March 5, 2016
Visit and See Cambodia: A Jewel in ASEAN
March 5, 2016
January 21, 2015
I would like to address some concerns on the current economic developments and the Government’s financial position. Lately, there have been reports, concerns and queries on issues, such as crude oil prices and performance of the ringgit.The Government has been vigilantly monitoring the situation. In this regard, I will announce several proactive measures to realign our policies in line with the changing global economic scenario, which is beyond our control. We are undertaking this to ensure that we continue to achieve creditable growth.
In other words, I am here today to announce specific and proactive measures to align ourselves with the recent global economic developments.
We are not in crisis. Indeed, we are taking preemptive measures following the changes in the external global economic landscape which is beyond our control.
This is to ensure that our economy continues to attain a respectable and reasonable growth. And at the same time, we want to ensure development for the nation and rakyat continues.
Indeed, 2014 was a year of trials and tribulations for us due to several tragedies.
At the end of last year, Malaysia was hit by unprecedented floods, affecting several states including Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang, Kedah and Perak.
Although the floods were not so severe in Johor, Sabah and Sarawak, local communities in some areas were affected.
Thus, it is said that while man plans, Allah SWT plans too. And Allah SWT is the best of the planners.
The Government has always done its best to plan, formulate and implement policies and measures for the betterment of the rakyat.
It has been three months since the 2015 Budget was tabled. The Budget was formulated based on; First, price of Dated Brent was forecast at USD100 per barrel.
Second, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth estimated between 5% and 6%. Third, a stable exchange rate of RM3.20 against the US dollar; and
Fourth, 2015 world economic growth was projected at 3.4% and 3.9% by the World Bank and IMF respectively. Since then, the World Bank and the IMF have revised global growth to 3% and 3.8% respectively.
It should be noted that Budget 2015 was formulated based on strong economic fundamentals in 2014. Therefore, the fiscal deficit was forecast from 3.5% in 2014 to 3% of GDP in 2015.
However, the external situation has changed lately and we are impacted directly as Malaysia is among the largest trading nations in the world.
Compared to the situation a few months ago, the global economic landscape has since changed significantly. This necessitates us to review and clarify some of our earlier macro and fiscal assumptions.
Among the issues raised is the Government’s ability to achieve its fiscal targets for 2015. Given the current situation, the question is whether the economy and Government’s financial position will be affected.
In this special address, I will explain to the rakyat and announce several measures to mitigate the current economic situation.
As a responsible Government, we will continue to ensure economic development and safeguard the well-being of the rakyat.
Declining Crude Oil Prices
We are aware of the concerns among the rakyat, business community and analysts over the impact of the sharp fall in crude oil prices on the domestic economy.
Over the last six months, global crude oil prices have plunged more than 50%, among others, due to oversupply amid weak demand.
Leveraging advances in technology, shale oil and gas output has risen significantly in the US.
The situation is exacerbated by higher output from non-OPEC (Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries). OPEC is also not willing to undertake production cuts in order to maintain its market share.
The Government has consistently reiterated that crude oil prices are beyond its control.
The benchmark Dated Brent crude oil price has dropped to around USD48 per barrel on 19 January 2015. And analysts expect oil prices to take quite a while to stabilise.
Benefits of Declining Crude Oil Prices
Lower crude oil prices benefit net oil importing countries like Malaysia. For instance, the recent reduction in pump prices of petrol and diesel by 35 sen and 30 sen per litre, respectively will increase the overall disposable income of consumers by RM7.5 billion. Assuming that consumers spend 40% of this amount, it will boost private consumption by RM3 billion.
The World Bank estimates that lower crude oil prices will have a positive impact on world GDP. In fact, a 30% decline in oil prices could boost global GDP of up to 0.5%.
This bodes well for Malaysia’s manufactured products. Further, with the US economy strengthening, there will be sustained demand for our exports, in particular electrical and electronics (E&E) products.
Falling Crude Oil Prices will Reduce Federal Government Revenue
In contrast, falling crude oil prices will reduce Government revenue. The revenue is used for development purposes such as building of schools, roads and houses of worship. It is also used for other expenditures such as salaries of civil servants, cost of medicine in Government hospitals, agriculture subsidies and expenditure for security including armed forces, police and RELA.
In 2014, Dated Brent reached its highest level at USD115 per barrel on 19 June. Global crude oil prices have since plummeted by more than 50%.
Consensus among economists is that the forecast price of USD100 per barrel used in the 2015 Budget is no longer realistic. They now estimate the average oil price in 2015 to range from USD40 to USD70 per barrel.
The Government has therefore revised downwards its forecast for the average baseline oil price to USD55 per barrel for 2015.
Based on the crude oil price of USD100 per barrel, coupled with savings following the implementation of the managed float pricing mechanism for retail fuel prices effective from December 2014, the Government is expected to get an additional operating surplus of RM3.7 billion.
