Archive for March, 2017


1MDB debts – Still more than RM39 BILLION outstanding!

1MDB ‘alternative facts’ can fool some but not all, says Pua

DAP leader takes to task Prime Minister Najib Razak for omitting 1MDB’s RM39 billion worth of debt, mentioning only RM3.8 billion repayments in Dewan Rakyat reply.

“Najib has conveniently and mischievously failed to disclose the multiple elephants squeezed into the room,” Pua said before elaborating on the various debts or guarantees by Putrajaya in relation to the state-owned investment firm.

Pua listed them as follows:

  1. A 30-year RM5 billion bond which is guaranteed by the federal government;
  2. Two 10-year US$1.75 billion bonds which were guaranteed by Abu Dhabi’s International Petroleum Investment Corporation (IPIC) but have since been indemnified by the Ministry of Finance, Incorporated (MoF Inc);
  3. 10-year US$3 billion bond, guaranteed with a “Letter of Support” issued by the finance minister;
  4. US$1 billion advance by IPIC, indemnified by MOF Inc; and
  5. At least US$230 million worth of interest payments by IPIC on behalf of 1MDB, indemnified by MOF Inc.

“Hence, the total amount of 1MDB debt still outstanding, and directly or indirectly guaranteed by the federal government are RM5 billion and at least US$7.73 billion, bringing it to a grand total of more than RM39 billion.

“This is despite the fact that the federal government has already bailed out 1MDB’s real estate division by assuming 1MDB’s RM2.4 billion worth of sukuk and another RM800 million borrowed from Socso,” Pua said, adding that the RM39 billion was still outstanding despite 1MDB having already disposed of its power plant assets for a total of RM9.83 billion.

Pua took Najib to task for omitting the RM39 billion worth of debt, and instead mentioning only 1MDB’s RM3.8 billion repayments in his reply in the Dewan Rakyat.

“He even carefully worded his happy conclusion, that 1MDB no longer owes any bank any money or any other short term debts, to skew the impression and perception of those who are not alert or informed.”

1MDB ‘alternative facts’ can fool some but not all, says Pua
March 31, 2017 – FMT


Pua: Illogical for minister to say 1MDB’s debts are not MOF’s

Pua: Illogical for minister to say 1MDB’s debts are not MOF’s

DAP lawmaker Tony Pua said Second Finance Minister Johari Abdul Ghani has made an “illogical and embarrassing” statement by saying the Ministry of Finance Inc (MoF Inc) would not take over the debt of its wholly owned subsidiary, 1MDB.

He was responding to Johari’s comment that the debts incurred in 1MDB’s wholly owned subsidiaries TRX City Sdn Bhd (TRXC) and Bandar Malaysia Sdn Bhd (BMSB), as operating debt.

“No finance minister worth his salt would argue that the ‘operating debts’ of a wholly-owned subsidiary does not belong to the parent company’s accounting books,” Pua said in a statement today.

“Johari tried to wriggle his way out of it by claiming that these were merely the ‘operating debts’ of the real estate subsidiaries.

“Malaysians fail to understand his convoluted argument that ‘there is therefore a clear distinction between 1MDB debts, which will not be taken over by MOF Inc, and the BMSB/TRXC project company operating debt, which are part of the assets and liabilities of the company’,” he said.

Pua said he hoped Johari did not make the statement himself, as for a former corporate man, his statement does not make any financial sense.

The second finance minister might do well to consult 1MDB’s newly appointed auditors, Parker Randall for an accounting opinion before issuing such embarrassing statements, urged Pua.

“The minister confirmed the very facts which I had stated. He confirmed that real estate owned by the Government was sold to 1MDB at ‘nominal’ prices.

“A check on 1MDB financial statements would show that the 70-acre TRX land was priced at RM64 per square feet (psf) for a total of RM194 million, while the 486-acre Bandar Malaysia was at RM72psf for a total of RM1.67 billion.

Pua likened Johari’s admission that 1MDB real estate companies took up to RM800 million from Socso (Social Security Organisation) and another RM2.4 billion worth of sukuk for Bandar Malaysia, and that the debts of RM3.2 billion have been assumed by the MOF, as a bailout.

“The Government granted these parcels of land at ‘nominal prices’ to 1MDB, but when effectively less than 50% of these parcels of land were ‘returned’ to the Government, they came with an attached liability of RM3.2 billion?” Pua asked.

The Petaling Jaya Utara MP noted that Johari had also failed to mention that the proceeds from 1MDB’s sales of TRX and 40 percent of Bandar Malaysia for over RM11 billion, did not go towards settling 1MDB debts, and instead, the MOF had to carry its subsidiaries liabilities.

