The sum of all fears

Some of us were invited to have a private session with Fourth Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, about a week after he lashed his critics against Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohd. Najib Tun Razak and openly asked the Sixth Prime Minister to go.

We heard from the Fifth UMNO President’s own mouth on the points he had in his head, considering that he has been complaining   (in private) about the eldest son of the former’s political idol for quite a bit now.

“I cannot be seen as disagreeing with everyone”, a consistent phrase he had reminded us for a few times in our private engagements over more than two years.

 PM Najib's first GE: BN fared worse than 12GE despite UMNO gaining 9MPs more. MCA lost 8MPs where else Dap gained extra 10MPs


PM Najib’s first GE: BN fared worse than 12GE despite UMNO gaining 9 more MPs. MCA lost 8MPs where else DAP gained extra 10MPs

Despite, Tun Dr. Mahathir kept this thoughts to himself threw his relentless support, to ensure BN win big in 13GE. He was out campaigning, as if he was still an active politician.

He was all over Kedah. He was in Johor Bahru. He was in Selangor. He was on stage, to lend Ku Nan’s bid for Putrajaya Parliamentary seat. He even campaigned for unknown Dr. Mazlan Ismail, in his attempt to defeat Anwar Ibrahim in Permatang Pauh.

He also did say that if Prime Minister Najib fared worse than his predecessor, in all fairness, then he should go. Over all, BN did worse in 13GE as compared to 12GE despite wrestling Perak and Kedah back from the Opposition.

At the State Assemblies in 13GE

At the State Assemblies in 13GE. The one time UMNO/BN ‘fixed deposit’ saw the impairment of quarter of DUN seats where else it was a very thin margin in Terengganu and Perak

Particularly in Selangor, where Prime Minister Najib then was BN and UMNO Liaison Chief. UMNO saw the reduction from 21 to 12 ADUNs and BN only manage to scathe with five MPs.

Now, the good doctor penned what he said to us in private for the benefit of all.

We are not sure what is the plan now since UMNO party elections is so far away. What is immediately interesting how this will affect the Permatang Pauh by-election which is coming up around the corner, where it was a perfect opportunity for the people to bury Anwar & Co. for good.

Never the less, it is a situation where the ‘sum of all fears’ for too many people, especially within the party.These are the same people who kept the status quo in late October of 2013, when they could have made a difference.

Published in: on April 20, 2015 at 11:45  Comments (4)  

“You are not alone in telling the truth”

 

Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Mohd. Yasin praised Fourth Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad for his consistency and perseverance in standing up and telling the truth, from the days as an ordinary UMNO member and young doctor till present day, which include against the West and champion the efforts to criminalise war.

Astro Awani story:

‘You’re not alone in telling the truth, Dr M’, says Muhyiddin

Astro Awani | Updated: April 19, 2015
(First published on: April 19, 2015 17:11 MYT)
KUALA LUMPUR: Any clues of extremism among Malaysians must be immediately blocked and addressed before it poses serious threat to the stability and peace in the country, deputy prime minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said today.

Strong measures, he said must be put in place to keep such threats in check and address its root causes.

“Malaysia has done so by introducing tough laws to deal with such threats, including the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) which has been passed by the Parliament recently,” he said when delivering his keynote address at the International Forum ‘Engaging The Young To Criminalise War and Energise Peace’ at Putra Word Trade Centre (PWTC) here.

Muhyiddin who is also Education Minister during delivering the keynote address to the 300-odd participants, also commended Dr Mahathir on his role as a proponent of war movements with the establishment of the Kuala Lumpur Foundation to Criminalise War — the foundation which Dr Mahathir founded and sits as chairman.

Muhyiddin lauded Dr Mahathir for speaking his mind and expressing his views and advocacy against war.

“Tun has been very vocal in voicing out the brutal truth about war and the misery he causes to the mankind. and therefore calls for war to be made a crime. I must praise you, Sir for your bravery, perseverance in stating the brutal truth about and your guts to stand against a powerful nation,” said Muhyiddin.
Muhyiddin said the theme for this international conference was most appropriate as it had clear and precise message to the young, as they assumed an important role in the shaping of the future.

“The organisers have also scheduled the young members of the pioneering CWC to share their world views of what their movement is all about, their hopes and aspirations,” said Muhyiddin.

He added the young generation must understand and appreciate that this country had been blessed in many ways, and that there was no armed conflict or massive loss of life like in other places.

“I remind you of this to highlight to our young audience here of what peace and goodwill can bring to all of us, not just in our own homes and backyards, but also at the international level. And because we have given our children the best in education, health care and welfare, most Malaysians enjoy a high standard of living.

“Many are able to seek jobs internationally, all because of a solid background in primary and secondary education,” he said.

Muhyiddin also advised the young that they must appreciate the time and Dr Hasmah’s effort on her involvement to the projects under CWC.

Also present were Founder/Chairman of The Kuala Lumpur Foundation to Criminalise War (KLFCW) Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Founder/Chairperson of The Criminalise War Club (CWC) Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali and Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman.
Read more at: http://english.astroawani.com/malaysia-news/youre-not-alone-telling-truth-dr-m-says-muhyiddin-58192?cp

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There would be some who would prefer to read what Muhyiddin said today and construe it as a subliminal message in support of Tun Dr. Mahathir’s call for Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohd. Najib Tun Razak to quit.

However, it is also important to relate what the UMNO Deputy President said in Jakarta, when the Fourth Prime Minister called for the current Prime Minister to go.

