Archive for February, 2012

MAS losses soar to RM2.5b

By Lee Wei Lian
The Malaysian Insider
Feb 29, 2012

PETALING JAYA, Feb 29 — Malaysia Airlines recorded a stunning net loss of RM2.52 billion for 2011 and the company is now in “crisis”, the national flag carrier said today.

The carrier also confirmed that the losses for the 2011 financial year were the largest in its history.

The airline reported a massive net loss of RM1.28 billion in the fourth quarter, which was about as much as the first three quarters combined.

“The company is in crisis,” said Malaysia Airlines (MAS) CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya in a statement.

Ahmad said that the losses were due to higher expenses including a 25 per cent increase in fuel expenses and a 50 per cent increase in non-fuel expenses.

The company’s cash reserves more than halved to RM1 billion at the end of last year from RM2.1 billion at the end of 2010 and net assets plunged from RM3.5 billion to RM1.1 billion. Read the rest of this entry »


The Superhumans of Malaysia

— Sakmongkol AK47
The Malaysian Insider
Feb 29, 2012

FEB 29 — We have two super humans in Malaysia. Each is said to be able to give guarantees. In the case of Dr Mahathir Mohamad, he guaranteed the loan given to Tajudin Ramli to acquire 32 per cent share of MAS in 1992. The guarantee was in the form of an overriding indemnity provision to Tajudin Ramli protecting him from losses should he mess up the acquisition.

Now, that is the type of captain needed by Dr Mahathir to drive his NEP.

The current prime minister can also give guarantees. He can guarantee that when FGVH lists, the returns to Felda settlers will be assured. That means, while Dr Mahathir can walk on water, the current PM is given the attribute of someone who can control the free market.

Adam Smith, the man accepted by many as the Father of the science of Economics wrote about the invisible hand that regulates free enterprise. He got the name wrong. The invisible hand is Najib Razak. That superhuman attribute was given to Najib Razak by Felda chairman Isa Samad. Read the rest of this entry »


Selangor MB accuses Putrajaya of nepotism over KJ’s appointment

By Yow Hong Chieh
The Malaysian Insider
Feb 29, 2012

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 29 — Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin’s expected appointment to a key government agency shows Putrajaya still values political links above professionalism, Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim said today.

The Selangor mentri besar said Khairy’s appointment as Perbadanan Usahawan Nasional Bhd (PUNB) chairman will benefit Umno rather than Malays, and would be a step back for the Bumiputera community.

“While the Bumiputera have been encouraged to pursue the standard professionalism on par with the world’s best, the appointment clearly shows that political affiliation, and not capability and experience, makes the cut for top positions in government-linked corporations.

“As one of the founders of PUNB, I take great pride in the fact that it has thus far been led by professionals free from political interest. While there were politicians at the policy-making level, they did not interfere with the operations of the company,” he said in a statement.

The prime minister should not “demean” the efforts of the Bumiputera professionals who have made PUNB what it is today by picking Khairy, who has not shown he can run a successful corporation, Khalid added. Read the rest of this entry »


Does Mahathir also want a RCI into the losses from the financial scandals during Tun Abdullah’s five year premiership?

Former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahahtir Mohamad seems to have given a “positive” response to my proposal for a full audit and accounting into the RM100 billion “black hole” caused by the losses of the financial scandals his his 22-year premiership.

I had said on Saturday that the time has come to revisit the RM100 billion “losses” suffered by the country during his 22-year premiership, especially if the present generation of Malaysians are still to pay for the “sins of Mahathir’s past premiership”.

This came about as a result of the RM580 million write-off by the Malaysian government with the “out-of-court” settlement between Danaharta and Tajudin Ramli on Feb. 14, the terms of which remain confidential between the two parties, where all suits pertaining to the court judgement of RM589.14 million that Tajudin was ordered to pay to Danaharta in 2009 would be dropped and Tajudin agreed to withdraw claims totally RM13.46 billion, involved in 27 appeals, 11 against Danaharta.

