Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Manek Urai: To Blog or not to Blog, that is the question for UMNO


Play this video as you read this posting

I was surfing this morning and about ready to blog about an issue but stumbled into this posting by Cucu Tok Selampit here.

He was talking about PAS negative campaigning on the Internet. I am wondering whether UMNO has prepared or done anything about it.

In a tough fight to crawl up, the inches are everywhere to make the differences between winning and losing. Does not UMNO campaigner realised the need to answer the Interney attack?

Cucu Tok Selampit highlighted that PAS has already began a negative campaigning on BN's announced candidate Tuan Aziz Tuan Mat, the Ketua Pemuda for Kuala Krai.

Malaysiakini cleverly exposed allegation of corruption and unaccountable opulent lifestyle of candidate but used Tuan Aziz's denial as introductory piece. Subsequently, it flourish to blog posting like this here.

My friend, Bakaq of Penarik Beca already put up stories of cah keting within UMNO Kuala Krai from the Malaysiakini report. Bakaq is one of the prominent blogger promoted by blogger Shieh of Kickdefella during the "Blogger United revolution" of 2007 reacting to the lawsuit by New Straits Times against Rocky Bru and Jeff Ooi.

Let me not deny that the clash of UMNO warlords at Kuala Krai is legendary. UMNO Information Chief, Dato Ahmad Maslan can't blame me doing a cah keting on UMNO. I am nt quite sure now. Last heard was none.

Finally, Cucu Tok Selampit linked a subtle posting here on the responsibility of a Wakil Rakyat.

PAS has already put up several blogs dedicated to Manek Urai and all I see on Penggabung Suara, a prominent pro-UMNO Blog Aggregator is two personal initiatives blogs, both named Bicara Manek Urai but one run by a panelist of bloggers and another by Piggy Singh.

The blogs serve their own specific clientele of readers. The two of them can't be sufficiently effective. It is not regularly updated or minimal campaign communicative value. Others is needed to compliment them.

UMNO did not do too bad though. PAS also has two blogs dedicated to Manek Urai here and here.

Nevertheless, the fact is PAS and Pakatan Rakyat has more bloggers campaigning for Manek Urai. For that one pro-UMNO dedicated Aggregator, Penggabung Suara with 422 urls, PAS has several Blog Aggregators - Malaysiakita, Malaysiakita (BM), No2UMNO, and others not known. Its scary to add the list of url there.

There are two Kelantan Blog Aggregators dedicated for Kelantan - Direktori Bloggers Kelantan (469 url) and Kelantan Bloggers (235 url). Although it is not dedicated to Socio-Politics, the opposition and pro-opposition bloggers already made their presence there but too few pro-UMNO bloggers.

Basically PAS and Pakatan Rakyat have got their communication message and propaganda online. UMNO have yet to get started.

The so-called pro-UMNO bloggers on Penggabung Suara include current and former journolist and writers. They may not be quite you call pro-UMNO for they may take an independent stand.

Perhaps UMNO feel Internet and cyber campaign is not quite relevent for rural Manek Urai. The number of urban-based Manek Urai voters may not be that significant.

Remember that those few urban returning, educated and Internet savvy voters have an influencing effect on the opinion of their kinfolks. The Internet updated urban PAS campaigner going there will have some familiarity with Manek Urai to do their work. So Internet have it's limited role.

The real game is made on the ground. The direct contact between candidate and campaigners with voters, speaking directly to them, and winning their hearts is where it really matters.

The thing is this. UMNO have acknowledged new media but if they decide to abandon new media and not try out in Manek Urai, it will be lost opportunity to get on the learning curve.

There are sufficient number of experianced UMNO cyber players to lead UMNO's presence on the Internet. Unfortunately, they are not acknowledged and brought in the planning and organisation. They are merely sought after for views but not given leading and key roles.

Those leading the various teams and efforts to establshed UMNO's Internet presence are not players. It would not be a surprise that some can't open an e-mail, let alone have their own blog.

It is certainly difficult for this establshed players to work under novice commanders who will not earn their respect.

All this leads to UMNO's seriousness to actually engage in the new media. The new media maybe the tail end population of the communication demography but here lies the few million critical new young voters. UMNO leadership is aware of this.

But the problem is they are likely set in their old ways of doing things. The way is usually bureaucratic and it will not work with the cyber activist. They may have not realised, but their acknowledgement of new media is turning out to rhetorical.

To blog or not to Blog, that is the question for UMNO. But this blogger will soldier on.

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Saturday, June 27, 2009

Putarbelit dan wayang "Seniman Agung" Anwar Ibrahim

Jika kita melihat tingkah laku Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim dan para peguamnya sejak sebulan lalu maka pasti akan menimbulkan tanda tanya kepada ramai rakyat yang berfikiran terbuka, bebas dan menghormati undang-undang.

Para peguamnya berusaha menimbulkan keraguan sebelum perbicaraan. Malahan lebih jauh mereka mahukan pertuduhan jenayah ini digugurkan. Anwar adalah satu-satunya tertuduh yang bebas berkata apa-apa tanpa menghadapi kemungkinan dikenakan tindakan menghina mahkamah.

Anwar tidak boleh menolak hakikat bahawa ada satu laporan jenayah ke atas beliau. Pembantu Khasnya telah membuat laporan polis bahawa ia diliwat oleh pemimpin de facto Parti Keadilan Rakyat itu.

Apabila pertama kali laporan polis tersebut muncul dan tersebar, para pegawai Anwar menafikan Saiful seorang pembantu khas Anwar. Mereka mendakwa Saiful hanyalah pembuat kopi di pejabat.

Kemudiannya terbukti Anwar membawa Saiful sehingga ke luar negara untuk tugas rasmi. Malah gambar Saiful berada di belakang Anwar dalam beberapa siri ceramah pemimpin "agung" PKR itu juga mengesahkan lagi pengakuan saiful bahawa beliau merupakan pembantu khas kepada Anwar.

Ketika ini barulah mereka mengakui kedudukan sebenar Saiful.

Pasukan media Anwar kemudiannya menjalan propaganda fasa kedua dengan usaha menjatuhkan kredebiliti Saiful kononnya agen UMNO dan sebagainya. Perjumpaan beliau dengan Datuk Seri Najib, gambar beliau dengan pegawai menteri semasa beliau menjadi pemimpin pelajar disebarkan untuk mengukuhkan teori konspirasi mereka.

Selalunya kredebiliti saksi atau tertuduh diserang dan dimusnahkam di dalam perbicaraan. Namun Anwar dan para pegawai mereka menjalankan perbicaraan melalui media internet dan organ parti tanpa sebarang ruang pembelaan bagi mangsa.

Kemudiannya laporan perubatan yang dikeluarkan ditafsirkan sendiri oleh mereka sehingga menunjukkan seolah-olah Saiful berbohong. Mereka mentafsirkan tiada kesan luka. rodokan dan koyakan sebagai bukti liwat tidak pernah dilakukan oleh Anwar Ibrahim.

Mengapa mereka tergesa-gesa mahu mendahului perbicaraan mahkamah? Banyak gel atau krim pelincir yang membolehkan liwat berlaku tanpa memberi kesakitan kepada mangsa. Mereka mengabaikan ini. Malahan tindakan peguam Anwar mentafsirkan kenyataan tiada koyakan dan pendarahan sebagai bukti tidak berlaku liwat adalah cubaan mengelirukan umum.

Mereka mendakwa ini konspirasi UMNO. Jika benar ini merupakan konspirasi nescaya punggung Saiful akan dikenakan tusukan tumpul secara kasar supaya ada kesan luka dan koyakan dahulu bagi memastikan cerita beliau benar-benar mendatangkan kesan.

Ada juga penulis-penulis upahan Anwar yang menulis mendakwa apakah logik untuk seorang lelaki berusia 61 tahun dapat meliwat seorang pemuda berusia 23 tahun tanpa berlaku kekasaran. Apakah anak muda berusia 23 tahun ini tidak mempunyai kekuatan untuk menendang Anwar dan melarikan diri.

Penulis seperti ini sama ada berpura-pura bodoh untuk membantu memulihkan imej Anwar atau memang tidak mempunyai pengetahuan dalam kes-kes jenayah seksual.

Kes jenayah seksual boleh berlaku dalam keadaan menyerah taanpa kerelaan atas faktor-faktor psikologi. Faktor psikologi termasuklah takut kepada pengaruh pemangsa, terlalu hormat kepada pemangsa sehingga tidak dapat menolak kehendak seks dan beberapa isu psikologi lain yang boleh dibaca dalam kajian saintifik mahu pun menonton drama-drama "crime" barat. Dalam keadaan sedemikian kita akan mendapati tiada kesan kekerasan fizikal dapat ditemui. Kes-kes sedemikian juga banyak berlaku di kalangan paderi dan anak muda di barat yang pernah menjadi skandal beberapa tahun lalu.

Dalam sebulan ini kita terasa amat hairan mengapa Anwar bersungguh mahu menghalang perbicaraan daripada berlangsung. Sedangkan suatu ketika dahulu Anwar Ibrahim dengan lantang membuat kenyataan bahawa beliau bersedia menjawab segala pertuduhan liwat beliau di mahkamah.

Jika benar Anwar mahu membersihkan dirinya, inilah masa terbaik beliau menjawab semua soalan di mahkamah. Bukankah ini juga pentas terbaik untuk para peguamnya menyerang dan menjatuhkan kredebiliti Saiful (mangsa), bukti dan laporan Doktor sekaligus membebaskan Anwar.

