Doa untuk pejuang yang gugur di Bukit Chandu

Doa untuk pejuang bangsa: (dari kiri) Brig Gen Rahim, Jen Tan Sri Zulkifli Zain, Dato’ Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Dato’ Dr Latif Ahmad dan wakil Kelab RAMD

Menteri Pertahanan Dato’ Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi dalam lawatan singkat ke Memorial Bukit Chandu untuk memperingati perwira-perwira Rejiman Askar Melayu yang telah gugur dalam mempertahankan Tanah Melayu dari penaklukan Tentera Jepun, melahirkan rasa terharu dengan pengorbanan pejuang pejuang bangsa yang luar biasa ini.

Sejurus tiba pada 315pm, beliau telah membacakan doa pendek untuk memohon diberkati pejuang-pejuang syahid ini. 7 pegawai dan 146 anggota Rejimen Askar Melayu gugur diantata 13 dan 14 Feb 1942 bagi mempertahankan banjaran Pasir Panjang.

Inilah kali pertama Menteri Pertahanan Malaysia datang ke Bukit Chandu untuk memperingati peristiwa berdarah ini, pada ulangtahun kejadian setiap 14 Februari. Beliau diiringi oleh Timbalan Menteri Pertahanan Dato’ Dr Latif Ahmad dan Panglima Angkatan Tentera Jen Tan Sri Zulkifli Md Zin.

Memorial Bukit Chandu ini telah diujudkan oleh Kerajaan Singapura pada tahun 2002 dan menghargai pengorbanan Rejimen Askar Melayu dalam pertahanan akhir Tentera British dan Kommonwealth, yang berundur ke Singapura setelah semua kubu mereka seluruh Tanah Melayu jatuh ke tangan Tentera Jepun bermula pendaratan di Kota Bharu pada 8 Disember 1941. Menjelang 31 Disember 1941, Tentera Jepun telah tiba di Johor Bahru dan bersedia untuk membuat serangan akhir untuk mengalahkan Tentera British dan Kommonwealth.

Menurut rekod seorang pegawai Tentera Australia Penrod Vance Dean yang terlibat dalam kempen mempertahankan Tanah Melayu, Rejimen Askar Melayu menunjukan keberanian dan semangat keperwiraan luar biasa. Rejimen 1 dan 2 Askar Melayu berjumlah 800 orang dikerahkan untuk mempertahankan kedudukan bermula dengan Sungai Pandan dan banjaran Pasir Panjang, berhadapan dengan ketumbukan 2 Divisyen Tentera Jepun sejumlah 14,000 orang.

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Generasi Malaysia masa ini dan akan datang wajar mengenang pengorbanan Lt Adnan Saidi dan 1 dan 2 Rejimen Askar Melayu ini sebagai simbol perjuangan dan pengorbanan mutlak, demi agama, bangsa dan tanahair.

Kenyataan media Menteri Pertahanan mengenai memperingati peristiwa pertempuran Bukit Chandu 14 feb 1942:

YB MENTERI PERTAHANAN MEMBERI PENGHORMATAN KEPADA PEJUANG ‘MALAY REGIMENT’ YANG TERKORBAN DALAM PERISTIWA BERDARAH DI BUKIT CANDU PADA 14 FEB 1942 (70 TAHUN YANG LALU)

Hari ini, tanggal 14 Febuari 2012, hari yang begitu sinonim dengan sambutan kasih sayang yang seringkali menjadi perdebatan agama namun terlepas pandang oleh kebanyakan kita tentang satu peristiwa bersejarah di Bukit Candu, Pasir Panjang, Singapura. Peristiwa 70 tahun lalu yang menyaksikan anak watan iaitu Allahyarham Leftenan Adnan bin Saidi telah gugur ketika mempertahankan tanahair tercinta.

Adnan bin Saidi atau lebih dikenali sebagai Lt. Adnan Saidi dilahirkan di Kampung Sungei Ramal, Kajang, Selangor pada tahun 1915. Adnan Saidi merupakan anak sulung dalam keluarganya. Adik-adiknya, Ahmad bin Saidi dan Amarullah bin Saidi juga merupakan anggota tentera.

Adnan Saidi menerima pendidikan di Pekan Sungei Ramal dalam aliran Inggeris. Dia merupakan pelajar yang rajin dan berjaya dalam pengajiannya. Selepas menamatkan pengajiannya, Adnan terpilih sebagai guru pelatih dan mengajar (alma mater) selama lebih satu tahun. Adnan kemudiannya mengambil keputusan untuk memasuki tentera.

Pada tahun 1933, ketika berusia 18 tahun, Adnan Saidi memasuki Rejimen Askar Melayu (Malay Regiment). Setahun kemudian, dia terpilih sebagai rekrut terbaik. Pada tahun 1936, Adnan dilantik ke pangkat Sarjan – kenaikan pangkat yang pantas bagi seorang tentera muda. Pada tahun 1937, Adnan Saidi terpilih untuk mewakili platunnya dalam perbarisan memberi hormat di London bagi menyambut pertabalan Raja George VI. Tidak lama selepas itu, Adnan Saidi sekali lagi dinaikkan pangkat kepada Kompeni-Sarjan-Major dan dihantar ke Singapura untuk kursus latihan pegawai. Setelah menamatkan kursus sebagai Leftenan Muda, Adnan Saidi dilantik sebagai ketua Platun ke-7, Kompeni ‘C’ .

Sekembalinya Lt. Adnan Saidi daripada London, dia berkahwin dengan seorang guru di kampungnya, Puan Sophia Pakih Muda dan mendapat tiga orang anak: dua lelaki dan seorang anak perempuan. Termuda di antara tiga beradik, bayi perempuannya meninggal sejurus selepas kejatuhan Singapura.

Pada akhir 1941, Lt. Adnan Saidi ditempatkan di Singapura dan membawa keluarganya bersama-sama. Mereka tinggal di rumah besar di Pasir Panjang, dalam kawasan yang dikhaskan untuk keluarga Rejimen Askar Melayu.

Apabila berita peperangan Perang Dunia II semakin hampir, dan pihak Jepun bersedia untuk menjajah Singapura, Lt. Adnan menghantar keluarganya kembali ke kampung mereka di Kajang. Ini merupakan masa yang getir bagi Lt. Adnan kerana isterinya, Sophia, sedang mengandungkan anak mereka yang ketiga.

Sejarah pendaratan Jepun di Tanah Melayu dan tindakan pantas tentera Jepun memaksa Tentera British berundur ke Singapura. Pertempuran-pertempuran akhir mempertahankan Singapura termasuk pertempuran di Pasir Panjang yang lebih dikenali sebagai Pertempuran Bukit Candu. Bukit Candu dinamakan sempena kilang memproses candu yang dahulunya terletak di kaki bukit tersebut.

Pertempuran sengit telah berlarutan beberapa hari sebelumnya. Tentera Jepun yang biasa bertempur dari ketumbukan Tentera ke 25 berjaya mengatasi kedudukan pertahanan strategik di Singapura. Bukit Candu menandakan sempadan pertahanan terakhir. Ia merupakan kedudukan pertahanan penting di Singapura berasaskan dua alasan strategik; ia boleh melihat bahagian utara Singapura dan selain itu, sekiranya pihak Jepun mengawal permatang, ia memberikan mereka laluan langsung ke kawasan Alexandra. Kawasan Alexandra merupakan tapak depoh bekalan peluru dan bekalan utama, hospital tentera dan kemudahan utama Tentera British. Dengan itu, permatang tersebut perlu dipertahankan bersungguh-sungguh.

Pertahanan permatang itu telah ditugaskan kepada Kompeni ‘C’. Kompeni ‘C’ merupakan sebahagian satu pasukan kecil Batalion Pertama Rejimen Askar Melayu (1 Melayu). Batalion 1 Melayu dan Batalion 2 Melayu, bersama-sama dengan batalion ke-2 “Loyal Regiment” Tentera British dipusatkan menjadi Briged Infantri Pertama Malaya (1st Malaya Brigade)

Pada 13 Februari 1942, Division Chrysanthemum Tentera Imperial Jepun yang handal di bawah pemerintahan Lt. Gen. Renya Mutaguchi menumpukan perhatian mereka kepada persisiran selatan Singapura – Permatang Pasir Panjang. Pada pagi tersebut, permatang tersebut dibedil bertalu-talu dengan sokongan udara, mortar berat dan bedilan meriam. Kompeni ‘C’ dan Lt. Adnan Saidi ketika itu telah ditempatkan di Perkampungan Pasir Panjang telah memberikan tentangan hebat. Akhirnya tentera Jepun terpaksa berundur disebabkan tentangan sengit daripada Kompeni ‘C’. Adnan dan orang-orangnya telah membina benteng pertahanan Rejimen di kawasan tanah tinggi, yang dikenali sebagai Celah (Gap). Walaupun mempunyai bilangan anggota yang lebih ramai, pasukan Jepun di bawah Major Kimura gagal menembusi barisan pertahanan di Celah (Gap).

Pada tengah malam 14 Februari 1942, Kompeni ‘C’ menerima perintah untuk bergerak ke tapak pertahanan baru – Pt. 226, Bukit Candu. Lebih ramai askar tambahan ditempatkan ke pasukan di bawah pimpinan Adnan – menjadikan jumlah keseluruhannya 42 kesemuanya. Selepas meninjau persekitaran dengan cermat, Lt. Adnan Saidi memerintah orang-orangnya untuk memperkukuhkan benteng pertahanan mereka dengan beg pasir. Kawasan bukit tersebut dikelilingi dengan benteng beg pasir.

Pada awal petang 14 Februari, pihak Jepun melancarkan serangan berhelah. Daripada Jalan Pepys Road mendaki Pt.226, Adnan Saidi yang ketika itu berusia 27 tahun, memantau kontinjen “tentera Sikh” daripada Tentera British India (British-Indian Army) mara. Penglihatannya yang tajam dan kecerdasan fikirannya membolehkan Lt. Adnan perasan sesuatu tidak kena apabila menyedari tentera berturban yang mara itu bergerak dalam kumpulan berempat dan bukannya bertiga seperti Tentera British. Menyedari helah tersebut, Lt. Adnan Saidi dan anak buahnya melepaskan tembakan dan berjaya membunuh sekitar 20 orang musuh pada jarak dekat yang memaksa tentera Jepun berundur.

Dua jam kemudian, tentera Jepun telah melancarkan serangan besar-besaran dalam bilangan yang besar. Serangan tersebut menumpaskan Lt. Adnan Saidi dan tenteranya. Dengan bilangan yang jauh lebih kecil dan kekurangan peluru, Rejimen Melayu bertempur dalam pertempuran sehingga ke mati. Walaupun Leftenan Adnan terkorban, namun lebih daripada 800 askar yang telah dibunuh oleh Leftenan Adnan dan rejimennya.

Pertempuran sengit berlanjutan di Bukit Candu. Semua jenis senjata digunakan, termasuk bom tangan dan senjata automatik. Lt. Adnan sendiri mengendalikan senjata mesingan jenis Lewis gun. Dalam kebanyakan kes, askar bertempur dalam pertempuran berhadapan menggunakan bayonet. Tetapi, mereka kekal bertahan mengecewakan pihak musuh. Dalam pertempuran yang berikutnya pegawai dan tentera mati. Adnan cedera parah tetapi enggan berundur sebaliknya menyuruh orang-orangnya berjuang sehingga ke titisan darah terakhir. Keberaniannyalah yang menaikkan semangat juang orang-orangnya untuk bertahan bersunguh-sungguh.

