Friday, May 22, 2015

The Final Script in 1MDB's Saga

A kadir Jasin

I WOULD like to start by once again thanking Prime Minister’s special officer, Encik Rizal Mansor, for his allegation that all facts in my writing were picked up from the roadside.

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I continue to pick up information from the streets, the coffee shops and stalls where the rakyat jelata – the people like the angry Angela and the steady smiling Michael, the disappointed Lim and cynical Khaeruddin gather to talk about this beloved land.

But respecting Encik Rizal’s advice, I have started pursuing the more vigorously information from the cabinet room, the Umno headquarters, the executive suites and the Prime Minister’s media office although they mostly ignored my enquiries.

So, combining and aggregating information that I picked up from these sources, I would like to pose the following questions for your consideration:

1. Could the penning of the final script of the 1Malaysia Development Berhad’s saga have started?

The PM: The money will be brought back to Malaysia
[The Prime Minister Mohd Najib Abdul Razak finally admitted to the Parliament that 1MDB did not deposit any money in the Singapore branch of the Swiss-registered private bank, BSI. It “deposited” what he called US dollar-denominated assets. But 1MDB had earlier confirmed reports that it parked US$1.103 billion proceeds from investments in Cayman Islands in the bank. This was further reinforced by Mohd Najib in his TV3 interview on April 10, when he said: “Time will determine but at a certain time, the money will be brought back to Malaysia.” Now he said there was no money in Singapore but only asset certificates.]

2. Does this not amount to misleading the public and “lying” to the Parliament?

[He had publicly said or indicated that 1MDB parked its Cayman Islands money in Singapore. Now he said it wasn’t cash but assets.]

3. What assets is the Prime Minister talking about?

4. Is it true that some members of the PAC are trying hard to sabotage the committee’s investigation of the 1MDB’s affairs?

[Here are members of the committee – Nur Jazlan, Chairman (BN), Deputy Chairman Dr Tan Seng Giaw (DAP), Reezal Merican Naina Merican (BN), Abd Aziz Sheikh Fadzir (BN), Mas Ermieyati Samsudin (BN), Liang Teck Meng (BN), Madius Tangau (BN), Hasbi Hasbollah (BN), Wee Jeck Seng (BN), Kamarul Baharin Abbas (PKR), Leong Jee Keen (PKR), Kamaruddin Jaffar (PAS) and Tony Puah Kiam Wee (DAP)].

PAC Members - The Star

5. Is it true that members of the 1MDB board have been told by the Ministry of Finance (MoF) to step down?

[The MoF is the sole shareholder of 1MDB. Deputy Prime Minister and Deputy Umno President Muhyiddin Mohd Yassin, speaking at the Umno Training Centre (Ilmu) in Janda Baik a couple of days ago called for the resignation of the 1MDB board. (“….seluruh lembaga pengarah 1MDB harus dipecat dan polis dipanggil untuk menyiasat mereka.”)The first to go is likely to be its Chairman, Lodin Wok Kamaruddin. As a face saving device, it will be made to appear that he voluntarily steps down. Other board members, according to 1MDB’s official website, are Arul Kanda, Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi, Ismee Ismail, Ong Gim Huat and Ashvin J. Valiram.]

Muhyiddin at Umno Training Centre, Janda Baik
6. Is it true that at least one former top executives of 1MDB faces eminent prosecution for offences relating to the company’s operations?

[Two presidents and group executive directors of the company, who had resigned were Mohd Hazem Abdul Rahman and Shahrol. The latter resigned early this year.]

7. Is it true that the MoF is mulling or is already on the verge of nominating Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) as key rescuer of 1MBD and to facilitate the exercise TNB will be taken private?

8. Is it true that the management of TNB and its controlling shareholder, Khazanah Nasional Berhad, are against TNB being made to bail out 1MDB and for it to be de-listed from Bursa Malaysia, but the TNB board is in favour?

