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