Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Azmin Ali to be DPM, according to Malaysiakini


The PM with his future deputy? Pic by Bernama

Bangsar, 24 Aug: This choker by Malaysiakini interrupted our lunch today:

Azmin poised to become DPM, according to Bersatu, Umno sources

Malaysiakini Team

Modified 1:14 pm

Gombak MP Azmin Ali is poised to become the country's next deputy prime minister, according to sources in Bersatu and Umno.

A Bersatu source, who is aligned to Azmin, told Malaysiakini there was a "strong likelihood" that the Gombak MP was going to become the deputy prime minister.

Three Umno sources, who are on the supreme council including two who are MP...

This is not the first time someone's betting on Azmin to be DPM. In April 2019, the former trusted aide of Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim who later became Mahathir Mohamad's blue-eyed boy, was said to be in line for the No 2 job when Mahathir was PM7. Read the Malaysiakini report Azmin clueless about becoming DPM during Hari Raya celebration.  Well, we all know Azmin did not become DPM and that less than a year after that report, he helped mastermind the so-called Sheraton Move that swept aside Mahathir and led to Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin becoming PM8. Azmin was made one of the four senior ministers under Muhyiddin's Perikatan Nasional government, with reports saying he even moved into the official DPM residence in Putrajaya (which was taken to strongly imply that he was the "chosen one"). In a twist of fate, though, Azmin was pipped by another senior minister, Ismail Sabri, to the DPM post. Ismail Sabri, with Azmin's support, is now PM9.  






Friday, August 20, 2021

Why Ismail Sabri may still be the shortest-lived PM in history

The 9th Prime Minister of Malaysia

Bangsar, 20 Aug: A top executive of the Parliament reminded me at lunch today that whoever the PM might be - Ismail Sabri or Anwar Ibrahim - he would have SIX MONTHS before he's got to dissolve Parliament and call for GE15. "Remember, that's the consensus," he said. 

Apparently, he was referring to the consensus alluded by Muhyiddin in a televised message just before he had to tender his resignation as PM (Malaysia PM seeks bipartisan support for vote on his leadership):

 "We have reached a consensus to consult with the leaders of parties outside (the ruling bloc) to approve the confidence motion," Muhyiddin said in a televised address.

"This will enable the current government to continue managing the pandemic until it is time for elections to be held."

The polls will be held by July 2022 depending on the state of the pandemic, he said.

Ismail Sabri is to be sworn in at Malaysia's 9th PM at 2.30pm tomorrow at Istana Negara. He will then need to seek a vote of confidence in Parliament to prove his legitimacy,

p.s. Muhyiddin was PM for 17 months, the shortest tenure for now

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Suddenly (but not surprisingly), it's 'semua BOLEH' as far as Muhyiddin the Caretaker PM is concerned

TTDI, 19 Aug: In a breathtaking U-turn, the caretaker government headed by just-ousted-PM Muhyiddin Yassin has given the OK to Malaysians and foreigners who live, hide, work or play in Phase 1 Covid-19 territories, such as Kuala Lumpur and Kelang, to dine-in and do other stuff they were barred from doing just days ago.


Dine-ins allowed for fully vaxxed in Phase 1 states from tomorrow

Some sports, night markets also get green light

Read the developing story HERE.

Ironically, the announcement came just after authorities had told us of another 225 deaths from the Covid-19 virus. Read Almost 23,000 cases today in new high

On August 8, when announcing his National Recovery Plan, the then-PM Muhyiddin had said dine-ins were allowed only in Phase 2 and 3 states. Which ruled out KL, Selangor, Kedah, Johor, Negri Sembilan and Melaka. Even for the other states, dining in restaurants and cafes must be regarded as "risky", he had contended, because "patrons are not able to wear masks while eating".

[If you ask me, I'm not clear if patrons in Phase 1 states are able to wear masks while eating. The CPM said the new relaxed ruling is effective at midnight tonight but I'm not sure if that means cafes and restaurants in Phase 1 states like Kuala Lumpur are now allowed to operate at midnight through to the wee hours of the morning.* (sarcasm)]

Muhyiddin resigned as PM on Aug 16 after weeks of stand-off with the Istana. 

But it looks like he is still very much the big boss. 

The sudden change in policy will be seen by some, of course, as an attempt to shore support for Muhyiddin's former deputy Ismail Sabri as the new PM.

Remember "Corruption on national television"?

Read also: Muhyiddin plays boss, says those facing criminal charges have no place in Cabinet if Ismail Sabri becomes PM 9

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

What's the worst case scenario post-Muhyiddin Yassin, you think?

Puchong, 18 Aug: I know - like, even - some of the former Ministers from Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin's Cabinet.

Hishammuddin Hussein, for example, I consider an old friend, a motorcycling buddy with whom I've never ridden with. I've always liked Khairy Jamaluddin even if the feeling is not mutual: he's young and cocky but he was seen as working hard and trying to deliver the tasks given. I didn't like what Hamzah Zainuddin had become as Home Minister of the backdoor government but he had never not responded to my messages. Annuar Musa, if he had not breached the SOPs again and again, would have been my pick for Best Minister in the worst government we've ever had.

But if anyone of them were to be picked as Prime Minister to replace Muhyiddin, it would be same old, same old. Bad.

But it wouldn't be the worst case scenario.

The worst case scenario, in my mind, would be for Ismail Sabri, who was the outgoing Muhyiddin's last-minute choice to be his Deputy Prime Minister to 'buy' the support of Umno and save his own skin, is made our new PM. 

And for Azmin Ali to the new DPM. 

That would be totally unacceptable. 

And yet that's the deal the Umno 'Derhaka' (the title given affectionately by Najib Razak to the party's faction led by Ismail Sabri) is said to be making with Muhyiddin's Bersatu, it seems. 