[It is unthinkable that after the Tabung Haji-1MDB land deal fiasco, Mohd Najib dares to take an even bigger risk by forcing TNB to rescue 1MDB. TNB has already taken over the 2,000-MW coal-fired project, dubbed 3B, that 1MDB could not implement due to lack of money. But Khazanah sources swore that the national power company would not bail out 1MDB or compensate it for the 3-B takeover. The sources told me via SMS: “We have no intention to take TNB private (prohibitively expensive to begin with) …, secondly TNB and/or Khazanah will not bail out or cover up for 1MDB or its assets. We are, thankfully, not involved, to date at least.” We should all make sure that it stays that way. TNB is the biggest company on Bursa Malaysia by way of market capitalisation. It is valued at RM97 billion.]

9. Since the Umno Youth Chief, Khairy Jamaluddin, has been extremely vocal about the need for PAC to get hold of Jho Low, what is he going to do about it?

Picture tells a thousand words: In Monaco they met

10. Has he not had in his possession incriminating evidence about Jho Low’s role in 1MDB that he could present to PAC?

11. Is it true that since the death of Jamaluddin Jarjis on March 4, the running of Mohd Najib’s propaganda office has been taken over by a member of his household with the assistance of a controversial Umno operator?

[It was after this changeover that attacks on Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and other critics of the PM picked up tempo. Their latest target is Muhyiddin. JJ and the more seasoned journalists in the PM’s media outfit would not have recommend such a strategy because they knew Dr Mahathir well. But the new team is inexperience and their method mimics that of Anwar Ibrahim that is, alleging the former PM of practising cronyism and nepotism, and was involved in many corporate rescues. It appears that this new group regards the PMO’s media operations with disdain. Encik Rizal and his mentor, Datuk Farid Ridzuan – formally from TV3 – and Fuad Zarkashi are said to be key members of this new group. With this new set of propaganda agents and the emergence of PR maestro, Lim Kok Wing, as Special Programme Co-ordinator to PM, we can expect some very interesting psychological warfare activities in the mainstream media and the cyberspace.]

The calling card says it all
12. For instance, would the PM be made to appear on TV3 or at another Tawau-like gathering and shed crocodile tears while at the same time blaming others for the 1MDB debacle?

In the meantime, we must pay full attention to PAC investigation. There could be attempts to sabotage it. PAC is our best hope for now.


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Trial By Media Could Be in 1MDB’s Favour

A Kadir Jasin

UPDATE, May 20 – THE fear of some debaters that Auditor General may not do a good job and his investigation may be confined to the narrow area of accounting is not unfounded.

Unless he broadens the scope to cover possible wrongdoings like cheating and manipulation of facts, his work may not amount to much.

A Hong Kong-based private banker friend of mine noted: “Can’t just hide behind auditors. Many famous frauds and bankruptcies in the world were audited as well and later found out to be fraud like Enron, Lehman Brothers, Worldcom, Satyam, Tyco, Bernie Madoff and Sino Forest. Also the famous Pan Electric (Pan EL) fraud.”

Yes, auditors are not angels and they may be inclined to cover each other’s rear. That’s why I am placing more hope in PAC because there are opposition members in it.


THE Star newspaper reported today that 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) had said that a trial by media is of no benefit to anyone who is ­genuinely interested in the truth about the company.

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In a statement yesterday, its board of director said recent ­questions posed to it through the media was an attempt to influence public opinion ahead of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) and the Auditor-General (AG) completing their reviews into its operations.

“It is clear from the selective presentation of facts, lack of supporting evidence and biased reporting that an attempt is being made to shape public opinion,” said 1MDB.

The 1MDB board argued that the search for truth must be fact-based and ­conducted by trustworthy, unbiased and impartial parties.

“Accordingly, the board will fully co-operate with and will only reply to questions posed by the bi-partisan PAC, the Auditor-General and relevant regulatory authorities.”

1MDB Has Backers

My question is, why should a trial by the media be bad for 1MDB?