If crude oil price remains at USD100 per barrel, the Government will be able to accommodate all the measures announced in Budget 2015 with the fiscal deficit target not exceeding 3% of GDP.
However, at the forecast price of USD55 per barrel, there will be a revenue shortfall of RM13.8 billion.
If we compare the revised figures with Budget 2015 tabled in October last year, despite the savings of RM10.7 billion from the implementation of the managed float mechanism for retail fuel prices, the Government still faces a revenue shortfall of RM8.3 billion to accommodate the 2015 Budget measures.
Without any fiscal measures, the deficit will increase to 3.9% of GDP against the target of 3% for 2015.
This requires the Government to take measures to reduce the deficit, in line with the Government’s commitment towards fiscal consolidation.
Therefore, taking into account the revised estimates, we are revising the fiscal deficit target to 3.2% of GDP in 2015.
This is still lower than the fiscal deficit of 3.5% of GDP in 2014. In view of the external factors, we have to acknowledge that we may not be able to achieve the earlier fiscal target of 3% of GDP as announced. Of importance, is our commitment to continue reducing the fiscal deficit from 3.5% of GDP.
More importantly, we will not compromise on national development planning as it will enhance productive capacity of the economy. We will not neglect the rakyat’s welfare, particularly the bottom 40% of households.
Volatile Capital Flows and Ringgit
The fluctuations in the ringgit are influenced by developments in the global economy. Hence, the ringgit is not the only currency to have weakened against the US dollar. In fact, almost all currencies in the region have softened against the US dollar since September 2014.
The recent volatile capital flows and significant depreciation of the ringgit were also due to concerns over the impact of the sharp fall in oil prices on the Malaysian economy.
In relation to this, we must closely monitor the following:
First, the current account in the balance of payments must remain in surplus.
Second, continue with fiscal reforms and consolidation and
Third, economic activity must be further diversified to enable us to cope with falling crude oil and commodity prices.
The Government is confident that the exchange rate will over time adjust to reflect the strong economic fundamentals. Of importance, our financial system continues to function in an orderly manner.
Most importantly, there has been no disruption to financial intermediation, with lending activities continuing smoothly. Businesses continue to have access to financing from banking institutions and the capital market.
In essence, greater policy flexibility, adequate international reserves, deeper and more diversified financial markets, sound banking system and strong domestic institutional investors such as the Employees Provident Fund will increase resilience to volatile capital flows.
Current Account Balance
The current account balance is directly related to the import and export of goods and services.
We are a crude oil exporter. Thus, when oil prices plummeted recently, there was a perception that export receipts will also decline drastically and result in a current account deficit.
Indeed, this perception is not correct. As a net crude oil exporter, we had a surplus of RM7.7bil from January to November 2014.However, we are an importer of petroleum products with a net import bill of RM8.9bil during the same period.
If we include both crude oil and petroleum products, we are actually a net importer with a deficit of RM1.2bil.
Therefore, the perception that Malaysia is a large oil producer is also not true.However, if we factor in exports and imports of crude oil, and nett out petroleum products, then Malaysia is a net importer of petroleum. This does not include LNG, for which Malaysia is a net exporter.
Furthermore, we are still resilient as our diversified economy is able to weather the decline in oil prices.
With a better outlook for the global economy in 2015, the shortfall in commodity receipts is expected to be cushioned by increased demand for manufactured goods, such as electrical and electronic products, wood-based products, textile products and others, which account for 76% of total exports. Meanwhile, crude oil exports account for only 4.5% of total exports.
Therefore, the Government is confident that the current account will remain in surplus this year, although smaller in the range of 2% to 3% of Gross National Income or GNI. In 2014, the current account balance is estimated to record a surplus at 5.1% of GNI.
Strategies to Strengthen Economic Resilience
As I have explained earlier, there are several issues which will impact the domestic economy significantly. In the light of this, the Government will take measures to ensure economic growth remains on a strong trajectory. We are confident of achieving GDP growth in the range of 4.5% – 5.5% this year with the implementation of the following strategies:
– First: Ensure balanced, inclusive and sustainable economic growth;
– Second: Continue fiscal reforms and consolidation; and
– Third: Provide assistance to the rakyat and business community to rebuild infrastructure damaged by floods.
First Strategy: Ensuring Balanced, Inclusive and Sustainable Economic Growth To boost exports of goods and services, the following measures will be taken:
First, actively promote import-substitution services such as shipping, port, education and professional services. This will reduce dependence on foreign sources for procurement of goods and services;
Second, accelerate implementation of recommendations of National Export Council:
– Enable exporters, especially SMEs, to be connected to new clients in new markets under an international linkage programme using market linkers and industry specialists;
– Intensify export promotion programmes in 46 countries covering Asia, Europe, the Middle East and the US;
– SME Bank will introduce SME-Go, an export programme for SMEs; and
– Leverage the Services Export Fund (SEF) and promotional programmes for SMEs to enhance sustainability of projects abroad.
