F1 wannabe-owner Tony Fernandes sold off his Caterham Formula 1 Team to a consortium of Swiss and Middle Eastern owners, who are led by former Midland and HRT F1 principal Colin Kolles.
F1: Caterham team is sold by Tony Fernandes
By Andrew Benson
Chief F1 writer
The Caterham F1 team has been sold by owner Tony Fernandes to a Swiss and Middle Eastern consortium.
The new owners will be advised by former Midland and HRT team principal Colin Kolles, and they will continue to race under the Caterham name.
Caterham in F1
Best race finish: 11th – Vitaly Petrov at the 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix
Best team finish: 10th (2010, 2011, 2012)
Former Dutch F1 driver, Christijan Albers, will take over the running of the team, assisted by Manfredi Ravetto.
“We are aware of the huge challenge ahead given the fight at the bottom end of the championship,” said Albers.
“Our target now is to aim for 10th place in the 2014 championship.
“We are very committed to the future of the team and will ensure it has the necessary resources to develop, grow and achieve everything it is capable of.”
Both Caterham drivers, Sweden’s Marcus Ericsson, and Kamui Kobayashi of Japan, have failed to collect a point from eight races and the team are last in the Constructors’ Championship.
Malaysian businessman Fernandes, who is also the chairman of Premier League club Queens Park Rangers, entered F1 four years ago with what was then called Lotus Racing.
The Oxfordshire-based team’s name was changed to Caterham in 2012 after Fernandes bought the manufacturer of lightweight sports cars. Caterham F1 will now have no links with the rest of the Caterham Group, which is still owned by Fernandes and comprises two technology companies as well as the car manufacturing arm.
Frenchman Cyril Abiteboul, who Fernandes had employed as team principal, has left the team and is reportedly returning to work for Renault Sport.
Lotus/Caterham finished 10th in the championship for their first three seasons but finished 11th last year.
Tony Fernandes also owns Premier League club Queens Park Rangers
If they fail to finish in the top 10 again this season, it will cost them millions of pounds in prize money.
Fernandes’ decision to sell Caterham F1 was based on their failure to improve their performance.
On Friday, Fernandes wrote on his Twitter account, which has now been closed: “F1 hasn’t worked, but love Caterham Cars.”
This decision self-proven that Fernandes and partners neither had the cut, intention nor strategic to own, manage and develop an F1 team right from the start.
Instead, the former music executive started the team and was gambling on the bit where deep-pocketed sponsors Petronas and Proton were to jump in and support the financial conundrum of a low caste F1 team. By the he packaged his team as ’1Malaysia Team’.
When that failed too, he had to scrooge what ever pittance he has left over from his low-of-the-rung Queen’s Park Rangers football team, which did very poorly to remain in the premier league and eventually was relegated to barclays premier.
Fernandes singularly in a very short time manage to bastardise the ‘Caterham’ brand in several single strokes. The tried to prostitute the brand for a regional charter jet business, which did not take off despite the idea mooted back in 2010.
In short, pretentious-accented Fernandes proven himself in a very short time he cocked things up. Why? He over-sold, he had no substance, his ideas are deffective, he entered into the ill-intent to milk Petronas and Proton for money and fund his project.
It was about getting someone paying for Fernandes to promote his brand at international level, in big time.
So that he could create some controversial about this team, the competition and the industry. And eventually cash out for a premium.
Quod erat demonstratum.
Amidst intense nationwide controversy and negative connotation for YTL Power International Bhd.’s participation in the Project 4A Pasir Gudang combine cycle 1,000-1,400MW power station which was seen as self-contradicting MD Tan Sri Francis Yeoh’s faux pas of “Capital Cronyism”, the Group announced withdrawal from the project.
The Star story:
Published: Wednesday June 18, 2014 MYT 1:43:00 PM
Updated: Wednesday June 18, 2014 MYT 2:34:32 PM
YTL withdraws from Project 4A
KUALA LUMPUR: YTL Power International Bhd is withdrawing from a consortium which was given the go-ahead to develop a 1,000MW to 1,400MW combined cycle power plant in Johor.
It said on Wednesday it had pulled out of the power plant development, called Project 4A, because of “misconception” over the way the contract was awarded. The consortium includes SIPP Sdn Bhd and Tenaga Nasional.
“We are thankful to the government for having confidence in YTL Power, as part of the consortium, to deliver the project on a fast track basis.
“However, in view of the misconception over the project, YTL Power has decided not to participate in the project under the present arrangement to dispel any misgivings over the government’s commitment to transparency and good governance,” the company said.
To recap, YTL Power received a letter of award from the Energy Commission dated May 27, 2014 addressed to SIPP Energy, where YTL Power and Tenaga Nasional would be part of the consortium to develop the plan in Johor.
On May 31, the Energy Commission announced the conditional award was required to fast track the construction of the project to meet system requirements and that the terms of the award stipulated that the tariff must be comparable to the Prai CCGT tender exercise concluded in 2012 that was awarded to TNB.
YTL Power said the Energy Commission was transparent over the terms of the award which had been announced.
“Notwithstanding the Energy Commission’s clarification, there has, in recent weeks, been much misunderstanding and public debate over the award of the project,” said YTL Power.
It added that due to the misconception over the project, YTL Power decided to pull out of the project under the present arrangement to dispel any misgivings over the government’s commitment to transparency and good governance.
YTL Power also said it welcomed any opportunity to participate in the project or other new capacity requirements on a competitive basis and is prepared to do so on an accelerated timeline.
“We are confident that we will be able to offer competitive rates as demonstrated in recently concluded tender exercises,” it added.
Shamefully, Francis Yeoh who had his ego on a pedestal when he had wagged the dog unequivocally had to swallow his pride. A really face-in-the-mud experience for getting his Group’s business empire actually owing to a series of opportunities of brushing shoulders with the high and mighty.
All and well. A really expensive lesson for the Yeoh family.
However, the lesson shouldn’t end here. The award of Project 4A from Energy Commission (EC) to SIPP Energy Sdn. Bhd. on a letter dated 27 May 2014 should be quickly withdrawn. So many members of the public expressed their displeasure on how EC awarded the project to a totally unknown company.
The justification is very simple. All awards from Energy Commission should be based on merits and competency, which something EC already decided for new power plant awards as far back as 2012.
On that note, one of the capital market firms believe that YTL Power might try to bid for the Project 4A and 4B if and when EC open it for tender.
YTL Power withdraws from Johor job
19 JUNE 2014 @ 12:45 AM
THE Energy Commission (EC) has accepted the surprise decision by YTL Power International Bhd to pull out from a consortium that was awarded the job to build a power plant in Johor through direct negotiation.
However, the regulator, in a brief statement yesterday, has left open the prospect of awarding the lucrative Track 4A project to build a 1,000MW to 1,400MW combined-cycle gas turbine power plant in Pasir Gudang, Johor, to a new recipient via competitive bidding.
Late last month, the EC issued a letter of award to SIPP Energy Sdn Bhd, provided it includes YTL Power and Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB) as consortium members for the development of Track 4A.
TNB has yet to decide on its participation and has until July 25 to do so.
Subsequent to the direct award, there has been much public debate over the offer, composition of consortium and specified terms.
In response to the negative public sentiment, the EC said YTL Power’s parent, YTL Corp Bhd, had submitted a letter to the government on Tuesday declining the invitation to participate in the project.
“In view of the current situation, having conferred with all parties concerned, and in the interest of the project, we accept YTL’s decision to decline the invitation,” the EC added.
YTL Power, in its statement yesterday, said it had withdrawn to “dispel any misgivings over the government’s commitment to transparency and good governance”.
The management, however, maintained that it remains keen to participate in Track 4A through a competitive bidding environment, RHB Research said.
Analysts, meanwhile, are still placing their bets on YTL Power to drive its power business locally.
“I believe YTL Power’s decision to pull out was made based on public and shareholders’ interest. At the end of the day, I think only (the group’s chief) Tan Sri Francis Yeoh knows the real reason and intention,” Mercury Research head Edmund Tham told Business Times.
Another analyst believes that if a tender is called for Track 4A and Track 4B, YTL Power will not hesitate to bid.
RHB Research said YTL Power’s decision to pull out from the project will help ensure that TNB’s long-term interest is taken care of.
“This should encourage a competitive operating environment, which can ensure efficiency in power generation costs among the existing independent power producers,” said RHB Research analyst Kong Heng Siong.
The firm has revised downwards its fair value for YTL Power to RM1.54 from RM1.71 following the announcement.
It, however, kept its “neutral” rating with a target price of RM1.54.
YTL Power closed 1 sen lower yesterday at RM1.47 a share, with 5.88 million shares traded.
YTL Power’s withdrawal at this stage is probably a tactical retreat.
We are not sure who within the key personalities within SIPP Energy Sdn. Bhd., a company which was formed in 2012, have the necessary qualifications, experience and exposure in the energy and power generation business and operation. That would be the fundamental factor on why SIPP Energy shouldn’t be awarded the project to begin with.
