Friday, February 27, 2015

A Cabinet Snub For 1MDB?

A Kadir Jasin

A BIG thanks and kudos to the Cabinet if indeed it had rejected a request by 1Malaysia Development Berhad for an RM3-billion financing from the government.

[REMINDER: No anonymous comments will be published.  Please use Google Account, OpenID or Name/URL. Pseudonym is accepted. Thank you]

Reports by online media said it had rejected the proposal at its weekly meeting on Wednesday by not approving the minutes of the previous week's meeting on the subject.

The Malaysian Insider news portal quoted sources as saying that the Cabinet rejected the proposed RM3-billion cash injection.

It quoted other unidentified sources as saying the rejection was a blow to the wholly-owned government strategic investment company.

I am yet to receive response to two SMS messages I sent to a minister and press secretary to a senior minister seeking confirmation on the Cabinet decision.

If the online media reports are true, the Cabinet action could be seen as signalling that the Prime Minister (Datuk Seri) Mohd Najib Abdul Razak no longer holds sway, at least not on the issue of 1MDB.

This is a huge setback for him. I would not, at this point, speculate that there is an emerging revolt against his leadership.

1MDB is his creation. He is the chairman of its advisory board. The company is owned by Finance Ministry and Mohd Najib is also its minister.

This could add further burden on the already beleaguered Prime Minister. Only weeks ago he gloated in a special TV3 interview about the soundness of 1MDB’s investment.

In a separate development, the chairman of Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the Parliament, (Datuk) Nur Jazlan Mohamed, has called upon the Auditor General's Department to carry out an immediate audit of 1MDB.

He was reported as saying that audit should be made to determine the source of the RM2-billion 1MDB used to settle loans with the local banks (Maybank and RHB Capital), its proposed plan to borrow RM3-billion from the Treasury, its dealings with PetroSaudi International (PSI) and whether the money it parked in Cayman Islands has been brought home.

Meanwhile, Mohd Najib Razak is reported to be taking legal action against PAS party organ Harakahdaily over a report that linked his stepson, Riza Abdul Aziz, to 1MDB.

The Utusan Online reported that a letter of demand was handed over to Harakahdaily's managing editor Dr Rosli Yaakub yesterday. Mohd Najib was quoted as saying that he was suing to protect his family.


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Expensive Hairdo vs The Memory of A Great Leader

A Kadir Jasin

ADMITTEDLY there have been many twists and turns in the planned implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) – not the least the possibility of widespread profiteering at the expense of the uninformed public.

You and I know that Malaysian traders are not the most scrupulous in the world. On the contrary they could be among the most unscrupulous.

[REMINDER: No anonymous comments will be published.  Please use Google Account, OpenID or Name/URL. Pseudonym is accepted. Thank you]

So I am not at all surprised that many people are worried about them taking advantage of GST to profiteer.

The last to join the chorus in expressing this sentiment is the wife of the Prime Minister, (Datin Seri Paduka) Rosmah Mansor.

She cited her hair treatment that had increased in price to RM1,200 per session at her residence and RM500 for tailoring a pair of baju kurung.

GST is taking toll on Rosmah hairdo
I leave it entirely to readers and debaters to make sense of the RM1,200-hairdo. You can credit her for speaking up on behalf of consumers or loath her for the hair raising price she paid for hair colouring.

This is what she was reported saying: “Now when I want to dye my hair at home, the hairdresser charges me RM1,200.

“Wow, that is expensive but they say the price is different in the store. It’s pricey because it is home service...

“They can charge three, four or five times the price citing ‘home service’.

“I am speaking on behalf of housewives. Bakti believes that home services must be subject to (pricing) guidelines.”

To put the RM1,200 hair treatment in perspective let us consider the following statistics:

1. Median income of people in Sarawak, Perak and Kedah RM1,200, Terengganu RM1,100 and Kelantan RM1,000.

2. The majority of ASB unitholders have an average investment of RM550.

3. Out of nearly eight million working Malaysians, the median salary for 2012 and 2011 had stagnated at RM1,500. The median household income was RM3,626. The median household income for the top 20% was RM9,796, the middle 40% (RM4,372) and the bottom 40% (RM1,852).

