‘Level Four Boys’ Head Honcho set for MRCB top job

Former Head of Policy in Prime Minister ‘Flip-Flop’ Dato’ Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s office Dato’ Ahmad Zaki Zahid is set to be the next MRCB CEO. After the near humilating ouster of the Fifth Prime Minister, Zaki managed to arrange himself into a mainstream conglomerate which is into high end and premium property development and IPP.

The Star has the story:

Wednesday November 11, 2009

Who is the new man who is going to make more money for the EPF?


PETALING JAYA: Malaysian Resources Corp Bhd (MRCB) group managing director Shahril Ridza Ridzuan has been tipped to become chief investment officer (CIO) of the Employees Provident Fund (EPF), a post that has been left vacant since early this year.

According to sources, the announcement will be made as early as next week. Shahril, 39, will succeed Johari Muid.

MRCB executive director Datuk Ahmad Zaki Zahid looked set to take over the top position in the company, succeeding Shahril, sources said.

Zaki was appointed to the MRCB board in January 2005 and was redesignated as executive director in May this year.

Sources said Shahril’s appointment as CIO of the retirement savings fund, which currently has over RM350bil in its coffers, would help expand EPF’s investments beyond the traditional asset classes of Malaysian Government Securities, loans and bonds and equities.

Historically, property made up less than 1% of the fund’s total investment portfolio.

“It is hoped that Shahril, given his experience in turning around and driving the property group over the years, will be able to steer and expand the fund’s investment in property as well as private equity, areas it has long wanted to expand into,” one source said.

Observers say Shahril’s experience and track record of having turned around MRCB from a loss-making entity to a leading property and construction group and the visible success of the company’s flagship project KL Sentral development should hold him in good stead in his new job.

With an estimated gross development value of RM13.9bil upon completion in 2015, KL Sentral is the landmark development for MRCB, which currently has several ongoing projects with a total estimated gross development value of RM4.3bil.

MRCB’s majority shareholder is the EPF which has a 30.97% stake.

The EPF has generally invested a large portion of its money into fixed income, given that it is the safest option. But it has come at a price – returns or yields from fixed income has been relatively low.

As for equities, which makes up 20% to 25% of the fund’s investment portfolio, although the rewards can be relatively higher, so are the risks given the high volatility of equity prices.

With that in mind, the fund has been eager to expand its income by looking at alternative sources of investments while retaining capital preservation as its top priority.


Zaki, a former Securities Commission man who later joined consulting firm Booze Allen Hamilton had his first stint in politics after the success of negotiating with Suqiu for the ’17 Demands’ back in 2000 and taken as Special Officer in Minister of Youth and Sports Office, then Dato’ Hishamuddin Hussein. Hishamuddin was also the UMNO Youth Chief. In 2002, PM ‘Flip-Flop’ Abdullah, then Deputy Prime Minister took him in as a Special Function Officer. After the landslide and thumping BN success of 2004 11th General Elections, PM ‘Flip-Flop’ Abdullah brought in son-in-law Khairy Jamaluddin as the Deputy Chief Secretary in Prime Minister’s Office and restructured the whole outfit, role and function. Hence, the creation the position of Head of Policy at PMO and they became very powerful as most decisions and policies are made by this outfit instead the Cabinet via advice from agencies such as EPU, ICU, MITI, NEAC etc.

The much talked about ‘Level Four Boys’ was born.

New policies such as economic corridors, particularly Iskandar Development Region (now Iskandar Malaysia) and Northern Corridor Economic Region was championed by Zaki. He envisaged the role and function of the State Economic Planning Units being ‘Federalised’ and co-ordinated by new form government outfits such as IRDA and NCIA, which get direct instructions and approval by his position, as the head policy adviser to then Prime Minister. For someone who has never been in macro management and planning especially for a nation which is the world’s 17th largest trading economy, this was incredibly risky game to play.

These economic corridors have spent hunreds of million tax payers money doing all sorts of planning and ‘blue prints’, which have yet proven to be anything worthwhile. This is because professionals from private sectors without any tangible and exposure to do macro management and planning are plucked in with ‘tall order to ‘Federalise’ SEPUs and bottomless pit coffers’ instructions. So far, little can be desired by these trial-and-error effort by professionals who thought they can do better but had to teach themselves first what they need to do, with an exorbitant cost.

It was reported that Petronas dished out RM 263 billion in taxes, dividends, royalties and other payments to the Federal Goverment and some state governments during PM ‘Flip-Flop’ Abdullah’s tenure should be considered. A very little and tangible can be seen with this spending and one often wonders where did the money go.