Sekali lagi para penyokong Anwar akan mendakwa mahkamah tidak bebas biarpun sebahagian besar mereka langsung tidak boleh memahami para undang-undang melebih tiga baris awal.

Maka mereka berpegang kepada hujah-hujah logik peguam bela dan mengabaikan hujah-hujah logik pendakwa.

Untuk kumpulan ini, jika benar mahkamah tidak boleh dipercayai pun mengapa mereka tidak mahu mendengar sendiri keterangan Anwar dan keterangan Saiful serta membuat penghakiman sendiri?

Mengapa Anwar mahu mengelakkan perbicaraan mahkamah? Anwar mendapat pelbagai keistimewaan undang-undang termasuk dibenarkan bebas dengan jaminan sedangkan berdasarkan rekod pernah mengugut saksi, salah guna kuasa ke atas Polis dan kes jenayah liwat tidak memungkinkan tertuduh lain mendapat keistimewaan yang sama.

Malah bagi membolehkan Anwar membersihkan diri dari tuduhan, perbicaraan ini diadakan dalam kadar yang segera bagi ukuran kes-kes di malaysia.

Logikkah di dalam akal semua rakyat bahawa Anwar yang serba maksum dan tidak bersalah itu begitu bersungguh mengelakkan kes liwat beliau dibicarakan. Belum pun bermula perbicaraan peguam Anwar telah pun mempertahankan anak guamnya termasuk mempertikaikan bukti dan saksi pendakwa.

Mereka mahu menjalankan perbicaraan melalui media dan bukannya mahkamah untuk memberi tekanan kepada pendakwa, mangsa dan saksi.

Jika benar Anwar tidak bersalah dan percaya bukti-bukti yang ada menyebelahinya mengapa ia begitu tergesa-gesa untuk menyangkal bukti-bukti yang ada tanpa masuk ke mahkamah lagi?

Anwar, para peguamnya dan para media strategisnya sedang berusaha keras membentuk keraguan dan syak wasangka umum terhadap sistem kehakiman, perundangan dan juga kepada mangsa liwat beliau. Semua ini adalah usaha awal untuk mewujudkan anarkisme dalam masyarakat.

Akhirnya pemikiran anarki ini pasti akan diikuti dengan demontrasi jalanan dan kekecohan bagi mengalih perhatian umum dari fakta-fakta perbicaraan beliau kepada isu-isu dijalanan dan teori konspirasi ciptaannya.

Anwar, jika benar tidak bersalah, datang ke mahkamah pertahankan diri. Biar rakyat menilai fakta dan bukti kes bukannya menyebarkan pelbagai cerita separuh benar dan pelbagai kenyataan bela diri tanpa asas dan bukti yang sah.

Apa yang Anwar mahu sembunyikan? Apa bukti yang saiful ada dan Anwar tidak mahu ia terdedah di mahkamah? Mungkin inilah ketakutan sebenar Anwar yang tidak kita ketahui.

- Dipetik dari Catatan Editorial MyKMU dan gambar sinis dan pautan-pautan dari blog The Unspinners

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Thursday, June 25, 2009

1Malaysia: Senario Model Ekonomi Baru memestikan Melayu ubah sikap


Samada kita sedia atau tidak dan mahu menerima atau tidak, orang Melayu harus menyediakan diri untuk menghadapi perubahan Model Ekonomi Baru (New Economic Model) dengan sikap berdikari, tekun, dan daya maju. Realiti ekonomi dunia dan politik masakini tidak berupaya menampung polisi dan tuntutan affirmatif seperti yang lepas-lepas.

Dato Seri Najib Tun Abdul Razak telah mengumumkan penubuhan Jemaaah Ekonomi Kebangsaan atau Inggerisnya, National Economic Council (NEC). Pengerusi jemaah ini telah dilantik ia-itu Tan Sri Amirsham Aziz. dan terma rujukannya adalah khusus untuk menggubal satu New Economic Model (NEM).

Minggu lepas, Najib telah menyatakan model ekonomi baru akan mempunyai elemen tindakan afirmatif dari Dasar Ekonomi Baru tetapi ianya akan disesuaikan dengan realiti pasaran dunia yang global. Secara formal, DEB sudah lama dihentikan pada 1990 dan digantikan dengan polisi-polisi lain.

Tindakan afirmatif yang ingin dijalankan untuk membantu kaum Bumiputera, khususnya orang Melayu dan rakyat berpendapatan rendah harus selari dengan dunia pasaran bebas dan keperluan negara untuk meningkatkan upaya saing negara melalui pembangunan pekerja-pekerja mahir dan berpendapatan tinggi.

Realitinya tuntutan perjanjian-perjanjian perdagangan antarabangsa meletakkan Malaysia dalam keadaan terpaksa untuk membuka banyak sektor-sektor ekonomi tertentu. Jika tidak, kita tidak akan dapat meneruskan kegiatan perdagangan dengan negara lain. Sebagai salah satu negara perdagangan utama dunia, Malaysia sangat bergantung kepada perdagangan antarabangsa.

Sektor ekonomi tempatan tidak cukup besar dan negara sangat bergantung pada sektor luar (external). Ini juga salah satu cabaran bagi Jemaaah tersebut untuk menjana ekonomi tempatan dan mengurangkan risiko penggantungan kepada ekonomi dunia.

Saiz ekonomi negara kini sudah jauh lebih besar dari dahulu. Tuntutan ke atas peranan kerajaan sudah jauh berbeza. Tanggungjawab kerajaan sudah menjadi lebih kompleks. Ianya ditambah dengan beban yang besar untuk membetulkan kesilapan yang lepas.

Demografi penduduk sudah berubah dengan generasi muda lebih menyerlah. Samada mereka menyedari kesediaan dan keupayaan sebenar, anak muda Melayu sudah mahu menerima liberalisasi dan persaingan.

Politik orang Melayu sudah berpecah empat dan masing-masing memerlukan rakan parti bukan Melayu. UMNO sedang menghadapi kritikan dan tuntutan dari rakan-rakan parti dalam BN. Akibatnya rakyat bukan Melayu dan Bumiputera menjadi lebih bersuara dan mendesak dalam tuntutan mereka.

Orang Melayu yang pro-pembangkang pun ikut sama menyuarakan tuntutan yang sama. Mungkin sekali, motivasi mereka adalah semata-mata kuasa politik. Ada pula disebabkan kekecewaan tertentu. Ada pula kerana naluri semulajadi condong kepada pemikiran liberal. Tidak kurang yang disebabkan ketaksuban kepada pemimpin.

Dengan suara Melayu yang mulai lemah dan tidak bersatu, political will atau kesungguhan politik pun ikut lemah. Namun begitu, model ekonomi yang ada perlu dikemaskini kerana ianya berasaskan keperluan untuk membina integrasi kebangsaan dan menangani masaalah kemiskinan dikalangan penduduk, khususnya kaum Bumiputera.

Senario ekonomi sudah jauh berbeza dan berubah. Pembolehubah ekonomi (economic variable) dan hala tuju polisi sudah jauh berbeza dari dahulu. Cabaran kita kini adalah untuk menjadi kompetitif di pesada dunia yang lebih mencabar.

Sumber minyak dan gas dalam negeri yang satu masa dahulu adalah pelincir kepada pencapaian DEB kini sudah mula berkurangan. Pendekatan pemberiaan subsidi sudah membebankan dan diluar kemampuan kerajaan.

Ekonomi berasaskan tenaga buruh yang rendah sudah tidak sesuai. Negara tidak boleh meneruskan kegiatan ekonomi tertentu dengan mengharapkan kepada tenaga dari luar. Disamping itu, ia menimbulkan masaalah sosial dan keselamatan, termasuk perhubungan antarabangsa.

Rakyat kita sudah tidak mahu melakukan pekerjaan buruh yang bergaji rendah. Taraf kehidupan sudah meningkat dan gaya hidup sudah berbeza. Ekonomi kita sudah sampai masa untuk diubah asas kepada model pendapatan tinggi (high income model). Ciri-ciri model ekonomi sedemikian memerlukan suntikan keupayaan innovasi, kreatif dan tambah nilai.

Proses kerja perlu diubah dan memerlukan kemaskinian dan peningkatan pengisian peralatan dan metod pengurusan moden. Penekanan perlu kepada meningkatkan kemahiran dan pengetahuan sumber manusia melalui latihan-latihan kemahiran dan kursus-kursus pengurusan yang berterusan.

Ini supaya pendapatan yang tinggi dapat diimbangi dengan pengeluaran dan hasil yang jauh lebih baik.

Ekonomi yang berasaskan pendapatan yang tinggi tidak lagi sesuai untuk menjalankan kegiatan ekonomi ala tenaga buruh pendapatan rendah. Semua kegiatan ekonomi perlu diubahsuai dan disuntikkan elemen innovasi, dan kreativiti untuk menambahkan nilai dan pulangan.

Sudah sampai masanya, ekonomi negara ditingkatkan ke arah sektor perkhidmatan. Komponen perkhidmatan dalam ekonomi negara masih rendah dalam lingkungan 50%. Najib sudah menyatakan sektor perkhidmatan perlu dipertingkatkan hingga ke 70% dalam masa terdekat.