Core to Tajudin’s case is his affidavit that he was directed by former Prime Minister Tun Mahathir and former Finance Minister Tun Daim Zainudin in 1994 to buy a controlling stake in MAS to bail out the government – a “national service” to help bail out Bank Negara after the central bank suffered massive foreign exchange losses due partly to speculation in foreign currency markets with an “Overriding Agreement” to indemnify him against any losses suffered.
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Standing up against political gangsterism

By Othman Wahab | February 29, 2012
The Malaysian Insider

FEB 29 — What would you do if a group of individuals constantly threatened you, used thuggish language and behaviour to intimidate you and your family, friends and neighbours?

How would you react if your legitimate right to express your opinion or gather as a peaceful assembly to express an opinion on a matter close to your heart, is challenged by gangsters and politicians behaving in such manner?

What would you say if your brother or sister attending a political gathering was assaulted by thugs who are acting with the support of the government?

Would it be acceptable to you if your elected representatives are being threatened with bodily harm, abused with racist epithets and prevented from speaking to Felda settlers by thugs?
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A Critique of the ETP: Part 5 – Diversity – The ETP so far is just a handful of mega-projects

By Dr. Ong Kian Ming BSc (LSE), MPhil (Cantab), PhD (Duke)
Teh Chi-Chang, CFA, BSc (Warwick), MBA (Cantab)

Just two mega-projects and Oil, Gas & Energy, really. Behind the apparently impressive RM176 billion of investments achieved in the ETP so far is a sobering picture. The MRT and Petronas’ RAPID mega-projects make up 55% of total investments in Entry Point Projects (EPPs). Going by National Key Economic Area, 53% of investments were in just one NKEA – Oil, Gas & Energy.

Zero progress in Financial Services. Not a single EPP has been announced in this NKEA which is targeted to deliver up to 15% of the income boost envisaged in the ETP. The Kuala Lumpur International Financial District is not a Financial Services EPP and is not even mentioned in Bank Negara’s Financial Services Blueprint 2011 to 2020. Is PEMANDU in sync with the key financial regulators Bank Negara and the Securities Commission?

Broad-based investments are necessary to transform Malaysia. The RM800 billion of investments targeted by the ETP are spread across 131 EPPs in 12 NKEAs. This will deliver the broad-based growth that will turn Malaysia into the high-income nation that PEMANDU envisages. But progress has been skewed towards just one NKEA and a few mega-projects. The ETP currently appears to be business-as-usual, government-linked mega-projects rather than private sector-led transformation.
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Reforming MACC: Tickled by PM’s two-thirds poser

— Aliran
The Malaysian Insider
Feb 29, 2012

FEB 29 — Aliran is tickled by the prime minister’s so-called pledge that he would give more bite to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) if voters hand the Barisan Nasional (BN) its coveted two-thirds parliamentary majority in the coming general election.

We are bemused because the federal government does not need a two-thirds majority to give teeth to the MACC as it does not require a constitutional amendment. What it does need, though, is political will and commitment from the federal government to ensure that the MACC is fully and fiercely independent. Read the rest of this entry »


When Najib promises MACC more powers if BN wins 13GE with two-thirds majority, is it to carry out a more effective fight against corruption or to victimise PR leaders/activists like case of Teoh Beng Hock?

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, made a most extraordinary election pledge yesterday when he promised more powers to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) if Barisan Nasional wins the next elections with two-thirds control of Parliament.

The question that immediately comes to mind is whether this pledge of more powers to MACC is to carry out a more effective fight against corruption or is it to enable the MACC to victimise Pakatan Rakyat leaders and activists as in the still unresolved case of the mysterious death of Teoh Beng Hock at the MACC headquarters in Shah Alam on July 16, 2009?

Such a pledge is extraordinary because any meaningful or serious proposal to give MACC more powers to carry out a more effective fight against corruption should not be contingent on a win by any party or coalition in the next general elections, let alone getting a two-thirds majority in Parliament.

