Sunday, March 29, 2015

1MDB Investigations Can Start in Singapore


A Kadir Jasin

WITH mountains of evidence that suggest a widespread governance oversight and attempts to mislead the public, the investigators of 1Malaysia Development Berhad stand condemned if they fail in their duties.


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The Auditor-General’s Department, the police, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission and Public Account Committee of the Parliament are the people’s last hope.

Just on the curious move by 1MDB to park its returning RM4-billion fund in Singapore alone should be more than enough to wet their appetite.

Why should a sovereign wealth fund or, in the case of 1MDB, a strategic investment company keeps RM4 billion in Singapore and with a branch of Brazilian-owned Swiss private bank?

Government-linked companies, corporations and agencies like Khazanah, PNB and EPF would normally place their funds in large local and international banks.

Why BSI (Banca della Svizzera Italiana), a smallish private bank? Keeping the money in Singapore is mysterious enough and keeping it with a private bank makes it suspicious.

Why Singapore and BSI?
The money should have been brought home to pay its debts to Maybank and RHB Capital. Instead it “borrowed” from telecommunication and entertainment tycoon T. Ananda Krishnan while denying media reports that it did so. Mere speculation, its President and Group Executive Director Arul Kanda Kandasamy told the Mingguan Malaysia newspaper on Feb. 15.

But even if there is a billion-ringgit reason to park the RM4 billion in Singapore, why not keep it in Maybank Singapore or with other well-known banks like Citibank, JP Morgan and HSBC?

Our Pride: Maybank Hq In Singapore
The money was taken out of the country just days before the 2013 general elections to Cayman Islands tax haven. Then some weeks ago, purportedly on its way home, it was mysteriously deposited in Singapore allegedly to fulfil Bank Negara’s regulations.

BSI is a Lugano-based Swiss private bank. Since last year it became part of Brazilian group BTG Pactual. It was previously owned by Italian insurance giant Assicurazione Generali SPA. It has US$1.8 billion share capital and its Singapore branch has a capital of US$200 million. Its latest financial account posted on its website showed that its suffered a loss of US$722 million.

The investigators must ask the 1MDB managers did they not check the credibility and financial strength of banks they deposited the company’s money in? RM4 billion is no mean sum for a financially weak company like 1MDB.

It is not my intention to penalise BSI or cast aspersion on it but with a staff of about 2,000 and a share capital of US$1.8 billion, BSI is smaller than our Affin Bank.

To my knowledge, private banks are usually used by rich individuals and secretive family companies who do not want too many questioned asked about their sources of the wealth.

The move by 1MDB to park the money in Singapore with BSI only heightens the suspicion that something is amiss. So the investigators have to make sure that every single sen that 1MDB purportedly deposited with BSI is accounted for.

During my trip to Singapore to accompany (Tun) Daim Zainuddin to pay our last respect to late Mr Lee Kuan Yew, the people we met asked about the role of other “mysterious” outfits and individuals involved with 1MDB.

Tun Daim and I paying last respect to late LKY in Singapore (Sunday Times picture)
They specifically mentioned the role of Ashmore Investment Management Ltd, a UK financial institution in the 1MDB-PetroSaudi “deals” with specific reference to its senior executive identified as Patrick Mahony.

They said, the Malaysian investigators should seek the assistance of the UK Financial Conduct Authority whose tasks include investigating money-laundering activities.

The sources also said the investigators should summon Goldman Sachs, specifically the company’s partner identified as Tim Leissner. The US investment banking group advised the Malaysian government on the formation of 1MDB and helped in its borrowing.

Incidentally, Leissner is the new husband (since 2013) of US model/actress Kimora Lee Simmons who is a good friend of the Prime Minister’s family. Kimora’s websites have pictures of her, Leissner, Mohd Najib and Rosmah.

Leissner, Komora, Mohd Najib and Khazanah CEO Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar
This is only a small part of the 1MDB monumental saga. But it is a good starting point to probe its operations and unearthing the truth.

Wallahuaklam.

Monday, March 23, 2015

LKY: One of A Kind


A Kadir Jasin

IT is nearly impossible to appropriately describe the Singapore strongman, Lee Kuan Yew, who died at 3:18am today at the Singapore General Hospital. He was admitted on Feb. 5 for pneumonia.


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Strongman naturally comes to mind because that is how the global media often described him. But he was more than that. There were many strongmen of Lee’s generation around the world but none could quite match his achievements.

Lee was neither an absolute dictator nor a democrat. He ruled with iron fists but unlike other strongmen he did not ruined his country in the name of nationalism and race. It might even be inaccurate to describe him as a nationalist - a pragmatist maybe.

LKY: A strongman to the end
But what history cannot deny is that Lee was a master when it came to taking advantage of other people’s agendas and turning them to his own.
Just one example – the quest for independence. Lee rode on Indian, Malayan and Indonesian nationalism to gain independence for Singapore while making sure that the Chinese-dominated colonial outpost was not “swallowed” up by its bigger Malay/Muslim neighbours.

He rode on Malay nationalism led by the likes of the late (Tan Sri) Abdul Samad Ismail and Yusof Ishak while tugging on the coattail of the British to ensure that Singapore was safe from possible the Malay/Muslim hegemony in the post-colonial era.