Korporal Yaakob, yang mendapat Pingat Keberanian Medal of Gallant, merupakan salah seorang daripada mereka yang terselamat dalam pertempuran Bukit Candu. Dalam kacau-bilau pertempuran, beliau yang cedera jatuh di atas mayat mereka yang terkorban. Beliau terselamat dengan berpura-pura mati disamping mayat rakannya dan melihat kematian mengerikan Adnan Saidi. Musuh yang menang berjaya menawan Lt. Adnan. Akibat perasaan dendam kerana keberaniannya melawan Jepun, ketua platun itu diseret sebelum diserkup dengan guni. Tentera Jepun kemudiannya telah menggantungkan kakinya pada pokok ceri. Kerana meradang akibat kehilangan ramai rakan, tentera Jepun kemudiannya telah menikamnya dengan bayonet berkali-kali. Dalam kejadian lain disebut lehernya telah dikelar. Kejadian ini dilihat oleh Koperal Yaakob. Selepas pertempuran, pihak Jepun melarang sesiapapun menurunkan mayatnya untuk dikebumikan, dan tiada seorangpun yang berani. Malah menurut beberapa sumber, tubuh Lt. Adnan Saidi yang dicacatkan itu dibakar menjadi abu.

Keberanian Lt. Adnan Saidi bersama kontinjen 42 orang anggota Askar Melayu yang telah bertempur mati-matian untuk mempertahankan permatang Pasir Panjang merupakan satu episod yang kini kekal dalam lipatan sejarah. Pertempuran sengit itu disebut khusus dalam perutusan Lt. General A. E. Percival berkenaan Pemerintahan Operasi Malaya dari tarikh Disember 1941 sehingga 15 Februari 1942:

“Selepas dua jam dibedil dengan meriam dan motar, tentera Jepun menyerang Rejimen Melayu yang mempertahankan Permatang Pasir Panjang. Rejimen Melayu bertempur dengan gagah beraninya tetapi mengalami kehilangan jiwa yang teruk, dan menjelang petang musuh sampai ke Celah (Permatang Pasir Panjang)…”

Di tapak bersejarah ini, pertempuran bagi pertahanan terakhir Singapura telah berlarutan selama 48 jam, berakhir dengan satu-satunya pertempuran jarak dekat tangan-ke-tangan (yang direkodkan) dengan Tentera Jepun.

Hari ini, genap 70 tahun peristiwa ini berlaku, YB Menteri Pertahanan telah mengadakan lawatan bagi memberi penghormatan kepada mereka yang telah gugur di medan juang. Lawatan ini bermula dengan majlis doa selamat yang diketuai oleh YB Menteri Pertahanan sendiri dan turut disertai YB Datuk Dr Abdul Latiff bin Ahmad, Timb Menteri Pertahanan, Jen Tan Sri Zulkifeli bin Mohd Zin, Panglima Angkatan Tentera, Kol Abdul Malik bin Mohd Alwi (Bersara), Presiden Kelab Pegawai Rejimen Askar Melayu Diraja (RAMD) serta Pegawai-pegawai Kanan Tentera Darat.

YB Menteri Pertahanan sewaktu sidang media memaklumkan 14 Feb akan dijadikan sebagai tarikh memperingati perjuangan perwira negara dalam kalendar aktiviti Tentera Darat.

Sewaktu lawatan ini diadakan, YB Menteri Pertahanan turut menyampaikan sumbangan peribadi berjumlah 1,000 dollar Singapura.

“PERTAHANAN NEGARA TANGGUNGJAWAB BERSAMA”

___________________________________________________________________________

Singapura

Selasa, 14 Feb 2012

* Perkembangan dikemas kini 730pm

Mengenai cadangan kami di BigDogDotCom untuk menamakan semula bandar Tentera Darat Port Dickson sebagai Pengakalan Adnan, ianya dibangkitkan dalam sidang media bersama Menteri Pertahanan di Memorial Bukit Chandu. Inilah laporan The Star:

Wednesday February 15, 2012

Move to name military facility after Lt Adnan

SINGAPORE: The Government may consider naming a military facility after war hero Lt Adnan Saidi, who was killed in a battle defending the island republic against the Japanese 70 years ago, Defence Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said.

“This is subject to approval from the Federal Government.

“We should recognise such war heroes. At the moment, the Armed Forces has a military school named after him,” he said after visiting a war memorial in Bukit Candu in Pasir Panjang here yesterday.

Dr Ahmad Zahid said there was no plan to rename Port Dickson from being known as Armed Forces City to anything else.

He also commended Singapore for setting up a national archive for warriors from both Malaysia and Singapore.

Dr Ahmad Zahid said the bravery shown by Lt Adnan and his team which fought until the end to defend Singapore, which was part of Malaya then, on Feb 14, 1942 should be emulated.

Meanwhile, Armed Forces chief Jen Tan Sri Zulkifeli Mohd Zin said since last year the military had set Feb 14 as a day to remember its war heroes.

“This is our way of remembering the men who have sacrificed for the country,” he added.

Lt Adnan, who was born in Kajang, and his 42 men put up a brave fight defending Pasir Panjang from the Japanese.

Despite being outnumbered and low on ammunition and supplies, Lt Adnan’s unit managed to kill over 800 enemy soldiers.

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*Perkembangan dikemas kini 930am Rabu 15 Feb 1942

Published in: on February 14, 2012 at 16:20  Comments (10)  

Remembering the gallant 1 Malay of Bukit Chandu

The bronze statues depicting three 1 Malay Regt heroes, defending Pasir Panjang and Bukit Chandu 13-14 Feb 1942, at the Reflections a t Bukit Chanud Memorial

70 years ago today, officers and men of 1 Federated Malay States Regiment stood their defensive line at Bukit Chandu. Within a few hours, that became their last stand in the bid to defend Malaya from the invading Japanese army.

The defensive line started a day earlier where this regiment along with the remaining of the Indian Brigade was ordered to defend Pasir Panjang ridge. They fought gallantly but the offensive Japanese brigade was too overwhelming. By night, they were ordered to withdraw and take position at Bukit Chandu instead.

This line was defended by two Malay officers, 2nd Lt. Adnan Saidi and 2nd Lt. Abas Abdul Manan.

2nd Lt. Adnan Saidi, an Uncommon 1 Malay Valour of Bukit Chandu

The invading Japanese Imperial Army 56th Regiment supported by light tanks was far too superior in size and materiel for the defending men of 1 Malay. After running out of ammunition, by late afternoon Bukit Chandu fell. The leader, 2nd Lt. Adnan, resorted to hand combat  after the Lewis Gun he manned ran out of bullets and demonstrated the amazing gallantry not to admit defeat. He was wounded and eventually captured. He was tortured. The brutal Japanese soldiers dragged him from the fox hole, placed in a gunny sack hung from a cherry tree and stabbed him, as his mortal wounds brought him to make his Maker without uttering a single sound of pain.

In all, in the two days fighting 1 Malay lost 7 Malay officers and 146 men of the 1 Federated Malay States Regiment. All were hastily buried in unmarked graves. Seven men survived the brutal ordeal, which include 2nd Lt. Abas. Abas later survived Japanese POW camp, returned to active duty, fought the communist rebels from June 1948 onwards and led the Royal Malay Regiment to the rank of Brigadier, commanding the 8 Brigade based in Kok Lanas, Kelantan.

These men inflected casualty to the Japanese Imperial Army ten times over.

Less than 24 hours after this brutal tragedy, British and Commonwealth Forces High Command under Lt. Gen. Arthur E Percival decided to meet Lt Gen Yamashita of the Imperial Japanese Army and his general staff at Ford Factory in Bukit Timah and unconditionally surrender. That marks the formal occupation of Malaya by Japan.

Reflections at Bukit Chandu, the dedicated memorial for the men of 1 Federated Malay States Regt last stand 14 Feb 1942

This evening, a special memorial would be held to commemorate this day 70 years ago at the Bukit Chandu Memorial, which has been shifted to Kent Ridge. The Malaysian Minister of Defense Dato’ Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi is expected to pay homage at the memorial and honour the gallant heroes of 1 Federated Malay States Regiment who gave the ultimate sacrifice, which is the predecessor to the Royal Malay Regiment today.

In the past, we here at BigDogDotCom called the Federal Government to make the Royal Malay Regiment a national icon and for the loyalty and gallantry these past 79 years, Port Dickson be renamed Pengkalan Adnan and bestowed a ‘Royal Malay Regiment’ town in their honour.

May Allah s.w.t. bless these exemplary brave souls.

Published in: on February 14, 2012 at 08:30  Comments (13)  

Anarchists, anti Islam tendency?

Home Minister Dato’ Seri Hishamuddin Hussein said in the media conference this morning in Sunway that there was no court order submitted to him or his minister, to stop the repatriation of Saudi journo Hamza Kashgari back to Saudi to face the law, for insults made against Prophet Muhammad S.A.W.

13 February 2012 | last updated at 01:00pm

‘No order to halt repatriation of Saudi columnist’

SUBANG JAYA: Claims that there was a court order issued to prevent the repatriation of Saudi Arabian columnist Mohd Najeeb Kashgari was not true.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said there was no such order issued by Malaysian High Court to prevent the sending back of the 23-year-old columnist, better known as Hamza Kashgari, as claimed by several parties.

“If a court order was issued to prevent his (Hamza Kashgari) deportation, we surely would have obeyed it. We have never failed to obey the justice system.

“The columnist is a Saudi Arabian national, who is wanted by his home country to be tried in the justice system for his offense.

“The ministry will never let Malaysia to be perceived as a haven for terrorists, criminals and wanted person, who want to seek hiding or as a transit for them (to evade the laws),” he told reporters at Sunway Resort Hotel and Spa here earlier today.

Hishammuddin was at the hotel to launch the International Conference on Principled Policing jointly organised by the Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute (Asli) and the police.

He said allegations made by several parties that the columnist would be killed if he was deported was also “illogical” (tak masuk akal”).

“This is a credible country that they are talking about, and allegations that ‘blood is in my hand’ and such for sending him back – were baseless.

“Do not bring politics of Malaysia to Saudi Arabia.”

“There were also claims that the request for Kashgari’s deportation was made by the Interpol, which is not true. The request was made by the Saudi government,” he said.

Hishammuddin said the decision was not a matter of the government’s policy, but about wanted person navigating in the country’s landscape.

“Deportation decision is made on case-by-case basis. Not all whom we apprehend were sent back, and also not all whom we let free.”

Kashgari was nabbed by Malaysian police soon after he arrived at Kuala Lumpur International Airport on Friday.

He was wanted by the Saudi authorities to be charged in court allegedly following a series of tweet which insulted Prophet Muhammad last week.

Kashgari was picked up by Saudi officials yesterday afternoon and was flown back in a private jet, which departed from KLIA at 12.06pm.

Read more: ‘No order to halt repatriation of Saudi columnist’ – Top News – New Straits Timeshttp://www.nst.com.my/top-news/no-order-to-halt-repatriation-of-saudi-columnist-1.45936#ixzz1mEwFGvvp

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He issued this statement amidst so many Opposition claims, including top PKR leaders such as Latheefa Koya and N Surendran and former Bar Council President Ambiga Sreenivasen that an interim court order was obtained yesterday.

The news portal which lost its credibility this afternoon posted this story:

Court document shows authorities barred from repatriating Saudi blogger

By Clara Chooi
February 13, 2012

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 13 — Despite today’s denial by the authorities, a High Court document here shows that lawyers for Saudi Arabian blogger Hamza Kashgari had yesterday obtained an order blocking his repatriation, at least until tomorrow.

In a copy of the order, obtained by The Malaysian Insider via email this afternoon, the court ordered that “any act of deportation against the applicant is suspended until Tuesday 14.2.2012 or until the completion of the final hearing of a habeas corpus application, of which the hearing date will be determined on 14.2.2012 at 9.30am”.

