High Court throws out Halim’s RM1.8 billion suit

October 31, 2013

MY COMMENT:  This is a bizarre decision by the Judge. The first defendant in this case is Nor Mohamed Yakcop who was the person who negotiated with Halim Saad on the instructions of former Prime Minister (Tun) Dr. Mahathir Mohamad to enable Khazanah to restructure the Renong-UEM Group. There were exchanges of letters between the parties concerned. Otherwise, Halim would not have  resorted to the courts for justice. He would not waste the court’s time if he did not feel that he had been fraudulently misled by Nor Mohamed. There was never any intention on the part of defendants to honour representations made to Halim. I hope Halim will not be discouraged from appealing against this court decision. –Din Merican

High Court throws out Halim’s RM1.8 billion suit


HalimSaadThe High Court in Kuala Lumpur today struck out the RM1.8 billon lawsuit filed against the government by former Renong Bhd chairperson Abdul Halim Saad.

Halim, a former majority owner and executive chairperson of Renong, filed the suit against Khazanah Nasional Bhd, former Minister Nor Mohamed Yakcop and the government of Malaysia.

Khazanah Nasional is the strategic investment fund of the government entrusted to hold and manage its commercial assets. In making the decision, judge Hanipah Farikullah said there was no cause of action for Halim to file the suit.

“There was no fraud and fraudulent misrepresentation committed by the defendants. “The plaintiff (Halim) has been sleeping all these years and appeared suddenly have woken up by filing this action this year,” Justice Hanipah said.

She said this in her ruling that Halim had also filed his action out of time. The court found the agreement among the parties to have been made in 2003 and the action filed by Halim was way out of time of the six years that aggrieved parties have to file their cause of action.

With the suit being strucked out, the matter will not go to trial. Justice nor-mohamed-yakcopHanipah also ordered Halim to pay costs of RM25,000 to former Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Nor Mohamed and the government, and another RM25,000 to Khazanah Nasional.

The court made the decision today after hearing the application by the defendants to strike out the suit on the grounds it was filed out of time.

Lawyers Gopal Sreenevasan and Ranjit Singh appeared for Halim, while Nitin Nadkurni appeared for Khazanah Nasional and senior federal counsel Amarjeet Singh and Suzana Atan for Nor Moahmed and the government.

Once blue-eyed boy

Halim, once the blue-eyed boy in the corporate world like Tajudin Ramli who took over Malaysia Airlines, was brought in during the government’s privatisation programme in the 1990’s.

Renong has 100 percent ownership of Projek Lebuhraya Utara Selatan (Plus), Prolink Development Sdn Bhd and Putra LRT, and has substantial stakes in United Engineers (M) Bhd, Faber Group Bhd, Park May Bhd, Kinta Kellas PLC, Cement Industries (M) Bhd, Time Engineering, Time dotCom Bhd and Commerce Asset Holdings Bhd (now CIMB).

In his statement of claim dated April 17, 2013, Halim alleged there was a breach of the Renong purchase obligation where he held a majority stake, and Nor Mohamed, the government and Khazanah had committed fraud in having him relieved of the post.

He is seeking RM1.3 billion, general damages for breach of the Renong purchase obligation, another RM508 million being value of paid up capital of Kualiti Alam Sdn Bhd in settlement of Halim’s losses for rescuing Fleet Group and damages for fraudulent misrepresentation.

The statement of claim reflects the period of the Asian financial crisis of 1997 where on or about November 17, 1997, UEM announced it had acquired 722,882,000 shares in Renong. However, in January 1998, Halim acted in his personal capacity to purchase the Renong shares from UEM and paid the first installment under a ‘put option’ on Feb 14, 2001.

The first installment was funded through a financing facility.

Summoned to meet Mahathir

drmHalim claimed in July 2001, Mahathir summoned him to Putrajaya where the then-PM informed him that he should allow the government to take over his shares in Renong and UEM group and asked him to meet with Nor Mohamed, then his special economic adviser.

