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Sunday, 23 May 2010

Cracking the Sime Darby Code



Just as they thought it's safe to get into the water.
No, it isn't safe. Not until we get to the bottom of the Sime Darby fiasco. It's not going to be just because PKFZ lost RM 12 billion, makes Sime Darby's loss of over RM 1 billion-( maybe RM 2 billion) becomes all right. It can never be also, because all those people involved in the fiasco are Bumiputras- that it becomes all right. It shall not be treated that way.
Tun Musa Hitam spoke for over an hour that day to explain SD's losses. Like I have said in my previous 4 postings, they mean nothing other than fudging the issues. For god sake- why can't we be forthright for once- if Zubir Mushid the ex Sime Tyre man screwed SD, tell us how he did so. Don't ask him to relieve himself. Get him interrogated so that he can spill all the beans. If the Mat Rempit Chief, Azeez got paid RM 18 million for whatever which seemed conspiratorial, he must be brought to book. Let's not make the public delirious in trying to read in between nebulous story lines.
It's nice to hear another take from an insider this time; Mr Ashraf who blogs under Jejakpujangga has written an article that is worth reading. He has promised more. His articles would be worth delving into because he was with Guthrie Berhad Golden Hope then. He had certain insider information. Readers can read his first article here.
Just after the day Tun Musa spoke to some bloggers at the SD Convention Centre, I wrote an article saying the entire board should resign. The entire board isn't a solution to this problem. It was part of the problem. If it has been negligent in carrying out its supervisory duties, then a call to ask them to resign en bloc, including the chairman is justified. The board has not only been negligent but also hasn't been diligent. So now, for Andrew Sheng to lecture us on the perils of risk management is a bloody waste of time.
If the board hasn't been negligent and was diligent, then it could only mean that Zubir Murshipd has pulled the biggest wool over the board's eyes. Tun Musa was probably busy jetting around, the other board members were just earning usurious allowances.
What is the government waiting for? The biggest shareholder is ultimately the government. So when Tun Musa is inviting  the PM as the leader of the present administration to sack him. Then sack him.
Let's investigate further the merits of murdering merger-ing 3 profitable entities into one giant conglomerate which now couldn't even make half of the pre merger profit of Guthrie Berhad then.
The proposal to merge Sime Darby, Golden Hope and Guthrie was mooted by Sime Darby, then led by Datuk Seri Ahmad Zubir Murshid. At the point of the merger, all three companies were very profitable. In its final year, Golden Hope made RM700 million and had embarked on a mission to increase its profits to RM1 billion by this year. That's half the profit the expanded Sime Darby is making now.
Whose bright idea was it? It was Zubir Murshid's idea. The chairman of Sime Darby then, Ahmad Sarji said he didn't know. He must be busy listening to P Ramlee's serenades. That means Zubir didn't tell the chairman. But what about the board? Isn't it a requirement for any company to have any big decisions made known to the board. If the board wasn't aware, then Zubir was a bloody crook then.
What is now stopping the crook Zubir to conceal the losses incurred by SD if, he is, by the track record he displays, a 'natural' when it comes to screwing the company. By the way, the merchant bankers who underwrote the merger made RM 600 million. It must also be hauled up to explain the economics behind the merger if now, we know, such a merger isn't good.
I have also asked, who shall be writing a report to the PM? Surely it would be unbelievably naive for us to ask the board to come up with the report. Such a report, if asked from the board, shall just be a padded CYA –Cover Your Ass rationale.
In the next article, let us see The Group's track record in its core business- plantation. Let's hear it for the 3 Abduls of Sime Darby- Zubir, Azhar and Zarif.

20 comments:

Anonymous,  23 May 2010 at 06:41  

Dato',
I still stand by my statement that the merger was intended to benefit certain parties one of which is the Merchant Bankers who underwrite the merger and the figure you quoted is obscenely big! RM600m!
The script for the fiasco had been written and played out several times to show what will be available for harvest by certain parties to make the leadership agree to the idea which we had suspected at the very inception that it will be another opportunity to plunder. Now the hunch is proven.
Pak Tua

Anonymous,  23 May 2010 at 08:45  

Ask Tan Sri Mohd Nor Yusof, Chairman of Synergy Drive, the name of the merged entity of Sime Darby Bhd, Golden Hope Plantations Bhd and Kumpulan Guthries. This fellow used to be the head honcho of what CIMB was then (he is now its Chairman), a former MD of Malaysia Airlines just before Air Asia took control of the Malaysian skies and even became the Chairman of the Securities Commission.

