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Sakmongkol ak 47

Sunday 29 June 2014

PM Najib and the creation of a Plutocratic Oligarchy.

Did PM Najib ask UDA to choose Ecoworld over others? Now that is the most important question to unravelling the mystery of his New Economic Model. If he did, then this is what the NEM means- affirming the hold of the select few on the economic pie. The people have been duped into giving up their stake-holdership in the economy on the excuse; the wealth creating process is better suited to be carried out by the anointed few.
The people should rise and demand that wealth creating assets be placed directly in their hands. By people I mean the many more, who, if unrestrained  can also create wealth.  They should rise up and kick out this government which is slowly turning into a plutocratic oligarchy. (the few politicians and the wealthiest people).
The NEM is nothing more than the old practice of selecting and choosing who gets to win. Except, the picked ones are the same ones over and over again. SP Setia over and over again, Syed Mokhktar- Vincent Tans, YTLs- are all serial rapists of our economy. The NEM is just another name for crony capitalism.
Giving projects to the same pack of people seems to be addictive. That is what Najib means and more importantly understands, what market driven affirmative action is. It is a system of affirming the role played by the select few and the invisible hand that chooses them. Hence plutocratic oligarchy.
Bukit Bintang City Centre- Pudu Jail Land.
We have yet to see the details of the new business model. Perhaps it is the brainchild of the PM. Perhaps it is the brainchild of the new UDA chairman, Johari Abdu Ghani who told the UDA board of Directors, the decision as to who are going to develop BBCC, as a fait acompli.  He is reported to have said, that it is a directive from the PM. 
By the way, Johari Abdul Ghani is the person who said he does not need Chinese support. It now seems that promise was just empty brinkmanship. What he meant really was , he does not want the support of the Jinjang Joes, the Jalan Kelang Lama types. He sees no contradiction rubbing shoulders with the likes of Liew Kee Sin, Vincent Tan, Francis Teoh, and more. 
In the Everbright Model- UDA brings in Everbright International as turnkey contractor and divides the property on a 30:70 basis. Everbright comes in with the money and constructs the property and divides them with UDA with the provision that the properties meant for UDA are built first. There are no risks involved as the land which belongs to UDA cannot be charged to 3rd parties.
Under the Ecoworld Model we don’t know. UDA’s 40% is in terms of shares in the JV or in the form of properties constructed?  Does UDA need to come up with 40% of the funding? What is EPF’s role in this- is it performing the role of bankrolling the project and thus is given 20% share? How is Ecoworld chosen when it did not participate in the tender exercise carried out by UDA in September 2013? Why was the tender cancelled and suddenly we have the announcement that Ecoworld is the partner to develop the Pudu Jail Land.
Instead of being the landowner, UDA thinks it is better to have a smaller share- 40%. Give 40% to Ecoworld and 20% to EPF.
Here is the perplexing issue. Last time there were strong objections on plans by UDA to do a JV with a China GLC. It’s Chinese for God sake screamed the Malay-first-groups-  and the Bumiputeras are not called to propose the development.
Last time, during Nurjazlan’s time, UDA was in control of the whole development. It was the land owner and it called in a developer to develop the land. In return it got money upfront which was badly needed since UDA had no money. UDA did not have to come out with any capital- its capital is ownership of the land. In addition it got a number of units. Basically it’s the same when a land owner invites a developer to develop the land. The land owner gets some money upfront and a certain number of units.
So why should UDA depart from this model? What is so special about Ecoworld other than being Najib’s latest favourite developer? Why should it now partner with a pendatang( since all Chinese are pendatangs according to UMNO friendly ISMA and Perkasa). Liew Kee Sin is a Chinese and therefore a pendatang.  The Malay-first groups do not find anything disturbing now that UDA’s partner is a home grown Chinese?
So Najib himself is cavorting with a pendatang and down in the plains the UMNO hillbillies and yobos are shouting themselves coarse deriding the pendatangs. Here comes the boss and he passes instructions to UDA chairman Johari- give it to Ecoworld.
What then is the contribution of Ecoworld? The famed expertise of Lee as an accomplished property man? And what does UDA do- secure only 40% equity by giving up land?  Is UDA’s 40% better than whatever it got had it gone through with the JV with China’s Everbright? Does it get any money upfront? If it doesn’t than the makcik in Jaya Gading- an urban village in Najib’s constituency of Pekan- is smarter. As land owner she gets money and some units. 25%. Ad she has the option to convert some units into much needed cash at any time.
I want to see the Malay-first groups examine the details of the JV. Many of the strict requirements in the earlier aborted JV with China’s Everbright are gone. Where are the interest of bumiputera contracting firms participating in the JV? The requirement to build affordable residential units are said to be removed. Ecoworld is given a free hand to develop the property into the kind Liew Kee Sin is famous for- upscale and million Ringgit property. Malays can only salivate and contain their anger and envy.
Tan Sri Liew Kee Sin who controls Ecoworld will again be reaping huge financial gains after being affirmed as Najib’s private project delivery partner. Already he has been given projects such as redeveloping the land belonging to RRI , land in Cyberjaya and now the land over Pudu Jail.
The question is how has Ecworld been given this project when it dd not participate in the tender in September 2013? Where are the GLCs representing Malay interests side-lined in the opportunity to develop such a strategic piece of land?
These are the questions we want answered:
Why was the tender of September 2013 cancelled? The tender document itself cost RM25,000 and tenderers have to deposit RM1 million as earnest money. As I have said earlier, there was also a provision that companies shortlisted will be required to put up RM10 million as additional earnest money. Who instructed the tender to be aborted? What are the criteria used in selecting Ecowold? Why has Ecoworld been selected in such an opaque process? Why hasn’t other GLCs been considered as potential JV partner?
The most damning question is, has the PM and Finance Minister given the directive to Johari Abdul Ghani to select Ecoworld over others? Ecoworld is owned by Liew Kee Sin, Eddie Leong and the Bumi face- Rashid Manaf.
Now where is the walking stick wielding Tajudiin Rahman who beats his chest in parliament declaring pompously- ini UMNO, ini UMNO lah!. So UMNOlah the Bukit Bintang City Centre.