If I were the King, I would want something better. This nation deserves better. The People have suffered enough. 

If it's Ismail Sabri -Azmin Ali, we might as well bring Muhyiddin back!

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

From hero to zero: Not just about Muhyiddin but also the story of Malaysia under Muhyiddin

From hero to zero: Muhyiddin’s spectacular fall from grace

Read The Vibes' headlines this morning chronicling Muhyiddin Yassin's short-lived reign as Malaysia's eight Prime Minister:  After praise in 2015 for stance on 1MDB saga, Bersatu president languishing following 17-month PM stint

I'm not shedding a tear for Muhyiddin, though. Because the really sad news is this other hero-to-ZERO story of how the Malaysian economy has suffered due to the pandemic as well as the government's failure to handle it properly.

Hence, why picking the right PM comprising the right people in his/her Cabinet forming a new political landscape is crucial for our health as well as our wealth. 

Fitch slashes Malaysia growth to 0% for 2021

KUALA LUMPUR (Aug 16): Fitch Solutions has revised Malaysia’s 2021 gross domestic product (GDP) growth to 0% from its earlier estimate of 4.9%. 

This comes as the second quarter 2021 (2Q21) GDP growth numbers were below its expectation, at 16.1% year-on-year (y-o-y) but a contraction of 2% quarter-on-quarter (q-o-q). 

In a commentary today, the research unit of the Fitch Group noted that the daily Covid-19 cases in the country have not come down despite the nationwide lockdown. 

Fitch Solutions does not think Malaysia will achieve herd immunity before the end of 2021 despite the accelerating vaccine rollouts, thereby ruling out a potential economic surge at the later part of the year.

“All segments of the economy from an expenditure perspective except government consumption are likely to remain stagnant or even contract slightly from 2020 levels. 

“We note further downside risks to our forecast given the high level of political risk since the beginning of 2H21 (second half of 2021) and the risk that the outbreak could still worsen over the coming months, which could further affect the economy’s performance,” added the research outfit.

Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin resigned as the prime minister today, with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong consenting to the Bersatu president staying on as caretaker prime minister until his successor is appointed.

While the expenditure components of GDP posted positive growth on a y-o-y basis, as it was coming from the low base set in 2Q20, Fitch Solutions opined that private consumption had in fact contracted 11.5% q-o-q, compared to the five-year 2Q average q-o-q growth rate of 2.4% pre-pandemic.   

“This demonstrates the severe impact the third wave of infections has had on the key growth engine of the economy — private consumption accounts for around 70% of GDP,” it added. 

Fitch Solutions is taking the view that the nationwide lockdown will likely last for the remainder of the year while localised lockdowns could potentially drag on into 2022. 

This, it believes, will in turn impact private consumption and gross fixed capital formation (GFCF). It revised private consumption growth to a contraction of 2% from 3% growth previously while it forecast GFCF to grow at a mere 1.5% from 4% previously. 

Fitch Solutions also sees unemployment rising in 2H21 as it has already been increasing in the latest data available for June at 4.8% from 4.5% in May.

The gloomy view stems from the research outfit's opinion that it would be unlikely to achieve herd immunity before the year-end. 

It also sees the risk that the vaccination drive could see a slowdown after this, as what has been observed in other countries such as the US and Singapore. 

“Finally, the vaccination programme is being implemented by a mix of six vaccines, including Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca, Sinovac, Johnson & Johnson, Sputnik and CanSino Biologics, with only around 50% of doses ordered so far from Pfizer-BioNTech, raising risks around efficacy and the sustainability of any easing of lockdown measures later in the year,” it added.

Still, nine states in the country, which account for 37% of the country’s GDP, have moved into Phases 2 and 3 of the National Recovery Plan since July. There has also been relaxation in Phase 1 states where 11 economic sectors are now allowed to operate. 

Along with Fitch Solutions’ dim outlook of the country’s economic prospects, it has also reduced its net export forecast. It now forecasts exports to grow by 16.1% and imports by 18.4%. 

It reasoned that despite the Malaysian government opening up more industries, external demand will likely be more affected than previously expected given the severity of Covid-19 outbreaks happening in the region. 

Besides that, while Fitch Solutions does not rule out more spending by the government in 2H21, it does not expect it to be material given that the total government debt has already exceeded its self-imposed debt limit of 60% of GDP. 

“Even if, as we expect, the government raises the debt limit again, the contracting economy means that this limit will be calculated off a smaller base, reducing the fiscal space such a move would provide,” it said. - The Edge

Monday, August 16, 2021

If I Were The King

KL, 15 Aug: So I started this new weekly column for The Mole this morning, just before Muhyiddin Yasin sat down for his longest 30 minutes with the Yang DiPertuan Agong. Wanted to call the column Monday Blues but the editor probably misheard me and named it Monday Bru. Just as well, for I certainly didn't get the blues today ...

If I Were The King ...

MONDAY BRU  with Ahirudin Attan

August 15 2021

IF Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin sends in his resignation today, the Yang DiPertuan Agong will once again have the task of choosing a new Prime Minister from among the MPs. 

Yes, this won’t be the first time for this King. Neither will it be any less daunting.

One thing for sure, keen followers of Malaysian politics agree, Tuanku Al-Sultan Abdullah Alhaj would want to do things differently from March last year, when he made Muhyiddin the Prime Minister after Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad suddenly resigned.

The whole country is wondering what the King would do. 

Well. If I were the King, I would make sure, first and foremost,  to remind everyone about the Rakyat’s mandate. 

In the historic 14th General Election of 2018, the people voted in Pakatan Harapan.  Dr Mahathir became PM with the promise of passing the baton on to Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim after two years or so.

