dr M's relationship with the new AG, Mohamed Apandi Ali, is clearly going to be quite different. He's jumped right in here  Dr Mahathir predicts AG will ignore MACC findings on RM2.6 billion (5 Jan) and - surprise, surprise - Apandi immediately shot back. Not many men would dare to do what he's done. 

Read the story: By The Law

I don't know Apandi personally but I imagine he's a brave man. I have met many brave men, including Gani, but I'm now very interested to see how the new AG is going to deal with Dr M. The Tun is not going to let go quite easily. 

p.s. You may also like Dr M and One Brave DPM by Bujai, Jan 6

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

"Selling out" to China

Bandar Malaysia will make not only Johor rich

KL, Tues 5 Jan:
One ex-Minister making such a din about 1MDB "selling out" to China amuses me to no end. The ex-Minister refused to even listen to any explanation that the parties involved in the Bandar Malaysia deal. "No need to clarify, 1MDB has sold us out!" the ex Minister exclaimed. "The nation has lost billions!"

Has the nation, now?

This is the problem with most of the oppoents of the 1MDB, from YB Tony Pua to Perkasa chief Ibrahim Ali. They ask questions but don't want answers. They will believe only if the answer confirms their claims and supports their allegations and results in one man - PM Najib Razak - quitting his post. The deal on Bandar Malaysia is between 1MDB and a China--Malaysia consortium but they insist that Arul Kanda has sold us out to the Chinese. 

Aiyah. Doesn't sound so rational to me. 

In any case, here's 1MDB's latest explanation about the latest ruckus over the deal on Bandar Malaysia:

Clarification on Bandar Malaysia
1MDB notes that certain quarters have attacked the RM7.41 billion land sale valuation contained in a recent announcement on the successful Share Sale and Purchase Agreement executed with the IWH-CREC Consortium for 1MDB to sell 60% of the equity in the Bandar Malaysia project. These appear to be last ditch attempts by members of the opposition to undermine the company's rationalisation process.
The valuation contained in the announcement made by CREC to HKEx refers not to the land sale valuation, but instead to their estimated share of the net equity value of the Bandar Malaysia project, based on certain assumptions, which are subject to further negotiations during the Completion period between January and June 2016. The starting point of any net equity value calculation, is the land sale valuation of RM12.35 billion, of which the Consortium’s 60% share equates to RM7.41 billion. This is the basis upon which the 10% deposit of RM741 million has been calculated and agreed upon by all parties.
During the Completion period, adjustments may be made to the RM7.41 billion land sale valuation, depending on whether or not certain Bandar Malaysia related liabilities can be passed to the Consortium e.g. the remainder contract costs for relocation of the existing facilities and the Bandar Malaysia sukuk debt. The agreement executed between the parties on 31 December 2015 provides for a robust and objective mechanism to determine, amongst others, these matters, which all parties have committed to.
1MDB is focused now on taking the necessary steps and to procure the relevant consents in order to implement the legally binding agreements executed in 2015 for the sale of Edra, the debt for asset swap with IPIC and the sale of 60% equity in the Bandar Malaysia project. We intend to issue further updates on this in due course.

p.s. What the ex-Minister should do is ask the Johor Menteri Besar why he's so excited about the Bandar Malaysia deal. If Khalid Mohd doesn't want to layan him, go seek an audience with the Sultan of Johor. You think Tuanku Yem will allow a Johor party to get involved if the deal amounts to selling out the nation? Bandar Malaysia to make Johor rich, The STAR 4 Jan