Tuesday 24 June 2014

Najib's New Economic Model aka Market Driven Affirmative Action in practice

The UMNO people and their spouses need to tell successive bigger lies to cover their previous lies. The water bill of RM300, 000 a year for 2012 is not a figure picked from thin air; it was a figure given in parliament by Shahidan Kassim and is in the Hansard. So is the RM2.2 million electricity bill. It is also from the answer given in parliament.
So- we are sorry your telephone line has been interrupted but we are really not interested to know whether the PM’s wife swims in a swimming pool either.
The university students to whom Rosmah spoke the other day need not direct their attention to an issue that does not affect them; rather they should be thinking about the dysfunctional economy managed by a dysfunctional government headed by a dysfunctional PM.
The chief economic apologist for the country, the guitar strumming minister Idris Jala said our economy is heading to safer waters. The minister in charge of trade, the colourless Mutapha Mohamad a few days earlier said rising CPI indicates we are heading for a higher cost of living regime. Tell that to the RM5000 a month income earner living in KL who is left with RM200 by the time his salary comes. Tell that to the rubber tapper who earns less than RM500 a month in Raub.
You see, liars forget to tell their partners in crime to speak in the same tune.  They contradict each other and tripped over one another.
The blind beggar and his assistant who go from table to table while customers are eating probably collect more than RM20 a day. The BR1M recipient who gets RM650 this year or collects RM1.78 a day has a fate worse than the blind beggar. But these people have not the right to be angry and anguished. They should thank the Lord for getting a government which thinks of the people all the time and distributes beneficence.
We do not need to ask our students to believe everything that is written in the opposition portals. It is sufficient they keep an open mind, read and evaluate the arguments. Using the same principle the students must not believe what is being said in the pro-UMNO portals either. Reading them can cause a diminution of the students’ intelligence.
Water bill.
This thing about the water bill of the PM’s official residence is taken from the answer given in parliament. Unless of course the minister in question, lied to parliament. The answer given in parliament was as follows: 

In a written response to Anthony Loke Siew Fook (DAP-Seremban), Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim said RM2,237,788.13 was spent on electricity for the Seri Perdana complex, while RM311,174.25 was spent on water throughout 2012.

So who or what or when whoever and whatever swim and whether the occupants at Sri Perdana are afraid to sleep with the lights switched off are really not of interest to us. 

