The Government Should Offload Its Burdens

Will we see the re-introduction of fuel subsidies?

I find it puzzling that the government has shut its doors on Maju Holdings’s intention of buying the PLUS concessions (Govt Shuts Door On Maju’s Bid for PLUS – Malaysian Digest, 26 November 2017) when I don’t think they have actually met with Maju Holdings to discuss the proposed deal.

Although the Second Finance Minister said in September that the Finance Ministry would first and foremost get some clarification from Maju Holdings on how they plan to execute the no-toll-hike deal before deciding whether or not to allow the deal to happen, I can bet my bottom dollar that at the time of writing this post, they have not met.

The Second Finance Minister wants to obtain clarification from Maju Holdings before deciding

I have written on this matter before and I have laid down my reasons and Tan Sri Abu Sahid’s explanation that he made to the press during his interview sessions, but I am writing this again because I am alarmed at how the government has made a decision without even doing its due diligence on the matter.

The government’s decision to do away with four tolls beginning 1 January 2018 may be good news for those in the Klang Valley and those who go shopping at Bukit Kayu Hitam or drive into Thailand, but we also know that it costs 20 sen to 30 sen to use a public toilet.  So, nothing is for free.  While the people in the areas mentioned above enjoy their toll-free highway, the rest are made to pay in the form of an extension to the conclusion of the concession of other highways operated by PLUS beyond 2038.

That is not all.  The government would have to fork out RM110 million a year as compensation to PLUS, not inclusive of the compensation the government would have to pay every time they disallow a toll rate hike.  Multiply that figure alone by 20 years, it would come up to RM2.2 billion.  Now that is not a small sum of money.  RM2.2 billion could get you 22 80-bed hospitals that could benefit especially the rural areas of Sabah and Sarawak, or in a term that I am more familiar with, four squadrons of the KAI FA-50 supersonic advanced trainers and light combat aircraft. That is almost 50 badly-needed aircraft altogether.

Not only does the government have to think about finding money to compensate PLUS every year for the loss of income from the four tolls, the government also has to think about compensating PLUS and other concessionaires every time they are allowed to increase their rates.

With the global oil price rebounding, the government has also announced that it would think of a measure to not allow retail petrol (RON95). That sounds like more money flying away in the form of a subsidy – something the government has fought hard to do away with.

The proposed deal by Maju Holdings sounds sweet to me now.  Question is, what is the Finance Ministry and/or Khazanah afraid of?

Is it because Abu Sahid is perceived as Mahathir’s crony?  Then again, which owner of a Malaysian conglomerate isn’t a crony of Mahathir’s?  Out of the 10 richest persons in Malaysia in 2016 perhaps only a couple are not Mahathir’s cronies.

Is it because the Finance Ministry and/or Khazanah thinks that Abu Sahid does not know what he is talking about because he only operates a 26-kilometre highway therefore what does he know about a 800-kilometre one?  The question is what highway did UEM even operate before it was given PLUS? How different is Maju Holdings to MTD Prime and Anih Berhad that are now running the 358-kilometre East Coast Highway after running only the 60-kilometre KL-Karak highway?

Or are people on different levels making PLUS their cash cow? I’m just throwing my thoughts here because I cannot see what are they so afraid of if someone can help them lower their financial burdens.

The Finance Ministry keeps saying that it does not want to have to bail out Maju Holdings should the deal go wrong in the future, I ask myself, and perhaps the Finance Ministry and Khazanah too, should they not pray for the Maju Holdings to fail?  Abu Sahid wants to give the UEM and EPF RM4 billion in cash for free as a return on investments made in PLUS. That is a 20 percent Internal Rate of Return (IRR).

On top of that Abu Sahid through Maju Holdings, with the backing of his financiers, seeks to forfeit the government’s compensation of about RM900 million owed to the toll road operator, which arose as a result of toll hikes not being implemented.  Imagine what the government could do by chanelling this money to sectors that badly need such funds.

In other words, the government should pray for Abu Sahid to fail after giving him PLUS – the government takes back the highway which is already toll-free then as there would not be any concessionaire, while Maju Holdings would have to face its financiers.  The highway and all its infrastructures already belong to the government no matter what, and the government can still impose tolls albeit minimal to help maintain the PLUS highways.  So, what has the government got to lose?