Halim said he met Nor Mohamed (right) on July 12, and the meeting was also attended by his lawyer Rashid Manaff.  During the meeting, Nor Mohamed allegedly told him not to proceed with the put option and indicated that the government would purchase his shares in Renong and UEM.

He summarised these statements in a letter dated July 16, 2001 to Mahathir and wanted the Premier to reconsider his position.

Subsequent meetings were held and an agreement reached between Halim and Nor Mohamed on behalf of the government, where Khazanah as the acquirer would pay RM1.3 billion in cash and kind, purchase his 372 million shares in Renong for RM465 million and procure the transfer to Halim the entire equity of Kualiti Alam Sdn Bhd which is free of encumbrances worth RM508 million.

Halim claimed the terms were confirmed in a letter dated July 18, 2001 to Dr Mahathir. He further alleged a repayment agreement was reached orally between him and Nor Mohamed between July 2001 and June 2002.

He said Khazanah honoured the repayment agreement by paying RM165 million that includes compensation for his losses due to foreclosure of various assets pledged by him to various financiers following its initial takeover.

‘All UMNO’s assets’

“After receiving the RM165 million from Khazanah, I attended a meeting with Nor Mohamed at his office in Putrajaya, where Nor Mohamed orally agreed that the defendants would perform its obligations under the 2001 agreement.”

Halim claimed that between 2003 and 2010, he tried repeatedly to meet Nor Mohamed for him and the government to comply with the 2001 agreement, but was unsuccessful.

On April 23, 2010, Halim met Mahathir to seek a resolution of the matter but was informed by the former premier that he had been informed by Nor Mohamed that all along the assets that Khazanah were to take over were owned by UMNO.

“Mahathir said there was never any reason to pay me. Rashid was also present at the meeting. I contend that the said assets were never owned by UMNO. A meeting was arranged by Mahathir, I finally met Nor Mohamed at his office and was informed that there would not be any forthcoming payments for the reasons mentioned by Mahathir,” Halim claimed.

Halim claimed that he had been induced by Nor Mohamed as an agent representing the government for him to take up the deal for his exit from Renong and UEM. “These representations by Nor Mohamed were false in that the government and Khazanah never had any intention of entering into the 2001/or 2003 agreement to pay or perform,” he alleged in his statement.

The US is the Super-Snooper

October 31, 2013

The US is the Super-Snooper

by Hanin Fadiyah@www.harakahdaily.com


The United States is running clandestine communications intelligence facilities at its embassies in Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, Bangkok, Phnom Penh and Yangon.

The country is doing so by tapping telephones and monitoring communications networks from electronic surveillance facilities in US embassies and consulates across east and south-east Asia, according to information disclosed by intelligence whistleblower Edward Snowden.A top secret map dated August 13, 2010 lists nearly a hundred surveillance facilities worldwide, the map however, shows no such facilities are located in Australia, New Zealand, Britain, Japan and Singapore – the US’s closest allies.

Snoopy the SnooperSnoopy the Snooper

According to the map published by Germany’s Der Spiegel magazine today, a joint Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) – National Security Agency (NSA) group known as ” Special Collection Service” conducts the sweeping surveillance operation, as well as clandestine operations against specific intelligence targets.The map, which was initially published in full on Der Spiegel‘s website but subsequently replaced with a censored version, lists Special Collection Service facilities at 90 locations worldwide, including 74 manned facilities, 14 remotely operated facilities and two technical support centres.

The map confirms the global reach of US signals intelligence operations with special collection facilities located in most major capitals on every continent.Read the full story here


Victims of Embezzlement protest

October 29. 2013

Victims of Embezzlement protest

by Kristina Mariswamy

PETALING JAYA (Oct 29): The British Victims of Investing in Malaysia will be protesting tonight outside the 9th World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) in London, to be attended by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

Azim Zabidi of UMNOThe group, made up of 60 British families, have been allegedly embezzled of an investment amounting to £2.5m in a Malaysian company called Doxport Technologies Sdn Bhd. The chairman and director of the company at that time was Datuk Abdul Azim Mohd Zabidi, former UMNO Treasurer (left).