In the order of application, Kashgari, 23, (picture) had named the Inspector-General of Police, Immigration Department director-general, home minister and the government of Malaysia as respondents.

Former Bar Council president Ragunath Kesavan acted for the blogger in the matter.

Despite this, however, Kashgari was repatriated to Riyadh yesterday and was taken into custody immediately upon his arrival last night.

Speaking to reporters today, Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein denied the existence of such an order and suggested that the claim was made up.

“In the Internet there was a court order… there was no injunction. No court order was given to prevent us from returning him to Saudi.

“If there was a court order, we would abide by it, but there wasn’t, so don’t make up stories,” he told reporters here.

Hishammuddin said he stood by the decision to repatriate Kashgari despite widespread criticism from international rights groups.

“I will not compromise. Do not look at Malaysia as a safe transit… do not think you can come in and out of Malaysia,” he said, adding that Malaysia was often seen as a safe haven for terrorists and individuals wanted by foreign authorities.

“He is a foreign national, he is wanted by his own country of origin,” said the home minister.

According to Saudi Arabia’s English daily Arab News, Kashgari will face charges of blasphemy for allegedly insulting Prophet Mohammad on micro-blogging site Twitter.

Blasphemy is a crime punishable by execution under Saudi Arabia’s strict interpretation of Islamic syariah law. It is not a capital crime in Malaysia.

Following the outrage his comments had sparked, Kashgari fled his country, but was arrested by police in majority-Muslim Malaysia on Thursday as he transited through Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

Malaysian police have said that any charges brought against Kashgari by Saudi Arabia are “an internal Saudi matter.”

Malaysia has a close affinity with many Middle Eastern nations through their shared religion. But it is also a US ally and a leading global voice for moderate Islam, meaning that the decision to extradite Kashgari is certain to be controversial.

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The fact that this order was never served to the authorities, despite this report about a hearing fixed tomorrow at Kuala Lumpur High Court, does not justify that the decision to send Kashgari back to face the music under strict Islamic laws practice by Saudi Arabia was wrong and unlawful.

Malaysia respect the wishes of the Saudi authorities for someone who insults Prophet Muhammad S.A.W., just the authorities worked closely with other nation’s security agenies. Moreover, when the investigation is also believed that he had linkage with most wanted terrorist organization Al Qaeda.

Opposition leaders lied stating that they attempted to serve the interim court orders yesterday.

The likeliness that they pandered into international pressure to promote anti Islam activity reflects their attitude to undermine Islam as the religion of the Federation of Malaysia and make systematic effort to provoke the sensitivities of the majority Malay Muslim.

In recent times, Opposition leaders have shown their anti Islam tendencies. Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim recently said to Wall Street Journal that he supports the right for Israel to maintain their security, which means that indirectly he approves all brutal tactics against the Palestinians. DAP Chairman Karpal Singh commented “Over my dead” on Hudud. Dap MP for Seputeh Theresa Kok uttered offensive remarks against the azan prayer. Serdang DAP MP Teo Nie Chieng two Ramadhan ago spoke in a surau after terawih prayers in the prayer hall, without proper attire. DAP MP for Taiping Nga Kor Ming read verses from the Al Quran, to justify his ceramah.

Aren’t all of these work of anarchists trying to disrupt the harmony by provoking sensitivities of the majority?

Published in: on February 13, 2012 at 13:30  Comments (5)  

Bayan Mutiara Guanomics

Guanomics Guru

The recent development of the Bayan Mutiara scandal where Penang Development Corporation (PDC) was stood up and which currently plagues Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng’s leadership really revving into high gear. So many Penang stakeholders demand the truth from what seemed to be a discounted deal, for a specific political purpose.

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10 February 2012 | last updated at 07:24pm

CM asked to explain sale of Bayan Mutiara land

NIBONG TEBAL: Penang Umno today requested Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng to publicly explain the sale of 41.6 hectares (103 acres) of land to a private company at a price of RM1.1 billion.

Its chairman, Datuk Zainal Abidin Osman said Lim should give the grounds on why the large reclaimed land was not developed by the Penang Development Corporation (PDC), which is the owner.
He told reporters here today that it was surprising that the land was sold when PDC had the expertise and experience and had carried out many development projects for the people.
The land at Bayan Mutiara is considered super prime as it is in the most strategic location, near the Penang Bridge, Free Trade Zone and the Penang International Airport.
“For an administration that claims to be people friendly, it is surprising that there was no public consultation with interested parties before selling the government-owned land,” he said.
Zainal Abidin said the state government acted hastily in deciding on the land sale without making a long term evaluation of the land.
He said if the land were to be developed in phases, the price would leap to more than RM10 billion but the government had made an unwise decision when it sold the land for RM1.1 billion and gave special treatment to the company to repay in stages over five years.
He said the sale and purchase method would benefit the people if the land were to be developed in phases as the developer could also pay the state government in stages too.
“In a nutshell, as the buildings are developed, real estate value would rise, thereby giving the undeveloped land better value,” he said.
Zainal Abidin said the selling price of the government was too low if compared to the price of land in the surrounding areas such as Queensbay which was valued at several times more than the selling price of Bayan Mutiara.
He said based on available information, the state government only evaluated the land price for several months before offering it to the company and the land was sold as freehold when it was the government’s policy that government land should be sold as leasehold only. – Bernama
************
 This was the announcement made to develop the land by Ivory Group, six months ago:

Penang World City – 10b Development within Bayan Mutiara

Posted by on November 11, 2011 // 0 Comments and 0 Reaction

An estimated RM10bil GDV project in Bayan Mutiara is set to place Penang onto the world stage in its quest to become an international city.

Aptly named Penang World City, the development covers a total of 41.5ha land area, comprising 27.3ha of existing land and 14.2ha of land to be reclaimed.

Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng witnessing the signing of the JV during the signing ceremony

Ivory Properties Group Berhad operations director M. Murly said the development would definitely benefit Penangites as it places Penang into the international arena.

“This is a project for Penang, in Penang, by Penang. We hope to turn the project into an international gateway for foreign tourists and investors to Penang.

“We derived our aspiration from the word ‘LIFE’, with each alphabet from the word representing different goals.

“L is to live life to the fullest, I for interact with the community, F – freedom to move and E – energy to realise your dreams.

“Inspired by the idea of an urban oasis design, the project is deliberated to link the shopping experience with educational and fun activities; with trees, plants, water
features, green roof and terracing and most importantly, pedestrian friendly facilities,” he said in a statement yesterday (Nov 11).

Earlier, a Purchase and Development Agreement was inked between Chief Minister of  Penang (Incorporation), Penang Development Corporation (PDC) and Ivory.

Ivory chairman and group chief executive officer Datuk Low Eng Hock penned the deal with PDC general manager Datuk Rosli Jaafar and Penang State Economic Planning Unit (UPEN) deputy director (macro) Hafidzah Hassan (representing CMI) while Ivory deputy chairman and executive director Datuk Seri Nazir Ariff and PDC deputy general manager Datuk Abdul Rahim Isahak were the witnesses.

Also present to witness the signing ceremony was Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng. The Group had earlier won the bid for the land which is strategically located within Bayan Mutiara, a new development hub located in the eastern part of the Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway (formerly known as Bayan Lepas Expressway) and in the vicinity of Sungai Nibong.

It is located approximately 11km due South-West of the Penang Ferry Terminal, about 9.5km due South-West of Kompleks Tun Abdul Razak (KOMTAR) and about 7km due
North-East of the Penang International Airport in Bayan Lepas.

It can be easily accessed from Penang Bridge, the upcoming Second Penang Bridge, and from Penang International Airport as well.

The project, which is expected to commence in the second half of 2012, will take a span of eight years for completion.

Development components will include luxury condominiums, medium rise condominiums, business suites, serviced residences, iconic office block, waterfront
entertainment city, commercial and retail spaces, waterfront villas, medical facilities and so on.

On the development concept, Murly said emphasis would be placed on the idea of green building, green township and the development of a healthy lifestyle within its
community.

“For that, we have proposed for pedestrian network and bicycle track connecting to almost each and every building to reduce carbon emission within the township,” he said,
adding that sustainable lifestyle for the next generations is their ultimate objective.

Asked to elaborate further on the proposed development, Murly said the entertainment district on the water front would consist of restaurants, bars, cinema, bowling alley and so on.

“We have also proposed for a museum, a landscaped outdoor amphitheatre and educational interactive facilities providing state-of-the-art entertainment for all,” he said.

The heart beat of the development contained the principle retail zone and high-rise iconic residential towers, creating a new landmark visible to motorists crossing the
Penang Bridge from the mainland.

The canal-side quarter, he said, is intended to be a mixed use development with commercial and residential elements.

Murly said all components will be developed and revised in accordance to market demand and trend.

“We will be revealing more of the development concept and components at a later stage,” he said.

The project will see a joint venture between Ivory and its business associate Dijaya Corporation Berhad, with the former taking a 51% in the project and the latter holding
the remaining 49%.

*********************

Obviously PDC had expertise to develop the project on its own and with its potential and being a state GLC, PDC could have raised the financing for the project. PDC could have realised the whole value for Penang instead of hiving it off to  a private developer to take the full realization of the value.

Interesting to note that in a recent transaction inked in the neighborhood of the Bayan Mutiara project, the value of the land is recorded at RM 474.oo psf. This is vast contrast to the 41.5 acres that was sold off to Ivory Group for a mere RM 24o.oo psf. Business Times has the report:

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Property hotspot in Penang

George Town: The development potential of Penang island’s southeastern area is growing as more property developers are eyeing it for their projects.Business Times has learnt that CP Land Sdn Bhd, the property arm of the CP Group, has disposed of 40 hectares of land it owns in the Queensbay area at Bayan Lepas to a Penang-based property player.Sources said the land was sold at RM420 per sq foot (psf) to Asia Green Development Sdn Bhd in May and the transaction is believed to be worth RM160 million.Asia Green is said to be planning to build serviced apartments on the land, which is currently serving as a parking lot.The Queensbay development sits on 29.2ha of sea-fronting land on which Penang’s largest shopping centre, Queensbay Mall, and the Eastin Hotel are sited.The mall was sold by CP Group Sdn Bhd to CapitaMalls Asia last year for RM657 million.On Monday, property player Ivory Property Group Bhd announced that it had won the rights to buy 41.50ha of land at Bayan Mutiara on the island, which lies south of the Penang Bridge and close to the Queensbay area.Some 27.34ha are existing land and 14.16ha are to be reclaimed for a proposed mixed development, Ivory told Bursa Malaysia in a statement.The reserve price of the Bayan Mutiara land is said to be RM200 psf and it is learnt that Ivory’s win-ning bid was RM240 psf, im-plying that total land cost was about RM1 billion.It is also learnt that Ivory’s payment to the Penang Development Corporation will be staggered over five years and the company intends to embark on its maiden launch of the project next year.
**************

So what is with the discounted sale?

Ivory Properties and DiJaya stand to gain the most from this. Even their share prices rose comfortably. It is reflective of the huge profitably potential these companies would realise from acquiring premium land parcel at below market price.

Tuesday November 15, 2011

Dijaya, Ivory rise on Penang property tie-up

By JOHN LOH
johnloh@thestar.com.my

PETALING JAYA: The share prices of both Dijaya Corp Bhd and Ivory Properties Group Bhd were up after the companies announced a tie-up for a mixed-property project with a gross development value of RM10bil in Bayan Mutiara, Penang.

Dijaya rose 3.6%, or 5 sen, to RM1.44 while its warrants advanced 6.5%, or 3 sen, to 49 sen. Ivory Properties added 7%, or 7 sen, to RM1.07.

Dubbed Penang World City, the project will be undertaken by joint-venture vehicle Tropicana Ivory Sdn Bhd (TISB), which is 49% owned by Dijaya and 51% by Ivory Properties. TISB was set up on Oct 14.