I believe that the mainstream media outlets like RTM, TV3, the New Straits Times, Utusan Malaysia and Berita Harian are fully behind the government and 1MDB in the ongoing debate.

The government and 1MDB should show confidence in the ability of these news organisations to ward off the alleged attempts by independent news portals and “unfriendly bloggers” to mislead or influence public.

Furthermore, only a few days ago the Prime Minister, (Datuk Seri) Mohd Najib Abdul Razak, feted hundreds of friendly newspapermen and bloggers at the Malam Media Perdana 2015 in Kuala Lumpur to thank them for their support. 

Malam Media Perdana heightens support for PM

Surely their resolve to defend him, his government and 1MDB had been replenished and heightened.

Or 1MDB board members fear that the “selective presentation of facts, lack of supporting evidence and biased reporting” by the portals and blogs could make sense with the investigators and would raise them when they question 1MDB representatives.

With daily revelations that more and more government-linked companies (GLCs), government-linked investment companies (GLICs) and trust agencies are involved in lending money to 1MDB, the public has every right to ask questions.

Today Mohd Najib himself admitted that the civil servants retirement fund– the Kumpulan Wang Amanah Pencen (KWAP) – has “invested” RM1.4 billion in 1MDB and its subsidiaries.

In a written reply to Rafizi Ramli (PKR-Pandan), the Finance Minister said the subsidiaries were Bandar Malaysia Sdn Bhd, 1MDB Energy Limited, 1MDB Global Investment Limited and Jimah Energy Ventures Bhd.

Najib also said the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) has subscribed to 1MDB bonds totalling RM200 million in 2009, which is fully guaranteed by the government.

"EPF also has investment exposure on 1MDB's subsidiaries namely Panglima Power Sdn Bhd (PPSB) and Jimah Energy Ventures Sdn Bhd totalling RM1.52 billion," said Mohd Najib.

The EPF's involvements in these subsidiaries took place in 2003 and 2005 respectively before they were bought over by 1MDB in 2012, he added.

So don’t blame the independent media and bloggers if they ask questions because what they picked up from the roadside (to borrow the term used by Mohd Najib’s special assistance Encil Rizal Mansor) turned out to be true with the passing of time.


Saturday, May 16, 2015

Soalan Penyiasat 1MDB Wajib Tanya

A Kadir Jasin

SAYA minta izin nak cerita panjang sikit berkenaan 1MBD kali ini. Mungkin lebih panjang dan lebih terperinci daripada sebelum ini.

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Saya tujukan rencana ini khusus kepada para penyiasat Pejabat Ketua Juruaudit Negara, Suruhanjaya Pencegah Rasuah Malaysia (SPRM), polis dan Jawatankuasa Kira-kira Wang Awam Parlimen (PAC) yang sedang dan akan memulakan siasatan ke atas 1MDB.

Saya mohon Ahli Dewan Rakyat dan Dewan Negara yang akan memulakan sesi baru Isnin ini turut memberi perhatian rapi terhadap perkembangan isu 1MDB. 

Ahli Parlimen wajib ambil berat.
Saya akan cuba bercerita dalam bahasa paling mudah dengan harapan paling ramai orang boleh faham. Saya akan cuba mudahkan bahasa korporat dan beri penjelasan.

Untuk mudahkan cerita, saya mulakan dengan membuat kesimpulan berikut:

Kalau kita tak buat sesuatu dengan segera untuk atasi masalah 1MDB ia akan muflis dan kita serta anak cucu akan tanggung beban dan bala yang dahsyat.

Masalahnya sekarang bukan lagi sama ada 1MDB perlu di“bailout” (diselamatkan) tapi sejauh mana kita melaksanakan proses itu dan belanja yang terpaksa kita keluarkan.

Berikut adalah antara soalan yang wajib ditanya oleh para penyiasat dan penjelasan mengenainya:

1. Apakah peranan wang royalti minyak/gas negeri Terengganu dalam urus niaga Terengganu Investment Authority (TIA) apabila ia ditubuhkan pada tahun 2008?