That never happened. What happened, instead, was the so-called Sheraton Move where Muhyiddin, helped by Umno that had lost the GE, slipped in through the backdoor and became the eighth Prime Minister in March last year.

If I were the King, here is an opportunity to return to Pakatan Harapan the people’s mandate to govern for five years or until the 15th GE is called.

The leader of the Pakatan Harapan is Anwar Ibrahim. He is the Opposition leader and he commands the biggest single bloc in Parliament. He was the first to come to Agong’s defence when Muhyiddin and his Cabinet ministers stood in defiance against the Palace.

Together with the 15 Umno MPs who pulled out their support for Muhyiddin following the face-off with the Istana, the King can easily determine that Anwar commands the majority support of Parliament.

If I were the King, I will make sure Anwar …

1. Onboard Ku Li as Adviser or Mentor Minister in his new Government

2. Appoint a second Deputy PM from Sabah/Sarawak

3. Keep out MPs who are still facing charges in the court or who whose cases were mysteriously taken off by the Pakatan Harapan government after it came to power in 2018. 

4. Include DAP in the Cabinet (because MCA is dead and Anwar is the only Malay leader who commands genuine respect from these DAPsters) BUT prohibit them from going on a witch-hunt the way some DAP strongmen, placed by Dr Mahathir in powerful places within his Administration, had gone after their or their party’s enemies 

5. Make good your (Anwar’s) pledge to ditch politics of revenge

6. Get all existing Ministers, Deputy Ministers and GLC political appointees to resign so as to allow the Interim PM to retain the ones who have been performing and bring back the professionals to the GLCs

7. Give full support to the Undi 18 initiative. by bringing in young blood to the Cabinet or government institutions and GLCs. In this context, limit the age limit of the Cabinet to 80 (with the exception of the Mentor Minister)

… If I were the King.

But, before anyone gets unnecessarily excited, I am not the King and I will never be King. In the King, however, we put our trust. And in God, our prayers for this nation.

Read also: Shortest-serving PM: A timeline of the Muhyiddin Administration's fall

Sunday, August 15, 2021

King may consider interim government after Muhyiddin resigns tomorrow (Why none of the current Cabinet Ministers should be considered for the top post)

Now every clown thinks he can be Prime Minister 

Nazri signs SD supporting Ismail Sabri as PM, urges other Umno MPs to do likewise

KL, 15 Aug. - As I see it, there's no other way. If the Agong is really dead against making Anwar Ibrahim the Prime Minister after Muhyiddin Yasin steps down tomorrow, interim government is his only option. Promoting anyone from the current failed Cabinet to replace Muhyiddin is simply unthinkable, unacceptable.

Okay, why did I mention Anwar in the opening line of this posting? Because the mandate from the voters in 2018, when PH defeated BN in that historic general election, was to have made Anwar the PM after Mahathir Mohamad's two-year "interim" premiership. Well, that didn't happen as planned and we know why. The Sheraton Move happened and here we are in this sorry, sorry state with hundreds of people dying from Covid-19 everyday and hope flickering by the minute. 

But while he can morally claim to have the mandate, Anwar obviously doesn't have enough numbers. PN, by Muhyiddin's own reluctant admission, doesn't have the numbers (probably never had the numbers from the start). Nobody has the numbers. Ku Li's name has been bandied about only because he is "liked" by the Istana but he certainly does not have the numbers (heck, he did not even have enough within Umno to threaten Khairy Jamaluddin, let alone Zahid Hamidi, in the last party election!). 

Still, the King must choose an MP who, in his opinion, commands the majority legislative support to be the new PM. Tough, tough call. But in the King we place our trust and hope during this very trying times. 

Whatever happens in the coming few days, let's not the clowns think that just anyone can be Prime Minister of this country. And by anyone I mean especially those from the current crop of Cabinet Ministers who had stood with Muhyiddin in the past weeks in defiance against the Agong. 

Saturday, August 14, 2021

Wither Malaysia if Muhyiddin resigns?


"If I resign, my whole Government resigns." - PM Muhyiddin aka Mahiaddin Yasin, Friday the 13th

Kuala Lumpur, 14 Aug: Muhyiddin Yasin's script writers must have meant it to sound like a huge threat: if the PM resigns, his whole Cabinet will go with him and this nation will then be plunged into pitch darkness. Unfortunately (for Muhyiddin), most Malaysians, judging from the response we've seen in the media, see it as the light at the end of the tunnel. The answer to their prayers for better things. "Please resign ... and allow democracy to heal in Malaysia," says scientist Dr Noraishah Abd Aziz on twitter.  Muhyiddin's resignation will put an end to the unprecedented face-off between the PM and the Yang DiPertuan Agong. It would be "the noblest thing" Muhyiddin could do, says senjakala @YunusZolkefle in response to a question I posed on my latest tweet. 

With the exception of a few like Tony Pua, our learned netizens view the PM's address yesterday not suspicion but with contempt. They saw an attempt to stay in power, by hook or by crook. Within the Palace, there's a view that yesterday's address was a blatant attempt by a PM who had lost his majority to keep power by trying to bribe MPs to go against the King. 

Muhyiddin's detractors have been having a field day, thanks to his scrip t writers' gaffe. "Daylight bribery," screams TPJ, a former ADUN, on his Instagram. Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim says yesterday's speech was a confession that Muhyiddin's government has lost majority legislative support and is, therefore, obliged to resign. Former PM Najib Razak calls for calm, for the people to allow the King to do his thing when Muhyiddin goes to the Palace on Monday for an audience with him. 

And that's exactly what we should do. Stay calm because our prayers are about to be answered. And please, the Government won't just vanish if the Prime Minister resigns. That never happens. For the script writers to make Muhyiddin go on record to say that it would just shows how failed they all are.