Late Tun Abdul Razak was Frugal

Then there is this thing about the Prime Minister Office’s statement to the New York Times that Mohd Najib received “healthy” inheritance from this family.

The NYT had quoted the PMO as saying that “…neither any money spent on travel, nor any jewellery purchases, nor the alleged contents of any safes are unusual for a person of the prime minister’s position, responsibilities and legacy family assets.”

Tun Abdul Razak a Frugal Man
This was in relations to the paper’s expose on the mysteriously wealth young Chinese Malaysian, Jho Taek Low son of Tan Sri Larry Low of Penang.

I had made two notations on this in the blog. In one I said, that the PMO’s statement could cast double on Abdul Razak’s integrity and give the impression that he was wealthy.

In another I quoted his former political aide as saying that the second Prime Minister did not die a wealthy man. He left behind two houses – one in Pekan and another in Kuala Lumpur.

Yesterday (Feb 24) Mohd Najib’s sibling namely (Datuk) Johari, (Datuk) Nizam, (Datuk) Nazim and (Datuk Seri) Nazir issued a statement saying:

"We are extremely concerned that some recent news articles and postings have given rise to speculation as to the nature and extent of the inheritance that our late father, Tun Abdul Razak, had left behind.

"We wish to put on record that Tun Abdul Razak was a highly principled man, well-known to all who knew him for his frugality and utmost integrity and any statement or inference to the contrary would be totally false and misleading to his memory and to his service and sacrifices for the nation.

"We take issue with anyone who taints his memory, whatever the motive.

"We would also like to add that our whole family is united on this issue."

Unless the PMO makes an about turn and deny ever making a statement to the NYT about Mohd Najib’s so-called inheritance, it stands accused of tainting the memory of that great man.

The PMO propaganda machine can do whatever it likes even at the expense of ethics and morality to protect the PM and his wife. But for it to dishonour and disrespect the memory of Tun Abdul Razak is an unpardonable sin.


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Sembilan Tahun Kita Berblog

A Kadir Jasin

ALHAMDULILLAH, hari ini genaplah sembilan tahun usia blog kita.

Terima kasih kepada para pembahas kerana menyumbang buah fikiran, sama ada bersetuju atau bercanggah dengan saya, serta kepada semua pengunjung.

Sokongan dan penyertaan saudara saudari menjadi ilham dan pendorong kepada saya.

Tampalan (posting) blog kita yang pertama bertajuk “tanda tanya di sebalik mohon maaf NST” bersabit mohon maaf akhbar itu kerana menyiarkan karikatur Nabi Muhamad (SAW) disiarkan pada 24 Februari 2006. (Boleh baca di sini).

Mula-mula enggan tapi akhirnya NST mohom maaf
Secara kebetulan, penyiaran karikatur itu oleh NST dan beberapa buah lagi akhbar tempatan berlaku ketika agen-agen propaganda pentadbiran (Tun) Abdullah Ahmad Badawi mula menguar-uarkan dasar keterbukaan (openness).

Sejak itu saya telah menyiarkan 944 buah rencana dalam bahasa Melayu dan Inggeris dengan disertai oleh puluhan ribu komen para pembaca. Blog kita menarik 1,491 followers (pengikut) yang datang dan pergi.

Dalam tempoh itu juga kita menerima 7.25 juta kunjungan dan kerap dipetik atau disiarkan semula oleh pelbagai pihak. Sesiapa pun boleh memetik bahan daripada blog kita dengan syarat berilah pengiktirafan (credit) kepada kita.

Blog kita bukanlah yang terbesar atau paling popular, tetapi adalah yang tertua oleh seorang wartawan -- wartawan tua!

Dalam tempoh itu juga kita lihat ramai wartawan membuka blog. Ada yang kekal, ada yang hilang ditelan masa. Ada yang bertukar daripada pengkritik “establishment” kepada penyokong tegar.

Atas sokong kepada blog kita ini, saya bersyukur kepada Allah dan saya terhutang budi kepada para pembahas serta pelawat sekalian.