“What is worse is that, even if Johari’s illogical statement holds, he has failed to acknowledge that both the auditor-general and the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) have discovered that the bulk of the money raised from the borrowings did not go towards the real estate projects.”

“Page 43 of the PAC Report would tell you that out of RM800 million borrowed from Socso, only RM338 million went towards 1MDB Real Estate and its projects. The balance was ‘advanced’ to the 1MDB parent company for other purposes,” he said.

“Even more shocking, Page 45 of the same report would tell you that not a single sen of the RM2.4 billion sukuk raised went towards the development of Bandar Malaysia or TRX, or any other 1MDB real estate projects.

“The net proceeds from the sukuk were ‘advanced’ to the 1MDB parent company for other purposes as well as to refinance previous borrowings, which were also utilised for non-real estate purposes,” Pua added.

1MDB CEO Arul Kanda Kandasamy himself, had confessed to the PAC that due to cashflow difficulties within the 1MDB group, these funds were “diverted” from their intended purposes, according to Pua.

“Hence while the intent of the RM3.2 billion of borrowings was perhaps ‘operational’ as emphasized by the Johari, in reality, the overwhelming bulk of the borrowings was brazenly utilised for ‘non-operational’ purposes,” he said.

Hence, 1MDB must pay back these advances to the MOF, he added.

“Otherwise, it’s a triple-whammy for the Malaysian tax-payers where 1MDB made multi-billion ringgit profits from nominally priced land from the Government to partially cover up tens-of-billions of ringgit of losses from other 1MDB transactions, the government takes back less than 50% of the land attached to a RM3.2 billion liability, and the RM3.2 billion borrowed was never invested in the land in the first place.”

This means the MOF itself has to further invest in the projects to realise their value, he said.

Pua: Illogical for minister to say 1MDB’s debts are not MOF’s
17 Mar 2017 – Malaysiakini


Nearly RM1 billion down the drain as Besut education hub ravaged by vandals

Nearly RM1b down the drain as Besut education hub ravaged by vandals

KUALA LUMPUR, March 15 — The education hub dubbed Taman Ilmu, or Malay for “Knowledge Park”, near Besut, Terengganu had been near completion in 2014, after years of neglect caused by dwindling funds and lack of political will.

But just two years later, the 280-hectare complex that ostensibly cost RM746.26 million has again fallen into ruin after it was ransacked by vandals, looters and scavengers.

A leaked report dated October 2016 and sighted by Malay Mail Online this week estimated that it will now take another RM230.6 million simply to restore the project in the seaside village of Tembila to just 60 per cent of its original target.

The report also revealed the extent of the damage that the project — initially an initiative by former Terengganu mentri besar Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh to transform rural Besut — has suffered.

Photos in the leaked report showing damaged ceilings in the building.Photos in the leaked report showing damaged ceilings in the building.Apart from the park’s RM60 million grand mosque that has been open to public since 2014, the rest of the project was stripped down in one way or another, from its library to even its district cooling system and sewage treatment plant.

In many of the photos purportedly showing the interiors of the buildings there, ceilings were seen collapsed, revealing bare steel bars. Cabinet doors were ajar, and many were broken into.

At the track-and-field sports complex, a floodlight tower was shown lying on the ground, with shards of glass and sprawling cables surrounding it.

Photos showing damages to the track-and-field sports complex.Photos showing damages to the track-and-field sports complex.A cost summary included in the report stated that RM872.5 million was budgeted for the project, more than double from the RM400 million estimate back in 2013.

Shockingly, a RM38 million main administration building was simply demolished half-way after RM17.86 million had been spent on it, due to substandard building materials and safety issues.

Of the total budget, only RM144.1 million remains, hardly enough to cover the refurbishing cost.

Malay Mail Online is seeking verification on the project’s status from Idris and Terengganu Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Razif Abdul Rahman.

Photos showing damages to the district cooling system.Photos showing damages to the district cooling system.

Last month, Ahmad Razif was reported saying in Malay daily Berita Harian that the project is expected to start operations this October.

Ahmad Razif said the state government is working together with the Higher Education Ministry led by Idris, who is also Besut MP, to realise the project.

Photos showing damages to the sewage treatment plant.Photos showing damages to the sewage treatment plant.In 2013, Malay Mail Online reported that construction at the site had been slow and, in some parts, even came to a standstill after Idris’ successor and political rival Datuk Seri Ahmad Said took over administration of Terengganu. It was originally planned to be completed by 2008.