According to a statement issued by their lawyers, Kamarul Hisham & Hasnal Rezua, a police report was lodged at the Bukit Aman Police Headquarters two years ago.

“There are 60 British families who invested in Malaysia and have been allegedly defrauded and yet, the criminal case that they filed in Malaysia, which is still being investigated after two years, has yet to come to any conclusion by the Malaysian Attorney General’s office and Public Prosecutor.

“The British Victims of Investing in Malaysia have been highlighting their case and asking if British investment is safe in Malaysia and if the Malaysian law process is different for British citizens,” they said in the statement.

Investors who 'lost RM12mil' fume at Najib in London

Investors who ‘lost RM12mil’ fume at Najib in London

They said the group has been officially given permission by the Metropolitan Police to protest outside the WIEF to be held at Excel, London.

In 2008, through Fiscal City Capital Sdn Bhd, funds were invested into Doxport Technologies to purchase six VOIP Telecom Switches (costing $2,040,000 total) and the company’s equity.It is claimed that the company solicited these investment funds using fraudulent invoices and documents on a false basis.

The group has also filed a report with the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission on September 30 and Companies Commission of Malaysia on September 29 in 2011.

Meanwhile, those said to have invested in the country and made to wait for the outcome of case have questioned whether the Malaysian authorities and laws will give them the justice they deserve.

Among the quotes shared in the ‘victims stories’ section in a website created to highlight their plight include: “I cannot put in to words how I feel or how me and my family have suffered since investing in Malaysia. I am not a rich individual so all my investment was saved over a number of years for our children’s future and then to see it all disappear is heart breaking.”

“Having to break the news to my wife after finding out was one of the hardest things I ever had to do. But what hurts even more is when you look for help and justice you find the political establishment of Malaysia is prepared to turn a blind eye to our plight,” reads one comment.

Another victim talked about how the saga left him feeling betrayed by Malaysia.”I had been to Malaysia several times on package tours and loved the place and the people and felt that it was somewhere I could invest.

“So, rather than leave my life-savings in the bank, I decided to invest in Malaysia and in this company with many other people … How wrong I was about Malaysia. It is so disheartening, now I do not trust anyone, I really feel let down.”

Budget 2014: Focus on GDP Growth, Not 55 Per Cent Debt Ceiling Limit

October 28, 2013

Budget 2014: Focus on GDP Growth, Not the 55 Per Cent Debt Ceiling Limit

Dato Ariff Sabriby Dato Ariff Sabri/Sakmongkol AK47 (10-27-13)

MPs were supplied with voluminous documents relating to the state of the economy. We were ploughing through the documents to analyse the management of the economy while Najib drones on waxing lyrical, poetic and at times, waxing sarcastic over his thematic budget. 2014 has another theme. The theme of the 2014 budget is “STRENGTHENING ECONOMIC RESILIENCE, ACCELERATING TRANSFORMATION AND FULFILLING PROMISES”. If that makes him happy, so be it.

Giving an artful theme to the budget does not make it a better budget. The devil is in the details But where is the promise of giving RM1200 BR1M which he sold the voting public in last May’s elections? Where is the promise to narrow the gap between the rich and the poor?

Najib has reneged on this promise and stated poker-faced about paying out reduced BR1Ms. The scaled down BR1M hand-outs are downsized by the financial capacity of the government. Finally the chickens come home to roost. He has to face reality something the Opposition MPs have warned continuously– that out of control spending is bad for the economy.

Public debt is now more than the 55% legislated debt ceiling simply because this government hides the real debt by various creative accounting tricks. Eventually the weight of public debt will come down crushing. In 2013 alone, the deficit incurred by some GLCs amounted to RM93billion. When Opposition MPs say this budget is for the rich, it wasn’t made out of spite.