Third, frontload implementation of Logistics & Trade Facilitation:
– Improve last-mile connectivity to Port Klang including access road, railway network and traffic management system;
– Upgrade Padang Besar railway terminal;
– Improve operational efficiency of import and export processes; and
– Establish a hub and spoke system for air transport.
Fourth, intensify tourism industry;
Fifth, review levy on foreign workers; and
Sixth, waiver of visa fee for tourists from, among others, China.
To enhance private consumption, the Government will implement the following initiatives:
First, give priority to local class G1 (class F), G2 (class E) and G3 (class D) contractors registered with CIDB to undertake reconstruction works in their respective flood affected areas;
Second, intensify promotion of “Buy Malaysia” products;
Third, increase frequency and extend shopping hours of nationwide mega sales;
Fourth, accelerate promotion of domestic tourism through competitive domestic air fares; and
Fifth, encourage the private sector to leverage benefits from the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community.
In efforts to accelerate private investment, the Government will:
First, set up a Services Sector Guarantee Scheme amounting to RM5 billion for SMEs in the services sector, with maximum financing of RM5 million and 70% Government guarantee;
Second, encourage GLCs and GLICs to invest domestically;
Third, reduce cost of doing business:
– Postpone the scheduled electricity tariff hike in 2015; and
– Postpone the scheduled gas price hike for the industrial sector in 2015.
Fourth, allocate 30% of the annual procurement budget of Government agencies and GLCs for goods and services to local SME producers; and
Fifth, increase local goods and services in Government procurement.
Second Strategy: Continuing Fiscal Reforms and Consolidation Among the revenue enhancement measures include:
First, broaden the tax base by encouraging companies to register with the Royal Malaysian Customs to enable them to charge and collect GST. This is expected to contribute an additional RM1 billion in GST collection. As at mid-January 2015, more than 304,000 companies have registered; and
Second, realise additional dividends from GLCs and GLICs as well as other Government entities amounting to RM400mil.
The Government will undertake the following expenditure rationalisation measures:
First, optimise outlays on supplies and services, especially overseas travel, events and functions and use of professional services. This will result in savings of RM1.6bil;
Second, defer the 2015 Program Latihan Khidmat Negara to enable the programme to be reviewed and enhanced, with savings expected at RM400 million;
Third, review transfers and grants to statutory bodies, GLCs and Government Trust Funds, particularly those with a steady revenue stream and high reserves. This measure will result in savings of RM3.2 billion; and
Fourth, reschedule the purchase of non-critical assets, especially office equipment, software and vehicles, with an expected savings of RM300 million.
The recent floods affected around 400,000 people nationwide. The latest estimate of damage to infrastructure is about RM2.9bil.
Among the measures that have been taken and will be implemented to assist flood victims include:
The Government has provided an initial allocation of RM500 million for rehabilitation works and welfare programmes for flood victims.
This is in addition to the existing allocation to the National Security Council, bringing the total to RM787mil.
Provide an initial allocation of RM800mil for repair and reconstruction of basic infrastructure such as schools, hospitals, roads and bridges;
Provide RM893 million under the 2015 Budget for flood mitigation projects;
Build 8-ft stilt houses for those who have land and whose homes were damaged by the floods; Hand over 1,000 units of completed low-cost houses in Gua Musang; Provide RM500 per flood affected household; and Provide RM5,000 for the next-of-kin who have lost family members.
For businesses affected by floods:
– Provide an additional RM100 million to TEKUN and RM100 million to AIM to provide soft loans to support SMEs and microenterprises.
BSN, Agrobank, SME Bank, TEKUN and AIM to defer existing loan repayments of up to six months.
Bank Negara Malaysia will establish a RM500 million Special Relief Facility for SME loan financing at a concessionary rate of 2.25% with a grace period of up to six months through banking and development financial institutions;
Bank Rakyat will offer a personal loan scheme of up to RM50,000 at a financing rate as low as 3.9%, while loan repayments will start after six months from loan disbursement;
A sum of RM500 million will be provided by financial institutions with a 70% guarantee under a Flood Relief Loan Guarantee Scheme (Skim Jaminan Pinjaman Bantuan Banjir) (SJPBB). The Scheme will be administered by Prokhas; and
Exempt levy payment to the Human Resources Development Fund (HRDF) for a period of six months for SMEs in the flood affected areas with effect from 1 February 2015.
To sum up, I would like to highlight 6 key take-aways:
First, we are neither in a recession nor a crisis as experienced in 1997/1998, and 2009 which warranted stimulus packages;
Second, the strategies announced by the Government are proactive initiatives to make the necessary adjustments following the challenging external developments which are beyond our control. This is a reality check following, among others, declining global crude oil prices;
Third, the current account balance is expected to remain in surplus;
Fourth, the financial markets remain orderly and resilient. Although the ringgit has depreciated, it is expected to stabilise over time to reflect the strong economic fundamentals;
Fifth, Development Expenditure of RM48.5 billion for 2015 will be maintained and spent.