2. Adakah benar sejumlah besar wang royalti minyak/gas Terengganu (berjumlah berbilion ringgit) telah dimasukkan ke dalam sebuah bank tempatan sebagai persediaan menggerakkan TIA?

[Soalan ini wajib dikemukakan kepada (Tan Sri) Azlan Zainol, bekas Ketua Pegawai Eksekutif (CEO) KWSP/EPF, (Tan Sri) Mohd Bakke Salleh Presiden/CEO Sime Darby, (Tan Sri) Lodin Wok Kamaruddin, Pengerusi 1MDB dan CEO LTAT) dan (Tan Sri) Ismee Ismail (CEO Tabung Haji) yang berupa pengarah pengasas (founding directors) TIA. Menurut bekas MB Terengganu, (Datuk Seri) Ahmad Said wang Negeri Terengganu tidak digunakan oleh 1MDB dan Terengganu dapat balik modal berbayar (paid-up capital) TIA/1MDB sebanyak RM1 juta.]

4. Adakah benar Bakke menarik diri atau digugurkan daripada Lembaga Pengarah 1MDB kerana tidak bersetuju dengan urus niaga yang membabitkan PetroSaudi?

[Wajib tanya Bakke dan ahli Lembaga Pengarah lain, iaitu Lodin dan Ismee mengenai kemunculan Jho Low sebagai ejen 1MDB. Azlan tidak sertai lembaga 1MDB.]

5. Adakah berasas andaian bahawa kalau 1MDB tidak menjual saham anak syarikatnya, Edra Global Energy Sdn Berhad melalui tawaran awam permulaan (IPO), 1MDB akan mengalami masalah aliran tunai (cashflow) yang kronik sehingga tidak dapat menguruskan (service) hutang serta membiayai perniagaan menjelang September ini?

6. Adakah betul T. Ananda Krishnan (AK) telah memberi pinjaman RM2 bilion kepada 1MBD bagi membayar balik hutang kepada Maybank dan RHB Capital?

Mungkinkah Ananda digunakan untuk mengabui mata?
7. Atau adakah nama beliau diguna untuk menyembunyikan hakikat sebenar bahawa wang RM2 bilion itu datangnya daripada Perbendaharaan atau sumber-sumber kerajaan yang lain?

[Wajib siasat pembabitan AK dalam penjualan penjana elektrik bebas (IPP) miliknya  kepada Edra Global Energy, anak syarikat milik penuh 1MDB. Daripada maklumat terbaru yang saya peroleh, andaian bahawa AK telah mendahulukan RM2 bilion kepada 1MDB mungkin songsang. AK terlalu licik dan pintar untuk mengambil risiko sebesar itu. Ini ada kena mengena dengan penilaian (valuation) harta Edra yang dikatakan sangat berbeza]

8. Adakah benar bahawa atas desakan AK penilaian telah dibuat ke atas aset Edra pada bulan November/Disember tahun lalu oleh kumpulan perbankan Macquarie yang meletakkan nilainya pada kadar RM5 bilion?

9. Kalau ini benar, bagaimana pula Goldman Sachs yang mengatur penjualan bon-bon 1MBD pada tahun 2012/13 meletakkan nilainya pada kadar RM8.5 bilion?

10. Mengapakah dalam masa yang singkat nilai aset Edra jatuh sebanyak RM3.5 bilion?

11. Adakah ini berpunca daripada perubahan kaedah perakaunan atau, seperti kata Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, berbilion-bilion hutang 1MDB tidak dapat dikesan penggunaannya?

[Beliau meletakkan angka itu sebanyak RM27 bilion daripada RM42 bilion hutang 1MDB.]

12. Tidakkah peranan Datuk Yusof Annuar Yaacob dalam urusan pinjaman 1MDB berupa “conflict of interest” (percanggahan kepentingan) yang serius? 