Read: Muhyiddin to meet Agong on Monday - Malaysiakini///Anyone but you, Abah by Terence Fernandez

Tuesday, August 03, 2021

But, oh great deja vu, these two met!

It's best I keep my thoughts to myself, for now at least. 

KL, Aug 2: Malaysian political heavyweights Mahathir Mohamad and Anwar Ibrahim put aside long-running animosity and joined an opposition protest Monday against the shutdown of Parliament and demand the country's embattled premier resign.

The final day of a parliamentary session, due to take place Monday, has been canceled after the discovery of several COVID-19 cases in the legislature.

But rivals accused Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin of using COVID-19 as an excuse to dodge a no-confidence vote that could cause the collapse of his crisis-hit government. --- Read more HERE

Saturday, July 31, 2021

The King and Anwar Ibrahim, they did not meet BUT ...

Port Klang, Sat: It was clear that those supporting those in government who are desperately hanging on to power were the ones most affected by talk earlier today that Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim was meeting the King. 

The reason was quite clear, too: they see Anwar as the biggest threat to Muhyiddin Yassin's throne. 

Personally, I think the YDP Agong should grant Anwar an audience to help him resolve the current crisis between the monarchy and the 'backdoor' government of Muhyiddin Yassin. Ideally, both Muhyiddin and Anwar should have an audience with the King. Muhyiddin has lost the confidence of the King and the people. Effect a peaceful transition of power.

Question is, though, does the King even want to grant Muhyiddin an audience after what has been done and said? 

p.s. Those greatly affected by talk of the Agong wanting to meet Anwar, or vice versa, should calm down, really. The Opposition leader, I was told by his confidantes, is less than keen to be dragged into what's clearly a power tussle between Bersatu and Umno, the two big components of the #failed Perikatan Nasional government. "Anwar would rather wait wait for the next general election for a fresh mandate from the people." Wise, I thought. Why should anyone want to inherit the terrible mess that Muhyiddin's PN government has created in the short time of its rule after hijacking Mahathir's equally miserable two years' in power in March 2020?

p.p.s The Agong is more likely to convene another special meeting of the Rulers' Conference before granting Muhyiddin, Anwar or anyone an audience to resolve the current crisis. Or so I was told.

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Does a government that disrespects the Agong deserve the Rakyat's respect?

 The Yang DiPertuan Agong, who turns 62 tomorrow, is saddened...

Takiyuddin disrespected me: Agong -The Vibes. King disappointed Emergency Ordinances revoked without his consent - The Star. Agong dukacita, Dewan Rakyat kecoh desak PM letak jawatan - Getaran YDP Agong disappointed Emergency Ordinances revoked without consent - NST Agong turns 62 tomorrow. His gift to Malaysians - giving govt a royal bashing over so-called Emergency Ordinances revocation - Twentytwo13

The King is not just saddened, I think he's feeling betrayed. He was the one who picked Muhyiddin Yasin as Prime Minister after Dr Mahathir Mohamad had unexpectedly resigned early last year in the hope of being re-appointed again to lead a unity government. Everyone is  now saying what a mistake that was but to me the alternative - keeping Dr M as PM - would have been too much for Malaysia. After Muhyiddin became Prime Minister, he YDPA had bailed him out on at least THREE occasions.  Every time he did that, the Agong risked the wrath of the people and his brother Rulers but he bailed out the Prime Minister, anyway. 

The King deserves more from Muhyiddin. And I sure hope he doesn't decide to give the PM even more time to prove his worthiness to the Agong. Because that would be really too much for us down here.

Serba Dinamik vs KPMG: Losing the battle to win the war

Kuala Lumpur, 29 Jul: The last time I wrote about the Serba Dinamik-KPMG saga was exactly a month ago. In that posting, I quoted a notorious accountant whose identity is known only to me:

"I think it's time for corporations to fight back. For too long, they have abused their positions. Some have even held companies to ransom. Good time for the Big Four to burn."In Malaysia, a company claiming to be have been wronged by KPMG takes on one of the world's Big Four accounting firms - June 28).  

Troubled by my posting and (especially) the above quotes, a good buddy AA (not Azmin Ali, my good buddy is way smarter and better looking) dropped a note in our group chat. I promised to publish his comments on this blog but I wanted to let events on the KPMG-Serba Dinamik front unfold first.

True enough, a lot of shit has been hitting the fan since then.

So, a promise is a promise and here is what my good buddy AA has written to me:
Bro Rocky, I have been on both sides of the table (as auditor and as corporation's CFO/Director) and I can tell you that this is a dumbass response. Auditors have (to) do their work according to Auditing Standards just as judges have to rule according to the law regardless of whether it is good/bad law /standard. Serba Dinamik's chairman and CEO were very unprofessional in their press conference.
KPMG's work would have been sub-standard and shoplot like as claimed by the chairman had KPMG not verified the revenue. KPMG has grounds to sue Serba Dinamik for defamation.
Auditors are not in a position to hold any company to ransom. Nothing to gain from ensuring compliance by companies and they can be replaced (and so lose their fees). I argue with auditors but nonsense to accuse them of abusing their position. Auditors simply don't have much room for discretion with the kind of auditing and accounting standards (including stupid ones) we have today.
When AA wrote the above, Serba Dinamik was the only party taking KPMG to court [for alleged negligence and breach of duties - Serba Dinamik blames the external auditors the huge loss in its market cap, estimated at some RM5 billion at one point). The Malaysian Institute of Crorporate Governance viewed Serba Dinamik's legal action against one of the Big Four as unusual, regrettable - "a view that it believes will be shared by the regulators" - and perverse, even. Institute of Corporate Directors Malaysia chairman Zarinah Anwar even hinted that the blame (for Serba Dinamik's limit-down) should be shouldered by the company's board of directors (Board should not 'side-step' issues raised by auditors). 