This includes projects for the people economy such as public housing, flood mitigation, water supply, electricity and public transport infrastructure such as Pan-Borneo Highway.
In addition, projects such as the MRT Line 2, LRT 3, High-Speed Rail Kuala Lumpur-Singapore will be continued.
In May, I will table the Eleventh Malaysia Plan (11MP) to outline the development expenditure until 2020.
Sixth, Operating Expenditure is expected to be reduced by RM5.5 billion through reprioritising expenditure.
In concluding, let us pray and hope that Allah SWT will always assist us in our efforts to find solutions.
In all of human nature, to Allah SWT we submit and surrender to His will. Of importance, we stand together in solidarity to face challenges.
Surely, with every difficulty there is relief.Hopefully God Almighty will continue to protect our beloved country from harm and danger.
by Zurairi AR@www.themalaymailonline.com
Putrajaya needs to look beyond adjusting its annual deficit figures and focus instead on structural reforms to keep Malaysia’s oil-dependant economy afloat as the plunge in global prices continue to eat into government revenue, economists said.
The observers noted that a number of rating agencies have already given Malaysia’s sovereign ratings negative outlooks, and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s Budget 2015 revision yesterday have yet to change their views.
Fitch Ratings even warned of a possible downgrade yesterday after Malaysia revised its fiscal deficit target to 3.2 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP), saying the move is evidence that “dependence on commodities remains a key credit weakness for Malaysia”.
“It is more useful, in my view, to focus on the progress in the underlying structural reforms that underpin long-term fiscal sustainability rather than the year-to-year deficit figures,” said Dr Frederico Gil Sander, a World Bank senior economist who specialises on Malaysia.
Besides warning against a weak implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) this April and a return of oil subsidies, Gil Sander also suggested that Putrajaya prepares budgets for years in advance for its ministries to enhance the credibility of its fiscal policy.
“Part of the deficit is currently due to the financing requirements of government-linked companies (GLCs), which are further crowding out private investment,” suggested Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) lead economist on trade and regional cooperation, Jayant Menon.
“The current looming fiscal crisis in Malaysia provides the perfect opportunity to seriously reduce the government’s involvement in the market by divesting from GLCs.”
Yee Farn Phua of Standard & Poor’s (S&P) said the credit ratings agency was more keen on watching long-term fiscal consolidation efforts from the Najib government, rather than just for 2015.
“We view Malaysia’s revised budget as an indication of the government’s continued focus on fiscal consolidation,” the agency’s associate director of sovereign ratings commented.
Najib announced yesterday that Malaysia’s revised fiscal deficit target for 2015 is now 3.2 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP) instead of 3.0 per cent. Malaysia’s deficit for 2014 was estimated at 3.5 per cent of GDP.
Najib claimed that with the revenue shortfall from the global oil slump, the deficit would be as high as 3.9 per cent of GDP if the budget was not revised.
“We have to accept the reality that we can never achieve the original target of 3 per cent of the GDP as announced previously,” the Prime Minister admitted in his televised address.
He stressed, however, that Putrajaya was committed to reducing the budget deficit from the targeted 3.5 per cent in 2014.
Despite that, the economists said that yesterday’s budget revision was inevitable, and that Putrajaya must proceed with spending cuts as it still faces a projected revenue shortfall of RM13.8 billion.
The shortfall was calculated based on a forecast that crude oil prices would stay at US$55 (RM197.6) per barrel this year, compared to the initial estimate of US$100 per barrel that was used in the Budget 2015 announced last October.
As a crude oil exporter, Malaysia is highly dependent on petroleum income. Its oil-related revenue totalled RM63 billion in 2013, accounting for 29.5 per cent of total government income.
“There are several reasons why Malaysia cannot defer addressing its large budget deficit. International rating agencies will almost certainly downgrade Malaysia’s credit rating unless it appears to be addressing the deficit.
“Any downgrade will raise the cost of borrowing, as well as put further pressure on the ringgit,” Menon said.
Among the “big three” credit ratings agencies, Malaysia’s sovereign bonds’ outlook was last rated “stable” by S&P and Moody’s, but “negative” by Fitch.
“[We] view that reforms to attract private investments are insufficient and growth is being underpinned by increasing amount of government and household indebtedness,” said HSBC’s Asean economist Lim Su Sian.
Prior to Najib’s announcement yesterday, HSBC’s credit research team had already placed Malaysia’s sovereign on a negative outlook for 2015, according to Lim.
“Fiscal consolidation remains very important for Malaysia’s longer-term growth prospects as well as capital flows, and deferring those efforts now particularly at a time of increased global macro and financial market uncertainty would be foolhardy.
