Thursday, June 27, 2019

This government moves in a mysterious way, Yeo mean?

For years, Minister Yeo Bee Yin and likeminded friends ranging from Wong Tack to Fuziah Salleh appeared so damn sure about the toxicity of Lynas, even when the experts repeatedly assured them and their supporters that their fear was not real and could actually be acute (political) anxiety. Now that they are in power and the Government, they find that they are not so sure all the times. Latest example, the repeated tragedy in Pasir Gudang. 

Source of Pasir Gudang toxic fumes still a mystery, Yeo says.

Well, here's our response to her (thanks Dr No for the poster below) :

To be continued ...

Thursday, June 20, 2019

After Azmin's sex video (Part 3 is out) it's now a new book on Anwar Ibrahim

Dirty politics, 20 June: Jomo's Forget politics, tough times are here will continue to fall on deaf ears. The Hazmingate Affair has just entered Episode 3 and here comes a manuscript on the oh-so-familiar topic of why Anwar Ibrahim cannot be Prime Minister. The first bestseller of such nature was published over 20 years ago and led to Anwar's sensational sacking and sodomy trials. The author of that first book is long dead but most of the key players in the political drama inspired by the book are still alive and kicking our butts. 

"... this person is a cheap writer, who was paid"

Re the latest book, Anwar's aide has lodged a police report, accusing the author of blackmail. In response, the author, Yahaya Ismail, has shared the WhatsApp exchanges he had with Anwar's aide to prove that it was not blackmail, just a business talk. According to the WhatsApp exchanges, which I have seen, the author told Anwar's aide that another party had offered him RM400,000 for his book's copyright. So if Anwar could offer anything more than that, the PM-in-waiting can have the entire copyright and doesn't have to publish a single copy of the book if he so wishes ...
"RM400k for book's copyright is not blackmail"

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Oh, by the way, the Telenor-Axiata may or may not happen

Norwegian Wood, 18 June: It's not a done deal yet. In other words, a lot of things can happen that may make the proposed Malaysia-Norway telco deal NOT happen. For example, the PMO may (or may not) ask that it be put on hold, y''know. The Prime Minister, after all, was reportedly anxious about job losses resulting from the merger. And Norway is not the friendliest when it comes to our precious palm oil.
But, honestly, before reading this statement by Gobind, I had the impression that the Telenor-Axiata merger was in the advance stages. That's because quite a lot of details had been reported in the media. For example, Telenor was to own 56 per cent of the merged entity and Axiata the remaining 44 per cent (which means it will no longer be a Malaysian company even if the CEO and the Chairman are Malaysians). We also learned that no Malaysians will lose their jobs against their will (only VSS will be offered). And we were assured that the Malaysian telco industry and economy will benefit tremendously  from the merger. [For other details of the proposed deal, read the announcement].
Now, thanks to Gobind, it is now being re-emphasised that the merger proposal is "still at proposal stage". If there was a preliminary agreement if was probably oral, it's quite certain that there has been no due diligence, but for sure a lot of media "play".

Axiata-Telenor merger still at proposal stage, says Minister

In 2000,  many will still remember, Singapore Telecom came so close to buying from Malaysia's troubled Renong 14.5 per cent of its subsidiary Time Engineering. Both companies had reached "preliminary agreement" on the deal, just awaiting regulatory approvals form both countries and a due diligence on Time Engineering before the deal could be sealed.
And then the deal simply unhappened. It was stopped by none other than Dr M, who chuckled something about his worry that the Singapore telco giant might "sing and tell" and the whole deal fell through. The real reason was Mahathir just wouldn't sell to Singapore out of pride - the nation's and of course his own. Analysts gave other excuses, one of them was the deal would put too much pressure on Telekom Malaysia
We were talking about a mere 14.5 per cent then. Today, these people sponsoring the Telenor-Axiata deal are talking about selling off 56 per cent. 56.5 per cent, to be exact. Now, what are the chances the talk will go beyond the proposal stage, you think?

Monday, June 17, 2019

There's a new group CEO at TM, did you know?

PMO prevails, June 17: All that excitement over that intimate video that has become the latest scandal to discolour Malaysian politics, dubbed #haziqgate by one daily (why didn't the paper called it #azmingate instead?), and the appointment of a new group CEO for Telelom Malaysia came and went without most of us noticing. And without the fanfare it deserved. Especially after all that jazz about the appointment being a proxy war between the Prime Minister's Office and the Minstry of Finance Inc., Daim Zainuddin vs Lim Guan Eng, homegrown boy Imri Mokhtar vs the Outsiders led by Rosli Man the chairman. 
But it's done, finally. NK or Noor Kamarul Anuar Nuruddin, 60, is now the Group CEO of TM.   
NK and RM guaranteeing 'quick wins" for TM. Pic by NST
In fact, while you were watching the video, listening to Haziq's confession, replaying Azmin's denial and getting acquainted with deep fake, the NST even had time to run an exclusive interview with the new TM boss. Read TM revamp plan to bring back its hey day

Friday, June 14, 2019

And now Azmin has made it 4 out of 5!