I am sure he would be aware of the going-ons or was he merely taking instructions.

Can somebody ask him?

Anonymous,  23 May 2010 at 09:41  

The pressure is not great for the leadership to act on these lossess. Their statements were just normal as the abuses in the system is so systemic, that it is ingrained in their life. Its routine for them.

Anonymous,  23 May 2010 at 10:10  

I remember distinctly some analysts commented negatively to the merger of these three profit making entities into one ugly giant.

If you do some research you might get to these reports. But at that time the government, true to its colours, ignored them.

Anonymous,  23 May 2010 at 12:05  

The bank who arrange the merger is CIMB and they took away a cool RM600m. CIMB bossman is the brother of PM Najib. Would PM block the merger?. Wa tolong lu, lu tolong wa lah latok.

"Akulah penyamun di dalam negeri..."

Memang UMNO ni penyamun besar dalam negeri. Lembu kerbau, kambing, itik dan ayam semua dia kebas.

I have no respect for UMNO. Respect must be earned. UMNO just refuse to do things to earn that respect. Change in UMNO will not happen. At least not with the current crop of under qualified and self interest leaders.

Anonymous,  23 May 2010 at 12:49  

"...all those people involved in the fiasco are Bumiputras-"

Dato,
If only you tabulate all the losses (through misappropriation,inefficiency/theft/corruption/abuse/and misuse) incurred by the nation, I would say 99% of these involve Bumiputras!
Maybe some would be Indians-Turned Malays-turned Bumiputras.
And all escape punishment because they are protected by their UMNO- linked-Bumi status.
I bet you, in the Sime Darby case NOT a single one of them involved will go to jail.
They will get to keep the spoils.

PANJI HITAM 61 23 May 2010 at 13:16  

BINGO !!!

The clues and connections below:

Zubir to Musa Hitam to Md Nor to Azman to Nor Yaakob to ?????

Casualties: Sime Darby, Pantai, MAS, IJN, Maybank, UEM, IRDA ETC ETC.

MORE PEKUNG TO SURFACE SOON!!!

Friends of Ashraf Club,  23 May 2010 at 13:38  

Just to correct a mistake in your unimpeachable rant. Ashraf Abdullah was a corporate comm senior manager in Golden Hope, not Guthrie. Ashraf wrote that very revealing piece after getting the green light from Putrajaya, of which he is closed to the people close to the PM.

In a way, what he wrote reflects the mood in Putrajaya too, not just from ex-Golden hopers whose people were royally screwed by Zubir. It’s a signal that Putrajaya will take very tough action, including unleashing the MACC and the SC, which has a big file on Sime transgressions but chickened out from acting because the previous Slumberjack administration stopped them from acting. Perhaps commercial crime cops will also be sniffing on this racket that you have outlined.

But the more revealing nature of Ashraf’s piece is what Putrajaya will do to the corporate structure of Sime itself and its near future. Heads will roll and not just in Sime. Parent company PNB will also be affected, most likely its nominees in Sime will be dumped and its chairman (ahmad sarji) and CEO (hamad kama piah) being seriously considered for retirement once their contracts lapse.

This mess that Zubir created will also finally expose him not just a mediocre manager (any asshole can lose RM1 billion!) but a fucking hypocrite as well, if you had listened to his pre-merger sermons and preaching about corporate governance and how he dissed the goldenhope and Guthrie cporporate culture as weak and inept.

You’re right about not letting Zubir go just like that – he must be brought back to trial, at least a public opinion one to unearth every dubious deal that he has ever committed.

donplaypuks® 23 May 2010 at 14:40  

Bro

The pre-merger prices of SD, Guthrie and Golden Hope range from $8, 7 and 5 to peaks of $12, 9 and 7. Post merger Synergy/SD hit a peak of $13.20. Last Friday SD close at $8.05.!!

This alone, taking into account drop in palm oil prices, represents a loss in value of anywhere from 67% to 33% in share prices and corresponding market capitalisation on the KLSE!!

IN USA, UK and Europe, CEO's routinely get booted out when sharholder values decline consistently!!

Similarly the pre and post split (into TM and Axiata) listed prices of Telekom range from average of $12 to $6, a decline of 40%-50%!!

Khazanah wrote off over half billion $ in Pos M'sia following the collapse of Transmile where the MD and CFO conspired to fake sales figures!!