Moga-moga kita semua diberikan kesihatan, azam dan iltizam untuk terus menulis dan berbahas demi kebaikan bersama.


Sunday, February 22, 2015

FGV: Dari Fantasi Kepada Cerita Ngeri

A Kadir Jasin

DALAM perbahasan tampalan (post) yang lalu, pembahas RAWA LANUN-BAHASA, mengulas (dalam bahasa Inggeris) berbunyi: “1MDB is not a big issue for UMNO; rather it is FGV. But you might not think so now. Think about it.

[1MDB bukan isu besar bagi UMNO; sebaliknya isu besar ialah FGV. Tetapi anda mungkin tidak berfikir begitu sekarang. Cuba fikirkan.]


[PERINGATAN: Komen guna “Anonymous” tidak akan disiarkan. Sila guna Google Account atau Name/URL. Boleh pakai nama samaran.]

Saya setuju. Isu Felda Global Ventures Berhad (FGV) umpama retak menanti belah. Setidak-tidaknya pun dalam jangka masa pendek dan sederhana.

Sama seperti 1Malaysia Development Berhad, FGV adalah gagasan Perdana Menteri (Datuk Seri) Mohd Najib Abdul Razak. Kalau dalam 1MDB Mohd Najib adalah pengerusi lembaga penasihatnya, dalam Felda beliau adalah mentornya. Beliaulah yang memutuskan penubuhan FGV bagi mengambil alih bahagian perdagangan Felda.

FGV adalah gagasan Mohd Najib
 Apa yang RAWA LANUN-BAHASA kata itu tepat. Sejak tawaran awam permulaan (IPO) dan penyenaraian sahamnya di Bursa Malaysia pada akhir Jun 2012, FGV telah bertukar menjadi satu lagi masalah rumit bagi Perdana Menteri dan orang kepercayaannya (Tan Sri) Mohd Isa Abdul Samad.

Bekas Menteri Besar Negeri Sembilan yang amat berpengaruh ke atas Mohd Najib itu adalah pengerusi Felda dan FGV.

Mohd Isa amat berpengaruh ke atas Mohd Najib
Fantasi Bertukar Jadi Cerita Ngeri

Daripada cerita fantasi dewa-dewi pada hari penyenaraiannya di Bursa Malaysia pada 28 Jun, 2012 FGV telah bertukar menjadi episod ngeri.

Setelah melonjak naik daripada harga IPO RM4.55 kepada RM5.39 pada hari pertama diniagakan, harga saham FGV jatuh secara berterusan untuk ditutup pada kadar RM2.82 sebelum cuti Tahun Baru Cina minggu lepas.

Ini bermakna nilai sahamnya telah merosot 38% berbanding harga tawaran awal. Dalam perdagangan 52-minggu berakhir minggu lalu, saham FGV diniagakan antara RM2.02 dan RM4.70.

Dalam bahasa mudah, para pelabur yang membeli saham FGV ketika IPO, termasuk puluhan ribu peneroka Felda, telah mengalami kerugian atas kertas sebanyak RM1,730 bagi setiap 1,000 unit saham FGV yang mereka beli.

Yang meminjam untuk membeli saham itu tentulah lebih teruk. Mereka mungkin telah dipaksa menjual saham mereka oleh pemberi pinjaman atau terpaksa menambah cagaran.

Suka atau tidak kita terpaksa mengakui bahawa prospek jangka pendek dan sederhana FGV tidak begitu cerah. Bukan sahaja ia mengalami masalah kejatuhan harga minyak kelapa sawit dan getah malah kegiatan pengilangannya juga turut terjejas akibat kelembapan ekonomi dunia dan kejatuhan kadar tukaran ringgit.

Ia mencatatkan kerugian sebanyak RM12 juta bagi suku tahun antara Julai dan September tahun lalu. Pada bulan November lalu, CIMB menurunkan perakuan saham FGV daripada pegang (hold) kepada kurangkan (reduce). Ertinya kurangkan pegangan saham FGV.