“The fact that Najib did not end up making any significant revisions to the 2015 deficit goal this morning suggests that the government is keenly aware that it needs to remain committed to its fiscal consolidation aims, in spite of the challenges,” Lim added.
In the Budget 2015 revision announced yesterday, Putrajaya insisted that there will be no cuts in the RM48.5 billion allocated to development expenditure, preferring instead to reduce operational expenditure by RM5.5 billion.
Putrajaya is also targeting an economy growth between 4.5 and 5.5 per cent this year, down from an earlier forecast of up to 6 per cent.
“Continuing on the path of fiscal consolidation is still the right policy so that Malaysia can continue to rebuild its fiscal buffers,” offered Gil Sander.
“The fact that 2015 will continue the consolidation trend, albeit at a slower pace, is positive.”
September 5, 2014
by Din Merican, Tokyo, Japan
As a frequent business visitor to this Land of the Rising Sun in the 1980s, and after a considerable lapse of time before this visit, I reaffirm this assessment when I arrived with my wife, Dr. Kamsiah yesterday at Narita Airport on Malaysia Airlines Flight MH88.
It was indeed a very good flight where we enjoyed the excellent service provided by a team of very kind and dedicated crew of pilots and stewards and air hostesses. If they were affected by the MH370 and MH17 tragedies, they certainly did not show it.
Japan is an outstanding example of efficiency. That has not changed despite negative reports we read about Japan after the 1985 Plaza Accord. Why? These reports overlook the character of Japanese society and its culture, values, and heritage. The Japanese are hardworking, dedicated, efficient, friendly, and proud people. Their work ethics remain legendary.
We saw Japanese efficiency at Narita. It took us less than 15 minutes to clear immigration and customs and get our bags. After these formalities, we were met by two City Police officers who introduced themselves in good and fluent English, took our particulars and handed us a pamphlet containing contact numbers for emergency and ambulance services. We were then driven to our hotel by well dressed hotel chauffeur who greeted us with the usual bow of welcome. At the hotel, we again saw efficiency in action. The hotel staff attended to us promptly. After checking in at the Grand New Takanawa Prince Hotel, we were driven by a shuttle bus to Shinagawa station. We then took the train to Shinjuku and Ginza for some sightseeing.
The Japanese standard of efficiency is everywhere on display. Be it time efficiency, traffic management and system, economic use of space , and fuel efficiency; this apparently is ingrained in the Japanese psyche. We are told that this habit is taught to Japanese kids in their schools. Tokyo is a very clean city and environment. Its garbage separation and collection system is second to none, and we feel that both Kuala Lumpur and Petaling Jaya can learn a lot about how to deal with our rubbish and care for the environment.
August 4, 2014
by Din Merican
Dato’ Seri Nazri is right to support Lim Guan Eng on the question of employing foreign cooks for hawker stalls in Penang. As Minister of Tourism he knows that tourists are looking for the famous authentic Penang food. To be authentic means that Penang food must be prepared and served by local hawkers employing local cooks. Otherwise, they will be eating stuff made from Maggie, Ebrahim, Alagappa and other brands which are sold in supermarkets around the world. Why then come all the way from the respective countries to enjoy local cuisine prepared by foreign cooks at our hawker stalls. That is not authentic Masakan Pulau Pinang.
The MCA criticises the Minister for supporting Penang’s Chief Minister.Can’t the MCA do anything better than this? I think it should be more constructive. http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/270452
June 22, 2012
On June 6, 2014, Utusan Malaysia exploded a story about Sultan Johor’s interference in the Johor State Assembly (Dewan Undangan Negeri) by seeking to have executive control over the Johor Housing Board. The headline was a simple “WAJARKAH?”:
Utusan Malaysia then unfolded the real story. The real disaffection with Sultan Johor was that His Highness was seen as getting involved in businesses including selling large valuable parcels of lands in Johor to Singaporeans and lately to developers from China. This was further incensed by the fact that Malaysian billionaire tycoon Tan Sri Francis Yeoh of the YTL Group had made very damaging and insulting statements against the Malay leadership in the government accusing it of crony capitalism whereas it was a public secret that the YTL Group was the biggest beneficiary of Dr Mahathir’s privatisation policy. The TNB Employees Union then exposed that Sultan Johor’s power company SIPP was the JV partner of the YTL Group in the Pengerang IPP (independent power producer) project.
So, the whole thing was really about UMNO’s anger towards Sultan Johor’s perceived betrayal by selling out on Malay rights. UMNO may be justified to come out strongly against Sultan Johor. UMNO is justified to chide any Malay Ruler and any GLC that disregards Malay rights. UMNO can do that because it perceives itself as the protector and guardian of Malay rights as guaranteed by the Federal Constitution. That’s what UMNO’s existence is for, and that is what most Malays expect of UMNO. But, is UMNO really the champion of Malays and Malay rights? Or, must the Malays also be protected from the rogues in UMNO?