The nation must also be reminded that it was in Zaki’s time as policy adviser to PM ‘Flip-Flop’ Abdullah stewardship that decisions such as hiving off MV Agusta from Proton to an unknown buyer Gevi SpA at a mere One Euro (RM 4.60) was made (Gevi SpA eventually sold Husqavarna to BMW Motorad for a whopping Euro 93 million!). Malaysia also had a foreign policy shift to ‘lead a constructive engagement (meddle around and interfere) in a neighbour’s domestic politics’ when in Nov 2005 Head of Government ASEAN summit in KLCC Convention Centre led a charge to ‘discipline’ Myanmar into democratization.

Zaki, who was one of former Minister of Finance II (now Minister in charge of EPU) Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yackop’s trusted man is now set to take over a property and power producing conglomerate MRCB. With a book order of over RM 13 billion with RM 4.3 billion just on the KL Sentral property alone, there is a lot that an ambitious and cunning professional could manipulate.  Especially if there is a ‘hidden agenda’. MRCB is the rakyat’s interest as 30.6% of its shares is owned by EPF.

MRCB today is a cash rich conglomerate. In an economic storm and glut, MRCB is cash rich enough to issue a rights issue and satisfy the dividend yield. Zaki, who has been known to ‘make deals’, is sitting on a ‘gold mine’. KL Sentral has been eyed by Singaporean property players such as Capital Land, as part of the “6,000 mile radius hinterland plan”.

Nor Mohamed as the Economic Adviser recruited bright young Malay professionals as a process to clean and beef up GLCs, post Anwar “Mat King Leather” Ibrahim era. Chartered Accountans like Azman Mokhtar (then Binafikir founder and present CEO Khazanah Holdings Bhd.), Mohamad Zainal Shaari (then partner PWC and now Deputy CEO Khazanah Holdings Bhd.), Abdul Wahid Omar (then UEM CEO, later Telekom Malaysia CEO and now Maybank CEO), Che Khalib (then KUB CEO and now TNB CEO), Abdul Rahman Ahmad (then Media Prima CEO and  now Ekuinas CEO) and Shahril Riza (then MRCB CEO) surfaced from the world of investment banking and debt and capital market to answer the ‘national service’ call. As Rahman remembers it well when he first met PM then Dato’ Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad for the new assignment, the warning was simply  “Don’t do side deals”.

Recently, Nor Mohamed hits the headlines again with the controversial decision of hiving off IJN to Sime Darby made public and later, another proposal with a privatisation agenda of for the national heart institute. On the proposal of privatisation of Plus Bhd., a statement made by Nor Mohamed was contradicted by PM Dato’ Seri Najib, even though he was then abroad.

This MRCB corporate move should be watched closely. For someone who has failed which led to PM ‘Flip-Flop’ Abdullah failed miserably must be remembered, so that a conglomerate like MRCB is not being made taken advantage of. So much can be gained from a very wealthy conglomerate like MRCB, which at the moment is a ‘gold mine’.

Published in: on November 11, 2009 at 11:20  Comments (36)  

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36 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Snoop Dog,

    Omar Ong went to Petronas (the most profitable Msian co), Shahril joined EPF (the biggest fund manager in Msia) as CIO (and eventually EPF CEO after Azlan Zainol retires next year), Zaki took over MRCB CEO post, Ganen remains in Khazanah, hmm…. wow, it seems like all those level 4 boys are making even a better progress post-Najib. Could this be part of the agreement between the level 4 boys and Najib for Pak Lah to step down? Looks like it. I’m sure its a matter of time before other jokers like Kamal Khalid, Vincent, Wan, Haizan, etc to take up other big post in Malaysia. I guess Najib may be the PM of Msia, but KJ n the gang controls the business in Msia. Obviously KJ is holding Najib’s balls over something. Sad but true!

    • It was said that Shahrir will be the Deputy CEO EPF instead of CIO. Dato’ Kamal Khalid is in Media Prima.

      Yes, that is what we are worried of. PM ‘Flip-Flop’ Abdullah maybe gone. But the legacy of ‘Level Four Boys’ still lives on and remain stong very much ‘in control’, despite already being fragmentised. Only the form is no longer there but the substance is still very much lethal.

      What we are afraid of is that people like Patrick Lim will make the full opportunity of Zaki being at the helm of MRCB and fully capitalise on so many deals, deemed lucrative. The clout that MRCB has with the kind of GDV that they could project could easily change the landscape of Malaysian property scene.

      • So Big Dog, what are you going to do about it? Join the gang, bro..There’s where the money is. Why waste time barking at the big tree.