Penang World City will be built on a 102.56 acre site, of which 35 acres is to be reclaimed. It will comprise residential units, a shopping mall, office suites, office towers, a hotel, retail spaces and an open mall with a boulevard.

The land is being bought for RM1.08bil from state-owned Penang Development Corp.

Bayan Mutiara is a new development hub in the eastern part of the Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway and is in the vicinity of Sungai Nibong, the companies told Bursa Malaysia last Friday.

Ivory Properties has proposed to finance the project via a renounceable rights issue of 186,000,000 new ordinary shares of 50 sen each as well as 186,000,000 new free detachable warrants.

Dijaya, meanwhile, will extend financial assistance to TISB in the form of shareholder advances, guarantee, indemnity or collateral of up to RM525.4mil, or 49% of the total consideration of the development land.

Analysts contacted by StarBiz have a positive view of the project, citing its prime location as a major plus factor.

“Land in Penang is scarce and the outlook for housing in the Bayan Mutiara area is booming,” an analyst said.

“It is not easy to get land in Penang for that price. Property developers prefer Johor Baru because land is much cheaper there.”

Another local bank-backed analyst said although he liked the land, he considered it pricey. At RM240 per sq ft, it was comparably more expensive than IJM Land Bhd‘s land further north of the island that was purchased at RM50 per sq ft. IJM Land has a 150.24-acre mixed-development called Light Waterfront Penang.

The analyst also said the upside for Ivory Properties’ stock would be capped at around 30% as its share base would be diluted by two to three times following the rights issue.

He added that the choice of office towers in the development mix was surprising as the demand for office space in Penang was tepid.

Nonetheless, he said the project was still at its early stage and was subject to change.

“We haven’t seen a detailed breakdown of the development components yet but the residential portion is likely to be larger,” he said.

Penang World City is scheduled to be completed in eight years. Work on the first phase is scheduled to begin at the end of next year.

*****************

It is clearly the market is very receptive and bullish for this project. PDC should have been given the full opportunity to gain from the huge potential of this project and eventually plough it back for the betterment of Penangites. Programs that could be subsidized for Penangites from the huge profits of this Bayan Mutiara project include cheap public housing, training and re-skilling of workforce and talent development for the industrious state, development programs for the huge potential from the tourism industry and also entrepreneurial development programs as Penang has huge potential for small and petty retail business due to the tourism industry.

It makes no economic sense when PDC as a state GLC has been denied to develop the said property but instead the project was hastily sold off without realising its full economics gain, based on the recent transacted deal in the neighborhood. No clear minded decision maker would pass an opportunity to sell the asset knowingly it could make better gains. Especially if the 41.5 acres be subdivided into smaller parcels. This is Lim Guang Eng’s ‘Guanomics’.

Penangites are demanding on the rational why PDC was by-passed for this huge potential project:

Bayan Mutiara deal: State government must explain

February 8, 2012

FMT LETTER: From Calvin Sankaran, via e-mail

The Penang state government under Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng prides itself for its CAT (Competence Accountable and Transparent) principle that forms the cornerstone of its administration.

Unfortunately in practice the application of this principles has been rather selective and only when it is convenient. In many instances the administration’s decisions and policies have been made in a very opaque and exclusive manner with little or no public consultation or information dissemination. Latest of such example is the controversial Bayan Mutiara deal that is currently being hotly debated in Penang.

Recently it was announced that the state-owned PDC (Penang Development Corporation), has sold 103 acres of super-prime land at Bayan Mutiara to a private developer for RM1.1 billion. This parcel of land is one of the most coveted areas in Penang due to its sea-facing frontage and strategic location due to its close proximity to the Penang Bridge, the Free Trade Zone and the Penang International Airport.

For an administration that claims to be people-friendly, surprisingly there was no public consultation at all on the decision to sell this land, considered to be PDC’s crown jewel. This deal also seemed to point to a serious conflict of interest and flaw in the decision making process as the two parties that involved in selling the land, the Chief Minister Inc (CMI) and PDC, are both headed by the Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng himself.

The first and foremost question is why there is a need to sell the land when it can be developed by PDC itself for maximum public benefits. PDC certainly has the requisite expertise and experience to do so as it has carried out such many projects in the past.

The unconvincing counter argument is that the state needs money to fund its affordable housing scheme from this deal. If it is indeed that case, then PDC could have gone ahead and developed the land by itself and used the proceeds to fund housing for the low income group.

The state made RM1.1 billion from the sale but the developer is targeting a Gross Development Value of RM10 billion from their “Penang World City” project. This means that the state could have made 10 times more money had it been more careful, prudent, competent and responsible.
The second troubling issue is the price of RM240 per square feet (psf) that PDC sold the land for. This valuation is shockingly low when compared to market value and recent land purchase transactions. For example, a land in the nearby Queensbay was sold for RM420 psf and another at Batu Ferringhi was recently purchased at RM474 psf. This seems to indicate that the much-touted “open tender” policy of the state government is either a complete failure and/or a mere public relation exercise.

The third issue is on why pubic land is being used for the benefits of private developers instead of tax payers and rakyat. If the land is being used for affordable housing, public amenities or other such noble purposes, then this decision can be supported and even applauded. Instead the land is being developed for mixed development: residential (high-rise and low-rise), commercial (mall, shop-houses, hotel, health care centres, office towers and leisure club) all of which are meant to cater for business and ultra-rich foreigners.

Not only this project brings no benefit whatsoever for rakyat, it also will result in long term, serious and negative repercussions in hiking up the already sky-high houses prices in the state, degrade the environment, increase the population density and worsen the traffic flow that is already choking up the island.

Fourthly, the Chief Minister was quoted as saying that the reclaimed land was offered on a freehold basic. This ill-advised move is highly detrimental and against the public interest. Such over generous terms in selling public assets can only be described as irresponsible.

Finally, I am puzzled about the RM500 million mock cheque that CM Guan Eng presented to PDC during the purchasing agreement signing ceremony with the developer. Based on the terms of contract, PDC is only scheduled to receive RM500 million two years after the signing of the purchase agreement. As such, can the state government explain where did cheque for RM500 million come from?

Since this deal has long term and very serious repercussions, the state government is duty bound to provide clear and unambiguous answers to all these above questions, in line with its CAT motto.

*******************

Then again, the political motive for the sale is clear. Between the outright sales and then to the new joint venture development company, some quarters are making the ‘middle-man’ deal. If the going rate is 2%, then the ‘commission’ for the sale is RM 22 million. If its 5%, then its RM 55 million. They found a ‘friendly’ party to acquire the assets for the acquirers affordability and realise the middle man commission.

That is not withstanding gains realised from the soaring share prices of both plcs.

It is almost obvious Lim is building his political ‘war chest’. 13th General Elections is drawing near. For him to maintain status quo in Penang and fund his expanding DAP ’empire’ elsewhere, as the Secretary General he needed the ‘acquired funds’. After all, DAP is ambitious to recapture Perak, retain status quo in Pulau Pinang, Wilayah Persekutuan and Selangor and get more footing in Negeri Sembilan, Melaka, Johor and Pahang.

DAP can no longer depend on its ‘Unwilling-backstabbing-partners-in-an-unholy-marriage-of-(in)convenience’, in the upcoming 13GE. PKR is plagued with its spiraling internal problems and recently, so is PAS. DAP must be prepared to go alone and face the voters, purely on its own Chinese Chauvinism strength.

To achieve that, DAP must have enough in its coffers. The previous ‘fund raising dinners’ are no longer adequate and they are ‘institutionalising’ its power and position with ongoing business entities. A few of these projects would fill the DAP coffer enough funds, at least to comfortably manage a strong campaign in Penang.

Guanomics is about not realising the full economic potential for the strategic and larger Penangites’  benefit even though the huge potential is clearly visible.

Published in: on February 13, 2012 at 09:15  Comments (6)  

Saudi journo to be returned home

Saudi journo Mohamad Najeeb A Kashgari aka Hamza Kashgari

Saudi journo Hamza Kashgari who was detained upon arrival in Kuala Lumpur International Airport by Royal Malaysia Police after blasphemous tweets against Prophet Muhammad S.A.W. last week, would be returned back to his homeland tomorrow.

BBC report on Kashgari’s detention:

Saudi detained in Malaysia for insulting Prophet tweet

The controversial tweet sparked more than 30,000 responses, including death threats
Continue reading the main story
Related Stories

Malaysian police have detained a Saudi journalist accused of insulting the Prophet Muhammad in a tweet.

Hamza Kashgari posted a controversial tweet on the prophet’s birthday last week that sparked more than 30,000 responses and several death threats.

He was held on arriving at Kuala Lumpur International Airport on Thursday, officials said on Friday.

It is unclear if the newspaper columnist will be extradited.

The 23-year-old tweeted on Saturday: “I have loved things about you and I have hated things about you and there is a lot I don’t understand about you. I will not pray for you,” the AFP news agency reported.

He has apologised for his remarks and removed the offending tweets, but that did not stem the outrage. Clerics have called for him to be charged in court.

It is considered blasphemous to insult the prophet. Blasphemy can be punishable by death in Saudi Arabia.

Malaysian authorities did not say where Mr Kashgari flew to Kuala Lumpur from. He allegedly fled his country after the Saudi king ordered his arrest, said Twitter users.

His Twitter account appears to have been deleted.

Muslim-majority Malaysia does not have a formal extradition treaty with Saudi Arabia.

However, an official who did not wish to be named told the AFP news agency that Mr Kashgari could be extradited under other bilateral security agreements.

It was reported earlier that Interpol had sought the journalist’s arrest, but a spokesman denied Interpol’s involvement in the case.
***************

And Washington Post’s:

Saudi writer Hamza Kashgari faces charge of blasphemy after tweets about Muhammad

By David Keyes, Published: February 10

David Keyes is executive director of the New York-based organization Advancing Human Rights and co-founder of CyberDissidents.org. His e-mail address isdavid.keyes@advancinghumanrights.org

Saudi journalist Hamza Kashgari was detained in Malaysia on Wednesday night and is likely to be extradited soon to Saudi Arabia, where he will be tried for blaspheming religion. Kashgari, 23, had fled the kingdom Monday after he received thousands of death threats. His crime? He posted on Twitter a series of mock conversations between himself and the Islamic prophet Muhammad.

“On your birthday I find you in front of me wherever I go,” he wrote in one tweet. “I love many things about you and hate others, and there are many things about you I don’t understand.”

****************

His tweets, in Arabic:

Hamza Kashgari's tweets

He is expected to face very strict Saudi laws against blasphemy.

It was made to understand Kashgari’s detention was made at the request of one of a high member of the Saudi ruling family. The past 24 hours, Royal Malaysian Police have been questioning him.

Sources from the Home Ministry said Kashgari has been suspected with linkages to the most wanted global terrorist group, Al Qaeda. A big part of the investigation also believed to be centred on the psy-war that has been created from the blasphemous tweets against Prophet Muhammad. Muslims worldwide are easily angered for such blasphemous acts.

Malaysia takes anti-terrorist activities seriously and lately several regional linked terrorists have been detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA).

Kashgari’s return to Saudi authorities is made upon the request of the same member of the Saudi royal family. If it is true that Kashgari is linked to Al Qaeda, then the Saudis are dealing on the matter without the US intervention.

*Updated 1400rs

Wanted jour no Mohamad Najeeb A Kashgari, who is also known as Hamza Kashgari, was deported back to Saudi upon the demands of high ranking Saudi authorities. Home Minister Dato’ Seri Hishamuddin Hussein broke silence and gave a statement on the deportation.

