The Edge on the 1MDB Financial Mess


May 17, 2015

The Edge Report on why 1MDB Directors must be held accountable

1mdb-kgpandan-tmi-030315.jpgThe Edge has published a four-page special pullout detailing six questionable transactions that it says must be explained by the 1MDB directors. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, May 17, 2015.The Edge has published a four-page special pullout detailing six questionable transactions that it says must be explained by the 1MDB directors. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, May 17, 2015.

lodin-wok-kamaruddinThe Edge Business Weekly says in its latest issue that past and present directors of 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) must be held accountable for all the decisions that have created the financial mess it is in today.

It said although controversial businessman Jho Low had a hand in certain dealings, ultimately, decisions were made by the board of directors and management.

The Edge has published a four-page special pullout detailing six questionable transactions that it said must be explained by the 1MDB directors.It added that both the Public Accounts Committee and auditor-general should refer to the report in their investigations into 1MDB. – May 17, 2015.

– See more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/edge-on-why-1mdb-directors-must-be-held-accountable#sthash.pDSawJZC.dpuf

1MDB: Stop your delaying tactics, Mr. Auditor-General


May 8, 2015

Stop  your delaying tactics Mr. Auditor-General, where is your 1MBD Report?

By RK Anand@www.malaysiakini.com

As the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) morass becomes more convoluted, PKR lawmaker Rafizi Ramli turns his attention to Auditor-General Ambrin Buang.

With the latest revelation of Tabung Haji’s deposits being used to purchase government land given to 1MDB at an inflated price, Rafizi said there is no doubt that the firm’s mess has seeped through to other important institutions, known and unknown.

“Tabung Haji now joins the infamous KWAP (pension fund), smeared by their lack of financial common sense and prudence in giving out loans or buying government assets from 1MDB.

“Of course, the biggest fear is whether other institutions, including EPF (Employees Provident Fund) and PNB (Pemodalan Nasional Bhd), have had similar dealings with 1MDB so far.It could be that these institutions are also about to enter transactions with 1MDB – so the best thing for them is to declare that they will not enter into any transactions with 1MDB,” Rafizi told Malaysiakini.

Since the 1MDB issue has ensnared other institutions that form the bedrock of the nation’s economic and social stability, Rafizi said the Auditor-General could no longer drag his feet.

“Without a formal certification of 1MDB’s problem, with a complete diagnosis of its lack of governance, it is difficult to expect the managements of these state institutions with great public interest to stand up and oppose instructions.

“They need something to fall back to when they are penalised for defending public interest.Hence, this it why it is of utmost urgency that the audit by the Auditor-General cannot be delayed, not a single minute more,” he added.

Growing public anger

The PKR Vice-President is dismayed that the auditor-general has not even outlined the expectation of when this would be completed.

“The announcement for the auditor-general to probe 1MDB now runs the risk of being seen as a mere announcement, meant to pacify public anger then, hoping it would go away.

“It has not, and it will continue to grow. But most importantly, we need the Auditor-General (Ambrin, left) to complete the audit in order to prevent more money from flowing into 1MDB.

“If no announcement is made in the next one one or two weeks on the completion of the audit, I expect heated debate on this in next parliamentary session that begins on May 18,” Rafizi added.

On March 4, Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak had ordered a vetting of the debt-laden firm’s accounts and promised action if financial wrongdoings were detected.

On March 10, Ambrin said the audit has commenced. The 1MDB fiasco is also the most prominent weapon in former Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s arsenal with regard to his campaign for Najib’s ouster.

Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club Membership Transfer Fee: A Rip Off


April 17, 2015

Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club Membership Transfer Fee: A Rip Off

KlgccA few of my friends have been trying to sell their KLGCC membership since they wish to relocate overseas for reasons that have to do with the politics of our country. To their horror, they have to come to know that the club membership transfer is now RM70,000 and will be able to do so only if they are prepared to absorb this fee or share it with a prospective buyer. It would appear that in KLGCC, you can get in but cannot get out easily.

One member received this response from private agency and I quote:

There are quite a few buyers but their offer price is around RM200k to RM230k inclusive of transfer fee (TF). Unfortunately the buyers are not willing to fork out the high transfer fee RM70k which the club increased last year from RM25k.

Last year (before TF increase) there were transactions at about RM195k to RM200k incl TF, ie. sellers received RM170k to RM175k. With the increase of TF since August last year, there have been no transactions…because while buyers are willing to share part of the TF they are not willing to absorb completely the TF price increase.

Although KLGCC declares the “market price” of the membership at RM350k, we have not seen any buyers willing to pay this amount yet. If they buy at RM350k, they would need to sell at RM420k(RM350k + TF) just to break even. Perhaps they don’t expect the price to continue to increase in the near future. This is the current situation.

