One month after Anwar Ibrahim announced his cabinet line-up, Berjaya Group announced his former Political Secretary, and PKR Perak Chief, Farhasy Salvador Wafa as its new Chairman for 7-Eleven Malaysia Holdings Berhad.
The official communique gave a glowing resume of Farhasy corporate experience, education and related positions held, but its a dime too many.
Those in the know are more concerned with his association with the Seremban-based stockbroking outfit, Apex Holdings Berhad.
The public attention is on the fiery, temperamental and explosive close confidante of Anwar joining Vincent Tan's outfit.
Social media have not held back from openly associating Berjaya's major shareholder Vincent "Tun" with Mahathir following the appointment of Jaleel Rasheed as Group CEO in 2021.
Despite seldom used as Anwar's political bogey to criticise Mahathir, it is not alarming for Vincent Tan to find the ways and means to find his way to whoever is in power to pursue his business interest.
He has been slowly relinquishing his interest in Berjaya Group and market is saying he is preparing for a major takeover of financial institution.
Anwar's supporters are saying Farhash is not part of any of the Prime Minister or Minister of Finance offices thus no conflict of interest for him to make a living anywhere he pleases.
However it is not so simple.
Apex and ACE
Farhasy is also the Executive Chairman of Apex. A market source claimed Apex has problem with SC and could not receive approval for their retructuring proposal.
It is believed the group behind Apex is linked to illegal moneygame activities.
The Azmin funded media outfit, MalaysiaNow picked up on the SC concern in their January 20th report. Extract from the report below:
The SC claims that Apex Securities contravened securities laws, adding that ACE Group is not "a fit and proper person" to be a controller of the company.
Last month, citing a court filing dated Dec 1, 2022, The Edge quoted Apex Equity as saying that the SC was seeking a court declaration that its subsidiary Apex Securities Sdn Bhd had contravened securities laws, and that ACE Holdings Bhd, which is part of the ACE Group, was knowingly involved in the contravention.
The Edge weekly for February 6-12 reported ACE as facing lawsuits from four parties in which one of the party filed a notice for winding up on the day Anwar announced his cabinet.
The four parties are claiming for the unpaid principals for issue of ordinary Islamic Redeemable Preference Shares (i-RPS) with 12% p.a. as target return.
ACE Holdings have an outstanding of RM817.17 million preference shares with ACE Credit targeted annual return of investment is 15%.
Over six years, ACE Holding have issued a total of RM1.35 billion RPS.
ACE Credit claimed it is not investment but a loan to the company. However, by the look of things, it could be a case of investors turned lenders.
ACE have been investing heavily in the stock market. According to their 2019 annual report, Edge reported them having substantial interest in few PLCs. Its a case of when market goes down, all schemes goes under as well.
There is the likelihood that Apex stockbroking operation in Seremban was the conduit for ACE trading activities.
Otherwise, how is a small town stockbroking outfit to sustain themselves in the thinning brokerage of Malaysian stock market, competition from Fintech, and dwindling foreign interest. When will Anwar charge Serba Dinamik?
With his connection to Anwar, the shareholders of Apex would only expect of Farhash to talk to the Minister of Finance to assist them out of the triple quagmire.
Then there is Vincent "Tun" anticipated investment in financial institution.
There is talk that Berjaya could be part of the consortium to takeover Public Bank. That would require BNM approvals.
However, banking business is too regulated and "legit" for Vincent Tan's liking as the largest holder of a long list of retail franchises.
The talk about MCIS Life takeover is more to his liking and has synergy with the other Berjaya Group businesses in retailing and financial services.
Another possibility and it is a mere hunch that Vincent Tan could be eyeing for a digital banking license. Its more to his flavour and could be the reason Farhash is "parked" at 7-Eleven.
All these need the concurrence and support of the Minister of Finance for a smooth and high growth operation.
Its a favour Anwar owe Farhash but Vincent Tan to benefit immensely. At the end, ole man Tun juga yang masyukkkk ... Its normal reality in the capitalist world of business.
It is the favour for Apex which Anwar should not do.
China caught up with Tedy Teow in Cambodia for scamming its citizens in the hundreds of millions moneygame schemes. Not much is known of ACE victims.