Today, the Malaysian Government is also a party that has started legal proceedings against KPMG and is demanding a whopping US$5.6 billion in damages.

Is the Securities Commission's AOB doing its job without fear or favour?
Are the guys at Minority Shareholders Watchdog Group  still sleeping?
Pak Pandir fund managers rule EPF?
Will Petronas drop KPMG now that the Malaysian Government is taking it to court?
Tony Pua throws KPMG under the bus, urging Putrajaya to exclude the auditing firm from any government tenders until the court matter has been resolved.

And all these before the ex-KPMG man, ex-Serba Dinamik director appeared in court for the criminal intimidation charges. Surely, there are no angels in this saga. 

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Zambry has gone quiet on Subang airport, all of a sudden. Is something brewing again?

Question mark also on who the MAHB Chairman really wants KLIA's lucrative but necessary aerotrain deal to go to

Puchong, Sunday: Since May, Zambry Abd Kadir has publicly said NO more than once to a proposal by WCT to take over the operations of Subang Airport from the Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd. Read here and here.

The Malaysian Reserve's report last week Tell us whether the Subang Airport deal is on or off - Both WCT and the Govt have been silent on the proposal, which technically is still on the table does make one wonder, though. 

We know that Zambry is under pressure from people at the top, including from within Muhyiddin's Cabinet, who are clearly supportive of the takeover by WCT, the company led by property tycoon Desmond Lim.

Is Zambry making - or has he made - a U-turn? 

Those close to him say never, he's too seasoned a politician to be bullied. But for the same reason the airport unions are having reservations. They are still waiting to have the first meeting with their Chairman over the matter.

In the meantime, does anyone know if MAHB has awarded the aerotrain project for the KLIA? Talk was that the last Board meeting had agreed to issue a Letter of Intent to Pestech International Bhd and its partner Bombardier for the design, supply, installation, testing and commissioning for contract. 

The MAHB has said the tender process for the aerotrain project has not been concluded. However, it was learnt that the original bank drafts deposited by the companies at the start of the aerotrain tender process have been returned to sender. 

Which means a decision has been made on who the project will be awarded to. Question is, why isn't Zambry making the announcement yet?

p.s Soon after the article on Subang Airport in TMR, my favourite business blogging DJ nuclearmanbursa sent out series of articles on why it doesn't make sense for the Government to allow WCT to take over lucrative Subang. The latest posting H E R E chides the Minority Shareholders Watchdog Group for going M.I.A.

Aren't  you supposed  to be the think-tank and resource centre for minority interest and corporate governance matters in Malaysia.

Please show yourself or will you only appear once the damage is done. 

Do tell us hypothetically, is it  good corporate governance from the eye of  minority  shareholders, if a third party is given a concession  to operate  the Subang Airport. Do take into account the following:

1.  From out of the blue a rival will be created  to compete  with  Malaysia Airports,. Compete for business as well as compete for investors attention  in the capital markets.

2. Overnight, Malaysia Airports,  which operates 39  airports in the country will lose 12.5 per cent of the profitable airports under its control.

Basically  there are less than 8  airports in the country  which are profitable, and Malaysia Airports uses part of this profit to manage  some 30 airports in the country which are losing  money.

3. Malaysia Airports will also lose some eight  routes that Subang Airport manages.   Some 30 airports in Malaysia  serve less than 8 routes.

4 . Considering that the Subang  Airport is and has the potential to earn non capital intensive income,  which analyst term as non aeronautical revenue.  READ; Airport International Council World says non-aeronautical revenues are the major sources of funds for airports to invest in infrastructure and service. Report states 39.9 per cent non-aeronautical revenue? What can minorities do to protect their interest?

5. Is  non aeronautical revenue, similar to RENT SEEKERS,  considering retail  concessions  make up the largest  source of non-aeronautical revenue for airports at 30.2 per cent. Car parking revenue and property revenue/rent are the second and third largest sources of non-aeronautical revenues at 20.1 per cent and 15.0 per cent respectively..

6. Let us  not go into possibilities  or probabilities  of thr  income that may or may not be realized once Subang Airport is given a face  lift . Let us only stick to the facts. 

Is it not factually, correct to state by taking Subang Airport away from Malaysia Airports,  effectively it will  lead to  Malaysia Airports  paying an EXTRA RM60 million a year to finance its debts?

Thursday, July 15, 2021

Hello Updates Malaysia, Sarawak Kini (Goodbye Unspinners)

A new newsportal vows to back Malaysians clamoring for change
Puchong, 15 July: Every journalist wants to change something - the world, his country, your mind - and Khaidir Majid, who thinks Khairy Jamaluddin should be the next Prime Minister of Malaysia, hopes to push for change with his new news portal, Updates Malaysia. The former Berita Harian group editor is recruiting like-minded journos and established writers (in English and Bahasa Melayu) to be his agents for change. Khaidir will be the Editor and  Invictus Galore Sdn Bhd the publisher. The newsportal will go full swing by the Merdeka month and vows to bring Readers balanced perspectives on politics, business, public policies, tech news, sports, consumer affairs and human interest stories. 

Sarawak Kini is not a newsportal but a blog that believes it is a newsportal. I feel like I know the people behind it but I can't say for sure. What's sure is they have been making life hell for KPMG right after Serba Dinamik, whose founder and major shareholder is a Sarawakian, started blaming KPMG for the loss of some RM5 billion of its market cap. Serba Dinamik is suing KPMG in the Malaysian courts (NOT to be confused with the Malaysian Government's lawsuit against the same KPMG).

p.s. A lonely, Covid-19 goodbye to SnapShot. After snapping up over 59 million hits in the last 5 years, the people behind the hard-hitting portal, formerly known as The Unspinners, told me they have posted their last.