Published: Sunday February 12, 2012 MYT 12:53:00 PM
Updated: Sunday February 12, 2012 MYT 1:58:08 PM

Hishammuddin: Saudi columnist will be repatriated

KUALA LUMPUR: Saudi Arabian newspaper columnist Mohammad Najeeb A. Kashgari will be repatriated, Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said.

The nature of the charges against Kashgari are a matter for the Saudi Arabian authorities to decide, he added.

“Malaysia has a long-standing arrangement by which individuals wanted by one country are extradited when detained by the other, and Mohammad Najeeb A. Kashgari will be repatriated under this arrangement” Hishammuddin said in a statement Sunday.

The statement also confirmed the Malaysia Government’s detention Kashgari, 23, at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) last Thursday.

The detention was made at the request of the Saudi Arabia authorities.

The columnist was said to have infuriated Saudi Arabians for posting a series of tweets on Prophet Muhammad’s birthday last week.

This resulted in Twitter registering nearly 30,000 tweets on the topic in less than 24 hours.

Some clerics have called for the columnist’s death. Blasphemy is punishable by death under Saudi laws.

Following Kashgari’s detention, international groups have urged Malaysia to refrain from sending him back to his home country.

Malaysia does not have a formal extradition treaty with Saudi Arabia.

Meanwhile, AFP reported that Malaysia had deported Kashgari on Sunday, according to a government official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

*****************

In Saudi, Muslims demanded that Kashgari be brought home to face the music.

Worshippers want Kashgari punished

By ARAB NEWS

Published: Feb 12, 2012 01:45 Updated: Feb 12, 2012 01:45

MAKKAH: Imams of mosques in Makkah were unanimous in their Friday sermons on the necessity of bringing Saudi columnist and writer Hamza Kashgari to justice for making insulting comments about the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) on Twitter.

Kashgari fled to Malasyia after realizing that the deletion of his slanderous comments and the repentance he had announced in his tweets were not enough to save his neck. He was arrested on arrival at Kuala Lumpur airport on Thursday.

Worshippers, many of them in tears, were in agreement with their imams calling for bringing Kashgari to justice for his blasphemous tweets about the Prophet, local daily Al-Eqtisadiah reported Saturday. The article said the worshippers expressed happiness over the government’s move to arrest the blogger and bring him to justice.

The Malaysian police confirmed the arrest of Kashgari as part of an Interpol operation under the request of Saudi Arabia but did not disclose if he would be extradited to his country.

The imams and the worshipers strongly denounced the slanderous comments against the Prophet and said anyone who dared to badmouth the Prophet should be severely punished to deter others from doing the same.

Some of the imams dedicated their entire Friday sermon to attacking the blogger and calling for his trial, while others strongly warned against insulting the Prophet in words or deeds. Some of the imams were not able to hold back their tears while defending the Prophet, recalling verses from the Qur’an warning against attacking Allah or His Prophet.

“The unison between the imams and the worshipers against this heinous act is a crystal-clear indication that attacking the Prophet is a red line no one should cross or come close to,” a worshiper said. He did not want to be identified.

A number of worshipers said they were determined to file lawsuits against Kashgari in Shariah courts calling for his execution on charges of apostasy.

The 23-year-old Kashgari has become notorious overnight because of his sacrilegious tweets he had later deleted. Various sections of Saudi society have been asking for his immediate trial. A number of Saudis have also called for the trail of all those who tweeted support for Kashgari saying they were equally guilty.

“Those who supported the contents of Kashgari’s tweets are considered criminal exactly like him,” said Khaled Abu Rashid, a lawyer and a legal consultant. He said the sentence to be passed on Kahgari should be imposed on his supporters too.

The lawyer, however, said it was important to use the written texts to differentiate between two things in this case. “If the support was for general principles like freedom of expression, then this is a different matter but if the support was for the attacks against Allah and His Prophet, then the supporters should be tried for apostasy,” he explained.

Abu Rashid said the court should use the text of the tweets to decide the nature of the support.

The newspaper noted that a number of well-known people and bloggers from Saudi Arabia and abroad were quick to lend their passionate support to Kashgari but said most of the supporters tried to downplay his crime. On the other hand, bloggers from a number of Arab and Islamic countries called for the execution of Kashgari for mocking Allah, His Prophet and the religion.

Individual and collective calls were made to the Prosecution and Investigations Commission to try Kashgari and all the bloggers who supported him in his blasphemy.

*************

Blasphemy is a capital punishment in Muslim orthodox Saudi Arabia.

One interesting note, former Bar Council President Ambiga Sreenivasan made a controversial statement in the tweets for the deportation of Kashgari. She asked Malaysian Government to meddle against the strict orthodox Islamic Saudi and not send Kashgari back, without the opportunity of legal access.

Ambiga's tweet to Home Minister Hishamuddin Hussein

Malaysia respect strict Islamic laws of Saudi Arabia. Kashgari being a Saudi national, journo and social media practitioner should have understood what his tweets could do and how it would affect him.

Then again, Ambiga even as the Bar Council President never had respect for the administration of Islam in this country, which is deemed far more moderate compared to Saudi. She made no qualms in her position on the Lina Joy case where a Muslim born Malay applied for her religion to be struck off in the registration as she wish to apostate and convert into Christianity.

Then there is her open support for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transvestite recently which angered Malaysian Muslim at large.

Credibility deficient news portal The Malaysian Insider reported that a local NGO Suaram obtained an interim court order to stop Kashgari’s deportation back to Saudi. However, they were to late to serve it to the authorities, which include the Royal Malaysian Police.

Court issues interim order to bar Saudi’s deportation, too late?

February 12, 2012

An official Saudi religious body declared Kashgari an apostate and he is likely to face a certain death upon his return to Saudi Arabia. – Reuters pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 12 — Malaysian human rights activists who won an interim court order are rushing to the airport to stop authorities from sending home a Saudi Arabian man to certain death.Mohammad Najeeb A Kashgari, also known as Hamza Kashgari, has been declared an apostate by a religious body in his home country and is likely to be sentenced to death for allegedly mocking Islam and Prophet Muhammad through his comments on Twitter.

It is considered blasphemous to insult the Prophet. Blasphemy is punishable by death in Saudi Arabia.

“Justice Rohana Yusuf just gave interim order to stop deportation of Hamza Kasgari, now on our way to serve order on police, immigration and home ministry [sic],” Suaram representative Fadiah Nadwa Fikri said in a text message to The Malaysian Insider today.

However, the action may be too late.

Citing an anonymous government official news agency AFP reported that Malaysian authorities have already deported Kashgari earlier today.

A Twitter user who goes by the name Zahra F Alsaud said in her account posted about 3pm Malaysian time that “Hamza Kashgari has been deported from Malaysia. He was picked up by Saudi officials at the airport.”

Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein reported that the nature of the charges against Kashgari are a matter for the Saudi Arabian authorities to decide and that Malaysian authorities would be repatriating him.

****************

Malaysia took the serious stance on the deportation as Kashgari has been investigated with linkages to terrorist group Al Qaeda and the authorities make no compromise in entertaining request to deport aliens, in the name of anti terrorism activities. The anger created by Kashgari’s tweets should also be considered as cyber-terrorism against Islam and Malaysia took the stand of Saudi knows best how to deal with such individuals.

This serves as a stern warning to other individuals who are out to create trouble elsewhere that this nation cannot provide even temporary sanctuary for what ever their justification is.

Published in: on February 12, 2012 at 00:01  Comments (15)  

A precursor of ‘Seri Flipping-jaya’

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

The recent mystery of suspension of Tebrau Teguh Bhd (TTB), was quickly answered with revealed with the announcement of Iskandar Waterfront Holdings (IWH) taking over majority control of TTB, via Kumpulan Prasarana Johor (KPRJ). The value, however, is not too sassy.

Market chases up Tebrau Teguh way above 76 sen takeover price

Written by Joseph Chin of theedgemalaysia.com

Fri Feb 10 2012 3:31:27 PTG
KUALA LUMPUR (Feb 10): Tebrau Teguh Bhd share price rose to a high of 94 sen on Friday, chased up by market players hoping the takeover
price of 76 sen could be increased.

Analysts had said the 76 sen offer price had undervalued Tebrau Teguh due to its large landbank in Iskandar Malaysia, the country’s latest property hotspot.

At 3.14pm, it was up 12.5 sen to 93 sen. There were 86.73 million shares transacted at prices ranging from 80 sen to 94 sen.

The FBM KLCI fell 2.7 points to 1,562.62. There were 2.38 billion shares transacted at RM1.73 billion. There were 533 gainers, 339 losers and 316 stocks unchanged.

Tebrau is being taken over by Iskandar Waterfront Holdings Sdn Bhd (IWH), which is buying a 33.15% stake in the company from Kumpulan Prasarana Rakyat Johor Sdn Bhd (KPRJ) for RM168.7 million.

KPRJ, the Johor state investment arm, will remain a major shareholder of Tebrau as IWH is owned by KPRJ and Credence Resources Sdn Bhd, a company controlled by tycoon Datuk Lim Kang Hoo of Ekovest Bhd.

With the collaboration between Lim and the state investment entity, analysts think Tebrau could potentially be a stock to watch for exposure to Johor.

*******

It is actually an expected corporate manuvre to those who have been watching this very closely. The deal was for 222,poo,000 units shares or 33.15% holdings of TTB. The announcement also include the State Economic Development Unit (UPEN) letter dated 30 Dec 2011 for development of 413 acres of Johor state land PTD 4589 and 4590 in Mukim Pantai, Penggerang which is part of the designated Petronas Refinery and Petrochemical Integrated Development (RAPID) district.

The announcement of a takeover price of 76 sen left many observers wondering, where is the actual beef in this deal for Johor State Government. TTB shares did reach 94.5 sen per share within 12 months prior to the 3 February announcement. The last transacted price for TTB before suspension is 75 sen. Obviously, TTB has more potential solely based on the market track record. Since the market has shown that the bullish potential of TTB due to probably the projects Johor State Govt is ready to inject into the plc via KPRJ, one wonders who is the end benefactor of such deal.

Interesting to note how and when the RM 168.7 million that is supposed to be paid to KPRJ for TTB’s shares has not been made certain, at least to the general public.

IWH is 70% owned by Ekovest Bhd Supremo Dato’ Lim Kang Hoo and his family, who also undertook Danga Bay project away from KPRJ as part of the ‘KPRJ resuscitation program’. The acquisition price that Lim willing to pay is actually peanuts compared to the value he would eventually realize now that he is better position to state his call in TTB and also the clout over any strategic decisions made by Johor State Government, especially land development projects.

The whole package of goodies is listed in this Starbiz report:

Split views between holding out for higher price and selling Tebrau Teguh shares to IWH

Corporate Portrait – By Thomas Huong

TEBRAU Teguh Bhd’s minority shareholders are likely to hold out for a higher offer price for the Johor Baru-based property developer and construction group, said some research analysts.

However, other analysts said the offer price of 76 sen per Tebrau Teguh share actually provided a premium as it was close to the company’s reported book value.

Tebrau Teguh’s major shareholder Kumpulan Prasarana Rakyat Johor Sdn Bhd (KPRJ) is selling a 33.15% stake in Tebrau Teguh to Iskandar Waterfront Holdings Sdn Bhd (IWH) for 76 sen per share.

The proposed acquisition would trigger a mandatory takeover offer for Tebrau Teguh by IWH and parties acting in concert (PAC) with it.

The mandatory offer for Tebrau Teguh would be conditional upon IWH receiving valid acceptances which would result in IWH and the PAC holding more than 50% of Tebrau Teguh’s voting shares.

Mercury Securities research head Edmund Tham told StarBiz that Tebrau Teguh shareholders could consider holding out for a higher offer price as there would be better earnings for the company if it starts development on 167.13ha in Pengerang, Kota Tinggi, Johor.