Menurut sumber dari Kementerian Industeri dan Perdagangan Luar, sektor perkhidmatan telah lama dibuka dan ditawarkan kepada Bumiputera tetapi peluangnya tidak diambil. Ini yang memerlukan kerajaan membuka sub-sektor tertentu untuk menarik pelaburan luar (FDI). Namun begitu, bidang-bidang yang didefinasikan sebagai strategik masih tidak dibuka dan dikekal struktur pegangan saham yang ada.

Dimana Melayu dalam NEM ini? Kita boleh terus menuntut supaya keadaan dan kemudahan yang kita kecapi selama ini tidak diubah. Mungkin kita berupaya menggunakan tekanan dan pengaruh, tetapi tidak semua tuntutan dapat dilayani.

Sebagai individu, Melayu terpaksa mengubah sikap dengan secara drastik dan bersedia menerima realiti. Sedikit sebanyak, kita perlu bersedia untuk berdikari dan merancang masa depan ekonomi kita, pelajaran anak-anak dan membimbing kerjaya diri dan anak-anak.

Melayu perlu merancang seolah-olah kerajaan tidak dapat membantu lagi. Tindakan afirmatif kerajaan sememangnya tidak sepatut membantu mereka yang sudah berada di peringkat tengah tetapi hanya kepada yang miskin dan peringkat pendapatan rendah.

Peruntukkan kerajaan untuk membantu orang Melayu perlu menjurus kepada ruang yang ada kesan tinggi (high impact) dan tidak lagi untuk pengganti tanggungjawab peribadi. Tidak termampu kerajaan untuk terus membina sekolah asrama penuh atau pelbagai kemudahan asas untuk semua umat Melayu. Peruntukkan perlu disalurkan dengan lebih efisyen dan berkesan.

Sudah sampai masanya, kaum menengah dan atasan Melayu meringankan beban kerajaan dengan menjalankan tanggungjawab sendiri. Mereka perlu ke hadapan mengambil peranan dan menyumbang kepimpinan untuk membina masyarakat Melayu yang viable dari segi ekonomi.

Sudah lama keadaan menuntut orang Melayu berfikir sebagai satu komuniti yang bersikap berdikari, dan berhala tuju dalam membangunkan masyarakatnya. Kalau tidak bangsa itu merubah nasibnya, tidak ada orang lain yang akan menolong.

Dengan kepimpinan komuniti yang ikhlas dan efektif serta kebolehan yang kreatif dan berinovasi, lambat laun ia pasti jauh lebih berkesan dari sikap meminta-minta dan mengharap hanya kepada kerajaan. Anggaplah bantuan dan sokongan kerajaan sebagai satu bonus.

Bangsa kita perlu ditanamkan kesedaran dan sedikit rasa cemas (seige mentality) supaya ada perasaan perlu segera timbul dalam sanubari hati kita. Jika dapat diwujudkan sikap berdikari, ini boleh meningkatkan semangat kerjasama dan kesetiakawanan sebangsa untuk sentiasa mahu tolong menolong dan maju bangun bersama.

Dengan kaum Bumiputera merupakan 66% penduduk negara, tidak mustahil untuk kita bangun menguasai ekonomi negara tanah tumpah darah. Menurut sejarah orang Melayu pun, kita adalah bangsa pedagang dan pelaut. Usaha dan kesungguhan orang Melayu yang membina sejarah kegemilangan di masa silam. Ia hanya memerlukan kesungguhan, kerjasama dan kebijaksanaan untuk mengembalikan kegemilangan itu.

Sudah masa kita bercita-cita tinggi untuk mahu menguasai ekonomi dan tidak dibelengu dengan hanya mahukan bahagian 30%.

Ditulis oleh Citrawaras dan dipetik dan sunting dari MyKMU


* Sila baca Aspan Alias mengenai isu kedudukkan kewangan MARA yang kekeringan sini. Sebelum ini, saya menafikan tuduhan Lim Kit Siang sini dan Najib sudah membuat kenyataan. Siapa yang melecehkan hingga menjadi masaalah?

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Tourism Ambassador issue is out; Charges on dental corruption case changed

Back on September 4, 2008, yes 12 days before Anwar's ascend to premiership, I wrote a piece entitled Whats Michelle Yeoh got to do with Tourism DG, Mirza's dental corruption?

It was during the last days of Pak Lah's administration. He was trying hard to erase the perception of corruption and hopefully to save his premiership.

There were several people charged including the former Director General for Tourism Malaysia, Dato Mirza Mohammad Taiyab. His was the ridiculous corruption charge for dental service costing about RMRM13,860.00.

Blogger Hantu Laut saw it as going after the small fish but letting the big ones away. This is in opposite to the basic rule in outdoor sports of fishing. Release the small fish and go for the big one.

My source said something similar happen. It was to catch the small fish in order to let the big fish go. Just go back to the link for the story to know who was the suspected big fishes.

However, the latest development have made the story not as it was written. Instead of Michelle Yeoh, it was Jean Todt that was appointed Tourism Ambassador. The annual multimillion package turn out to be about RM1 million a year.

In the meanwhile, the latest heard is the prosecution had changed their charges. It came just about the time when Mirza was to submit his defense affidavit.

If it had been Anwar Ibrahim, there would have been a big fuss. But there was none for Mirza. I guess we can assume that usually the apolitical civil servant Mirza had not jumped over to PKR side.

The latest revelation had PKR's hand in it. It is Azmin that raised the issue in Parliament yesterday.

In an interesting note, a commentator pointed out in the blog Barking Magpie that the dentist and prosecutor witness, Dr Kamsiah is now married to Din Merican, one of Anwar's "strategist" in his office. They had just celebrated her Birthday here.

Din confirmed he is back to blissful marriage life. An overdue belated Selamat Pengantin Baru and congratulations.

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Azmin: Why spend RM1mil to hire Jean Todt and Michelle Yeoh?

Suara Keadilan, Thursday, 25 June 2009

MP for Gombak Azmin Ali has asked the government to explain why it spent nearly a million ringgit to hire former Ferrari Formula One owner Jean Todt and his fiance Malaysian actress Michelle Yeoh as tourism ambassadors for the country when there were already tourism offices in major European cities.

According to the PKR vice president, Todt’s annual fees amounted to RM593,400 while the couple received RM388,000 for holidays in Malaysia. Their flights alone cost up to RM360,000.

“This is only the flight costs. It does not include overseas accommodation, traveling expenses and lifestyle allowance,” Azmin later told reporters at the sidelines of Parliament.

During the sitting, Deputy Tourism Minister Sulaiman Abdul Rahman Taib had refused to answer Azmin’s question, saying it was unrelated to the original question which was on the types of films and documentaries produced to promote tourism.

Did the gov’t offer him land? Was it for free?

Azmin also demanded to know if the government had offered land to Todt , who allegedly is building a home in Pulau Besar near Kuala Terengganu.

Todt was given approval this year to participate in the Malaysia My Second Home programme which allows him to buy property and live in Malaysia

“I have proof on the offer of land to Todt in Pulau Besar. I have documents to show that there has been communication between the ministry and Jean Todt on the matter,” said Azmin.

“But I’m not going beyond that until the ministry comes out with an open statement on the matter. Was the land given for free? They have to come clean. What is the premium paid by Jean Todt? What is the acreage given to him?”

Tourism Minister Ng Yen Yen later confirmed that Todt was appointed as tourism ambassador for a two-year period beginning May this year. According to her, Todt’s “presence in Europe will increase Malaysia visibility”.

She also claimed that the RM1 million allocated for the tenure of his appointment has yet to be spent.

“The money is not in the form of cash to him. To promote Malaysia in Europe, RM1 million is nothing,” Yen Yen said.
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RM1m for ex-Ferrari F1 boss to promote Malaysia

By Sharon Tan, The Edge
Thursday, 25 June 2009

Tourism Malaysia has allocated RM1 million for former Ferrari F1 boss Datuk Seri Jean Todt to promote the country.

The sum is for a two-year budget that has been set aside for Todt, who was appointed ambassador for Tourism Malaysia in May.

Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen was clarifying a statement by Azmin Ali (Gombak-PKR) that Todt was offered RM1 million to be ambassador for Tourism Malaysia.

“The RM1 million allocated to him is not cash to him,” said Ng. “It is given when he travels, and whenever he meets people.

So this is a two-year budget set aside for him.

“We need him to go and promote the country. When you want to go on a promotion in Europe, RM1 million gets you nothing. So yes, he has been allocated the money, but not in his pocket. It is in the ministry,” she said during a press conference at the parliament lobby on June 24.

Ng said Todt’s presence and connectivity in Europe and around the world would be able to bring more visibility to Malaysia.

“We also want him to promote the Malaysia My Second Home programme,” she said. Tourism Malaysia would spend accordingly and would be transparent and accountable, said Ng. The money would be used on air tickets and meetings.

Ng said that Tourism Malaysia had yet to spend the allocation for Todt.

“This budget is not for his pocket. This budget is for expenses incurred when he needs to go (and) meet people such as top media people or top television people,” she said, adding that Todt also arranged for her to meet top film producers while she was in Paris.

She said the appointments would not have been possible without his help.

Ng also dismissed Azmin’s allegation that Todt and his fiancee Datuk Michelle Yeoh were offered a piece of land in Pulau Besar, Terengganu.

Earlier, Azmin had raised the question in the House during the question and answer session but Deputy Tourism Minister Datuk Sulaiman Taib Mahmud had refused to answer as it was not related to the original question.
----------------------------

Maybe it is a good idea or maybe not. But be aware that the F1 seemed to be splitting up.

