Saturday, March 31, 2012

As long as MAS is here, have no fear


At 1:30 AM, we were awoken by several repeated beeps of incoming messages in our BBM Groups. Since awake, scrolled through several incoming SMSes. Found one giving a disturbing SMS regarding a MAS flight to Mumbai.

Forwarded the SMS to few concerned friends. Bigdog was still up and awake. He called to explain.

It is nothing to worry there.

But it got us thinking.

Wait a minute ... since we are already wide awake by the excitement, might as well try that Cafe Arabica the Mrs bought last week. She's been bragging about it in the last few days. In other words, she is asking us to try ...

Hmmm .... it taste good, even without sugar. Now back to the SMS.
While the Engineering Department is still operating under MAS and not some Tony F and his crony in the background owning the out-sourced engineering company, such incident should not be too worrying.

But what will happen when it is outsourced?

Wonder how will Medium Haul CEO aka Deputy CEO communicate with the public on the incident tonight. Or is the too young Dato' too bewildered by something else ... hehehe...

His response to an incident is funny and amusing. Read on to know ...

The SMS received reads like this:
Malaysian Airlines MH 194 to Mumbai had a technical problem and the flight was called back to Kuala Lumpur midway after two hours of flight in air. There are panicking passengers at the Airport.
We can appreciate their nervousness. However, we trust the MAS staff are familiar and professional enough to know how to handle the situation.

Unlike the Boeing 747 used for long haul flight that used four engines, the medium haul flight to Mumbai use the highly reliable Rolls Royce twin engined Boeing 777 planes.

If something go wrong or usually suspect of going wrong to an engine on a Boeing 747, the plane still have three engines to spare.

It's like driving old Beetle Volkswagen. If there is no engine at the front, there is still that spare engine in the back. Just an old joke there.

However, it is not the case for Boeing 777 with two engines. If one of the engine is suspected to go wrong, it is standard safety procedure to return and not take chances. There is no engine to spare. More so, when it involves flying over large distance of water.

In two hours, that flight to Mumbai should be within the vicinity of Sumatra. The unfamiliar would have felt shocked but it is nothing to worry. It has happened before with MAS and all airlines of the world.

Alas ... pity the staff. They have to handle lots of very vocal Indians. As long it is MAS pilots, MAS Engineering and MAS procedures, there is nothing to fear. They are people highly sought after in the airline industry.

But not necessarily MAS management.


What would happen if engineering is out-sourced to Tony F and his cronies?

Do not discount the possibility that Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar, and Dato Rashdan "Danny Yusof" is also in on it. As it is, the staff are grumbling that behind CAE, the out-sourced company running the training facility, is Tony F and the gang.

Air Asia is not known for safety and have ZERO experiance in running engineering. Probably Air Asia will not be involved directly. It add to their CASK (cost per available seat km).

What about Tony F himself and his cronies?

It is, after all, a profitable business based on the business model of cost plus with a minimum guaranteed volume that Bina Tidak Fikir's WAU had "smartly" out-sourced MAS catering, IT and many others before.

Why did we say Air Asia does not equate with safety?

We've said here many times that Air Asia's cost saving driven landing procedures had caused over-run at Kota Kinabalu airport three times in a year. Google on the Internet and one will come across many images of Air Asia planes crash landed. See here.

"Now everyone can die" and not fly.


While this Boeing 777 trip to India should not be too worrying, the London trip, for instance, should be. It should have long been the concern of Khazanah.

The flight to London is regularly full, but it is not making much money. It is simply because it is flying on 20 year old fuel guzzling Boeing 747s.

Delay causing technical problems, though usually minor, are beginning to be a regular problem. This has caused customer dissatisfaction.

As an old aircraft, the features in our Boeing 747 fleet are out-dated and unattractive to customer for the ticket price charged. Many end up taking SIA or other airlines

Don't talk of Air Asia-X can giving better value for money. It is closing up routes because it can't make money at that low price.

In the long haul flight, those ladies in sexy red short skirts don't matter even if they provide mile high service. MAS's reknown MH or Malaysian Hospitality can only do so much.

This highlight the problem of marketing and the poor revenue of MAS. It is a product problem and the problem originated from Azman Mokhtar at Khazanah. They did not support the laid out Business Transformation Plan.

WAU II anyone?

Off course not.

Only nutheads would resort to the WAU the second time despite it's failure the first time around.

It was WAU and Khairy manouvred Airline Rationalisation Plan in 2005 that drastically slashed MAS routes.

Some routes may seemed unprofitable but it serves the purpose of establishing a network, which is important in full service premium airline business. At times, it serve a strategic purpose for regional market entry.

Unlike Air Asia and Air Asia-X that never earned their routes but got it through stealing from MAS, they could never appreciate the trouble, cost and time to secure, negotiate and develop international routes.

Air Asia simply take MAS's Christchurch route and closed it when it can't make money. If that route return to profitability, both Air Asia and MAS are not positioned to benefit from it.

WAU outsource catering and IT and WAU II will outsource ground handling and training. These two outsourcing programs destroyed MAS competitiveness in the need to have a comprehensive operation and services within it's disposal.

Something sinister must be happening behind the scene for MAS to out-source the profitable cargo services.

Imagine the "spine and spoke" concept of Hahn Airport as distribution hub into Europe had remained and managed smartly. It could have been phenomenol.

That is the real problem in MAS.

Too many short sighted pen pushing morons, organisational politicians and backstabbers in the "Dolly Parton"-like top and middle management of MAS. It is too top-heavy with too many with Managers, Directors and Presidents as suffixes.

It is these level of staff that are abusing the travel benefit to staff.

Generally, the common staff can't afford the food and lodging to take up their once a year free travel abroad. The trip to Haj and Umrah is dominated by the Jabatan Kebajikan Islam MAS for their cronies. Neither do the staff travel much domestically by plane on discount fare.

The common staff won't abuse to upgrade their nanny to fly first class on paid economy ticket. It is only Executive Director that once wreck the company and are wrecking it again that abuse company benefit.

Only such person would abuse company money to pay 18 million pound to a crony's English football team to advertise for only home matches, while crony's company get the higher coverage away games.

QPR is languishing at the bottom of table and bringing shame to the name Malaysia on the jersey.

In comparison, Genting paid a better deal for RM17 million pound for home and way matches plus other promo and goodies for Aston Villa.

Questions should be asked: Did Azman Mokhtar and Danny get kickback for this favour and endorsement?

Wee Choo Keong caught Danny upgrading his nanny to first class for the price of economy without informing the Chief Steward on a flight Sydney to Kuala Lumpur on new year, 1-1-2012.

Read on in Wee here for the ensuing and amusing story.

Good way to start the new year for more rip-off with another abuse of power, ain't it?

For Azman, Danny and many other detractors, when he was managing MAS and he still is entitled, Tan Sri Tajuddin Ramli never used the staff benefit. Love him or loathe him, he paid in full.

We should wonder what was special about his nanny. Could she be as sexy as Fran Drescher to deserve a first class plane seat next to the boss?

Mile High Club, Danny Boy eh?

No.. not with the wife accompanying.

After the ruckus of Air Asia-X passengers using MAS planes at no additional cost got media attention, the issue of Danny's abuse finally came up. How did Danny responded?

The idiot bersumpah atas nama Allah and recited some Quranic verses to cclaim his innocence. How stupid can this wet-behind-the-ear boy do?

Never ever do that.

Never abuse God's name to strengthen one's words. More so to abuse God's name to tell a lie and hide one's guilt.


Wee revealed a little of the Voyage Report here.

It shows how ignorant the Deputy Managing Director or de facto CEO is of airlines operations. It also proves Danny as someone without conscience and a liar whose words cannot never be trusted, even when he swear in the name of God. He did it before in many statements on the CCF.