“The offer of 76 sen per share is near the book value of Tebrau Teguh. As at Sept 30, 2011, Tebrau Teguh’s net assets per share was 75 sen. But there could be tremendous future earnings upside from the development in Pengerang,” said Tham.

Tham was surprised by Tebrau Teguh’s share price performance, which closed at 81.5 sen on Friday.

“This could a sign that investors think a higher price may have be offered by IWH,” he said.

ECM Libra Capital head of research Leong Hon Sze concurred, and said Tebrau Teguh’s share price performance showed that investors think that the company’s stock was worth more than the offer price of 76 sen per share.

However, a property analyst said minority shareholders who took the short-term view might want to accept the offer of 76 sen per share.

“IWH is actually offering a premium as property companies with relatively small market capitalisation are trading at only 0.5 to 0.7 times book value. This is because unlike aggressive property developers such as SP Setia Bhd and Mah Sing Group Bhd, these small companies are not fast enough in realising the value of their land bank.”

However, the analyst pointed out that some investors are taking the long-term view concerning property development in Iskandar Malaysia.

“A lot is happening in Johor nowadays, and it looks like every major property developer is homing in on Iskandar Malaysia.”

Tebrau Teguh’s 167.13ha in Pengerang is within the Johor oil and gas industry hub, and it is to be developed into a mixed development which would complement the proposed Petroliam Nasional Bhd’s RM 60 billion integrated refinery and petrochemical complex, known as Rapid.

Pengerang is said to have the potential to rival Singapore’s Jurong Island as a major energy and petrochemical hub in the future.

Companies such as marine engineering specialist Benalec Holdings Bhd and Dialog Group Bhd, an integrated specialist service provider for the oil and gas industry, are also involved in the development of the oil and gas industry hub in Johor.

In June 2011, Dialog entered into a joint venture agreement with Vopak Terminal Pengerang BV, a unit of the Royal Vopak group, for the development of an independent deepwater petroleum terminal in Pengerang, Johor worth RM 5 billion.

Last August, Dialog’s executive chairman Ngau Boon Keat pointed out that Jurong has limited land and was finding it hard to grow further.

Meanwhile, Benalec has land reclamation jobs, over 712ha and 1,410ha in Pengerang and Tanjung Piai respectively from the Johor government, to develop petroleum and petrochemical hubs and maritime industrial parks.

Sources told Starbiz last Thursday that there were plans for Tebrau Teguh to remain listed and be the first pure Iskandar Malaysia stock play, following a successful acquisition by IWH.

Iskandar Malaysia in Johor is an economic growth corridor that encompasses 221,634ha, which is an area of about three times the size of Singapore and twice the size of Hong Kong.

“Furthermore, it’s the only Iskandar play that will be both waterfront and has east and west of Johor Baru city land.”

“KPRJ is not selling out of Tebrau Teguh as the former also owns shares in IWH,” said sources.

KPRJ, an investment arm of Johor state government, has a 30% stake in IWH with the balance owned by Credence Resources Sdn Bhd.

“In the near future, Credence will reduce its holdings to 60% and KPRJ will increase its stake to 40%. So, KPRJ’s indirect stake in Tebrau Teguh will further increase,” sources said.

Meanwhile, another property analyst said several IWH directors were known to be influential in Johor.

“Also, with KPRJ in the picture, there would be no issues concerning development approvals.”

The current IWH directors are Datuk Lim Kang Hoo, Lim Hoe, Lim Keng Cheng, Lim Chen Herng, Datuk Shahir Nasir, Datuk Ayub Mion and Johar Salim Yahaya.

Kang Hoo is also the co-founder and chairman of construction and civil engineering company Ekovest Bhd, as well as Knusford Bhd’s executive director and PLS Plantations Bhd’s non-executive director.

Ayub and Johar are also Tebrau Teguh’s chairman and executive vice-chairman respectively.

According to the Johor government’s website, Johar is KPRJ’s chief executive.

Both Ayub and Shahir are former Johor state secretaries.

Last July, Johar told StarBiz that the company would benefit immensely from Iskandar Malaysia as its land bank was strategically located in the main growth nodes of the growth corridor.

Johar had said the company has 413.53ha of undeveloped land and 12km water frontage within the Tebrau-Plentong river basin development with a net book value of RM 591.93 million,

According to Johar, Tebrau Teguh would shift its focus to high-end residential and commercial developments from low to medium cost residential projects previously.

For the third quarter ended Sept 30, 2011, Tebrau Teguh posted a 29.3% year-on-year jump in net profit to RM 3.2 million, mainly due to higher profit generated from property development activity.

Revenue for the quarter under review was slightly lower at RM 30.5 million, compared with RM 30.6 million a year earlier.

For the nine months ended Sept 30, 2011, the company recorded a net profit of RM 3.7 million, compared with RM 3.8 million a year earlier.

Revenue for the nine months under review increased 33.4% to RM 93.9 million, compared with RM 70.4 million a year earlier.

Revenue for the quarter under review was slightly lower at RM 30.5 million, compared with RM 30.6 million a year earlier.

For the nine months ended Sept 30, 2011, the company recorded a net profit of RM 3.7 million, compared with RM 3.8 million a year earlier.

Revenue for the nine months under review increased 33.4% to RM 93.9 million, compared with RM 70.4 million a year earlier.
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What was peculiar, why was the decision to hive off TTB to IWH done in a hasty manner. The fact that the agreed price of 76 sen per share, which is only 1 sen above the last transacted price before its a suspended, clearly demonstrated that it was not planned much earlier. IWH, which substantially in control of TTB should have paid premium for the 222,000,000 shares block. The adviser or investment bank which played a significant role for the deal is also blurry. It is also not clear where is the UPEN in this and how this corporate play would affect the whole planning laid by the economic planner for the state.

It was believed that the decision is made purely on an offer made by IWH in a letter issued on the same day. Had the premium been calculated at just 10%, it would have translated to 17.6 million for KPRJ. Had it been 30%, it means that KPRJ would have realised a profit in the neighborhood of RM 54 million for the sale of the 33.15% holdings of TTB. Factored with the 413 acres for RAPID in two parcels in Penggaram which was approved for ‘injection’ into TTB, analysts believed that TTB share price could have exceeded RM 1.00.

The reality of the whole scheme of things, Johor State Government tend not to have substantial gains from this deemed shoddy ‘share swap’. Theory has it that the value of KPRJ holdings would increase via IWH, as the projects start to roll out.

Interesting to note that KPRJ is a 23% shareholder of Pembinaan Limbongan Setia (PLS) Bhd, which under the control of Lim the Land-owner. More interesting to note that since acquiring this holding, KPRJ had never earned any cash benefits as no dividends were paid. What is more interesting, PLS holds 70% of Aramijaya Sdn. Bhd., which holds a 60 year concession for 35,000 hectares of forest outside Kota Tinggi. That is roughly half the size of Singapore.

Then again, the whole notion of KPRJ-TTB new structure very much put Johor State Government under the back and call Lim. Recently, it was argued that Lim is the only willing party ready to part with hard cash for all of its Johor acquisitions. That got us wondering more if this ‘consolidation’ was the game to realise the full value of premium land parcels within South Johor (particularly Iskandar), why wasn’t JCorp given the first right of refusal? After all, JCorp already entrenched in the property and plantations businesses, with listed companies in the stabble.

In a ball park, we are looking of a ‘gaming ground’ of 2,500 sq km here. That is in general three times the size of Singapore. Within the next 20-30 years, that is a very lucrative proposition for any parties to devour into.

Another interesting point needed to be raised is that its strongly believed that Director of Johor Islamic Department Tuan Haji Elias Hassan will replace recently retired Director of UPEN Dato’ Hamsan Saringat. Would UPEN after this reshuffle still able to defend the interest of the Johor state and Johor State Government in all corporate and proposals involving land matters is not clear.

If TTB would eventually exercise a lot of its activities from ‘flipping’ of strategic land parcels, then Johor State Government could have done it direct without having a ‘middle person’. It would be a sad solution for once the state with the most progressive system had to resort for this, at the behest of the more powerful economy in the neighborhood.

Then again, in the original plan for South Johor Economic Region as chartered by PM ‘Flip-Flop’ Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s ‘Level Four Boys’ sometime five and a half years ago, this whole area is design to play the supporting role for the high value Singaporean economy. Coincidentally, one of the architects of Iskandar Development Region (as it was known when it was first launched in November 2006) Dato’ Ahmad Zaki Zahid who was then the Principal Co-ordinator for the Prime Minister’s Private Office, is now back in the Johor scene as the Executive Director of Kulim Bhd. He is also expected to play a more strategic role in JCorp as he goes along.

All these is on top what is brewing in Khazanah controlled Medini:

Transaksi hartanah Medini mencurigakan, Khazanah perlu perjelaskan

PEMBAYAR CUKAI, Kuala Lumpur
Surat Pembaca yang dipaparkan di dalam Forum Utusan Malaysia pada 30 Januari lalu perlu diberi perhatian serius oleh kerajaan dan rakyat Malaysia. Jika benar seperti yang didakwa penulis bahawa perjanjian-perjanjian hartanah Medini dengan konsortium Arab berat sebelah, seolah-olah Khazanah Nasional begitu terdesak untuk membawa masuk pelabur asing ke Medini. Ini perlu diperjelaskan kepada rakyat.

Umum mengetahui kerajaan Malaysia telah memberi banyak insentif pelaburan di Medini, sama ada insentif fiskal dan bukan fiskal, sebagai galakan untuk pelabur asing melabur di sana. Jadi mengapa perlu Khazanah menandatangani perjanjian sebegini dengan konsortium Arab?

Sebagai rakyat biasa, persoalannya berkisar kepada dua perkara.

Pertama, jika benar, apakah Khazanah tidak mempunyai kecekapan untuk berunding dengan pelabur hartanah dari luar negara sehingga menyebabkan perjanjian-perjanjian berat sebelah ini ditandatangani. Kedua, yang lebih merisaukan, apakah Khazanah dengan sengaja menandatangani perjanjian-perjanjian sebegini untuk membolehkan pihak-pihak tertentu mengaut keuntungan, lebih-lebih lagi apabila surat pembaca itu menyebut perkataan ‘warga asing’ dan ‘syarikat pesisir’ berpengkalan di British Virgin Island.

Kedua-dua persoalan ini mengundang pelbagai kerisauan. Kerajaan telah memberi amanah kepada Khazanah sebagai institusi pelaburan negara untuk membangunkan Iskandar Malaysia.

Sekiranya konsortium-konsortium Arab ini gagal membawa pelabur Asia Barat lain ke Medini, dan gagal mematuhi jadual pembayaran kepada Medini Iskandar Malaysia Sdn. Bhd. (MIMSB), mengapa perlu membenarkan mereka menjual balik tanah pada harga yang lebih tinggi daripada harga asal atau memulangkan sebahagian dari tanah Medini kepada MIMSB? Bukankah patut perjanjian-perjanjian ini terbatal dengan sendirinya?

Khazanah mempunyai ramai profesional muda yang memegang ijazah dari universiti-universiti terkemuka di dunia. Sukar untuk difahami bagaimana perjanjian-perjanjian berat sebelah ini boleh ditandatangani.

Yang lebih menghairankan, ahli Lembaga Pengarah Khazanah sehingga kini masih membisu tentang perkara ini. Apakah tindakan ini untuk membolehkan perkara ini dilupakan selepas beberapa minggu?

Persoalan lain, di manakah fungsi kawalan dan imbangan (check and balance) di kalangan ahli Lembaga Pengarah Iskandar Investment Berhad (IIB)? Walaupun Khazanah memegang 60 peratus saham di dalam IIB, ini tidak bermaksud ahli-ahli Lembaga Pengarah lain dari Kumpulan Wang Simpanan Pekerja (KWSP) dan Kumpulan Prasarana Rakyat Johor (KPRJ) tidak boleh menyuarakan kebimbangan mereka tentang perjanjian-perjanjian hartanah Medini.

