Archive for category Lim Teck Ghee

Why the PM should scuttle the coming FGVH IPO

— Lim Teck Ghee
The Malaysian Insider
May 18, 2012

MAY 18 — Prime Minister Najib Razak last week announced a “windfall” of RM15,000 to each Felda settler family.

The planned payout is to come from the initial public offering of the Felda Global Ventures Holding (FGVH). As part of the IPO of FGVH, Felda will be disposing 1.21 billion of its current FGVH shares at RM4.65 each, and from which Felda stands to make RM5.62 billion if these are fully taken up.

Among the targeted anchor investors are Employees Provident Fund (EPF), Permodalan Nasional Berhad (PNB), Lembaga Tabung Angkatan Tentera (LTAT) and other national and Bumiputera funds.

Ahead of the share sale to be held by June, Felda settlers have been given an assurance by Najib that the listing would yield profits. He had also lashed out at those opposed to the scheme, saying that they are merely trying “to confuse” the people.

At this stage it is not clear yet who is trying to confuse the settlers or other Malaysians since the planned IPO is a highly complicated transaction whose full details have not been thoroughly unravelled and evaluated by professional market analysts. This is because many analysts are fearful that they may antagonize the government and end up on the wrong side of the authorities.

Felda accounts for around 18 per cent of the country’s total palm oil output. The idea behind FGVH is to turn this newly created corporate entity into a “global conglomerate”. Read the rest of this entry »


Lim Teck Ghee responds to Chandra Muzaffar’s refusal to engage on the Net and his threat

by Dr Lim Teck Ghee
09 May 2012

In my note to Chandra on May 6 which he acknowledged, and which was sent well before this latest rebuttal, I had written:

“I hope we can have a sustained discussion on the important subject that you have identified. I don’t think a one-off debate is a good way to have that discussion. I know politicians and their supporters love it but we are not politicians.”

Chandra’s latest reply continues to insist on a one-off debate and argues that a prolonged discourse in lieu of a debate will “generate more heat than light”.

I disagree. So do the great majority of online commentators that have followed our exchange. Despite attempts by cybertroopers to disrupt feedback, many readers have encouraged us to engage over the Net that is an open and unfettered public space in which they can also contribute their say.

If I had thought that the scholar rather than the ex-politician in Chandra would prevail, I was mistaken. Read the rest of this entry »


Dr Lim Teck Ghee’s reply to Dr Chandra Muzaffar’s invitation

by Dr Lim Teck Ghee
CPISunday, 06 May 2012

I thank Chandra for responding to my commentary on his lambasting of Bersih 3.0.

Although the Center for Policy Initiatives (CPI) is reproducing his response in full, there is really very little new in the engagement.

Basically Chandra has rehashed his arguments on the far-reaching changes to human rights and political and civil liberties that he sees taking place in the country.

In his initial article he was very emphatic on these changes maintaining that

“[I]t is an irrefutable fact that through these legislative reforms [Peaceful Assembly Act, ISA repeal, etc] the space and scope for the expression and articulation of human rights has been expanded and enhanced as never before.” Read the rest of this entry »


Peaceful transition of power: Open letter to all political parties

by Dr Lim Teck Ghee
Tuesday, 24 April 2012

With the general election imminent, one key question remains yet unanswered: Will the Barisan Nasional respect the outcome of the polls and ensure a peaceful transition of power?

This is the sixty four thousand dollar sensitive question – unasked in our repressed mass media, largely unexplored by political analysts, never-to-be-publicly wondered but lurking in the mind of many concerned Malaysians.

One exception to the unwritten rule of never posing such a politically incorrect question took place in a private lunch talk organized by the Royal Selangor Club (RSC) for its members early this year. The January 12 event featuring Prime Minister Najib Razak as speaker had attracted an audience of more than 200.

An RSC member (who identified himself as the son of a former long-serving staff of Najib’s father, the late Tun Abdul Razak Hussein) asked the following towards the end of the talk:

“Mr Prime Minister, would you make the transition of the government for Pakatan a smooth one if the opposition wins the next general election?”

According to some of those present, after some hesitation the prime minister responded: “I do not have to answer that question” or words to that effect; following which he abruptly left, ostensibly for another function. Read the rest of this entry »


Breaking up wealth concentration in Malaysia

— Dr Lim Teck Ghee
The Malaysian Insider

FEB 1 — The past year has seen the government and the opposition unveil their respective economic reform policies. Even if these reform policies and their attendant programmes are implemented they will not be able to resolve the country’s economic problems. This is because the policies advocated by both sides of the political divide are merely palliative. They do not address the root or fundamental cause of the problem of structural deformation of the country’s economy.