But Lee was much more fearful of communism led by China although he was very much the product of leftist political movement. In the post-World War II, Singapore was the hotbed of socialism and communism.

What truly differentiated Lee from other strongmen was his success in transforming Singapore from a British entrepot trading centre into one of the most developed economies in the world while cutting a unique political path.

To borrow the description of a Kuala Lumpur-based Singapore diplomat, Lee ruled Singapore using the economy instead of politics.

The Bloomberg new service wrote that Lee helped transform Singapore from a colonial trading centre into one of Asia’s most prosperous nations during 31 years as its first elected prime minister.

Lee left behind a strong economy but less than certain political heritage. Changes have been taking place since he stepped down as Prime Minister in 1990 in spite of his best efforts to keep things the way they were. He stayed on, first as Senior Minister and later Minister Mentor until 2011.

After decades of enjoying huge economic success and financial independence, Singaporeans are asking for greater political freedom.

Lee left behind many admirers but very few friends. Some of his friends during the independence struggle walked away from him while others were purged. Many spent years in jail.

For driving hard bargains for his country and for his constant lecturing of other countries, including China, Lee left very few genuine friends. He and (Tun) Dr Mahathir Mohamad were in constant loggerhead. About the only person in Malaysia who could be considered Lee’s friend is (Tun) Daim Zainuddin. They struck out famously during the negotiation on the Malayan Railway land in Singapore.

With world politics being turned on its head by the ICT, there isn’t a likelihood of the emergence of another Lee Kuan Yew, in Singapore.

He was one of a kind.

“I ignore polling as a method of government. I think that shows a certain weakness of mind - an inability to chart a course whichever way the wind blows, whichever way the media encourages the people to go, you follow. If you can't force or are unwilling to force your people to follow you, with or without threats, you are not a leader.” – Lee Kuan Yew.

Footnote: I met Mr Lee privately only once when I interviewed him at the Istana in Singapore in 1998 for the New Straits Times group of newspapers, but I never ceased to be fascinated by him.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

The Kelantan Hudud Fallout


A Kadir Jasin

THE unanimous approval of the Kelantan Syariah Criminal Code II 1993 aka Hudud on March 19 by the Kelantan State Legislative Assembly will test the ability of the Barisan Nasional (BN) and Pakatan Rakyat (PR) to continue to survive as multi-ethnic and multi-faith coalitions.


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The Kelantan vote introduces a new element to the multi-ethnic and multi-faith politics of the country i.e voting based on individual conscience.

The bill would not have received unanimous “ayes” from all the 44 members – 31 PAS, 12 BN (Umno) and one PKR – had it not been for the conscience vote.

The Kelantan Umno and PKR state assembly members, being Muslims, clearly voted not on partisan ground but for their religious conscience.

Policy wise, both the BN and PKR are against the Kelantan Hudud. Even among Umno legislators not all are for the code. But all the Umno and the solitary PKR representatives voted for the amendments.

The BN parties like the MCA and Gerakan squarely condemned the bill. The Gerakan had gone to the extent of taking the issue to court. In condemning the bill, they indirectly condemned Umno whose legislators voted for the bill.

Interestingly, the chiefs of the BN parties chose the same day (March 19) to pledge their support to the Prime Minister, (Datuk Seri) Mohd Najib Abdul Razak who is facing discontent of his own party members.

The PKR President (Datin Seri) Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail accused PAS of betraying the 2011 PR agreement on the issue.

The MCA uses the event to smear the DAP and many in Umno are hoping that Kelantan Hudud will deliver a deathblow to the PR.

How Will Voters React?

There is confusion and uncertainty all around. The question is how will the voters break all this down and decide which of the two coalitions to support in future.

Many non-Muslim voters will from now on be more circumspect when supporting Muslim candidates from both camps because when it comes to the crunch (like Hudud) they will vote not according to party policies but individual conscience.

Theoretically, this will make it more difficult for the DAP to continue to partner PAS and PKR while the non-Malay parties of the BN would find it harder to attract non-Muslim votes. This will further benefit the DAP that already has the monopoly over Chinese votes and make the Chinese parties of the BN even weaker.

Even without Hudud issue the MCA, Gerakan and the MIC are already finding it hard to attract non-Malay support, in particular among the Chinese.

The Kelantan vote could also dampen the DAP’s quest to add more Malays and Muslims to its ranks. There is no guarantee that a DAP Muslim legislator would not vote based on his or her religious conscience when facing the Hudud-type issues.

Another danger that cannot be overlooked is the possibility that issues like Hudud and the demand by some Christians to use the word “Allah” in the Peninsula will radicalise some Muslims and turn them into extremists and militants.

The Hudud issue will become even more complicated and challenging for the BN and PR if PAS succeeds in tabling a private member’s bill in the Dewan Rakyat.

Online media reports said PAS President, (Datuk Seri) Abdul Hadi Awang, plans to table such a bill in the Parliament in May to enable Kelantan to implement the March 19 amendments.

If the PR breaks up due to Hudud, there is no guarantee that the BN will reap the harvest. The Chinese could become even more resolute in their support for the DAP.

Umno will have to compete for Malay votes with PAS and, to a lesser degree, with PKR. The Malay votes will still split three ways unless Umno and PAS get back together once again but that may have the effect of dampening further the support of the non-Muslims for the BN.

Wallahuaklam.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Fares Hikes: Who Is The “Saboteurs”?