In 2013, the BR1M given to poor people amounted to RM7 billion. Compare this to the freedom given to some GLCs to overspend by RM93 billion. The people who should be grateful are not the ordinary rakyat but the BN politicians and their corporate conspirators for being able to hide from the rakyat the magnitude of their extravagance. Maybe we should do a Louis and Marie Antoinette on them and that is not even Islamic law.

In the coming days, we will dissect his budget. Apart from minor jeering, we did not steal the Finance Minister’s thunder. We jeered only when he made political capital of certain portions of his presentation.

DATUK SERI NAJIB TUN RAZAKStop Talking Big and Start Facing Reality

The two most important things about a budget  are to reduce the deficit and cut down public sector debt. Apply some common sense– something the PM and his government has been preaching on. Spend within one’s means. When giving out BR1Ms- what was the pious message that he and his Ministers gave? With this RM500, spend thee wisely. So why not as an example, the government applies this advice on themselves first- spend wisely and spend within your means.

How does this government plan to better manage the budget? It is now aiming to reduce fiscal deficit gradually achieving a balanced budget by 2020. Well, the Pakatan Budget plans to achieve a surplus budget by 2018. BN is trying to get a balanced budget by 2020!

What is the tactic? The tactic is to ensure public sector debt does not exceed 55% of the legislated debt ceiling. It is lying to us. It has already breached this now. Official federal debt is now RM540-550 billion. If you add the deficit from GLCs which has gone beyond RM100 billion, then you end up probably with 650 billion. We can now safely assume public sector debt has reached 65% of our GDP.

Our economy is debt driven. This government financés it Business Plan aka budget by taking on increasingly larger debts. Each year it tops up its spending money with borrowings. 2014, it will top up 35-40 billion to make up for the insufficient revenue.

Imagine this. If the interest charged on public debt is 4%, on a debt of 650 billion, the government is paying RM26 billion a year servicing the debt. So the government manages its sources of deficit around the magical 55% legislated debt ceiling. It looks at the sources of deficits and chooses the deficit-centres which have the weakest and least retaliatory voice- expenditure on the uncoordinated rakyat. Take away subsidies from them under the grand sounding name of subsidy rationalization. Although many, the voice of the rakyat is uncoordinated and they are not capable of mounting strong focused pressures unlike big businesses such as IPP, big monopolies and centres of crony capitalism. These are untouched.

Take away sugar subsidy and the Minister rationalises that as something good for the health, prevent diabetes etc. Take way diesel and petrol subsidy- the move is justified as preventing unqualified users benefiting from the subsidy. Taking away subsidies from the rakyat is easier as they can’t mount a forceful retaliation.

Our energies are dictated by the near mythical figure of 55% debt ceiling and so we take measures to circle around the figure. The government has a trick up its sleeves– it circles around this limit by allowing deficits that don’t appear on the balance sheet and our national accounts- the debt and liabilities incurred and made by GLCs. Some of these GLCs are allowed to issue bonds guaranteed by the government because, they are in fact the government. So as long as the Big Spending government can argue that its spending is not beyond the 55% limit, the economy is sound.

This obsession of managing the debt ceiling is the main cause for the  out of control spending. We don’t control the spending, but focus instead of controlling the debt limit.

To me this isn’t right because it violates the basic principle of sound budgeting- spending within your means. By focusing on managing the debt ceiling, we give excessively large space for discretionary spending and the results are what we got as reported by the Auditor General’s Report.

How to make rectify this kind of spending? By setting rules instead of giving room for discretionary spending. It is because we allow in situ discretion, the little Napoleons and and Stalins exploit their empowerment and did all sorts of funny business. If we retain that kind of spending regime, the 2014 Budget will be riddled with the same misdeeds.

The government does not address this kind of deficit-causing centres. They don’t plug corruption, they don’t plug rent-seeking pricing of government purchases and they don’t control project spending. So instead of making circles around the 55% debt ceiling, why not we specify our budget as a specific percentage of our GDP and then make sure spending does not go beyond this percentage. How to select which percentage?

