Najib takes country on a “quantum leap” into greater losses

By Martin Jalleh

When delivering the 2011 Budget speech in Parliament on 15 Oct. 2010, Prime Minister and Finance Minister Najib Razak said that he will lead the country to make a ‘quantum leap’ to become a develop and high-income nation by 2020.

Such a promise became a mere joke when one looks at the leakages, laggard government ministries and agencies, scandalous losses by GLCs, the economy which drifted listlessly and “looting” by the political elite – all of which marked Najib’s second year as PM (in 2010). Below are some examples:

Blocks L and M in South China Sea: In May 2010, Pas proposed to file a suit against the Federal Government for ceding away the oil and gas-rich offshore Blocks L and M in South China Sea to Brunei to protect the rights of future generations of Sarawakians, Sabahans and Malaysians. Mahathir had estimated that the worth of oil and gas rights for both blocks are in the region of US$100 billion (RM320 billion).

Pos Malaysia Bhd: On 8 May 2010, Minister in the PM’s Department Nor Mohamed Yakcop confirmed that Pos Malaysia Bhd had incurred losses over the years amounting to RM546 million. He said he was “not directly involved (with the losses) because Pos Malaysia, as a government-linked company (GLC), has its board of directors and any decision is determined by the board, including Khazanah Nasional Bhd, without having to refer to the ministry of finance”.

Felda: In an open letter dated 13 June, former Land and Co-Operative Development deputy minister Dr Tan Kee Kwong, who was put in charge of answering questions in Parliament regarding all Felda matters during his tenure, alleged that there was mismanagement and high-level government corruption in the organisation. He also accused Najib of “single handedly destroying Felda”!

“As of now out of the huge cash hoard of RM 4.5 Billion, only RM200 Million is left. In actual fact with the record price of CPO (crude palm oil) for the past few years, Felda, if managed properly, should have cash reserves of RM6 billion! The reverse has happened and now it has only a pathetic sum left.”

After his initial attempts to appease an angry PM and to do some damage control Ahmad Maslan, the deputy minister in the Prime Minister’s Department and in charge of Felda, admitted in parliament that Felda’s cash reserves had plunged to RM2.73 billion from RM4.08 billion in 2004 and five years later it dropped further to RM1.35 billion in 2009.

Johor Corporation (JCorp): In July 2010, it was revealed that Johor Corporation (JCorp), the most successful state corporation in the country was in debt amounting to RM3.58 billion. Its Chief Executive Officer Muhammad Ali Hashim denied his resignation was due to the company’s debt and added that JCorp’s asset value of RM12 billion, including RM6 billion in listed shares, is currently higher than the debt itself.

Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ): On 29 July 2010, former Transport Minister Ling Liong Sik was charged in the Kajang Sessions Court over his involvement in the RM12.5 billion Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) scandal. PKFZ, a commercial and industrial project south of the capital, was conceived as a RM1.82 billion venture constructed over 1,000 acres. However, costs are expected to balloon to RM12.5 billion, making the affair one of the country’s biggest financial scandals and a major embarrassment for the government (Malaysiakini).

Sime Darby Berhad: On 5 August 2010, the Malaysian Insider reported that the 100-year-old Sime Darby Berhad could face massive losses amounting to RM2 billion or as high as RM2.5 billion. Most of the losses are down to ill-advised investments in the energy and utilities sector in Qatar as well as tardy business practices in the development of the Bakun Dam in Sarawak.

Bakun: On 13 August 2010, Anwar urged Najib to come clean about further potential losses in the troubled Bakun Dam project. This is especially if the losses, said to amount to another RM2 billion following problematic federal-state negotiations, are to be absorbed by the rakyat already suffering from subsidy cuts. .

The total cost of the dam is reported to have ballooned to RM7.3 billion. Anwar also raised the alarm over the total RM5.75 billion in loans from the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) and Retirement Fund Incorporated (KWAP), which have largely funded the Bakun Dam project.