Hope he deny and issue a press statement. Then we can see the whole blown up version of the report. Don't go witch hunt or many more abuses will be revealed.

Itulah terjadi kepada penganalisa kerusi empok yang hanya berdasarkan kertas laporan dan membaca angka (that happens to armchair analyst who rely on paper reports and numbers). They are totally ignorant of procedures.

It is a safety requirement to keep proper record of passengers's names and seats. That is to prepare in the event of any unfortunate disaster. The record serve as a head count of bodies and forensic analysis. And it is for insurance claims.

Apalah finance man tak tahu pasal insurans?

Wonder how will Danny response to the press on the Mumbai incident.

No response means something. A response means something selse. How it is responded means really something. We are looking if there is an agenda to stifle MAS in order to justify the makan swap and CCF.

Probably Danny better let his office nannies - Dato Ahmad Jauhari and Tan Sri Mohd Nor Yusof - speak. Both are entitled for first class seats.

By the way, there is another group that used to abuse by regularly seeking to upgrade seat. They buy economy or business class ticket and ask for upgrade to first.

It is the royalties.

We'll name one compulsive up-grader: Negeri Sembilan's Tengku Dara Naquiah. No fear of any royal retribution from her, do we?

Click Here to Read More..

Friday, March 30, 2012

Making mountain out of ant-hills [up-dated]


The recent loss of breadmaking company, Silver Bird Group Berhad (Silver Bird) started a political debate that stretch the political border into Riau and from fact to fiction and slander.

From the initial intention by some group to discredit the rebelious Koperasi Felda Berhad (KPB), Nurul Izzah dragged Lembaga Tabung Haji (TH) into the foray.

Husam Musa stretched his imagination into a slanderous statement of TH selling it's plantation in Riau to an opposition's crony in a hurry to cover for BN's delayed Felda Global Venture (FGV) listing.

If an explanation is seek for, Husam should not have been too detailed. It is obvious that Pakatan Rakyat, destroyer of nation-building are on to another psywar attack on another Government institution: Tabung Haji.

If they intend to make mountain out of anthills, TH should be firm and just sue these buggers. It is not worth the trouble to get dragged in a political slugfest. Learn from Felda.

Silver Bird


It started out from a news report of a failed investment by Koperasi Felda Berhad (KPB) in a bakery, Silver Bird Group Berhad.

This bakery had it’s origin in the old Federal Bakery that produced Sunshine brand bread out of it’s bakery at a roundabout in Sungai Besi. It was suffering from sagging sales from new competition and a new group tookover.

They changed the product line from the old artisan bread for a new nutritious product branded as High 5 to address the health concerned market.

In 2006, their Stanson bakery in Nilai Negeri Sembilan it’s halal status withdrawn due to unhygiene condition of the factory. It was splashed in all the newspapers.

The image of this Chinese run bakery in a poor state of hygiene could have ended the company if not rescued by Lembaga Tabung Haji (TH). Despite the negative news and poor hygiene condition, it was an opportunity for TH to enter the lucrative bakery business through an existing bakery with an established distribution.

TH involvement help to address the negative perception. The company then moved out from the problematic Stanson bakery to a new bakery in Shah Alam. Management remained with the original Chinese owner, Pengarah Urusan Kumpulan Silver Bird Group Datuk Jackson Tan Han Kook, in whom the management and technical expertise lies.

The problem for High 5 was that it was competing against Gardenia, the fast growing bread and has attain a dominating market share with it’s tasty “you can eat it on it’s own” bread. On the hindsight, another problem was the management refused to get out of the High 5 brand.

By the time it picked up steam, Gardenia was dominating every other retail outlets. Strangely, the bread market turned inelastic and did not response to the lower priced High 5 breads.

Insignificant


Politics came in.

TH is one of the last Government institution not picked on by the opposition, who has only spared the Malay rulers institution from criticism, lies and slanders, but they have indirectly done so with their kurang ajar conduct .

Nurul Izzah issued a statement on March 21st 2012. Read here on Anwar Ibrahim blog. She demanded an investigation on TH questionable investment. Out of hundreds of TH investment, she could only produce Silver Bird and Ramunia as examples.

According to Nurul, Silver Bird was designated a PN17 status by Bursa Malaysia since February 29, 2012. So what?

TH invested in 2006. It had undergone due process with the Investment Panel. The Investment Panel was established in 2001 to review existing and future investment by TH. That panel is still in existence and remained relevant and properly run.

Nurul added that TH is one of the largest shareholders with 22.19% and is exposed to an estimated RM111.5 million financial shortfall. Can Nurul be more accurate as to what is TH’s potential loss and if there is any contingent liabilities?

As compared to the estimated total fund under management of RM30 billion, the exposure of apportioned RM24.74 million is only 0.082% of fund under management and can have an impact of 1.375% on RM1.8 billion dividend payout.

However, RM24.74 million cannot be TH exposure for it must be the amount TH invested in 2006 or any subsequent recapitalization. It is likely to be less and it’s impact diluted in the portfolio. The real lose is still not realised and need to be ascertain. After deducting asset, it is likely to be lower.

So what is the significant?

This is part and parcel of portfolio investment management. Lose some, win more and one come out winner. But do not make the novice comparison to Bank Rakyat’s smaller portfolio return. It appeals to the sentiment of orang kampung but it does not make investment sense when considering TH manages a RM30 billion portfolio with consistent over a very long time.

Can Bank Rakyat do it year in year out without drastic losses along the way? Don't forget Bank Rakyat had it's fair share of financial crisis and scandal.

Riau Slander


Seeing Nurul initiative in attacking TH, the ADUN for Salor Kelantan, Husam decided to take a crack at it too.

While he claimed he was merely seeking explanation on rumour of TH selling out it’s 83,000 hectare plantation in Riau Island, Indonesia to Robert Kuok in a hurry, the manner he asked was not of seeking of information but meant to slander TH.

He wanted to be better than novice politician. Nurul.

Despite not making any sense, Husam gave detailed account of some figures and the story to the point of making an accusation that the sales had relation with Government’s delayed plan to list Felda Global Venture and TH plantation is for BN to fund election.

Now that is serious accusation.

See the video below by PAS TV that was given title by you tube owner, tvpas09 as “Tabung Haji jual lading di Riau kepada kroni?”:


In the first place, Robert Kuok is no crony. He maybe seen on the Board of Advisory of Islandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA) but he is a crony of the opposition.

Kuok’s company entry into the bread market was using racial sentiment and riding on the DAP network to ask Chinese to boycott the also Chinese managed but Bernas controlled, Gardenia.

Harakahdaily published two reports on Husam statement. See below:

Robert Kuok beli ladang sawit Tabung Haji di Riau?

Hazayani Zakaria

KUALA LUMPUR, 28 Mac: Pakatan Rakyat memohon penjelasan kerajaan berhubung dakwaan bahawa Tabung Haji akan menjual ladang kelapa sawitnya seluas 83,000 hektar di Riau, Indonesia.

Naib Presiden PAS, Datuk Husam Musa (gambar) berkata, langkah tersebut dibuat dalam keadaan tergesa-gesa dan menimbulkan kecurigaan.

"Tindakan ini mencurigakan kerana tidak ada penjelasan daripada Tabung Haji dan Jabatan Perdana Menteri kenapa aset yang begitu berharga dijual dalam keadaan terdesak," kata beliau pada sidang media selepas mesyuarat Majlis Pimpinan Pakatan Rakyat di Bangunan Parlimen hari ini.

Menurut Husam, penjualan ladang tersebut akan menjejaskan caruman pencarum Tabung Haji yang majoriti terdiri daripada orang Islam.

Ketika ini, ladang tersebut memberikan pulangan sejumlah RM3juta sehari kepada Tabung Haji.