On the specific proposal by the MACC advisory panel that an anti-corruption service commission be formed and be given powers to appoint and terminate MACC officers, which requires a constitutional amendment with two-thirds parliamentary vote, Pakatan Rakyat is prepared to support such a constitutional amendment in the meeting of Parliament next month if convinced that it is a step towards making the MACC more efficient, independent and professional.
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Bina kilang Lynas di Australia sahajalah

By Aspan Alias | February 27, 2012
The Malaysian Insider

27 FEB — Kerajaan patut membatalkan niat untuk meneruskan pembangunan pemprosesan nadir bumi oleh Lynas Corp, di Gebeng, Kuantan. Pemberhentian kerja pembinaan ini sepatutnya menjadi isu yang paling besar yang perlu diselesaikan secepat mungkin. Ini merupakan fokus rakyat dan secara keseluruhannya rakyat mahukan kilang pemprosesan nadir bumi di tutup serta merta.

Kerajaan patut merasakan denyut jantung rakyat dan tidak boleh mengambil ringan terhadap isu ini semata-mata kerana kepentingan beberapa orang yang berpengaruh di negara ini atau di Pahang khususnya.

Biarlah berpuluh billion pun pendapatan yang di katakan akan diperolehi oleh negara, tolaklah operasi kilang pemprosesan nadir bumi ini. Carilah jalan atau perniagaan yang lain untuk dibina di Pahang ini bagi membangunkan negeri itu. Biarlah pembangunan sesebuah negeri itu tidak di cemari dengan bahaya pencemaran yang sangat merbahaya ini.
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Dear PM, revamp MACC now!

By Gomen Man | February 27, 2012
The Malaysian Insider

FEB 27 — Memo to the prime minister: There is no need to wait for the next general election to revamp the discredited Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).

According to The Malaysian Insider’s report, Datuk Seri Najib Razak said that if the Barisan Nasional wins two-thirds majority, his government would legislate the setting up of a service commission for the MACC so that it can have its own powers to hire and fire officers.

You don’t need to wait for the polls. If you are honest and sincere about change, I am sure you will have to support of the opposition to make the changes as early as next month when Parliament meets.

And I am not even sure you need a two-thirds majority because this is not some constitutional change. I can only assume that you threw the “two-thirds majority” line in as a carrot for the electorate.
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What every Malaysian needs to know about ‘race’ (Part 5): ‘Race’ and the reform of public language in Malaysia

By Clive Kessler | February 28, 2012
The Malaysian Insider

FEB 28 — The term bangsa — so this extended commentary has argued from the outset — is sorely in need of clarification, “disaggregation” and so-called deconstruction.

Perhaps the Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka will oblige.

The Dewan has done much — it has undertaken so many nationally significant projects of “linguistic engineering” and “semantic” or “lexical innovation” (the invention of new words, especially technical terms) — in the course of its long history of service to the nation.

Yet somehow it has overlooked this crucial and nationally fateful task of providing the lexical means — or “suite” of words — for differentiating among the various referents of the term bangsa, and in that way to make possible some necessary clarification of its several related yet distinctly different uses.
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Mahathir past cascading into the Najib present – powerful reasons for full accounting for the RM100 billion “black hole” caused by Mahathir’s financial scandals

Recently, the past has fast cascaded into the present – or to be more specific, the Mahathir past cascading into the Najib present.

Today the High Court in Kuala Lumpur fixed March 5 to decide whether to end the multi-billion ringgit legal battle between Malaysian Airlines (MAS) and Tan Sri Tajudin Ramli, by striking out MAS’ mega claims against Tajudin as well as his RM500 million counter-claim against the government and the national carrier.

Tajudin has been entangled in a complicated series of expensive suits, countersuits and appeals with various parties arising from his failure to service a billion ringgit loan he took to purchase a major stake in MAS in 1994. Read the rest of this entry »


Decision to strike out Tajudin-MAS suits on March 5

The Malaysian Insider
Feb 27, 2012

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 27 — The High Court here will decide on March 5 whether to strike out both Malaysia Airlines’ (MAS) claim against Tan Sri Tajudin Ramli as well as his counter-claim against the government and the national carrier.