So my advice to the students, they don’t have to believe what the PM’s wife tells them.
This is a sign of a dysfunctional government. It has to continue to tell successive bigger lies to cover up preceding lies. The government can’t lie to the people forever.
Its posturing on Malay ultra-nationalism, for example is nothing but a mask to hide exactly the opposite to what it does. It has sold out the Malays. Go to Iskandar region in Johor, the area is an annexure of millionaires and the rich from Singapore, Taiwan and China. The Malays in Pontian, in Mersing and in Kota Tinggi cannot afford to buy the properties there. So where will the Malays go?
I once asked the PM what he means by his New Economic Model. That was in happier times when I was in UMNO, a former ADUN and a former information chief of his division.
He responded by saying, NEM is market driven affirmative action. Therein lies the catch- market driven affirmative action. It means, the government will respond accordingly to signals from the market. The free market economy as understood in the west as in allowing free competition and allowing each person to pursue his own economic interests is of no relevance in Malaysia. In this economy, market driven affirmative action means- rewarding those already successful in the market economy further. Effectively this will lead to the capturing of the bulk of the wealth of this country by the select few and the fittest economic actors.
In Malaysia free market means, the ones emitting the loudest signals to invite the required response are the rich, the privileged and the politically connected. So, the government will in the end, response increasingly to the demands and pressures from the select few, the rich and the powerful.
Let us illustrate this point in a particular case. Take the case of the redevelopment of the 19 acres of land on which stands the former PUdu jail. The land owner is the Urban Development Authority- fully owned by the Finance Ministry and controlled by the Finance Minister. It’s charged with developing and redeveloping lands in urban areas to unlock monetary values and also to restructure the ethnic profiling in urban centres. Thus the top executives of UDA could at one time, boast that its mission is to enlarge the presence and participation of Malays in urban economics. The leaders of the government then follow up by making pompous declarations that it will safeguard Malay economic interests in urban areas.
Last year, as many of us are aware, UDA entered into an agreement with the Chinese government to jointly develop the Pudu Jail land. China appointed or selected Everbright Construction Company to enter into a JV with UDA to develop the pudu jail land which is to be renamed BBCC- Bukit Bintang City Centre. There will a high rise hotel, high rise residential unit, and much much more where patrons could walk along magnificent walkways choosing which vendors they want to have their tired feet massaged. It will rival the prestigious Bukit Bintang enclave nearby where patrons walk the walkways and scout out which masseuses can make happy days.
When news of the JV became known to the public, competing interest groups began to make noise and scare the living daylights out of the PM. The chairman of UDA then was accused of betraying the Malay cause and was also accused to be on the take. Dato Nurjazlan had to fend off attacks from Rottweiler-ish Malay Chamber of Commerce people as far as Penang where the Malays looked like people who seemed to have travelled on boats from somewhere and had huddled closest to the boats engines. He had to fend off attacks from nasty politicians like Tajudin Rahman who was probably angered when the layout of the BCC did not also include the building of a casino like the one in Genting.  Nurjazlan had to receive instructions from the finance ministry on what to do with the pudu Jail land. He also had to be contented with lukewarm 5-minute of yes-no-all right sessions with the Finance Minister
After that, the Uda Chairman had to travel up and down to the Finance Ministry to be instructed on what to do. At one time, It was reported the Government decided to drop of the Chinese developer’s US$1bil (RM3bil) redevelopment plan in favour of splitting the prime site into parcels to be developed by mainly bumiputra companies. Take a note folks- bumputera companies!.
Under Nurjazlan, UDA came under fire for allegedly abandoning the bumiputra agenda by not appointing bumiputra joint-venture turnkey investors for the proposed Bukit Bintang City Centre.