Fourth Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad urged EC to re-tender the project, and offer them on a ‘beauty contest’ to a selected pre-qualified power generators which have proven in their operations and business to bid for Project 4A, applying the best business practices.
On the same note, EC should also review all power purchase agreements between independent power producers (IPP) and TNB. Especially, YTL Power’s Paka power plant, which was the nation’s first IPP deal.
This is to ensure EC getting the best deal for the supply of power to TNB, which eventually would affect the rakyat.
If HRH Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Sultan Iskandar wants to be actively in business, as proven in this case, then best business practices should apply. Otherwise, the impression would be that any companies or businesses with HRH Sultan Johor’s direct or indirect interests are obtained from clout and influence of the sovereignty position as a Ruler.
The Federal Constitution provided a special role and position for a Ruler under the separation of power principle in the Constitutional Monarchy democratic system where the government is formed by the control of the Parliament. That, which is the fundamental element when this nation was found and given birth to as a sovereign state, should be preserved in principle and practices.
The proposed Johor Housing and Property Enactment (LPHJ) 2014 expected to be tabled to the Johor State Assembly tomorrow is expected to see some changes, compared to the original draft.
08 June 2014| last updated at 04:50PM
Johor makes changes to Housing and Real Property Board enactment
By Rizalman Hammim
JOHOR BARU: The state government will make some changes to the Housing and Real Property Board enactment regarding the role of the Sultan of Johor in the board.
Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin said the changes includes the matter regarding the appointment of directors, which will now state that the Sultan will make the appointments with the advice of the menteri besar.
“Other clauses in the enactment that mention the (word) Sultan will be changed to the state authority,” said Khaled while winding up the Royal address at the state assembly.
Read more: Johor makes changes to Housing and Real Property Board enactment – Latest – New Straits Times http://www.nst.com.my/latest/johor-makes-changes-to-housing-and-real-property-board-enactment-1.613702#ixzz342QG3y53
And The Star story:
Published: Sunday June 8, 2014 MYT 5:01:00 PM
Updated: Sunday June 8, 2014 MYT 5:11:38 PM
Johor housing Bill to be amended
BY DESIREE TRESA GASPER AND KATHLEEN ANN KILI
NUSAJAYA: The Johor Housing and Real Property Enactment Board Bill 2014 will be amended to include a provision that the Sultan is to act on the advice of the Mentri Besar.
The amendment, which reads “role of the Johor Ruler is on the advice of the Mentri Besar”, was announced by Mentri Besar Datuk Mohamed Khaled Nordin during the state assembly sitting here, Sunday.
Khaled said that other clauses in the Bill which mention the Johor Ruler would be changed to “state authorities”.
The Bill is expected to be tabled at the state assembly sitting on Monday.
It had been reported that the Bill would empower the Sultan to appoint JHRPB members, oversee its accounts and also dissolve the board.
It is understood that the Johor Ruler would also be able to determine the remuneration of board members, approve the appointment of a director and pass the estimated expenses for each following year before seeking the state government’s approval for the allocations.
This came after Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohd. Najib Tun Razak sounded out that the new law for Johor should be within the ambit of the Federal Constutution, where there is a clear separation of power between the Ruler and Executive.
Najib: Proposed Johor Act must be in line with Constitution principles
KUALA LUMPUR, June 7:
Datuk Seri Najib Razak said the proposal by the Johor government to table a Bill to enact the formation of the Johor Housing and Property Board must bring advantages and benefits and protect the interests of all, especially the people.
The Prime Minister said the enactment must also be in line with the principles of the Federal Constitution which upheld the constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy systems in the country.
Najib said he had stressed this to Datuk Seri Mohamed Khalid Nordin after he was informed by the Johor Menteri Besar on the state government’s plan to table the Bill.
“The Menteri Besar explained that the Bill is consistent with the provisions of the Federal Constitution.”
“He will also be fully responsible in managing the board,” Najib said in a statement to Bernama today.
Najib said Mohamed Khaled would ensure that the enactment fulfilled its objectives, one of which was to make available more affordable homes for the people of Johor.
It was reported that the Johor government planned to table the proposed Bill on Monday.
The Bill has received mixed reaction with some quarters claiming that, if passed, it will see the involvement of the Johor Sultan in state administration, which the Menteri Besar has since denied.
It is uncommon for the Prime Minister to sound out for a new bill in Barisan Nasional controlled states outside Sabah and Sarawak. It is a subtle reminder that any new bill which gives a Ruler power that should remain with the Executive contravene the principle of power of separation as part of the Constitutional Monarchy.
Bar Council media statement on the LPHJ enactment:
Johore Housing and Real Property Board Bill 2014 Violates the Federal and Johore Constitutions
The Malaysian Bar has deep concerns regarding the proposed Johore Housing and Real Property Board Bill 2014 (“Johore Bill”).
The Johore Bill unnecessarily and improperly seeks to involve the Ruler in matters of executive government and administration.
The Johore Bill provides the Ruler with specific executive responsibilities and powers to:
(a) appoint four representatives to the Johore Housing and Real Property Board (“Board”) and revoke such appointments;
(b) determine the remuneration or allowances of all the members of the Board;
(c) approve the appointment of the Director to be the Chief Executive Officer of the Board;
(d) wind up and dissolve the Board; and
(e) approve the establishment of a corporation to maintain, develop or manage any housing plan, project scheme or industry.
The Johore Bill also provides that the “Ruler or the State Authority may at any time direct such person as he may appoint to make an investigation of the books, accounts and transactions of the Board”.
The Johore Bill further requires the Board to submit to the Ruler and the State Authority the annual budget, annual audited accounts and the annual report of the Board.
The Malaysian Bar is therefore unable to agree with the contention of the Menteri Besar of Johore, reported in the news media, that the Menteri Besar or the State Government of Johore would retain executive responsibility or power with respect to the matters set out in the Bill, as highlighted above.
Under our constitutional and legislative scheme, the term “State Authority” means either the State Government, or the Ruler acting on the advice of the State Government, in which case the Ruler is obliged to accept and act in accordance with such advice. An example of this can be found in the equivalent legislation in Selangor, namely the Selangor Housing and Real Property Board Enactment 2001. It is noteworthy that in the Selangor Enactment, there is no reference to the “Ruler”.
In providing for functions, responsibilities, duties and powers in the Johore Bill, the said Bill makes references to, amongst others, the “State Government”, the “State Authority” and the “Ruler”. Given that the Johore Bill makes reference to the “State Government”, “State Authority” and “Ruler” as three distinct entities, they cannot then mean the same thing in the Bill. Therefore, the provisions in the Johore Bill that accord to the Ruler specific executive responsibilities and powers mean that these responsibilities and powers are exercisable by the Ruler himself, without the need to be bound by, and to act upon, the advice of the State Government. This is in breach of the provisions of the Eighth Schedule to the Federal Constitution and Article 7 of the Constitution of Johore, which vouchsafe the concept of a constitutional monarchy.
The idea that a Ruler should have executive functions with respect to an agency or instrumentality of the State Government, such as the Board in this case, is a departure from the principles of constitutional monarchical government. This is not envisaged under the Federal Constitution and the Constitution of Johore. Under such a system of government, while powers and functions are carried out in the name of the head of state, the exercise of executive functions and powers must lie with the State Government that is democratically elected by the rakyat. Given this, save for limited specified matters in the Eighth Schedule of the Federal Constitution and matters such as Article 7 in the Constitution of Johore, which provides for the discretion of the Ruler to appoint the Menteri Besar or to withhold consent to a request to dissolve the State Assembly, the Ruler acts on the advice of the State Government.
The State Government of Johore has, by the proposed measures in the Johore Bill, burdened the Ruler with functions and responsibilities that are properly the duties and responsibilities of the State Government. They expose the Ruler to scrutiny and possible criticism and opprobrium. This affects the dignity and stature of the institution of the monarchy.
The Prime Minister is reported in the news media to have issued a timely reminder to the Menteri Besar of Johore to ensure that the Johore Bill is consistent with the Federal Constitution. We urge the Menteri Besar and State Government of Johore to heed the Prime Minister’s call.
The Malaysian Bar therefore calls upon the State Government of Johore to withdraw the Bill from consideration by the State Legislative Assembly, and to make appropriate amendments to the Johore Bill to remove all references therein to the Ruler.
Malaysian Bar Council
The proposed LPHJ enactment drew a lot of criticism when the original draft provided specific and direct authorities to HRH Sultan Johor to determine LPHJ Board members and remuneration.LPHJ Board also would have authorities to inspect accounts.
This very much translated to HRH Sultan Johor meddling into land matters, especially in the decision making for property development proposals and deals.
This is against the principle of separation of power between HRH Rulers and the Executive, in the Constitutional Monarchy democratic system that Malaysia adopted, modeled after Westminister.
In the recent public outcry about YTL International Power Bhd. Managing Director Tan Sri Francis Yeoh’s faux pas about “Capital Cronysim”, inadvertently the deal on the RM3.5 billion new Pasir Gudang combine cycle power plant came into market information where Sultan Johor has direct interests via his company SIPP Energy Sdn. Bhd.