Tambah memburukkan lagi keadaan bagi FGV adalah kelembapan luar biasa pasaran saham tempatan. Bursa Malaysia adalah antara pasaran saham sedang membangun (emerging markets) paling buruk pencapaiannya tahun lalu.

Misalnya, bagi tempoh antara 31 Disember 2013 dan 29 Disember 2014, pasaran saham India naik 29.4% (dalam dolar Amerika), Indonesia naik 21.2% dan Thailand naik 15.4%, tetapi Bursa Malaysia jatuh 5.3%.

Lambat laun Mohd Najib sebagai Perdana Menteri, Menteri Kewangan dan mentor Felda terpaksa menangani dan menjawab isu berkaitan kejatuhan saham FGV dan kemerosotan perniagaannya serta kesannya ke atas masyarakat peneroka.


Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Arul Kanda Concoction for 1MDB

A Kadir Jasin

BELATEDLY I congratulate Arul Kanda Kandasamy for his gallant attempt to assure the Malay reading public via this week’s Mingguan Malaysia (MM) newspaper that everything is ok with 1MDB. (Read Here)

[REMINDER: No anonymous comments will be published.  Please use Google Account, OpenID or Name/URL. Pseudonym is accepted. Thank you]

That the newly appointed President and Group Executive Director (aka the number one man of 1MDB) opted to make a lengthy explanation through the MM was in itself intriguing.

He must have been aware that much of the debate on 1MDB, especially by the experts, took place not in the Malay press but in the English and the business media.

Whether he made the decision to speak to the MM on his own or at the behest of a higher power, the move has its merit.

It is easier to convince the audience of the Malay language media who generally are not deeply knowledgeable in economic and business matters.

Politically, it is beneficial to influence the Malays that everything is just fine with 1MDB because they form the bulk of the Barisan Nasional voters. So Arul Kanda could be playing a bit of politics here.

Unfortunately, the more analytical responses to his MM interview are taking place in the English media.

Arul Kanda appears to have not succeeded in convincing the public on a number of accounts via his earlier interactions with the English press and business media.

While denying as mere speculation media reports that billionaire T. Ananda Krishnan had advanced a loan of RM2 billion to help 1MDB paid its debts to several local banks, he did not specifically state where the money came from.

The readers of MM and Utusan Malaysia may not be aware or may have forgotten, but many people still recall that among his first statements he made as the head honcho of 1MDB was that 1MDB would not bring back all the money it invested in Cayman Islands.

Arul Kanda Opts for Consolidation: Pic/Graphic from The Star
 (Arul Kanda told MM that the money was not invested in the Caymans. 1MDB merely used the tax haven to register its funds, which are invested around the world.)

The Malay Mail online on Feb 7 quoted Arul Kanda as confirming that 1MDB would not repatriate the US$1.103 billion (RM3.91 billion) it redeemed from its Cayman's investments “as the money will be used to service the firm’s debt interest payments.”

Dollar Is Better Than Ringgit

In a report that appeared in Singapore’s Business Times, Arul Kanda said it was only “sensible” that the money stays in US dollars.

“There’s a very sensible and simple reason for that. We are keeping the money in US dollars as we have US$6.5 billion (RM23.06 billion) in bonds out there, in which interest payments come up to nearly US$400 million (RM1.4 billion) a year,” he said.

Explaining further, Arul Kanda said this US$1.103 billion is the second tranche of funds in 1MDB’s Cayman Islands foray, which totalled US$2.32 billion (RM8.23 billion).

He said although the entire sum has been redeemed in full, only the first tranche of US$1.22 billion (RM4.33 billion) has been repatriated (to Malaysia).

“The cash is in our accounts and in US dollars. I can assure you (about that)...I have seen the statements,” Arul Kanda said.

So if the RM2-billion it paid the banks came from the repatriated amount, why not say so? Instead he told MM that the amount was paid ahead of deadline.

1MDB Belongs to the Public

Unless 1MDB states unequivocally the source of the RM2-billion fund, there will be enough people who will continue to believe that Ananda provided it.

The argument that 1MDB does not have to make public its business dealings because it is not a listed company but still prepares a comprehensive annual account is a mere technicality. 1MDB is more than a listed company. It is a government-owned company and is, therefore, answerable to the people.