Astro Awani story:

Sebagai ahli UMNO, Dr Mahathir berhak bersuara – Muhyiddin

Astro Awani | Kemas kini: April 09, 2015
(Diterbitkan pada: April 09, 2015 16:29 MYT)
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Sebagai ahli UMNO, Dr Mahathir berhak bersuara – Muhyiddin
Muhyiddin minta Tun Mahathir beri Najib peluang tadbir dengan cara sendiri
JAKARTA: Timbalan Perdana Menteri, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin menegaskan sebagai ahli UMNO, Tun DR Mahathir berhak untuk bersuara dan menulis sesuatu, lapor Bernama.

Muhyiddin juga dilaporkan berkata beliau tidak merasakan Dr Mahathir mempunyai niat tidak baik apabila mempersoalkan tentang dana pelaburan negara 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

“Saya tidak fikir Tun (Dr Mahathir) berniat tidak baik sebab dia kata dia ahli UMNO dan sebagai ahli UMNO dia berhak untuk bersuara dan kita tidak menyekat beliau bersuara, menulis sesuatu.

“Kita hadapi masa mencabar, kita nak UMNO dan BN (Barisan Nasional) kuat,tak apalah pembangkang kuat tak kuat itu soal dia tetapi yang penting diperingkat UMNO kita mesti bersatu sebab kita akan hadapi rakyat dalam pilihan raya akan datang,” Muhyiddin dipetik sebagai berkata oleh Bernama.

Timbalan Perdana Menteri berada di Jakarta sempena lawatan kerja tiga hari yang berakhir hari ini.

Menyentuh kritikan Dr Mahathir terhadap Perdana Menteri, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, Muhyiddin berkata beliau menghormati kedua-dua pemimpin dan tidak mahu membuat kenyataan yang berat sebelah kerana apa yang lebih penting ialah rakyat mahukan kebenaran dan parti akan menghadapi pilihan raya.

“Kita kena berlaku adil kepada rakyat,untuk berlaku adil kepada rakyat ialah dengan memberitahu perkara sebenar. Apa yang rakyat mahu ialah kebenaran,apa yang rakyat mahu ialah cerita yang benar.

Kalau mereka mendengar daripada pihak lain, (akan timbul) pelbagai cerita,tetapi tidak dapat disahkan (sama ada) benar (atau) tak benar, jadi (akan) timbul banyak tanda soal dalam kepala dan benak rakyat dan pasti itu tidak baik untuk kita,” katanya.

Beliau berkata, kabinet pernah berbincang mengenai perkara itu dan berpendapat bahawa dalam hal seperti itu terutama yang menyentuh peribadi perdana menteri atau keluarganya dan 1MDB, Perdana Menteri lebih tahu daripada orang lain.

Muhyiddin berkata, satu perkara yang perlu diberi perhatian ialah bekas perdana menteri itu diketahui umum sebagai seorang tokoh dan pemimpin sebelum ini dan beliau masih mempunyai pandangan, berpengaruh dan ada pengikutnya.

“Sebab itu, apabila beliau mencetuskan beberapa perkara dalam penulisan beliau, saya sendiri secara peribadi tidak memandang ringan. Ia ada impak dan kesannya. Kalau dia (Dr Mahathir) menyentuh mengenai urusan kerajaan, yang mana patut kita jelaskan, kita patut jelaskan,” kata Muhyiddin.

Muhyiddin berkata, dalam isu tertentu yang menyentuh soal seperti 1MDB dan hal yang ada kaitan dengan perdana menteri sendiri, Najib juga boleh bertemu dengan Dr Mahathir untuk menjawab bagi menjelaskan
perkara sebenar.

“Saya setuju supaya bukan sahaja Perdana Menteri menjelaskan (isu-isu yang dibangkitkan oleh Dr Mahathir) untuk pengetahuan umum supaya tidak ada salah anggapan dan salah fahaman tentang perkara tertentu, penting juga penjelasan untuk pengetahuan rakyat. Tetapi saya fikir yang agak baik ialah pertemuan, kalau Datuk Seri Najib sebagai anak dan Tun sebagai bapa, maka saya pun begitu.

“Jumpalah Tun, kalau dah jumpa dahulu, mungkin perlu jumpa lagi, elok jumpa lagi sebagai bapa dan anak, saya percaya Tun Mahathir pasti akan menerima dan Datuk Seri Najib tidak akan berasa janggal. Janggal makna anda tahu, anda berasa seperti anda tahu bukan (sesuatu yang) luar biasa,” kata beliau.

Katanya, jika bersemuka dan saling memahami, maka Najib boleh bertanya dan berbincang secara ikhlas dan mungkin isu yang dibangkitkan itu tidak berterusan serta tidak menjadikan kerajaan pimpinan Najib dalam keadaan serba salah.

Namun dalam masa yang sama Muhyiddin juga meminta Dr mahathir agar memberi peluang kepada Najib untuk mentadbir negara dengan caranya sendiri.

“Ada pandangan berbeza, tetapi biarlah pimpinan kerajaan hari ini cuba laksanakan perkara yang kita fikir beri impak kepada pembangunan sosioekonomi rakyat menerusi program transformasi, rasionalisasi subsidi, bantuan rakyat dalam bentuk BR1M dan sebagainya, ada impaknya walaupun Tun tidak begitu bersetuju dengan perkara begitu,” katanya.
Read more at: http://www.astroawani.com/berita-malaysia/sebagai-ahli-umno-dr-mahathir-berhak-bersuara-muhyiddin-57484?cp

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Muhyiddin, who has been known to make bold statements, asked that Prime Minister Najib to continue and engage Tun Dr. Mahathir and address issues raised which include the many unanswered bits which deemed scandalous in the 1MDB episode.