Loss of income by EPF that affects its contributors?  I find that hard to swallow.  EPF has so much money that it would seek to re-invest in PLUS even after the deal takes place.  EPF needs to make money for its contributors. Or it could just seek to invest in another company.  EPF has so much money that it is investing in both money-making and money-losing companies as it is now.

Therefore, as a rakyat, I reiterate my concerns taking into account the amount of money needed to compensate PLUS for abolishing the four tolls, the amount of money needed to compensate PLUS and other concessionaires to not increase toll prices, and the imminent need to subsidise RON95 – has the government seen the assumptions made by Maju Holdings? Has the government called Maju Holdings or its financial adviser Evercore for a meeting like it said it would, before even deciding to shut the door on Maju Holdings? Has the government done a due diligence on the proposal by Maju Holdings?

The government should seriously rethink its stance in this issue.  There is just too much money that needs to be involved if the government continues to keep PLUS.  This is money that could be used to pay the other concessionaires to not hike up their rates as PLUS under Maju Holdings would not be increasing theirs until the concession agreement runs out.  Or the savings could go to building more schools, hospitals or buy more fighters for the Air Force.

The government has an opportunity to offload its financial burdens.  But why is it so afraid to take that step?

Veteran ATM Dipolitikkan

Sejak akhir-akhir ini grup-grup WhatsApp Veteran Angkatan Tentera Malaysia yang saya sertai mula dihujani dengan mesej-mesej politik memainkan semula isu-isu lama yang telah terjawab dan terbukti fitnah.

Semalam tersebar semula video di mana Rafizi Ramli menaburkan fitnah mengatakan bahawa MRT Malaysia adalah milik Najib Razak. Jarang sekali saya bertukar pendapat di dalam grup-grup WhatsApp tersebut melainkan untuk bertanya khabar dengan mereka yang pernah berkhidmat dengan saya dahulu namun kali ini saya terpaksa menerangkan kerana saya pernah bekerja di projek KVMRT Lembah Klang.

Dakwaannya yang dikemukakan oleh veteran yang tularkan video tersebut ialah Menteri Kewangan (Diperbadankan) ialah syarikat milik satu-satunya Menteri Kewangan, dan MRT Malaysia adalah 100 peratus milik syarikat tersebut.

Saya memberitahu beliau dan lain-lain ahli grup WhatsApp tersebut bahawa Malaysia mempunyai dua orang Menteri Kewangan. Menteri Kewangan (Diperbadankan) ditubuhkan melalui Akta Menteri Kewangan (Pemerbadanan), 1957.  Ianya sama seperti Menteri Besar (Diperbadankan) contohnya di negeri-negeri seperti Perak dan Selangor, dan juga Perbadanan Menteri Besar Kelantan – bukan dimiliki mana-mana individu dan ahli-ahli lembaganya terdiri dari pegawai-pegawai kerajaan. Barulah mereka faham mengenai perkara tersebut.

Saya tidak menyalahkan mereka.  Hampir kesemua mereka lebih berumur dari saya. Sebahagian besar menyertai Angkatan Tentera Malaysia sebagai anggota lain-lain pangkat di suatu zaman yang tidak memerlukan mereka mempunyai tahap pendidikan yang tinggi.  Adalah lebih mudah untuk memanipulasi mereka ini.

Semasa mereka berhenti, Jabatan Hal Ehwal Veteran ATM masih belum tertubuh.  Mereka ibarat terbiar menghabiskan sisa-sisa hidup setelah berhenti dari perkhidmatan.  Tidak ada siapa yang menghiraukan mereka mahupun datang memberi penerangan mengenai isu-isu semasa kepada mereka.

Pada tahun lepas apabila pemenang pingat skuad Olimpik diberi ganjaran oleh kerajaan, ada pihak yang telah mencucuk para Veteran ATM untuk bangkit bertanya kenapa mereka tidak diberikan imbuhan setimpal.  Mereka merasakan bahawa pengorbanan yang telah mereka berikan tidak dibalas dengan setimpal.

Program 1MVHRP adalah di antara keistimewaan yang disediakan untuk Veteran ATM

Maka timbul di kalangan veteran itu sendiri penghasut-penghasut yang menanam benih-benih kebencian.  Ramai Veteran ATM itu sendiri tidak tahu-menahu mengenai keistimewaan yang diberi oleh Kerajaan kepada mereka sebagai tanda penghargaan buat mereka dan keluarga.