"Kami difahamkan langkah penjualan ini dibuat secara tergesa-gesa kepada satu syarikat yang dimiliki Tan Sri Robert Kuok," katanya yang juga Exco Kerajaan Negeri Kelantan.

Beliau juga tidak menolak langkah ini diambil setelah usaha menyenaraikan Felda Global Ventures Holdings Sdn Bhd (FGVH) ke Bursa Malaysia tergendala.

"Kami berpandangan ini langkah terdesak BN untuk cash out aset-aset yang dimiliki oleh agensi atau perbadanan melibatkan kepentingan negara dan orang ramai.

"Dan ini mungkin langkah kedua setelah langkah mereka dalam penyenaraian FGVH tergendala," katanya.
Versi Inggeris berikut:
Now, Tabung Haji's sale of lucrative oil palm estate questioned

Harakahdaily, 29 March 2012

Mar 29: Tabung Haji's sale of an asset which has been generating some RM3 million daily revenue is the latest to come under spotlight in a series of what critics say is the national Hajj fund's bad business decision-making.

Tabung Haji recently disposed 83,000 hectares of oil palm estate in Riau, Indonesia, prompting PAS vice president Husam Musa to question the move.

“There has been no explanation from Tabung Haji or the Prime Minister’s Department on why such a valuable asset was sold with such desperation,” the Kelantan exco member said.

He warned that the sale of the estate would affect the savings of Tabung Haji members, adding that he was made to understand it was bought by a company linked to Malaysian 'sugar king' Robert Kuok.

Husam also did not dismiss speculation that the move was taken after Felda Global Venture Holdings’s plan to be listed on Bursa Malaysia this year was met with obstacles.

According to him, Barisan Nasional was desperate to generate cash by selling off assets owned by agencies or statutory bodies despite involving public interest.

"This may be the alternative plan after their plan to list FGVH was obstructed,” he said.

Last week, Lembah Pantai member of parliament called for an independent probe into the Hajj fund board's investment activities.

"The pattern of consistent investment failures have led to the questioning on the integrity investment decision making made, especially a concern for all LTH depositors. Immediate and decisive action must be taken to allay depositors fear and doubts on the viability of LTHs investments," she said.
Kaki Saman


The two Harakahdaily reports have gone viral.

The reports were fed into the opposition psywar machinery in cyberspace for propagation. Clearly, the reports, particularly the English version, are unsubstantiated accusation with well intention to slander TH.

It means Husam and Harakah are liable and it is not difficult to proof.

This is interesting because amongst pro-UMNO bloggers, they are saying that Husam Musa is a mad serial kaki saman.

He is likely to lose a case against someone claimed to be blog owner of RBF and is in the midst of one against Kickdefella. He is said to have served summon on few bloggers.

Watch out bloggers and media.

Yet, here he is making liable slander against a trust and business corporation. What a hypocrite! Isn’t he stretching his politics outside it’s realm?

TH should not answer his allegation but just straight and sue him. From his case in Kota Baru, it can be concluded that he has novices representing him in court.

Proof and Business Sense


Husam claimed that TH recently disposed off 83,000 hectares of plantation land to Robert Kuok and this will result in deficiency of RM3 million cashflow generated to TH. We sure could lend the lawyers of TH a hand.

Can Husam produce a news report to show Wilmar or any of Robert Kuok’s corporate vehicle buying plantation from TH in Riau? Robert Kuok only do business through companies, particularly public listed companies. There must be official announcement.

Where is it?

Thus far, TH has announced quite recently a JV with a China company to build a CPO refinery for the China market. Now, why would TH want to sell their plantation if they are building a CPO refinery plant in Riau?

Stupid isn't it? Perhaps it is the sort of thing PMBK Sawit Sdn Bhd would do, but not professionally run outfit like TH.

If TH wish to sell the Riau plantation, it does make business sense.

Indonesia has a funny land law and after investing in preparing the land, it could end up being owned by some local bumpkins. Many Malaysian fell for that trap. TNB go tricked in their coal venture in Kalimantan in that manner.

Husam wouldn't know, would he?

Turning the Table


Now, where did Husam came up with the number RM3 million daily cash generated.

Looks like the Chairman of PMBK Sawit is not even sure if it is cash or another proper term, cashflow and if it is generated for TH’s or the plantation company’s. Wonder where did he get his education?

PAS politicians are usually hopeless in articulating economics and business matter. Remember Ssalahuddin Ayub allegation that MAS lost RM8 billion during Tan Sri Tajuddin tenure as Chairman.

And imagine, Husam who claimed to have a degree in Economics from University Malaya, is said to be a financial genius and future Finance Minister.

God save Malaysia!

Let’s assume it is revenue and cashflow for the plantation company. At RM3million per day on the 83,000 hectare plantation in Riau, it translates to an average revenue of RM1,095 billion per year or RM13,192 per hectare per year or 18.8 ton per hectare annually.

Did Husam used PMBK Sawit as his yardstick?

The average tonnage per hectare over 25 years cycle of oil palm for any well maintained plantation is 20 ton per year. Over the 25 years, it can peak and trough from the highest recorded at 28 to the low of around 16. For plantations like IOI, Kepong and UP, it is said to have an average 22 ton per year.

At 20 ton per hectare year multiplied by say, RM700 per ton, that will generate revenue per hectare of RM14 million a year or daily per hectare of RM38,356. If that is the productivity, the Riau plantation could generate daily of RM3.183 million.

Through either way, if PMBK plantation production figure used as yardstick, then PMBK Sawit is performing poorly and way below the industry practice.

Questions


The Kelantan people should ask if there is any leakage in PMBK Sawit operation that could have resulted in poor financial performance. If there is, Husam should be investigated and sacked should there be anything questionable of the operations.

His latest politically motivated statement made him liable to lawsuit by TH and that could render him as not qualified to run as candidate for public office in the general election.

Nik Aziz should consider not to allow him to run at all if he could end up as bankrupt and end up relinquishing his post. It will cause major embarrassment to the state Government.

If he can pay TH, ask where did he get the money.

It is heard that he had an out-of-court settlement with Khairy. Wonder how did he paid Khairy Jamaluddin?

Up-date

We were told that Tabung Haji had received an offer from an Indonesian company for 95% interest.

Harakah is still at it. Read here.

This time they are quoting from MSO Melayu blog.

What does political writer, Mohd Sayuti Omar know about the business of oil palm plantation and what more, overseas palm oil plantation?

“Perkara ini perlu didedahkan kerana ia melibatkan kepentingan penyimpan Tabung Haji termasuk saya, isteri dan ibu,” he wrote.

He may have a small few acres of oil palm, but does he has basic knowledge on the management of oil plam plantation and more so on Indonesian palm oil plantation in Riau to enable him to comment. Can he interpret what the offer of US$900 million means?

He can probably spin well.

But the problem is PAS supporters think their leaders and supporter-writers know it well.

Click Here to Read More..

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Looking for a fall guy


Something is brewing in Iskandar Investment Berhad (IIB).

And, it is not good for Khazanah CEO, Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar (Amokh), whose got his hand burned for using it as lid to cover the steam from usurping out of a couldron of boiling hot soup of the failed Medini project.

Something happened and he went amuck. Amokh went amuck. Rhymes well, isn't it?

In the case of MAS, Dato Tengku Azmil was made the scapegoat for his failed WAU in his so-called attempt to turnaround the company.

At IIB, Erlida Ariff, Rostam Razali and the other four former senior management are only preliminary fall guy. The real fall guy has yet to be identified. But one of the six is already going around claiming: "In IIB, you don't decide. Just wait for wahyu (God's commendement) from Kuala Lumpur."

The Medini project does not benefit Johor and will be another of Amokh's series of failed deals and investments.

Who has he lined up as his fall guy this time around?