Now, was I off-the-mark? It seems so. But for my ego sake, can we just say they changed the Ambassador and amount because I leaked the news? It inspires me to keep blogging :)

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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Dato Seri Prime Minister, you just have to drop Omar Ong

Today the Malaysian public is talking about the rejection by the Board of Director of Petronas for the Board appointment of Omar Ong. It came out in Singapore's Straits Times yesterday.

Remember you heard about it first on Another Brick in the Wall here on May 18th, 2009. The reason quoted in ST first came out here on May 26th, 2009.

Subsequently, it is here that you heard of an impending appointment of former Minister, Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar for Chairmanship post.

This reminds me of the rejection of Khairy's request to be appointed Chief Operating Officer of Khazanah many years ago. Lucky thing it didn't happen. Pak Lah's legacy is already bad. One can't imagine how much worse thinsg could be if it had happened.

Before dwidling further, lets' read the Straits Times report in full below:


Najib’s bid to put aide on Petronas board hits snag

Directors say PM's nominee had defaulted on scholarship; Petronas Adviser says "not good idea."

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s bid to appoint his key aide as a director of Petronas is being resisted by the board and could put the Premier at odds with the national oil corporation's influential adviser, former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

According to senior government officials, the board of directors of Petroliam Nasional (Petronas) raised reservations over the proposal to appoint Omar Mustapha at its monthly meeting last month.

Omar is one of the premier's closest political confidants.

The reservations were made on the grounds that he had defaulted on his scholarship loan agreement with Petronas two decades ago.


Picture: Mr Omar worked briefly at Petronas, a tenure the oil firm

says was not enough to meet his scholarship obliogation

Najib, however, is determined to have Omar appointed as a director. He ordered the Petronas board to review its position over the appointment at a meeting this week, the government officials said.

Petronas officials have declined comment, and Omar could not be reached.

Dr Mahathir, who government officials said has been briefed about the situation, told The Straits Times yesterday that it was Najib's prerogative as Premier to “appoint a man who failed to honour his obligation to Petronas when he was given a scholarship by it”.

“Generally, I would say that it is not a good thing to appoint such a person,” he said in a written response.

Najib's office did not respond to requests for comments.

Petronas, Malaysia's only company on the Fortune 500 listing of the world's most profitable companies, is considered to be the country's most efficiently managed state-owned corporation.

Incorporated in August 1974, the corporation has firmly established itself as a global energy player over the last two decades. It currently operates in over 30 countries, and its overseas operations, including exports, account for more than 75 per cent of its revenue.

Many oil industry experts and bankers credit the oil company's phenomenal growth to the government's hands-off approach to the running of the oil corporation.

Omar, 38, has emerged as one of the closest political confidants of Najib and is often tapped for advice on economic and financial matters.

“A politician in Petronas may have other agenda which may or may not be in keeping with the national interest,” Dr Mahathir said in his comments to The Straits Times.

He added: “I think it is far better if no politician is allowed to interfere with commercial decisions which may not be good for the corporation.”

Positions on the board of Petronas and its subsidiary companies have traditionally been reserved for very senior civil servants and prominent private sector personalities.

Omar graduated from Oxford on a scholarship from Petronas in the mid-1990s and worked briefly with the national oil corporation and another government-linked corporation.

He then joined McKinsey & Co, where he worked for the international consulting company in London and Malaysia.

He left McKinsey in early 2002 to set up his own consultancy firm called Ethos with several close friends. Two years later, he was tapped by Najib, who was then the deputy prime minister, to become his special officer.

Government officials familiar with Omar's proposed appointment to the board of Petronas said that the national oil corporation takes a firm view against scholarship defaulters.

Omar did not complete the required number of years of service with the oil corporation or a related government agency as stipulated in his scholarship agreement
Dato Seri Najib should take not take this rejection personally but with pride, it auger well to revive confidence in the administration. It shows those assigneed as guardian of the nation's wealth are people of integrity, impecable character, and conviction. It bodes well for public confidence on the Government.

Omar may look to have an impressive resume but on further inspection, it is limited in depth and time. The problem with the Tingkat 4 boys was the same and without wisdom, the messed they have created is irreparable within Najib's first term. He and us have to certainly work hard to gain his second term.

Placing someone before due time is a disastrous decision. Paul Mason shall sell no wine before it's time. So does placing young untested wannabees at high places. If Omar is someone truly of great potential, he has to undergo the time honoured process to prove his mantle.

We can't afford to keep pushing untested young ones without experiacne and wisdom to the forefront. Allow me to quote few.

If we care to remember, what happened to Dato Rosman, a former CEO of Malaysia Airport berhad which was brought to the forefront by Tan Sri Nor Mohamad Yakcop and the late Tan Sri Basir Ismail?

After MAC, he joined Pernas Construction as CEO. What happen to Pernas Construction today? Without sufficient knowledge and experiance to guide his underlings, he was a CEO that merely assign and scold. Percon does not exist anymore and had went under. My childhood friend with 30 years in construction had the displeasure of worling under him.

Tan Sri Nor Mohamad Yakcop had the pleasure of plucking two young ones to the top of MRCB. Have they turned into wise and humble leaders with the compassion and respect of their army? I am not quite sure. Dato Abdul Rahman and Dato Shahril that used to together lead MRCB is described as a heartless and questioned of honesty.

Rahman is rumoured to takeover Tenaga Nasional Berhad CEO position from Cik Khalib. The disturbing words is he won't accept anything less than RM2 million a year with the pluses.

With Cik Khalib leaving TNB, words are he will be moving to Sime Darby to replace Zubir Mursyid. I am not too sure of the faith of Zubir. With practically "one-product company" TNB making a RM900 million loss, could CK manage a multi-business conglomorate Sime Darby, which is three diversified plantation giant all-in-one?

Is CK being groomed for Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar's Khazanah' top post? And, Azman for Petronas? At least, there is no more talk of Senator and MOF II Azman.

Picking on someone for the top post must not be based on merely personal preferences. He or she must be checked out thorougly and opinions of his peers, competitots and subordinates checked? How many peers and subordinates has Omar Ong accumulated in his career filled with many froggings of one place to another? What is his real core competency? Webmastering?

Thus, I beg of you, Dato Seri Prime Minister. You have to drop Omar Ong and he has to take the time honoured process. You have a wealth of other choices, if you care to ask the right network of people, sir.

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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Potential H1N1 epidemic due to neglect by health high official

LATEST: 24/6 A(H1N1): First case in Johor: 19-yr-old female student returning from Melbourne via Changi Airport Singapore on flight SQ0238 on June 22/STAR 9:54 am

All of a sudden we are faced with schools closed due to the virus H1N1. Prior to this, we were informed as though things are under controlled.

The public was given the impression that any detenction of fever upon entry into our Airport will have necessary precaution taken. The Airline have been cooperative to immediately send passengers for quarantine on any possibilities of H1N1.

Since the early detection of H1N1 in the country, there have been a serious neglect on the part of the Ministry of Health.

An insider within the health industry revealed that a high official had been informed by an international health organisation official of the serious H1N1 situation in Australia. (Read below a June 2nd, 2009 news report on the situation in Australia).

The official believed to be a Tan Sri chose to ignore the warning and was complacent in his reaction. They was no public warning put out to Malaysians to avoid Australia as a holiday destination for the recent school holiday.

From the closure of several schools in Klang Valley, it is understood that a sizable number of the initially infected students include those returning from Australia for holiday. Thus for the caution statement on travelling abroad to Australia and the United States.

Despite realising the seriousness and increasing number of infected numbers, this blogger was informed that the particular Ministry official did not react to the matter with urgency.

The Health Ministry merely attempted to contact the passengers returning via handphones to request them to voluntarily undergo quarantine. All was done at a lack-a-daisical pace.

The Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai have made some reassuring statements for the public. However, the insider believe that the neglect of his high official has placed Malaysia to possibility of a contagion effect that could result in a H1N1 epidemic. As it is, the infected number is on the rise fast.

This posting is meant to alert the Government and public to be more urgent, dilligent and undertake necessary public and personal precautions. Public health must not be taken likely!

-----------------------------

A/H1N1 flu situation is escalating in Australia

www.chinaview.cn 2009-06-03

HONG KONG, June 2 (Xinhua) -- With more and more new lab-confirmed cases of the A/H1N1 flu found in the Asia-Pacific region, the flu situation in Australia is worse with over 300 confirmed cases in the country on Thursday.

Australian health authorities have confirmed that more than 300 people have been diagnosed with the flu and all states and territories are now affected by the virus.

The number of cases diagnosed in Victoria has now risen to 212,Queensland has reported 20 cases, New South Wales 57, South Australia 7, the ACT 4 and Tasmania, Western Australia and the Northern Territory have one case each.

Queensland Health Minister Paul Lucas told the parliament Tuesday it's inevitable there will be deaths in Australia from the flu.

Lucas said that the A/H1N1 flu situation is escalating in Australia and the ultimate spread of it in greater numbers can hardly be stopped.

"Inevitably you expect to see deaths in Australia from swine flu," Lucas said.

What the Health is doing is slowing it and seeking to contain it and will continue to take every appropriate action to fight against it, said he.

He said around 1,000 to 3,000 Australians died each year from influenza.