The issue also now focused on the award of the project by Energy Commission (EC) to SIPP Energy, without proper open tender. This is against EC’s own policy set in 2012.
Johor has came into a lot of attention, recently. Elusive one time celebrity blogger Raja Petra wrote about Johor would trigger a fresh round of Constitutional Crisis. Needless to say, a lot is at stake here.
Dalam isu begitu kontroversi yang sedang berlaku di negeri Johor dimana Kerajaan Negeri Johor bawah Menteri Besar Dato’ Seri Mohamad Khaled Nordin akan memperkenalkan undang undang baru iaitu Rang Enakmen Lembaga Perumahan dan Hartanah Johor (LPHJ) 2014 Isnin ini di Dewan Undangan Negeri (DUN).
Laporan Utusan Malaysia:
Rang undang-undang tetap dibentang – Khaled Nordin
Oleh HANIZA HASSAN
JOHOR BAHRU 7 Jun – Pembentangan rang undang-undang bagi menubuhkan Lembaga Perumahan dan Hartanah Johor (LPHJ) pada sidang Dewan Undangan Negeri (DUN) Isnin ini tetap akan diteruskan walaupun mendapat reaksi daripada pelbagai pihak.
Menteri Besar, Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin berkata, enakmen baharu tersebut dilihat tidak melanggar konsep Raja Berpelembagaan yang digunakan di negara ini kerana akan dibacakan bersama Undang-undang Tubuh Kerajaan Negeri Johor.
“Insya-Allah… kita tengok Isnin ini. Dari segi sama ada ia melanggar konsep Raja Berpelembagaan, saya tidak fikir ia begitu.
“Seperti saya katakan, enakmen ini mesti dibaca bersama-sama Undang-undang Tubuh Negeri Johor di mana dalam undang-undang berkenaan menyatakan tindakan yang dilaksanakan oleh Tuanku adalah dengan nasihat Menteri Besar,” katanya selepas program Kayuhan Mesra Rakyat di Flat Permas Jaya di sini hari ini. – UTUSAN ONLINE
Artikel Penuh: http://www.utusan.com.my/utusan/Dalam_Negeri/20140607/dn_25/Rang-undang-undang-tetap-dibentang—Khaled-Nordin#ixzz33wXfT3Wt
© Utusan Melayu (M) Bhd
MB Khaled begitu bersungguh sungguh mengenai LPHJ ini menepati dengan amalan sistem Raja Perlembagaan yang menjadi tunggak sistem penggubalan undang undang dan pentadbiran Persekutuan Malaysia, semenjak penubuhan Persekutuan Tanah Melayu pada 31 Ogos 1957.
Ianya bermaksud apa apa tindakan Raja adalah atas nasihat Menteri Besar dan Raja tidak membuat keputusan yang tidak berasaskan nasihat Menteri Besar. Ini kerana Menteri Besar merupakan Eksekutif yang dilantik bagi menjalankan pentadbiran dan perangancangan bagi negeri, dengan kuasa mandat yang diberikan rakyat melalui penguasaan Dewan Undangan Negeri.
Mungkin MB Khaled boleh secara bersahaja dengan theori amalan pengasingan kuasa antara Raja dan Ekskutif yang selama ini menjadi asas sistem pentadbiran. Oleh itu, beliau cuba menyakinkan rakyat bahawa dengan LPHJ ini, kuasa penentu sebarang keputusan sebenarnya terletak pada Menteri Besar.
Namun LPHJ perlu diperhalusi. Utusan Malaysia menyenaraikan inti pati LPHJ ini:
Petikan Rang Undang-undang Enakmen LPHJ 2014
Rang undang-undang baharu yang dijadual dibentang dalam sidang Dewan Undangan Negeri (DUN) Johor, Isnin ini, akan memberi kuasa kepada Sultan Johor, Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar untuk terlibat dalam pentadbiran kerajaan negeri.
Berikut ialah petikan daripada enakmen setebal 36 muka surat yang dinamakan Enakmen Lembaga Perumahan dan Hartanah Johor (LPHJ) 2014
* LPHJ dipengerusikan oleh Menteri Besar
Ahli-ahli Lembaga boleh dibayar elaun seperti ditentukan Raja.
* Fungsi Lembaga adalah:
Memberi nasihat kepada Pihak Berkuasa Negeri dengan dasar, cara dan langkah yang hendak diambil untuk menggalak dan memudahkan pemajuan perumahan hartanah.
Membina, menyelenggara, membaiki, memulih, mendiami semula dan menggunakan sebarang struktur, bangunan atau kerja-kerja di dalam mana-mana rancangan perumahan atau hartanah.
Menetap dan melaksanakan dasar dan panduan bagi memperuntukkan jenis-jenis perumahan dan kategori pembeli di sebarang pemaju perumahan.
* Dengan kelulusan Raja, dari semasa ke semasa boleh menubuhkan suatu perbadanan dengan apa-apa nama yang ditentukan Lembaga untuk menjaga, membangun atau mengurus apa-apa rancangan pemajuan, projek, skim atau perusahaan sebagaimana ditentukan Lembaga.
* Lembaga boleh menjalankan apa-apa fungsi lain, melaksanakan kuasa lain dan mentadbir serta membelanjakan apa-apa wang lain yang diperuntukkan kepadanya oleh kerajaan negeri.
* Lembaga perlu memberikan penyata, laporan akaun dan maklumat kepada Pihak Berkuasa Negeri berhubung dengan harta dan kegiatannya seperti diarahkan oleh Pihak Berkuasa Negeri termasuk membentangkan sebarang cadangan, pelan berhubung sesuatu projek.
* Segala pelantikan Pengarah hendaklah terlebih dahulu mendapat kelulusan Raja.
* Lembaga hendaklah menerima pakai peraturan, kaedah, dasar dan pekeliling serta arahan yang dikeluarkan Kerajaan Negeri.
* Lembaga hendaklah dalam tempoh enam bulan selepas berakhirnya tiap-tiap satu tahun kewangan mengauditkan akaunnya dan menghantar kepada Raja dan Pihak Berkuasa negeri bersama-sama satu salinan.
* Raja atau Pihak Berkuasa Negeri boleh pada bila-bila masa mengarah orang tertentu yang dilantik olehnya untuk membuat penyiasatan terhadap buku, akaun dan urus niaga Lembaga.
* Lembaga hendaklah tidak lewat daripada 30 Jun setiap tahun kewangannya, menghantar penyata kepada raja dan pihak berkuasa negeri yang menyentuh kegiatan Lembaga pada tahun lepas.
* Raja berkuasa untuk mengarahkan Lembaga digulung dan dibubarkan.
Artikel Penuh: http://www.utusan.com.my/utusan/Dalam_Negeri/20140607/dn_06/Petikan-Rang-Undang-undang-Enakmen-LPHJ-2014#ixzz33wfXzERL
© Utusan Melayu (M) Bhd
Apa yang menarik ialah Fasal 4(1) LPHJ dimana struktur Keanggotaan Lembaga disenaraikan.
(a) Menteri Besar sebagai Pengerusi
(b) Pengerusi Jawatankuasa Perumahan dan Kerajaan Tempatan Negeri sebagai Timbalan Pengerusi
(c) Lima orang ahli atas nama jawatan, dan mereka hendaklah orang orang yang pada masa itu memegang jawatan Setiausaha Kerajaan Negeri, Penasihat Undang Undang Negeri, Pegawai Kewangan Negeri, Pengarah Jabatan Perancangan Bandar dan Desa Negeri dan Pengarah Unit Peracangan Ekonomi Negeri
(d) Tidak lebih dari empat orang wakil dari apa apa perbadanan, agensi atau mana mana orang yang akan membawa munfaat kepada Lembaga yang dilantik oleh Raja
Secara praktikalnya, empat dari lima pegawai dalam katergori (c) merupakan mereka yang datang dari Perkhidmatan Awam Johor (JCS). Doktrin dan amalan JCS semenjak Kerajaan Johor moden ditubuhkan dari zaman Sultan Abu Bakar lagi terbukti taat setia pegawai pegawai JCS merupakan kepada Raja dan bukan Eksekutif.
Ini diperpukuhkan dengan peruntukan Fasal 4(3) dimana saraan atau elaun anggota LPHJ ditentukan oleh Sultan.
Ini bermakna, lapan (empat dari (c) dan empat dari (d)) dari keseluruhan 11 ahli LPHJ merupakan mereka yang dijangkakan akan taat setia yang tidak berbelah bagi kepada Sultan Johor.
Ini juga membawa maksud bahawa apa apa keputusan yang akan dibuat LPHJ akan lebih memihak kepada sebagaimana yang dihasratkan atau boleh dipengaruhi oleh Sultan Johor berbanding dari menjaga kepentingan rakyat Johor, melalui sistem pengasingan kuasa antara Raja dan Eksekutif yang diamalkan selama ini.