Two letters to the editor by Rakyat Johor Prihatin and Pembayar Cukai was published by Utusan Malaysia on January 30th, 2012 and February 3rd, 2012, respectively with regard to Iskandar Investment Berhad (IIB)'s Medini project.

The questions were answered later on February 8th issue by a Senior Vice President of Khazanah Nasional Berhad (Khazanah), Mohd Asuki Abas. [Read here] However, many pertinent questions were left unanswered.

Read Syed Akbar's past comment here and here.

What is surprising was that the questions meant for IIB were answered by Khazanah. Perhaps, it is because IIB had a new CEO as in an experienced developer, Dato Syed Mohamad Syed Ibrahim. He is still not ready to answer for IIB's past investment.

The former CEO, the publicly acclaimed young women CEO, Erlida Ariff has a bribery case pending in court against her husband. One of the five former senior executives and suspected accomplice had admitted guilty in court.

Picture (from left): Managing Director Khazanah, Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar, Executive Director, Investment, Ganen Sarvananthan dan Director TMO Khazanah, Mohd Izani Ashari
Upon checking around, it seems no one in IIB really knows anything on the various deals on Medini, except Khazanah CEO, Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar and Executive Director, Investments, Ganen Sarvananthan in order to answer the two letters.

There is a high possibility that a lot of crappy deals in IIB came out of from Level 33, Tower 2 of Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur.

The only one who can answer for it is Azman and Ganen.

One should wonder why would an organisation with a pyramid style corporate structure and many layered organisation chart could have the CEO and main man have their hands directly involved in a subsidiary operations.

A quick glance here would reveal that Azman was formerly Director and Head of Reearch at UBS, Kuala Lumpur. His areas of expertise is likely to be in equity market. No mention of experience in neither dealmaking nor management in an any business operations.

Whilst, Ganen is a law graduate working with an overseas branch of a big name Investment Bank. He rose to become Director of Equity at UBS Hong Kong after spending few years in corporate finance and investment.

He may be smart and had done some deals. How familiar is he with managing strategic national investment? How many economic cycle has he undergone?

Anything less than two cycles is considered wet behind their ears irrespective of how high they are in any organisation. Experience is the mother of wisdom. Without experience, can't expect any foresight and wisdom.

So, please don't be too overawe with big title and big name because big named Banks are generous with their titles, particularly for their overseas branches, for purpose of sales and marketing.

The proof is still in the pudding.

Talking about pudding, there is a rumour coming our of Petronas Twin Tower that there has been a slight puddle-ing around in the Board of Director of IIB.

The announcement is not out yet but the rumour claim Ganen is taken out of IIB and replaced by Hisham Hamdan, another Executive Director (Investment) in Khazanah. [Read here for his profile.]

Does the name ring a bell?

In case there is a problem with the hard disc in your brain to retrieve the information, Hisham was the failed former Executive Vice President, Strategy and Business Development of Sime Darby.

After a series of failures to takeover IJN, followed by the public uproad against Labu Airport LCC, then unable to turnaround Sime Engineering, Sime Darby cold storaged the trained Chemical Engineer to China for Special Project. See here

He was part of former Sime Darby's CEO, Dato Zubir Murshid team and together with many members of the Board of Directors including Tun Musa Hitam are accountable for the RM1 billion Qatar investment failure. Read details of the projek on Jejak Pujangga here and Bigdog here.

Only an organisation like Khazanah would maintain a reserve team of Executive Directors, Investment to back Ganen using failed executives. The failed executives include Dato Rashdan "Danny" Yusof , the former Executive Director of Mayban Investmnent Banking resigned due to staff uprising against him and failed CEO of MAS, Tangku Dato Azmil.

Like Rashdan "Danny" Yusof, Hisham has problem with his inter-human skill and come off as someone arrogant. IJN takeover and Labu Airport failed because of his inability to fathom the public response and maybe his reluctance to listen to advise from the communications team.

Hisham is seldom lost in details that he couldn't see the critical factor. He could be wasting time in senior management level meetings doing petty checking of calculation formula instead of the bigger level of strategy, implementation development and control and monitoring.

Another one of many cases in Khazanah of former Bankers and Investment Bankers that are so distanced from the world of "real" business but yet wish to manage and head businesses.

Hisham is now only warming up eggs as Director of Valuecap Sdn Bhd. To sent him to replace Ganen, it is like replacing QPR's centre forward with a centre forward from a team from the English First Division League. An equally bad if not worse choice.


Back to the Khazanah reply to Utusan Malaysia, it was noticeable that Khazanah refused to answer allegations in the two letters with regard to investment involving the two Arab investors and the deal structure of profit guarantees, flexi payments, etc.

In sync with that, there is another rumour making it's round in Khazanah with regard to IIB. Several days ago, The Star carried a column by B. K Siddhu.

Oh god, her again. Why must any business story of interest to us has her writing something on it? So happen we defended her against the violent hands of SC investigators. Bet some reader may speculate me have something working with her.

Anyway she titled her piece to give the message that the Arabs are leaving Medini and replaced by Chinese and Singaporeans.

Tuesday March 27, 2012

The Arabs are out others in, in Medini land

By B.K. SIDHU
bksidhu@thestar.com.my

KUALA LUMPUR: Arab investors who were originally the master developers of 2,230 acres at Iskandar Malaysia known as the Medini development will no longer be involved and about 80% of that land has since been sold to other foreign investors, including those from East Asia.

“If the Arabs are not willing to develop the land, we cannot let the project be left idle, there must be activity on the land. In fact, we had initiated this (to get other investors) who are from China, South Korea and also Japan to invest in the land,” Iskandar Investment Bhd (IIB) president/chief executive officer Datuk Syed Mohamed Ibrahim said in an interview.

He added that the Arabs “will no longer be involved in Medini, but it was good that they came (initially).”

Five years ago, Abu Dhabi's Mubadala Development Co was the leading consortium investing US$720mil (RM2.1bil) in Medini Iskandar Malaysia to jointly develop 2,230 acres. But the global crisis had thrown the Arab property world into disarray and that had somewhat slowed the development of the Medini parcel.

Hence, IIB had to get other investors, including those from Singapore, North Asia and domestic players.

Syed Mohamed(left in pic):‘The Arabs will no longer be involved, but it was good that they came initially.’ File picture shows Iskandar Investment Bhd president/CEO Datuk Syed Mohamed Syed Ibrahim (left) and UEM Land Holdings Bhd managing director/CEO Datuk Wan Abdullah Wan Ibrahim exchanging documents on Jan 10, 2011, after a signing ceremony to mark their collaboration to form a joint venture company offering security services in Nusajaya at Iskandar Malaysia, Johor. UEM an early investor is also involved in other developments in the Iskandar area.
“The interest (from the foreign investors) came to our office and we facilitated the deals with the foreign investors,” he added.

But it cannot be denied that the Arabs did put in the money when Malaysia wanted foreign investors to invest in Iskandar Malaysia, which is the country's first economic corridor.

Since then, Malaysia has had investors from other parts of the world including domestic investors who had bought plots of land to develop. One of the bigger foreign investors thus far that has invested RM2bil in Medini's development is Beijing-based real estate developer, Zhuoda Real Estate Group. The Sunway Group has bought 691 acres to undertake a mixed development.

The 2,230-acre Medini development would house lifestyle and leisure development. IIB's overall land bank in Johor is 8,889 acres, of which 2,230 acres are for Medini and Legoland theme park and hotel. Nearby, there is also a educity, a wellness centre and a creative studio, UK-based Pinewood, that will be housed.

For the educity, nine universities and campuses will be sited and they include Singapore's Raffles University, University of Southampton Malaysia campus, Malborough College Iskandar Malaysia, Newcastle University Medicine Malaysia, University of Reading Malaysia and the Netherlands Maritime Institute.

