Ownership is Nine Tenths of the Law

May 8, 2015

Phnom Penh by The Mekong

Ownership is Nine Tenths of the Law–Nepotism, Cronyism, and Kleptocracy

Where else than in Malaysia do the meek, the majority and the middle class get steamrolled by the rulers of the country. They do not speak out and they slowly watch their country get taken away from them bit by bit, just like lambs led to the slaughter.

Such a scene is currently being played out by the plight of those fighting to preserve Bukit Kiara and epitomizes what happens throughout Malaysian society.

When the Great Wall of Kiara was put up, there were a number of people who said it was a great conspiracy, that as soon as it was up, the outer perimeter would be developed. In particular, this would be done by people who were in collusion with Jabatan Landskap Negara (JLN) and those in the government directing them. Sure enough, that has now started to happen.

On side eastern side facing Desa Sri Hartamas, a developer of Kiara View has started building a monstrosity of a house immediately below the view known by many as “Lookout”. If you go to the plans on their web site (http://www.kiaraview.com.my/seninusantara.htm), you also see a new building depicted with an even higher development touting a view of downtown KL, something that is uncannily similar to the viewpoint smack on the boundary of the Kiara fence and where those who frequented Kiara would often take a breather as they took in the sights of the Petronas Towers and Menara KL.

Also abutting this area is a development by Impiana Land & Development Sdn Bhd known as “Serene Kiara”. Stay tuned to see what their plans are for the areas surrounding Bukit Kiara.

As some of you will have seen in recent news and on social media sites, bulldozers have gone into the northern area just beyond the Pencala Tunnel. Without permits in place, they destroyed large swaths of what use to be a pristine network of trails used by kampong folk, trail runners, wildlife photographers and mountain bikers. The bulldozers went in from Pencala in a fashion that no one would have known about. No sign posts indicating that there was a development in progress and a solitary bulldozer track that went in steeply up the slope, shooting eastwards through the trees until it got into the valley on the other side. The bulldozer did not stop there. It proceed forward following the same trail that outdoors enthusiasts have used for decades, ending up just before the small kampong houses that are below Kiaramas Ayuria.

Yet again, another pristine stream has been permanently destroyed, more trees have come down, and this is only the tip of the iceberg for this area. Eventually, it has been discovered, 115 bungalow lots will be built in this area.

Hold onto your seat. Qiana Development Sdn Bhd owns this particular patch of land. For those of you who do not know, the man behind Qiana is Dato’ Haris Hussein Onn, the brother of YB Datuk Seri Panglima Hishammudin Hussein Onn (our current Minister of Defense) and cousin of our illustrious Prime Minister, Yang Amat Berhormat Dato’ Sri Najib Tun Razak. Dato’ Haris also happens to be the son of the 3rd Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tun Hussein bin Dato’ Onn. When you do an ROC search on Qiana, you also find that the majority of shares in the company is owned by Impiana Land & Development Sdn. Bhd., which is also owned by Dato’ Haris.

Now do people start to see the links between the fence, the government and developers?! Don’t take my word, you can see the shareholding structure for both Qiana and Impiana below.

It is only a matter of time before Berjaya also bulldozes the area within the Bukit Kiara Equestrian Centre, without warning. They have already started dramatically raising fees for the equestrian centre members, and they have tried to squash any form of dissent or awareness being made by members. Will Measat (owned by Ananda Krishnan) be the next ones to follow suite and destroy yet another parcel of land in Kiara? Who is conducting the surveys north of the fence on a section of trail known for decades as Janie’s Addiction? Will that be next?

When will it stop? When will those within the Government of Malaysia, Vincent Tan (Berjaya), Ananda Krishnan and others say enough is enough?To start thinking long term, of their legacy, and the legacy that will be left behind for future generations. Green lungs, places of beauty and a quality of life that is needed for all of us.

If you think that the plight facing Kiara is the only misdeed being done by those in power, think again. Here are a few shining examples:

• The 1MDB fiasco – current losses estimated at RM 20 billion to-date and no end in sight. Was this a slush fund set up in the Cayman Islands to enable BN an escape plan when they lose the next elections?!

• The destruction of the forests of Sarawak – how one person, notably Tun Pehin Sri Hj Abdul Taib Mahmud, who happens to be the Chief Minister of Sarawak, has amassed billions. This scandal can be seen at www.sarawakreport.org and an upcoming BBC News documentary that he has tried to block.

• The Port Klang/ PKFZ loss (which is now peanuts in comparison to 1MDB)

• The murder of Altantuya Shaariibuu – while the two former PGK have been charged with killing her and blowing her body up with C4, the ultimate person who directed them remains un-indicted and free to roam the world.