Ianya akan menjadi sesuatu yang amat pincang sekiranya pihak tertentu menggunakan Istana bagi maksud mencapai matlamat pembangunan hartanah, yang selama ini tidak mudah atau mungkin sukar jika ianya melalui sistem saluran sediada bagi proses kelulusan. Ini kerana sistem sediada memberikan banyak ruang dan peringkat bagi Eksekutif (melalui MB dan Exco Kerajaan Negeri Johor) dan pegawai JCS melalui jawatankuasa yang diujudkan untuk memperhalusi sebarang cadangan pembangunan sebelum inaya diluluskan.
LPHJ akan memberikan ruang agar kelulusan pembangunan hartanah selepas ini dianggap sebagai salah guna kuasa dan eksploitasi dalam amalan dan sistem sebelum ini.
Laporan Utusan Malaysia:
Mendorong rakyat tidak hormati raja – Tun M
KUALA LUMPUR 6 Jun – Bekas Perdana Menteri, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad (gambar) berpendapat, penglibatan institusi beraja dalam pentadbiran kerajaan negeri dikhuatiri mendorong kepada perasaan tidak menghormati institusi itu dalam kalangan rakyat.
Beliau berkata, walaupun secara umumnya masyarakat Melayu setia bersama institusi beraja, tetapi apabila keupayaan untuk mempertahankan institusi itu terhakis, mereka mungkin meninggalkan adat berkenaan.
“Sudah ada perasaan tidak menghormati raja-raja. Ini boleh membawa kepada lain-lain bentuk perbuatan tidak hormat. Walaupun secara umumnya orang Melayu setia bersama institusi beraja, apabila keupayaan mereka untuk mempertahankan terhakis, mereka mungkin melepaskan adat,” kata beliau dalam blognya http://chedet.cc hari ini.
Akhbar hari ini melaporkan bahawa kerajaan negeri Johor dijadualkan membentang satu rang undang-undang baharu dalam sidang Dewan Undangan Negeri (DUN), Isnin depan yang akan memberi kuasa kepada Sultan Johor, Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar untuk terlibat dalam pentadbiran kerajaan negeri.
Mengulas lanjut, Dr. Mahathir menjelaskan, Perlembagaan boleh diubah tetapi terdapat prosedur untuk berbuat demikian dan tiada siapa yang boleh mengubahnya secara bersendirian.
Malah katanya, kerajaan-kerajaan negeri dan pemerintahnya tidak boleh mengubah Perlembagaan tanpa kelulusan Parlimen dan Kerajaan Persekutuan.
“Perlembagaan Malaysia memperuntukkan sistem Raja Berperlembagaan dan Demokrasi Berparlimen. Sejak akhir-akhir ini terdapat kecenderungan untuk mengabaikan Perlembagaan dan mengubahnya secara berkesan melalui kaedah lain.
“Jika Perlembagaan tidak diendahkan oleh sesiapa, yang lain akan mengikut langkah tersebut. Perlembagaan merupakan asas undang-undang negara. Apabila duluan dibuat, ia akan menjadi asas kepada perubahan yang lain,” katanya.
Dr. Mahathir turut melihat terdapat sesetengah pihak menggunakan institusi raja untuk mengatasi dasar serta matlamat negara.
“Orang-orang seperti itu mesti dihentikan terutama apabila mereka adalah orang asing.
“Saya akan menulis lebih lanjut mengenainya tetapi ketika Majlis Negeri Johor akan mengubah peraturan tertentu, saya anggap adalah perlu bagi rakyat untuk menyedari terdapat percubaan untuk mengubah Perlembagaan secara efektif,” katanya.
Artikel Penuh: http://www.utusan.com.my/utusan/Dalam_Negeri/20140607/dn_03/Mendorong-rakyat-tidak-hormati-raja—Tun-M#ixzz33x6UmgJq
© Utusan Melayu (M) Bhd
Ini akan memberikan lebih ruang bagi majoriti rakyat untuk merasa tidak puas hati dan kepentingan mereka diabaikan demi menjaga kepentingan orang tertentu, terutama golongan yang mempunyai kuasa modal yang besar dan boleh mempengaruhi anggota anggota LPHJ untuk meluluskan cadangan pembangunan mereka.
Setakat ini, pembangunan pesat sekitar Johor Bahru, Iskandar Malaysia dan Greater Johor Bahru merupakan haratanah kategori premium dan mahal dan makin luar dari kemampuan majoriti rakyat Selatan Johor senderi.
Dalam pada itu, lebih banyak projek projek hartanah ini dilanggan oleh orang asing. Ada yang beranggapan bahawa kawasan Greater Johor Bahru sedang melalui proses ‘Pencinaan’.
Sesuai dengan Hari Keputeraan Rasmi Seri Paduka Baginda Yang DiPertuan Agong, konsep sebenar pengasingan kuasa antara Raja dan Eksekutif dibawah amalan sistem Raja Berperlembagaan perlu dikekalkan, agar rakyat terus menerima Raja itu sebagai penaung Perlembagaan dan kepentingan mereka.
Lebih ramai warga Johor tampil untuk memberikan pendapat mengenai LPHJ 2014 ini.
YTL International Power Bhd. should explain and clarify in full disclosure, based on principles of transparency and best business practices about its majority holding in the company called SIPP Power Sdn. Bhd. SIPP Energy Sdn. Bhd. received a letter from the Energy Commission (EC)very recently for the development of the new Pasir Gudang power plant.
SIPP Energy is the 30% shareholder in SIPP Power. Search in Suruhanjaya Syarikat Malaysia (SSM) shown that HRH Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar, Sultan Johor is the majority (51%) shareholder of SIPP Energy.
Majority (3 out of 5) of SIPP Power Directors are siblings of YTL International Power Bhd. Managing Director Tan Sri Francis Yeoh and executives within the YTL Group.
Francis Yeoh currently is the market talk, where his “Capital Cronyism” statements recently which he said to about 200 participants of a forum organised by the Performance Management and Delivery Unit (PEMANDU) of the Prime Minister’s Department. It invited overwhelming negative reaction, considering that he contradicts his own company’s history and current business operations.
Probably he would like to also explain the proposed contract to produce power from this combined cycle power plant which is believed to be for 21 years, from the scheduled date of commercial operational which was reported to be in June 2018.
In would be interesting to know what is the formula and rate for the power produced by this plant, which would be undertaken by TNB Distribution. Considering this is direct negotiated deal, it is expected that bigger transparency would be demanded from the Malaysian public.
Of course, in the bigger scheme of things the relationship, role and structure of SIPP Power Sdn. Bhd. to the new Pasir Gudang combine cycle power plant aka Project 4A, since it is believed the EC letter was sent to SIPP Energy Sdn. Bhd. and was expected to reply within 14 days.
Again as we stated yesterday, a lot at stake in this.
TNB disclosed to Bursa Malaysia that the public listed GLC which primary activity is power generation and distribution yet to decide to go with YTL Power-SIPP Energy for the development of Project 4A power plant in Pasir Gudang.
The Star story:
Published: Tuesday June 3, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Tuesday June 3, 2014 MYT 6:57:25 AM
TNB yet to decide on Johor project
PETALING JAYA: Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB) has yet to decide on jointly developing Project 4A, a power plant with a capacity of between 1,000 and 1,400 MW to be constructed in Pasir Gudang, Johor, scheduled to be operational in June 2018.
In a statement to Bursa Malaysia yesterday, TNB said it had received a conditional letter of award from the Energy Commission (EC) and had been given until July 25 to respond to the offer.
“TNB is currently evaluating the offer as well as TNB’s role in the project. TNB shall make further announcements once a decision has been made,” the statement said.
Meanwhile, in a separate announcement, YTL Power International Bhd confirmed that it had received a letter of award from the EC for the development of a 1,000-MW combined-cycle power plant.
The proposed combined-cycle gas turbine (CCGT) power plant, which is a fast-track development known as Project 4A, has been awarded to SIPP Energy Sdn Bhd, with the participation of YTL Power and TNB as consortium members. It is reported that SIPP Energy is linked to the Sultan of Johor.
The inclusion of all three parties under a consortium and the award, the EC said, was based on their ability to offer “competitive rates” in the recently concluded tender exercise. The EC, however, did not disclose any details on the tariff and shareholding structure of the consortium.
While analysts are positive on TNB securing Project 4A together with other parties, they opined that it was another step backward in the EC’s commitment to reforming the power industry.
“Although TNB has been a beneficiary in the award of Project 4A, the process of direct negotiation is another step backwards in the EC’s commitment to reforming the power industry with an emphasis on transparency and meritocracy,” PublicInvest Research said in a report.
StarBizWeek had reported last week that the new power plant would be awarded based on a direct negotiation basis, and that the benchmark for Project 4A was the 34.7 sen per kilowatt-hour (kWh) tariff of the new 1,071-MW Prai CCGT power plant.
On the same day, the EC offered “a conditional award” for the development of a new power plant in Johor to a consortium made up of all three prominent bidders of the project.