For UMNO to regard itself as the Champion of Malay rights, UMNO must also not allow its politicians, its leaders especially the UMNO Ministers to betray and rob legitimate Malay businesses. UMNO must not allow Ministers like Tengku Adnan Mansor who is the Federal Territories Minister to do what is reported in MKini in the story below.
So, just as Utusan Malaysia had rebuked Sultan Johor by that simple phrase – “WAJARKAH?”, these Malay businessmen would equally be entitled to rebuke Tengku Adnan and ask him : “ WAJARKAH TENGKU ADNAN ROB MALAY BUSINESSES?”
I think it is time that UMNO admonish Tengku Adnan before UMNO loses Malay support in GE14!Now read what Malaysia kini reported below:
By Hafiz Yatim@www.malaysiakini.com
A group of bumiputera entrepreneurs today obtained an injunction against Federal Territories Minister and UMNO Secretary-General Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor and two others from being involved in a joint venture project involving a five-hectare plot of land in Bukit Kiara.
Last week, Damai Kiaramas Sdn Bhd, owned by UMNO members, filed a suit in the High Court in Kuala
Lumpur against Tengku Adnan, also known as Ku Nan, for breach of contract. The company claimed it had fulfilled all the conditions set by the ministry to develop the land, including getting the agreement of those living in longhouses in the vicinity for 32 years, to be placed in a mixed development project on the land.
However, the company claimed, Tengku Adnan had favoured a company owned by the Pavilion group to be given the project. Today’s ex-parte injunction was granted by judicial commissioner Kamaluddin Md Said.
Damai Kiaramas named its joint-venture partner Yayasan Wilayah Persekutuan, Tengku Adnan and the Pavilion group-owned Memang Perkasa Sdn Bhd as defendants in the suit. They had since 2008 proposed to redevelop the five-hectare land, which was then part of the Bukit Kiara estate, large portions of which have become the Kuala Lumpur Golf Club and Kelab Golf Perkhidmatan Awam.
The displaced estate workers are staying in dilapidated longhouses on the five-hectare plot and pay monthly rental to the Kuala Lumpur City Hall.Damai Kiaramas claimed it had obtained the backing of the then federal territories minister Raja Nong Chik Raja Zainal Abidin and got the cabinet’s support.
Yayasan Wilayah Persekutuan agreed to appoint Damai Kiaramas as a joint-venture partner on December 17, 2012, after it obtained signatures from all the longhouse residents to support the project, in which they would be placed in their new houses there.
A draft of the joint-venture company was produced several weeks later stating the terms that included the company having to pay RM60.702 million in land premium to Yayasan Wilayah Persekutuan.
A meeting was held between Raja Nong Chik, Yayasan Wilayah Persekutuan and Damai Kiaramas on Feb 22, 2013, at which they all agreed to the terms of the agreement and also agreed to the signing of the formal agreement only after the 13th general election.
Several declarations, general damages sought
However, with Raja Nong Chik having lost in the last general election, Damai Kiaramas had to deal with Tengku Adnan, the new minister in charge of the Federal Territories, and they held several meetings, last year and this year.
At subsequent meetings, the statement of claim from the firm states, Tengku Adnan requested that the land premium and return to be paid to Yayasan Wilayah Persekutuan, be increased from RM60.702 million to RM96 million. Tengku Adnan allegedly asked that the amount be increased further to RM140 million and then to RM160 million, to which Damai Kiaramas is said to have reluctantly agreed.
The joint-venture agreement between Damai Kiaramas and Yayasan Wilayah Persekutuan was formally signed and a copy was sent to the foundation on Sept 17 last year. However, on December 5 last year, Damai Kiaramas obtained a termination notice from Yayasan Wilayah Persekutuan, which stated that there was never an agreement between them, that Damai Kiaramas failed to comply with the foundation’s demand and had not presented a detailed development plan.
Damai Kiaramas maintained that it briefed Tengku Adnan and the foundation representative on this on Sept 25 last year. The company claimed the reasons for the termination of the joint-venture agreement came as an after thought, and that it tried to revive the project by agreeing to pay the RM160 million that Tengku Adnan sought for the foundation.
The company also demanded, in April this year, that Yayasan Wilayah Persekutuan reveals whether it had entered into an agreement with other companies to develop the project.Damai Kiaramas claimed that all the defendants had hidded from its knowledge that secret negotiations had been carried out with Memang Perkasa and further claimed that there was interference from the firm.
Damai Kiaramas further claimed that because it had agreed to pay the RM160 million as demanded, the joint-venture agreement stands and that the action of the other party amounted to breach of agreement.
Hence, the company is seeking a declaration that the joint-venture agreement dated September 17 last year is constituted and continues, and wants another declaration that the termination notice is set-aside.