The tally of confirmed A/H1N1 flu cases on the Chinese mainland has risen to 43 on Tuesday as four more people were confirmed infected with the virus while in Hongkong, Another three people were tested positive for the A/H1N1 virus on Tuesday, taking the number of confirmed cases in the city to 26, according to information from local health authorities.

In Thailand, Thai Public Health Ministry announced Tuesday that another Thai is confirmed to be infected by the A/H1N1 influenza virus, the fifth case in the country.

India has confirmed two more new cases. A 34-year-old woman and her five-year-old son from Tamil Nadu, southern India, who returned from the United States on May 28, have been confirmed to be infected with the A H1N1 influenza virus, said Indian health officials Tuesday.

In New Zealand, a child on a recent flight from North America has Influenza A/H1N1, bringing the number of confirmed cases in New Zealand to 10, the Health Ministry said on Tuesday.

Singapore confirmed its 8th case of Influenza A/H1N1 on Tuesday. According to the country's Health Ministry, the patient is a 15-year-old Singaporean boy who is studying in India. He travelled from India to Orlando and Atlanta on a school trip from May 17 to 31. He returned to Singapore from Atlanta via Mumbai on Singapore Airlines SQ421 on June 1.
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No Plan To Close All Schools In Klang Valley - Muhyiddin

Bernama June 23rd, 2009

PUTRAJAYA, June 23 -- The government has no plan to close all schools or ban public gathering in the Klang Valley although most of the Influenza A (H1N1) cases are reported in the area, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said Tuesday.

He said the government would apply the World Health Organisation (WHO) protocols in containing the spread of the virus.

"Unless there is an obvious need for it, we don't want to raise unnecessary alarm among the people," he told reporters after attending a luncheon with Malaysian diplomats at the 7th Heads of Mission Conference at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre, here.

He was asked whether the government would take the measures following the rise in the number of confirmed cases of H1N1 in the Klang Valley.

To date, 68 cases have been reported natiowide and four schools in the Klang Valley were told to close for a week due to the spread of the virus.

Muhyiddin said the Health Ministry was monitoring the situation and would take all the necessary action to contain the disease.

On Malaysia's proposal that countries imposed screening of travellers at the exit points, Muhyiddin said the WHO would deliberate the matter at a forum.

Until there was a consensus on the matter, Malaysia would carry on with existing protocols of screening travellers at the entry points, he said.

On the upward trend in the spread of the virus in the country, with 10 more cases reported today, bringing the total cases to 68, Muhyiddin said he hoped it could be contained as soon as possible.

He also asked the Health Ministry to hold sessions with teachers and parents to explain the necessity for the school closure so that they could help in containing the virus.

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Monday, June 22, 2009

Who should be accountable for UEM's Supplemental Agreement screw up?


The last time this image was displayed here, the reaction from UEM and UEMB managementis that this blogger was only bluffing.

They assumed this blogger had only the front page and probably it is fabricated. True, it's easy to fabricate. All one need is Microsoft Words program and other image making software. They think they are calling my bluff.

Such comment insults my intelligence and integrity. This force me to disclose in full. The Supplemental Agreement (SA) supposedly to be signed between ASHGAL and UEM was ready on June 24th, 2007 for execution but it was not done. The supposed final version of the much awaited Agreement could be download here.

Is there such agreement? It seemed the prepared reply in the event this blogger revealed the document is that the Qatari did not want to sign. Is that true? If that is their response, it doesn;t make sense. How come there is a final version if the Qatari don't agree?

Nothing piss me off than attempts to lie. Someone must be accountable for this kind of screw-up.

It is not sufficient for organisation to have plans, institute corporate governance, and claim to practise transparency. There must be assigned responsibilities and he/she or a group must be accountable before whatever necessary steps needed. No hiding under carpet.

If the same attitude remain to let the accountable party, be it in Khazanah and UEM, go and even be promoted up the corporate ladder, more exposes will be done. This is a national treasure and no one should be left unscathed from this.

Little bird had sent an SMS to explain how the screw-up happened. The SMS is revealed below (edited):

Between April and June 2007 over solid 2 months, UEMB spent a lot of time in Doha sorting out the contents of the SA. Board members Rahim Noh, Dato Rosli, and Hj Saidin went through the Term & Conditions (T&C) of the SA. Back here, Christina, UEM Internal Legal Advisors drafted the execution copy of the Agreement (the downloadable copy). The defense to allegation is the Qatari will not sign it. How could Qatari not sign when the T&C was already agreed upon? When it is time to sign, Haji Saidin, the Head of Contract did not give to the Qatari to sign. Who gave the instruction to him? Azman Mokhtar (Khazanah CEO and Board Member of UEM) knows about it because he was supposed to know.
Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar was known to keep a close eye and to the extent of micro-managing some companies particularly ailing ones like UEM. Remember the Pantai Medical Centre debacle with the Singaporean, his hands is literally there.

We shall await for further the reaction from Khazanah and UEM. Will there be drastic action or another hiding under the carpet? Superman? Ciku Muda? Ciku bergetah? Ciku-ciku boleh dimakan?

From the top, the people accountable are as follows:

Khazanah Nasional Berhad's Board of Directors
Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib bin Tun Hj Abdul Razak, Chairman
Dato’ Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah
Tan Sri Dato' Nor Mohamed Yakcop
Tan Sri Md Nor Yusof
Raja Tan Sri Dato' Seri Arshad Bin Raja Tun Uda
Datuk Seri Panglima Andrew Sheng
Dato' Mohammed Azlan bin Hashim
Dato' Mohamed Azman bin Yahya
Dato' Mohamed Azman bin Yahya
Tan Sri Dato' Azman bin Hj. Mokhtar
Khazanah Nasional Berhad's Management Team

Tan Sri Dato' Azman bin Hj. Mokhtar, Managing Director
Dato' Mohammad Zainal Shaari – Executive Director, Chief Operating Officer
Ganen Sarvananthan – Executive Director, Investments
Ben Chan – Executive Director, Investments
Ismael Fariz Ali – Executive Director, Investments
Michael Jude Fernandez – Executive Director, Investments
Tunku Mahmood Fawzy bin Tunku Muhiyiddin – Executive Director, Investments
Shahnaz Al-Sadat Abdul Mohsein – Executive Director, Strategic Human Capital Management
Nungsari Ahmad Radhi – Executive Director, Research and Investment Strategy
Abdullah Abdul Hamid – Executive Director, Transformation Management Office and Special Projects
Mohd Nadziruddin bin Mohd Basri – Executive Director, Chief Financial Officer

Their resume available here.
The Board of Directors and Ultimate Management of UEM Group

Tan Sri Datuk Dr Ahmad Tajuddin Ali, Chairman
Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar
Dato’ Ir Abdul Rahim Abu Bakar
Abdul Kadir Md Kassim
Shahnaz Al-Sadat Binti Abdul Mohsein
Dato’ Seri Ismail Shahudin

Audit Committee (effective March 16, 2009)
Abdul Kadir Md Kassim, Chairman
Shahnaz Al-Sadat Binti Abdul Mohsein
Dato’ Seri Ismail Shahudin

Nominations & Remuneration Committes (effective March 16, 2009)
Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar, Chairman
Dato’ Ir Abdul Rahim Abu Bakar
Abdul Kadir Md Kassim

Management Team can be found here.
The Board of Directors and Ultimate Management of UEM Builder

Dato’ Ir Abdul Rahim Abu Bakar, Independent Non-Executive Chairman
En. Abd. Rahim Md. Noh
Dato' Ridza Abdoh Haji Salleh, Managing Director

Management Team can be found here.
A common occuring name from the top to the bottom Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar, Shahnaz Al-Sadat Abdul Mohsein, Dato Ir Abdul Rahim ABu Bakar. What is Azman Mokhtar's position on this Supplemental Agreement?

As the person at the top of the heap, I urge Dato Najib to look into the matter. There could be a case of serious negligence and definately incompetence.

* Update: 4:30 pm, 5:00 pm

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Musical Prelude for UEM: Call it Stormy Monday


I am bluffing? Calling my bluff?

Enjoy this song while you can.

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Friday, June 19, 2009

Time for Bloggers' Shareholders activism


George Choo called for Izzudin to revive his Sime Darby Watch. I am not sure if that is his real name. RockyBru, who knows the person, will not squell on his identity.

George went further to suggest that someone or a group of people out there take up the challenge to establish a Petronas Watch and other GLC Watch. Anonymous comentator volunteered to take up the challenge for MAS. He called his upcoming blog MAS Liberators.

With the barrage of responses from UEM staff venting out their anger, there must be someone out there creating a UEM Watch. I got many other fronts and battles to fight. May I suggest a blog name as UEM Undercurrent?

It may seemed more like Company staff venting their anger at Management but it serve the purpose in an area of corporate governance called shareholders activism. The staff are highlighting issues that serve the purpose of protecting the interest of shareholders and stakeholders of the company.

Stakeholders of a Company range from the menial workers making a living with the Company to the executive and management running the Company. There is the minority shareholders and institutional investors. The Government's and politicians' concern are on many front as tax collector, direct shareholders, local community interest, and the nation's economy.

While abroad some years back, I saw a anti-corruption agency ad on TV. It was encouraging whistleblowers from within Companies. The message was simple. "Do not close your eyes to insidious happenings in the Company. Corrupt practices and leakage will blead the Company and it will jeopardise your ricebowl."