How has this deformation come about? What are its characteristics? And what can be done to bring about a reversal or correction of the deformation so that we have a really transformed economic system that can live up to its full potential?

First we need to recognise that wealth in any country — and Malaysia is no exception — is created by economic activity engaged in by individuals or enterprises that bring profits or gains to the entrepreneur. Much of this wealth creation and subsequent accumulation is legitimate. It is based on material reward arising from work (or gift) and is socially and ethically acceptable. It comes from risk-taking and from the social utility and superiority of the products and services generated by the individual or enterprise.

Wealth generated and accumulated by individuals through legitimate means and conforming to the norms of justice and fairness is not only desirable but beneficial to society and the economy.

But what about wealth that is created or amassed by less than legitimate or illegitimate or illegal means? Is it a minor or non-issue and do we just ignore it as is the case with the Barisan Nasional government? Read the rest of this entry »


Is the Felda Global Venture Holdings listing in the interest of settlers?

— Dr Lim Teck Ghee
Jan 03, 2012

JAN 3 — During the past few months, the government and Felda authorities have been engaged in a public relations exercise aimed at persuading Felda settlers as well as the public that the proposal to float Felda Global Ventures Holdings (FGVH) on Bursa Malaysia is in the best interests of the settlers.

But is it really so?

What has emerged from the government-controlled media has been almost exclusively the government version as to why the listing should go ahead. What is missing are answers to the questions raised by the opposition and independent analysts on the real benefits to settlers as well as a credible response to allegations that the interests of settlers are being subordinated — and even marginalised — in favour of other parties.

The stakes involved in the proposed listing exercise go well beyond those of any past Bursa listing exercise. At stake are not simply concerns of how well the offering will be received by investors; the initial IPO pricing; and other market-related issues. This is not your ordinary listing exercise aimed at reconciling the interests of a small group of initial shareholders with those of other new parties; neither is it a question of how much gains the initial settlers and shareholders can make from this listing exercise. Read the rest of this entry »


UMNO General Assembly: Beating the drums for another May 13

Dr. Lim Teck Ghee
6th Dec 2011


The UMNO General Assembly has come and gone. Most political observers had expected it to be the usual rah-rah event aimed at rallying UMNO members ahead of the coming elections and in support of the leadership of Najib Razak, the party president. They were right. The public were subject to yet another spectacle of sound and fury on how important the party is to the future of Malays, albeit with the occasional reminder of how indispensable the party is to the well being of all the citizens of the country.

Optimistic observers who had hoped that the party would live up to its rhetoric of being a mature and transformed party of moderation – at least for the duration of this publicly viewed occasion – were disappointed. The collective breast beating led by the party president and deputy president – on the greatness and goodness of the party compared with the weaknesses and evilness of the opposition – was quite unprecedented in the history of the party’s general assemblies.

The attacks against PAS, PKR and especially the DAP during the meeting have only just begun. Can we expect it to continue with greater viciousness and spitefulness as UMNO leaders fan out into the grassroots to campaign in the next few months leading to the elections? What should be of concern is not just the running down and bad mouthing of the opposition. This has been the norm in past assemblies, especially those leading up to the elections. What is new and unexpected is the vitriol and venom directed openly and without inhibition at opposition parties and their leaders. Read the rest of this entry »


The hands behind Malaysia’s false spring

By Dr Lim Teck Ghee | 25 November 2011

To most of the country’s independent political observers, it is very clear now. With the unveiling of the new proposed law restricting our right to peaceful assembly and protest, the Malaysian public has been taken for a ride on the promise of political liberalization and reform made by the Prime Minister on the eve of Malaysia Day this year.

What is the explanation for the apparent turnaround in Najib Razak’s initial plan unveiled on 15 September this year to abandon earlier draconian and repressive legislation and to improve our civil liberties?