IIB is 60%-owned by Khazanah Nasional Bhd, 20% each by Employees Provident Fund and Kumpulan Prasarana Rakyat Johor.

Syed Mohamed said parties from China had wanted to buy the entire Medini area, but because it would be developed into a cosmopolitan area, they had to ensure there was a mix of investors from different parts of the world.

“We have got a nice problem as far as genuine interest from potential local and foreign parties for the land is concerned. We have a suite of investors and we have no restrictions to sell the plots of land to foreigners. There is a lot of interest for land and while there is limited land out there, we are not ready to open the over 6,000 acres for sale presently,” he said.

He would rather wait for land prices to appreciate before opening the over 6,000 acres for development.

Turning to Legoland, Syed Mohamed said the theme park, sited on 76 acres, will open its doors in the fourth quarter of this year. At a cost of US$700mil, the company is also getting a water theme park because of its strict procurement process.

“For the price of one we are getting two theme parks. The water theme park will open in 2013 together with the Legoland theme park hotel,” he said.

Thus far, IIB has managed to sell 10,000 of the unlimited one-year theme park entry passes which are being offered at a special price of RM195. He is targeting one million visitors per year but has yet to promote the theme park in Indonesia, which he believes has a huge potential market.

The message of Arab leaving is consistent with the content of the two letters to the editor of Utusan Malaysia. There were something fishy and the Arab agent or so-called investors failed to deliver.

There was a slight tremor at Tower 2 of the Petronas Twin Tower when the news broke out. However there was no evacuation required.

It was just Amokh who went balistically amuck. In his anger, Amokh claimed the Prime Minister was equally angry.

But we checked. There was no such thing!

It was a lie. PM made no such reaction to the news. It was just Amokh throwing names to scare some people off.

If this was a make-up story, why would BK Siddhu made the following strange clarification the next day. Read below:
Wednesday March 28, 2012

Clarification

With reference to March 27 report in StarBiz headlined, “The Arabs are out,” Iskandar Investment Bhd (IIB) has clarified that:

“Our Middle East investors are still actively involved in Medini. As master developers, Global Capital and Development Sdn Bhd (led by Mubadala) and Metrogold Sdn Bhd (led by funds managed by Kuwait Finance House) would look to dispose of their land to other land developers over time.

“IIB has worked closely with our Middle Eastern partners to facilitate sales to local and other international developers in Medini. Global Capital and Development and Metrogold currently own approximately 40% of the gross floor area for the development in Medini.

“Based on progress payments, RM1.4bil has been proportionately invested by our Middle Eastern partners for their percentage ownership in the respective master development companies.’’
For sure, The Star editorial will not impose on their senior writers. BK Siddhu was merely obliging for IIB.

That clarification is indicative that something is not going right in IIB's Medini and Amokh refused to acknowledged the problems and address it.

The two developers are disposing their land, realised that?

Today is March 29th. Mark our words.

Judging by Amokh past style in hiding his failures, someone else will take the fall for his failures.

From the beginning, it was his WAU and management team under Tan Sri Mohd Nor Yusof that failed from the beginning at MAS. [Read here.] But it was Tengku Azmil that took the bump rap.

Amokh had some conscience and he is worried Tengku Azmil would squel on him. So he gave Tengku Azmil a position in Khazanah to read newspapers and have long lunches.

Hisham could be placed inside the Board of Directors to learn-up, just like Tengku Azmil was seconded to Penerbangan Malaysia Berhad first. Eventually, he would put Hisham to replace the current CEO.

But looking at his resume [read bigdog here], Syed Mohamad knows property business and has proven experience, unlike "theoretical" Azman, Ganen and Hisham. Syed Mohamad brings reputation to IIB. They have to handle him delicately.

Nevertheless, already there are rumours being spread in blog commentaries to slander the new CEO as not performing. He just joined a messed organisation only in October 2010. How can he perform when so much interference by idiots from upstairs?

Same thing happened in MAS. The Business Transformation Plan could not be executed by Dato Idris Jala because Khazanah refuse to support. It was only made worse by Idris's amateurish attempt to manipulate P&L accounts.

Probably Syed Mohamad will be pressured to leave and the real problem will blow over under Hisham. Before that, this arrogant born sucker would oblige to cover-up for Amokh.

Baik-baik kau, Hisham. Kau tak kenal budak Kolet punya main.

Click Here to Read More..

Anwar and Quek dodge subpeona?


Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim and Hong Leong Finance Berhad Chairman, Tan Sri Quek Leng Chan have been subpoenaed to testify in the lawsuit by Hong Leong Finance against several defaulters on a RM445 million syndicated loan.

Lead counsel D. Paramalingam, who acted for businessman Low Thiam Hoe, told the court that he could not serve the subpoena on both of them.

Anwar could not be served in Parliament, while Quek could not be located.

Lawyer Andrew Chiew, who acted for the Hong Leong told High Court Judicial Commissioner Hadhariah Syed Ismail that he would file an application Thursday today to set aside the subpoena issued against both top figures.

That is today.

The Free Malaysia Today report below:

Anwar, Quek subpoenaed over RM445m loan case
Teoh El Sen | March 28, 2012

A defendant in a non-payment of loans case wants to put the then finance minister and a prominent banker on the stand as part of his defence.

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court has allowed an application to subpoenae Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim to be a defence witness in a civil suit over a deal involving RM445 million syndicated loan facility given in 1998.

Aside from Anwar, Hong Leong Finance Bhd executive chairman Quek Leng Chan, Hamzah Harun and Mohd Faiz Abdullah (both former director and shareholder of Arus Murni Sdn Bhd) will also be served notices to appear as defence witnesses, the High Court was told today.

The four individuals are being summoned in an attempt by lawyers of the defendant, businessman Low Thiam Hoe, to link Anwar – the then finance minister and deputy prime minister – to the loan and the subsequent failed acquisition.

However, lawyer for plaintiff Hong Leong Finance, Andrew Chiew, said he would be applying to the court to set aside the subpoenas for Anwar and Quek, saying that these witnesses were “unnecessary”.

Questioning the motive of the defence in bringing in these new witnesses and claiming that the defence was trying to “lead the court astray”, Chiew said: “One can only question the real motive of this; in the circumstances…how does that feature in any way, material or otherwise, to the defence’s case?”

“It is so obvious that my learned friend is trying to change the case…We do not know where exactly they are coming from. If I close my case, and they call these two persons, I don’t know what they’ll say; a multitude of things and I am not given the chance to call more witnesses,” Chiew said.

Chiew, however, agreed for Hamzah and Faiz, who was also said to be Anwar’s speech writer, to be called (as witnesses) as their names were repeatedly mentioned in the case.

Low’s lead counsel, D Paramalingam, argued that Anwar and Quek, along with Hamzah and Faiz, were needed as they form a vital part of the defence’s case.

“The person who actually instructed (the deal) was, namely, Anwar and there was a relationship there with Quek. These witnesses will form part of the evidence,” Paramalingam said.

He said that he had earlier this week failed to serve the subpoenas on Anwar, who is in Parliament, and Faiz, who is overseas.

Quek cannot be located, he said. However, he added that the notices will be served as soon as possible.

On March 19, the High Court judge Hadhariah Syed Ismail dismissed Low’s application to amend his defence statement to include Anwar as “the person behind the deal”.

In rejecting his application, Hadhariah said it was made at the “eleventh hour” and had come too late in the course of the trial.

Non-payment of loans

Chiew argued today that the judge’s previous decision would make the subpoenas invalid, but Hadhariah said that it was premature to decide on this issue.

Six witnesses of the plaintiff had already taken the stand.

In 1998, Hong Leong Finance filed a suit against Low, Merkuritek Sdn Bhd and Arus Murni Sdn Bhd over non-payment of syndicated loans amounting to RM445 million.