• Bruno Manser –who knows what has happened to this Swiss champion of Penan rights and environmental activism; he disappeared without a trace, unlike Altantuya.

• Bukit Gasing – another place of beauty that faced similar destruction as Kiara, and lost the battle due to individuals in the government profiteering in collusion with developers.

• Kemensah – the unbelievable news that a so-called “East Klang Valley Expressway” has been approved which will cut across this large swath of pristine jungle and a water catchment area.

A few pics to show you what surrounds Kiara:

Coming from Kiaramas Ayuria towards Pencala, the devastation begins.

Bulldozed track close to Kiaramas Ayuria; a section of Kiara that used to be a beautiful single track.

Looking at the entrance to the Qiana development works.

The fence on the northwest side of Kiara, where, adjacent to it, stands empty houses where owners couldn’t afford to upkeep them. Several are now boarded up.

One house facing the fence near TTDI which may soon be occupied again after years of sitting neglected.

The view at Lookout and a new building being constructed at the base of the steep slope.

Looking further into the distance at Lookout, you can see a dilapidated building that has been abandoned by the developer who went bankrupt. This section used to be another network of pristine trails.

And finally, looking up at the dilapidated project known as Matahari in Desa Sri Hartamas. At the time of this writing there are signs that this bungalow is getting a face lift.

Thanks to Cronyism, Nepotism and Corruption.

MH370 Preliminary Report: Not a Good Day to a Malaysian

May 2, 2014

MH370 Preliminary Report: Not a Good Day to a Malaysian

by  Lim Kit Siang

Hisham, Najib, and MuhiyuddinToday is not a good day to be a Malaysian as the world wakes up to critical and adverse media headlines on the Malaysian preliminary report on the missing MH370 Boeing 777-200 completing its eighth week of vanishing into the air with 239 passengers and crew on board without leaving any wreckage or clue as to what had happened on the fateful morning of March 8.

The Four Hour Gap

It took 17 minutes for air traffic controllers to realise that Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 had disappeared from their screens - and four hours to launch a rescue operation.

It took 17 minutes for air traffic controllers to realise that Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 had disappeared from their screens – and four hours to launch a rescue operation.

All over the world, the media splashed the shocking headlines of the admission from the first Malaysian official report that nobody noticed that Flight MH370 was missing for 17 minutes and no search was launched for another four hours.

Instead of answering the many questions that have been raised in the past eight weeks of the MH 370 disaster, both the preliminary report and the statement by the Acting Transport Minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein accompanying it have only provoked more questions.

Firstly, the five-page preliminary report on the missing MH 370 had been described as “scant at best” in contrast to the preliminary report into Air France 447 which was released one month after the plane disappeared and which was 128 pages long, while a preliminary report into the Qantas engine explosion over Singapore in 2010 was more than 40 pages with diagrams and charts.

The table below is based on recorded communications on direct lines, summarising the events associated to MH370 after the radar blip disappeared until activation of the Rescue Coordination Centre.

The table above  summarising the events associated to MH370 after the radar blip disappeared on the first day .

The Malaysian government preliminary report makes one safety recommendation, for real-time air tracking to be installed on all commercial aircraft, viz:

“There have now been two occasions during the last five years when large commercial air transport aircraft have gone missing and their last position was not accurately known. This uncertainty resulted in significant difficulty in locating the aircraft in a timely manner.”

The same recommendation was made after the Air France jet crashed into the Atlantic in 2009, though nothing was done to satisfy the proposal.

Prime Minister Najib Razak said Malaysia’s democracy is best in the world.

Prime Minister Najib Razak said Malaysia’s democracy is best in the world.

More pertinent, however, is why the preliminary report which was dated three weeks ago on April 9 was not made public earlier, and why the relatives of the passengers and crew on board the missing plane had not been briefed on its contents before its public release.

For the first time in 56 days, Malaysians are told that the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had on the very same morning of the missing MH370, ordered the search and rescue operations to be extended to the Straits of Malacca, alongside that being carried out in the South China Sea.

Was this true that right from the very beginning of the search-and-rescue operation for the MH 370 on the morning of May 8, the search area had been extended from South China Sea to the Straits of Malacca?

If so, why didn’t Hishammuddin announce it earlier, instead of waiting for 55 days until yesterday in a statement accompanying the publication of the government’s preliminary report on the missing MH370?

It is to be noted that this new and hitherto unknown information to the public that the SAR operation area had right from the beginning on the same morning of the missing Boeing 77 been extended from the South China Sea to the Straits of Malacca was not disclosed in the preliminary report dated April 9 but in Hishammuddin’s statement dated May 1, 2014!