A Kadir Jasin


UPDATE, March 21 - The Cabinet had told SPAD to postpone the implementation of the fare hikes, citing inappropriate timing.

The New Straits Times quoted Deputy Prime Minister (Tan Sri) Muhyiddin Mohd Yassin as saying that the timing of the hikes was "unsuitable" as it coincides with the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST).

“The Cabinet has discussed the matter and agreed that there is a basis for the hikes due to the rising costs of operation and maintenance and the last fare hike was six years ago.

“However, the timing of the hikes is unsuitable because, with GST being implemented at the same time, it would further burden the public. Therefore, the Cabinet has asked SPAD to postpone the hikes.”

ORIGINAL POST
 
IT is rare indeed for Umno Youth these days to speak up, even faintly, in defence of the masses and to criticise the government.


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It appears that the movement has ceased to become the strident voice of the party and the conscience of the Malays. My own acquaintance with Umno Youth started during the time when the late (Datuk) Harun Idris was its Ketua.

So it is refreshing to hear a member of its executive council, Ibdillah Ishak, twitting that the 20-per cent public transport fare hikes could be a form of sabotage against the government.

I think the fare hikes will sabotage the welfare of the rakyat more than the popularity of the government. These days the government is better than good at sabotaging itself - like the recent purchase of the Airbus A319 executive jet. It does not need anybody's help really!

Ibdillah was reported by the online media as having twitted:

“As a government-linked company, KTMB should not burden the people through such drastic fare hikes. Have they forgotten their obligation to help the people?

"The government must take the taxi, bus and KTMB fare hikes seriously. Is this a pre-GST sabotage against the government?"

Well, he can blame the KTM, but it is better for him to address the issue of who authorised the fare hikes. Since Mohd Najib’s administration created the Land Public Transport Commission (Suruhanjaya Pengangkutan Awam Darat) in June 2010, the power to determine public transport fares falls within its jurisdiction.

Syed Hamis is SPAD Chairman
Don’t just blame the KTM and transports operators. The decision was made by SPAD whose Chairman is (Tan Sri) Syed Abdul Hamid Albar while its Chief Executive Officer is Mohd Nur Ismal Mohamed Kamal. Other commissioners are (Dato’) Siow Kim Lun, Prof. Dr Ahmad Farhan Sadullah,  (Datuk) Himmat Singh Ralla Singh, (Datuk) Wan Ahmad Shihab Ismail, (Dato’) Izudin Ishaak and (Datuk) Dr Ismail Bakar. They were all appointed by the Prime Minister.

Ibdillah should ask these SPAD men who are more important to them – the land transport operators or the public?

Is it necessary for SPAD to approve the new fares now and at that quantum when the people are about to be encumbered by the GST next month?

Surely these men have the interest of the rakyat and the Prime Minister in mind. Or are they?

So to accuse the KTM of sabotaging the government is as good as accusing these men of acting against the interest of the Prime Minister.

Then again, can we blame them for not postponing the fare hikes when the government itself is not postponing the implementation of the GST, which is likely to have a much wider effect on the rakyat than the fare hikes?

To me, all this sums up the lack of coordination in the government and the general disregard for the voices of the ordinary people.

So if Umno Youth wants to serve its true purpose instead of being just another apple polisher in the party it should start speaking out more loudly and act more decisively for the good of the people.

Or am I asking too much? Maybe in this day and age, conscience and struggle are no longer in the vocabulary of Umno Youth.

Wallahuaklam.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Ku Li Lawan Penggilap Epal


A Kadir Jasin

TERIMA kasih dan syabas kepada orang lama Umno dan bekas orang kanan kerajaan, Tengku Razaleigh Tengku Hamzah kerana ucapannya di Dewan Rakyat pada 17 Mac menggesa kerajaan (Datuk Seri) Mohd Najib Abdul Razak mengutamakan rakyat.


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Antara lain, beliau menasihatkan Pentadbiran Mohd Najib Abdul Razak melakukan beberapa perkara bagi meringankan beban rakyat jelata, termasuk menangguhkan pelaksanaan Cukai Barangan dan Perkhidmatan (GST) yang dijadualkan bermula bulan hadapan.

Ku Li, antara lain, berkata: “Di atas perkiraan inilah saya telah cadangkan di dalam surat bertarikh 30hb Oktober, 2014 supaya Cukai Barangan dan Perkhidmatan (GST) ditangguhkan memandangkan ekonomi dan kewangan awam berada di tahap yang tenat. Rakyat juga menanggung beban hutang isi rumah yang tinggi. Oleh itu kita perlu tahu sebab musabab GST dikenakan kerana punca pendapatan ini akan menambah beban kewangan rakyat. Rakyat berhak tahu sama ada GST yang akan dilaksanakan pada bulan April hadapan ini akan menguntungkan negara atau ia hanya untuk membayar faedah kepada sipiutang dan pemegang bon. Tujuan GST dilaksanakan tidak seharusnya dirahsiakan.” (Baca selengkapnya di sini).

Namun, secara peribadi, saya tidak menjangka gesaan Ahli Parlimen Gua Musang itu akan mengubah tindak-tanduk Perdana Menteri. Ia umpama mencurah air ke atas daun keladi – tercurah, tertumpah tak meninggalkan 
kesan.