The same time, one time Minister of Youth and Sports and Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs in then Dato’ Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad’s Cabinet between 1995-2003, asked his former Boss to allow time for the announced audits to be carried out in 1MDB.

The past six weeks, Muhyiddin had been very consistent on 1MDB and issues be addressed, in the open.

He was the first Cabinet Minister to ask then Prime Minister ‘Flip-Flop’ Dato’ Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to quit upon forming the Federal Government post 12GE, which resulted in BN losing for the first time the two-third majority control in Dewan Rakyat and five-plus-one state to the Opposition.

Acknowledging Tun Dr. Mahathir’s consistency and perseverance is a good step for further initiatives to stop the rot or perception on the rot, especially in government strategic investment such as 1MDB and programs which are supposed to benefit the people.

Published in: on April 19, 2015 at 19:45  Comments (5)  

Solidarity: Maturity of leadership

Menteri Besar Kedah and UMNO Kedah Liaison Chief Dato’ Seri Mukhriz Mahathir demonstrated his leadership maturity when the UMNO and BN Kedah made a strong resolution to support the leadership of Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohd. Najib Tun Razak in Alor Setar this morning.

Bernama.com story:

Kedah Umno Gives Full Support To Najib, Mukhriz

ALOR SETAR, April 18 (Bernama) – Kedah UMNO has pledged full to the leadership of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mukhriz Tun Dr Mahathir.

Its deputy chairman, Datuk Seri Ahmad Bashah Md Hanipah said this was agreed at a special meeting of Kedah UMNO Liaison here, Saturday.

He said the special meeting also agreed that Mukhriz should not make a statement on the issue on April 24 in Kuala Lumpur.

“We have also agreed to cancel the Kedah Umno Liaison meeting on April 24,” he told a press conference after the special meeting at Seri Mentaloon, the menteri besar’s official residence.

Mukhriz was not present in the meeting room during the press conference.

The special meeting which began at noon and ended two hours later was also attended by Barisan Nasional (BN) state assemblymen in Kedah.

It was chaired by Mukhriz, who is also Kedah UMNO Liaison chairman.

All UMNO division chiefs were present at the special meeting except Datuk Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim (Baling), Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom (Jerai) and Datuk Mohd Johari Baharom (Kubang Pasu).

The only BN state assemblyman missing from today’s meeting was Datuk Ahmad Lebai Sudin (Bukit Lada).

Ahmad Bashah, who is also the Deputy Minister of Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism, said those who did not attend the special meeting were overseas and had sent representatives.

The meeting also agreed to respect the views of former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and wants him to give Najib the time to address the issues raised.

It also supported the prime minister’s decision urging the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to conduct an audit of 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

He said the question of Kedah UMNO unity did not arise as shown by the special meeting which fully supported the prime minister and the menteri besar.

Asked whether Kedah UMNO would take action against Ahmad Lebai for urging Mukhriz to quit if he failed to support Najib, he said it was up to UMNO headquarters.

Ahmad Bashah also said Ahmad Lebai’s remark calling on Mukhriz to quit the menteri besar’s post was a personal statement and did not represent any party.

— BERNAMA

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Mukhriz managed to convince the many UMNO Kedah Division leaders and ADUNs to come into a single voice, which include to support his own leadership as MB and UMNO Kedah. Mukhriz was presented as BN’s choice of  MB Kedah by Prime Minister Najib after BN wrested Kedah from PAS two years ago.

At the eve of 13GE campaign, Prime Minister Najib announced that Mukhriz shall be MB Kedah if BN was returned to power.

UMNO Kedah leaders who made the media conference at Seri Mentaloon after this morning’s special meeting also pronounced their highest regards for Fourth Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad and requested that Prime Minister Najib be allowed more time to resolve some of the issues raised.

Deputy Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumerism Dato’ Ahmad Bashah who is UMNO Kedah Deputy Liaison Chief also explained in the media conference Mukhriz should not issue any statement on the matter. In short, UMNO Kedah asked Mukhriz not to be made to choose between his loyalty to Prime Minister Najib and as a son to Tun Dr. Mahathir.

The manner this issue which could be very tricky and dodgy personally for Mukhriz is a demonstration of his political leadership and maturity. Considering that he has only been in the chair for less than two years, it is a good notch up his sleeve.

Getting solidarity from the diversity of the various UMNO Division Chiefs and ADUNs and their political ambitions and affiliation itself is also an interesting development to be watched closely.

Published in: on April 19, 2015 at 00:01  Comments (2)  

The trusted washing machine

The Malaysian Insider has proven itself to be a tool to extend the Anwarisra agenda with the habitual  consistancy of  spinning and manipulating facts and words and eventually manufacturing new ones.

This is what their story about what Minister in Prime Minister’s Department Dato’ Seri Abdul Wahid Omar take on 1MDB’s solvency:

Minister admits 1MDB debt burdensome, Putrajaya to stop all new loans

BY MOHD IZWAN

Published: 17 April 2015 12:39 PM
Datuk Seri Abdul Wahid Omar admitted that the Ministry of Finance’s strategic investment fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) is a burden, given its failure to generate cash flow against its huge debts.