Furthermore, Najib himself did not seem to know that he had ordered the search area to be extended from the South China Sea to the Straits of Malacca the very same morning of the missing aircraft, for he made no mention of such extension in his press conference on May 8 held just after 7 pm where he announced the expansion of the search area after the SAR mission team found no wreckage in the plane’s last location before it disappeared from radar at 1.21 earlier in the morning.

Najib had said then that the first phase of the search efforts focused on the area where the plane’s signal was last picked up, had proved unsuccessful in locating it, and the search area was being “expanded as wide as possible”.

Civil Aviation Department Director-General Datuk Azharuddin Abdul Rahman (pic–on Hishamuddin’s left), mh370-hishammuddinwho was present at Najib’s press conference, spelt out the meaning of this expansion of the search area by saying that “we are searching in Malaysian and Vietnamese waters”.

The next day, on Sunday, 9th March, Azharuddin told the press that the search operation had been expanded further from the initial 20 nautical miles in the South China Sea to 50 nautical miles – no mention whatsoever of its expansion to the Straits of Malacca.

Unless Hishammuddin can give satisfactory explanation for these new additional discrepancies in the latest official accounts of what happened in the first crucial days of the SAR for the missing MH 370, he has only himself to blame if the government preliminary report and his statement accompanying it suffer a serious credibility gap.

This is why a report by an Opposition-headed Parliamentary Select Committee on the MH 370 disaster would have greater credibility than a unilaterial statement by Hishammuddin, especially when new facts suddenly surface as if to embellish the government’s version of what happened in the crucial first few days of the MH 370 disaster.

Fatal omissions

Chief of the RMAF, Rodzali DaudThere are many fatal omissions in the government preliminary report – for instance, the failure to explain the many flip-flops, contradictions and confusions in the information given out by the various authorities, for instance, the initial information that MH 370 had lost contact at 2.40 am when it was subsequently established that the aircraft disappeared from the Malaysian air traffic controllers’ radar at 1.21 am Malaysian time.

But the most fatal error which still cries out for explanation is why it took another four hours before the search-and-rescue (SAR) operation was launched, when time is of the essence in such cases as the sooner a SAR mission is initiated, the greater the possibility of finding the wreckage and casualties.

Under civil aviation emergency standard operating procedures, an Uncertainty Phase (INCERFA) should be invoked within 30 minutes when there is concern about the safety of an aircraft or its occupants.

An Alert Phase (ALERFA) should be invoked when there is apprehension about the safety of an aircraft and its occupants, or when communication from an aircraft has not been received within 60 minutes.

A Distress Phase (DETRESFA) should be invoked when there is reasonable certainty that the aircraft or its occupantsw are threatened by grave and imminent danger – or when following an Alert Phase, further attempts to establish communications with the aircraft are unsuccessful

All these emergency standard operating procedures were violated in the MH 370 case, for ALERFA should have been declared at 1.51 am, ALERTA at 2.21 am and DETRESFA before 3 am to lauch a full-scale SAR operation instead of delaying until 5.30 am that day!

Another grave omission is the role of the Royal Malaysian Air Force and the military radar in the MH 370 disaster.

Lim Kit Siang is the DAP Adviser & MP for Gelang Patah


Malaysia Splits With ASEAN Claimants on China Sea Threat

August 30, 2013

Hishamuddin Hussein“Just because you have enemies, doesn’t mean your enemies are my enemies,” said Hishammuddin Hussein, Malaysia’s Minister of Defense, on the sidelines of meetings with counterparts from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations as well as the U.S., China and Japan.

Just like Hishammudin who doesn't understand Foreign policy, our youth don't know how to distinguish PCM and China flag !

Just like Hishammudin who doesn’t understand Foreign policy, our youth don’t know how to distinguish PCM and China flag !

MY COMMENT: Our Novice Defense Minister. Hishamuddin Hussein who had mishandled the Lahad Datu incident when he was at the helm of the Home Affairs Ministry, is now causing a serious split within ASEAN over the South China Sea dispute with China. I wonder whether he had consulted the Prime Minister and his Cabinet colleagues especially with Dato Seri Anifah Aman, our Foreign Minister, before making this outrageous statement. 