Bolehkah Dr Mahathir dan Ku Li Guling PM?
Jelas, Mohd Najib tidak boleh diubah. Salah satu sebabnya adalah keputusan mutakhir bukan di tangan beliau. Beliau adalah watak terkawal (controlled) dan terhutang budi (beholden) kepada terlalu banyak pihak.

Meminjam ungkapan beliau sendiri ketika merasmikan konvensyen Umno Kedah baru-baru ini, beliau dikerumuni dan dikuasai oleh begitu ramai penggilap epal (kaki ampu) dan "jemuan" yang tidak akan membenarkan beliau berubah apatah lagi mengundurkan diri.

Bagi meringkaskan pengistilahan, saya singkatkan golongan ini sebagai PEJ – penggilap epal dan "jemuan". 

Ambil contoh gesaan Ku Li agar pelaksanaan GST ditangguhkan. Dengan serta-merta Timbalan Menteri Kewangan Ahmad Maslan menyangkalnya apabila beliau berkata bahawa cukai baru itu adalah untuk kebaikan rakyat jelata dan bukan untuk membayar balik hutang.

Jawapan selamba itu mungkin dipercayai Mohd Najib kerana beliau sendiri tidak begitu dalam ilmu ekonomi dan pentadbiran. Beliau juga mungkin percaya yang semua rakyat jelata jahil mengenai hal-ehwal fiskal maka mereka percaya hujah seperti yang dibuat oleh Ahmad Maslan itu.

Kalau cukai bukan untuk bayar hutang, ia untuk apa? Sepanjang yang kita ketahui, dalam belanjawan negara, cukai adalah untuk pengurusan yang merangkumi gaji kakitangan awam, penyelenggaraan dan pembayaran balik hutang.

Kalau hutang tidak dibayar menggunakan hasil cukai, daripada mana kerajaan dapat duit untuk bayar hutang? Kerajaan cetak duit atau minta usahawan macam T Ananda Krishnan untuk tolong bayar?

Ahmad Maslan Cerdik Tapi Adakah Dia Pandai?
Ramai orang tahu bahawa hampir keseluruhan perbelanjaan pembangunan adalah daripada sumber hutang kerana hasil cukai hanya ngam-ngam untuk perbelanjaan pengurusan. Sebab itulah belanjawan negara mengalami defisit!

Ahmad Maslan adalah budak hanyir (kanyiaq dalam loghat Utara) dibandingkan dengan Ku Li. Oleh sebab dia budak hanyir mungkin dia tidak pun kenal siapa Ku Li sebenarnya. Mungkin dia tidak tahu bahawa Ku Li lah yang pegang tangan Mohd Najib di Petronas pada pertengahan tahun 1970-an.

Ku Li lah antara orang terakhir berjumpa Allahyarham Tun Abdul Razak di katil sakitnya di London pada tahun 1976.

Mungkin orang belajar tinggi di luar negara seperti Ahmad Maslan (di New Zealand) dan berijazah MBA berasa orang lama seperti Ku Ki, (Tun) Dr Mahathir Mohamad dan (Tun) Daim Zainuddin tidak relevan lagi.

Mungkin orang macam Ahmad Maslan tidak peduli untuk ambil tahu bahawa orang seperti Ku Li, Dr Mahathir dan Daim lah yang menjadi penyambung hayat politik Mohd Najib sehingga beliau naik menjadi Perdana Menteri dan Presiden Umno. Mungkin Dr Mahathir dan Daim telah melakukan kesilapan besar menaikkan Mohd Najib.

Maaf cakaplah kalau saya kata, Dr Mahathir, Ku Li dan Daim serta orang ramai yang sependapat dengan mereka akan kecewa kerana Mohd Najib tidak akan berubah dan tidak akan mengundurkan diri.

Hanya paksaan atau keterpaksaan berkaitan isu-isu seperti 1MDB, Pembangunan PFI Sdn Bhd, SRC International Sdn Bhd dan kejayaan Sirul Azhar Umar memboloskan diri ke Australia akan memaksa Mohd Najib mengundurkan diri.

Pembolosan Sirul Rumitkan Keadaan 
 MT Tidak Akan Singkir Mohd Najib

Buat waktu ini, hanya Majlis Tertinggi Umno boleh mengubah atau menyingkirkan Mohd Najib. Tetapi ia dalam genggaman Mohd Najib dan PEJnya.

Lagipun terlalu banyak hipokrasi dan penyelamatan diri (self preservation) di kalangan ahli MT. Masing-masing takut dilondehkan.

Harapan rakyat jelata melakukan perubahan tidak akan tiba sehingga pilihan raya umum (PRU) akan datang tiga atau empat tahun dari sekarang.

Jika ketika itu Mohd Najib masih kekal dan perubahan yang diharapkan oleh rakyat jelata tidak berlaku mereka mungkin menyingkirkan Barisan Nasional kerana marah walaupun Pakatan Rakyat dalam keadaan porak-peranda.

BN dan Umno sudah pun berasa bahang undi benci dan menyampah ini pada PRU 2013. Hanya ketakutan dan kebencian kepada tunjuk kuat PR, khususnya oleh DAP, menyebabkan sebahagian orang Melayu berpatah balik mengundi calon Umno.