I am told that this  increase in transfer fee was initiated and approved by Sime Darby Berhad, the multinational company which has a big say in the management of this so-called prestigious club  ostensibly with the support of the membership body. This is a substantial increase from RM 25,000 previously. No reason is given for this change. Even rm25,000 is already a huge sum. I wonder how much work is involved by the Club, and which hot shot legal firm is being used,  to formalise the ownership transfer. How complicated can this transaction  to warrant such a cost. So isn’t any wonder that the transfer market is dead?

One would have thought that Sime Darby would understand that the objective should be to facilitate membership change and allow those who have invested in the club membership over many years to exit and realise a reasonable return on their investment. Obviously, this is not the case. It is just nothing but a ripoff.

Will  the Sime Darby  management, the Club President and the Club Captain, Dato Mustafa Ali, look into this matter and the benefits of being a member of this Club. For example, members and non-members are charged the same rates of use of banqueting facilities for events like weddings, parties and other social functions. Surely, there are other ways for Sime Darby to make money.–Din Merican

ASTRO: Customer Unfriendly Cable TV Network


February 27, 2015

ASTRO: Customer Unfriendly Cable TV Network

by Marion Tharsis (02-26-15)@www.malaysiakini.com

Logo-Astro-01

Today, ASTRO enjoys an unwavering dominance of the cable television network  in Malaysia. Consequently, we have to follow, and accept, any implementation changes to their existing packages whenever they feel like doing it.

They no longer have the courtesy to call you to seek your acceptance or offer any explanation as why these changes need to be implemented.Their current trend of operation is, just splash the news about imminent changes on television and expect us to ‘swallow’ it.Call their customer service and you will get a ‘dumb’ reply.

I just want to highlight two recent encounters that I have been subjected to. Firstly,Ananda Krishnan ASTRO increased its high-definition channels that are included in the package I subscribe to. By doing so, I have to pay more without any consent of mine or prior formal advisory. Secondly, out of the blue, ASTRO splashed a news banner on television to advise all Sports Package subscribers that the Golf Channel will no longer be included in this package, effective February 26, 2015. Pay more – if you want channel back!

And if we wish to view this popular sport, we have to pay for it as and when we want it. Here again it, this was done without any formal advice or consultation with the subscriber.One if the main reasons why I subscribe to the Sports Package is because of this Golf Channel and now I am deprived of it.

Want it back, I have to pay more – which I think is absurd and ridiculous. Logically speaking, the cost of this package should be reduced, but this is not the case. You still pay the same amount. But then again, if monopoly exists, then we are ‘slaves’ to it, without any other choice.

I am sure there are other cable television operators who want to establish their networks in Malaysia and I think they should be given an opportunity to do so, just to allow some competition and break this monopoly.

Otherwise, ASTRO will get bolder, and change and implement according to its whims and fancies, without due respect or concern for the subscribers. As it is, we are given channels that are of no use to us, but ASTRO says it is “under the package” and you have to accept it. What a rip-off!

Mariam Mokhtar on Najib and Crisis Leadership


January 1, 2015

Mariam Mokhtar on Najib and Crisis Leadership

by Mariam Mokhtar@www.malaysiakini.com

Najib and Obama in HawaiiPosing with Obama in Hawaii

Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak has more than just the rising flood waters to worry about. He probably returned home  to stop being swamped by the efforts of Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, who said that Najib need not abandon his holiday to deal with the flooding.

Few people believe Najib’s declaration that he has genuine concern for the welfare of the flood victims. Did he return for the rakyat, or to save his own skin? We will probably never learn the true reason. The truth is always suppressed by UMNO Baru.

najib and his deputyPartners or Rivals for Power?

On Christmas Day, Muhyiddin said, “The PM is overseas, but I’m in charge here. I am running the country”. His comment is insignificant if taken as a single remark, because a deputy should take control, when his boss is away.

However, when other things are taken into consideration, it is an indication of the level of animosity between the two men and the swirling discontent within UMNO Baru.

When one includes the recent barrage of verbal assaults and criticisms of Najib, 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) and his administration, it looks like a repeat of the drama at the time of the KL112 rally, dubbed the People’s Uprising Rally, two years ago.

At that time, in January 2013, one political pundit claimed that Najib, who was on a family holiday in Europe, had to rush back to Malaysia immediately after his audience with the Pope at the Vatican.

It was alleged that Muhyiddin had conspired, with other UMNO Baru warlords in Malaysia to act against his boss. Then, as now, the criticisms against Najib have been loud and unrestrained. Najib has much to worry about.