Is it that there was really no enlightened plan but in fact a calculated and cynical move aimed at strangling the right to peaceful assembly – a potential game changer in the country’s political dynamics – whilst holding out crumbs of comfort that the government is being sincere about political liberalization on less important fronts?
Read the rest of this entry »


Our school children as sacrificial lambs

By Dr Lim Teck Ghee | 1 November 2011

During the past year, there have been three controversies arising from regressive policy decisions of the Ministry of Education which have set our educational system backwards. The three controversies revolve around

  1. The teaching of Science and Mathematics for Fourth Form students in Bahasa Malaysia instead of English

  2. The use of the Interlok book as a compulsory text in the schools

  3. The decision to make history a compulsory subject as well as a pass requirement for the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM)

All three – though simmering for some years now – are rapidly coming to a head during the tenure of the Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin as the Minister of Education.
Read the rest of this entry »


Docile academics and the case of Prof. Aziz Bari

Written by Dr Lim Teck Ghee
Thursday, 27 October 2011

Minister of Higher Education Khaled Nordin, in his speech announcing the establishment of the National Council of Professors, reminded Malaysian professors to not only be “super gurus” in focusing on their respective careers but to contribute their expertise and participate in national life.

The recently established professors’ council comprising over 1,500 professors in the public universities did indeed weigh in on a national debate not too long ago, namely, ‘Was Mat Indera a communist or a patriot?’

Academics such as professors and professor emeritus Ridhuan Tee, Ramlah Adam, Shamsul Amri Baharuddin, Khoo Kay Kim, and their ilk enjoy the academic rights and freedom of expression through their comments appearing regularly in the mass media.

Having themselves taken advantage of these rights – in my view, correctly so, and one further assumes they would want to continue to enjoy such freedom – their silence therefore on the action taken by International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) don, Prof. Abdul Aziz Bari, is somewhat of an anomaly. Read the rest of this entry »


Hindraf lawsuit to correct historical and recent wrongs

by Dr Lim Teck Ghee

11 August 2011

A UK-based solicitor and lawyer – appointed by Hindraf Makkal Sakthi – is scheduled to meet with members of the Malaysian public this Sunday (Aug 14).

His fact-finding mission is to help him better understand the situation on the ground and interview those participating in the Hindraf class action suit. This lawsuit against the British government seeks to correct historical injustices inflicted on Indians who were brought to the peninsula by the white colonialists.

The Hindraf move is almost certain to court a fresh storm of controversy and criticism from Umno, the party that will be most embarrassed when full details of the Indian marginalization emerge. The extent to which the local Indian community, particularly Hindus of Tamil stock, is excluded from the nation’s progress and wellbeing can only reflect badly on the Malaysian government. Read the rest of this entry »


Monitoring the Dirtiest Elections Ever

by Dr Lim Teck Ghee
Monday, 04 April 2011

According to Bernama, the Election Commission (EC) has decided not to give accreditation to Mafrel (Malaysians for Free and Fair Elections) to be an independent observer in the Sarawak state election, polling of which is to take place on April 16.

EC secretary Datuk Kamaruddin Mohamed Baria is reported to have said that this was because Mafrel had failed to fully comply with EC’s requirements. “Among them is for Mafrel and its affiliates to be non-partisan in their work,” he said in a statement.

This statement coming from the EC makes it clear that the Government is afraid of –and will prevent – independent observers from monitoring the coming Sarawak election which, in all likelihood, will be the dirtiest one ever since the stakes are so high. Sarawak has to date been the biggest of the BN’s electoral fixed deposit. If Sarawak goes to the opposition or if the expected landslide for the BN component parties does not take place, it could be a precursor to the BN losing power at the national level in the coming general election. Read the rest of this entry »


Investigate Why Malaysia Has Attained World Ranking in Illicit Outflows

by Dr. Lim Teck Ghee

I refer to a report by Washington financial watchdog Global Financial Integrity which found that Malaysia lost US$291 billion or RM889 billion through illicit outflows between 2000-2008.

The report written by GFI economists Karly Curcio and Dev Kar, who is a former senior economist at the International Monetary Fund is deserving of attention from everyone in the country – the Prime Minister to the lowest of our citizenry.

This finding of massive illicit capital outflow for Malaysia is the strongest confirmation of sustained capital flight from the country during the past decade, even if one wants to dispute the definition of “illicit” used. What is especially worrying is that the outflow has tripled in the short period of eight years from 2000-2008

There can be no dispute that a major part of this outflow is due to financial gains accumulated through corruption, kickbacks and other illegal means. How much is due to various causes can be disputed and can only be determined by a thorough investigation such as through the establishment of a Royal Commission to determine the extent and the reasons for the outflow. Without an independent panel or Commission looking into this and having access to banking and other financial data, there will be no end to finger pointing and needless speculation as to who are the parties implicated in these outflows. Read the rest of this entry »