Damai Kiaramas also wants Yayasan Wilayah Persekutuan to continue with the joint venture and an order that any agreement that the foundation has with Memang Perkasa should be declared null and void. It is also seeking general damages and any amount the court deems fit for loss of profit and exemplary damages.
READ HERE: by Ida Lim@www.themalaymailonline.com
June 21, 2014
June 19, 2014
March 30, 2014
Let me state from the outset that I totally agree with the press statements by Malaysia’s Defence Minister and Acting Transport Minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein that “we have conducted ourselves fairly, responsibly and history will judge us for that.”
And to a mischievous and presumptuous question from a correspondent of the Financial Times, Datuk Seri with confidence and integrity rightly said without any fear of contradiction that, “I don’t think we could have done anything different from what we have already done.” Well done!
The Financial Times, CNN and other foreign media ought to pose similar questions to the US and its intelligence services and stop insinuating that Malaysia has not been transparent and/or engaged in a cover-up. Foreign media should stop engaging in dirty politics!
It is my hope that following the publication of this article, Malaysian mass media will focus on questioning the integrity of the US’s assistance to Malaysia in the first three weeks of the SAR mission, notwithstanding its recent offer of more assistance.
I take comfort that my reservations about the US and its intelligence services as well as other intelligence services closely linked to the US, especially British secret service, have been more than vindicated by Reuters in its news report on 28th March, 2014 entitled Geopolitical games handicap hunt for flight MH370
The search for flight MH370, the Malaysian Airlines jetliner that vanished over the South China Sea on March 8, has involved more than two dozen countries and 60 aircraft and ships but has been bedevilled by regional rivalries.
… With the United States playing a relatively muted role in the sort of exercise that until recently it would have dominated, experts and officials say there was no real central coordination until the search for the plane was confined to the southern Indian Ocean, when Australia largely took charge.
Part of the problem is that Asia has no NATO-style regional defence structure, though several countries have formal alliances with the United States. Commonwealth members Malaysia, Singapore, New Zealand and Australia also have an arrangement with Britain to discuss defence matters in times of crisis.
As mystery deepened over the fate of the Boeing 777 and its 239 passengers and crew, most of them Chinese, it became clear that highly classified military technology might hold the key.
But the investigation became deadlocked over the reluctance of others to share sensitive data, a reticence that appeared to harden as the search area widened.
“This is turning into a spy novel,” said an envoy from a Southeast Asian country, noting it was turning attention to areas and techniques few countries liked to publicly discuss.
Ultimately, the only country with the technical resources to recover the plane – or at least its black box recorder, which could lie in water several miles deep – may be the United States. Its deep-sea vehicles ultimately hauled up the wreckage of Air France 447 after its 2009 crash into a remote region of the South Atlantic.
While Putrajaya has been forced to reveal some of the limits and ranges of its air defences, the reluctance of Malaysia’s neighbours to release sensitive radar data may have obstructed the investigation for days.
At an ambassadorial meeting in the ad hoc crisis centre at an airport hotel on March 16, Malaysia formally appealed to countries on the jet’s possible path for help, but in part met with polite stonewalling, two people close to the talks said.
Some countries asked Malaysia to put its request in writing, triggering a flurry of diplomatic notes and high-level contacts.
‘It became a game of poker in which Malaysia handed out the cards at the table but couldn’t force others to show their hand,“ a person from another country involved in the talks said.
As in the northern Indian Ocean, where Chinese forces operate alongside other nations to combat Somali piracy, current and former officials say all sides are almost certainly quietly spying on and monitoring each other at the same time. (emphasis added)
WantChinaTimes, Taiwan reported,
The United States has taken advantage of the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight to test the capabilities of China’s satellites and judge the threat of Chinese missiles against its aircraft carriers, reports our sister paper Want Daily.
Erich Shih, chief reporter at Chinese-language military news monthly Defense International, said the US has more and better satellites but has not taken part in the search for flight MH370, which disappeared about an hour into its flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing in the early hours of March 8 with 239 people on board. Shih claimed that the US held back because it wanted to see what information China’s satellites would provide.
The above is the reality which we have to confront. Therefore, desist any attempt to label the above mainstream media articles as a “conspiracy theory”. Reuters has let the Genie out of the bottle!
Malaysia’s Minister of Transport Datuk Seri Hishammuddin gave hints of Malaysia’s difficulties (as his hands were tied by intelligence protocols and or refusal by the relevant foreign intelligence services and diplomatic reluctance) but our local media failed to appreciate the nuances of his statements by not directing their questions at those parties that have failed Malaysia as their neighbour and in their duties under various defence treaties and arrangements.
Malaysian media, please read at the minimum three times, the sentences in bold AND WAKE UP TO THE REALITY that our country has been badly treated even though our country put all its national security cards on the table so that countries whose nationals are passengers on flight MH 370 could come forward with sincerity to assist in resolving this unfortunate tragedy which is not Malaysia’s making.