In less than 1 year, Maybank wrote off $3 billion in mark to market share values in its 2009 $8 billion (at an unheard of 4.7 times book value) acquisition of majority control in PT Bank International Indonesia. Maybank "expects" to break even in 5 years on PTBII!!

Maybank has not disclosed who brokered the PTBII deal, and what, if any commissions were paid for this acquisition from Temasik Holding and Kookmin Bank (which were themselves holding mega unrealised losses on investment in PTBII). There have been rumours of 4th floor boys and Pathos (and pathetic) consulting, but who knows. Maybank MD Amersham who sealed the deal was promoted to the Cabinet!

Similarly, Khazanah has ventured into the middle east on its own, theme parks, a Uni in China (again purchased from GLC S'pore at some over 30 times earning valuation!!!) and so on.

I fear there is this mother of all financial scandal and losses waiting to explode in our faces from all these dodgy "investments" and (mis)management!!

PM Najib had better do something fast and take a really close look at Khazanah, PNB, Mavcap, Valuecap, 1MDB, EPF and perhaps even at Petronas where there have been significant top management changes!!

dpp
we were all of 1 race, the Human race

Richard Cranium 23 May 2010 at 16:04  

Sime Darby owns the KLGCC (KL Golf) where all the rich and famous hobnobs over a game and then retire to the posh coffee house.

The money spent to refurbish the place is obscene. I don't know how it will ever recoup its investments there.

Quiet Despair,  23 May 2010 at 16:32  

Happy (argh gloomy) Sunday Saudara

Tougher than the Da Vinci Code to crack.
Everday new scandals emerge.
Looks like a messy business with tentacles everywhere. Lots of hank-panky.
Owey, Azeez the publicity crazy guy also has a hand in the pie
Isn't the MACC investigating him??
We are now very concerned. But I bet you they are enjoying their golfing at KLGCC.
Aduh duh duh duh.

kuldeep 23 May 2010 at 17:01  

Simply..it all flows back to Khazanah >> definitely all the buzz abt corporate governance,multi color books n all..the system failed to detect obvious weaknesses and take steps to mitigate at early stage.

So the answer is revamp the structure..throw out all the failed corporate titans wannabe b4 they create more damage.

Admitting failure is the first step towards NEM.

And now Govt gonna pull back subsidies..make us pay thru our nose for basic stuff whilst these guys throw money down the drain.

And they have NOT BUILT anything substantial..all paper shuffling n pretty reports.

At least TDM era guys gave us TANGIBLE infrastructure

Not Walla,  23 May 2010 at 17:16  

Dato',
Any reason why you did not attend BUM? I am of course boycotting BUM as it is just a vehicle of select bloggers to put forth their agenda.

Anonymous,  23 May 2010 at 17:47  

Dato
Do you know how long was the memali tragedy dragging along at the courts? Guess who was involved in it.
As such, this so called sime darby tragedy is gonna take another 20-30 years of human life.
Sadly however ,the plunder continues as we continue to comment at this very wonderful blog of yours.

Anonymous,  23 May 2010 at 19:37  

tak payah pandai ekonomiks dan audit trail mau tau masalah dato'..senang citer je lah..tengok thomas cup failure..coach salah players, players salah media..pemimpin BAM tepuk perut sebab kenyang dapat duduk satu tahun lagi..apa ke he nye dato'...bila lah pucuk pimpinan mau turun ramai2 citer masalah beno beno yeop...semua pelat che campurkan sebab semua carca merba..semua lepas..cemuih

Anonymous,  23 May 2010 at 20:23  

PM Najib has the vision...but unfortunately he got to do lots of house cleaning to see through the windows.The picture painted could well be another Alice in Wonderland..

I sincerely believe PM Najib will put us back on track if he can get his team right.

And he is our only real hope..and we must back him 100% n pray for his and our survival.

donplaypuks® 23 May 2010 at 22:09  

"Dato', Any reason why you did not attend BUM? I am of course boycotting BUM as it is just a vehicle of select bloggers to put forth their agenda." Not Walla.

Please note that invited speakers who attended BUM 2010 included Selangor MB Khalid Ibrahim AND FT Minister Raja Nong Chik.

The panel on "Allah" discussion included Haris ibrahim, Shah Alam MP (PAS) Khalid Samad, Zaid Ibrahim and Akramsya Sanusi Junid. Zul Nordin did not respond to invitation to attend.

Blogger Big Dog sat in on the debate on press freedom while the discussion on "Religious Divide" included Teresa Kok, Uthayakumar (ex-Hindraf) and PAS MP (for Kuala Selangor) Dr.Zulkifly Ahmad.