Siasat peranan Yusof Annuar dalam penjualan bom 1MDB
[Apabila Goldman Sachs mengatur penjualan AS$4.75 bilion (kira-kira RM17.1bilion pada nilai sekarang) bon 1MDB dalam dua “tranche” pada tahun 2012/13, Yusof Annuar adalah Pengerusi dan Pengarah Urusan Goldman Sachs di Malaysia. Mengikut agensi berita ekonomi Bloomberg, Goldman Sachs mendapat komisen AS$500 juta (kira-kira RM1.8 bilion). 1MDB membayar yuran ASS$196.2 juta bagi bon bernilai ASS$1.75 bilion yang diterbitkan pada bulan Mei 2012 dan AS$283.2 juta bagi bon bernilai AS$3 bilion  pada bulan Mac 2013].

13. Mengapakah yuran yang dibayar kepada Goldman Sachs begitu lumayan?

[Bandingkan dengan fakta berikut: Tahun lalu, National Commercial Bank, Saudi Arabia melakukan (IPO) AS$6 bilion (RM21.6 bilion) yang diatur oleh HSBC dan tujuh ejen lain. Menurut laporan akhbar New Straits Times, (yang amat akur kepada Mohd Najib), mereka hanya dibayar komisen AS$6.7 juta (RM24.1 juta) atau 0.1 peratus nilai IPO. Bagi IPO Alibaba, juga tahun lalu, yang bernilai AS$25 bilion (RM90 bilion), Credit Suisse dan Morgan Stanley hanya dibayar yuran AS$300 juta (RM1.08 bilion). IPO Alibaba dari Negeri China adalah  IPO terbesar dalam sejarah.

Sekarang Yusof Annuar adalah Ketua Pegawai Negeri Deustche Bank bagi Malaysia dan Deutsche Bank sedang menuntut agar 1MDB bayar lebih awal hutang bernilai AS$975 juta (RM3.5 bilion) yang diaturnya tahun lalu.]

Perlu disebutkan juga iaitu (1) antara ahli konsortium Deustche Bank yang beri pinjaman kepada 1MDB adalah Aabar Investment PJS di mana Arul Kanda Kandasamy bekerja sebelum dilantik Pengarah Eksekutif Kumpulan dan Presiden 1MDB awal tahun ini dan (2) salah seorang ahli lembaga pengarah Deustche Bank Malaysia adalah (Datuk) Ahmad Johari Abdul Razak, adik Mohd Najib].

14. Adakah Deutsche Bank di bawah Yusof Annuar cuba menggunakan alasan “force majeure” untuk paksa 1MDB bayar balik hutang lebih awal kerana keadaaan telah berubah yang menjadikan pinjaman kepada 1MDB lebih berisiko?

15. Wajib soal siasat AK untuk mengetahui adakah benar khabar-khabar angin yang mengatakan satu jumlah yang sangat besar - melebihi RM600 juta - yang dibayar oleh 1MDB bagi membeli IPP dari Tanjung Energy PLC milik beliau, dibayar kepada pihak ketiga?

16. Apakah kedudukan undang-undang (legal status) Yayasan 1MDB Rakyat dan siapakah pemegang amanahnya?

Orang misteri Jho Low simpan banyak rahsia
17. Adakah benar Jho Low dan “carpet trader” Deepak Jaikishan kenal mengenali dan saling bantu-membantu?

[Kedua-duanya diketahui rapat dengan Mohd Najib dan isteri beliau, (Datin Paduka Seri) Rosmah Mansor. Sekarang Deepak tidak rapat lagi.]

18. Apakah pertalian Jho Low dengan Felda?

[Penyiasat perlu kaji perhubungan sumbang muhrim (incestuous relationship) yang membabitkan 1MDB, TH dan Felda serta peranan Pemandu dalam tiga entiti ini.]

19. Apakah peranan dan pendirian Gabenor Bank Negara, Tan Sri Zeti Akhtar Aziz, dalam hal-hal yang melibatkan hutang dan pergerakan wang 1MDB yang sudah pun menyebabkan nilai ringgit jatuh?