The minister in the prime minister’s department said that 1MDB had taken loans from banks and the capital market to purchase assets, but failed to raise cash flow, causing it to be unsustainable.

Wahid said 1MDB had expanded by taking loans from banks and the capital market which they had used to purchase assets, including IPPs, causing their debt to rise to RM42 billion as of March 2014.

“So you can imagine the quantum; it is very high and tough,” he said at a forum in Petaling Jaya last night.
Responding to questions posed by the audience, Wahid said that as long as the assets were not able to generate cash flow, 1MDB will fail to be sustainable.

“Unless it can generate cash flow, it will not be sustainable,” he said.

He added that the debt is expected to have an impact on 1MDB and that three strategic steps have been taken to address the problems.

“They have taken strategic steps to re-evaluate the business model and structure, and three decisions have been taken,” he said.

According to Wahid, these included halting all forms of new loans, focussing on the two main projects, namely the Tun Razak Exchange (TRX) and Bandar Malaysia, and to ensure the initial public offering of IPP Edra Energy can take place soon.

“These are the strategic steps that have been identified,” he added.

Criticism has been mounting over 1MDB, which was established in 2009 and has chalked up debts of up to RM42 billion.

This led to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak ordering the Auditor-General to “independently verify 1MDB’s accounts”, with the findings to be submitted to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC). – April 17, 2015.

– See more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/minister-admits-1mdb-debt-burdensome-putrajaya-to-stop-all-new-loans#sthash.3cCNiw4M.dpuf

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According to this story, 1MDB was reckless in raising financing which include borrowings to fund its acquisition but failed to generate adequate ensure the cash-flow to service these financing commitments.

Now, compare that with what Wahid actually said about 1MDB at the Akademi Kapten Hussein.

“It was a strategic investment management company. Their model was to raise long term bonds. Aided by Government guarantee, it would help to lower cost of funds and invested in long term investments”.

“The burden of servicing (the financial commitments) such a high debt is difficult. So until and unless the assets are able to generate the cash-flow, it is not sustainable. That is something the board and management of 1MDB had realised and they have undertaken a strategic review of their business model and capital structure and they have decided three things:

1. Not to incur any new debts unless to meet the current debt obligations or refinance the current obligations

2. They have agreed not to embark on any new projects or ventures and focus the efforts on the two big projects; TRX and Bandar Malaysia

3. Work as much as possible to get the IPO of Edra Energy (holding company of the IPPs) going. This IPO will get proceeds to reduce their debts. Plus if they were to reduce their holdings to below 50%, then they are able to de-consolidate all the debts at subsidiary level.

There were a number of allegations as contained in the Sarawak Reports and a number of other publications. It would be investigated. Prime Minister has made a commitment for an audit to be undertaken by the Auditor General and the report would be presented to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

Lets draw a line. We will do that audit for all the past actions. But what is important is for us to be constructive and focus our efforts on solving the current issue”.

Summarising the story should not tantamount to putting words into the Minister’s mouth. That is manipulating what the Fellow of Chartered Association of Certified Accountants and former President and Group CEO of the largest commercial bank, Maybank, actually said.

Spinning even in dry mode is utterly ‘laundering information’. Unless going low is the best that Anwaristas could do trying to stir up shit storm when their boss’s agenda has guttered into oblivion, then they should uphold the true principles of journalism which is telling the true story.

It is good business for mainstream media for online media to take up advertisement spaces as part of settlement means through inadvertent legal obligation.

Published in: on April 18, 2015 at 10:00  Leave a Comment  

AWO as ‘Red Box’ Minister?

AWO as the ‘Red Box’ Minister, to focus on the finance in PM Najib’s transformation agenda

Rumours circulating that Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohd. Najib Tun Razak is relinquishing his post as Minister of Finance and Minister in Prime Minister’s Department (in charge of EPU) Dato’ Sri Abdul Wahid Omar will replace him in a Cabinet reshuffle anytime soon.

Wahid who is Fellow Certified Accountant and member of Malaysian Institute of Accountants was the immediate past President of Maybank Group. Before that he was the CEO of Renong Group and Telekom Malaysia.

He has had more than 28 years of hard nose experience in merchant and investment banking, corporate finance, over all and turn around management in infrastructure, telecommunication and commercial banking is thought to be the best candidate to assume this job. His wealth of experience, which include macro economic and economic transformation planning the past two years would be invaluable to propel the nation forward under the stewardship of Prime Minister Najib.

Prime Minister Najib has less than five years to bring up the nation to a level befitting a developed nation status, as per envisaged by Fourth Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad when he started the initiative as ‘Vision 2020′ almost a quarter century ago.

He also wanted to reduce the deficit of the Malaysian economy, rationalise and restructure subsidies aimed for the needful lot and address the borrowings.

At the same time, all these initiatives are couple with economic transformation programs to propel the nation into a high value economy and provide more jobs and opportunities, especially in a vast growing younger Malaysian denomination and live up to the challenges of their expectations.

It makes perfect sense to have a full time Finance Minister, who is able to focus on both the strategy and tactical roll outs. The fact that Wahid is apolitical and play the role with utmost professionalism would be a boon for Prime Minister Najib to realise his transformation agenda for Malaysia.

Other names have also been floated around in the Cabinet reshuffle. This include a new Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs, Deputy Finance and Information and Communication Ministers.