Tajudin, who was the executive chairman of the airline from 1994 to 2001, is applying to cancel MAS’s suit over losses due to the relocation of its cargo operations in Amsterdam and Frankfurt to a single hub in Hahn, Germany.

Putrajaya is also seeking to strike out Tajudin’s RM500 million counterclaim, in which he alleges the government and MAS defamed him with a civil suit for abuse of power while heading the flag carrier.

Lawyers for all parties declined to comment after meeting trial judge Rosilah Yop in chambers for just under two hours.

“The decisions will be on March 5. I’m sorry I can’t comment because it will be subjudice,” Tajudin’s counsel Lim Kian Leong told reporters. Read the rest of this entry »


Alangkah leganya jika terlepas dari cengkaman ‘bapa-bapa ayam’ ini

By Aspan Alias | February 27, 2012
The Malaysian Insider

27 FEB — Selepas arahan dari Putrajaya, kini rakyat sedang berhadapan dengan isu berapa kah “settlement figure” yang sebenarnya yang telah ditetapkan untuk penyelesaian diluar mahkamah diantara Tajudin Ramli dengan MAS. Rakyat ingin tahu kerana semua wang yang terlibat dalam kes ini adalah wang rakyat. Tidak perlu menyalahkan sesiapa termasuk parti-parti pembangkang kerana apa yang berlaku dalam kes ini adalah di sebabkan oleh kelemahan dasar dan perlaksanaan kerajaan.

Semasa Tajudin mengambil alih MAS dalam proses perlaksanaan dasar “pengswastaan” kerajaan dahulu, banyak pihak telah membuat kritikan terhadap kerajaan pimpinan Dr Mahathir tetapi maklum sajalah Dr Mahathir tidak peduli dengan pandangan ramai kerana beliau berkata pengswastaan MAS itu adalah satu perkara yang “necessity”’ untuk dilakukan.

Pandangan pihak lain tidak perlu diambil kira. Entah apa sebabnya MAS yang begitu berjaya semasa itu hendak diswastakan sedangkan syarikat penerbangan kepunyaan kerajaan itu sangat maju dan MAS adalah diantara syarikat penerbangan yang “premium” dipesada antarabangsa. Hanya Dr Mahathir sahaja yang tahu kenapa ianya dilakukan.
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Raking in the Bounty of FELDA’s IPO

By M. Bakri Musa

In the run-up to the Initial Public Offering (IPO) of FELDA Global Ventures Holdings (FGH), there is little, in fact no discussion on how the exercise would benefit FELDA settlers. Surely that should be the foremost consideration. The only criterion upon which to judge the wisdom or success of any FELDA initiative, including this proposed IPO, would be to assess its impact on the settlers.

Instead the focus has been on bragging rights, as with trumpeting FGH to be the biggest IPO for the year, among the top 20 on the KLSE, and the world’s biggest plantation company. Such milestones are meaningful only if achieved as a consequence of the usual business activities and not through fancy paper-shuffling exercises. Apple recently surpassed Microsoft in market capitalization, but that was the consequence of Apple’s much superior products like iPads, iPods, and iPhones. Contrast that with earlier achievements of such now-defunct financial giants as AIG and Lehman Brothers that were based on fancy “financial engineering” instead of solid products and services.

Instead of delineating the potential benefits that would accrue on the settlers from this IPO, its proponents are content with dismissing the critics and imputing evil motives on their part. There are legitimate concerns that this exercise would prove to be nothing more than yet another fancy scheme for the politically powerful to cash out on a lucrative but under-priced government asset. We already have many ready examples of such greed. Read the rest of this entry »


What every Malaysian needs to know about ‘race’ (Part 4): Race and history

By Clive Kessler | February 27, 2012
The Malaysian Insider

FEB 27 — It is now nearly over.