Sementara itu, Mohd Najib akan terus dipuji dan digesa jangan berganjak oleh para PEJ dan batu ronson di sekelilingnya dengan bantuan jentera propaganda yang mereka kuasai.

Mereka tidak akan membenarkan beliau bertindak rasional kerana mereka tahu kalau beliau berfikir secara rasional, ramai antara mereka akan terpelanting.

Pengkritik dan penentang Mohd Najib wajib menerima hakikat bahawa Mohd Najib bukan (Tun) Abdullah Ahmad Badawi yang boleh dinyahkan dengan mudah.

Pak Lah tidak mempunyai struktur mega seperti Mohd Najib. Pak Lah dikelilingi oleh anggota inner circle yang kecil bilangannya. Mohd Najib mempunyai ratusan anggota inner circle dengan pembiayaan yang lumayan.

Harapan pengkritik dan penentang Mohd Najib berjaya boleh diperbaiki hanya jika mereka lebih terbuka dan tidak terlalu bergantung kepada orang lama seperti Dr Mahathir, Daim dan Tengku Razaleigh atau menaruh harapan semata-mata kepada (Tan Sri) Muhyiddin Mohd Yassin untuk menggerakkan agenda.

Mereka harus berani berfikir mungkin Ku Li adalah alternatif yang lebih baik menggantikan Mohd Najib sebagai pengganti interim. Mungkin Muhyiddin tidak 100% berminat untuk menggantikan Mohd Najib atau tangan beliau terikat kerana beliau terlalu hampir dengan tampuk kuasa dalam Umno dan kerajaan.

Mungkin juga ini bukan masanya bagi Dr Mahathir atau Ku Li serta pengikut mereka terperangkap dalam penjara masa ketika mana mereka bermusuhan dan berbeza pendapat.

Tanggungjawab semua pihak yang mahukan perubahan adalah kepada negara. Kalau Malaysia kacau-bilau dan mundur semua akan rugi kecuali para pemodal yang tahu mengambil kesempatan daripada huru-hara politik dan ekonomi.

Kalau nasi menjadi bubur masih boleh dimakan. Tetapi kalu nasi tumpah ke tanah, rakyat jelata akan kebuluran.

Airbus A319 Eksekutif: Simbol kemewahan dan gaya hidup
PS: Harga pasaran Jet Eksekutif Airbus A319 yang baru dibeli oleh Pentadbiran Mohd Najib adalah sekitar AS$60 juta (kira-kira RM220 juta). Saya tidak pasti harga yang kerajaan Mohd Najib bayar untuk A319 kedua ini. Dalam teknologi kapal terbang, usia 19 tahun (BBJ TUDM) tidak tua. Kapal terbang Queen Elizabeth jenis Bae 146 dibekalkan pada tahun 1986. Sekarang sudah berusia 29 tahun. Helikopter Aerospatiale Alouette dan Nuri TUDM sudah hampir 50 tahun masih terbang dan jet pejuang F/A-18 Hornet sudah 23 tahun. Tolak BBJ, TUDM ada empat buah lagi jet eksekutif – Airbus A319, Bombardier Global Express, Falcon 900 dan Fokker F28 serta empat buah helikopter VIP. Khabarnya pesawat F28 sudah tidak boleh digunakan. Dalam keadaan ekonomi yang lembap dan rakyat jelata dalam kesusahan, bukankah semua ini berupa pemborosan dan bukti gaya hidup mewah?

Wallahuaklam.

 

Saturday, March 14, 2015

1MDB: Ketua Juruaudit Negara Wajib Cepat


A Kadir Jasin

JIKA Ketua Juruaudit Negara (KJN), (Tan Sri) Ambrin Buang benar-benar berkuasa dan mempunyai kebebasan untuk menyiasat akaun 1MDB, beliau hendaklah dengan segera memecahkan ruyung sebelum maklumat dan bukti kering atau dirosakkan.

Inilah pendapat beberapa orang pakar undang-undang, kehakiman dan ekonomi veteran yang saya temui sejak tersiar berita mengatakan KJN telah diberi mandat “mengesahkan” akaun syarikat milik Kementerian Kewangan itu.

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Mereka berkata, KJN dan pihak-pihak lain yang terbabit seperti Polis, Suruhanjaya Pencegah Rasuah Malaysia dan Jawatankuasa Kira-kira Awam Parlimen (PAC) perlu menyelidik akaun dan urus niaga syarikat itu mulai tarikh penubuhannya sebagai Terengganu Investment Authority (TIA) pada 2008.

KJN perlu cepat menyiasat
Ini, kata mereka adalah kerana dari awal lagi TIA/1MDB telah mewujudkan pembiayaan melalui hutang (debt financing) dengan meminjam dari dalam dan luar negara dengan menggunakan khidmat orang tengah.

Mengikut sumber yang mengetahui dan mengenali rapat pengasas-pengasas TIA/1MDB, pinjaman permulaan syarikat itu sebanyak RM5 bilion dikatakan merosot sebanyak RM500 juta secara “misteri” dalam masa tidak sampai setahun.

Sumber-sumber itu percaya “orang misteri” Jho Low muncul dalam urus niaga TIA/1MDB sejak awal lagi dan menjadi “pemudah” perhubungan di antara pengasas-pengasas TIA/1MDB dengan pelabur, khususnya dari negara-negara Teluk.