Both the PAS speakers articulated their respective stands brilliantly.

Efforts to get Ibrahim Ali and KJ failed while Utusan's and UMNO's reps backed out at the 11th hour. Mukhriz Mahathir could not be fitted in as his availability clashed with other earlier confirmed arrangements.

The pro-tem Chairman of BUM is still Rocky's Bru and those involved in organizing BUM 2010 did so (as in previous years) on a purely voluntary and un-remunerated basis. Every effort was made to strike a balance in the panels' composition.

So I summarily dismiss accusations of BUM being biased or having any overt agenda.

My advice to the naysayers and critics is:

Please attend these functions and see and hear for yourselves before you judge the merits and demerits of BUM.

dpp
we are all of 1 race, the Human Race

Red Alfa 23 May 2010 at 23:03  

Salam Dato'

Just as they thought it was safe..

And we thought just one voracious Big White to contend with...

OMG, the entire world population of THEM were here and the whole damn lot HAD been in feeding frenzy!!!

@friends of ashraf said mood in Putrajaya is giving Ashraf the go ahead. Only to reveal but to THEIR agenda?

That's classic fiddle farting!

Prosecute and get them convicted!
Apply Hudud, they are Muslims aren't they? Chop their hands!

Average Joe 24 May 2010 at 10:05  

dahsyatnya mainan silat melayu!
yang palu gendang melayu.
yang bersilat melayu.
yang makan pulut melayu.
tapi yang dapat lesen judi tetap cina!

cayalah 1malaysiaku.

Anonymous,  24 May 2010 at 13:48  

Dato,

Cracking the Sime Darby code?

First we need to go to the root of the cause. That means people!

SD used to be a well-respected MNC within the Asia region. Used to - meaning before the taken over by the M'sian govt. Her reputation was in high ground within the many regions that she has been doing business. Born in M'sia BUT compete with the world!

During Tun Ismail & Tan Siew Sin's era, there were already signs of decay due to the 'people dynamic' of that organisaton.

Sad but true - SD then was life-lined by the remaining crowd of that Mat Salleh managers, who did things by the book & without F&F. Corporate CYA symptom was almost unheard of!

The two Tuns' knew about these, thus the continuing deployment of these white-men. These also explained why the special treatments offered to them (ie the yachting cruise for their family as detailed by Dr Cheng}.

With the full 'malaysianisation' of the SD management, especially the top executives, things started to go downhill. The demised of the two Tuns also let loose many management restraints that the two Tuns imposed to safeguard SD.

These were caused in no less by the forced-rapid-rises of the M'sian executives within the rank & file operations of all the divisions. Many of these fast-risers were of dubious qualifications & at best 2nd-besters in O&M skills.

Coupled with the fact that many more were dead-woods of no useful skills BUT just sit within SD because of know-who connections.

SD should have been death long time IFF she has NO 'monopolistic canddies' within the M'sian economy. These monopolistic operations generated enough profit to cover-up the losses.

PNB just could not let it die the way of Merrill Lynch. The implication was too horrible both to the general joes of M'sia plus the upholders of that maruah bangsa.

So, the salvation of SD lies with the people within that organisation.

It takes a Hercule mind change within the stake-holders. If the people within ARE not good enough, THEN be gentleman enough to acknowledge it & get outside helps. Running a conglomerate is not like running yr backyard operation, whom many of the current executives r blindsided to.

Just one more thing, unlike many China-man operations, SD's money belongs to the people Not yr grandfather's. & sadly that thinking is lost to many of the politicians & top managers of the country.

It makes thing worst when many of them think that money can buy experiences & mistakes will not recur. Unfortunately, these people just dont learn, whether the learning is within the teaching of their religion or basic human moral. To them, make hay today is all that's to running a business now. So can u understand why 99% of their business failed & failed miserably. The saddest part is without the deep pocket of the govt, bail-out cannot be done, thus causing many unit-holders to suffered without knowing why.

Based on the current economic scenario, the M'sian govt will not have that much spare changes to do anymore bail-outs. The civil servants' pay + the depletion of the O&G revenues will see to that soon enough. What more with many leakage via corruptions!

So perhaps these CYA takers r right that while the Greece act hits M'sia, they will be well-taken care of at their ranch for their retirement some where else. M'sia, where's that?

So the key to that SD crack is GOOD people - who r apparently in short supply within that group of people!

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