Di antara keistimewaan yang disediakan untuk Veteran ATM

Saya telah menjawab perkara ini dengan agak panjang lebar pada ketika itu.  Mana-mana Veteran ATM sama ada pegawai mahupun lain-lain pangkat yang telah menamatkan perkhidmatan dan tidak dibuang dari perkhidmatan layak menerima kad pengenalan di bawah dan juga keistimewaan yang disediakan untuk para Veteran.

Namun masih tidak ada usaha dari pihak Kerajaan mahupun Barisan Nasional khususnya untuk mengadakan pertemuan untuk menerangkan isu serta polisi bukan sahaja kepada para Veteran ATM tetapi juga kepada pengundi akar umbi terutamanya di kawasan luar bandar.

Veteran ATM sama ada berpencen mahupun tidak, boleh menikmati tambang pesara KTM

Mereka-mereka inilah yang terdedah kepada dakyah-dakyah serta propaganda fitnah setiap hari.  Yang ironiknya, mereka inilah yang dipolitikkan oleh golongan yang marah jika Veteran ATM dipolitikkan.

Dan jangan kita lupa apa tugas Rafizi Ramli dan para pembangkang:

Kelepetokrasi

KELEPET.

The word means hem or a fold on a piece of cloth or paper.  A Malay synonym would be ‘lipatan.’  To Lipat or to Kelepet would colloquially mean ‘to pillage.’

Malaysia Airlines Boeing 737-800

Malaysia Airlines has always been a favourite airline of mine.  The national flag carrier is THE symbol of Malaysia’s global reach.  However, the airline which roots can be traced back to 71 years ago has been suffering badly from an especially bad episode of mismanagement dating back from 1994.

Disguised under the New Economic Policy that was supposed to assist the Bumiputeras to be economically stronger, U-Turn Mahathir and financial henchman Daim Zainuddin selected several cronies to helm public-listed companies.  They include Amin Shah Omar Shah (who screwed up the Kedah-class NGPV programme) and Tajuddin Ramli (TR) who stripped Malaysia Airlines of its edge and finances.

TR took over Malaysia Airlines in 1994 through his company Naluri as instructed by U-Turn Mahathir and Daim, the year Jaffar Hussein resigned as the Governor of Bank Negara Malaysia after making a loss in the region of RM30 billion in US Dollars through foreign exchange gambling.

Malaysia Airlines was okay for about two years before crashing in 1997 with a net loss of RM259.85 million (RM426.15 million in today’s terms) from a net profit the year before of RM333.01 million (RM546.14 million in today’s terms).

Like the collosal losses of real money the nation had to absorb through the BMF as well as the BNM Forex scandals, U-Turn Mahathir and Daim saw it fit for Malaysia Airlines, or rather their crony Tajuddin Ramli, be bailed-out using, again, the rakyat’s money.

An infuriated Lim Kit Siang (thank you again, Uncle) released a press statement on the 20th February 2002 saying among others:

The Malaysian Airlines System (MAS) police report on January 9 and the police investigations into alleged million-ringgit  management irregularities at  the MAS  cargo division during   the tenure of  former MAS executive chairman and key shareholder Tan Sri Tajudin Ramli is  a most welcome  departure from the invariable past practice of government and  corporate cover-ups, especially  in government-owned or controlled companies, making Malaysia notorious as a country teeming with “heinous crimes without criminals” – starting with the infamous Bumiputra Malaysia Finance (BMF) scandal in the eighties. 

It has been reported that the alleged management irregularities centred on business arrangements between MAS and a Germany-based cargo handler controlled by Tajudin Ramli and focussed on contracts between MAS and ACL Advanced Cargo Logistic GmbH, a 60%-owned unit of Naluri Bhd., a listed Malaysian company in which Tajudin is the largest shareholder.  ACL operates a cargo facility in Hahn, Germany, that MAS in 1999 contracted to use as its global cargo hub.  

The management irregularities being investigated by the police can only be  the tip of an  iceberg as MAS has chalked up colossal debts of RM9.2 billion and accumulated losses of R2.5 billion, requiring repeated billion-ringgit bailouts at the public taxpayers’ expense – and the Malaysian public are entitled to demand a  full accountability as to how the national airline could end up as such a sick company, a national embarrassment and a burden on public coffers.  