      • Snoop Dog,

        Its confirmed (market talk and earlier news by BT and TheStar today), Shahril is joining EPF as the new CIO/Deputy CEO after Johari Muid (the previous CIO) was “transfered” to Strategic Planning Unit (a nicer word for “cold storage”). U ask any fund managers in town and they are puzzled what and why this Shahril fella is the new CIO for EPF.

        This lawyer has no track record in equity investment, or fixed income, etc. I hope Najib knows that CIO means Chief Investment Officer and not Chief Investigation Officer. It seems the CIO position will be a good “training” ground for Shahril before taking over the CEO position once Azlan Zainol retires next year. But why Najib is allowing this shitty thing to happen? He is too busy with his 1Malaysia finger in the arse is it?

        EPF is the biggest fund manager in town with total assets of more than RM350 billion. U just imagine how powerful the CIO of EPF is. Forget about Khazanah, or PNB, or Tabung Haji, besides Petronas, its EPF that has the biggest funds.

        Good luck taxpayers!

    • I am inclined to agree with you, kakipancing.

      Damn the former “Level Four” blokes and their mastermind.

      Kalau depa melampau sangat mementingkan diri depa sendiri dan merosakkan kepentingan dan nama baik Melayu (ada yang nampak macam Mamak), Tuhan akan membalas nya.

      • that’s right. if it’s true, may Allah repay their wrong-doings. but if it’s not, may Allah forgive our sins for our misjudgments and bless them with good fortunes. amin.

  2. Pembetulan, MRCB tiada kepentingan di dalam IPP i.e Tanjung Bin Power Plant. MRCB telah lama menjual kepentingan mereka di dalam Malakoff Berhad. Terima Kasih

  3. No doubt prevention is better than cure but everyone has a right to make a living based on his/ her honesty, integrity including business acumen and when GLCs and public funds are involved, trust. The position anyone is appointed to must be based on merits and should not displace incumbents who are performing or prevent others who maybe found to be more capable. Some of these 4th Floor boys mentioned maybe previously taking “instructions” from suckers like the 5th PM’s family who does business solely for their self interest. These positions are political appointments and while giving them the benefit of the doubt, we should let Najib and the various boards keep them in check and away from the influence from the bastard KJ and the 5th PM family. If for one reason or other, they still don’t recognize who their new bosses are, let them be grilled by the rules of good corporate governance and be kicked out. I am sure PM too would have opened a file on each of them while bloggers can do their part.

    • i dont think KJ is the b**t*** here. but i agree with the “one” in the family. immediate family of course.

      • he is the real b**t***..

  4. Shahril is a nice guy but CIO for EPF? Custodian of EPF money? He’s not to it yet. Notice all the development in Sentral are JVs with Capitaland in which MRCB are minority shareholder. All he’s done is get Singaporeans to develop KL Sentral. They can’t run the projects on their own. MRCB are minority partner in most if not all the JVs, they have no real capability. Their guys can’t even run development numbers on their own. Sorry Shahril but me think u not ready.

  5. Big Guy, the last part of your dig hit the jackpot. The man at the center is Nor Mohd Yakob. NMY is weaving his network closer and tighter around the money. He completely conned Flip Flop including the famous ‘please sign here’ as Flip Flop was leaving the room. These are all Nor Mohd Yakob boys.

    You are right about the Billions invested in Sentral. But there is a major problem : there are not enuf Govt Dept or GLCs to rent all that space at Sentral. MIDA is in. PUNB is in. Everyone is in Sentral. Still there are tons of space not rented yet.

    Plus one more irritant : MRCB has been madly overcharged (or willingly agreed to be overcharged) for the construction of Sentral project. So MRCB is likely facing serious cash flow constraints.

    The solution : Shahril goes from MRCB to EPF to pump EPF money into MRCB. That is your money (I dont pay EPF any more – sudah pencen).

    Just wait and see – very soon MRCB will be issuing billion Ringgits worth of Sukuk (Islamic bonds). Actually EPF will take up the Sukuk. Shahril as the ‘property expert’ will sit comfortably in EPF and give expert advice to EPF to invest in MRCB Sukuk.

    And then Nor Mohd will say ‘Islamic banking is flourishing’. Mana tahu : Nor Mohd will even say we need more Islamic banks because the ‘volume’ of Islamic banking is flourishing. Someone said Nor Mohd Yakob son drives a Ferrari. Follow the money.

    • correction, it’s a lamborghini

      • Blardy hell.

        Has he the business wizardry or whatever background to be able to do that?

        Yes indeed, follow the money, Big Dog. Let’s try a Watergate scandal expose. Only that it’s not stealing opposition secrets this time. But stealing money, influence and financial control. The same kind of crooks that Richard Nixon was.