Our Foreign Minister is hard at work with his ASEAN colleagues to craftAnifah a Code of Conduct which could be then discussed with China. Hishamuddin should understand that no country has the right to send its naval vessels into our territorial waters, no matter how friendly we think the country is towards us. Such incursions can be deemed acts of aggression. We cannot tolerate any violation of our national sovereignty and territorial integrity. Hishamuddin’s statement does reflect that his lack of understanding of one of the fundamentals in state relations. He is  also not conversant with the South China Sea issue and our foreign policy.

That being the case, he should refrain from making statements that can be detrimental to ASEAN solidarity and our national interest. He should now be asked to clarify his statement, and leave the entire South China Sea issue to our Foreign Minister and his diplomats.–Din Merican

Malaysia Splits With ASEAN Claimants on China Sea Threat

Malaysia is not worried about how often Chinese ships patrol the areas it claims in the waters, Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said in an interview in Brunei yesterday. Chinese Navy ships in March visited James Shoal off Malaysia, near where Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA) and Petroliam Nasional Bhd (PETRONAS). have oil and gas operations.

“Just because you have enemies, doesn’t mean your enemies are my enemies,” Hishammuddin said on the sidelines of meetings with counterparts from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations as well as the U.S. The Chinese “can patrol every day, but if their intention is not to go to war” it is of less concern, he said. “I think we have enough level of trust that we will not be moved by day-to-day politics or emotions.”

Malaysia is one of six claimants to land features in the South China Sea, an area where competition for gas and fish has led to boats being rammed and survey cables cut. The Philippines and Vietnam reject China’s map of the sea, first published in the 1940s, as a basis for joint exploration.

“Asean is divided on the South China Sea dispute because all the members have different interests in the South China Sea and their relationships with China also differ,” said Ian Storey, a senior fellow at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore. “Vietnam and the Philippines see the dispute as a major national security concern while Malaysia and Brunei always downplay tensions.”

U.S. Concerns

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel met Hishammuddin today, alongside defense ministers from ASEAN, China, Japan and South Korea, for the second ADMM-Plus security summit. Hagel told ministers he was concerned by a rise in maritime incidents and tensions in the waters.

“Actions at sea to advance territorial claims do not strengthen any party’s legal claim,” Hagel said, according to remarks prepared for delivery. “Instead, they increase the risk of confrontation, undermine regional stability, and dim the prospects for diplomacy.”

The situation in the South China Sea is “stable,” said China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi, after meeting his Thai counterpart Surapong Tovichakchaikul in Beijing today. “Such a stable situation does not come easily and we should dearly cherish it,” he said. “There is no real problem with freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, nor will there be a problem in the future.”

Defense Spending

An increase in defense spending in the region is “of serious concern to all of us,” Singapore Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen told reporters in Brunei today, adding he had raised the matter during talks with other ministers. Spending by Asian countries rose 75 percent from 2002 to 2012, compared with 12 percent for the same period in Europe, he said.

“The trend is likely to continue because Asian countries will modernize their militaries as their economies grow,” Ng said. He said Singapore had talked about the need to assure other countries in Asia that this process “will add stability to the region.”

Collaboration Option

Malaysia could consider collaborating on the development of oil and gas resources with China in the area, Hishammuddin said in the interview.

“Provided our friends in ASEAN know, those who have an interest in the region know, and if they want to object, I would like to know why?” Hishammuddin said. “If they’re just objecting for the sake of objecting, that doesn’t make sense.”

China National Offshore Oil Corp. estimates the South China Sea may hold about five times more undiscovered natural gas than the country’s current proved reserves, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. In June, Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Razak called for parties to jointly develop resources to avoid conflict and prevent “extra-regional states” from becoming involved.

Najib cited a joint development zone in waters claimed by Thailand and Malaysia as a precedent that could be applied in the South China Sea. China has agreed to talks on a code of conduct for the area, with discussions to begin in September.

Code of Conduct

“China is somewhat reluctant to reach a consensus on the code of conduct with ASEAN members, if the area covered by the code of conduct is in certain portions of the South China Sea claimed by China,” said Arthur Ding, a research fellow at the Institute of International Relations in Taiwan.

China still calls for disputes to be handled directly by the countries in involved, Defense Minister Chang Wanquan said in Brunei today, speaking through a translator.

China opposes any effort to internationalize, “escalate or complicate the disputes,” Chang said. “These disputes should not and will not undermine the overall relationship between China and ASEAN.”

Hagel will visit Vietnam next year at the invitation of Vietnam’s defense minister, said a senior U.S. defense official who can’t be named according to government policy. Hagel also met his counterpart from Myanmar for talks in Brunei yesterday, the first meeting of top defense figures from the two countries in 20 years, the official said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sharon Chen in Singapore at schen462@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Rosalind Mathieson at rmathieson3@bloomberg.net