Published in: on April 17, 2015 at 12:30  Comments (6)  

Noble intentions

Writer of the letter and Fourth Prime Minister and the dotting wife

The banter between Fourth Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad and Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohd. Najib Tun Razak on several strategic issues, gets different perception from different people which include professionals below thirties.

7:54AM Apr 14, 2015
By Goh Wei Liang

I believe

I believe Dr Mahathir Mohamad had noble intentions when he raised a few questions publicly to the prime minister. At his age, what else could he possibly want? Dr Mahathir spent three decades of his life in government (22 years as PM) and continued to give advice on issues even after his retirement. He only wants what is best for the party and the soil that we stand on today – Malaysia.

I believe the prime minister still has the highest level of respect for Dr Mahathir, judging from his tone and angle during the Soal Jawab. The sacrifices and contributions Dr Mahathir made in developing unity and growing our economy throughout his years as prime minister are engraved in the hearts and memories of many of us. He gave the good years of his life to this country.

I believe Dr Mahathir’s questions on 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) were fair. Many are confused with what’s happening. But the confusion stem from the complexity of the topic (money markets and corporate finance are dry topics to many) and further complicated by the many statements out there. There have been too many contradicting statements including those from the Treasury and 1MDB CEO.

Let’s not forget the fact that people also read Sarawak Report and The Edge’s stories on this topic. I wonder why the government or Treasury hasn’t setup a 1MDB Taskforce (Comms) just like we always do with other issues. If we are gonna talk, shouldn’t we have just one source, one voice and one storyline with solid facts?

I believe that the RM50 billion assets and RM42 billion liabilities are on the table as audited. But we must understand also that 1MDB is losing money with these assets and investments. Soon, the net assets will become net liabilities if we do not restructure not just the debt but also the subsidiaries and the operating procedures soon enough. We cannot depend only on monetising some of the ‘idle’ assets quickly, such as Tun Razak Exchange.

We must never forget those companies and transactions that cause 1MDB to be in the red. Otherwise, profits from TRX will just end up covering the losses elsewhere. I know we have the expertise in government, Treasury and other investment arms to help turn around this into a success and I believe we can.

I believe the prime minister has taken bold steps and was being transparent in his actions on 1MDB. He made the right move when he ordered the auditor-general to verify 1MDB accounts after which the report will be passed on to the Public Accounts Committee which comprises of opposition leaders like Tony Pua. Let’s be fair and honest here. Did you expect the prime minister to make this move? Surely not if you think he has something to hide.

Whatever reasons or explanation the prime minister gives on 1MDB will never be accepted by critics now. As supporters of the government, the party and as concerned citizens, we should wait for the auditor-general’s report on 1MDB before we comment further.

Table audit on 1MDB fast

I believe we should applaud the prime minister when he agreed with Umno Youth’s request that the audit should be thorough and completed as soon as possible. This is the single, most credible piece of document that could answer all questions out there, hopefully, and we must have it on the table fast.

I believe the Economic Planning Unit of both the federal and state government of Johor should come out publicly to share and explain the cost benefit analysis for the proposed crooked bridge (within the borders of Malaysia). The government can afford a bridge but the benefits must far outweigh the costs for anyone to invest in it. Besides environmental and legal issues, of course. Surely someone has done some studies on this project, no?

We have heard the argument that the bridge will allow ships of certain sizes to pass the Straits of Johor and it could boost the shipment volume in Tanjung Pelepas, Pasir Gudang and perhaps Kuantan. But there might be other issues and challenges that we don’t know and the agencies should not leave the prime minister in the shooting range. Speak up!

I believe the prime minister when he said that he did not order anyone to kill Altantuya and he has never met or known her. Swearing on the Quran is not a small matter. It is a grave and heinous sin if the truth is otherwise. And there is not a shred of evidence which links the victim to the prime minister. The closest we have seen was the doctored photo by an opposition leader.

I believe Dr Mahathir still cares for the prime minister and perhaps wanted to see a different side of him. The prime minister and Barisan Nasional must enter into the combative mode – attack and not backpedal to defend ourselves all the time. We must make a stand on policies and key issues, make it loud and clear. We need to focus on the details in whatever we do and whenever we communicate.

After all, in this age of digital and social media where information flows freely and perception is key in politics, we should be detailed, fast, strong and articulate or risk falling behind.

I believe with Dr Mahathir’s vast experience in politics and government, if both could still work with each other, Barisan Nasional will be at its strongest when that happens.

.
GOH WEI LIANG is a senior analyst at a government agency. He blogs at http://manifestogwl.blogspot.com

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This is a letter published in Malaysiakini by a young man who grew up and benefitted from the nation building and growth during Fourth Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad’s tenure. He has since looked up on the Statesman.

Mr. Goh is an economics graduate from Australia and crunch up numbers, for the purpose of measuring up and strategic planning in Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohd. Najib Tun Razak’s transformation plan and agenda.

Mr. Goh’s letter makes most sense as compared to all the “We fully support the leadership of Prime Minister and UMNO President Najib” calls, almost daily events now being featured by mainstream media especially tv stations.

It is a good time for UMNO leaders to wise up quickly and learn something from young Mr. Goh.

Published in: on April 14, 2015 at 10:30  Comments (41)  

PLA protagonists’ powerful ploy

China People’s Liberation Army finally admitted using cyber-technology as an offensive weapon, affirming their position on their cyberspace prowess in the age where all walks of everyday life is dependent on communication and connectivity.

