Archive for June 12th, 2013

GE13: What happened? And what now? (Part 1)

By Clive Kessler | JUNE 12, 2013
The Malaysian Insider

JUNE 12 ― In a brief commentary elsewhere (“Malaysia’s election result — no surprise to the knowledgeable,” Asian Currents, June 2013), I have noted one paradoxical but hugely important consequence of Malaysia’s recent national elections held on 5 May.

A paradox: anomalous domination

The remarkable, perhaps “counter-intuitive”, fact is that, while the election result itself ― namely, a fairly close but nonetheless comfortable victory of the Umno-centred Barisan Nasional side over the Pakatan Rakyat opposition ― came as no great surprise, that unremarkable result nonetheless had one quite surprising, even paradoxical, consequence.

From GE13 an electorally weakened Umno emerged politically even more dominant than it had been before. While still embattled in the broader political arena, Umno was delivered a dominant position within the parliament, ruling coalition and government.

By bestowing it with that now dominant parliamentary position, GE13 had delivered into Umno’s hands an ascendancy over the governing BN coalition, government policy, Parliament’s agenda and parliamentary process, and thereby over national political life ― over the nation’s affairs and direction ― of a quite unprecedented and perhaps irresistible kind.
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12 Questions about the biggest corporate catastrophe in nation’s 56-year history – the RM2.34 billion UEM-Renong deal in 1997 – which still cry out for answer after 16 years

The mega-billion-ringgit suit filed by Umno-created tycoon Tan Sri Halim Saad against the government three days before the 13GE Nomination Day on April 20, 2013 to demand full settlement of an over RM2 billion deal that forced him to relinquish his controlling stake in Renong Bhd more than a decade ago has re-opened questions about the nations’ biggest corporate catastrophe in the nation’s 56-year history.

This was the RM2.34 billion UEM-Renong deal in 1997 which precipitated the biggest crash in the Kuala Lumpur stockmarket in the 1997 financial crisis, causing the Kuala Lumpur Composite Index to fall by 19.58 per cent, from 667.29 to 536.62 points in three days, wiping out RM70 billion of the investors’ funds in the stock exchange.

In his mega-billion-ringgit suit, Halim, once the sole corporate nominee of the ruling Umno, was offered RM1.3 billion in cash and property as well as control of a private waste management company, roughly valued at RM2 billion, in exchange for his disposal of Renong in the 2001 agreement.

But Halim had since only received RM165 million despite giving up his business empire and will be demanding the remainder.

The Edge Malaysia reported that Halim attempted to pressure the government into full settlement, but in 2010, former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad told him the agreement would not be honoured.

The Edge Malaysia article wrote: “Halim held numerous meetings with Dr Mahathir — even after the latter quit as premier in November 2003 — and Nor Mohamed to push for a full settlement but he was repeatedly fobbed off.
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