It was reported that the management irregularities in the cargo division  were discovered in   an audit ordered by the government after taking control of MAS early last year  following  the scandalous RM1.79 billion buyback  bailout of Tajudin’s 29.09 per cent stake at RM8 a share when the market price was only RM3.68.

This raises the question as to why an audit was not conducted before the government’s  buyback  bailout of Tajudin’s MAS stake – which would have a very important bearing on the proper price of the government buyout. 

I am sure Uncle Ah Siang has not forgotten this episode too when he became pally with U-Turn Mahathir recently.  Surely the interest of the rakyat is paramount to the God of DAP.

Or is it still?

He continued:

On March 21 last year,  the then Finance Minister, Tun Daim Zainuddin, gave a long and most unsatisfactory reply in Parliament during question time to justify the buy-back bailout of  Tajudin’s MAS stake which took place under his watch, but he  failed to address or  answer the  two most important questions, viz:

  • Why no independent professional valuation was ever done when the government agreed to  pay Tajudin’s Naluri Bhd for the MAS stake at RM8  per share representing  a premium of  RM4.32 or 117 per cent over the closing market price at RM3.68 per share when the deal  was signed on 20th December 2000; and 
  • Why rules for the bail-out of companies established by the National Economic Action Council  in the “National Economic Recovery Plan” was violated and  Tajudin was not only spared from having to “take his appropriate hair-cuts” but was given a bonanza at taxpayers’ expense to reward for his mismanagement of MAS by  being given  117% premium for the  MAS shares over the  market price, transforming it into a personal rescue for Tajudin instead of a public rescue for MAS.  

The  current police investigations into management irregularities in MASkargo Sdn. Bhd. have again brought to the fore  the  questions concerning  prudence, propriety, responsibility,  integrity, accountability and transparency of the decision to use RM1.79 billion public funds for the buy-back bailout of Tajudin’s MAS stake.  

Last month, the government announced a RM6.1 billion MAS restructuring exercise involving assets sale to enable the national carrier to retire some of its debts and provide RM820 million as working capital, which is just a creative way for a second round of government bailout for the national airline.

Malaysia Airlines, Perwaja, Renong as well as other companies steered towards oblivion by their cronies had to be bailed out using the rakyat’s coffers, and not one person has ever been charged in a court of law for the breach of trust they committed.  This included Amin Shah Omar Shah who, prior to being given the contract to build our Navy’s vessels, had never built a single fishing boat!

Kit Siang the self-proclaimed rakyat’s champion as recent as 2012 stated in the DAP’s mouthpiece Roketkini that Mahathir cannot pretend to be ignorant of the MAS scandal.

In fact it as also reported that “Mahathir had his hand in getting Petronas to bail out his son Mirzan Mahathir’s shipping company, then Konsortium Perkapalan, which had trouble servicing US$490 million debt!”

(courtesy of Finance Twitter)
(courtesy of Finance Twitter)

Lim Kit Siang was so furious about the bailout of Konsortium Perkapalan using the rakyat’s money that on the 16th June 1998 he wrote:

But Mahathir should similarly give full co-operation to the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Nepotism, particularly as to whether there is any nepotism in the government, through Petronas, using hundreds of millions of ringgit of public funds to bail out Mirzan Mahathir’s Konsortium Perkapalan Bhd.

Just recently, a copy of a directive from the Ministry of Finance to Telekom Malaysia regarding a direct negotiation contract award totalling RM214.2 million to Mukhriz Mahathir’s OPCOM made its rounds on the Internet:

img_6640

A blog post by a Sup Torpedo wrote about this back in 2006:

Mahathir’s criticism of Scomi is justified. It has proved that Scomi does not garner very much government work and now that’s all open to scrutiny. Unlike a company called Opcom Sdn. Bhd. who had a direct nego approved by the Finance Ministry way back in 2003 when Mahathir was both Prime Minister and Finance Minister. The amount of the tender by Telekom Malaysia Berhad was two hundred and fourteen MILLION ringgit. The Ministry of Finance approved it, no doubt with the blessing of the then Finance Minister and Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad.

Hey! What’s new?  If you look at the above letter, it was dated on the 7th October 2003.  The old fart stepped down as the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister on the 31st October 2003.

It was an eleventh-hour effort to enrich his kin – a true nepotistic egoist dictator who was afraid that money made during his 22-year dictatorship would not be enough to cover his grave.