China (Finally) Admits to Hacking

An updated military document for the first time admits that the Chinese government sponsors offensive cyber units.

shannon-tiezzi
By Shannon Tiezzi
March 18, 2015

China’s military has finally pulled back the curtain on its cyber strategy, admitting for the first time that it (like countries around the world) has cyber units set up not only for defense, but for attack.

Officially, China’s line has always been that its government does not sponsor any form of hacking. Those denials rang hollow to foreign experts, however, who pointed both to evidence of Chinese cyberattacks and to the sheer folly of a country of China’s size and global importance not including cyberespionage in its intelligence-gathering arsenal.

Now Beijing may finally be ready to drop the charade. The updated edition of The Science of Military Strategy, an authoritative analysis of China’s military thinking, includes references to China’s cyber-warfare units. “This is the first time we’ve seen an explicit acknowledgement of the existence of China’s secretive cyber-warfare forces from the Chinese side,” Joe McReynolds of the Center for Intelligence Research and Analysis told The Daily Beast. “[T]hey’ve come out and said, ‘Yes, we do in fact have network attack forces, and we have teams on both the military and civilian-government sides.’”

The Science of Military Strategy, published in Chinese in 2001 (and translated into English in 2007) is a staple reference not only for Western scholars but for senior PLA strategists and decision makers, explains Andrew Erickson, an expert on Chinese military affairs at the U.S. Naval War College. The updated edition was published in Chinese in December 2013 but only recently became available to foreign analysts. China is well aware that the book is widely studied by foreign experts as well as Chinese military thinkers, meaning the reference to cyber-attack forces was likely a carefully considered decision.

McReynolds said China has dedicated cyber units operating in both the military and the civilian sphere. Within the PLA, China has “specialized military network warfare forces” for carrying out both offensive and defense cyber operations. China also has cyber specialists within civilian organizations, including the Ministry of State Security and the Ministry of Public Security, “authorized by the military to carry out network warfare operations.”

China has previously acknowledged that its military employs cyber experts – for example, a story about a 30-person “Blue Army” of PLA cyber-specialists made headlines in 2011. However, China continued to insist that its cyber capabilities were 100 percent focused on defending Chinese networks, rather than probing foreign systems for information or weaknesses. “The Blue Army’s main target is self-defense. We won’t initiate an attack on anyone,” a senior PLA official insisted when news of the unit’s existence broke.

Foreign Ministry and Defense Ministry spokespeople have likewise consistently and categorically denied that the Chinese government sponsors hacking activities of any kind. Now that The Science of Military Strategy has stated otherwise, “[t]hey can’t make that claim anymore,” McReynolds said.

The news that China does, in fact, have units of cyber spies won’t be “earth-shattering” to foreign experts, James Lewis, an expert on China’s cyber strategies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told The Daily Beast (see here for more from Lewis on China’s cyber activities). However, the new openness on the part of the PLA could have long-lasting implications if it does turn out to be part of a policy shift.

The U.S. government has been seeking to entice more PLA transparency on cyber issues by openly explaining its own cyber-strategy. Those overtures hadn’t paid off – China continued to block any real discussion by denying it partakes in any cyber-espionage activities. The acknowledgement of offensive cyber units in The Science of Military Strategy may mean that Beijing is increasing cyber transparency, which could pave the way for discussions on the issue.

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This very much attest the theory of China’s invasionary and dominance attitude.

Published in: on April 13, 2015 at 18:30  Comments (10)  

Mega Malaysia

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Extending the legacy of growth, to propel the nation forward is a very tall order but it was expected of Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohd. Najib Tun Razak when he took the reigns of the Federal Government exactly six years ago this week.

Making Malaysia a great nation and realising its full potential as an extension if not value added to work already done the previous three and a half decades is what Fourth Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad expects from Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohd. Najib Tun Razak is able to do and deliver.

In twenty two and a third years, Tun Dr. Mahathir challenged odds in the transforming Malaysia. He introduced heavy industries and literally got the wheels in motion for Malaysia to be an automotive producing nation by his third year in office.

Islamic banking was introduced. Trade was multiplied and industrialisation was a big agenda. Infrastructure programs were planned and realised in mega proportions (then in the late eighties), where acts as the catalyst for domestic trade.

In short, everything was big. Really big for Malaysia and in the eyes of most Malaysians, then.

He did not give a toss whether it was popular or not, even by the people. He weighted the odds and went for it. Government owned utility and infrastructure service owners and providers were privatised and corporatised, to improved on efficiency and ability to expand without resting the burden on the government.

“If we need to alleviate the livelihood of the people, we gave them education, created jobs and provided opportunities. We didn’t give them money”, the Doctor who was in the House opposing to BR1M. “If they are really poor, then we help them. Its our responsibility. But not like this!”.

All these sounds about what British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher did, despite being very unpopular when her ballsiness.  Regardless, these bold strategic actions did pay off. British economy grew into into a powerhouse in the late eighties.

Then Malaysia too, had the progressive growth bullish enough to project the nation to be propelled as a developed nation’s status by thirty years time. Launching it in 1991, Tun Dr. Mahathir calls it ‘Vision 2020′.

Tun Dr. Mahathir saw the pace and adreline steaming towards 2020 being dismantled during the bleak leadership of PM ‘Flip-Flop’ Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. Despite having a ‘gentleman’s agreement’ of not interfering, PM ‘Flip-Flop’ Abdullah was the one who broke promised when he cancelled all the projects and programs decided and agreed during Tun Dr. Mahathir’s time.

