Serving the neo-economic master

Land is one and the most traditional factor of production. Wars have been fought for land. Civilisations have been subjected to slavery, when their land is captured and overrun by invading forces.

A major corporate play is said to be brewing in and around Iskandar Malaysia, involving a certain public listed company on an land-bank acquisition roll. Parcels of land have or in the process to be lined up for acquisition or injected into this Plc.

Iskandar Malaysia: East to West, encompassing the JB CBD has been targeted for a massive corporate exercise going towards flipping of land parcels

A property development corporation core business is too look for parcels of land for immediate or short term development projects. If it is long term, then the acquisitions or collaborations, in the form of joint ventures shall be ‘stored’ as land-banks.

Otherwise, they would opt for doing a series of ‘property flipping’. The common definition for this exercise is:

Flipping is a term used primarily in the United States to describe purchasing a revenue-generating asset and quickly reselling (or “flipping”) it for profit. Though flipping can apply to any asset, the term is most often applied to real estate and initial public offerings.

The term “flipping” is frequently used both as a descriptive term for schemes involving market manipulation and other illegal conduct and as a derogatory term for legal real estate investing strategies that are perceived by some to be unethical or socially destructive. The latter usage is typically contested by those who believe the strategies in question are ethical and socially beneficial or neutral.

Superficially, this general definition of any bonafide property development group doing the property flipping exercise looks rather normal for any other plc. However if specific parcels of land which are state owned and deemed to be strategic are being targeted for acquisition either by outright sale or injected for some corporate deals, then there should be alarm raised on what the strategic intent is. This is because these parcels of land could be ‘flipped’ for targeted ‘external benefactors’, who have had their eyes set within the 6,000 sq kilometres from east to west of Johor Bahru.

This is actually a realisation of a dream of the land-strapped ‘jews of the east’, for the longest time. Recently, there was this talk about a parcel of land deemed highly valuable, which was acquired from a GLC and ‘conveniently flipped’ to a Singaporean property developer. Of course, that rumour did not come without ‘an interference’.

It is expected there are more such deals to come with this Plc, as it has been said the process of the land acquisitions and injections for some corporate play, are already in motion. It is also said that the prowl is also on some of the highly valuable parcels belong to the state government or any of its agencies.

When they promoters of this scheme is done, they would have consolidated RM billions of assets acquired and injected into the Plc, without much cash transacted out. Even if there were ‘acquisitions’. it is strongly believed that the financial backers across the straits would have covered the necessary minimal ‘seed capital’ required.

Many, even those outside Johor firmly believed that the Iskandar Development Region incepted by the notorious ‘Level Four Boys’ during the bleak years under PM ‘Flip-Flop’ Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s weak and scandalous administration, was designed to provide secondary and supporting role to the high value Singapore economy. These series of corporate exercises which involve these parcels of land with strategic value and importance are almost definite about the fulfillment to the needs and demands of the Singapore economy, which include speculative market for property development projects.

The arguments are also almost straight forward. Malaysian corporations would neither put everything into one basket and gamble on a speculative property market nor have the necessary capital to do this exercise, in the narrow window of opportunity. Especially when one do not have the luxury of financial support from financial backers. No other international investors or property market speculators understand more about how Iskandar Malaysia would bring the much appreciated supporting effect to the Singaporean growing and financially-muscled property market and economy.

This is not withstanding the fact that recently, one of the significant players within the ‘Level Four Boys’ and strongest advocate of the South Johor Economic Region proposal and principal policy adviser to PM ‘Flip-Flop’ Abdullah was brought into JCorp Group and now the executive director of Kulim Bhd. One of the planned activity of JCorp Group to reduce and ‘manage’ its RM 3.6 billion debts is to hive off assets, which probably include some of their strategic properties all over Johor Bahru city limits.

Then, there is this bit about energy and oil and gas industry, being planned in the eastern corridor of the state of Johor.

Wednesday May 11, 2011

Petronas to announce RM50bil complex in Johor


PETALING JAYA: Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) will announce on Friday plans to invest around RM50bil in an integrated downstream oil and gas complex in Pengerang, Johor, reliable sources said.

Dubbed Rapid or Refinery And Petrochemical Integrated Development, the project is aimed at building something “larger than Kertih” and will eventually include multinational oil and gas companies as joint-venture partners.

The integrated development will not only include oil refining and petrochemical activities, but include a gas power plant and other “supportive industries” said sources.

Rapid is a project identified in the Economic Transformation Programme(ETP), which is led by the Performance Management & Delivery Unit (Pemandu).