Jho Low Orang Misteri 1MDB
Apabila (Datuk Seri) Mohd Najib Abdul Razak naik menjadi Perdana Menteri pada 2009, beliau mengubah TIA daripada syarikat kerajaan negeri menjadi syarikat pelaburan strategik negara dengan nama 1Malaysia Development Berhad.

Sejak itu peranan pihak-pihak yang mewakili negeri Terengganu dikatakan berakhir. Maka jadilah 1MDB syarikat milik negara di bawah Kementerian Kewangan.

Sumber-sumber itu menekankan bahawa Jho Low adalah “saksi utama” (prime witness) kalau pun bukan yang disyaki utama (prime suspect) dalam usaha menjejaki pengaliran wang (money trail) 1MDB.

PM Saksi Penting

Saksi-saksi lain, kata sumber-sumber itu bermula dengan Mohd Najib sendiri sebagai Pengerusi Lembaga Penasihat 1MDB diikuti oleh semua ahli lembaga penasihat, ahli lembaga pengarah dan pengurusan kanan sama ada mereka masih berkhidmat atau telah meletakkan jawatan.

Sumber-sumber itu berkata lagi, ramai anggota pengurusan kanan 1MDB telah meletak jawatan atau diberhentikan. Tentu ada sebab mereka meletak jawatan atau diberhentikan.

Juruaudit luar 1MDB yang ada sekarang (Deloitte) dan juruaudit yang ditamatkan khidmat (KPMG) juga berupa saksi penting. Mengapa khidmat KPMG ditamatkan masih menjadi misteri. 

Sumber-sumber itu menambah, adalah mustahil bagi sebuah syarikat besar dan berstruktur seperti 1MDB tidak meminitkan setiap keputusan dan tindakannya yang melibatkan jumlah wang begitu besar.

Kata mereka, adalah mustahil minit mesyuarat lembaga penasihat, lembaga pengarah dan exco 1MDB hilang atau tidak boleh dikesan kerana setiap orang yang terbabit dalam hierarki 1MDB menyimpan salinan masing-masing. Begitu juga dengan institusi-institusi kewangan yang memberi pinjaman kepada 1MDB.

Sumber-sumber itu mengatakan bahawa memang wujud pertalian istimewa di antara Perdana Menteri dan isi rumahnya dengan beberapa pembesar Arab dan Teluk seperti yang pernah didakwa  oleh isterinya, (Datin Paduka Seri) Rosmah Mansor. Jho Low dipercayai berperanan mengasaskan perhubungan itu melalui rakan-rakan kongsi beliau di negara-negara Arab dan Teluk.

Rosmah Akrab Dengan Pembesar Arab
Laman Web rasmi 1MDB mempamerkan dua orang kenamaan Teluk sebagai ahli Lembaga Penasihatnya, iaitu Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jabr Al-Thani, bekas Perdana Menteri dan Menteri Luar Qatar dan Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak, Pengerusi Pihak Berkuasa Hal-Ehwal Eksekutif (Abu Dhabi Executive Affairs Authority) merangkap Ketua Pegawai Eksekutif & Pengarah Urusan, Mubadala Development Company.
Turut dipamerkan sebagai anggota Lembaga Penasihat 1MDB ialah warganegara Perancis Bernard Arnault, Pengerusi Kumpulan & Ketua Pegawai Eksekutif syarikat fesyen dan arak antarabangsa, LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton. (Lihat di sini)
Sumber-sumber itu berkata, pihak penyiasat juga perlu membuat pencerahan mengenai peranan T Ananda Krishnan “membiayai” 1MDB sebanyak RM2 bilion dan dakwaan mengenai kaitan di antara 1MDB dengan sebuah syarikat bernama SRC International Sdn Bhd.
Baru-baru ini tercetus dakwaan bahawa Kumpulan Wang Amanah Pencen (KWAP) telah “dipaksa” memberi pinjaman RM4 bilion kepada syarikat Kementerian Kewangan itu. Khabarnya, SRC International Sdn Bhd pada asalnya dimiliki oleh 1MDB.

KWAP pegang amanah pesara awam
Kemudian pada 12 Mac, tersiar berita mengatakan sebuah lagi syarikat milik Kementerian Kewangan berhutang besar dengan KWSP. Ini bukan dongengan seorang blogger, tetapi pengakuan terbuka Ketua Setiausaha Perbendaharaan, (Tan Sri) Dr Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah.

Belau dilaporkan oleh akhbar The Sun sebagai berkata,  Pembinaan PFI Sdn Bhd yang dimiliki 99.9% oleh Kementerian Kewangan terhutang RM19.48 bilion kepada KWSP sehingga bulan Ogos 2014.

Bagi tahun kewangan berakhir 31 Disember 2013 ia mencatat keuntungan bersih RM31.18 juta daripada pendapatan sebanyak RM1.11 bilion dengan harta bernilai RM26.66 bilion dan tanggungan RM26.6 bilion.

Soalnya, kalau syarikat ini adalah syarikat PFI (private financing initiative/inisiatif pembiayaan peribadi) mengapakah ia dimiliki oleh Kementerian Kewangan dan dibiayai oleh KWSP? Mohon maaf kalau soalan saya bangang (meminjam istilah Perdana Menteri).