During Malay Mail Online’s visit then, there was no visible security presence, and neighbourhood youths were free to explore the site on bicycles unhindered.

Work on the park started in the middle of 2007, about three years after Idris succeeded in wresting back Terengganu from a short-lived PAS rule, and a year shy of the election that would see state Ruler, Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin, replace him with Ahmad.

This comes as public universities will see their combined operating budgets for this year slashed by about 19 per cent, or RM1.5 billion, a bigger cut than 2016’s budget.

Nearly RM1b down the drain as Besut education hub ravaged by vandals
March 15, 2017 – MMO


Pua accuses Putrajaya of bailing out 1MDB over RM3.2b debt

Pua accuses Putrajaya of bailing out 1MDB over RM3.2b debt

Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua claimed Putrajaya has bailed out 1MDB by taking over RM3.2 billion of the state investment fund’s debts.

This came after Finance Minister Najib Abdul Razak refused to give a direct answer in a parliamentary written reply on the status of the RM800 million loan Tun Razak Exchange (TRX) took from the Social Security Organisation (Socso) and another RM2.4 billion in sukuk bonds by Bandar Malaysia.

“I asked, did the Finance Ministry take over the borrowings associated with these assets, including the RM800 million from Socso and RM2.4 billion in sukuk bonds.

“This question only required a simple ‘yes or no’ reply, with the total borrowings assumed by the Finance Ministry, if any.

“What I received was a long grandmother story, which tried to obviously obfuscate the answer,” he said.

The written reply said that 1MDB’s assets, namely TRX, Bandar Malaysia, Air Itam and Pulau Indah lands, are to be handed over to the Finance Ministry Incorporated (MKD) as per the recommendation of the the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) report on 1MDB.

Pua said he had no issue with this, but when it came to the RM3.2 billion debt, the written reply also pinned it on PAC by referring to page 81 of its report.

‘Not a recommendation by PAC’

“The statement on page 81 was actually the proposal submitted by 1MDB to the PAC and not a recommendation by the PAC,” he said.

The written reply on the debt said the RM800 million by TRX City Sdn Bhd and RM2.4 billion by Bandar Malaysia Sdn Bhd “will be managed”, whereby these would be borne by the existing cash flow of the projects.

“While Najib did not explicitly say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to the above question, it is now clear as day that the Finance Ministry has effectively bailed out 1MDB to the tune of RM3.2 billion by taking over these debts.

“It also meant that Finance Minister II Abdul Johari Ghani’s prior insistence to the media that there was no taking over of 1MDB debts planned over the assets takeover was a blatant lie,” Pua said.

He said the Finance Ministry was now taking back the very same lands that it had sold to 1MDB for a fraction of its value.

He pointed out that the government had sold the 80-acre TRX land at RM64 per square feet (psf), totalling RM194 million and the 486-acre Bandar Malaysia land at RM72 psf, totalling RM1.67 billion.

“However, 1MDB has already sold parts of TRX to Tabung Haji and Armed Forces Pension Fund-owned Affin Bank for more than RM2,700 and RM4,500psf.

“In total, 30.5 acres of TRX land was sold for approximately RM3.5 billion.

“At the same time, 60 percent of Bandar Malaysia has been sold for more than RM1,000psf.

“The proceeds of these sales have already gone into the pockets of 1MDB to service its mountain of debt unrelated to its property division,” said Pua.

1MDB had in December 2015 sold a 60 percent stake in Bandar Malaysia to a consortium comprising Iskandar Waterfront Holdings (IWH) and China Railway Engineering Corporation (CREC).

Pua accuses Putrajaya of bailing out 1MDB over RM3.2b debt
15 Mar 2017 – Malaysiakini


Nuclear power too costly and risky, says Harapan

Nuclear power too costly and risky, says Harapan

The Pakatan Harapan coalition has opposed the government’s plans to set up a nuclear power infrastructure in Malaysia, saying that it is too risky and costly.

In addition, it said the government has a poor track record when it comes to mega-projects, such as the Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin stadium that collapsed in 2009 and again in 2013.

“We are concerned that such tragedy would repeat itself if there are mistakes or negligence during construction and operation, in addition to the risk of graft,” said PKR’s Kuantan MP Fuziah Salleh, Amanah central committee member Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad, and DAP’s Klang MP Charles Santiago in a joint statement today.

They are responding to Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Nancy Shukri’s announcement on Tuesday that a International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report had concluded that Malaysia has the knowledge base to make an informed decision about introducing nuclear power in the country.

The report on the Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review (INIR) Mission Phase 1 is the first of a three-part assessment by the IAEA to determine whether a country has the necessary infrastructure to develop a nuclear power program.