One of the reasons why Pengerang was chosen is because its waters can reach depths of more than 20m, which is what is needed for very large crude carriers (VLCC) and ultra large crude carriers.

The Johor government will be a joint-venture partner of the project and will provide the land.

Sources indicate that Petronas’ Rapid project complements plans for the RM5bil independent deepwater petroleum terminal in Pengerang, which is to be the first deepwater terminal in South-East Asia.

The terminal is a tankage facility for handling, storing, blending and distribution of crude oils and petroleum products with marine facilities capable of handling VLCCs.

Part of the thinking behind Rapid was to replicate what Singapore has already done successfully, sources said. Singapore’s oil refining businesses only started around 10 years ago.

Singapore has an export refining capacity of 1.3 million barrels per day, compared with Malaysia’s 560,000 barrels per day, according to theETP roadmap.

Singapore Refining Company Pte Ltd, which operates a refinery on Jurong Island, is capable of processing 290,000 barrels of crude oil per day.

Other major refineries in Singapore include ExxonMobil’s refinery in Jurong that process about 605,000 barrels of crude per day and Shell’s Pulau Bukom Refinery with some 500,000 barrels of crude oil per day.

Plans for Petronas to develop Johor’s Pengerang into a sizeable force in the oil and gas (O&G) space are not new.

Last November, the Government said Petronas would play a major role in the development of Johor’s south-east areas of Teluk Ramunia and Pengerang into a O&G hub in the region.

It was then said that the investments in the hub would come from Petronas and its international partners and the investments would bring major development into Johor’s south-east areas and could turn Teluk Ramunia and Pengerang into a new Kertih.

Petronas chief executive officer Datuk Shamsul Azhar Abbas confirmed then that Petronas was talking with several international investors to invest in Teluk Ramunia and Pengerang.

Once a sleepy fishing village in Terengganu, Kertih is now a thriving township due to O&G related activities with Petronas as the main driver in the O&G sector there.

The Petronas Kertih Refinery is the national oil company’s first oil refinery in Malaysia, and processes 49,000 barrels of Malaysian light, sweet crude oil per day.

In total, Petronas owns and operates four refineries (three in Malaysia and one in South Africa) with a total refining capacity of more than 448,000 barrels per day.

The Government had also said then that while the investments would come from Petronas and its partners, the Government was looking into allocating money for infrastructure developments in the areas.

Another aspect of the oil and gas thrust in the ETP (and which is linked to the Rapid project) is for Malaysia to venture into the lucrative area of oil trading. Singapore accounts for hundreds of billions of oil trading every year, an area of business that is virtually absent in Malaysia.

According to the ETP roadmap, Singapore, by 2007, had built a significant trading business worth more than RM1 trillion in physical oil trade and RM2 trillion in derivative trade.

Sources said the Government may consider providing additional incentives to attract oil trading firms to be located in Johor.


Another story literally in the pipeline to this ETP project is a tri-partite power generation plant using gas is being planned to be built in the east coast of Johor, within the area of the recently launched Refinery and Petrochemical Integrated Development (RAPID) in Pengerang. The whole eastern Johor corridor has been earmarked for this project and all the activities peripheral to the oil and gas industry. State energy producer Petronas, major Malaysian power generation player Malakoff and Singaporean engineering corporation Keppel power plant is set to serve the Singaporean energy needs.

It is obvious that instead of supplying gas to the republic, it would bring about better returns if power is sold instead. Why a Singaporean partner is admitted in the project is not too clear, especially when the ball is definitely in Malaysia’s court in the requirement-for-power-and-energy-of-five-million-people game.

This came as partly emancipation of Johor’s role in supporting lives of Singaporeans with the handover of Gunung Pulai and four other rivers water treatment plants last August.

Addition to the story on the land acquisition game mentioned earlier, a separate party with vested interest is in the play of lining up all the potential oil and gas players to have their facilities along the corridor from Pengerang all the way to Ulu Tiram and Tanjung Langsat. This exercise is believed to be with ‘interference’ too.

Johor is definitely being transformed as the staging ground to serve the Singaporean economy. When the most important, traditional and quantifiable factor of production in the properties and parcels of strategic land are in the process being taken away and gone forever, then the new age of slavery had just begun. Especially when the populous is being geared into serving the more important economy and commanding society. It will come in the literal form of serving the neo-economic masters. The relationship between the two people would eventually be ‘master-servant’.

Philosophically, that is ‘economic slavery’.