The loans were given to the parties in a bid to acquire financial institution Arus Murni Corporation Bhd (AMCB) which owns Kewangan Bersatu Bhd (KBB).

Each defendant was sued for over RM28 million plus interest for the non-repayment of the loans.

In 1999, Low filed a counter-claim against Hong Leong Finance (HLFB), HLG Capital Markets Sdn Bhd and Hong Leong Credit Bhd’s former CEO Seow Lun Hoo asking for damages for alleged wrongful or negligent advice.

Hong Leong also filed another suit against Mekuritek and three guarantors – Hussin Abdul Karim, Agus Salim Mohd Dom and Abdullah Abd Karim Bajerai – as defendants for a similar claim of RM28 million

Today, the plaintiff’s witness Seow Lun Hoo was called. He was the president and CEO of Hong Leong Credit between 1997 and 1998.

Seow testified that he was introduced to Faiz in 1997 by Berita Harian editor-in-chief Ahmad Nazri Abdullah, who had informed him that Faiz was interested in acquiring AMCB, which was then known as Inchcape Timuran Bhd.

“Faiz asked for my assistance in this acquisition… I introduced Faiz to HLFB and HLF Capital Markets to structure and to finance the acquisition of shares and warrants in AMCB. Low and Mekuritek also participacted,” Seow said.

During examination-in-chief by Chiew, Seow said that the proposed acquisition of KBB by Hong Leong Finance had nothing to do with the syndicated loans.

“HLFB was prepared to acquire KBB due to Bank Negara Malaysia’s initiative to encourage financial institutions to merge in the late 1997. In connection with this, HLFB had conditionally agreed to consider acquiring AMCB’s shares in KBB subject to a due diligence exercise,” he said.

Seow later said that the deal did not go through as HLFB never agreed to the value of RM350 million which was a value indicated by AMCB.

Questions on credit assessment

During cross-examination, Paramalingam said: “I put it to you that the plaintiff did not acquire or refused to acquire KBB because of the economic downturn at the time, and the value of KBB had gone up.”

But Seow maintained that HLFB “was unable to agree with AMCB on the valuation of the KBB”.

He also said that financial licences for financial institutions such as KBB are given out by the finance minister, who was Anwar at the time.

When asked about the loan process, including whether credit assessments were done before the loans were sanctioned, Seow said that he could not answer questions involving actual “operational matters” as they were beyond his job scope.

He denied a suggestion by Paramalingam that there no assessments were done on Low before the loans were given.

Seow also denied a suggestion that it was Quek who instructed him to approve the syndicated loans.

When questioned by defence lawyer Devanandan S Subramaniam, Seow admitted that he sat on a committee that would go through credit assessments and he would be aware of it.

The case will continue tomorrow, where Hamzah and Low will be called.

What does Low got to reveal for all to know? Is there a concerted effort with Tan Sri Quek Leng Chan or is he on his own?

Click Here to Read More..

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Opening of Anwar's Pandora Box


The blogosphere may not be aware or realised yet the implication of this latest expose on the Anwar Ibrahim and Quek Leng Chan's past attempt to use Aras Murni to takeover Inchcape Timuran Berhad and Kewangan Bersatu Berhad.

With the general election getting closer, despite the date is not known, every other bloggers are focused on political propaganda with simple and straightforward message that is more digestible with the simple folks.

It's okay for they will miss the big story that will open Anwar's Pandora Box. It disproves a long held claim by Anwar that he does not have corporate cronies.

Using that claim, he conveniently blame and criticise the ruling party for corruption, cronyism and nepotism for political points. The blame game is also his way of hiding his dirtied hands. But the market had long known of his corrupt and immoral misadventures.

The fact to the matter is there could be some truth when a member in the consortium to takeover KBB disclosed that Anwar Ibrahim and Quek Leng Chan is behind the leading group in the consortium.

Otherwise, why would a Chinese businessman like Low Thiam Hoe be willing to invest and be minority shareholder at 3.33& in a takeover scheme led by a novice player, lawyer Faiz Abdullah and a group of newbie Melayus in the corporate game?

Aras Murni holds 29.00%, Nik Hussein Nik Osman and Hood bin Osman each hold 9.33% and Mekuritek Sdn Bhd with Low each ended with 3.33% of the enlarged listed vehicle Inchcape Timuran Berhad.

So, there has to be somebody else behind. And, there could be more at stake then just a finance company. These buyers need to add sufficient value to the shares held to repay the Banks and have some extra. Mind you, the seller, in this case is KUBB or Idris Hydraulic, would definitely want full value plus something else to depart with their shares.

That extra was needed to buy power.

To understand the big picture behind the saga could open Anwar's Pandora Box, read Raja Petra's posting yesterday (with us adding pictures):


EPISODE 23: The Anwar Ibrahim-Quek Leng Chan Saga

THE CORRIDORS OF POWER

Tuesday, 27 March 2012 Super Admin

The purpose of the loan was for the purchase of Inchcape Timuran shares and to purchase Kewangan Bersatu Berhad KBB, which had a finance licence. KBB was owned by Ishak Ismail, an Anwar crony and the Umno Penang Treasurer who controlled Idris Hydraulic, another Umno company. Anwar was then the Umno Penang chief. The RM420 million was dispersed but the KBB acquisition never took place. So what happened to the money? Where was it siphoned? Who hijacked it? That is what the court case this week will establish.

THE CORRIDORS OF POWER

Raja Petra Kamarudin


In May 1982, the MUI Group, which is headed by Tan Sri Dato Khoo Kay Peng, acquired Kwong Lee Bank Berhad. Khoo Kay Peng was a strong ally of Tengku Tan Sri Razaleigh Hamzah (Ku Li), Malaysia’s Finance Minister from 1976 to 1984. On 2nd February 1983, Kwong Lee Bank Berhad was renamed Malayan United Bank Berhad (MUI Bank).

Those in the Malay Chamber of Commerce Malaysia (MCCM) were extremely unhappy about what they viewed as a close relationship between the Finance Minister and this Chinese business tycoon. For this reason, most members/leaders of the MCCM, who invariably were also Umno members and/or leaders, supported Musa Hitam in the tussle between Ku Li and Musa for the Umno Deputy Presidency.

The joke around town at that time was that Ku Li and ‘Ku’ Kay were brothers from different mothers and separate fathers. Because of this perception, that Ku Li was a ‘tool’ of the Chinese, in particular of Khoo Kay Peng, Ku Li twice failed in his bid for the Umno Deputy Presidency. His ‘Chinese sympathies’ lost him the Deputy Prime Ministership of Malaysia at a time when the New Economic Policy (NEP) was on its final leg and the future of the Malays was in question. Hence a more ‘Malay’ Musa Hitam was preferred over a ‘Chinese tool’. The anti-Ku Li campaign was: kalau Anak Raja naik, maka Cina akan bermaharaja di Malaysia.

Such is how business is done in Malaysia. Chinese business tycoons need Umno Malay benefactors to get things done. And in very ‘sensitive’ cases, such as banking licences, in particular ‘backdoor’ banking licences like in the case of the MUI Bank, your relationship with the Finance Minister and/or Prime Minister is extremely crucial.

None of the MCCM or Umno members/leaders had any reservations that Khoo Kay Peng’s success in his backdoor banking licence was because of his link to Ku Li. They would swear on their mother’s grave that know-who and not know-how is the key to success in Malaysia’s highly political environment. And for that Ku Li had to pay, and pay dearly, with his political career. As they say, perception is everything and the MUI Bank episode was the ‘evidence’ required to create this perception of Ku Li’s ‘Chineseness’. What was most puzzling is that Ibrahim Ali, the PERKASA head, was Ku Li’s campaign manager in the 1987 tussle that would follow.