Deep in thought, 14 June: Just a quick follow up to my last posting, where I stated (not with pride, I should add) that 3 out fo 5 of my all time most-read postings were related to our politicians and their sex scandals. Well, less than 24 hours after posting it, Have you seen Azmin's (oral) sex video has reached the No 4 spot.  
What does that say? About you the blog reader, about me the blogger, about our politicians and their aides ... 

Other deep follow ups:
Ministry suspends sex video officer
That's not me, Azmin says
Part 2, just hours after Azmin's denial

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Have you seen Azmin's (oral) sex video?

Not in a hotel in Sandakan, 12 June: You know what sucks (pun intended)? Out of the top five of my all-time most read postings I've made on this blog of mine, three are related to our politicians and their sex scandals. [Scroll right to the bottom of this blog's right hand panel to see the longer list]. And you know what's the real bummer, my Dear Readers? All the politicians purportedly or allegedly involved in those sex scandals are alive and kicking. 

And all that kicking has produced yet another sex scandal, this time involving someone who  (according to those who have watched the video) resembles Azmin Ali, the Economics Affairs Minister and the one (again, they say) Mahathir Mohamad wishes (wished?) to be the next Prime Minister of Malaysia.

Me, I don't wish to watch the video lah. I'd rather go and watch Godzilla again.

The quick confession by the other individual said to be in the Azmin video is as repugnant as it was totally unexpected, I must say. Right down to business, no foreplay. 

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Saturday, June 08, 2019

In memoriam, Lynas protesters

Green-friendly or, er, just green? Helen Ang's latest posting "Exploding' in Guan Eng's face is dedicated to Malaysians, here and abroad, who had been made to believe all these years that the Lynas rare earth plant near Kuantan would breed mutants and decimate the population. 
PM Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who last week unilaterally ruled that Lynas will continue to operate in Malaysia, was one of the first to defend the project way back then. In an early posting, he said he could only surmise that the protests against Lynas was "political". "I have nothing against the Lynas project. The Government should not be afraid to let the project to go ahead," he wrote in Radiation. That was in September 2011. 

Friday, June 07, 2019

TM CEO: NK it is, then

TTDI, Shawal 3: I would just ignore the question mark at the end of the headline  because this is the New Straits Times and their sources, I'm sure, especially in this particular issue, are not just reliable but more than reliable. 

People who know Noor Kamarul, or NK, readily hightlight the facts that he is very experienced (34 years in telco, meaning he has worked alongside TM's current chairman Rosli Man), contributed greatly towards Celcom's golden era of 31 successive quarters of growth (when, incidentally, Shazalli Ramly was the Celcom boss), is technically sound, and personally nice, traditional, religious, etc. 
Of course, he's not young. But if an earlier article also by the NST [read h e r e] is be believed, then Kamarul will serve as TM's CEO for only two years before handing it over to the much younger,  homegrown talent Imri Mokhtar.

Thursday, June 06, 2019

Malaysia Baharu's latest "twists and Tun"

Bandar Kinrara, 2nd Shawal: In rapid succession, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad made three things happen at the end of Ramadan. The Prime Minister announced that:
1. Lynas will stay
2. Telekom Malaysia CEO decided but not Imri
3. MACC chief is a politician

Good things come in threes, they say, but these three announcements sure spoilt some people's Hari Raya.

Lynas so shocked Yeo Bee Yin that the Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister ended up issuing a press statement to clarify her boss' remarks, in a desperate attempt to salvage her own integrity as well as her party's reputation for their rabidly anti-Lynas stance all this while.

News of the TM CEO came just days after Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng had refuted a claim that PMO didn't want his candidate Imri Mokhtar as CEO (the MoF had approved Imri's appoointment in February).

The decisions, apparently, were made unilaterally by the PM. In his own words after the ground had shaken violently following the appointment of Latheefa Koya as MACC chief:

 "I did not discuss with Cabinet ... I make the decision myself because I don't have to ask the Cabinet as to who I approve".

In other words, "I did it my way". Some will call it the Old way. If you don't like it, go take the highway, baby.