Ahli-ahli lembaga pengarah dari KWSP dan KPRJ patut dipertanggungjawabkan untuk menjelaskan kedudukan mereka mengenai perkara ini. Adakah mereka menyokong atau membangkang perjanjian-perjanjian berat sebelah ini?

Difahamkan dana modal yang disuntik ke dalam IIB berjumlah RM3.2 bilion dalam bentuk wang tunai dan tanah, ini bermaksud pegangan 20% oleh KWSP adalah RM640 juta. Tentunya pencarum-pencarum KWSP ingin mengetahui apakah pelaburan mereka di dalam IIB akan memberi pulangan keuntungan kepada pencarum.

KPRJ juga perlu dipertanggungjawabkan mengenai perkara ini. Kerajaan Johor telah bermurah hati mengecualikan kuota pemilikan bumiputera di Medini. Tidak elok sekiranya kemurahan hati kerajaan negeri dipersenda dengan perjanjian-perjanjian pelik sebegini, yang hanya memberi keuntungan atas angin (seperti yang ditulis oleh Rakyat Johor Prihatin) kepada konsortium Mubadala.

Suruhanjaya Pencegahan Rasuah Malaysia (SPRM) mesti menyiasat dengan teliti ke semua perjanjian-perjanjian melibatkan hartanah Medini. Perkara ini tidak boleh didiamkan.

Masa depan Iskandar Malaysia akan terjejas sekiranya pelabur-pelabur lain melihat Khazanah dibiarkan begitu saja dalam skema hartanah Medini yang mencurigakan.

Khazanah pula mesti membuat kenyataan jelas mengenai apa yang telah didakwa oleh Rakyat Johor Prihatin kerana ia membangkitkan persoalan-persoalan serius mengenai tindak-tanduk Khazanah di Medini. Integriti Khazanah mesti dipertahankan.

Rakyat Malaysia mahu mendapat kepastian yang Khazanah tidak dicemari oleh individu-individu yang mahu mengaut keuntungan dana rakyat Malaysia melalui perjanjian-perjanjian berat sebelah yang ditandatangani oleh mereka.
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Since Khazanah via Iskandar Investment is also going the same pathway with similar justifications, then where Johor would be in the medium term is no game for rocket scientist to figure out.

Sultan Ibrahim wishes that Johor benefits at least 30% realisation from all of Johor State Government controlled properties or land being acquired or developed via privatization. Probably more could be realised had Johor GLCs play the leading role instead of allowing individuals like Lim. After all, Johor or for that better Federal Government GLCs have vast experience in development, even via through privatisation.

Observers are not comfortable where all these are heading. The most worrying bit is the speculations that rife from who is actually calling the shot, the end benefactor and of course, end game for Johor. Suspiciously, in this TTB hive off deal, the finger is pointing towards Dato’ Johar Salim as the CEO for KPRJ and Vice Chairman of TTB as playing the pivotal role for the decision which shocked many observers.

Like it or not, the ‘flipping’ in near-tsunami scale has already started.

Obviously, the ‘Ghost of Johor’ did not waste time to devour TTB the soonest opportunity it can. Then again, the mystery question which is still looming in the minds of many; Is this another haunting job by the ‘Ghost of Johor’?

*Updated 0200hrs 12 Feb 2012

Published in: on February 11, 2012 at 20:00  Comments (12)  

Another one bites the dust

The Grand Old Witch of Bukit Kiara

We have been fighting against PM ‘Flip-Flop’ Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s appointed Securiy Commission Chariman Zarinah Anwar for the sixth years now. Ever since the ‘highly irregular’ take over of Avenue Capital Resources Bhd., since mid 2006. There were another corporate take over scandals during the past five and half years. The more recent was the sale of 30% to E & O shares to Sime Darby.

Top SC job to be split between retiring Treasury chief, executive director

By Jahabar Sadiq
Editor
February 09, 2012

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 9 — The Securities Commission (SC) will revamp its top post with retiring Treasury chief Tan Sri Dr Wan Abdul Aziz Wan Abdullah taking over as non-executive chairman from current executive chairman Tan Sri Zarinah Anwar when she steps down at the end of March, sources say.

The Malaysian Insider understands that Zarinah’s regulatory duties will be taken over by Datuk Ranjit Ajit Singh, who is now the executive director of market supervision in the commission. It is learnt that Putrajaya felt Ranjit was most capable for the top job but there was concern the right wing in Umno may jump if a non-Malay took the post, leading the government to split the job to provide cover for any non-Malay getting such a post and placate the Malay ground.

“Dr Wan Abdul Aziz will come on board as non-executive chairman and Ranjit will be the top regulator,” a government source told The Malaysian Insider.

Zarinah is stepping down as SC chief at the end of March

Another source said the government will make the announcement soon, including naming a replacement for Wan Abdul Aziz in the Treasury.“They’ve decided to split the SC post for accountability purposes and to provide cover for any non-Malays getting such a job while placating the Malay ground,” he said, adding that Zarinah was both chairman of the commission and also head of the senior management in the SC.

“So now, the top regulator reports to the commission,” the source said.

Singapore’s The Straits Times reported last week that Zarinah was stepping down as the SC chief next month after six years at the helm of the capital markets watchdog.

Her contract ended amid pressure over the market regulator’s role in conglomerate Sime Darby Bhd’s acquisition of a 30 per cent stake in E&O Berhad last August, where her husband was chairman of the property developer.

The Straits Times said government officials and financial executives close to the situation told the newspaper that “Prime Minister and Finance Minister Najib Razak will decide on her replacement in the coming weeks.”

“The E&O deal has put Tan Sri Zarinah in a tight spot. The reason is that her husband, who is E&O chairman, had raised his personal stock holdings in the company just days before Sime Darby’s announcement,” it reported.

State-controlled Sime Darby purchased its 30 per cent interest from three major shareholders — E&O managing director Datuk Terry Tham, Singapore’s GK Goh Holdings and a group of investors led by businessman Tan Sri Wan Azmi Wan Hamzah — at the end of August last year in a deal that valued E&O shares at RM2.30 a piece.

The purchase price represented a 60 per cent premium over the value of the shares in the company on the open market when the deal was announced.

The RM776 million deal triggered unease over the widely perceived coddling by the agency of large state-controlled companies at the expense of minority shareholders when exercising its authority on corporate takeovers.

The SC ruled six weeks after the deal that the plantation-based conglomerate did not have to make a general offer, prompting E&O minority shareholder Michael Chow to sue the SC for failing to compel Sime Darby to make a general offer for the rest of the shares, which would cost an additional RM1.8 billion.

This came despite a SC task force finding that Sime Darby was obliged to make a general offer for E&O shares after acquiring a 30 per cent stake in the property developer.

Singapore’s The Straits Times reported last week that the task force was of the view that a general offer obligation had been triggered as a new “concert party” was created between Sime Darby and Tham, who jointly controlled more than 33 per cent in the property concern after the deal.

Malaysia’s takeover rules stipulate that any party that acquires more than a 33 per cent interest in a public-listed entity must carry out a general offer for the remaining shares.

A general offer can also be triggered if a new party buys less than 33 per cent, but secures management control of the target company.

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Now that she is gone, we all should see this as the ‘Pandora’s Box’ being opened and look into all ‘unsolved mysteries’ in the past. Probably Malaysians now could know the truth and ECM Libra Kalimullah “Riong Kali” Hassan and then Vice UMNO Youth Chief could be investigated thoroughly for their involvement in the ‘highly irregular’ dealings to make ECM Libra what it is today. Also, dear hubby Dato’ Azizan Abdul Rahman and the various corporate deals, such as investigation on insider trading on the pre-E&O shares sale and failure to discharge fiduciary duties under Company’s Act.

So many corporate crooks found ‘sanctuary’ under SC these past five and half years, because of the failure to act against them. Even Singaporean rogues such in the case of Ong Soon Kiat got passed by under the watch of this “Gangster of Bukit Kiara”. Then again, ‘All rogues seems to be leading to SC’. Under her watch, SC seemed to be covering a lot corporate rogues’  of tracks. The stench of all these rats had all along been unbearable.

Even MPs went after her. So many unanswered questions, being swept under the carpet under her watch.

A lot needs to be done to recover all the negative perception casted on and against SC. Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Mohd. Najib Tun Razak’s vision for a higher value Malaysian economy and income of Malaysians cannot be realized if the capital and financial market is in shambles because of poor governance at authority level.

It is a good riddance indeed. Now, lets make this new formula work. Naturally, the Prime Minister as the Finance Minister and Second Minister must keep the monitoring of SC close and tight. We cannot afford another rogue there anymore.

Published in: on February 9, 2012 at 10:01  Comments (19)  

Shahrizat must go now

The demands for Minister of Women and Family Development Dato Seri Sharizat Abdul Jalil to leave her Cabinet post in growing by the day, as PKR leaders heighten attacks on her family’s National Feedlot Corporation.

More and more allegations have been thrown at her family’s company which was awarded the job to develop the livestock program during PM ‘Flip-Flop’ Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s tenure. It has compounded into a very negative perception on the project, where in peoples’ minds has been seen as ‘abusive and corrupt laden’.

PKR: Shahrizat family used NFC funds as carrot for condo loans

PETALING JAYA, Feb 8 — PKR claimed today that Datuk Seri Mohamed Salleh Ismail and his son Wan Shahinur Izran Salleh dangled RM250 million in federal funds to obtain bank loans to buy two condominiums in Marina Bay Suites, Singapore costing over RM17 million each.

The party distributed documents from the Singapore Land Authority showing that National Feedlot Corporation (NFCorp) chairman Salleh and executive director Izran purchased the units using loans from Maybank and United Overseas Bank respectively.

“We believe the loans were approved because they control funds of RM250 million, which is lucrative for any bank. Any bank would want RM250 million.

“They put [the RM250 million] in banks to leverage financing for personal purchases. This is a purchase that must be investigated by police,” PKR strategic director Rafizi Ramli said.

He also reminded reporters of an earlier disclosure that NFCorp, the company owned by minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Jalil’s family, had a RM180 million fixed deposit with Maybank in 2009.

“The bigger question is, how does the family pay back the monthly repayments? Assuming a 25 year-loan… they must pay RM173,000 each month for these two condos.

“And this is not including [other condominium units] One Menerung and Orchard’s Court,” he added, referring to his previous claims of condo buys by the Wanita Umno chief’s family.

Women, Family and Community Development Minister Shahrizat has been repeatedly linked to NFCorp as the project was awarded by the Cabinet to her family.

The RM250 million publicly-funded cattle-raising scheme was first coined a “mess” in an article in English daily The Star after it made it into the pages of the Attorney-General’s 2010 Report for failing to meet production targets.

The term was later repeated by other media organisations to describe NFCorp after PKR launched a series of exposés to show that the project’s funds had been allegedly abused.

The company’s assets were frozen after investigations were launched by the police and the national anti-graft body following the revelations.

Shahrizat returned to ministerial duties this week after taking three weeks’ leave to allow the authorities to complete their probe.

Today, Rafizi said the two condominiums units — one worth RM17.2 million and the other, RM17.4 million — were in the “same building as Brawn Steakhouse, a high-end restaurant owned by Shahrizat’s family.”

“You talk to people there and they say ‘ya, ya, my boss has two units upstairs,” he said.

Rafizi admitted, however, that PKR lacked documented proof to show NFCorp had fixed deposit accounts with UOB.

But he said that given the account in Maybank, “my suspicion is that money is channelled through layers of companies owned by Shahrizat’s family in Singapore”. He then called on the family to prove “the loans have nothing to do with public funds.”