PublicInvest pointed out that all eyes will be on the upcoming tariff review in mid-2014. It said if a tariff review failed to materialise, then TNB might need to absorb the extra costs incurred by the increased gas generation and higher liquefied natural gas prices of RM45 per million metric British thermal units (mmBtu) as opposed to RM41.68 per mmBtu provided in the last tariff revision in December 2013.
“We estimate the project will cost between RM2.5bil and RM3.5bil, based on the cost of the Prai CCGT power plant which TNB won in 2012. While the tariff has not been disclosed, the EC has stated that the award was conditional upon a comparable levelised tariff, with the Prai CCGT’s winning bid of 34.7 sen per kWh as reference,” it noted.
Nonetheless, PublicInvest believes that earnings contribution to TNB, while positive, will not be significant, given the joint-venture structure of the project and TNB’s generation capacity which will be close to 15,000 MW by 2018.
RHB Research said the announcement came as a surprise, given that the EC chairman Datuk Abdul Razak Abdul Majid had earlier reaffirmed that the award of Project 4A would be done on an open bidding practice.
“While this came as a surprise, we believe the inclusion of TNB as part of the consortium should help to ensure the interest of the national utility company,” it said.
Nonetheless, it said the latest decision came after the EC’s move to bring forward the operational date of Project 4A to 2018 from 2020. “To accelerate the implementation, we deem this a necessary move,” the research house said.
RHB Research estimates the project’s internal rate of return (IRR) at around 10%-12%, against the usual high single-digit returns under an open bidding environment.
Meanwhile, Hong Leong Investment Bank Research was positively surprised with the inclusion of TNB into the equation, which acts as the check-and-balance party to ensure the new power purchase agreement (PPA) only earns a justifiable return on investment or equity.
It noted that the IRR for the Prai CCGT is expected at around 8%, substantially lower than the first-generation PPAs’ of more than 15%. It added that based on an IRR of 8%, the new PPA is expected to provide a value-add of RM240mil.
“However, no detail of the equity stake breakdown was provided. Should we assume similar stakes by each party, then TNB and YTL Power will enjoy an additional RM80mil (in revenue) or 14 sen per share and 10 sen a share, respectively,” it said.
It is very interesting that the question of “EC’s commitment of reforming the power industry with an emphasis on transparency and meritocracy” has been mentioned in this report. It is as if the winner of the project got it through open tender.
The award of this project is believed was not made through tender but instead negotiations.
28 May 2014| last updated at 12:51AM
Direct negotiations for new power award?
By ZAIDI ISHAM ISMAIL | firstname.lastname@example.org
1,400MW JOHOR PLANT: Talk is rife that YTL Power-led consortium will get project
THE Energy Commission is expected to award either the Track 4A or 4B power plant projects via direct negotiations and not through competitive bidding, as has been the practice since 2012.
An industry source said speculation is rife that a consortium led by YTL Power International Bhd will bag the multi-billion ringgit project.
The source said the commission is expected to release a letter of award to a private company for the contract to build a 1,400 megawatt closed-cycle gas turbine power plant in Johor, to be completed in 2018.
“The commission has also told grid owner (Tenaga Nasional Bhd) to do whatever necessary to expedite the completion of the southern line 500-kilovolt link.”
The yet-to-be completed southern link, which links Lenggeng in Negri Sembilan to Yong Peng in Johor, will provide the interconnection between the new power plant and the national grid.
“Although the commission was told officially last year that the southern link can be completed by December 2019, it now wants an earlier completion date.”
Its officials could not be reached for comments.
Meanwhile, a source said the whole development is untenable as TNB definitely cannot sign the power purchase agreement while knowing that the southern link may not be completed before the new power plant starts generating electricity.
“If TNB were to do that, it would end up paying capacity payments for power that it couldn’t evacuate.”
Capacity payments are payments made by TNB to independent power producers for the extra power generated irregardless if it is used, or not, by consumers
The new development is in stark contrast with the commission’s previous stance, which, in late October 2012, introduced a competitive and transparent tender system in commissioning new power plants in order to promote a more efficient energy sector.
Its chairman Datuk Abdul Razak Abdul Majid had said earlier this month that multi-billion ringgit power plant projects under Track 4A and 4B will be awarded via competitive bidding.
So far, the commission has awarded contracts to build Track 1, 2, 3A and 3B through such a bidding process.
Business Times last month reported that preparation works are in progress for the construction of Track 4A and 4B.
The construction, which will cost a combined RM8 billion to RM10 billion, was expected to start by the middle of next year.
Read more: Direct negotiations for new power award? – Today’s Paper – New Straits Times http://www.nst.com.my/business/todayspaper/direct-negotiations-for-new-power-award-1.606448#ixzz33hQIT17c
The what is interesting is that owner and Managing Director of YTL International Power Bhd. Tan Sri Francis Yeoh is aloud talking about “Crony Capitalism” and need not to “Kowtow to Prime Ministers” in their business operations the United Kingdom, Australia and Singapore.
The Malay Mail story:
Crony capitalism in Malaysia has to go, son of YTL founder says (VIDEO)
BY MELISSA CHI JUNE 3, 2014
UPDATED: JUNE 03, 2014 04:15 PM
KUALA LUMPUR, June 3 — Malaysia has to free itself from the constraints of “crony capitalism” and stop racial and religious rhetoric in order to compete on the global stage, business tycoon Tan Sri Francis Yeoh said today.
The group managing director at YTL Corporation and eldest son of founder, billionaire Tan Sri Yeoh Tiong Lay said 85 per cent of YTL’s business are in Britain, Singapore and Australia because these countries do not tolerate corruption, practice meritocracy and stand for the rule of law.
“For example in Singapore, we own a third of Singapore’s electricity, there is no subsidy of any kind, there is no cronyism of any type.
“The good thing about these three territories, I don’t have to kowtow to the prime minister before I do deal(s), I don’t have to see them even, even after I’ve won the deal.
“I turn west because of this transparent, coherent regulatory framework,” he said during Pemandu’s Global Malaysia Series at the Securities Commission.
Yeoh said the country’s leaders have to get rid of all racial and religious rhetoric, and focus instead on the economy to improve the lives of Malaysians.
As far as non-Bumiputera small and medium enterprises (SME) go, he said they “absolutely have no chance” to even fight “for the crumbs” as they are already at the low end of the food chain.
“I don’t think you’ll have a chance. Even in Petronas contracts, if (you are) a non-bumi you won’t get to do anything, for example,” he said in response to a question from the audience.
Yeoh said the SMEs would have to rethink their business strategies, be innovative, and use more technology and try to get global exposure.
“Like me, I had to survive so 85 per cent of my business (is) outside, I had to invent a lot of the stuff, for my own self-interest, to make sure I survive.
“I don’t depend on the largesse of the government. I can’t, SMEs more so,” he said.
Despite that, Yeoh said it is up to the prime minister to do away with “crony capitalism” for the future of the country.
“I think this crony capitalism stuff has to go. It’s 20 years old this idea, I think we should replace it with new, fresh, truthful idea.
“Now Malaysia demands a leader in Najib… to really be a Churchill, or be a Tun Razak like his father,” he said.
When asked about how his “close links” with former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had contributed to YTL’s successes, Yeoh denied being the latter’s “crony” and credited the company’s achievements to “innovation”.
“At that time… I think up till today, almost 21 years later, people still think I’m a crony of Mahathir’s.
“People think I’ve got a very fat, lucrative contract from Tenaga, [but] I think it’s about time the truth comes out that we actually were very innovative,” he said.
The 59-year-old said when Dr Mahathir introduced YTL as the first independent power producer (IPP), the then prime minister had already been pushing for privatisation.
Yeoh claimed to have given the idea to Dr Mahathir after the major national blackout in 1992.
“We made profit from day one by this incredible innovation of inventing the bond market, inventing IPC (infrastructure project company) listing, financing it in ringgit that indirectly made Malaysia able to withstand financial crisis,” he said.
Francis Yeoh is rather arrogant when he said this “I don’t depend on the largesse of the government”.
The “Thirteen Million Ringgit Plus” question here is that did YTL Power exercise best business practices and transparency in their bids for these new power plants from the Energy Commission (EC)?
YTL Power is controlled by Non Bumiputra owners and executives. Against Francis Yeoh’s own statement, the company which is the bigger partner in the consortium obtained an award from EC for Project 4A.
Francis Yeoh should ensure that YTL Power refrain from bidding all these packages of new power plants from EC, since he felt very strongly against “Capital Cronysim” and the policy for Bumiputra preferred concessions and awards by the Federal Government. After all by his own admission, 85% of YTL Power business comes from outside Malaysia where it is more market economy based on “Innovation and use more technology”.
Yet, YTL Power partnered with totally unknown SIPP Energy Sdn. Bhd., which has no track record in power generation, distribution, transmission nor management to bid for this project.