Having had some pockets of experiance here and there, I have long made the conclusion that the most corrupt institution in this country are the corporate boys and public listed corporation.

The practices did not start from the rise of the Melayu Baru but it is actually a tradition from the days of the towkey dominated big businesses. Today's problem, as I see, is more centred are on the problem of incompetence and systemic moral issue within GLCs and extend to some PLCs.

Much have been written in my many exposes of UEM, MAS, AirAsia, ECM Libra, Sime Darby, etc on the issue of incompetence, unethical practises, and moral hazard attitude of too-big-to-fail. At the manager and staff level, there is the prevalence of a near acceptable culture to abuse power and authority to collect commission or taking a cut of the contract via cash or account abroad from contractors or suppliers.

The new generation of young wannabees, thanks to groups like IMF, UKEC, etc. are going around with the attitude that they are too good for themselves. They believe they are too smart to undergo the time honoured process and should be CEO yesterday.

The usual compain is that the honesty and integrity of the young wannabees are compromisable by their greed to make a quick buck and reach the top fast. This is why I despise what the Khairy Jamaluddins, the Zaki Zahids and the Omar Ongs represents but smart asses that signals the further degradation in morality of our society.

Coming back to shareholders activism, it does exist here but with limited effectiveness.

Under the auspices of the Securities Commission with funding from Institutional Shareholders such as EPF, PNB, etc., there have been effort to establish the Minority Shareholders Watchdog Group (MSWG).

I personally know two previous CEOs of MSWG and the little I know, MSWG have much limitations. I an not sure if the new MSWG CEO is heading the right direction. She must understand the way the game is played. Sorry if I offend Kak Marina Mahathir, but women can be quite naive at times.

The media and securities analyst do play their role but abuses are at large. There are business columnists and editors on some corporate players' payroll. Any expose intended could subject the newspaper to threat from their corporate advertisers. Pressure piles in from the top. Sadly they are in the best poition to do so with their network and database.

As for our analyst, the last time I was in the market, they are not real researchers but rely on illegal insiders for info. If the squell on their informer, they will be out of the loop and no tips for the brokers clients. They are not really independent, objective, and let alone bold enough to put these Companies in a spot. They have the power to pressure them through their personal wealth on the stock market.

The only avenue for the common man shareholders to vent out their issues is in the General Meeting. Their votes does not change or remove incompetent Directors and Management. If anyone been to these General Meetings, the common shareholders are usually pensioners and apek and nyonya who come to such meeting to rush and tapau the served food home.

They are not able to ask and probe the Company on pertinent issues affecting the Companies. Such typical complain heard will be those about door gifts, and packet drinks and biscuits for refreshment. That is not to say they do not ask difficult questions. They do.

The moment the few dare to ask, the PR Department would pre-empt to take this shareholders out to a fancy restaurant for private Q&A sessions and they are gone. Sometimes those that dare to stand up to ask questions are merely asking questions prepared by others that they can;t follow up the on the issues.

I personally have drilled these fancifully dressed set of Directors, Corporate Advisers and their Lawyers in an EGM for a full 45 minites. The answer these penguins were giving were simplistic and divertionary. When unable to answer, they go "noted or will check on this or will raise it in the next meeting of BOD."

If one were to pester the Directors endlessly, they would just say, "If you are not happy, you can just sell your shares." Thats like getting a rude response from your neighbourhood Chinamen mechanics for complaining of poor service. "Lu pergi tempat lain laaa..."

Basically, there is too much organisational politics going on in our GLCs and big corporations, not real business.

In GLCs, many incompetent ones are being brought up the ladder corporate ladders for kow towing or bodeking to the political masters or big bosses. Sometimes, it is a manouvre by the current organisation they are attached to rid them off.

Just like PNB Directors manouvre to get Tan Sri Ani Arope the TNB Chairmanship post in order to rid him out of Guthrie and PNB Companies. I am exposing this information becasue he talks as though he is so damn good.

To blame the political masters entirely, it is not fair. They can read politicians very well but it is not easy sizing up professionals and corporate boys. They all could talk as though they know what they are talking about. Can they do it?

Concluding this posting, seriously I see that the way forward is to have blogs really probing into these Companies. Most of the business blogs are not playing that role. They are just self serving remisiers promoting their services or stock punters talking their already bought shares to move up.

Find ways to get these companies to listen. Show off a little of the documents you have in your posession. Pick on any one executive and see how they squirm and react. The whole idea if to get their attention and push the Companies to answer the issues.

Another trick is to demand that they engage us openly and publicly. The blogs are publicly accessible, thus their answer must be in public. I know they hate publicity and negative attention.

To share something, when I first probe into UEM, there were attempt from some PR executive trying top reach me. But I refused.

Firstly, I want to talk only with the likes of Ahmad Pardas, Abdul Wahid Omar, Azman Mokhtar, etc. I have drilled such people openly many times, so I do not need to talk to the lower managers.

Secondly, by meeting them and being bought a nice steak lunch with escargot for appetisers, I could be taken in and melted to their subtle persuasion. More so, if it was dinner and the PR officer is a vivacious lady with the raspy voice of Kathleen Turner coming in a slinky dress with a slit at the side that goes all the way up to her arm pit exposing off her sexy long legs. No more writing on UEM la.

Sorry I got carried away. Mrs was sleeping over at the Mother's last night

Dato Seri Najib should heed to listen to information from blog whistle blowers because it is another source of information to judge the corporate boys and doublecheck their lies and excuses. These corporate boys are too slick, protective of each other and are driven by self interest, so Najib may not be able to get the right information, feedback, and advise.

We should help Najib in this area. Even if you are pro-Pakatan Rakyat or personally hated him for whatever frivolous accusations thsu want him replaced, you should assist him now while he is presently in power to rectify the current problems for the sake of the rakyat and the nation now.

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Thursday, June 18, 2009

The going gets tough, but nothing being done in UEM?

Many Tai Chi Masters in UEM and Khazanah pushing bad chi to others

When the Sime Darby Watch was revealing expose after expose of the inefficiencies of the new Sime Darby arising from the tri-merger of three major plantation companies, instead of engaging and answering various enquiries, Sime Darby hired a security consultant.

Maybe advised such, they instituted an intensive security measures to stem information leak. All PCs in Sime Darby are removed ports for thumb drives. Internet services are limited to Managers and only internal e-mailed allowed. No more are staff allowed free usage of scanners, faxes and other equipments.

The revelation of the Supplemental Agreement on Tuesday brought about the same reaction. Although the full agreement is not released yet, the existence of such agreement reflect badly on the management.

The rumour is UEM is engaging a security expert. If the top management and Directors are paranoid enough, do not be surprise that in addition to the measures done at Sime Darby, no more PCs and faxes will be allowed. There will be a security guard stationed at all photocopy machines. Typewriters, carbon papers and liquid papers will back in vogue at UEM. The good news is more job opening for messengers to replace faxes in sending documents.

No response is expected to come from UEM from this blog's Tuesday revelation. They are hoping this blog will just fade away. My assurance is that will not happen, just like this blog never stopped pounding on the ECM Libra-Avenue Asset merger.

Nothing positive is coming from the Management to address the situation, as one little bird described the management are just conjuring up excuses.

Khazanah has passed the buck to UEM Group to address the Qatar problem. No one in UEM seems to have a solution. The 26, 27 and 28th floor people just want to lay off their hands and let the 13, 14 and 15th floor cracked open their heads.

That is not fair because it is heard that a Consultant was hired to have made assessment of UEM Group and there is a massive hole about RM8 billion. The Consultant is not their auditors EY but PWC. Khazanah can't just keep quiet. Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar is on the Board of UEM Group.

In the midst of their worries, another little bird said the UEM Group people have yet to even hear any presentation and planned any legal strategy with their lawyers in Dubai.

An anon comentator revealed that the mistake of not getting the Supplemental Agreement signed by the Qatari was Tan Sri Dr Tajuddin Ali's. He presumed that by being nice to them, they will be nice when things go wrong.

It is bewildering to ponder the version of Code of Conduct the Directors he adhered to, because their foremost responsibility should be to safeguard the Company's interest and not about the Melayu thing to ambil hati.

As it is, the UEM Builders Chairman, Dato Rahim Bakar and top managements are down in Sydney, Australia for a brainstorming session. There will be no winter golf. They are too scared after this blog mentioned about it.

UEM Group Chairman Tajuddin Tan Sri Dr Tajuddin Ali and few members of management are in Vietnam for 10 days exploring opportunity for subcontracting from a Vietnamese main con. One can only hope they do thorough research before pursuing any contract abroad. The preliminary stage does not require the top man but the technical and legal people. Vietnam can really be a fun place to be, dudes.

A little bird is saying the MD of UEM Builders, Datok Ridza Abdoh will be sent to manage PLUS by Khazanah. You buddy buddy with Azman Mokhtar, he can sing enjit-enjit semut siapa sakit naik atas. That way he can avoid going to Qatar. Off course, UEM does not answer to speculation. He didn't go to Qatar for a ceremoney recently thus adding more to the speculation of police wanting to arrest him.

By the look of things, the management is hoping to secure sufficent projects to counter the negative impact from the Qatar legal suit. One can expect them to create a great hoopla in the media when they secure some contracts abroad.

Before the media blitz could be thought off, the Sultan of Johor have issued a statement through the Tengku Mahkota of Johor himself to reject the proposed third bridge. HRH still insist on destroying the Causeway. That is a real damper for UEM. Why? Lets not reveal it yet. It's too early and needs confirmation. The last we should do is to spoil Dato Najib's plans.