“Who will pay for the losses? Will the prime minister instruct the EPF and KWAP to quietly write off a part of the RM5.75 billion in loans to Bakun Dam to hide the losses from the public?” (Malaysiakini)

On 16 August 2010, DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng criticised the BN for failing to act against those he claimed stole RM52 billion worth of Bumiputera shares from poor Malays. Najib reportedly admitted in June 2008 that only RM2 billion out of the RM54 billion of Bumiputera shares given out since the inception of the New Economic Policy (NEP) in 1971 remained in the hands of the Malays.

Malaysia Airlines (MAS): On 16 August 2010, it was made known that fuel price volatility led Malaysia Airlines (MAS) to post a pre-tax loss of RM533 million for the second quarter ending 30 June 2010 compared with a pre-tax profit of RM896 million in the same period in 2009. Its revenue, however, increased by 26 per cent to RM3.2 billion (compared to RM2.5 billion) while operating profit improved 33 per cent. For the first half ending 30 June 2010, the airline posted a pre-tax loss of RM212 million from a pre-tax profit of RM190 million.

Malacca’s Monorail: On 20 October 2010, Malacca Chief Minister Mohd Ali Rustam officially declared the historical state “a developed state”. Two weeks later, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) clarified that the OECD did not endorse the Malaccan declaration, mainly because they were not in a position to do so! Two months later, Malacca’s RM15.9mil new monorail, which the CM had launched on that “historic” day, was plagued by “several technical and mechanical problems”. Then in the month after its launch, the monorail only worked intermittently before more problems developed with its wheels and software system (Malaysian Chronicle).

Shah Alam Hospital: On 29 November 2010, opposition parliamentarian Khalid Samad (Pas-Shah Alam) moved a RM10 pay-cut motion against Works Minister Shaziman Abu Mansor for his minister’s inability to tackle delays, alleged discrepancies and allegations of Umno-linked cronyism in various mega-construction projects such as the Shah Alam Hospital project.

Khalid questioned the whopping increase in the cost of the project (mooted about 10 years ago). It was initially estimated to cost taxpayers RM300 million but later ballooned to a staggering RM482 million– a mark-up of RM182 million. It was scheduled for completion on 14 August 2010, rescheduled for November 2010 but has now been extended to June 2011. After making many excuses, the minister said that the Public Works Department (PWD) was in the process of appointing a ‘white knight’ to rescue and complete the abandoned project by way of a limited tendering procurement method.

National Cancer Institute: The cost for this project (believed to be directly awarded to an unknown entity connected to the ruling elite) escalated from RM340 million when announced in 2007 to RM700 million in 2009.

New Palace: Khalid also sought to censure the minister for the exorbitant cost of RM935 million for the new palace which stood at RM811 million in June. The cost of the new palace doubled from its estimated RM400 million in 2006 and the contacts for the construction were awarded to three companies through direct negotiations, instead of open tenders. Well-placed sources in Kuala Lumpur told Asia Sentinel that the total cost is actually nearing RM1.2 billion and is expected to go higher.

  1. #1 by born in Malaya on Wednesday, 9 March 2011 - 12:32 pm

    These are all proof that UMNO is not only racist, they are also a bunch of incompetent political hypocrites.

  2. #2 by setu on Wednesday, 9 March 2011 - 12:46 pm

    Losses, what losses ?
    95 % of the population do not know and do not read these gigantic losses.
    losing billions ?, there are still some more billions
    for the top to squander and be squandled .

    the poor people are indifferent .
    the poor people are slogging & surviving day to day , to put food on the table.

    the poor people are waiting only for the Buy-elections .
    they just collect the pittance, and who cares .
    they are waiting for santa and the goodies .
    they are waiting for more buy-elections .
    who’s next ?

    the winners are destined to win at all costs, with huge expenses, and also through the dirty ways .
    they will win, they will plunder .

    the minority just abstain .
    The whole scenario becomes the world’s greatest SHAM .

  3. #3 by Godfather on Wednesday, 9 March 2011 - 1:17 pm

    These are not losses, these are classified as EXPENDITURE.

    And in order to accelerate the expenditure spending, Najib created PEMANDU with Idris Jala as the head. Idris in turn recruited a bunch of PhDs and MBAs to review all government projects – not to see if they were correctly implemented or the expenditure prudently incurred. They just wanted to see the money allocated spent, and if more money is needed, then PEMANDU will recommend that the government pay it.