Published in: on January 25, 2012 at 12:15  Comments (15)  

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  1. The question is whether the local population was ever consulted in terms of its fate. The true blue Johoreans are being sandwiched in this mammoth development area and what is there for them to gain? Serving the neo economic master in a world ruled by the economic neo liberalists is exactly what is happening in the an area where the electorates have been strong supporters of UMNO -BN. Do they like it? No one ever asked them. Do the govts both at the state and Federal levels ever wonder if such a massive economic enclave could displace and disenfranchise the local population? Have they ever consider that such economic enclave could alter beyond repair the demographic landscape, socio-economic structures, create class divisions and a displacement of typical Johor cultural heritage? There we see how the unstrategic Malay minds operate and think. I have not heard of any plan to include the inhabitants of that area and its vicinity so that their interests are protected.

    • I support these views fully. Projects in the state must benefit the true blue Johoreans.

      The development agencies must be made to cater to the interest of the local population as well. Plan aspects of the development that can allow and encourage the locals to participate. In a big way, not the jual goreng pisang way. The Menteri Besar must do this. Show proof that these have been done and are being done. PRU13 is just around the corner.

      More than that, the Malays must benefit substantially on a long term basis. This country and the state of Johore is about and must be about the re-structuring of society that has been started since after the 13 May 1969 riots. Not enough being done. Only 18% corporate wealth in the hands of the Malays at the last count. And nothing is mentioned on how much the Malays have in terms of ownership of commercial and residential properties. This particular development project is a good opportunity. Work with the Malay Chambers of Commerce, Persatuan Kontrekter Bumiputera etc. Build a set of Malay housing developers in Johore. Pave the way, guide them, assist them fully, not just lepaskan batuk di tangga only.

      And don’t blame the Malays for not achieving the target early – nobody can estimate accurately the length of time it’d take the Malays to get the NEP target – because nobody has done that before. The Malays have not had budaya berniaga, only budaya berdagang i.e barter trade or exchange of goods for daily necessities. Even the mid 19th Century there were Malays carrying “pasir hitam” (tin ore) to the confluence of rivers in Perak, exchanging it with bales of cloth. If I recall correctly, this is written in the book by Professor MA Fauzi Basri on the history of Perak published by Yayasan Perak. The Johore MB must cater to the long term interest of the Malays as well.

  2. Big Guy,

    They say all the yellow brick roads lead to Passer Plangie……

    Then this is Wizard of Dung Bay, who is also known as El Kay Age.

    Someone should take this up with PM. After all, his mother and maternal grandparents are Johoreans too. Not to mention his ‘cousin’.

  3. Org Johor tak boleh biorkan ja!

    Dah jelas ni semua yg BD bayangkan ni adalah berkenaan “Ghost of Johor” & Lim Kung Who.

    PM perlu ambil tindakan serious. Melainkan, PM pun sedia ‘bertolak ansur’ dgn Singapura.

    Jangan biorkan org Johor memberontak. Johor ialah ‘simpanan tetap’ UMNO/BN yg sebenar, dulu, kini & selamanya.

    Belajor belajorlah dari kelemahan pemimpin dahulu.

  4. UMNO perlukan wang Singapura untuk terus hidup.

    • Siapa cakap? Lu mana mali? Singapore mali ka?

      Lu tatak tau belapa manyiak Singapore sutak untung dali Malaysia ha? Tatak olang Malaysia keleja Singapore, Singapre manyiak sakit lorr.

    • Jika Johor boleh jual Singapura pada masa lalu, mustahil Johor tidak boleh dijual sekali lagi oleh UMNO. UMNO hanya kenal $$$ tanpa mengira semua bangsa di Malaysia kepada sesiapa yang boleh bayar.

      • Lu kupla taluk mana? Siapa ciakap tak “mengira semua bangsa di Malaysia”? Kalo itiu maciam, apasat Cina boleh jadi paling kaya dan kontrol ekonomi? Lu tak tau ka UMNO pun kasi Tongkat pada Cina juga. Lu tanya Robert Kuok sugar monopoly, Vincent Tan lesen loteri dll lah. Pun Vincent Tan mau Tongkat lagi. Mau itiu lesen loteri bola sepak.

        Sudah itiu maciam, UMNO tak boleh re-structure society ka? Apasat lu tatak ingat olang lain? Lu mau lebih, lebih, lebih saja ka? Tak paluli lain olang ka?

  5. Duliu masa mula mula Ghani Othman jadi MB, dia ada janji nak ujudkan 100 usahawan Melayu.

    Berapa ramai yg berjaya diujudkan selepas hampir 17 thn?