It was exactly nine years ago this week Tun Dr. Mahathir openly went against PM ‘Flip-Flop’ Abdullah. It was because the latter unilaterally cancelled the ‘Scenic Bridge Replacing the Johor Causeway’. This was despite then Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong in writing didn’t oppose Malaysia’s intention to remove the causeway and replaced it with a bridge on Malaysia’s side of the waters.

GCT I

GCT II

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GCT IV

CGT V

Tun Dr. Mahathir expected Prime Minister Najib to reinstate the project and reclaim the ‘face lost’ when PM ‘Flip-Flop’ Abdullah cancelled it, which was seen favouring Singapore instead upholding the pride of Malaysia is free to do what we want at our end. However, Prime Minister Najib had a different approach and agenda when dealing with Singapore.

Then multi billion Ringgit burning contention is the 1MDB. The interview with Hamdan Ahmir did see Prime Minister Najib providing answers, However, those aren’t to the questions Tun Dr. Mahathir raised.

“Yes, I watched it”, stating it with his usual smirk.

“All these AG’s (Auditor General) report takes time. Would there be any investigative audit? How long before we get to know all these?”.

We did ask him about his call for Prime Minister Najib to withdraw and pass the baton on to someone else. “What should the new Prime Minister do (for 1MDB)?”.

“Bite the bullet. Even if it breaks his teeth. We will lose some but its alright”.

On politics, Tun Dr. Mahathir opined that despite doing so much and involved is so many programs, Prime Minister Najib faired worse than his predecessor.

“The ‘Sleepy Head’ even did better than him!”.

He stressed that the Chinese are not with Prime Minister Najib. “It would not work (without the Chinese). When the Malays were not with me (during his last election, 10GE November 1999) because of ‘Mata Lebam’ (Anwar Ibrahim’s black eye), the Chinese were all out supporting me. I won more than two third (majority in Dewan Rakyat)”.

“The Malays are divided. The Chinese are not with him. How to win (14GE)?”, the simple analysis. Since the formation of Barisan Nasional (BN) by PM Najib’s late father Tun Abd Razak Hussein in 1973, the latter led BN to win its first at the 4GE. When PM Najib led BN to face his first (13GE), the coalition faired the worst performance of 10 GEs.

“I want to see Malaysia to be great”, the sincere parting words of an old man who did so much for nation building.

Like it or not, this man with a very sharp mind despite of being short of a decade to be a centenarian, in his stride defied unimaginable odds to win in the toughest of all challenges. Economic, political and global.

In the course, he did transform the nation into a different landscape, on all sides. Malaysia was put in global map as a trading nation and also on the global diplomacy arena.

Malaysia was even a nation of impeccable principle when he committed armed forces for the peace keeping role in Bosnia, when the Europeans and Americans were still wishy-washy about it.

It is obvious that Prime Minister Najib could learn from the vast experience, strategic perspective and wisdom of a man who was actually part of his father’s Cabinet after the Great Tun won his only GE after Barisan Nasional was born and the New Economic Plan was introduced.

It is a perfect time to do mid-term review. Some serious restructuring (Cabinet, Khazanah, GLCs, civil service, commissions) must be done and course correction put in place, necessary to move forward. Prime Minister Najib should get Tun Dr. Mahathir actively involved in some of these capacities.

After all, he has proven to be engaged globally for this thoughts and visions. This is on top assuming the position and role of Chairman of the Proton BoD.

Then again, Prime Minister Najib should be the bigger man and work with Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, in the course of nation building to make the Mega Malaysia. It is not quite suffice with  just the proclamation of respect.

Published in: on April 12, 2015 at 11:00  Comments (14)  

Power to the people

It is sublime when one amongst peers enabled by law to increase one’s pay. Especially the pay rise is 75% from the current salary and over all, an increased package of 39%.

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MPs give themselves RM4,500 pay raise

Published: 10 April 2015 7:53 AM

According to a report by Bernama, the bill to hike the salaries and allowances of members of Parliament was deferred to the current sitting of Parliament from the previous.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim, when tabling the bill for second reading, said the amendments were made due to current factors which were challenging to the members of Parliament.

“In addition, the duty of the members of Parliament is getting heavier in carrying out the high hopes of the people, and this will boost the spirit of the elected representatives to work with more commitment and dedication,” he said.
The bill provides for the monthly salary of a member of Parliament to be raised to RM16,000 from RM11,500, members of the Dewan Negara from RM7,000 to RM11,000, Dewan Rakyat Deputy Speaker and Dewan Negara Deputy president from RM16,000 to RM22,000 and Dewan Rakyat Speaker and Dewan Negara president from RM20,000 to RM31,000.

Currently, members of Parliament receive a basic pay of RM6,508.59 a month besides a monthly allowance of RM5,000 for entertainment, driver’s pay, travel and handphone bill.

They are also paid a meeting allowance of RM200 a day when attending Parliamentary sittings and a daily allowance of RM150 to attend meetings with government agencies.

On November 27 last year, the Dewan postponed the bill after no agreement was achieved on the matters discussed. – Bernama, April 10, 2015

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The new package for MPs brought their salary equivalent to JUSA B/C officers in civil service. This scale is not withstanding the claims that the MPs are allowed to make, by attending Parliament.

It is not reflective to the frugal lifestyle which the rakyat have to endure in the midst of rising cost of living.

Taking into consideration that MPs volunteer to offer themselves as candidates in GEs, it is interesting the “first amongst equals” have the democratic power to reward themselves. This is not withstanding the consideration that a pay rise indexed to market growth.