Look at our economy for the last 10 years and identify which year our economy performed best. In that year what was the budget? For example during those years when our economy grew on an average of 8%, what was the average budget? 22%? If this was the budget in the best year, use 22% as the limit. Make a rule that our budget from now on shall not be more than 22% of our GDP. Then our budget is not made dependent on a near mythical figure of 55% debt ceiling but is made a function of the GDP. Our energy will then be on the GDP i.e. on the economy as a whole.

Once we set our budget as a rule, we adhere to it. For 2014 for example, our GDP is 1,100 billion. Using 22% as the rule, our budget should be around RM220 billion. As our GDP grows, the budget grows too in line with the overall economy. Our focus isn’t about ensuring federal debt level will remain low and not exceed 55% of GDP.

Ryan Moore wins 2013 CIMB Classic Playoff

October 28, 2013

Ryan MooreRyan Moore–The 2013 CIMB Classic Champion

BREAKING NEWS: Ryan Moore is the CIMB Classic 2013 champion beating Gary Woodland in a sudden death playoff this morning at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club, Malaysia. He birdied the first hole of the playoff with Gary Woodland this morning to win the CIMB Classic after an overnight wait caused by thunderstorms.This is a well deserved victory for Moore who was among leaders during the 4-day championship.–Din Merican

CIMB Classic 2013: Moore Vs Woodland in Playoff

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – Gary Woodland survived two waits. Now he must survive another.

Woodland carded a 3-under 69 in fading light Sunday to finish the CIMB Classic tied for the lead with Ryan Moore at 14 under par. The two will begin a sudden-death playoff at 7:30 a.m. Monday (6:30 p.m. Sunday in Topeka).

Woodland had a left-breaking, 12-foot birdie putt on the final hole that would have given the Shawnee Heights and University of Kansas graduate his third PGA Tour win, but the ball slid just underneath the cup.

“I hit it where I wanted to,” Woodland said. “Hit a good putt, it just broke a little more than I thought, which happens.I played good today and we’re excited about tomorrow.”

Moore, who also is seeking his third tour win, had to scramble for par on the 18th to match Woodland and cap a round of 2-under 70. After hitting his second shot on the par-5 hole into the right rough and leaving his third shot well short, Moore knocked a wedge shot to about 4 feet and made the putt to keep his hopes alive.

Asked how he felt standing over that putt, Moore said: “Less than fantastic, I’ll tell you that much. Any time you face a putt you know you have to make, it makes it that much harder, but you just try and step up and hit it like you normally do.”

The 18th hole at Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club is lined with floodlights from tee to green, prompting speculation that Woodland and Moore might play at least one playoff hole on Sunday. The players, however, seemed satisfied with the decision to call it a day.

“It was just tough,” Woodland said of darkening skies. “There’s too many shadows, too much going on.”

Woodland and Moore were the last two standing following a round that featured two lightning delays and a rainy closing stretch. Playing in a final threesome that also included Chris Stroud, their last six holes took more than five hours to complete.

Woodland one-putted his first two holes after the initial weather delay – a three-hour stoppage — saving par from 8 feet at No. 13 and making birdie from about 6 feet at No. 14 to give him sole possession of the lead at 14 under.

Moore tied Woodland by birdieing the 16th hole when play resumed following the second postponement, which last about 40 minutes.

By reaching the playoff, Woodland secured his third top-two finish in the past three months. He won the Reno-Tahoe Open on Aug. 4 and was runner-up to Adam Scott at The Barclays later that month.

A win at the CIMB Classic would catapult Woodland into a tie for second place in the FedEx Cup standings through three events in the 2013-14 season.

Stroud and Kiradech Aphibarnrat tied for third at 13 under, missing the playoff by a single stroke. Aaron Baddeley took fifth, posting a 6-under 66 Sunday to reach 12 under.