Nurjazlan wanted to do business with  China-based developer Everbright International Construction Ltd develop the Pudu land with UDA, which has land but not money to develop projects. But several Umno members and Malay developers protested the deal, prompting UDA's only shareholder, the Finance Ministry, to order a new plan. The Finance Minister, Najib wilted under pressure as usual. the question is , did he capitulate or was he re-assessing opportunities?
The question now is did Najib instruct the new chairman of UDA to hand over the project to Eco World? Where are the strident Malay voices? Where is the Malay Chamber of Commerce from Penang? Where is the walking stick wielding Tajudin Rahman?
There is now disquiet over Eco World getting the project, dubbed Bukit Bintang City Centre, as UDA had called for a tender last September. Suddenly the tender exercise was cancelled. The bidders had bought the RM25,000 tender documents and had deposited a RM1 million earnest money with UDA. The next step would entail short-listed bidders to pay up another Rm25 million earnest money deposits. The RM1 million has since been returned to the bidders when UDA recalled the tender.
The current UDA chairman told his board members that the PM has instructed him to tell members that the BCC project is to be given to EcoWorld. There are no details as to how Eco World got the project. We understand that the Finance Ministry made the decision, not the UDA board," a source said.
The Finance Minister is Prime Minister Dato Seri Najib Razak while the Second Finance Minister is Dato Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah – both of whom have oversight over UDA, which was set up to redevelop urban areas and increase Bumiputera participation.
Eco World has been scooping up big projects since its inception last year and has among its directors, experienced property man Tan Sri Liew Kee Sin, who resigned as developer SP Setia Bhd's chief executive officer last April 30. Liew was SP Setia's group managing director from 1996 and turned the RM200 million-company in 1998 into a multi-billion ringgit international property firm. He quit just over a year after state investment company Permodalan Nasional Bhd bought over SP Setia, prompting rumours he would join Eco World as his son, Tian Xiong, is also a director and substantial shareholder in the company.
Eco World has embarked on a programme to expand its land bank and projects worth up to RM30 billion after a corporate exercise last year. Its joint-venture in the Bukit Bintang City Centre is expected to help UDA trim its debts and raise money for affirmative action projects.
the decision over the Pudu Jail redevelopment will be yet another test of Najib’s commitment to economic liberalisation as the hardliners in Umno, Perkasa and Utusan Malaysia had once criticised UDA for allegedly abandoning the Bumiputera agenda by not appointing Bumiputera joint-venture turnkey investors for the project.
Where are their voices now? Where is Ibrahim Ali? Utusan Malaysia?
UDA, whose assets were estimated to be worth RM2 billion two years ago, is more than RM900 million in debt. It had an outstanding RM104 million land premium for the Pudu site that was due in September 2012 .
You orang sudah bayar kah belum? Don’t let us Celaka you.
Next- Liew Kee Sin as beneficiary of Najib’s New Economic Model aka market driven affirmative action.


Sunday 22 June 2014

Najib's New Economic Model- Enrich the elite, impoverish the Rest.

Nowadays when UMNO leaders claimed they are fighting for Malay interests, those claims sound hollow. After 57 years of UMNO rule, the top 20% of all races have entrenched their economic stranglehold. This is reflected by the more than proportionate increase in their mean monthly income. The Malays in particular should take note.
The top 20% of Malays earned RM10, 666 a month while the bottom 40% earned RM1686. The bottom 40% and those outside the most minimal income bracket eke out a daily living. Welfare assistance of RM200-400 does help as do BR1Ms- the politically charged hand-outs that ease the pain temporarily.  But this beneficence and acts of care are quickly gobbled up by increasing cost of living.
The basic principle of placing the wealth creating resources directly in the hands of the people who matter most is not there. Each time the government come out with a plan of creating wealth through levels of intermediaries.
 Education is not free up to university level. The kid going to a polytechnic in Kuantan has to pay close to RM800 as initiation fees. The parents earn RM400 a month. So they go asking around for hand-outs. More than 100 thousand graduates are now unemployed and the government never publish these statistics. The growing army of unemployed include not only the less trained and skilled but also engineering graduates and science graduates.
Affordable housing is out of reach by ordinary people. The PR1MA people make hype of its efforts to build affordable homes but the units are pre-distributed among party adherents. Land is difficult to obtain while petty leaders get land ever so easily. The MB of Perak could easily gave the state UMNO youth head more than 30acres of land but find it very difficult to give 1 acre to ordinary applicants.
This is in essence the New Economic Model of Najib. It continues the preferential treatment on the preferred and selected individuals- of all races. We should kick out this MLM type of government which is no different from the duplicitous PONZI schemes and no different from our local get rich schemes of Pak Man Telo or Tuhan Harun.
The UMNO elites accompanied by their pet poodles from other BN component parties, go to bed and cavort with the select few- the Malays flying themselves out and into this country on recently acquired private jets, the Rozalis, the Syed Mokhtars, the Rahid Manafs, the AP holders, the monopoly holders, the license tengkus, the Chinese Hongs- the YTLs, the Kam Pohs, the Lew Kee Sins, the YTLs, the Danny Tans. The Malay political elites, the once jaga keretas and car washers, the once cooking gas carriers, the once carpet sellers dine and wine at the Hong Leong Penthouses.
Inside parliament only those UMNO MPs wishing to make a name for themselves are talking about the plight of marginalised Malays. Only in order to show and demonstrate that UMNO is fighting for the cause of Malays. It seems part of the required protocol- to utter something that are politically correct to stay ideologically in line; the reality is- these are part of the sham and hypocrisy on which UMNO thrives and survives.
It needs to champion the cause in order to validate its increasingly fragile pole position as the voice of Malay interests. The people are equally increasingly disillusioned with UMNO’s hypocrisy about its commitment to really transform Malay economically.
The empty slogans do not resonate forcefully anymore; the great ideas and vision packaged in the forms of various acronyms- NEM, ETP, GT, NKRA, are meaningless to the people who are facing economic hardships. They are useless to people who have to pay for a higher cost of living- hemmed from all sides by the increasing prices of foodstuffs, of everyday needs.  Real incomes are eroded by rising costs.
Next: Najib’s New Economic Model- did he instruct UDA to sell Pudu Jail Land to Ecoworld?