Monday, July 12, 2021

So, you think our Ministers are doing a great job?

KL, 11 July: The other day, we got to know about our Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul running to former PM Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad for help (... He wants to meet me, claims Dr M). And then we read the news of the Austrian minister who was supposedly so in awe of Azmin Ali, the Minister of International Trade and Industry. We wondered if Zafrul had really run out of ideas on how to save Malaysia and we were hardly surprised (were we?) when our Netizens told the Austrian minister she can keep Azmin if she likes (You can have him, Msians tell Azmin's Austrian counterpart as ire at "worst Minister" grows).

We know many of our politicians are doing a great job helping themselves but are they doing enough to save the country?

The Rotary Club  is hosting a zoom talk with the good capitalist Vinod Sekhar, a good friend of Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, to find out what he thinks. I happen to know Vinod will speak for most of us but do join in the conversation, anyway. Because you and I, we know it is up to us - not them - to save this good nation of ours.

Time: Jul 12, 2021 08:00 PM Kuala Lumpur
Meeting ID: 852 2168 8852
Passcode: ROTARY

Thursday, July 08, 2021

Some people seem to think that Ku Li still has it to be PM but what does Ku Li think?


Ku Li: Anwar has qualities to be PM

Bangsar, 8 July: You may be one of those who think Ku Li could have saved this country of ours, if only he had defeated Mahathir during the 1987 big power tussle in Umno. But, well, he lost. But Ku Li has never lost the desire to become Prime Minister of Malaysia and is not shy to tell you so. For the sake of the Rakyat, he would, really, but as Interim PM.

So it's interesting that the Kelantan prince, the longest-serving Member of Parliament of Malaysia, and one of quite a few "best PMs we never had" would describe Anwar Ibrahim, leader of the Opposition, as the man who could lead Malaysia out of this shithole.

Do I agree with Ku Li? A few years ago, no. But, as I've written h e r ehaving seen Mahathir Mohamad. Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Najib Razak, Mahathir Mohamad again, and now Muhyiddin Yassin bring this nation to its knees, even DSAI's biggest detractors have begun to wonder if they had not made a mistake about the man.

If Anwar becomes PM, though, a lot of people, from Tong Kooi Ong, Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary, and rich children of corrupt politicians stand to lose. But why should we care about them. Our consideration should be, will the people finally stop losing.

Sunday, July 04, 2021

The BEST and WORST places to be as the world finally reopens: Wtf do you think we are?

 Malaysia at the BOTTOM FOUR: A "catastrophic morel failure"

KL, July 4: If we think we are doing badly, please take comfort in the fact that the rest of the world think so, too. In the latest ranking of the best and worst countries dealing with the pandemic, we finished 51 out of 54 countries surveyed.

Excerpts from The Best and Worst places to be as the world finally reopens:

  While parts of the developed world are awash with vaccines, supplies are tight and in some cases non-existent in swathes of Latin America, Africa and Southeast Asia. With infections continuing to flare, restrictions still in place and faltering vaccination rollouts, Argentina is ranked last of the 53 economies, and the Philippines, Malaysia and India round out the bottom four.

Bloomberg's Covid Resilience Ranking

Congratulations Mahiaddin Yasin. Congratulations KJ. Congratulations, Ismail Sabri. 

p.s. Ours is probably the only country where the frontliners get vaccinated last and have to pay for their jabs, too. In the case of journalists, it's a fact. And just now airport workers, who could have gotten their jabs back in May if a certain Minister had not called it off, complained their employers had to pay to get them vaccines for them. 

Read MAHB to bear Pikas vaccination costs for staffers, unions livid

Thursday, July 01, 2021

Airport unions want MAHB Board to defer awards, appointments & all else, and focus on only one thing tomorrow

"Focus on Subang airport. Everything else doesn't matter for now"

TTDI, 1 July: At tomorrow's Board meeting of the Malaysia Airports Holding Bhd, its chairman Zambry Abdul Kadir may read out a letter he had just received to the airport workers' trade unionists. It's not their first letter to the boss but it's probably the most urgent. The unions are asking Zambry, the directors and managers of MAHB to focus on one do-or-die thing for all of them: the Subang airport (LTSAAS). 

The message is: Stop the government from selling or leasing out Subang to anyone else. Everything else is secondary and can wait, the union leaders said. 

That includes the award of a couple of tenders, including the aerotrain project which may cost RM750 million if one of the highly-favoured bidders do get the favour.

The Vibes has the story on that one:

'PRICEY' Pestech to snag MAHB's aerotrain tender?

KUALA LUMPUR – Pestech International Bhd is the frontrunner to win the aerotrain tender by Malaysia Airport Holdings Bhd (MAHB), but industry sources are raising concerns over the listed integrated technology provider’s bid price.

The Vibes understands that while Pestech, in a joint venture with Canadian jets specialist Bombardier Inc, is the top choice, it is also the highest bidder at RM750 million. The floor or lowest offer from other tenderers is about RM450 million. 

Also vying for the project are MMC Corp Bhd and Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries; Hartasuma Sdn Bhd together with Austrian company Doppelmayr Seilbahnen GmbH; and SMH Rail Sdn Bhd and Malaysian Resources Corp Bhd (MRCB) in a tie-up with Leitner-Poma of America Inc.

The MAHB board is expected to decide on the winning bid for this project at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport when it meets on Friday. (Read more HERE)

Tomorrow's Board meeting is also supposed to discuss the tenure of MAHB's Group CEO Mohd Shukrie Mohd Salleh, which is ending soon. The unions don't make it their business to interfere with such appointments and they are likely to make that clear in the letter. Still, they said they would convey to the Chairman and his Board their hope that MAHB keeps all its good people and not resort to retrenchment during these hard times. "We're thankful to the management. To date, we all get to keep our jobs."