Even in 2006, during the peak of the old fart’s attacks on his successor Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, observers such as Sup Torpedo could see that it was little about putting the interest of the rakyat ahead as compared to securing money for the Thousand-year Reich of his:

Don’t miss the wood for the trees. This fight that Mahathir got going on with Pak Lah is not about doing the right thing. It is at best about putting his old crony’s rice bowl firmly where the padi fields grow. At the very worst of motives might be the will to further advance Mukhriz’s political career and provide continuity to the old ways.

Again, what is new now? Virtually nothing, except for one little glaring fact: WHY IS UNCLE KIT SIANG SELLING HIS SOUL AND PUTTING HIS PERSONAL POLITICAL INTERESTS AHEAD OF THE RAKYAT’S BY MAKING A U-TURN ON HIS ATTACKS ON MAHATHIR?

A simple answer would be that he is nothing but the stinking, arrogant cow-dung for brain hypocrite he has always been.  Power is what he seeks for power ensures riches, just like his charged-for-corruption son.

And what of the rakyat then?

As the saying goes: “The meek shall inherit shit.”

The Never-Ending ProTun Saga

This was written by Ms Lim Sian See:

The PakaTun Chief Dedak Blogger, OutSyed the Box who deletes his posts within one or two days because he is scared of saman fitnah, has just written an article saying that MOF will be made bankrupt by a UK court in London on 11 JULAI 2016 (Raya Ke 5).
This view is of course shared by the Pentaksub Tuns such as my FB friend Blue Ocean Mohd Hanizam Bin Yunus’s post which has got many shares and likes.
But of course these are all tipu by the above people unable to accept defeat in the recent by-elections.
Firstly, this is related to an arbitration request made by Aabar to 1MDB to decide who is right or wrong in the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA). 
The LCIA is not actually a real court but non-for-profit company that is used as a service to solve disputes – normally between companies in different countries or between countries themselves.
This LCIA has NO jurisdictions and the result is NON-BINDING and the court CANNOT ENFORCE its decisions.
So, how does LCIA have the authority to declare the ministry of Finance as “bankrupt”?
This is not the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which doesn;t hear business disputes anyway. But the penipu PakaTuns probably confused this with the LCIA.


Secondly, this is USD6.5b or RM26b. Our current govt debt and GDP is certainly bigger than that. It is just 2.6% of our GDP, so how can MOF be made bankrupt? 
Another way to look at this is that your annual salary is RM100,000 every year, does it make sense that you get declared bankrupt over a dispute involving RM2,600?


Thirdly, the July 11 date is the date for 1MDB to file it’s reply. It is not even decision date. Arbitration can take years and 1MDB believes it has a solid case – which is why it refuses to pay the interest on the bonds which led to this arbitration even though it had the money to do so.
So, how can July 11 be the date when MOF is declared bankrupt when it is just the date to file its response before the case actually starts being heard – which could take years?
Fourthly. this amount of RM26b or USD6.5b is made out of:

– USD3.5b (being the bonds in dispute – which is already part of the very misleading RM42b or RM55b that PakaTUN people like to use.), 

– USD1.5b is for future interest of these bonds

– USD500m for the remainder of the Aabar options that 1MDB said it has paid but IPIC said no.

– USD1 billion, which is for the return of the money already paid by IPIC to 1MDB last June.


Therefore, the above amount is nothing new and with this dispute, 1MDB also does not need to pass over the financial assets that it intended to swap with IPIC and can thus liquidate or redeem them later.
Again, it is clear that the PakaTun penipus continue to take advantage of their followers ignorance with propaganda lies such as this – despite knowing that majority of Malaysians already reject your much repeated fairy-tales as shown in the recent Sarawak elections and the two by-elections.
I have full confidence that Arul Kanda, our MOF and 1MDB knows what they are doing and will resolve this irritation soon.


In the meantime, I challenge Hanizam, OutSyed and the rest of the PakaTun this:
If MOF is not declared Bankrupt by 11 July 2016 or even 11 Aug 2016, you must all make a public apology for your fitnah during Ramadan and quit writing forever.
In return, if MOF is indeed declared bankrupt on those two days, I will reveal my public ID, make a public apology and kow-tow to both of you and quit writing forever.
Do we have a deal?

http://www.lcia.org/Frequently_Asked_Questions.aspx#_Court_