Floods, Obama and NajbNajib needs Obama

With critics lambasting Najib, for abandoning the country while it suffered from the worst flooding in decades, Muhyiddin poked fun at Najib, when he said, “The PM has worked very hard. Be fair to him…”

Muhyiddin also said, “If I can’t do the job then I will call him to come back”. So, poor Najib had to return. Perhaps, Najib should consider sacking Muhyiddin, who has made a hash of everything he has touched.

Intense rivalry between PM and DPM

There is no doubt that there is intense rivalry between the two, but Najib was being insincere when he claimed that he was glad to be with the flood victims. It had taken public humiliation, on the social media, to drag him away from Hawaii, and  his golfing buddy, the President of the United States.

NAJIB / BANJIR

Najib said that he did not mind foregoing his family vacation, in America, to deal with the flooding at home. Few of us are moved by this trite comment. We know from experience that Najib is always abroad when the nation is in crisis. He may as well form a government in exile, judging by the number of times he has issued comments from abroad.

A country needs its leader to assume control in times of disaster. Najib should also realise that his bloated Prime Minister’s Department (PMD) acts like a lumbering container ship, rather than a sleek vessel. Instructions take a long time to filter to the bottom.

With factions existing in many Malaysian institutions, the heads of department of the 45,000 civil servants in the PMD, may not want to make decisions, nor be held accountable for their actions.

The UMNO Baru cybertroopers will never understand that it is pointless asking where the opposition leaders are. The opposition does not have the authority to deploy the army to help the relief effort. They cannot tell the Treasury to allocate funds for food or medical equipment. UMNO Baru controls Putrajaya and is in charge of the resources of the nation.

Floods not a one-off incident

An aerial view of flooded streets of the National Park in Kuala Tahan, Pahang

On his return, Najib headed straight to Kota Baru, in Kelantan, and instructed cabinet members who were on holiday to return and help manage the situation.

Does Najib have to “order” them to return? Are these men and women so irresponsible and immature that they have to be told what to do? They probably own smartphones and the latest electronic gadgetry to inform them of what is happening in Malaysia. Must they be summoned like errant school children?

A leader should set a good example and this experience should tell Najib that when he absconded to Hawaii, his minsters decided to emulate him, and also go on holiday.

The floods are not a one-off incident. They are an annual occurrence. The signs that this year was going to be worse than previous years have been evident. Why ignore them?

If I had a ringgit for every insult our politicians hurl at the Malaysian rakyat, I would be a millionaire. If I were given a sen for all the lies they tell us, I would be a billionaire.

There are three mysterious allegations that Najib may want to clear up: Did he go on a private vacation using a government jet? Why did he not take the direct route home, instead of stopping off in Indianapolis? How many planes were used to fly him to Hawaii and back?

The floods are an annual occurrence, exacerbated by illegal logging, deforestation and the destruction of the mangrove swamps. The problems are not helped by development on the flood plains.

Najib should plan flood mitigation measures to prevent a recurrence of this disaster. A tiny proportion of the illegal outflow of money, from this country, would pay for dredging and widening of rivers and many other methods of water control.

So, why has Najib not mentioned anything about flood mitigation measures? He should consult Ahmad Maslan, the expert geographer and Deputy Finance Minister.

What happened to our disaster management?


December 29, 2014

MY COMMENT: 2014 has been a horrible year for ourDin N Kamsiah country. Lahad Datu and security breaches in Sabah remember? Then came MH370, MH17, Cameron Highland landslides, and now the AirAsia 8501 tragedy (One Malaysian presumed dead).

In Kelantan, Pahang and Terengganu, we have terrible floods at a cost to the nation yet be ascertained. Given persistent rain in and around Kuala Lumpur in recent days, we in the commercial hub of our nation could be in danger of  flooding on a scale possibly larger than the 1971 floods. Is the City Hall and The Federal Territory Minister prepared for this?

It gives me no comfort to read Nawawi’s article which tells us that we have not learned the lessons of our past tragedies. Why have we become so arrogant that we cannot document our experiences, and use the information we have gathered to develop a national disaster management system which can be deployed to deal with emergencies in any part of our country?

What is happening in Kelantan, Terengganu and Pahang is a disgrace. Our leaders have failed to take control. They have shown that they are ineffective in mobilising our assets and coordinating efforts to deliver relief to thousands of Malaysians who are directly affected by the floods.

Floods, Obama and NajbGolf Diplomacy and Floods

Najib’s “Rakyat didahulukan pencapaian diutamakan” is a meaningless slogan. In fact, it is shocking to learn that key ministers were on leave during this period and had to be asked to return home by our Prime Minister, who himself was on a working holiday in Hawaii to conduct golf diplomacy with US President Barack Obama. How can they all be uncaring and self-centered.