In 1987, Ku Li challenged Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad for the Umno Presidency, and thus also for the Prime Ministership of Malaysia, and lost. Soon after, he left Umno (or rather Umno left him when Umno Baru was formed) to form his new party, Semangat 46. That was the end of Ku Li’s political career and of his hope of reaching the pinnacle of power. And this too meant the end of Khoo Kay Peng. His link to the ‘right’ political masters took a nosedive and it was only a matter of time before he would lose his flagship, his MUI Bank.

In Malaysia, one can’t own a bank and be on the wrong side of the political divide, as many a banker has since learned -- and the list is endless.

In 1991, Anwar Ibrahim became Malaysia’s Finance Minister. The whisperings in the corridors of power was that this was the wish of Tun Daim Zainuddin who wanted to retire to focus on his many business interests but wanted ‘his man’ to take over so that he would not expose himself to any risk with the appointment of a ‘hostile’ Finance Minister.

Everyone in the MCCM at that time knew that Anwar was Daim’s proxy and that Daim was still the de facto Finance Minister. There was many an occasion when the MCCM met up with Anwar to try to resolve issues affecting the Malay business community and Anwar would reply that he would have to check with Daim first. No one doubted that Anwar was Daim’s kuda (horse), as he was infamously labelled then.

In 1993, Anwar took over the post of Malaysia’s Deputy Prime Minister after ousting Ghafar Baba in what many say was one of Umno’s dirtiest party elections ever. Some say as much as RM200 million was spent to oust Ghafar -- the beginning of Umno’s scourge of ‘money politics’, the ‘black culture’ that Umno has to grapple with today. Others put the figure as much higher.

Nevertheless, whatever the figure may have been, it was in the hundreds of millions. What many did not know, and which was the main bone of contention: where did Anwar get his hands on such a large sum of money?

On 3rd January 1994, the Hong Leong Group Malaysia, which is controlled by another Chinese business tycoon, Tan Sri Quek Leng Chan, acquired MUI Bank Berhad through Hong Leong Credit Berhad. MUI Bank was renamed Hong Leong Bank Berhad (HLBB).

Initially, another Chinese business tycoon, Tan Sri Dato Vincent Tan Chee Yioun, through his vehicle Berjaya Corporation, made a bid for the bank. It was rumoured that Khoo Kay Peng did not really want to sell his bank but was under pressure to do so. His link to Ku Li, the Semangat 46 leader, had cost him his bank. Chinese business tycoons rise and fall alongside their Umno political bosses. It is the hazards of doing business using Umno leaders as your benefactor.

The whisperings in the corridors of power at that time was that Vincent Tan was told to “back off because Anwar wanted the bank”. Being the obedient servant that he always is, Vincent Tan backed off so that Quek Leng Chan could have the bank instead.


But Vincent Tan did not walk away empty-handed though. As compensation, he was allowed his Sports Toto ‘special draw’, a project which Anwar crony and tennis partner, S. Nallakaruppan, was in charge of. The Sports Toto special draw was a very lucrative cash cow that made enough money for some of it to filter back to Umno as ‘election funds’. It is said that this was the basis of the relationship between Anwar and Nalla, the special draw cash cow.


HLBB was listed on the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange on 17th October 1994 with its total paid up capital enlarged to RM470 million.

Again, just like Khoo Kay Peng could not get his hands on a bank without his link to the then Finance Minister, Ku Li, Quek Leng Chan also needed the good office of the Finance Minister to finally realise his dream of owning a bank -- something he had been attempting to do in Singapore for quite some time but which Lee Kuan Yew violently opposed. Yes, in Singapore too your links to the political masters is crucial in getting things done -- hence so much for the fallacy of Singapore being ‘squeaky-clean’.

But there is a dark secret behind the Quek Leng Chan-Anwar Ibrahim relationship. And that dark secret is about to come out of the closet. Tomorrow, on Wednesday, 28th March 2012, a case is going to be heard in court. And this case involves conflict of interest and the siphoning out of money of an amount of RM445 million. The issue of how the bank’s money was siphoned out is not the most interesting part of the story. What is would be where the money went to and what it was used for.

And this is how the story goes.

On 24th March 1997, a syndicated loan of RM420 million was obtained under the names of eight people, all who were acting as nominees for certain people -- RM420 million was the original loan amount with an additional RM25 million given to Faiz Abdullah to cover the outstanding interest. The syndicate lenders were Hong Leong Finance, Sime Bank Berhad, BSN Commercial Bank (Malaysia) Berhad and DCB Bank Berhad. The arrangers of the loan were Hong Leong Finance Berhad and HLG Capital Markets Sdn Bhd.

The purpose of the loan was for the purchase of Inchcape Timuran shares and to purchase Kewangan Bersatu Berhad KBB, which had a finance licence. KBB was owned by Ishak Ismail, an Anwar crony and the Umno Penang Treasurer who controlled Idris Hydraulic, another Umno company. Anwar was then the Umno Penang chief. The RM420 million was dispersed but the KBB acquisition never took place. So what happened to the money? Where was it siphoned? Who hijacked it? That is what the court case this week will establish.

Anwar was about to make his move on Dr Mahahir so he needed to fatten his war chest. It cost him RM200 million to bring down Ghafar. It would cost him much more than that if he wanted to bring down Dr Mahathir. Hence, it was important for Anwar to control the financial institutions, his intended source of cash, as he did with the Umno media group when his boys did the RM600 million MBO.


Anwar realised that to oust Dr Mahathir he would need to surround himself with powerful ‘money people’ who would have the financial resources to fund the exercise. While Dr Mahathir had people like Ananda Krishnan, Francis Yeoh, Vincent Tan, Daim, etc., to finance his political moves, all Anwar had were people like Tong Kooi Ong, Chan Ah Chye, TK Lim, Kamaruddin Jaafar, Ishak Ismail, etc., and to a lesser extent Rashid Hussein and Azman Hashim. Halim Saad and Tajuddin Ramli were also beginning to get close to Anwar who they viewed as the heir apparent.

The joke that Anwar’s people told then was that you must first fatten the cow before you can milk it. However, while Dr Mahathir had fat cows, Anwar’s cows were pretty thin so they needed to be fattened a bit.

One person, who decided to place a huge bet on Anwar becoming the next Prime Minister, after ousting Dr Mahathir of course, was Quek Leng Chan. This was the same man who got his bank under Anwar’s watch. While both Anwar and Quek handled the planning of their manoeuvres, the actual implementation was left to Nazri Abdullah, Anwar’s warlord currently living in London (and one of the beneficiaries of the RM600 million media MBO), and Seow Lun Hoo, Quek’s warlord.

To pull this off, it would require creating shell companies with trusted persons to front it and act as nominees. And access to large amounts of funds would be required. This was where Quek Leng Chan’s and Hong Leong’s financial clout were very crucial. And the Mister Fixit was Seow Lun Hoo.

The Inchcape Timuran deal was executed by Seow, together with Faiz Abdullah, an Anwar crony and lawyer -- who was also one of Anwar’s speechwriters, just like Dr Munawar Anees who was later jailed for six months on charges that he had allowed Anwar to bugger him.

The plan was to use the RM420 million syndicated loan facility to acquire Inchcape Timuran and KBB. KBB, which had a finance licence, would then borrow from another financial institution to repay the original loan from Hong Leong. And the beautiful part about this whole thing is: KBB was already owned by Ishak Ismail, Anwar’s Treasurer from Penang. So it would be merely transferring money from one pocket to the other.


To fatten the cow further, they planned to inject into the company 2,500 acres of RRI land in Sungai Buloh that would be privatised at RM250,000 per acre. This land, which would have been a RM625 million deal, was practically a goldmine and in the middle of a massive development. This would be the new ‘Golden Triangle’ in the Kelang Valley.