20. Apakah betul ada individu yang menyimpan RM200 juta hingga RM300 juta dalam sebuah institusi kewangan bukan bank yang tidak dikawal oleh Bank Negara?

Soalan-soalan di atas dan banyak lagi soalan lain yang berkaitan dengan 1MDB dan pihak yang berkuasa ke atasnya wajib ditanya oleh para penyiasat.

Lebih ramai orang yang berkaitan 1MDB wajib dijejaki bagi mengetahui bagaimana krisis kewangan serta ketidaktelusan 1MDB boleh berlaku di depan mata kita dan hanya baru-baru ini saja terbongkar.

Unsur penipuan, subahat, penyalahgunaan kuasa, rasuah, kealpaan tanggungjawab korporat dan pecah amanah adalah antara isu yang wajib dirungkaikan oleh para penyiasat supaya yang bersalah dibawa ke muka pengadilan dan duit serta aset negara yang digunakan ke atas 1MDB diperoleh semula.

Kesan sistemik skandal 1MDB wajib disekat dan dihadkan demi melindungi ekonomi negara.

Kita mohon petunjuk dan perlindungan Allah Maha Esa.


Friday, May 15, 2015

Ikatan Hendak Pulihkan Aspirasi Tunku

A Kadir Jasin

SEBUAH parti pelbagai kaum baru yang berteraskan perjuangan dan idealisme Bapa Kemerdekaan, Almarhum Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra, serta generasinya dilancarkan hari ini.

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Parti itu diberi nama Parti Ikatan Bangsa Malaysia atau singkatannya Ikatan. Ia diasas dan dipengerusikan oleh bekas menteri dan bekas Setiausaha Agung Umno, (Tan Sri) Abdul Kadir Sheikh Fadzir.

Antara misinya adalah “menghidupkan kembali sumpah janji dan idealisme Bapa Malaysia dan pengasas-pengasas kemerdekaan agar seluruh rakyat Malaysia hidup sebagai satu negara bangsa berteraskan kesaksamaan, keadilan serta maju dan bahagia.”

Majlis pelancaran mengambil tempat di hotel Palace of Golden Horses, Seri Kembangan, Selangor dengan dihadiri oleh ahli dewan tertinggi Ikatan, penyokong, wakil badan-badan bukan kerajaan dan kawan-kawan Abdul Kadir.

Abdul Kadir di sidang akhbar selepas melancarkan Ikatan - FMT

Dalam ucapannya, Abdul Kadir yang berpendidikan undang-undang menceritakan asal-usul politik pelbagai kaum Malaysia dan percubaan mewujudkan parti pelbagai kaum bagi menggantikan Perikatan (pendahulu Barisan Nasional) tetapi gagal akibat perebutan jawatan.

Parti itu dikenali sebagai Alliance Direct Membership Organisation atau Admo.

Beliau juga menceritakan kesukaran mendaftarkan Ikatan yang mengambil masa hampir tiga tahun dan memaksa beliau mendakwa kerajaan di mahkamah. Katanya, hatta selepas mahkamah mengeluarkan perintah bahawa tidak ada alasan untuk menolak permohonan Ikatan, pihak kerajaan masih melengah-lengahkannya sehinggalah beliau menemui menteri bertanggungjawab (Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi).

Abdul Kadir berkata, Ikatan tidak akan menyokong mana-mana pihak sama ada BN atau Pakatan Rakyat dan matlamatnya bukan untuk pilihan raya tetapi untuk kebaikan rakyat jelata.


Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Quixotic Gallantry of PMO's Public Relations

A Kadir Jasin

LATEST, May 13 – Cash-strapped 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) today announced that it has sold land at Tun Razak Exchange (TRX) in Jalan Tun Razak for RM665 million to the Mulia Group of Indonesia to build a “signature tower ".