I also find it embarrassing that government agencies including the Military and Police have not acted as they used to when our country is in a crisis. Something is really wrong when our disaster management is performing below par. It makes me worry to think whether we are ready to face external enemies when they threaten our sovereignty and territorial integrity, given our level of preparedness.–Din Merican

What happened to our disaster management?

by Nawawi Mohamed@www.themalaysianinsider.com

Malaysia has experienced several natural disasters which resulted in loss of lives and properties starting back in December 1993 with the collapse of two blocks of the Highland Towers, then the tsunami in 2004, the recent Cameron Highlands landslides and the latest being the unprecedented floods in Kelantan, Pahang and Terengganu.

By the way, with so frequent flooding, we ought to be professional in facing them by now. Unfortunately, we are never ready and never prepared.

In the Highland Towers tragedy, we lacked experience such that the Japanese Civil Defence sent a team to help in the search and rescue effort. Search and rescue teams from Singapore, France, United Kingdom and the United States also came to help.

Besides helping, they also showed us the relevant techniques and the equipment they used in disasters. In fact, at the end of the search, the Japanese left their equipment and donated them to Malaysia.

From that incident, Malaysia formed its own Search and Rescue Team under the Fire Department. Our team had also been sent overseas to help disaster victims, like in Aceh during the tsunami in 2004. Naturally, every Malaysian should feel proud that we have our own reliable team and managed to help others in foreign countries as well.

Besides the elite team mentioned above, we also have several non-governmental organisations that play significant roles both at home and overseas. We have other agencies like JKR, JPA, PDRM, military and volunteers who at times have been at the forefront in the rescue efforts.

Malaysians are generally generous and we are all proud to be Malaysians in that sense. We also have the means: the equipment, machinery, resources and manpower to undertake the search, rescue and help victims in almost any natural disaster. We can do it.

But at the government and political levels, our ministers and politicians have not shown their will to improve themselves. Despite having declared that they work for the people since it is the people who put them into power anyway, at these times of need they seem to be lost and preoccupied with their own personal world.

We all know that Datuk Seri Najib Razak was holidaying and golfing in Hawaii, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein was said to be in London, loud-mouth Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi was quiet as a mouse, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was also said to be in Australia and Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yasin was not in control.

An aerial view of flooded streets of the National Park in Kuala Tahan, Pahang

Never mind the politicians but even if they want to have fun while the people are facing hardship, make sure that there is a system established and could run on auto-pilot.

The UMNO/Barisan Nasional government should set up a central command at the federal level with branches in every state to coordinate the various NGOs, volunteers, government agencies and above all the control of correct information should be given to the public.

Coordination is important so that every area is covered by the various teams and overlapping of efforts could be avoided. The disaster command centre will also be able to know the exact amount of resources at hand, and what kind of help is needed most.

Just look at the recent blunder as reported in the papers when TNB managed to send 45 gensets to Pahang and only 1 genset to Kelantan despite the latter being affected most.

TNB has limited logistics resources and they are not a logistics specialist either. If there had been a proper disaster management, some form of transport could be provided, may be by the military to help send the gensets where they are most needed.

The centre should only have one contact number, which will be connected to several help and information lines. Do not give the individual contact numbers of the NGOs, government departments and agencies because the central command must be the reference point. None of them should act alone, all should be under the central command and be coordinated efficiently.

Manek_Urai_floods_Bomba_251214

There must also be a website meant to cater for any disaster where everybody can reach and not depend on the social media which most of the time spread false or half-truths. The website should be interactive where applicable so that those who need to know feel more comfortable.

The UMNO/BN government must also educate the people in the flood-prone areas to be ready with survival supplies: food, drinking water, clothes, medicines, toiletries and other necessities should be carried along during evacuation.

The whole supply could be in the form of standard ration placed in a lightweight bag which could have multiple uses. For instance, it could be used as a life buoy if the victims are swept away. Add in an identification beacon for easy searching.

What we have now is the National Security Council (MKN) which is lousy but we do not feel secure. They have done nothing much except simply to exist and may be just to get paid. And nothing else except blunders in every disaster that we faced.

It seems the UMNO/BN government has not learned much, if not nothing, from the disasters that we have had. Now if Najib and all the politicians want to go elsewhere during any disaster, please do something about it.

http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/sideviews/article/what-has-umno-bn-government-learned-from-natural-disasters-nawawi-mohamad#sthash.GGZdafs0.7JLW6JAa.dpuf