It is most ironical that Anwar protested recently when Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak talked about this same privatisation proposal. Anwar is objecting to something he was going to do and would have done had he not been ousted in September 1998.

Anwar successfully ousted Ghafar by using Sabah. If he can do it once then he can do it again. The money from the loan was supposed to ensure that he had the support of key Umno players in Sabah and elsewhere. However, everything fell apart when the Asian Financial Crisis hit soon after and Anwar was subsequently ousted and arrested in September 1998.

And now the case has come to court. And in this court hearing a lot of shit is going to hit the fan. We are going to hear about nominees, front men, fall guys, beneficiaries, benefactors, and a lot of conspiracies and counter-conspiracies that are going to make your head spin.

The end game was to take over the seat of the Prime Minister. The game plan was to raise as much money as possible to finance this exercise. The vehicle was Hong Leong. The financial planner was Rashid Hussein. The fixer was Quek Leng Chan. The executor was Seow Lun Hoo. The face of the deal was Faiz Abdullah. The fall guys were eight nominees under whose names the loan was obtained. The sweetener was the ‘gold mine’ RM625 million RRI land in Sungai Buloh.

It was supposed to have been a win-win situation whereby all would live happily ever after. But, as usual, there must always be a spoiler. And the spoiler was Dr Mahathir who refused to roll over and play dead but chose instead to fight back.

If you have some free time, do attend the hearing tomorrow and witness what is going to be revealed in court. This is probably going to be a more exciting case than Anwar’s Sodomy 2 trial.

As I have always said: behind every Malay Umno politician is a Chinese business tycoon. The Chinese need the Malays to get ahead. The Malays also need the Chinese to get ahead. The Malays have political power and know how to abuse this power. The Chinese have economic power and know how to invest their money in the right politician.

But sometimes the Malay Umno politicians do miscalculate their political moves. And sometimes the Chinese business tycoons do make a bad investment. And in this case about to be heard in court, we shall be told how Anwar Ibrahim and Quek Leng Chan bit of more than they can chew and are now suffering the pains of indigestion.


But why is Hong Leong suddenly resurrecting an old case from 1997 that had long disappeared from the radar screen? Why not let sleeping dogs lie? After all, a massive loan of RM445 million was given to eight nominees who in the first place were not qualified to get a loan of that amount and certainly do not have the means to pay back the loan even if you win the case.

Well, Quek Leng Chan is now in the government’s bad books and he is worried. He knows that Anwar will never become Prime Minister unless Pakatan Rakyat takes over the federal government.

But Quek Leng Chan has written off any possibility of Pakatan Rakyat taking over the federal government -- hence also the chances of Anwar becoming Prime Minister. So, Quek Leng Chan is washing his hands of Anwar and is hoping that by taking this case to court it will be revealed that Anwar is the person behind this whole thing.

This is Quek Leng Chan’s way of wiping the slate clean and proving to the government that he is no crony of Anwar (if not why would he take this case to court?).

This case is about Quek Leng Chan opening Anwar's Pandora Box.

Soon many more will surface. If someone at Minister of Finance bother to look-up at the listing of Tenaga Nasional Berhad, they will unveil Anwar's sister allocated multimillion allocated shares. Some say it is 16 million and another source say 60 million.

Depending on -teen or -ty, it also dispell Anwar as that honest politicains and leaders true to his words and allegations.

If the public attention is not diffused with too many issues or a psywar strategy called entropy is at work, this issue would put pressure Anwar and he will be off on the next plane to Indonesia to release his 'pressure valve'.

It would surely add to Anwar's long list of unanswered issues.

Lucky for him for now that the issue is a wee bit complex for the common folks and the non-English reading and speaking bloggers.

Moreover, the problem with blogs like the "Papagomos and Parpukaris" are that these group can't sustain issues and are too eager to be newsbreaker thus making them ineffective and not strategic in their propaganda or psywar.

[Sorry friends ... as usual, just being honest. Do take it positively to be more aware.]

The English blogs are still the opinion makers, as in read by opinion leaders and can have influence on events, and potential international reach.

This is one event awaiting to unravel itself into bigger things. Watch this space.

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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Proxies revealed on Anwar and Quek!


On March 19th, the Kuala Lumpur High Court dismissed the defense submission by businessman Low Thiam Hoe that include former Deputy Prime Minister cum Minister of Finance, Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim dan Tan Sri Quek Leng Chan in the submission to a lawsuit by Hong Leong Finance.

Read ABITW here and here.

Hong Leong Finance had sued several parties; Low, Mekuritek Sdn Bhd and Arus Murni Sdn Bhd for non payment of loans amounting RM445 million for a failed acquisition of Kewangan Bersatu Berhad from Koperasi Usaha Bersatu Berhad (KUBB) in 1998.

The lawsuit was filed by Hong Leong Finance Bhd (HLFB) in 1997 but stangely HLFB had stalled proceeding since 2005. It was only reactivated recently.

Has Quek Leng Chan and Hong Leong Group given up on Anwar Ibrahim?

The proposed amendment was rejected by Justice Hadhariah Syed Ismail on the ground that it had come too late in the course of the trial.

Raja Petra's made a revelation today of the court submission by the defense. It revealed Anwar and Quek as having the ultimate interest in Arus Murni.

Malaysia Today here disclosed this morning samples of the defense submission by Low.

The rejected item was item 4 in Page 3 of the defense submission that spelt out Anwar and Tan Sri Quek Leng Chan as the having the ultimate interest in Arus Murni. See the highlighted part taken from Malaysia Today below:


In the defense submission made under oath, Hamzah Harun and Mohd Faiz Abdullah was stated as "principals at all time acting for" or in normal parlance, proxy to Anwar and Quek in Arus Murni for the exercise to takeover KBB from UMNO-initiated cooperative, KUBB.


This revelation will be another line of blockbuster of Anwar, who on August 19, 2008 here challenged his detractors to name his cronies.

That is not difficult. Many had done so.

In his days as Minister of Finance, his cronies are publicly known. So does this revelation which merely confirmed what the bankers and market already know.

This leaked court document was submitted as a trial exhibit as proof for the defense. The material is merely rejected on procedural or technical basis and not due to it's truthfulness.

It will be hard press on Anwar to deny to the public. In fact, it would have been better off for him that the evidence is argued and disputed in the trial.

The defense could probably appeal this rejection.

Should the defense appeal and was accepted, this piece of information will be accepted as proof, strong or weak, unless disputed by Anwar and Quek Leng Chan.

How will Anwar answer to the public?

He can't say the court has decided to reject it. To turn the table on his usual psywar tactic of public perception, he can't deny based on merely technical reason.

The judge and jury in the court of public opinion need a better answer than that.

The public will also await what Faiz and Hamzah have to say on this. If Faiz and Hamzah are truly proxies, it is unlikely they are willing to take the fall to pay for Anwar's and Quek's loans.

The amount of RM224.5 million is no chicken feed to anybody.

If they are not proxies, they will still have to fend off HLFB from bankrupting them. Do they have something else to reveal to save their own skin or Anwar and Quek will pay for it?

In the court of public opinion, it is not what you say that matters sometime, but how you say it. Thus, how will Anwar, Hamzah, Faiz and Quek reply?

Quek also has to answer to save his banking business as it is as much at stake.

After much difficulty for the Quek family, both in Malaysia and Singapore, to get a banking license, what will be the implication to them for breaching a cardinal sin in banking i.e. lending to one own self?

Ask Tan Sri Teh Hiong Piow of Public Bank of the treatment he gets from the late Bank Negara Malaysia Governor, Tun Ismail Ali. If the allegation could stick, Teh could have gone to jail and get his banking license suspended.

As for Hamzah and Faiz, isn't it expensive to be proxies?

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