But that is not the only bad news for UEM Group. UEM Land had one of its prospective buyer pulled out of the 43.5 acre land in the Puteri Harbour project. Thats RM396 million sales and yet MD, Dato Wan Abdullah can claim it has no impact on company's results. Thats equally bewildering.

The deal lapsed due to issues on the term of the S&P. The grapevine at the JB State Secretary Building is saying no real sales have been completed at Iskandar Johor, particlularly the UEM Land projects. The Middle East investors wants a put option on their purchases i.e. a buyback guarantee with a reasonable return of investment. If Malaysian government and companies can give guaranteed return to Malaysian, why should it give to them?

UEM Land is in such desperation for their gated Medini project with access to the second crossing that they are even providing transportation from Singapore for prospective buyers. Did Tun Musa Hitam said IRDA is not a land sale to Singaporean and deny accusation that Iskandar Malaysia is Singapore's Johor Expansion Region (SJER)?

Despite all the headache to bosses of UEM and State Government, IRDA managers are getting five months bonuses. That is another story.

Khazanah should be sending an ICU team into UEM. As it is, they are clueless. The only thing this paper shufflers can think off is to do another "Time Engineering." And that is another story too.

Now this blogger is having a headache.

If this is the way things are going, should the Supplemental Agreement be revealed to get attention of all parties all the way up to the Ministers and Prime Minister for something to be done?

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall ... Who is the most corrupt of them all?

On June 3rd, The Star publised a survey result on Malaysians perception of corruption. The Star and Malaysia Insider report is publised at the end of this posting.

To quote from The Star report, Transparency International (TI) found below:

According to Transparency International’s 2009 Global Corruption Barometer, 42% of Malaysians viewed political parties, regardless of faction, as the most corrupt, followed by the civil service (37%), private sector (12%), judiciary (5%), legislative (4%) and media (1%).
A few observations can be made out from this quote.

In my personal view, the result of this survey does not reflect an educated and knowledgable sampling. If TI could get themselves a magic mirror and chanted, "Mirror, mirror on the wall ... who is the most corrupt of them all?", the magic mirror would answer, "None of the above."

All those answers are too general a description. In my book, it is not the politicians, civil servants, judges, etc.

The most corrupt are them corporate boys!

Since we are dealing with perception, it should be understood that the public forms the perception from the media, the frontline services, whisper and rumours spreading amongst the population, etc. Without the right information, it is natural for them to arrive to the conclusion that 42% of the public believe politicians and political parties, from both side of the divide, as most corrupt.

However, there is a contradiction. Only 4% believed that the legislative are corrupt. Does the public sampled by TI capable of distinguishing between politician and legislature? Politicians encompasses the executives, legislatures, party position holders, activist, party workers and perhaps non-member party volunteer.

To say that political parties as most corrupt, can the public differentiate the politicians with power and authority to undertake the act of corruption and those without?

Hardly 0.1% of people associated with political parties are in position of power and authority. How many out of 3 million UMNO members could be positioned as legislature, executive, local council, special committees, and appointees in government companies and agencies?

So they say that those with access to contacts and people in position are able to gain from corrupt act. That only means there are other parties involved and not the politicians per se. It could perhaps be a Minister or Exco member. For the Minister or Exco or other "politicians" to do the corrupt act, they need cooperative civil servants.

The portion of the public that viewed the civil service as corrupt is 37% but the portion viewing the private sector as corrupt is 12%. The difference is strange. The civil servant has the power but it takes the ways and means of the private sectors to make the corrupt act happen and to pay off politicians and civils servants.

The blast from the past should remind us that if it had not for the towkey enticing and dangling carrots for civil servants and politicians, they would not have turned corrupt. ALso, the businessmen and corporations get the choice meat but civil servants and politicians only get the bone soup.

The bulk of the bounty from corruption by private sectors and civil servants goes into their own pocket. For most of the politicians, it is to be funneled into their community and party activities. This is not denying that some politicians do evolve to an unnatural progression into richness and luxury.

Is the public reasonable and rationale in their corruption perception?

None of the survey categories were precisely zeroing on the right categories. Private sector is a describe as a broad segment that basically covers anything that is not political parties, civil servants, legislature, media, and judiciary.


Definately beyond the knowledge of the common folks are the corrupt act of corporate boys in the public listed companies, financial institutions, proxy shareholders, heading and board members of government linked companies, professionals, etc.

They are the crafty group with magic tricks capable of disappearing money by the billions.

Under the name of enhancing shareholders value, corporate boys are part of bulldozing of decisions at the detriment of minority shareholders by the majority shareholders.

Bank's top management can be heartless in imposing unreasonable conditions on entrepreneurs, vindictive in their persecution of common businessman and eager to send common folks to the poor house. With them corporate boys, they give them so much leeway. Simply because of the presence of Tan Sris and Datos. It doesn't matter that they are the biggest loan defaulters.

The exteriors of them corporate boys are most deceiving. Corporate boys are educated and good boys who attend to their school. They start work in professional field. For all intent purposes, they look honourable and respectable. They get Datoship with ease and the titles open more doors to the corridors of power.

Good boys may seem like wimp. They do fuck.

When they "fuck" a company, the "fuck" big time. The manner they skim off money from their own companies transactions and coffer is masterly, elaborate, and goes undetected. It is not easy for the not as bright police commercial crime division to investigate. In some cases, the Securities Commission cover them up.

Everything is usually done legally according to the due process, backed with proper documentations, and justified by professional second opinions and certified reports. Part of the modus operandi is nevertheless abuse of power, collusion, manipulating figures, intentional mistakes, political threats, use of gangsters, etc.

If the public feels Merchant Bankers and Investment bankers are respectable as your neighbourhood banker because they dressed up nice to work, they are wrong.

They do advise their corporate clients how to evade tax, legalise something illegitimate, cleansing dirty money, hide problems from being known by company stakeholders, and many other unsavory tricks.

Inspite of all the slimy shit that they do, corporate boys maintain their kaki among politicians, legislature, civil servants, judiciary, bankers and securities authority. This is to protect them in case if things go wrong.

For those corporate boys in government linked companies, they are as good as untouchable. They do all the shit but the politicans get the blame.

Politicians can get elected out, shortened their term in office, and shamed into resignation, but corporate boys in this country are seldom reprimanded for their wrongdoings. One hardly hear corporate boys or members of the board of directors resigning, if not en bloc, for bungling a transaction.

Some corporate boys are as described by the Malay nursery rhymes, "Enjit enjit semut, siapa sakit nik atas." There are those that get promoted even if they had fumbled big time.

Like a den of thieves, corporate boys protect each other. It is part of the comradeship of old boys of school chum, varsity mate, old fraternities, and former colleagues.

Put corporate boys to head powerful government economic agencies and in no time, they become instant corporate player amassing PLCs. What took the late Tan Sri Lim Goh Tong most of his life to build, these corporate boys can build it in just few years.

This blogger personally witnessed a former official of an economic recovery agency meeting with regularity shady chacters at an isolately located restaurant of a hotel. After few years in that position, he resigned to hold a majority stake in new market darling public listed companies. He now owns a private jet which he does not necessarily need.

One GLC top official used to be shareholders of a consultancy company. When he attain the position of undisputed power and influence, he conveniently get a bank to buyout his former consultancy firm. How do one value a firm when its asset is only specific people. Why can't the Bank offer them a lucrative contract instead of buying the firm?

He will not get caught. He is most likely not a shareholder anymore and have sold it. It is not easy to make a case against proxies. Observe, after he resigned from his present position. Will he suddenly own a big chunck of a PLC? Will he suddenly live a lavish life later?

For all the rhetorics spewed by Pakatan Rakyat, one of their Menteri Besar is a corporate boy.

The public can perceive all that they want. Corporate boys are not being called as korporat for nothing.

Mirror mirror on the wall ... let me tell ye, the most corrupt of them all are the corporate boys!

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Survey: Political parties the most corrupt

The Star, June 3rd, 2009

PETALING JAYA: Malaysians perceive political parties as the most corrupt institution in the country followed by the civil service, according to a survey.

Meanwhile, 67% of Malaysians said they were unconvinced with the Government’s efforts to tackle corruption, calling their actions ineffective.

This was in stark contrast to the 74% of Indonesians who felt their government was effective in combating corruption.

According to Transparency International’s 2009 Global Corruption Barometer, 42% of Malaysians viewed political parties, regardless of faction, as the most corrupt, followed by the civil service (37%), private sector (12%), judiciary (5%), legislative (4%) and media (1%).

The survey also showed that 9% of Malaysians paid bribes in the last 12 months, compared to 29% in Indonesia and 6% in Singapore.

TI Malaysia president Datuk Paul Low said more needed to be done to change the local public’s perception of corruption.

“It is a matter of political will. For example, the public still view political parties as most corrupt because of money politics and the lack of disclosure of political funding and financial statement.

“We must eliminate money politics and disclose where the funding comes from.

“In Indonesia, the public perceives their government’s anti-corruption actions as effective as there is a breakthrough in the fight against corruption,” he said when revealing the report yesterday.

Low said half of Malaysian respondents said they were willing to pay more to buy from a corrupt-free company. On the civil service, Low commended the Government for making the delivery service more efficient through Pemudah but called on further reduction of bureaucratic red tape.