    It’s strange to say this, but PEMANDU is driving a vehicle at breakneck speed, a vehicle that they are not familiar with, on a road they are not familiar with. It’s a matter of time before they drive over the cliff.

  4. #4 by sheriff singh on Wednesday, 9 March 2011 - 1:19 pm

    “The international reserves of Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) increased to RM338.6 billion (equivalent to US$109.8 billion) as at Feb 28, 2011 from RM338 billion as at Feb 14, 2011.” Bank Negara.

    So we got RM 338.6 billion (US$ 109.8 billion) to burn.

    Still plenty of money to throw away. Not bankrupt yet.

    No worries mate.

    (My vocab has improved a lot since using Captcha. Funny I can’t seem to find the words and their meanings in any dictionary. Is it Martian?)

  5. #5 by Godfather on Wednesday, 9 March 2011 - 1:22 pm

    Martin Jalleh hasn’t begun to list the multi-billion ringgit contracts that are awarded without open tender and which clearly are not benefitting the overall population at large.

    Take the RM 50 billion MRT project awarded to Gamuda and MMC as delivery partner with no financial risks. Take the RM 6 billion (soon to escalate to RM 7.2 billion) patrol boat contract awarded to Boustead. Then there is the RM 7.55 billion armoured vehicle contract awarded to DRB-HICOM. Other multi-billion ringgit projects in the pipeline ? How about the nuclear power plant ? How about putting an LNG plant in Sarawak, supply LNG to Sabah with Sabah building a re-gassification facility ?

    This administration has gone amok.

  6. #6 by boh-liao on Wednesday, 9 March 2011 - 2:12 pm

    So what!? Who cares? D simple minded UmnoB/BN supporters cannot understand after 4 zeros, 0000
    10,000,000,000 or 1,000,000,000,000 – kepala pusing lah, too many 0, unreal, so What, Me Worry? No lah, who cares, 4 RM100, they will continue 2 vote 4 UmnoB/BN

  7. #7 by Thor on Wednesday, 9 March 2011 - 2:15 pm

    Quantum leap???
    Yeah, quantum leap so that he could be the richest among the whole PMs in history.
    Maybe even richer that that mamak!
    Mamak takes 22 years and he’s trying to outbeat mamak by being richest in within 4 years.
    You ask that spoilt brat, who knows only how to spent, to manage the finance of this country?
    And with a wife who’s so bossy that even beats Imelda Marcos in spending?
    Doggone man!!!
    It’s only we malaysians who are that stupid.
    Scared of this, scared of that, and when we see others opposing their tyrannical goverment, we envy them.
    Robbed you thousands and give you back a hundred, feel very happy already!
    Many of us are just nuts!!!
    Borned to be losers and deserved to be called by all sorts of names.
    Pariah, dogs, balless creature and whatever you name it.
    You people want to lived it that way, go ahead!

  8. #8 by TheWrathOfGrapes on Wednesday, 9 March 2011 - 2:20 pm

    sheriff singh :
    “The international reserves of Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) increased to RM338.6 billion (equivalent to US$109.8 billion) as at Feb 28, 2011 from RM338 billion as at Feb 14, 2011.” Bank Negara.
    So we got RM 338.6 billion (US$ 109.8 billion) to burn.
    Still plenty of money to throw away. Not bankrupt yet.

    According to CIA World Factbook, Malaysia’s reserve was US$104.1 billion as at 31 Dec 2010. That’s not a lot of money to burn – they have been burning the reserve all these years.

    That tiny red dot down south, with no oil and timber, etc, has reserves of US$225.8 billion. Malaysia has 6 times the population of Singapore, but its reserve is less than half that of Singapore.

    Conclusion – there were a lot of burning of reserves over the years.

  9. #9 by Loh on Wednesday, 9 March 2011 - 2:29 pm

    Mamakthir said that when he could not stand the loud whisper that Daim Zainuddin was involved in corruption, he arranged for through mutual friend to ask Daim to resign the post of Finance Minister.