The 1MDB statement claimed that the land was earlier rejected by Tabung Haji despite being priced at only RM578 million. Instead, TH bought a 0.64-hactare site for RM188.5 million.

Eka Tjandranegara: 17th Richest Indonesian According to Forbes
Mulia Group proprietor, Eka Tjandranegara , in a statement  issue by 1MDB said: “As one of the biggest commercial property developers in Indonesia, we are excited to be embarking on this project to develop the Signature Tower to become the new landmark of Kuala Lumpur city. Our Mulia Group wishes to be an integral part of this iconic state-of-the-art development not only for Malaysia but for the region and beyond." 

More sales are expected as 1MDB rush to raise cash to service and pay off its massive RM40-billion plus debts.


ALL of us who are cybersurfers can raise our hands to the heaven and thank the Almighty that we now have this tool called the Internet.

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Through it we are able to know that the mainstream media (MSM) editors do not want us to know and say what the MSM editors would not publish even if we write to them.

If they did not entertain (Tun) Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s replies to their erroneous reports, why should they bother about us the nobodies and the has-beens?

Despite his brave posturing, The Prime Minister, (Datuk Seri) Mohd Najib Abdul Razak was so intimidated by the cyber community that he “advised” Tabung Haji to sell the TRX land it bought from 1MDB although he said it was a good buy.

If it was a good buy and would bring good returns to Tabung Haji depositors, why didn’t he go on TV3 to convince the Muslims that it was good for them and that their money is safe? He can then issue a “wahyu” to all government-licensed media to reproduce his TV3 statement.

TV3 PM's favourite platform

Or has the PM lost confidence in his ability and the ability of the MSM to convince the people?

Do not also misread his repeated “sumpah” that he would not resign for as long as Umno and the people support him. All past leaders who were shown the door by their people had said the same thing. Saying otherwise would mean a quick end to their career.

For Mohd Najib, his current mandate as PM started on May 6, 2013 when he won the general election. The next occasion to gauge the support for his leadership is at Umno election next year. Attempts will most certainly be made not to have the election or to stop him from being challenged. The ultimate test will then be at the GE in 2017 or early 2018.

Behind The Emergence of Rizal Mansor

In the meantime, defending the PM appears to be getting harder. That could be the underlying reason why lately defending him, his administration and his family is left in the hands of an unfamiliar face like Encik Rizal Mansor.

And I am told even his most respected and professional media promoter has resorted to writing articles on 1MDB under pseudonym while others have resorted to personal attacks on his critics.

Their targets have widened to include the Deputy Prime Minister, (Tan Sri) Muhyiddin Mohd Yassin, and other Umno leaders who are seen as no longer supporting the PM.

As for the lone wolf Rizal, some debaters think I had been unnecessarily harsh on him while others say I had given him too much credit in the May 6 posting entitled “Pejabat PM Kata Saya Tak Tahu Adat”.

Since that article was written in the Malay language, I trust that those who understand the language and its rich nuances would have realised that I was being instructive rather than vengeful.

From the outset I said I was grateful to Allah that some one from the PMO heard us and was willing to debate with us.

In fact, I think we generally have a very constructive debate. Now we know better how wealthy people use different methods to fund grand wedding receptions of their children. Mohd Najib was partly funded by his the family of his son-in-law.

Could Rizal be the lone wolf of the PMO?
 The question now is, why, out of the blue, Encik Rizal became the Prime Minister’s gallant Don Quixote? Why not or where are the Prime Minister’s many press secretaries, media advisers and communications consultants? Where are the National Communication Team (NCT) and the Mat Salleh-led media think tank?

Why didn’t they come to the Prime Minister’s defence? I am sure they are better trained and better known to the public than Encik Rizal. Naturally they are in a better position to argue with us and convince the public. Also that’s what they are paid for.

Doing a caricature of me and calling me names will not help Mohd Najib. I am not the Prime Minister and not gunning for his job. In any case, like Almarhum Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra famously said, “bukan saya mintak duit pak depa!”