We are nearing the end of our long and winding journey across the “landscape” (as people these days like to say, as if they were all architectural gardeners and designers of country-house grounds!) of “bangsa”, “race” and all the various contending, and often mutually incompatible, ideas that are thrown indiscriminately together within the bangsa “suitcase”.

There remain just a few more things to sort out: first about “race” and prejudice; then about “race” and “racism” in the context of worldwide European imperial domination; and finally to address in Part 5 a familiar old question:

“What is to be done?”

My discussion ends with some suggestions about how to proceed towards the kind of “linguistic engineering” and conceptual clarification of which Malaysia, and users of the Malaysian national language, are now greatly in need.
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What every Malaysian needs to know about ‘race’, Part 2 c

By Clive Kessler | February 26, 2012
The Malaysian Insider

(Part 2 & Part 2b)

Feb 26 — The many faces of “bangsa”: “People”, “nation” and “state”

My step-by-step, and idea by idea, disaggregation of the Malay word bangsa now proceeds to, and concludes with, a discussion of modern political developments.

It explores the “folding” of these further new political meanings into the already overworked, semantically overburdened, and hence multiply ambiguous idea, or concept, of bangsa.

This disaggregation and “deconstruction” is intended to serve as a warning of the great risks of confusion — of the distorted understanding and communication — that lie deceivingly, even treacherously, in wait whenever the termbangsa is used casually, lazily and unreflectingly.
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What every Malaysian needs to know about ‘race’, Part 2 b

By Clive Kessler | February 26, 2012
The Malaysian Insider

Note: Part 2 of Clive Kessler’s series on race was not published in full. It comes in three parts and only Part 2a was published previously. All three parts of Part 2 should be read before Part 3 which was published yesterday. We apologise for the publishing glitch.

FEB 26 — Part 2b — The many faces of “bangsa”: “Stocks” and “common descent” My step-by-step, or idea by idea, disaggregation or “deconstruction” of the Malay word bangsa continues.

iii. The idea of a “stock”

Sometimes people do not wish or intend to speak — in the ways discussed in Part 2a — about total “racial” groups or “blocs” confronting one another globally in inescapable and unremitting life-and-death struggle.
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Mat Zain: ‘No doubt’ Shahrizat’s husband, children committed multiple CBT

By Clara Chooi
The Malaysian Insider
Feb 26, 2012

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 26 — Former senior police officer Datuk Mat Zain Ibrahim asserted today that the National Feedlot Corporation’s (NFCorp) controversial condominium purchases are clear examples of CBT (criminal breach of trust), adding the Attorney-General should have “no doubt” of this when deciding whether to press charges.

Mat Zain said that based on provisions in Section 409 of the Penal Code, the husband and children of minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, who run the NFCorp, should each be slapped with numerous counts of CBT.

If convicted, the former KL CID chief said they would be liable to a jail term of between two and 20 years, whipping and a fine.

“After having sighted the NFC (National Feedlot Centre) loan agreement that was made available yesterday, coupled with the public statement by the Commercial Crimes Investigations Director (CCID), I would say that the Attorney General’s Chambers should not have any doubts in their mind now, that these are clear cut case of CBTs by agent as defined under Section 409 (of the) Penal Code.

“There’s no two ways about it. This is not like a breach of an agreement,” he said in an emailed statement to The Malaysian Insider today. Read the rest of this entry »


The shameless lot

– Spencer Gan
The Malaysian Insider
Feb 26, 2012

FEB 26 – When exactly did Malaysia reach this point: where those sullied by wrongdoing (NFC) and the mother of all wrongdoing (PKFZ) speak without shame, even with arrogance.

There is no remorse or humility. Aren’t those who are wrong or who have misused public funds supposed to show some sorrow or at least keep silent?

Not so the people at the National Feedlot Corporation (NFCorp) or the political party whose politicians fleeced Malaysians of billions of ringgit, the MCA. Read the rest of this entry »