    There is anti-corruption law in the country. If Mamakthir did not believe that Daim was involved in corruption, he should have asked the ACA to confirm and clear Daim. If Daim was found by ACA to be corrupt-suspect, Daim should have a chance to clear himself in court. It is not for Mamakthir to tell Daim to resign and forget about the criminal offences committed. So Mamakthir confirms in his memoir that he used the laws of Malaysia as if they were his family own rules. He demonstrates that he was the judge to declare Daim innocent, the attorney general to prevent the case going up to the court, the police and the ACA to stop investigation on Daim’s activities. Mamakthir said that the informants could not provide evidence to him on Daim’s corrupt practices, as if corruption needed official receipts, and that he was the IGP and ACA chief; and thus he decided that there was no case against Daim. So Mamakthir as PM was not interested whether Daim had committed corruptions and caused the government to lose public funds, but was concerned that Anwar was accused to have sex with two women, and also was involved in sodomy. Even if it was true that Anwar had acted against nature it was his own personal affairs. If it was argued that there is the law against sodomy, there was also a law against corruption. Mamakthir chose to go against Anwar when the country loses nothing, but not against Daim when proven to be true, the country could recover losses. So Mamakthir used power for political purposes. Mamakthir practiced rule by law, and not rule of law. The citizens should charge Mamakthir for malfeasance. He would have been impeached in USA, with the statements written in his memoir. He would be in jail had he been PM in Taiwan.

  10. #10 by k1980 on Wednesday, 9 March 2011 - 3:49 pm

    He would have ended up with a bullet through the back of hi head had he been in China

  11. #11 by Thor on Wednesday, 9 March 2011 - 5:10 pm

    YB Lim! I think it’s time for you to fire your moderator.
    Really annoyed me!
    Even some of my comments which I’ve written are true facts and do not contain any vulgar words, it just got deleted.
    Seems that he or she is randomly picking on us once a while.

  12. #12 by yhsiew on Wednesday, 9 March 2011 - 5:35 pm

    BN’s profligate, imprudent, lavish, extravagant spending habbits are well-known. Idris’ prediction that Malaysia will become a bankrupt state by 2019 is no figment of imagination!

  13. #13 by monsterball on Wednesday, 9 March 2011 - 5:58 pm

    Najib talk big…spend Malaysians money big…and a noted big bg bluffer and two timer.
    Day in day out..he is acting ..with big ideas how to fool his own race.
    The only hint he is no big one is saying he will defend PutraJaya with his life.
    Why need to defend with his life.. when Najib proclaimed he has 72% support and rising?
    This PM can bluff but cannot hide the truth..he fears most ..and that is loosing a GE and be investigated for so many things.
    How come a man who talk like a King..behave like a King…have fear and nightmares loosing his Kingdom?
    He again call all his crooks to be prepared for GE.
    I have heard this call few times…yet no date announce.
    Why so many times needed t remind all?
    Simple…he has no confindence to win…inspite of 72% support and rising…for he knows the support are not from voters but schoold children and youngsters he can fool successfully with his “1Malaysia” nonsense.
    I guess..he is waiting signs of what’s coming after Sarawak election.

  14. #14 by Loh on Wednesday, 9 March 2011 - 6:21 pm

    ///“Malays like to believe or claim that the Chinese have succeeded in business through cheating. Yet when a Malay wants to sign a contract (to build a house, for example), he will not give it to a Malay contractor. He would prefer a Chinese contractor. He obviously trusts the Chinese more than the Malays,” he pointed out.

    “Many Malays have become so used to a life of continual economic support, that when the flow stops they simply cannot continue on their own. Rather than learn about business and managing money, they spend their energies on cultivating contracts and gaining access to easy, short-term opportunities,” Dr Mahathir further observed in the book published nearly eight years after he left public office.///–Mamakthir in his memoirs

    If Malays believe what Mamakthir stated, then UMNO had succeeded in brainwashing them. They will find it necessarily to agree with other Malays in conversation so as not to be ex-communicated. But in terms of awarding a contract, Malays know very well that they want their money’s worth. It is not a question of whether Malays trust Chinese more than the Malays, but they consider that if the Malays were able to perform, they would have gotten contracts directly from the government which pay more than they were worth. Of course Malay contractors know very well that only those who are associated with UMNOputras would get the contract, and the real hand-on contractors have to offer deep cuts before they can be sub-contractors. That is why the system of negotiated contract hurt everybody else except UMNOputras.