  6. Big Dog,
    How could all these happen – the 4th floor cohorts are still alive and kicking and being given outlandish opportunities enabling them to fulfill their “scheme”.
    Are the behind the scene advisers of PM NTR also from the same mazhab as those from the 4th floor?
    Yes Shahrir is a legally trained chap but surely not quite fit to head an enormous investment arm of EPF.
    The PM must be provoked to rethink over all these appointments otherwise his 1Malaysia clarion call (pencapaian di dahulukan dan rakyat diutamakan)are merely empty calls.
    Surely there are many other more capable young Malay brains who are apolitical who are just as able to helm MRCB, EPF and other conglomerates.
    Otherwise 2013 will be a foregone conclusion. The future can be scary – the Govt must be openly questioned. Najib must be made to understand that the Malays especially are realy sceptical of the appointments and he’s also loosing popularity.

    • I respectfully suggest that you try making specific suggestions to DSN’s 1Malaysia blog. He doesn’t mind that, I think. He has said more than once that the rakyat can submit views and suggestions to his blog. I don’t have the facts to do that myself.

  7. As a trained lawyer (1st class in Civil Law), Shahril will ensure that his arse is well-protected at ALL TIME during his tenure in EPF. So, whatever investment decision that he will make as a “responsible” CIO of EPF must be protected with proper documentations. So the first thing that he will do is to hire……

    CONSULTANT….just like he did at MRCB.

    Hey, someone needs to fund the operation of BinaFucker, E-toast, McKinzir, BCGum, etc. So our beloved consultants can quickly start drafting a proposal to EPF to develop a structured portfolio focusing on alpha and reducing beta, er..the more confusing the title the better.

    Why he needs to hire consultant?

    The correct answer is he has no clue what-so-ever what to do as a CIO since he has no background in equity investment, fixed income, banking, or even research. Hello! This poor fella is a trained lawyer.

    But his answer to the poor EPF staff would be:
    EPF needs to be different, or
    EPF needs to be aggressive, or most likely
    EPF is not giving sufficient returns to taxpayers, so let’s quickly fix the problem (the real problem is actually him)

    And after charging EPF a minimum professional fees of US$1billion, the consultant will recommend EPF:

    1. to increase exposure in property sector (this is where Zaki and MRCB will come to the “rescue”)
    2. to increase direct investment overseas (I’m sure KJ, Ganen, Vincent and others can help the poor EPF to secure some lucrative deals, for themselves, of course….just like they did before to many poor GLCs)
    3. to increase exposure in Oil & Gas (plis don’t forget Score-me/Scomi, and of course Omar Ong of PETRONAS will happily give his “full assistance” to EPF)
    4. to reduce exposure in equity investment (this is where ECM Libra can “assist” EPF to do the share placement to Tabung Haji and KWAP, just like they did in 2003-04)

    Forget Khazanah, or PNB, or Tabung Haji, with a total assets of more than RM350bn, EPF is the most powerful animal in Malaysia besides PETRONAS. Just imagine how powerful the CIO of EPF can be?

    One thing for sure, SOME FAMILIAR GROUP will be getting even richer very soon.

    Gandakan wang anda!

    • So Kakipancing, how about passing your CV to Najib? Sure Big Dog can help. You sound you know a lot. Come on my friend, rise up to the challenge.


      • I support the view that kakipancing knows a lot. If not his cv, he can furnish the relevant data and info to 1Malaysia to check the activities of the Level Four boys and their mastermind(s).

        The country will go to the dogs if they have their way. Irrespective of whether there was a taking-over-from-sleepyhead understanding or not, DSN must be informed of the serious concerns we have about the ghastly goings-on in the country.

  8. They are all Bumiputeras and well qualified, having graduated from Cambridge, Oxford and other premier institutes of higher learning. Just because your friends are not selected don’t be so quick to destroy the reputation of these fine gentleman.

    • no need to be impressed with Cambridge, Oxford et al. Snob value maybe, thats all they are. Will they make one more ethical?

      • For ethics, we must consult TDM.

    • U r going against the trend of the discussion here, Slim Shady.

      When a person does that, he must provide facts and data to support, not just an opinion on the goodness of Oxfam boys.

      Point out the good things they have done. Solid, tangible evidence, irrefutable facts.

      I’m OK – just cheering the hard-hitting team who has provided facts and data!

      • The facts are their university education and their senior management experience.
        Is it the case that people are guilty until proven innocent? I thought this blog was against meng-Guantanamo-baykan people?
        Maybe I was wrong, its one rule for you and 150 rules with 30 different clauses for me…

      • The only facts and figures was by one kakipancing who tries to act smart. And that was some head trip he was going on.
        Level 4 rocks!