What is more interesting, search with Suruhanjaya Syarikat Malaysia shown that the majority shareholding of SIPP Energy is held directly by HRH Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar, Sultan of Johor (51%) and where else the other directors are the remaining shareholders (each 24.5%). The director is Dato’ Daing Malek Daing Abdul Rahaman, someone who is believed to be closely linked to the palace.
It is unsure what is the qualification for SIPP Energy to bid and what were the merit points that the consortium be awarded this strategic project. Right before Kembara Bumi Suci, Datuk Rocky blogged about SIPP Energy-YTL Power lost to 1MDB for the Project 3B coal fired power plant.
So what is this really about when Francis Yeoh proudly said “I think this crony capitalism stuff has to go. It’s 20 years old this idea, I think we should replace it with new, fresh, truthful idea”?
Probably as a PLC, YTL International Power Bhd. would want to explain the contradiction of Tan Sri Francis Yeoh’s statement which was published in The Malay Mail and The Star report about the consortium which received an award letter from the Energy Commission to develop and build the RM3.5 billion power plant in Pasir Gudang.
A lot is at stake here. Especially, perception and eventually, the truth.
Russia and China sealed a very large energy deal, in Russian President Vlaidimir Putin’s second day official visit to China. Gazprom would be supplying natural gas to CNPC for an amount believed to be USD400 billion over the next 30 years.
21 May 2014 Last updated at 12:58
Russia signs 30-year gas deal with China
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has signed a multi-billion dollar, 30-year gas deal with China.
The deal between Russia’s Gazprom and China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) has been 10 years in the making.
Russia has been keen to find an alternative energy market for its gas as it faces the possibility of European sanctions over the crisis in Ukraine.
No official price has been given but it is estimated to be worth over $400bn.
President Putin said in a statement to the Russian news channel Rossiya: “The price is satisfactory for both sides.
“It is tied, like it is envisaged in all our international contracts with Western partners, specifically our partners in Western Europe, to the market price on oil and oil products. It is an absolutely calibrated, general formula for pricing.”
Gazprom shares rose 2% on the news.
How significant is the deal?
The agreement, signed at a summit in Shanghai, is expected to deliver some 38 billion cubic metres of natural gas a year eastward to China’s burgeoning economy, starting around 2018.
The main argument has been over price and China is thought to have been driving a hard bargain.
Over the last 10 years it has found other gas suppliers. Turkmenistan is now China’s largest foreign gas supplier, and last year it started importing piped natural gas from Myanmar.
Alexei Miller, Chief Executive of Gazprom said the new deal was “the biggest contract in the entire history of the USSR and Gazprom – over 1 trillion cubic metres of gas will be supplied during a whole contractual period.”
Analysis: Jamie Robertson, BBC News
The gas deal between Russia and China was signed at 04:00 China time, which gives some indication of the level of urgency over these talks. Mr Putin appears to have been determined not to leave Shanghai without a deal – and he got one.
But the financial details are a “commercial secret”, so we don’t know how much he had to give away to get it. Certainly China needs the gas to help it cut its coal-fired smog levels, and it wants to diversify supply. But it had the luxury of time in which to negotiate, something Mr Putin was short of.
The perceived motive for the deal is that Russia needs a second market for its gas, so it can face up to European sanctions. Given that the “Power of Siberia” pipeline won’t start pumping gas into Chinese factories until 2018 at the earliest, its economic effect on the European crisis will be limited.
More important may be the investment that China will make into Russia’s power and transport infrastructure. Putin may not have managed to sign the most advantageous of gas deals on Wednesday but the opening of economic doors with China could well be the greater achievement.
Rain Newton-Smith, head of emerging markets at Oxford Economics, said: “The whole tenet of the deal has a symbolic value – it says that the two countries are prepared to work with one another. For instance there were other elements such as Chinese participation in Russian transport infrastructure and power generation.
“It is similar in many ways to China’s investments in Africa where they drive a hard bargain over the price of raw materials but then provide infrastructure for the economies they are doing business with.
Jonathan Marcus, the BBC’s defence and diplomatic correspondent said tensions between Russia and the west were not just over Ukraine: “There are fundamental differences over Syria and about the whole direction in which President Vladimir Putin is taking his country.
“Thus this deal could symbolise an important moment of transition – when both in economic and geo-political terms, Russia’s gaze begins to look more towards the East than towards the West.”
Another sticking point on the deal has been the construction of pipelines into China.
Currently there is one complete pipeline that runs across Russia’s Far East to the Chinese border, called The Power of Siberia. It was started in 2007, three years after Gazprom and CNPC signed their initial agreement in 2004.
But financing the $22-30bn cost of sending it into China has been central to the latest discussions.
China is Russia’s largest single trading partner, with bilateral trade flows of $90bn (£53bn) in 2013.
The two neighbours aim to double the volume to $200bn in 10 years.
The deal inked after a ten year initiative is the largest energy deal in the world.
Meanwhile, this first visit since China President Ji Xinping came into power also renewed the ‘Eastern Bloc military co-operation’.
The Guardian story:
Putin looks to improve China relations amid rising tensions with the west
China trip interpreted as part of a pivot toward Asia, coming after multiple rounds of sanctions from the US, EU and Japan
Alec Luhn in Moscow
theguardian.com, Tuesday 20 May 2014 21.18 BST
Chinese president Xi Jinping holds a welcoming ceremony for Russian president Vladimir Putin after his arrival in Beijing. Photograph: Xinhua /Landov / Barcroft Media
Vladimir Putin arrived in China on Tuesday set on increasing cooperation after Russia’s relations with the west soured over the Ukraine crisis. But Beijing holds far more cards at the negotiating table, and the most significant deal, a gas export agreement, had yet to be signed as the visit wound down.
Meanwhile, the two countries began joint military exercises in the East China Sea in a clear show of strength against Japan, a western ally that has long-running territorial disputes with both Russia and China.
Coming after multiple rounds of sanctions from the United States, the European Union and Japan, Putin’s China trip has been interpreted as part of a pivot toward Asia.
“This is where it’s important for Putin to demonstrate that he has other centres of geopolitical power to turn to … to demonstrate to domestic society and to the international community that relations with the west are not as important as people think,” said Vladimir Milov, a former deputy energy minister who is now director of the Moscow-based Institute of Energy Policy. “He wants to show he has partner in the east. If the west doesn’t want our energy, then we’ll sell it to China.”
“The US sanctions upgrade China’s importance to Russia as the one major economy in the world that is not susceptible to the US-led sanctions drive,” wrote Carnegie Moscow Centre director Dmitri Trenin in a post published on Monday.
Closer ties between Moscow and Beijing have been expected since long before the Ukraine crisis, however. Russia has been looking eastward to diversify its energy customers since Europe, which gets 24% of its gas from Russia, is expected to reduce its dependence. A new foreign policy concept published by the Russian government in 2013 noted the importance of friendly relations with China and India, and Russia and China have often joined together to oppose the western members of the United Nations security council.
Nonetheless, trade has remained relatively small at $89bn in 2013, and Russia has not been able to ink a gas export deal that has been in the works since 2006. Moscow has long been resistant to allowing Chinese investment in strategic oil and gas infrastructure in Russia.
But that informal ban has reportedly been lifted, and in an interview with Chinese media before his trip, Putin said Russia and China were “moving toward the formation of a strategic energy alliance.” He also pledged to increase trade volumes to $200bn by 2020 and said $20bn was being invested in joint projects between the countries.
A number of deals were signed during the visit: Russia’s state-owned United Aircraft Corporation and China’s Comac also signed a memorandum to cooperate on creating a long-distance airliner to compete with Boeing and Airbus, and the Russian Direct Investment Fund announced the construction of a railway bridge across the Amur River between China and Russia. Putin and Xi were also expected to discuss possible arms deals offering China favourable conditions to purchase Russian weapons.
But the centrepiece of the visit was clearly meant to be the long-awaited gas deal, and some of the most powerful men in Russia’s fossil fuels industry reportedly accompanied Putin, including Gazprom head Alexei Miller and recently sanctioned Rosneft head Igor Sechin. The final list of documents signed during the trip, however, didn’t contain the gas agreement.
The sticking point, by all indications, was the price: Although the details are secret, China was reportedly demanding $10-11 per cubic foot of gas, below Gazprom’s typical minimum of $12. Chinese financing is also needed to develop the virgin east Siberian gas fields and build a new pipeline, which will cost tens of billions of dollars.
Milov said he expects Russia to eventually cave to Chinese demands “because it needs the contract more.”
Putin is making this deal “keeping in mind that most of his trade ties are with the west, which is quickly becoming an adversary,” Milov said. “He thinks russia needs to develop new partners and he’s willing to pay for it.”
Meanwhile, military exercises involving a total of 14 ships, two submarines and 15 aircraft began in the East China Sea, near the disputed Senkake Islands controlled by Japan. Ruslan Pukhov, head of the Centre for the Analysis of Strategies and Technologies, said the conditions of the war games were more advantageous for China, but Russia had to accept them due to the “strategic solitude” following the Ukraine crisis.