For the last two weeks or so, following a "strike" warning issued by the unions, various quarters had come out to slam a proposal to the Ministry of Transport from a property tycoon who said his company could transform LTSAAS if it's given a 70-year lease to develop the airport and its surrounding areas. Politicians from Umno, PKR, MUDA and DAP were united, even, in objecting the proposal on "national security" concerns.

On its part, MAHB has presented its own Rejuvenation Plan for LTSAAS but the reception to this from the government has been lukewarm, at best.

Zambry, one of the politicians appointed to head a GLC by PM Mahiaddin Yasin, has repeatedly said he's opposed to the proposed takeover by the property tycoon. The first time he came out to openly oppose the plan was a few days after the airport unions had written to him a letter dated May 6. Read here

READ ALSO: Cuepacs wants government to defer repayment of civil servants' housing loans

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

The King repeats himself, again: Reconvene Parliament NOW

KL, 29 June 21: Anywhere else in the world, or in a better Malaysia not too long ago, the King only needs to say it once. 

Here in Mahiaddin's Malaysia, His Majesty has to repeat himself. And the only reason our YDPA has to repeat himself is because some people just don't understand, or rather do not want to understand, what His Majesty wishes to do that is in the best interest of the people and the nation. Keywords: Some people, Everybody else understands very clearly what the King, the Council of Rulers, and the Rakyat want. 

Some people are just morons.

The Vibes has the story on the King's latest statement, for the benefit of the Prime Minister and the people around him who seem to have problems with comprehension:


 - Sitting must happen as soon as possible, says King

For good measure, let us reproduce the Istana Negara statement here so everyone can cross-check:

KENYATAAN MEDIA Kuala Lumpur, 29 Jun, 2021  
Adalah dimaklumkan bahawa KDYMM Seri Paduka Baginda Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah Ibni Almarhum Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah Al-Musta’in Billah berkenan menerima menghadap Yang di-Pertua Dewan Negara YB Senator Tan Sri Dr. Rais bin Yatim dan Yang di-Pertua Dewan Rakyat YB Datuk Azhar bin Harun di Istana Negara, hari ini. Turut hadir pada sesi yang berlangsung selama satu jam bermula pada jam 11.00 pagi ini ialah Timbalan Yang di-Pertua Dewan Negara YB Senator Dato' Seri Haji Mohamad Ali bin Haji Mohamad serta kedua-dua Timbalan Yang di-Pertua Dewan Rakyat, YB Dato' Haji Mohd Rashid bin Hasnon dan YB Dato' Sri Azalina binti Othman Said. 
Susulan sesi menghadap ini dan lanjutan daripada sesi Perbincangan Khas Raja-Raja Melayu yang telah berlangsung pada 16 Jun, 2021 lalu, Seri Paduka Baginda menzahirkan pandangan bahawa persidangan Parlimen perlu diadakan secepat mungkin dengan mengikut garis panduan dan prosedur operasi standard COVID-19 yang ditetapkan oleh Kerajaan dan Parlimen Malaysia. Ini bagi membolehkan Proklamasi Darurat dan Ordinan-ordinan Darurat yang telah dikeluarkan dapat dibentang di Parlimen seperti yang termaktub dalam Perkara 150 (3) Perlembagaan Persekutuan. 
Selain itu, Seri Paduka Baginda menzahirkan pandangan bahawa semua Jawatankuasa-Jawatankuasa Pilihan Parlimen Ke-14 hendaklah meneruskan sesisesi mesyuaratnya untuk pelaksanaan mekanisme semak dan imbang bagi menjamin berlakunya tadbir urus yang telus, berintegriti dan bertanggungjawab khususnya menangani isu-isu dasar awam dan kemasyarakatan serta hal ehwal kewangan dan perbelanjaan negara. 
Semasa sesi menghadap tersebut, Seri Paduka Baginda menzahirkan penghargaan dan terima kasih atas komitmen dan kesediaan pihak Parlimen untuk mengadakan persidangan Parlimen secepat mungkin. 
Perlu diperjelaskan juga di sini bahawa pandangan dan seruan-seruan yang dinyatakan ini merupakan pendirian Seri Paduka Baginda dan Duli-Duli Yang Maha Mulia Raja-Raja Melayu yang bertindak sebagai Raja Berperlembagaan berlandaskan prinsip keluhuran Perlembagaan Persekutuan dan kedaulatan undang-undangnya. Seri Paduka Baginda turut mengambil kesempatan ini menyeru rakyat untuk bersama mendoakan agar negara sentiasa berada di bawah lindungan Allah SWT, dijauhi dari sebarang musibah dan wabak COVID-19 dapat dibendung serta diakhiri dengan segera. 
Dato’ Indera Ahmad Fadil Shamsuddin, Datuk Pengelola Bijaya Diraja Istana Negara

Now, please, Mr Prime Minister, do the right thing: advise the King to reconvene Parliament. Don't let those morons drag you - and the people and the country - down any further.

Monday, June 28, 2021

In Malaysia, a company claiming to have been wronged by KPMG takes on one of the world's Big Four accounting firms

Burn, Big 4, Burn!

KL, 28 June 21: Serba Dinamik is a big corporation, by Malaysian standards. But compared with KPMG, it is tiny. In the eyes of the world's giant accounting firms, the Bumiputera entity is puny. Smaller than tiny. Therefore, news that the Sarawak-based MRO company has decided to sue KPMG, its own auditor until recently, is I-almost-fell-of -the-chair huge, shocking. What were the people at Serba Dinamik thinking? Have they gone mad? Suicidal? In all my years as a journalist - half that time as a financial reporter - no Malaysian company had dared defy the Big Four, let alone take them to court!