Its findings are to be tabled in the cabinet next week, and Malaysia has a 30-day period to respond to the IAEA’s recommendations.

However, Harapan said the government should instead intensify the research and application of green and renewable energy sources, instead of pursuing nuclear power.

These include solar energy since Malaysia receives plenty of sunlight year-round, they said, as well as wave energy that was once experimented by local universities.

Malaysia also has other options such as biomass, which would reduce problems in solid waste disposal, or to connect Bakun Dam in Sarawak to Peninsular Malaysia via an undersea cable, they said.

Germany adopting wind power instead

Quoting the then Energy, Green Technology, and Water Minister Peter Chin in the Hansard, they said an analysis had found that the undersea power cable would be cheaper means to supply electricity in the long run than coal or gas-fired power plants, which means it would certainly be cheaper than nuclear power.

“The minister in the prime minister’s department’s (Nancy) statement is disappointing to the people. It invites debate that must be informed by the latest scientific knowledge together with horrifying tragedies of the past.

“The supply of electricity from the Bakun hydroelectric project in Sarawak to Peninsular Malaysia via undersea cables is vital in ensuring an electricity supply that is sufficient, reliable, and at reasonable cost to Peninsular Malaysia consumers,” they added.

In contrast, they pointed that Malaysia’s move towards nuclear power seemed regressive, at a time when countries such at Germany has shifted away from nuclear power and are adopting wind power instead, following the March 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster.

Although Malaysia is not in an earthquake-prone region, Harapan claimed that this has changed following the earthquakes at Mount Kinabalu.

As for cost, Harapan quoted the US-based non-profit group Union of Concerned Scientists saying that the cost of building and maintaining a nuclear power generator is very high – between US$2 billion to US$4 billion, and in some cases exceeding US$9 billion.

The cost per unit of electricity is also higher compared to other sources.

“Pakatan Harapan is concerned that such high costs would ultimately be borne by the rakyat when the prices of various goods increase as a result of a domino effect, whereas the people are already saddled with increasing costs of living,” they added.

Nuclear power too costly and risky, says Harapan
9 Mar 2017 – Malaysiakini


People of South Korea cannot accept leaders being involved in corruption

Lessons from South Korea

MP SPEAKS The people of South Korea cannot, for once, accept any of their leaders being involved in any corruption.

As a Muslim, I find it interesting that despite the fact that South Korea is not dominated by a Muslim population and hence are not exposed to the prophetic tradition which reads “An offeror and an offeree of corruption are dwelled in hellfire”, yet, their commitment to fighting corruption is definitely higher than many Muslims, even in any Muslim-dominated nations.

That is why the South Koreans could not tolerate the ‘corrupt practices’ perpetrated by their former president, Park Geun-hye. Park was implicated with corruption and cronyism. She was alleged to have conspired with her confidante Choi Soon-sil to pressure several companies, including Samsung, to give a huge donation to two non-profitable foundations set up by Choi.

I pause momentarily here. It is fascinating to note that, coincidentally, in a financial scandal in our Bolehland involving none other than our prime minister, we also hear of the donation of big money – RM2.6 billion. We also hear that our prime minister has a cordial friendship with Jho Low.

It seems that our situation is similar to South Korea. Truth be told, there are actually huge differences. In South Korea, Park was duly impeached by parliament. She was also found guilty by a constitutional court with a stunning vote of 8-0. Here, however, it never happened that way.

Being a parliamentarian, I also find it tempting to emulate my fellow parliamentarians in South Korea. There, the parliament really played its crucial role in democracy – unbridled check and balance of the executive.

Last December, the Korean parliament voiced out its abhorrence against its ‘corrupt’ president by impeaching her with a very large margin of votes. That, in my view, is how the parliament should have acted. Unfortunately, in our beloved country, I dare to say that our legislature has become only a rubber stamp.

I don’t think, given the present political climate, the Malaysian Parliament would be able to impeach our prime minister ever. As Parliamentarians, we cannot even raise the issue of 1MDB in our so-called August House.

The Korean parliament did the impeachment against its own president with a convincing number of votes. The bill for impeaching Park managed to secure 234 votes out of 300 members of parliament. The South Korean law stipulates that in order to impeach the president, the parliament must have at least 200 votes supporting the impeachment.

The validity of such an impeachment may be challenged in the constitutional court. Park had challenged her impeachment in the constitutional court but failed. The court, on the contrary, duly confirmed the parliamentary impeachment against Park with its mesmerising verdict.