Cerita Penglipur Lara

Pada 11 Mac, (Datuk Seri) Syed Ali Alhabshee, Ketua Umno Bahagian Cheras, menangkis dakwaan pembangkang bahawa kerajaan akan meminjamkan RM900 juta lagi kepada 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB)

Beliau menafikan dakwaan Naib Presiden PKR Rafizi Ramli bahawa Perdana Menteri (Datuk Seri) Mohd Najib Abdul Razak akan menambah bantuan kepada 1MDB.

Rafizi yang juga Ahli Parlimen Pandan dilaporkan mendakwa beliau mendapat maklumat bahawa hal itu telah dinyatakan oleh Mohd Najib sewaktu pertemuan dengan 160 Ketua Bahagian Umno Ahad lalu.

Rafizi mendakwa beliau mendengar daripada salah seorang Ketua Bahagian yang hadir dalam pertemuan tertutup itu.

Syed Ali: Dongeng Rafizi  jadi realiti
Syed Ali yang berupa salah seorang penganjur perhimpunan perpaduan baju merah itu menyifatkan dakwaan Rafizi sebagai "satu lagi cerita dongeng pembangkang."

Portal berita Malaysiakini memetik Syed Ali sebagai berkata: "Saya mencabarnya menamakan ketua bahagian Umno itu. Saya menafikan ini berlaku."

Maksudnya, sepanjang apa yang Syed Ali ketahui dan dengar di perhimpunan itu, Mohd Najib tidak memberitahu atau membayangkan yang kerajaan akan menyediakan bantuan kewangan tambahan RM900 juta kepada 1MDB.

Tak Sebut atau Tak Dengar?

Perdana Menteri tak sebut atau Syed Ali tak dengar? Mungkin Perdana Menteri sebut, tetapi Syed Ali tak dengar atau tak perasan.

Yang kita orang luar dengar, semua 160 Ketua Bahagian yang hadir sangat puas hati dengan penjelasan Presiden dan beliau tidak melayan pertanyaan dari bawah.

Sehari selepas Syed Ali melabelkan kenyataan Rafizi sebagai “satu lagi cerita dongeng pembangkang", kebenaran menjelma. Syed Ali silap, Rafizi betul.

Menteri Kewangan II, (Datuk Seri) Ahmad Husni Hazadlah dalam kenyataan di Parlimen pada 12 Mac mengesahkan yang kerajaan telah menyediakan kredit tunggu sedia (stand-by credit) RM950 juta untuk bantu 1MDB.

Beliau dilaporkan berkata, buat permulaan hanya RM60 juta akan digunakan bagi menampung aliran tunai (cashflow) syarikat kerajaan itu.

Saya tidaklah mahu mengatakan yang Syed Ali sudah kena kelentong atau tidak menyatakan kebenaran. Tetapi kekangan macam inilah yang menyebabkan maklumat kerajaan semakin hari semakin tidak diyakini.

Kepada Ahmad Husni saya ucapkan syabas dan terima kasih kerana akhirnya mengakui secara terbuka bahawa nisbah hutang (gearing ratio) 1MDB tidak lestari (unsustainable).

Cabaran Kepada Menteri Celik Ekonomi

Saya cabar dan gesa anggota kabinet yang celik ekonomi supaya bercakap benar. Saya tahu ramai anggota kabinet yang lebih tahu mengenai ekonomi, kewangan dan perniagaan berbanding Perdana Menteri.

Saya harap menteri celik ekonomi dan tahu hal perniagaan, termasuklah Timbalan Perdana Menteri, (Tan Sri) Muhyiddin Mohd Yassin, tidak terus membisu dan menjadi menteri tunggul.

Khusus mengenai Muhyiddin, beliau akan hilang kewibawaan dan akan mengecewakan ramai penyokongnya kalau beliau tidak terus tegas mengenai 1MDB, khasnya berkenaan penyelamatan (bail-out) syarikat itu.

Saya setuju dengan pandangan Ahmad Husni bahawa penyenaraian aset penjanaan elektrik 1MDB akan menyelesaikan sebahagian hutangnya. Tetapi saya kurang yakin dengan sambutan pelabur terhadap cadangan tawaran umum permulaan (IPO) 1MDB itu memandangkan kontroversi dan siasatan yang sedang dilakukan ke atasnya.

Saya sangat bimbang syarikat-syarikat dan tabung-tabung pelaburan berkaitan kerajaan (GLC/GLIC) seperti Khazanah, PNB, Tabung Haji, LTAT, KWSP dan KWAP akan dipaksa membeli saham 1MDB.

Kita sudah pun melihat bagaimana sukarnya 1MBD membayar balik RM2 bilion pinjaman kepada bank-bank tempatan, termasuk yang dimiliki PNB dan Kumpulan Wang KWSP.

1MDB Bukan Ibu Duit

Sebagai syarikat pelaburan strategik milik negara, 1MDB adalah berdaulat dan suci. Ia milik rakyat jelata. Kalau boleh, Insya-Allah, kita hendak jadikan ia sebagai legasi kejayaan.

1MDB tidak boleh dijadikan operasi gelap, operasi sembunyi-sembunyi atau operasi “fly-by-night” bagi membolehkan pihak-pihak tertentu, di dalam dan luar negara, membuat duit segara (fast bucks).

Hasil yang dijanakannya bukan untuk membiayai kerjaya politik atau menampung gaya hidup keluarga dan kawan rakan sesiapa. Ia adalah untuk rakyat jelata.