      • me english no good so me write melayu la. kepada semua yang ada maklumat power giler about the 4th floor mafia ni, tolong la bagi advice kat PM. tak kan la tgk aja. Malaysia is our only country la bro.tak tau la kot byk yg dok komen ni semua lebih kurang mcm MAFIA tu cuma different team. kami rakyat biasa ni, yg cuma lulus sekolah pondok ni perlukan bantuan anda semua sgt2.tak mau la ada reformasi dan demonstrasi jalanan ganas lagi. malu la. kalau tak boleh sangat pun, meh la kita doakan supaya apokolip 2012 tu jadi kenyataan. sonang kan . biar Allah buat keputusan.

  9. dog,

    you know these 4th floor boyz? weren’t they accessory to Abdullah Badawi’s inept administration? weren’t they responsible for helping Abdullah nearly causing the defeat of the Barisan Nasional?

    Why do you reward these people? they should be made to serve the country — and I mean SERVE! not sit on plum jobs!

    Zaki, Kali, Khairy …..they were all liability in Abdullah’s government. hell ..the should be PUNISHED!

  10. kenyataannya sekarang::
    Pemerintah malaysia masih lagi utamakan kaki ABC
    (ampu, bodek, cucuk)
    depan kita depa laungkan 1Malaysia
    Belakang kita depa KAUTMALAYSIA.
    kepada semua anak2 malaysia. lihatlah, fikirkanlah
    masa depan anda macam mana, kemana, bagaimana….

  11. I agree with Maria Teresa, they all should be punished, is till dont understand, why do our PM still keeping this BUIAWAK HIDUP around!!

    Slim Shady, for god sake, 4th florr doesn’t rocks they sucks!

    I have met Zaki Zahid quite number of times, i tell you, this chap is very arrogant and very lansi one you know! How the hell this fella can be an exco of UMNO youth bro?

    th floor boys should be kicked out from all the GLC, if not BN have to pay a very high price! Is it worth to kill Bn in order to defend and protect all this BIAWAK HIDUP?

    Well, i don’t think so!

  12. […] ‘Level Four Boys’ Head Honcho set for MRCB top job Former Head of Policy in Prime Minister ‘Flip-Flop’ Dato’ Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s office […] […]

  13. Why complaint now?

    All the problems, all the people mentioned are all linked to Nor Mohamed Yakcob who was Mahathir’s and Pak Lah’s key guy.

    Previously, all problematic key business and government people were linked to Daim.

    But they all were UMNO people. And I did not hear UMNO making bruhaha on these said people during Mahathir’s and Pak Lah’s reign? Why now?

    Lets not also forget. Azman Yahya who was supposedly a management genius who hived off MAS losses by selling its planes. Now it turned out MAS was making losses simply due to Tajuddin Ramli’s greedy actions. And MAS is not actually doing better until today, just simply accounting magic. It also turned out a lot of Danaharta’s action of selling of problematic companies benefitted his own friends.

    You don’t need to be brilliant to be deemed succesful nowadays. But you must know how to act. And you must also need to be associated to Nor Mohamed Yakcob.

  14. gentlemen,
    I think if PM is still using the same guys to run the GLCs it will be doomed. Good luck. the rakyat is not stupid anymore as they can sense tsunami is coming. Please DSN please remove them. There is alot more smart guys who can run the GLCs. Look around and you can find them. Good luck.

  15. ong slip to petronas- most profitable company.
    what has happend… petronas start lay off his staff…startegy?

    anybody out they got an idea what has going on?

  16. Some of u guys comments are just pathetic….shooting off without clarifying facts. First of all, MRCB has majority stakes in all JVs in KL Sentral n btw, Capitaland involvement is mainly on the condos, which is limited to 2 parcels to leverage on their expertise during the early stage of KL Sentral development. 2nd, most companies residing in KL Sentral are MNCs….pls, Genetral Electric, CISCO, Nokia, SBM Offshore, Samsung, RGM INternational, Teledirect etc, etc and hallo…..Shell is moving in here as well. Tons of space unoccupied???? My, my…this shows u probably have not even set yr foot in KL Sentral hahahaha….lame man, just lame….
    Oh….btw, Datuk Tony F has no prior experience before setting up AirAsia, Shahril has no property experience prior to joining MRCB….so? Their achievements speaks for them. Dont be judgemental yeah….these guys are good.

  17. […] Datuk Zaki Zahid was a Head of Policy in Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s bureau when he was primary apportion and is    widely identified with a barbarous ‘4th floor’ outfit. […]

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