We may ask ourselves as to why both the parliament and court were very bold in ousting the president who was still holding office. I would say that happened because both institutions are not detached from the people. They knew that they represented the ordinary people on the street. They shared the plight of ordinary people combatting corruption, especially among the upper echelon.

The people in South Korea fought through a ferocious winter, participating in gargantuan assemblies demanding that the authorities oust Park from the office for committing corruption and cronyism. The parliament and constitutional court duly heard and in turn endorsed their voices.


Lessons from South Korea
Mohamed Hanipa Maidin
15 Mar 2017 – Malaysiakini


Singapore Bans Bankers Linked to 1MDB

Singapore Bans Ex-Goldman Banker Linked to 1MDB From Working in Financial Sector

Tim Leissner banned for 10 years; three more people from other banks face bans

SINGAPORE—Singapore’s central bank banned a former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. banker from operating in the financial sector and said it plans to ban three more people from other banks, following investigations linking them to alleged financial fraud involving Malaysian state fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore said in a statement Monday it would ban Tim Leissner, who was the director of Goldman’s local branch and the firm’s Southeast Asia chairman, for 10 years after it found he had made false statements without the bank’s knowledge.

The other individuals facing bans have been found guilty by Singapore courts of various financial crimes related to 1MDB. They are Yak Yew Chee and Yvonne Seah, former bankers at the Singapore branch of Swiss private bank BSI SA, and Jens Sturzenegger, a former Singapore branch manager of Falcon Private Bank. The MAS is proposing lifetime bans for Mr. Sturzenegger and Mr. Yak, while Ms. Seah faces a 15-year ban.

The bans effectively prevent the four individuals from performing any service or activity in Singapore’s financial markets, including providing financial advice or representing a financial firm.

Mr. Leissner was Goldman’s point man on lucrative deals involving 1MDB, The Wall Street Journal has reported. The MAS in December said it planned to ban Mr. Leissner after it found he had written a recommendation letter for a Malaysian financier, Jho Low, in June 2015. In it, Mr. Leissner falsely claimed that Goldman had performed due diligence on Mr. Low.

Mr. Low, whose full name is Low Taek Jho, is considered by investigating authorities in the U.S. the mastermind of a massive alleged fraud at 1MDB that spread world-wide. Some investigators have described it as one of the world’s largest-ever financial swindles. Mr. Low took no formal role at 1MDB but ran the fund behind the scenes, say people who worked there.

1MDB didn’t reply to a request for comment on Monday. The fund has previously denied wrongdoing and said it would cooperate with any lawful investigation. Malaysian authorities have also cleared 1MDB of wrongdoing. Attempts to reach Mr. Low, who has denied wrongdoing, were unsuccessful.

Goldman said previously that it had reported Mr. Leissner’s dealings with Mr. Low to Singapore authorities and would cooperate with authorities. The bank said Monday it stood by that statement. Mr. Leissner left Goldman in February last year after the bank put him on leave. Attempts to reach a representative for Mr. Leissner weren’t successful.

Falcon Bank’s Mr. Sturzenegger was convicted of several financial crimes including failing to report suspicious transactions and providing false information to authorities in an attempt to cover up his relationship with Mr. Low.

A lawyer for Mr. Sturzenegger declined to comment. Falcon Bank declined to comment, but has previously said that it is initiating new control measures to prevent future issues and that it has been cooperating with authorities.

Mr. Yak and Ms. Seah were both convicted late last year after pleading guilty to multiple counts of failing to report suspicious transactions and of forging reference letters on behalf of Mr. Low.

Singapore Bans Ex-Goldman Banker Linked to 1MDB From Working in Financial Sector
Tim Leissner banned for 10 years; three more people from other banks face bans
March 13, 2017 – WSJ

THE Al Jazeera interview

Merdeka! Merdeka! Merdeka!

The dawn of A Better Malaysia!
Rafidah Aziz, Hannah Yeoh, Ambiga at TTDI ceramah


Mahathir in Putrajaya ceramah


What happened to 1MDB’s money? – CNBC Video
Nuclear lessons for Malaysia (Part 1) (Part 2)
BN govt is directing attention to distant past and distant future, in order to distract people from present misdeeds and poor governance
Felda - A picture is worth a thousand words
How the 1MDB Scandal Spread Across the World (WSJ)
We cannot afford ridiculously expensive RM55 Billion ECRL!
All that is necessary
for the triumph of evil
is for good men
to do nothing.

- Edmund Burke
When the people
fears their government,
there is TYRANNY;
when the government
fears the people,
there is LIBERTY.

- Thomas Jefferson
Do you hear the people sing?