“Chinese support in Ukraine is tacit, not proactive, but here they are trying to use us to show that we are doing joint exercises against Japan,” Pukhov said. “It’s like two bargaining chips but the Chinese chip is cheaper and smaller than ours.”
“We have powerful enemies but we don’t have powerful friends, that’s why we need the support of such a giant as China,” he added.
The current military exercise off the disputed islands with Japan, Senkaku, is China’s projection of force reciprocity to United States renewed commitment for military backing to Japan during President Barack S. Obama’s visit to East and South East Asia four weeks ago.
It is amazing Sarawakian elected representatives are focused on getting the 20% oil royalty from Federal Government but completely overlooked more pertinent issues relating to the source of these hydrocarbon black gold.
The Star story:
Published: Tuesday May 6, 2014 MYT 7:33:00 PM
Updated: Tuesday May 6, 2014 MYT 7:47:04 PM
Sarawak Assembly passes resolution calling for 20 percent oil royalty
BY SHARON LING
KUCHING: The Sarawak Legislative Assembly has unanimously voted in favour of a resolution to request the Federal Government for an increase in the oil royalty from 5% to 20%.
A motion on the increase was originally tabled by Chong Chieng Jen (DAP-Kota Sentosa) but an amended motion, which included seeking more development grants from the Federal Government aside from the royalty, was subsequently tabled by Abdullah Saidol (BN-Semop) and approved.
Abdullah said his motion was in line with Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem’s recent statement in support of an increased royalty.
“We plan to invite the Federal Government to revisit the royalty arrangement, which includes reviewing the relevant legislation. The Chief Minister’s statement was not mere political rhetoric but a representation of the genuine sentiment of all Sarawakians.
“This motion is about our desire to review the royalty rate to a quantum more favourable to us. It can be also construed as a request for more development funds which we can channel to rural areas where basic needs like electricity, clean water and roads are still needed,” he told the House on Tuesday.
Abdullah added that the state wished to mutually negotiate a revision of the royalty with the aim of achieving a better deal in order to accelerate development.
“We don’t want the Federal government to accommodate our request on humanitarian grounds but must be able to impress upon them that we have the right to be treated equally as a partner when we jointly formed Malaysia,” he said.
However, he said the pursuit of a higher royalty rate must not affect the close working relationship, mutual respect and cordiality between the state and Federal governments.
Meanwhile, Chong said he did not mind that his motion had been amended by a Barisan backbencher.
“Once a motion is passed, it is the House motion. It does not matter who originates the motion. This day we will make a unanimous decision and give our full support even if the motion comes from Barisan.
“What is important is that our state gets this money,” he said.
The more pressing issue that Sarawak politicians should pay attention is China’s more aggressive maneuvres based on their claim of the imaginary Nine-Dash-Line in the South China Sea.
These maneuvres include Peoples’ Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) of China deploying a fully armed task force and ‘staked the claim’ of James Shoal (Beting Serupai), which is 50 nautical miles off the coast of Saarwak.
Areas within this Nine-Dash-Line are where the untapped oil and gas fields are.
Make no mistake about what China’s primary wish on the quest to stake the claim in the South China Sea, on the undefined Nine-Dash-Line. It is about hydrocarbon.
China already started to erect an oil exploration platform 120 miles off the coast of Vietnam, which is deep in Vietnamese EEZ area (as defined under UNCLOS).It is a point of grave controversy, which would reflect China’s oil interests elsewhere.
ENERGY | 5/08/2014 @ 8:00AM |1,803 views
China Thwarts U.S. ‘Containment’ With Vietnam Oil Rig Standoff
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Two weeks ago on his trip to Asia, President Obama drew another red line, declaring that a group of islands, claimed by both Japan and China, were covered by America’s security treaty with Japan. In the Philippines, Obama inked a 10-year agreement to increase U.S. forces there.
Though the president made a point of not visiting China on what some dubbed a “China containment tour,” he insisted “We’re not interested in containing China.”
The Chinese don’t appear to believe him. This week Beijing decided to assert its aggression in the region.
On May 3, China’s state-controlled oil giant Cnooc moved a deepwater drilling rig to a spot just 120 miles off the coast of Vietnam, smack dab in the middle of oil and gas exploration blocks that Vietnam claims as its own and where PetroVietnam and ExxonMobil have discovered big oil and gas reserves.
Vietnam has demanded that Beijing call it off. In the past day Chinese and Vietnamese vessels have been in a standoff near the rig, with Chinese ships reportedly spraying water at the Vietnamese. On May 4, Chinese ships reportedly rammed Vietnamese vessels.
Chinese media quoted a government spokeswoman as insisting that not only had the rig been positioned in Chinese waters near the Paracel Islands, but that Beijing urged Vietnam to stop interfering.
U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Tuesday that Cnooc’s actions were “provocative and unhelpful to the maintenance of peace and stability in the region.”
China’s spokeswoman said, according to Xinhua news service, that the U.S. is in no position to make irresponsible remarks on China’s affairs.
The $1 billion Cnooc 981 rig was the first advanced drillship built in China. ((AP Photo/Xinhua, Jin Liangkuai, File)
Indeed how could anyone seriously believe that the Obama Administration would do anything to thwart the Cnooc rig’s operations. Obama failed to take action when his own red line was crossed in Syria. Vladimir Putin’s cronies laugh at U.S. sanctions imposed after the Crimea takeover. Iraq is hurtling toward civil war. Iran is ever closer to the bomb.
Ernest Bower and Gregory Polling of the Center For Strategic & International Studies summed it up in their analysis yesterday (see their entire piece, with maps, here):
The implications of these developments are significant. The fact that the Chinese moved ahead in placing their rig immediately after President Obama’s visit to four Asian countries in late April underlines Beijing’s commitment to test the resolve of Vietnam, its ASEAN neighbors and Washington. Beijing may also be attempting to substantially change the facts on the seas by moving while it perceives Washington to be distracted by Russian aggression inUkraine, developments in Nigeria, and Syria. If China believes Washington is distracted, in an increasingly insular and isolationist mood and unwilling to back up relatively strong security assertions made to Japan and the Philippines and repeated during President Obama’s trip, these developments south of the Paracel Islands could have long term regional and global consequences.
Analysts in China see it pretty much the same way. In an op-ed in China Daily, Liu Weidong wrote:
Although Obama claimed the U.S. was not trying to contain China, what he has done shows clearly it is. …
The U.S.’ intention of returning to the Asian-Pacific region is to achieve a balance in favor of the US, and that was the main goal of Obama’s Asia trip this time. But this is an unbalanced approach because it is in favor of the countries that have disputes with China, so China is forced to seek a counterbalance. Obama’s unprecedented promise to support Japan in the territorial dispute with China over islands in the East China Sea is enough to show the US’ concern over China’s new legally established Air Defence Identification Zone in the East China Sea. Also facing frustrations in Syria and Crimea, the US is becoming unreasonably tough with China in a bid to maintain its image as the undisputed global leader.
Objectively speaking, the U.S.’ rebalancing strategy in the Asia-Pacific region is aimed at achieving a strategic balance between China and Japan that will prevent war between them but also prevent their reconciliation. It will also make both countries woo the US, which will help reinforce the U.S.’ dominant position as an “offshore balancer”.
It’s not the first time China has invaded the Paracel Islands with a drilling rig. It did the same thing back in 2012, at which time Cnooc Chairman Wang Yilin said, “Large deepwater drilling rigs are our mobile national territory and strategic weapon for promoting the development of the country’s offshore oil industry.” Taking him literally, it means that Cnooc’s drilling rigs are akin to ships in the Chinese Navy.
No one expects the Obama administration to respond to China’s aggression. But it’s worth keeping in mind that in its $19 billion acquisition of Canada-based Nexen last year, Cnooc acquired some 200 exploration leases in the Gulf of Mexico. Those leases were altered as a condition of U.S. approval of the deal, with Cnooc forced to give up operatorship of the blocks. But if Cnooc really considers its drilling rigs “mobile national territory” then perhaps the Federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management should apply some special scrutiny when Cnooc and its partners request permits to drill off U.S. shores.
Probably Sarawak elected representatives should be more concerned in providing the Federal Government the full support to ward of China’s claim on what is clearly part of Malaysia’s EEZ as defined by the United Nations Convention Law of the Seas (UNCLOS). Rather than trying to gain political mileage of being champion against the formula which Sarawak already proven to immensely benefitted.
Kelantan, which is under PAS control, is reaffirming their stake for the 20% oil royalty after the Sarawak State Assembly resolution.
Sin Chew Jit Poh story:
After Sarawak, Kelantan now seeks 20% oil royalty
News 2014-05-08 13:47
The country’s first inland oil well on Canada Hill, Miri, Sarawak. Photo courtesy: Sin Chew Daily
Translated by DOMINIC LOH
Sin Chew Daily
May 7, Sin Chew Daily — The Sarawak state legislative assembly passed a resolution to seek to increase the current oil royalty from the federal government from 5% to 20%, and this has set a precedent for other oil-producing states which are seeking to do the same.