    Yg penting sekali, berapa ramai dari usahawan ni pemaju perumahan Melayu.

    Sah cerita ni mengenai Cina Johor gunakan Melayu utk kaburi semua kelulusan projek projek, yg sebenarnya dibiayai Cina Singapura. Balik balik cerita sama!

    Ghani mesti tanggung jawab sekiranya perkara ini berlaku. Exco & PTG ialah bawah kuasa dia. Jangan leka & biarkan gerak-kerja menggadaikan tanah tanah Johor, demi duit & keuntungan pihak yg mengambil kesempatan.

    K’Jaan Johor mesti guna kuasa yg ada. Juga jgn biarkan Khazanah memperkotak katik kuasa K’jaan negeri. Khazanah sebenarnya dikuasai oleh Melayu yg dah tak sedor diri!

  6. better let singapore run johor business than let johoreans riun everthing .

    • You need to open your eyes some more, old boy. Get the proper perspective and then come with balanced views in here.

  7. […] is a structured part in a direction of series of corporate exercises which involved a lot of ‘injection of land parcels and collabora…, which is thought to be more of an SPV to flip all the high value land parcels with Iskandar. It is […]

  8. Projek-projek perancangan awal KPRJ
    Kumpulan Piranha Johor (1997)

    Rumah Rakyat Johor……..16.80juta
    Jalan Kampung…………200.84juta
    Perpustakaan Negeri…….52.84juta
    Perpustakaan Desa……..150.72juta
    JII Fasa 1…………….39.00juta
    JII Fasa 2……………211.00juta
    JB Perdana Highway…….520.00juta
    Lebuhraya KT-Mersing…..300.00juta
    Kg Dlm Kota(Bakar Batu)..500.00juta
    Baiki Stadium Larkin…….5.60juta
    Projek Kota Sukan……..500.00juta
    Baiki Masjid 1…………50.00juta
    Baiki Masjid 2………..100.00juta
    Transport city…………32.00juta
    Gerai Rakyat…………..74.25juta
    Panggung Negeri………..60.02juta
    Port City……………2883.34juta

    MB Johor mahu JCorp Tan Sri Ali buat ini semua kerja tapi Tan Sri Ali kata dia sudah bnyk buat kerja amal buat sekolah agama negeri. MB Johor yang baru ini merajuk dengan JCorp, dia pun buka syarikat baru Kumpulan Prasarana Rakyat Johor untuk jalankan projek-projek (non-profit) yang murni ini. Mula-mula di suruh pakar kewangan dari Arab Malaysian, Azlan Abas untuk menjalankan “KPRJ” tetapi penasihat2 MB Johor ini kata terlalu muda terus dibahagi kepada kawan lamanya Datuk Amirullah untuk jadi CEO dan mereka-mereka ini termasuk Azlan Abas pun buka pejabat-pejabat mereka di Public Bank Tower supaya dekat dengan Bukit Timbalan (10minit sampai jika Ghani petik jari).

    Modus operandi nya simple…..semua tanah yang hendak dibangunkan oleh Kerajaan Negeri dibekukan dan di bahagikan semua kepada KPRJ untuk cari JointVenture partner untuk cari Investor untuk membangunkan projek-projek mega supaya keuntungan ini boleh disalurkan untuk membiayai projek-projek KPRJ yang non-profit seperti di atas….

    Olehkerana orang-orang ini semua bekas pegawai BANK, maka semuanya ada idea yang sama iaitu sebelum tanah-tanah ini “LANDBANK” dimajukan lebih baik tanah-tanah ini dicagarkan ke bank-bank dan duitnya boleh digunakan untuk dilaburkan di dalam KLSE. Memang “BIJAK”…..tetapi seperti yang tidak dapat diduga oleh pakar-pakar kewangan ini bahawa saham-saham KLSE ini boleh jatuh merundum selepas September 1997. Maka YPJ Holdings hilang RM45juta, KPRJ hilang RM280juta, JCorp hilang RM2billion dan Renong hilang RM15billion. Semuanya adalah Sejarah Hitam bagi Johor……..x usah d nangis – nasi dah jadi bubur…..

  9. Thanx Org Bugis Johor, byk perkara didalam kocek anda. Sila keluarkan semua jika ada, jgn sembunyi2. Oops, dlm mulut pun ada nampaknya

  10. […] it or not, the ‘flipping’ in near-tsunami scale has already […]

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