Malaysia is but a victim of this tragedy whose plane, MH 370 was used for a hidden agenda for which only time will reveal.
On the 27th March, 2014, I exposed how Israel is exploiting the tragedy to create public opinion for a war against Iran, a Muslim country that has close ties with Malaysia.
At the outset of the SAR Mission, all concerned stated categorically that every scenario, no matter how unlikely would be examined critically with no stones left unturned – terrorist hijacking, suicide mission, technical failures, inadequate security, criminal actions of the pilot and or co-pilot etc.
Given the above premise, families of the passengers and the crew of MH 370 have every right to ask the following questions of the US and other countries that have sophisticated technologies to track and monitor airplanes and ships in all circumstances.
Such questions should not be shot down by those who have a hidden agenda that such queries amount to “conspiracy theories”. Far from being conspiracy theories, we assert that the questions tabled below and the rationale for asking them are well founded and must be addressed by the relevant parties, failing which an inference ought to be drawn that they are complicit in the disappearance of MH 370.
Let’s us begin.
1) Was the plane ordered to turn back, if so who gave the order?
2) Was the plane turned back manually or by remote control?
3) If the latter, which country or countries have the technologies to execute such an operation?
4) Was MH 370 weaponised before its flight to Beijing?
5) If so, what are the likely methods for such a mission – Biological weapons, dirty bombs?
6) Was Beijing / China the target and if so why?
7) Qui Bono?
8) The time sequence of countries identifying the alleged MH 370 debris in the Indian ocean was first made by Australia followed by France, Thailand, Japan, and Britain via Immarsat. Why did US not offer any satellite intelligence till today?
9) Prior to the switch of focus to the Indian ocean, was the SAR mission in the South China seas, used as a cover for the deployment of undersea equipment to track and monitor naval capabilities of all the nations’ navies competing for ownership of disputed territorial waters? Reuters as quoted above seems to have suggested such an outcome.
11) Why no questions were asked whether the flight path of MH 370 (if as alleged it crashed in the Indian Ocean), was within the geographical parameters of the Intelligence capabilities of Diego Garcia? Why were no planes deployed from Diego Garcia to intercept the “Unidentified” plane which obviously would pose a threat to the Diego Gracia military base?
12) The outdated capabilities of the Hexagon satellite system deployed by the US in the 1970s has a ground resolution of 0.6 meters; what’s more, the present and latest technologies boast the ability to identify objects much smaller in size. Why have such satellites not provided any images of the alleged debris in the Indian Ocean? Were they deliberately withheld?
13) On April 6th, 2012, the US launched a mission dubbed “NROL-25” (consisting of a spy satellite) from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The NROL-25 satellite was likely rigged with “synthetic aperture radar” a system capable of observing targets around the globe in daylight and darkness, able to penetrate clouds and identify underground structures such as military bunkers.
Though the true capabilities of the satellites are not publicly known due to their top-secret classification, some analysts have claimed that the technology allows the authorities to zoom in on items as small as a human fist from hundreds of miles away. How is it that no imagery of MH370 debris was forwarded to Malaysia, as this capability is not classified though other technologies might well remain classified? (Source: Slate.com)
14) Could it be that the above capabilities were not as touted?
15) However, in December, 2013, the USAtlas V rocket was launched carrying the spy satellite NROL-39 for the National Reconnaissance Office, an intelligence agency which is often overshadowed by the notorious National Security Agency (NSA), only it scoops data via spy satellites in outer space. The “NROL-39 emblem” is represented by the Octopus a versatile, adaptive, and highly intelligent creature. Emblematically, enemies of the United States can be reached no matter where they choose to hide. The emblem boldly states “Nothing is beyond our reach”. This virtually means that the tentacles of America’s World Octopus are spreading across the globe to coil around everything within their grasp, which is, well, everything (Source: Voice of Moscow). Yet, the US with such capabilities remained silent. Why?
It cannot be said that it is not within the realm of probabilities that the US may not want the plane MH 370 to be recovered if rogue intelligence operators were responsible for the disappearance of MH 370.
If the above questions have been posed to the US and other intelligence agencies and answers are not forthcoming, I take the view that the Malaysian government ought to declare publicly that our national sovereignty and security have been jeopardized by the disappearance of MH 370 and that the relevant intelligence agencies have been tacitly complicit in the disappearance of MH370.
By coming out openly to explain the predicament faced by our country, Malaysia may prevent a hostile act against a third country.
I therefore call upon Malaysian mass media to be courageous and initiate such queries as only the US and other intelligence agencies can give definitive answers to the above 15 questions.
It is futile to demand answers from Malaysia as we are not in any position to supply the information as we do not have the capabilities of the global and regional military powers.
Malaysians must unite behind the government so that our leaders need not feel that they are alone shouldering this enormous burden.
Matthias Chang is a prominent Malaysian lawyer and author, who served as political secretary and adviser to former Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir Mohamad.