Kelantan state assemblyman Datuk Husam Musa said the Sarawak motion was a courageous landmark move and he believed other states would soon follow suit, asking the federal government to increase their oil royalties to 20%.
“There are four oil-producing states in the country, namely Kelantan, Terengganu, Sabah and Sarawak. These four states have helped create tremendous wealth annually for the federal government, collectively contributing some 48% of the government’s revenue. However, these four states remain the poorest, which is ironical.”
The Salor state assemblyman cum PAS vice president told Sin Chew Daily it is time for the federal government and Petronas to review the oil revenue distribution structure. Besides higher oil royalties, Husam said these four states should also be entitled to shares in Petronas.
“Currently Petronas is 100% controlled by the federal government. We want the federal government to distribute the company’s shares to the state governments.”
Petronas stopped disbursing oil royalty to the Kelantan state government since 2005, owing the state government some RM1.7 billion of oil royalty every year.
Husam said there are several oil producing areas in Kelantan, and based on the state government’s estimates four years ago, the Kelantan/Thailand offshore area alone generates some US$8.5 billion (RM25.1 billion) in oil revenue annually. If the state government is entitled to 5% of oil royalty, that would be approximately RM1.7 billion every year.
On August 30. 2010, the state government filed a suit at the High Court against Petronas and the federal government for breaching the contract while pursuing the unpaid royalties owed by the federal government since 1998. Petronas signed the agreements in 1974 with all state governments to pay 5% oil royalties to the state governments annually.
“I believe the number of MPs from these four states is enough to get the Parliament to amend the relevant act,” Husam said.
The irony is that unlike Sarawak’s oil and gas fields, areas where oil being extracted off the coast of Kelantan, is not part of China’s claim on the Nine-Dash-Line.
In the final analysis, no one in Malaysia would benefit from Sarawak politicians’ insistence for the seemingly ‘Penny wise, pound foolish’ on the controversial oil royalty issue when where this reside which is part of Malaysia’s EEZ would be taken away lock, stock and barrel by China through the means of deadly force.
Young professional Malays who are aspired to be liberal and taking on the path of ‘universal language’ of issues such as transparency, market economy, open opportunities and globalisation themselves must first be practical in the context of the realism of everyday Malaysia, before they come out to give their goodie-two-shoes one liners.
Riong Kali dot com story:
Putrajaya still seen as corrupt, as people sceptical of government’s anti-graft efforts
BY ELIZABETH ZACHARIAH
APRIL 29, 2014
Most Malaysians are sceptical of Putrajaya’s efforts to eradicate corruption and practise integrity despite its efforts to pursue such an agenda, an analyst told a forum today.
Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS) chief executive officer Wan Saiful Wan Jan (pic) said most people were convinced that corruption and abuse of power were still a critical issue in Malaysia despite the government’s initiatives to work on them.
“Corruption is still an issue. So, despite the government’s initiatives, people still feel the country is corrupt.
“There is great scepticism of how serious the government is in pursuing this,” he said at a forum on integrity at the Malaysian Institute of Integrity in Kuala Lumpur.
He said the high level of scepticism of the government’s efforts indicated that it was because there were no real efforts to actually eradicate corruption within the government and its departments and agencies.
“It is just like when the government talked about moderation and set up the Global Movement of Moderates (GMM), which is a very good initiative to take the moderation agenda to an international level,” Wan Saiful said, referring to the think tank mooted by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak in 2010.
“But people are making jokes about GMM. They are saying, why promote moderation outside Malaysia when there are extremists in the country that the government is not doing anything about?”
It is also because we have strong separation of powers (judiciary and executive) as well as a strong culture of apolitical public administration. – Danish Ambassador Nicolai Ruge
Malaysians, he added, are tired of politicians from both sides of the divide who demand accountability but were corrupt themselves.
Other panelists of the forum included Media Prima chairman Datuk Johan Jaafar and the Danish Ambassador to Malaysia Nicolai Ruge, who said an inclusive political culture was one of the reasons why Denmark had the lowest corruption level in the world.
Denmark tied with New Zealand to take the number 1 spot as the least corrupt countries in the world in last year’s Corruption Perception Index by Transparency International, scoring 91 out of 100 points.
Malaysia scored 50 to rank at number 53 out of 177 countries surveyed.
“It is also because we have strong separation of powers (judiciary and executive) as well as a strong culture of apolitical public administration,” he said.
In his speech afterwards, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of governance and integrity Datuk Paul Low said the people are demanding greater accountability and transparency from the government as there is an increased awareness of corruption.
“Expectations are higher than in the past. Especially when a society is placed in desperation where the livelihood of the people is at risk through political oppression and corruption.
“The people are prepared to go to the streets to express their anger and to rise up against a failed regime. We have seen this in the Arab Spring uprising, in Greece and recently in Ukraine,” the former Transparency International-Malaysia president said. – April 27, 2014.
The fact is that many of people who grouse about ‘corruption’ are themselves are direct and indirect parties of corrupt practices. This include unfair competition and some degree some discrimination, be it monetary or no tariff.
It is the Non Malays, particularly the Chinese who are very loud about ‘corruption’ in any business scene in Malaysia. In actual fact, more often than not they are the ‘givers’ in any deal where corruption or favourtism practices are committed.
Denmark is amongst top countries on the low-corruption list, for many reasons. The country is a nation where the socio-economic system is socialist in nature and everything is provided for. Thus, the dire drive of entrepreneursim isn’t as pressing in states where the people have to survive and going into business is the only way since there are limited opportunities for them to earn from the government.
More over, it is also conveniently because very few Chinese live and do business in that country.
Wan Saiful also must admit that he was given opportunity to get education abroad with full scholarship is because he is a Malay and benefitted immensely from the New Economic Policy, something where majority of the Non Malays want to see end. He is not someone from families which is below poverty line and yet he benefitted from a policy which was designed to eradicate poverty and economic activity ascertained to a particular ethnic group.
‘Corruption’ is a a growing negative perception which had been continuously echoed if not manipulated as the Opposition propaganda. The irony is that, the Opposition themselves are not free from corruption and favourtism practices.
Take in Penang for instance. The Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, who is also the Secretary General for Chinese Chauvinist DAP still has yet to prove that his administration is free from for corrupt practices, which is evidently clear in the Bayan Mutiara project.
So is the Kuala Sementa sand mining project in Selangor and the deal is not without many PKR top echelon dirty hands.
Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim, himself is the father and lord protector of cronyism practices when he was the Minister of Finance and Deputy Prime Minister for more than seven years. IPP licenses and deals were harvested, secret deals to take over banks such as Phileo Allied Bank, Hong Leong Bank and KUBB were all engineered by him and his able lieutenants.
That is not withstanding the many deals made from IPOs, which were rampant during his days as the MOF Supremo and his cronies where the masters in Securities Commission, Bank Negara and then KLSE.
Being an undischarged convict, Anwar would have lost all his entitlement having served as Deputy Prime Minister and several Ministry as Minister in terms of pensions and other retirement benefits. And yet, he lives in luxury in a west suburb of affluent KLites and maintained a team of high value counsellors for the past fifteen and a half years of various court cases.
The NGO which Wan Saiful represented IDEAS is forever unfair and unbalanced in their opinion. Never once any of them mentioned about Anwar Ibrahim’s criminal tendencies of buggering his aides such as Azizan Abu Bakar, Sukma Dharma Saasmitatmadja and Anees Munawar, which have been proven in courts of law and propensity to abuse power.
It is a fact that Anwar also manipulated the judiciary and the process for seeking justice in all the cases which was brought by His Majesty’s prosectors against him, for various criminal charges. The latest is the sodomy case where he was charged when his aide Mohd. Saiful Bukhary Azlan made a police report for being buggered by then the Adviser of PKR.
Anwar mocked the judiciary process with all sorts of drama, in and outside the court and pre-empted every step in the case through his well networked international media is the tone and excuse that he has been presecuted because of politics. That is an absolute lie and Anwar manipulated the courts, judiciary process with his careful play of perception especially through international media, to wiggle himself out as being a political victim.
This is one of the major contributor in the diminished perception game for Malaysia, its system and the Federal Government and all its agencies.
IDEAS, which is supposed to be full of the more educated, astute and affluent Malaysians, actually failed to raise all these lies and manipulation by Anwar and his band of bandits. Instead, the NGO with limited members (only to a small group of friends) perpetuated and expanded the Oppositions’ lies and manipulation, especially through intellectual discourse.
Probably, they are naive if not actually that intellectual.
Then again, Tunku Abidin who is the co-founder of IDEAS has proven his tendencies to be obtuse-minded and getting the facts wrong especially chronologically through history in any which way he looked at it, despite being in the full means to learn the truth as it happened from living legends.
If the future of Malaysia wrest of the hands of people like Wan Saiful and his likeminded obtuse-minded dreamers, that expect a not so bright Malaysia especially for the majority who are a lot less fortunate than them.