Wednesday 18 June 2014

The Hermit of Langgak Golf

History will be unkind to people like Tengku Razaleigh. Those who have grown up with him and witness what the country has become, will judge Tengku Razaleigh harshly for choosing to sit idly by, living out his life as a political hermit at Langgak Golf.
This treatment contrasts unfavourably with the contributions this man has made to Malaysia. His good deeds to UMNO seem to have been forgotten by the present greedy leadership of UMNO. Many of the assets which UMNO now has were either transferred or were given free to UMNO by Tengku Razaleigh.
The UMNO HQ stands on a land donated by Tengku Razaleigh to UMNO. The Fleet Group which once owned New Straits Time belonged to Tengku Razaleigh.
He has served as an important cabinet minister since the days of Tun Razak. He was the economic czar at one time. He was responsible for creating and starting many of the institutions that were supposed to help advance Malays economically. Bank Islam, Bank Bumiputera, Pernas, PETRONAS, and many more.  The paper for the setting up of Universiti Islam Antara bangsa was given to him and he later gave it to Anwar Ibrahim to make a splash of an announcement. Of course Anwar claimed credit for thinking and setting up of UIA.
As we celebrated 40 years of ties with China, not many people know that it was Tengku Razaleigh who actually paved the way for Malaysia –China relations.
At this 40th anniversary, the PM who once served as assistant to Tengku Razaleigh has chosen to forget the man responsible for opening up China before Tun Razak went to China. A few years ago, the Chinese government sought to buy back a painting given to Tengku Razaleigh by Zhou En Lai- China’s grew eminence.
He is now the longest serving MP. In Parliament, he sits with 2 others who are also veteran MPs. But he sits as a forlorn figure watching the country deteriorate being mauled by greedy BN leadership. He has watched as the history of our country unfolds from a less anxiety-ridden country and where the was relatively racial harmony and religious tolerance to an anxiety ridden country with racial and religious tensions.
And history will judge him unkindly because as a person who is capable of doing something such as providing a much needed leadership righting the many wrongs done to this country, he has stood like a hermit and allow this country plunge into a mess and quagmire.
He is probably in the last leg as a serving MP. He was cheated once at being a PM for this country. He took a band of dedicated politicians and formed Semangat 46 to wrest power from Mahathir. Having lost and making peace with Mahathir and disbanding Semangat 46, he has retreated almost hermit like at his residence at Langgak Golf licking his wounded pride. Once in a while, he will create some noises only audible however to a few conscientious fellows. Meanwhile, the country as a whole is plunging deeper into an abyss.
This country is in a mess. The much touted transformation plan has hardly transformed the economy and the politics of the country. The only transformational effects to be felt in the kampongs and villages are the various money hand-outs most notably BR1M. Najib in on TV almost every night preaching BR1M like it is a godsend transmitted by God’s emissaries in the form of BN politicians.
History will ask- when all these things took place, where was Tengku Razaleigh and what has he done?


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