 

Published in: on April 10, 2015 at 09:30  Comments (3)  

Bring in the Marines

Finally, Government has brought in the MOF in-house consulting group which has tremendous illustrious experience in capital restructuring, debt recovery and cash-flow management, as a solution to resolve 1MDB’s woes which drew too much attention and a lot of flak from so many quarters.

The Star story:

Prokhas steps into 1MDB

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

PETALING JAYA: Prokhas Sdn Bhd, the in-house restructuring outfit of the Finance Ministry (MoF), has been tasked to help sister company 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) deal with cash-flow problems tied to its debt obligations.

It is learnt that Prokhas was roped in to assist 1MDB, which needs about RM5bil this year to meet its debt obligations.

“Prokhas has come into the picture, which is why CIMB Investment Bank Bhd that was appointed two weeks ago to look into the sale of 1MDB’s energy assets has been out of the job,” said a source.

The amount due this year is largely to cover the payment of a US$975mil term loan taken by 1MDB Energy Holdings Ltd that falls due on Aug 31 this year. At the current exchange rate of 3.64 to the US dollar, the maturing term loan is valued at RM3.55bil.

1MDB Energy Holdings is the energy unit of 1MDB that was supposed to list by the first quarter of this year under the new name of Edra Global Energy Bhd. But 1MDB withdrew its proposal on Feb 28 this year because it could not meet the listing requirements.

“CIMB was roped in to arrange for the sale of Edra Energy, which is about the only asset that can be sold immediately to raise funds for 1MDB to help meet its debt obligations,” said a banker.

But its mandate was terminated on April 1 – just a week after the investment bank was appointed.

The other portion of the RM5bil obligation this year comes from interest cost totalling around RM1.4bil on all other outstanding loans that 1MDB has taken over the last five years.

1MDB is RM41.9bil in debt to fund a buying binge over the past five years, as the company built up a portfolio of power and energy assets, as well as amassing prime landbanks earmarked for future development.

While the power plants acquired from Genting Bhd and Tanjong Plc are generating some cashflow for the company, it is not enough to cover its interest cost and planned development expenditure.

Last year, 1MDB had to defer a debt payment taken to finance the purchase of Tanjong’s power plants in 2012 for RM8.5bil.

An outstanding amount of RM2bil was finally settled with the assistance of billionaire T. Ananda Krishnan, who owns Tanjong, after two delays.

Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah had, in his winding-up speech in Parliament on March 25, said that the Government had formed a special task force to look into 1MDB’s performance, as well as the debts borne by the firm.

He had earlier in March told Parliament that 1MDB’s financial position was “unsustainable” with a cashflow problem.

The Government, Husni said, had already extended RM950mil to 1MDB as a “standby credit” facility to address its short-term financial needs.

The firm generated a revenue of RM4.26bil for the year ended March 31, 2014, but reported a loss of RM665mil as finance cost ballooned to RM2.4bil.

As it is, 1MDB’s total US dollar-denominated borrowings stand at a staggering US$7.5bil, or RM27bil, at the current exchange rate.

Based on these outstanding debts, 1MDB’s interest payment cost amounts to at least RM1.2bil a year over the next seven years.

In 2022, the massive US$3bil bonds taken by 1MDB Global Investment Ltd will reach maturity.

1MDB is 100%-owned by the MoF, but unlike other Government-linked investment companies, the ministry has never had board representation in the company.

But as worries about 1MDB’s financial obligations are reaching a boiling point, the Government has taken a more active role.

Prokhas is a special project outfit under the MoF and is involved in various corporate restructuring work for the Government. The company was set up in 2005 to take over the role of Danaharta Nasional Bhd.

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Pro-Khas was an SPV created by then Minister of Finance Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad as a solution after the Asian Financial Crisis of 1997-8 saw the 38 banks and financial institutions were laden with bad debts and non performing loans.

It came into operation the day Tun Dr. Mahathir took the reign of the MOF and the economy, which was bleeding due to the currency attack mounted by hedge fund managers led by George Soros.

All of these bad debts and NPLs were taken over by Danaharta and systematically hived off, so that the financial institutions could focus on their business as banks and finance companies.

Amongst the outcomes are the banking system and capital-debt market did not crash and completely paralysed commerce and the economy. The rationalisation of the banking-financial system and capital-debt market provided opportunity where local banks are merged into six groups and the fittest stockbrokers survived.

That provided opportunities for new universal stockbroking licenses were issued then onwards and boutique investment bankers started to colour the capital-debt market, which provided the catalyst to commerce and expand the economy.

This is something that Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Mohd. Najib Tun Razak should have taken much earlier and quashing the opportunity for so much loose talk and speculations been made about the Government’s strategic investment house.

Pro-Khas is a very familiar and credible entity to resolve capital-debt related issues, which was initiated by the Government and put the debt and capital market back on track in a short span of time.

The same time, transparency is required to absolve the leadership and 1MDB which undergone so much attention in bad light and put 1MDB back on track.

Amongst many other programs designed for the majority of Malaysians in the rural areas, 1MDB has been providing a lot CSR projects, especially in utmost remote and under developed areas and settlements. It specifically enabled the fast track solution which alleviated the delivery of infrastructure such as electrification, processed water and communications.

This initiative is a good move indeed. Never the less, the story about 1MDB still needed to be told for all the right reasons.

Published in: on April 8, 2015 at 11:00  Comments (4)  
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