“I dare Shahrizat to come forward and detail the income of the family by which they collect such assets. Your combined household income must be RM500,000 a month to service the debts of all the condos,” he said.

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The longer the issue of her resignation drags further, more allegations would be thrown into an already indefensible pit for the party, government and Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Mohd. Najib Tun Razak’s administration.

Sharizat should do the right thing and spare the party and government from attacks against her, who is a Cabinet Minister when the project which was proposed by a company which was owned and managed by her husband Dato’ Seri DrMohd. Salleh Ismail and her children.

Published in: on February 8, 2012 at 13:00  Comments (13)  

In mind to transform Johor to past glory

HRH Sultan Ibrahim of Johor

HRH Sultan Ibrahim Ismail Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar, Sultan of Johor ascended on modern Johor throne upon the demise of beloved father February 2010. He assumed the tradition of modern Johor Rulers (since Sultan Abu Bakar, 1862) where wholeseome development of the state comes into his mind.

A Ruler much loved by his subjects, especially HRH’s personal interests in their welfare and development. This is clearly translated when HRH does his annual Kembara Makhota Johor, roaming and  trotting all over the nooks and corners of the state to personally witness how his subjects are getting along.

His objective is straight forward and simple; Johor comes first. He saw the potential of what Johor has to offer in the nation’s and region’s rapid economic growth and progression and wanted Johor to be in the mainstream of the game. Thus, he wants Johor to capitalise on the progressed Singaporean economy and be a major component on the progressive Malaysian economy.

As such, HRH wants the Johor interest to be preserved in any major economic plan and activities. He welcomes and encourages new projects be developed in the state, especially utilising the abundance of lands in exchange percentage of the  paid up capital. The custodian of all these projects, according to HRH, is the State of Johor. Johor State Government or any of its agencies and GLCs must be part of any major projects being developed in Johor.

His model is simple; state government provide the land or issue the concession. Part of the holdings go back to the state government or any of its agencies and GLCs. To HRH, that is ‘win-win’.

As the Ruler, he has the grasp on all the major projects either already developed and up and running, being developed or being planned. He also has the understanding of all the major corporate deals and play of all the GLCs, including Johor Corp. What is interesting is that HRH also understand the intricacies of value that could be created from specific corporate maneuvres.

Johor is a model of a tripartite symbiotic government relationship; Ruler, elected representatives and civil service. The state government would not work properly if this tripartite relationship is not good. One is very much substantial to the other two. This model has worked very effectively safeguarding the interest of the state, since the inception of modern Johor administration in 1875.

HRH Sultan Ibrahim wants to preserve that, for the sake of Johor.

As such, he wants to have a say in more decisions involving the state. Traditionally, Sultan Johor decides on strategic civil service posts and transfers. HRH Sultan Ibrahim is having personal interests in projects approved and undertaken by the state government. He is also exercising the powers accorded to him as per the Johor Corp charter and state enactment for the formation of the state economic development corporation.

He is also been said to have paid for properties he acquired from the state. Recently, a civil servant confirmed that HRH paid RM 1o million for several units of old state government bungalows.

An avid historian of the state, HRH takes personal interests on any decisions where his powers can be exercised or exerted, as per provisions in the Johor State Constitution. Johor has made wrongful decisions in the past where the state and its people were trapped in certain deals and treaties. He wants to ensure that these political misfortunes wold not happen again.

HRH subjects’ prayer is for God to protect him, enshrined in the state anthem “Allah Selamatkan Sultan”.

Allah selamatkan Sultan

Anugerahkan dia

Segala kehormatan

Sihat dan ria

Kekal dan makmur

Luaskan kuasa

Naungkan kami

Rakyat dipimpini bersama lagi

Dengan Merdeka Baru bersatu hati

Allah berkati Johor

Allah selamatkan Sultan.

Loyal subjects of Johor also pray in the hearts that HRH Sultan of Johor ask for God’s will to lead, protect and serve the state and HRH subjects. Without loyal subjects, HRH’s position would just be academic.

Ibrahim Ismail son of Iskandar son of Ismail, the Sultan of Johor ascended to the Johor throne the year when the former was born. He spent an interesting childhood being a playful schoolboy and there on, his father then Tunku Mahkota Johor insisted that the youth undergo one military training after another. By the time he father ascended the Johor Throne, Tunku Ibrahim Ismail started his carrier as part of the Johor administration.

He spent a lot of time observing how the system works and what are its major flaws. He made notes. Upon the passing of Sultan Iskandar, HRH is now ready to make the necessary  changes on the system. In the whole scheme of things, all these ‘changes’ are effectively ‘Transformation for Johor’.

“I want to bring Johor to its past glory”

Ibrahim of Johor, executive chef du la grille

Needless to say, what HRH Sultan of Johor desires through the expression of his thoughts and instructions or actions must commensurate his position as a Constitutional Head of the State. What ever HRH deem ‘best for the State of Johor’, should be thoroughly discussed and deliberated with the Menteri Besar and State Secretary.

Recently in the confine of one HRH’s palaces, he spoke at length with a group of writers from Kuala Lumpur on a lot of current issues in Johor. The discussion ranged from controversial and negatively perceived issues, politics, administration and his personal affairs. He was said to be sharing his personal business affairs and previous family feud, which is thought to be confrontational and controversial points when his side of the story is expected to be taken out in the open involving a solicitor who has seen sought to seek refuge abroad.

One of the chaps who had the privy of having the audience with HRH sums things up as, “He was being truthful on his side of the coin. It was refreshing that HRH was willing to open up, even on very private issues”. Indeed, HRH Sultan Ibrahim was an easy Ruler to interact with, in private. “He was very eloquent and casual”.

That is the mark of HRH Sultan Ibrahim. He dared to face issues and consequences. He has the firm believe that unresolved issues would one day come biting him back where it hurts. In a ball park, he is Johor and Johor is part of him. Like how it has been for the past 150 years.

HRH Sultan Ibrahim is also proud that the Johor Government has been around since 1512. That is five hundred years old tradition of power and governance. It had always been Johor in the mind of these past Rulers for all that time.

Published in: on February 7, 2012 at 08:45  Comments (12)  

Duri dalam daging

Shamsuddin "Pak Sam" Othman

Ketua Peneroka Kebangsaan Shamsuddin “Pak Sam” Othman masih lagi memainkan peranan ‘duri dalam daging’ keatas cadangan penyenaraian FELDA Global Ventures Holdings Bhd (FGVH), yang pada asalnya dijadualkan Mac/April 2012. Beliau sepatutnya memainkan peranan sebagai ‘ketua penyokong utama’ (chief whip) kepada perancangan transformasi masyarakat FELDA, melalui penyeneraian FGVH.

Walaupun penerangan terperinci telah beberapa kali diberikan, beliau masih lagi tidak menunjukan kesetiaan seabagai ahli warga FELDA yang yakin bahawa masyarakat ‘anak emas’ Kerajaan Persekutuan. Ini termasuk kommitmen Perdana Menteri Dato’ Seri Mohd. Najib Tun Razak mengenai peranan Lembaga FELDA sebagai agensi Kerajaan Persekutuan untuk terus membangun, mengurus dan menentukan kesemua masyarakat 317 tanah rancangan dibawah FELDA terus dipelihara.

Antara yang dibangkitkan beliau ialah congak pendapatan berbanding dengan perbelanjaan Lembaga FELDA, selepas penyenaraian. Walaupun beliau merupakan Ketua Peneroka Kebangsaan dan Ahli Lembaga Pengarah (BOD) Koperasi Permodalan FELDA (KPF), namun Pak Sam tidak mungkin didedahkan dengan perancangan strategik Kerajaan Persekutuan keatas FELDA secara terperinci, termasuk keseluruhan program pembangunan dan pengurusan FELDA pasca peneyenaraian FGVH.

Program program transformasi pentadbiran Perdana Menteri Najib merangkumi program program dibawah Economic Transformation Plan (ETP). termasuk projek projek usahasama Kerajaan-Swasta dimana beban menyediakan infrastruktur tertentu dikurangkan dari perbelanjaan bajet pembangunan tahunan. Beberapa program pembangunan FELDA juga disusun semula dibawah kemeneterian tertentu, sama seperti program program khusus dibawah korridor korridor ekonomi yang diujudkan.

Ini tidak bermakna keperluan pembangunan rakyat terutama masyarakat luar bandar diabaikan. Disebaliknya, ianya ditingkatkan walaupun disalurkan luar dari amalan Kerajaan Persekutuan biasa. Pokoknya, rakyat diutamakan ialah teras Kepimpinan Perdana Menteri Najib.

Satu perkara lagi yang pemimpin seperti Pak Sam juga patut sedar bahawa keseluruhan perincian mengenai penyenaraian FGV adalah rahsia besar dan hanya mereka yang tertentu sahaja dibenarkan kepada maklumat ini. Ini adalah amalan biasa terutama syarikat itu terpaksa melalui proses proses tertentu seperti kelulusan Suruhanjaya Sekuriti dan kerja kerja pra-penyenaraian oleh bank bank pelburan yang dilantik.

Perkara yang remeh temeh juga seolah olah menjadi ‘kurap’ yang semakin merebak, dalam pertimbangan Pak Sam. Contoh ialah mempersoalkan agar President Majlis Belia FELDA Malaysia (MBFM) untuk menyenaraikan harta. Sekiranya beliau memainkan sudut ini, maka mungkin ada pihak juga akan meminta Pak Sam mengistiharkan harta beliau, termasuk keseluruhan kenikmatan yang beliau perolehi sebagai Ketua Peneroka FELDA Kebangsaan, Ahli Jawatan Kuasa Perunding Peneroka (JKPP) dan BOD KPF. Ini termasuk menjadi BOD kepada beberapa anak syarikat FELDA Holdings Bhd. (FHB)

Yang menghairankan, mengapa Pak Sam memilih untuk menggunakan Youtube sebagai saluran untuk menyuarakan ketidak puasan hati berbanding dengan mengunakan sepenuhnya sewaktu mesyuarat JKPP. Apa yang difahamkan, beliau tidak pernah pun mempertikaikan laporan porgram program yang dilaksanakan oleh MBFM tetapi sebaliknya tiba tiba meletup apabila MBFM menyatakan sokongan penuh kepada rancangan penyenaraian FGVH dan perancangan transformasi Perdana Menteri Najib untuk masyarakat FELDA.

Dikhabarkan bahawa MBFM berhasrat untuk ‘mengendurkan ketengangan’ dan merancang untuk menganjurkan ‘Hari Keluarga’ melbatkan Ketua Peneroka dan Penerokawati di A’ Famosa Resort dalam masa terdekat. Namun hanya empat orang Ketua Peneroka dan enam orang ketua Penerokawati yang telah mengesahkan kehadiran. Yang lebih mengharian ialah antara matlamat program ini ialah memberi peluang warga FELDA berbincangan dalam semangat ‘kekeluargaan’ tanpa melibatkan kakitangan Lembaga FELDA.

Jelas dari tindak tanduk pemimpin seperti Pak Sam, mereka lebih memihak bagi menjaga kepentingan pegawai Lembaga FELDA seperti Dato’ Dzulkifli A Wahab membatasi peranan mereka menjadi wakil Kerajaan Persekutuan yang dibawah pentadbiran Perdana Menteri Najib lebih menjuruskan kepada perancangan strategik bagi transformasi masyarakat FELDA.

Amat malang bagi warga masyarakat 317 tanah racangan FELDA sekiranya ketua mereka sebenarnya merupakan ‘batu halangan’ transformasi ala Pembangkang, ‘duri dalam daging’.

Published in: on February 6, 2012 at 22:42  Comments (6)