Kalau 1MDB adalah angsa yang bertelur emas, seperti kata Setiausaha Agong Umno, Tengku (dulu Teuku) Adnan Mansor, telur emas itu adalah untuk rakyat jelata. Cuma itik angsa Tengku Adnan itu berhutang besar dan tahun lalu rugi RM665.4 juta. Atau beliau terlepas cakap mengenai sesuatu yang sepatutnya rahsia mengenai 1MDB?

Kesimpulannya, apa yang Syed Ali Alhabshee tidak tahu dan Mohd Najib tidak beritahu, tidak semestinya Rafizi tidak tahu. Bila Rafizi tahu, ramai rakyat akan tahu.

Adalah amat berbahaya dan merugikan kalau orang Umno sendiri tidak tahu atau tidak berminat ambil tahu kerana percaya bulat-bulat kepada ketua nombor satu.

Jadi orang Umno, termasuk yang makan tak lalu, tidur tak lena dan mandi tak basah kerana rindu berahi kepada Presiden, perlu juga ambil tahu kalau mereka mahu parti mereka terus memegang teraju.

Wallahuaklam.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Be Haste In Tracking Down Jho Low


A Kadir Jasin

IN the movie “The International”, an operative of the The International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol), Louis Salinger (Clive Owen) and US District Attorney, Louis Salinger (Naomi Watts) investigated corruption in a fictional merchant bank, IBBC, that serviced organised crime and corrupt governments.


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The 2009 movie was inspired by the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) scandal of the 1980’s when investigators from several countries and international agencies discovered that the London-headquartered and Luxembourg-incorporated bank was involved in massive money laundering and financial crimes, and illegally gained controlling interest in a major American bank.

But even before the movie was made and the real life BCCI collapsed, we had our own equally sensational banking scandal – the Bumiputera Malaysia Finance (BMF).

The Former Menara of defunct Bank Bumiputera
We could yet faced a similar scandal in the shape of 1Malaysia Development Berhad. Already there is an uncanny similarity between BMF scandal of the early 1980’s and the development surrounding 1MDB. While BMF and its parent company, Bank Bumiputera, had long gone, the alleged 1MDB scandal is still unfolding.

The Attorney-General Department is reported to have set up a task force comprising the police, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission and the Auditor-General’s Department to investigate all reports and complains pertaining to 1MDB.

I would like to recommend that officers assigned to the task force watch the above movie and learn from our own investigation of the BMF scandal.

George Tan "brought down" Bank Bumiputera
The Hong Kong-based subsidiary of Bank Bumiputera collapsed due largely to its incestuous relationship with Hong Kong-based Singaporean civil engineer, George Tan Soon Gin.

Like today’s 1MDB that sent out huge sums of locally obtained funds to be parked in Cayman Islands, Bank Bumiputera sent its locally-generated funds to Hong Kong to bankroll the high-flying Tan.

Tan’s Carrian Group borrowed heavily from BMF and soon defaulted. Bank Bumiputera sent one of its auditors, Jalil Ibrahim, to Hong Kong to take charge and was brutally murdered. The scandal eventually led to the bankruptcy and break-up of Bank Bumiputera.

Jho Low is said to have big influence over 1MDB
While Tan was seen by many as the man who brought down BMF and Bank Bumiputera, the allegations against 1MDB are centred around a Penang-born corporate highflier, Jho Taek Low, better known as Jho Low. The mysterious overseas-based Jho Low is the son of Penang businessman Tan Sri Larry Low Hock Peng.

So if BMF/Bank Bumiputera had George Tan, 1MDB has Jho Low.

The collapse of the BMF saw at least three senior executives of the Bank Bumiputera Group– all of them Malays - being sent to jail while Tan went scot-free. No case to Answer, declared English judge (Dennis Barker) after one and a half years trial. Then Hong Kong was a British colony. A Klang businessman, Man Fook Than was convicted of Jalil’s murder and sentenced to life in prison.

An investigation by a three-member team led by then Auditor-General, (Tan Sri) Ahmad Nordin unveiled financial fraud, criminal breach of trust and criminal conspiracy. Other members were Chooi Mun Shou and Ramli Ibrahim.

PM High On the List


Having made a promise to the effect that no stone will be left unturned and the guilty will face the full weight of the law, the Prime Minister (Datuk Seri) Mohd Najib Abdul Razak must now prove that he is a man of his words.

He must ensure that the task force carries out its duty transparently and independently. The Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar, when asked by the press if the Prime Minister would be included in the investigation, Khalid replied, yes. If the Prime Minister has nothing to hide, he will happily cooperate with the investigators.

For the task force, the first order of business is to ensure that evidence of criminal wrongdoings is preserved. It has to stop evidence from being erased or shredded and witnesses from disappearing.

Seek Interpol's Assistance
With some key witnesses and possible suspects in the 1MBD investigation residing abroad, including Jho Low, the task force should seek the assistance of Interpol to track them down.

The rakyat and their elected representatives must step up the pressure to ensure that the task force carries out its mandate transparently and freely. Never mind if the 160-Umno divisional leaders, who attended the red shirt solidarity day on March 8 at the PWTC, believed unequivocally in their President’s explanation of 1MDB.

Wallahuaklam.

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).