Or, as the case of their recent response to the foreign media have shown, they are not any better? Telling the New York Times that Mohd Najib was wealthy because of his family legacy is not exactly a clever or truthful thing to say.

Except for one or two, I know all the Prime Minister’s media handlers personally. Some were my co-workers at the NSTP Group and Bernama. They were then bright and capable men and women.

Or have they come to admit that the task of defending the Prime Minister and promoting him as a “transformer” has become so monumentally impossible that even their collective brilliance and intellectual prowess are of no help so they keep quiet?

Out of respect for them and for the memories of the good old days, I shall not name names. I know that they know what the rakyat out there are saying. I wonder if they now dare to introduce themselves as officers of the PM.

Post-JJ Communications Strategy

Or, is the emergence of Encik Rizal as a spokesman an indication that an entirely new communication strategy is being implemented at the PMO?

This is entirely possible following the demise of the Prime Minister’s chief-of-staff, (Tan Sri) Jamaluddin Jarjis in a helicopter crash on April 4 last.

Several fellow bloggers asked me if Encik Habibul Rahman Kadir Shah is back as the PM’s propaganda chief following Jamaluddin’s death?

Executives of Umno-linked media organisations told me that they reported business matters to Jamaluddin. They haven’t yet been told to whom they would now report.

Habibul is a close ally of the Prime Minister and holds director’s position in several private sector companies like Lotus UK Limited, the subsidiary of Proton Berhad.

Or could Encik Rizal have taken upon himself to answer me and, by extension, all of us because he was appalled by the silence or/and the ineptitude the Prime Minister’s media people?

Media guru, the late Marshall McLuhan, said the medium is the message. To him, the medium itself is the message. In another word, if the medium is credible, the message he or she carries will be credible too.

Failing PR on 1MDB Bailout
Whatever the truth is, the fact remains that the Prime Minister is yet to answer seriously and truthfully many pressing questions posed to him.

And what he had so far said about 1MDB has not ended allegations of improprieties. Instead many people linked to 1MDB and its subsidiaries are known to have met top Umno leaders to confess their fears that situation is worse than what is being assumed.

For instance, if an initial public offering (IPO) is not done soon, 1MDB will run out of money and a full-blown bailout will become necessary.

It is for this reason that information about Tabung Haji’s purchase of 1MDB TRX land was leaked to the public and instantly become a rallying point for Mohd Najib's critics and other concerned parties.

So an entirely new media strategy that further shields the Prime Minister from his critics may be in the offing and it could be a vicious one – kill the messengers if you can’t kill the message!

LATEST - Tabung Haji said it invested RM920.8 million in 1Malaysia Development Bhd’s (1MDB) Bandar Malaysia sukuk issuance in February last year because “it is a secured investment” on which it expects to earn RM626.5 million in profit.

In a statement yesterday, its chief  investment officer Abd Kadir Sahlan said the sukuk is secured against parcels of land in Bandar Malaysia, with a security cover of at least 1.67 times.


About Me

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I was born in 1947 in Kedah. I came from a rice farming family. I have been a journalist since 1969. I am the Editor-in-Chief of magazine publishing company, Berita Publishing Sdn Bhd. I was Group Editor NST Sdn Bhd and Group Editor-in-Chief of NSTP Bhd between 1988 and 2000. I write fortnightly column “Other Thots” in the Malaysian Business magazine, Kunta Kinte Original in Berita Harian and A Kadir Jasin Bercerita in Dewan Masyarakat. Books: Biar Putih Tulang (1998), Other Thots – Opinions & Observations 1992-2001 (2001), The Wings of an Eagle (2003), Mencari Dugalia Huso (2006), Damned That Thots (2006), Blogger (2006), PRU 2008-Rakyat Sahut Cabaran (2008), Komedi & Tragedi-Latest in Contemporary Malaysian Politics (2009) and Membangun Bangsa dengan Pena (2009).