But that's what makes it interesting, right? David vs Golliath. The Underdogs vs, the, er,  Undergods.

So I asked a very seasoned accountant's take on the matter. The quality of the response, I must say, took me aback:

"I think it's time for corporations to fight back. For too long, they have abused their positions. Some have even held companies to ransom. Good time for the Big Four to burn."

Interesting, indeed.

Read: Serba Dinamic vs KPMG, a "shoplot auditor" case? - NST 

Saturday, June 26, 2021

The question is, Zafrul, will the government sell out MAHB (and the people) and let that property fella take over Subang airport?

Doublespeak is language that deliberately obscures, disguises, distorts, or reverses the meaning of words. ... It may also refer to intentional ambiguity in language or to actual inversions of meaning. In such cases, doublespeak disguises the nature of the truth. - Wikipedia

Subang, 26 June 21: Some of us were actually lulled into believing, upon reading Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul's statement yesterday, that the Government had rejected, or will not entertain, the proposal by a property tycoon to take over the entire operations of Subang airport, the country's second main gateway, from MAHB. 

But that turned out to be wishful thinking. It was soon made clear that Zafrul was just stating a non-issue: Putrajaya has no plans to sell Subang Airport property

A non-issue because from the very beginning, the sale of LTSAAS was never an issue or the issue. 

The issue is very simple: A company with political links but zero track record in aviation submitted a proposal in March to develop LTSAAS into a city airport. The property tycoon who heads the company would be given a lease up to 2092 if the government approves the proposal. 

The question the people have is also simple: Is the Government going to allow this tycoon and his small band of wealthy shareholders to take over the operations of LTSAAS and develop the Subang Airport property as it likes?

Zafrul, in his statement issued on his birthday yesterday (Happy belated birthday, YB), did not answer the above simple question and therefore did nothing to resolve the simple issue at hand. 

Read the MOF's full statement:

My favourite quotes? 

“In this regard, the Ministry of Finance (MoF) would like to advise all parties to not spread false news and rumors about this (sale of the Subang Airport), and the government will not hesitate to take appropriate action against the parties that do so,” 

Back to the LTSAAS issue, the Minister of Transport Wee Ka Siong also made a statement yesterday but it was a lame one. Read MOF will explain on LTSAAS issue soon.

Neither Zafrul nor Wee said that the tycoon's proposal to take over Subang airport from MAHB until 2092 has been rejected or will be rejected by the Cabinet. 

In other words, something  is still cooking for someone's port of gold.

Read alsoMAHB awaits not from government to implement Subang Airport Regeneration Plan

Thursday, June 24, 2021

UMNO, PKR against Subang airport takeover

Puchong, 24 June: They say Tok Mat is more popular among Malaysians than in his own party. I think it is easy to see why. The Umno No 2 spends little time politicking (not to say that he doesn't dabble at all) and more time addressing issues that affect not just his party members but the people. Mohamad Hasan's take on the takeover attempt of LTSAAS, involving a rich few and ministers in the Cabinet, is timely, compelling, a breath of fresh air. If politicians can balance their penchant for wine, women and themselves with an honest interest to overcome the struggle and suffering of the rakyat, this world will be a better place.

Hats off also to the PKR MP (How will takeover benefit Subang airport strategic plans?). for coming out boldly to support the workers' cause. 

p.s Who said Umno and PKR can't work together for the people's interest?

Mat Hasan supports airport workers’ protest against Subang takeover plan

KUALA LUMPUR, June 23, 2021: The protest by airport workers against a proposed takeover of the Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport (LTSAAS) in Subang has gain the attention of Umno deputy president Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan.

Mohamad, in a Facebook post today, expressed his support for the Malaysia Airports Workers Union (Kesma), which on Monday threatened to go on strike over the matter.

He said the government should not consider the proposal as the airport is a strategic asset own by Malaysia Airport Holdings Bhd (MAHB), which is a government-linked company entrusted with the people’s interests.

He stressed that the proposal to hand over the airport to rich individuals could be harmful to national interests.

“Many have forgotten that the LTSAAS is the nearest airport to Kuala Lumpur and other major cities such as Shah Alam, Klang and Petaling Jaya. We have lost the airport in Sungai Besi.

“In the event of a national emergency, LTSAAS is the nearest airport that we could utilise for emergency missions, humanitarian assistance, and evacuations. Due to this strategic interest, the airport should remain as a government’s asset,” he said.

Mohamad said the government should be transparent on any such proposal as the people have the right to be informed as they were the actual main stakeholders of LTSAAS.

He also advised the government not to be swayed by profit projections by private entities, especially since the proposal to take over the airport was made by a property developer with no real experience in air transport industry

He also called on the government to accept MAHB’s ‘Regeneration Plan’ for the airport which will double the number of global and local aviation operators there to more than 100 from the current 35.

The takeover of the airport was proposed by WCT Holdings Bhd, through its subsidiary Subang Skypark Sdn Bhd for the acquisition and rights to operate the airport until 2092.

Critics of the proposal have warned of possible losses of up to RM11.9 billion.

The airport is one of 39 currently being managed by MAHB.

MAHB group chief executive officer Datuk Mohd Shukrie Mohd Salleh had said that a comprehensive strategic plan for the long-term development of LTSAAS has been submitted to the government.

He also stated that MAHB has sufficient internal cash reserves to execute the project, which requires infrastructure investment of RM300 million staggered over the next five years. - The Mole

Read also whatSharan Raj had to say in (\PSM backs MAHB unions, calls for Subang airport deal to be scrapped