More than 73,000 people in 69 countries were surveyed between October last year and February this year including 1,236 Malaysians.

Globally, 29% of respondents viewed political parties as most corrupt, followed by civil servants 26%, legislature (16%), private sector (14%), judiciary (9%) and media (6%).
--------------------------

Malaysians say politicians the most corrupt lot

By Shannon Teoh, Malaysia Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, June 3 — We may have voted them into office but the truth of the matter is, we don't think very highly of our politicians.


Malaysians believe that politicians are the most corrupt group, according to a global survey by anti-graft body Transparency International (TI).

In the 2009 Global Corruption Barometer (GCB), 42 per cent of Malaysians said that political parties are the most corrupt institution, followed closely by the civil service at 37 per cent.

They are also not optimistic that graft will be curbed as two-thirds of Malaysians have no faith in the government's efforts to fight corruption.

TI Malaysia president Datuk Paul Low said that this was due to the fact that the public had no idea how political parties were funded.

"Corruption in politics is the mother of all corruption. Nobody knows how they are funded. They need to eliminate money politics as well as disclose their sources of funding," he said, adding that changes in electoral laws as well as compulsory audits would be needed to reverse public perception.

However, he felt that the results may not be accurate as the survey was conducted three months ago, amid speculation of monetary inducement that resulted in the Perak political crisis as well as vote-buying in the Umno party polls.

Low also called for better accessibility to information regarding government contracts and concession agreements as well as reviewing the Official Secrets Act as "these are not strategic interests" which could compromise national security.

Malaysia regularly scores close to five out of 10 on TI's Corruption Perception Index and last November's results left it ranked 47th out of 180 countries.


Despite the move to give further powers to the national anti-graft squad when it was converted from the Anti-Corruption Agency to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), 67 per cent of Malaysians still feel the government has been ineffective in dealing with corruption.

While Low said it was still too early to judge the MACC, he acknowledged public perception was that it practised selective prosecution and must instead "take the big fish along with the small fish." TI Malaysia would also attempt to conduct a public poll on its performance later this year.

Meanwhile, of Malaysians polled, only 9 per cent admitted to paying a bribe in the last 12 months, slightly below the global average of 13 per cent. Low noted that while three out of 10 Indonesians admitted to bribery, three-quarters felt their government has been effective in fighting graft.

"We can see that the Indonesian president has become more popular so it shows people value the intergrity of politicians," he said, referring to surveys showing Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's popularity has increased ahead of this year's presidential elections.

Globally, political parties were considered by 29 per cent to be the most corrupt followed by the civil service at 26 per cent, while on average, 56 per cent felt their governments had not tackled graft well.

Also, respondents indicated an 8 per cent increase in the perception that the private sector is corrupt. Low said that companies should take heed to the fact that 50 per cent of Malaysians said they would prefer to purchase from "corruption-free" companies.

"The private sector should introduce anti-bribery and whistle-blowing policies as well as integrity agreements," he suggested.

He also said that while he was disappointed that Malaysia has not improved its corruption index for over eight years, he was encouraged by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak's statements on graft so far as it was early days yet in his two-month-old administration.

Low said that TI Malaysia has been consulted by the government many times before and he would be submitting a copy of this year's GCB, its sixth edition and the first with Malaysian participation, to Najib and was hopeful of further discussions with the government on the matter.

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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

How did UEM and Khazanah bosses rectify the Qatar problem in 2007?

Malaysian ‘warriors’ of the UEM Qatar project carrying the Malaysian flag into foreign land. Will it be another Malaysian story of the sacrifice, and dedication of staff let down by their bosses? Another story of determination and hope of the common people lost to the greedy corporate boys?

There was supposed to be a bonus announcement by UEM Group Chairman and former TNB Chairman, Tan Sri Dr Tajuddin Ali yesterday but it did not turned out such.

Little bird said the whole group of Board of Directors, presumably of UEM Builder, is in Australia on a brainstorming trip. If it so, best betul. Company is in a pressing situation and the Board members can make a trip to Australia. Maybe, the air in Australia is more refreshing for the brains to think than in Malaysia. Some winter golfing could revive tired minds too!

In an e-mail dated April 21st, 2009, Dr Tajuddin promised the same bonus as last year to the staff. Will that mean the promised bonus for the hardworking and dedicated staff of UEM is forfeited and diverted to some Airline and Hotel expenses for Board members and maybe family school holidays?

That’s just a naughty question that does not need answer. In the dated staff circular, Dr Tajuddin came off with a sombre tone and not as confident sounding as the press statement reported by Malaysia Insider, The Star and NST to dispell question by this blog.

It is believed that UEM had engage a management consultant to assess the financial situation of UEM. This blogger confided with some big gun in media and was advised to be vigilent in this exposè. The conclusion of that report will not be disclosed for now. The issue raised in this posting will be focused.

It will be focused on the question why UEM signed a joint and several agreement or arrangement in 2003 that resulted in the current lawsuit which claimed was directed towards the Consultant.

Subsequently, was it rectified when there was such opportunity?

Insufficient Study?

The effort by Superman8818 to established a blog here to explain the difficulty involved in undertaking the Qatar project was commendable.

This blogger consulted Engineers experienced in undertaking work abroad. They dismissed the stories as excuses for easily anticipated problems. Rising cost should be anticipated, added on or translated into Varioation Order. The peculiarity of Arabs business practise should have been understood earlier and not after Contract signed.

They went further to say that if that is the excuse, UEM was bordering on incompetence for not doing sufficient prior study and research of the site situation. A fundamental mistake!

Revelation

This posting is revealing a proposed Supplementary Agreement that was supposedly to be executed in June 2007. Little bird claimed that the Qatar party agreed to sign the proposed agreement.

If it had been executed, it would helped to amend the condition in the earlier agreement. This supplementary agreement would have override whatever condition which is not favourable to UEM in the main contract. It is a condition precedent for any new works to continue and resolve outstanding issues like Variation Order (VO), Extension of Time (EOT) and Liquidated and Ascertained Damages (LAD). It would have relieved UEM of any futire claims.

This agreement was supposed to be signed prior to moving on to the 2nd phase of the Salwa Road project.

Chronology

For recollection, let’s go to commentator Ciku Muda’s revealed information below:

7. Subsequent to the first failure, at half way through the project, UEM was invited by PWA to re-negotiate the contract which ended up UEM being given a new price, new completion date, new design drawings, new requirement & specifications (which was until to date not approved by Qatar General Organization For Standards and Metrology) and less scope (as PWA wish to involve local company participation in the project). Both parties mutually agreed with a further terms in which PWA promised to assess fairly UEM’s earlier submission of financial claim, compensated losses incurred by UEM, no back charging of cost incurred by local companies participation, and many sweet promises more.
This tallies with the sequence of event in the Initiatory Pleading and proposed Supplementary Agreement, below:

Sequence of Events
28th April, 2001 – Agreement between Delo (later Parsons International) and Qatar PWA
20th July 2003 - Letter of Award to UEM
23rd October 2003 - Contract was executed
1st November 2003 - Commencement of the Contract
4th August 2005 - Extension of time letter to client (EOT1)
30th April 2006 - Completion of Contract (Phase 1)
December 2006 - Discovered signs of distress by Client
29th January 2007 - Client issued stop-work order
12th February 2007 - Extension of time letter 2 to client (EOT2)
March 2007 - Proposal to Client to resolve
21st April 2007 - Contractor submitted an offer to complete work
22nd April 2007 - Client accepted offer of 21st April, 2007
23rd April 2007 - Client issued new instruction and rescinded earlier instruction
June 2007 - Date of proposed Supplementary Agreement
What? Why? How?

The question now is: Was there such Supplementary Agreement? If there are such agreement, was the Qatari willing to sign? Is true to both the above, why did UEM decided not execute the Agreement? Would it not save UEM from the current legal situation?

What was agreed and signed instead?

Should we blame the Arabs or ourselves? Shouldn't we blame ourselves first all the time?

This blogger seek from UEM, and/or comentators Ciku Muda, and Putik Ciku Bergetah to explain this disturbing situation of a Company that used to claim itself as "The Nation Builder" and our nation’s construction flagcarrier.

During that period of time, Khazanah and EPU claimed to take a close control and monitoring of their investee companies, particularly in UEM. In fact, Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar, The Managing Dirtector of Khazanah is a member of the Board of Directors of UEM Group, and former UEM World. It shows he knows of the situation and showed keen interest in the development in UEM.

Why the silence from Khazanah? Is it true the rumours that Khazanah has “lepas tangan” on UEM? Is it true that members of the Boards of Director of UEM Group of Companies have practically "lepas tangan"?

Is it true that the Board is looking towards corporate restructuring their way out instead of telling the truth and getting heads chopped? Would that mean pouring away good profit to hide losses? Will that only serve to enrich the Investment Bankers but does not solve operational and organisational issues through genuine operational turnaround?

Seriously, Dato Seri Najib, Dato Husni Hanazlah and (whether we can continue to rely) Tan Sri Nor Mohamad Yakcop should start to wield their stick to start asking the hard questions on the state of the GLCs or as blogger Syed Akbar called them, Government Losing Concerns.

I put my trust Najib is willing to listen. He should not just listen to his officers but other sources of information to double check his Ministers, Pengarah EPU, and Khazanah and UEM officials.

Fat lady ain't over singing yet here.


* Edited 7:30 PM

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