    Malays were forced to cultivating connection with powers-that-be because the corrupt system in the country demonstrated that that is the easiest way to create wealth. Razak promised that NEP was for 20 years perhaps he knew that the schemes would weaken Malays into an endangered species if they did not have to stand on their own. But Razak needed NEP to cover up his coup d’etat.

    Mamakthir seized the opportunities to use NEP to enrich his cronies. He now criticizes Malays as though he cared for their welfare. Had he cared, he should have done away with NEP at the end of the 20-year term in 1990. Yet he would dare to subject Malays to real test fearing that he would lose his political support. Eight years after he left, he is back trying to be Malay champion fighting for the continuation of the tongkat culture. This time he tries to get his son to be in position of power in UMNO. The fact that he singled out the example of Malays awarding contracts to non-Malays as something against his expectation shows that he cannot move away from playing race in all endeavours. He knew that he was only Prime Minister for Malays, and hence he is against Najib for even pretending to be PM for the country.

  15. #15 by Godfather on Wednesday, 9 March 2011 - 8:17 pm

    By 2014, we will be a net importer of oil. If oil stays above US$100 a barrel, we will be in serious trouble, and the government will not be able to sustain the current subsidies. With high oil prices come high steel prices, and then all the ETP projects announced by the head Goon will vanish into thin air.

  16. #16 by baochingtian on Wednesday, 9 March 2011 - 11:48 pm

    There r many comments here for the moderator of this blog. How come the moderator or blog owner did not response or provide some kind of explanation? Niamah responses to the readers as and when necessary. Isn’t this courtesy to keep communication going ??? Hope i wont be “blacklisted” too!

  17. #17 by undertaker888 on Thursday, 10 March 2011 - 6:50 am

    the moderator is a sick puppy. too much time on her/his hand.

  18. #18 by negarawan on Thursday, 10 March 2011 - 7:40 am

    Instead of listing all the failures of BN, why not list down the benefits that PR has brought upon in all the states under its control now, if any? It is pointless to point out the weaknesses in BN when PR may have its own weaknesses to address. Certainly this is not the way to convince the rakyat in the coming GE. This article by Martin Jalleh is pointless.

  19. #19 by dagen on Thursday, 10 March 2011 - 8:57 am

    One umno supporter here does not want to know how umno managed our (and his too) money. It is pointless to know, he said. Better to find how pakatan is doing. Pakatan is doing not too badly, I say – putting it conservatively – and certainly much better than umno. But I am deeply troubled by his complete lack of emotion towards monetary losses in the hands of umno that ran (cumulatively) into hundreds of billions over the decades. How could he? If you bumped your car and had to spend say RM1000 for repair works you would scream and pull your hair. But a typical umno supporter like he merely smiles when told of mind boggling losses incurred by umno. I am not greedy. A couple of millions would make me a very happy man. Can negarawan spare me a two maybe three million? But dont make me promise to support umno. Coz I wont. And I dont want rambutans.

  20. #20 by baochingtian on Thursday, 10 March 2011 - 9:52 am

    Jz read an email commenting the M’sia’s NEP:
    “You cannot make the weak strong by making the strong weak! ”
    I guessed making the weak strong was and is never the intention in the first place but making the cronies stronger by the days was/is.

  21. #21 by sotong on Thursday, 10 March 2011 - 10:06 am

    Our ” leaders/politicians ” are very good at dividing the ordinary people.

    They are divided too with conflicting agenda……but capable to uniting for ” common and mutual benefits “.

  22. #22 by monsterball on Thursday, 10 March 2011 - 10:15 am

    Reading so many complaints concerning the moderator…I hope he/she will give a respond.
    It is somewhat teaching all commentators how to speak correctly….yet respect and manners seem lacking from the moderator to all complianants.

    [This blog welcomes all viewpoints but seeks the co-operation of all to refrain from using words, terms or references which could be construed as abusive, vulgar or derogatory of any individual, group or community – whether intended or otherwise. Certain terms trigger off the automatic sending of a post to moderation list, which may take time to be cleared. Your indulgence in such circumstances appreciated. – Admin]

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