MP Nik Nazmi came out with a long, carefully-worded posting on Twitter out of grave concern over the appointment of his PKR ex-colleague, Latheefa:

"More importantly, however, the manner of her appointment, which was decided upon by the PM alone, goes against the promises Pakatan Harapan made in our manifesto. The 14th Promise of the  manifesto states that under a Pakatan (sic) the MACC will report directly to Parliament, rather than to the Prime Minister ... Appointment of these Commissioners must be validated democo.  atically by Parliament". - Nik Nazmi

But beyond "worrying", what will Nik Nazmi do?  What will the "disturbed" Bar Council do? What will a concerned Suaram do, if it sincerely feels that Latheefa is not the right person for the job?

Or, rather, what can they do?

What can Yeo Bee Yin do? With Mahathir's open support for Lynas - and in front of the world media, too! - she is now at the mercy of her Australian counterpart who had been at her mercy for the last one year (and years before that when she was in the Opposition). Read Ahead of meeting with Yeo, Australia's Bill Johnston rejects Lynas waste..

What can Lim Guan Eng do? The Finance Minister got his way over the appointment of CEO for Malaysia Airports Holding Berhad (MAHB) but if he thought he was free to put whoever he pleases, he's dead wrong. Way above him, there are greater forces at work. Same message goes to all Guan Eng sympathisers [like this epistle to The Star, Invisible hands in Corporate Malaysia?).

What can anyone do about the MACC's position? Well, according to Lim Kit Siang's spokesman, the Parliamentary Select Committee can review Latheefa's appointment, but will have no legal effect.

My take? I think Dr M is doing all these not just because he can but because he had to.

What else can he do now that he is stuck with a Cabinet of Clowns who, after a year of being in the Government, still behave like the Opposition (by opposing key investments like Lynas just because it was the popular - and easy - thing to do); who think they can rule the GLCs like they have ruled the DAP (or like past Finance Ministers ruled GLCs); and who expected him, the country's only two-time Prime Minister, to be controlled and dictated by a mere manifesto?

Mahathir's one-line in Sometimes we get surprises, Dr M of new MACC chief should be a constant reminder to these people:

“Well, (the Ministers) cannot be complacent and think whatever they think will be approved.”

Expect more surprises.

Read also:
"The (Lynas) plant will stay, as Tun said ... we are only concerned with environmental issues", says Mestecc sec-gen
"There needs to be better transparency on such appointments," says Maria Chin Abdullah
Left in the dark, parliament committee to discuss Latheefa's appointment with PMO
Bersih 2.0 likes Latheefa but troubled by appointment process
Azam Baki, twice overlooked for MACC chief position, pledges support for Latheefa

Sunday, June 02, 2019

The TM CEO "standoff": Ball in PM's court

TM Standoff: Guan Eng refuses to back off

Lynas-to-Stay, June 2: The Edge ran a story Telekom CEO standoff, quoting unnamed sources, claiming that Telekom Malaysia chairman Rosli Man had "REFUSED to proceed with the appointment of acting CEO Imri Mokhtar as its CEO despite the decision of its special shareholder, the Ministry of Finance Inc (MoF Inc)"

The sources said "a decision was made in February by MoF to appoint Imri as CEO, but it has been three months and the chairman (Rosli Man) has REFUSED to act on it".

The repeated use of the word "refuse" would paint Rosli Man, who was made chairman of Telekom in December, as degil, recalcitrant, rebel, lawan tauke

If you ask me to guess, I'd say the sources are  people who don't like Rosli Man. They could well be from the MoF ... or Imri Mokhtar himself. 

Telekom Malaysia, being a responsible public listed company, had to respond to the Edge's article. In a filing with Bursa Malaysia, TM said its chairman had received a request from the Prime Minister's Office to defer Imri's appointment. Rosli Man had informed the board of the PMO's request early March.

“We believe that it is good corporate governance to
engage key stakeholders including the PMO"
- Telekom

Which triggered Guan Eng's rather curt response:
“The chairman and CEO are appointed by the Finance Ministry after getting a letter and note from the prime minister himself, and so far there has been no instruction from the prime minister to change, so the TM chairman and CEO are still the same persons (Rosli Man and Imri Mokhtar, respectively)."

In other words, Guan Eng insists on Imri Mokhtar as CEO unless the PM himself tells him that the PMO has another candidate in mind. (For greater clarity, read the NST's version: Guan Eng: No orders from PM to change TM's chairman, CEO). 

What's happening at TM is clearly a[nother] GLC proxy war. MoF wants its candidate as CEO and PMO or Khazanah or someone else probably wants another person to lead the telco. It is messy and counter productive.

TM has already lost billions in market cap due to inept ministers and this proxy war is not going to benefit it in any way.  And many analysts don't see why the CEO of TM must be decided by the MoF or PMO or Khazanah. 

TM has a Board that has a Chairman. It's good corporate governance to let the TM Board to decide who should be the TM CEO.

Read also:
Why TM lost RM12 billion in market cap