His assertion that 1MDB’s doors are always open to people wanting explanation but nobody comes is also not true. Maybe his next brave endeavour is to meet the Public Account Committee (PAC) of the Parliament.

It is a well known fact that while the opposition politicians are complaining openly about the business conduct of 1MDB, the government members are bitching behind the scene.

As for the media, they had gone to listen to briefings and press conferences held by 1MBD’s top brass, including its Chairman (Tan Sri) Lodin Wok Kamaruddin, but left with more questions than answers. Hopefully Arul Kanda is more convincing and have a better luck with the press.

In the meantime it would be useful for him to address the public and the media once and for all on all matters affecting 1MDB such as:

1. Why did it buy end-of-life IPPs from YTL, Genting and Ananda Krishman’s Tanjong Energy?

2. Has it applied and received the extension for the concession period of the power plants and negotiated new PPAs with TNB?

3. Who are the Malaysian and international subscribers of its US$6.5 billion (RM23.41 billion) global sukuk other than those we already know, almost all of which are government-linked companies and investment funds (GLCs/GLICs)?

4. Apart from power plants, TRX, the redevelopment of the Sungai Besi RMAF Base and the Penang land what are other 1MDB assets?

5. Is it true that 1MDB pay as much as 95% above the market price for its Penang land and is it true that part of the land is occupied by squatters?

6. Is it true that it also invested in a mining concession in Mongolia?

7. Why the necessity for 1MDB to do a land-lease development for TRX with an Australian company when all the three major property developments mentioned by Arul Kanda in the MM interview – KLCC, KL Sentral and Mid Valley – were all developed by locals?

8. Until a month ago Arul Kanda was a banker. Is it a norm for a state-owned strategic investment company to be so highly geared as 1MDB?

9. Would he as a banker fund such a highly geared company?

Opting For Consolidation

Some of these questions might have found answers. In the latest development, Arul Kanda on Feb 18 announced that the company would not undertake any new investments or projects and raise new borrowings.

In an announcement after a strategic review of its business, 1MDB said it might sell assets including its land in Air Itam, Penang and Pulau Indah, Selangor, and look at options on monetising the Edra Energy, which is its power generation division.

As for its real estate projects in Tun Razak Exchange (TRX) and Bandar Malaysia, the federal government-owned fund will sell land development rights or enter into profit-sharing joint ventures.

Arul Kanda is new in 1MDB. He may not know all about the company unless he has always had a special relationship with it that he is acutely aware of what is going on in it.

He can choose to be a true turn-around manager and saviour of the company by making sure that what is dreaded about 1MDB does not happen. Or he could become his master’s voice.

And whatever he says to the press, please do not ever emulate what the media people of the Prime Minister’s Office allegedly told the New York Times in relations to the Jho Low expose  that is “neither any money spent on travel, nor any jewellery purchases, nor the alleged contents of any safes are unusual for a person of the prime minister’s position, responsibilities and legacy family assets.”

Foot Note: As for the PM inheriting family's assets as stated above, a few days ago I was told by a former political aide to the late Tun Abdul Razak Hussein that he did not die a wealthy man. He left behind two houses – one in Pekan and another in Kuala Lumpur.


Friday, February 13, 2015

Anwar di Penjara, ke Mana PR dan BN?

A Kadir Jasin

BELUM pun sempat (Datuk Seri) Anwar Ibrahim memanaskan ranjangnya di Penjara Sungai Buloh, isu siapa akan mengetuai Pakatan Rakyat sudah menjadi tajuk berita.

[PERINGATAN: Komen guna “Anonymous” tidak akan disiarkan. Sila guna Google Account atau Name/URL. Boleh pakai nama samaran.]

Dalam sidang akhbar selepas keputusan Mahkamah Persetujuan 10 Februari, Presiden Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), (Datin Seri) Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, dilaporkan berkata belum ada kepastian yang Mohamed Azmin Mohd Ali akan diangkat menjadi Ketua Pembangkang menggantikan Anwar kerana keputusan belum dibuat.

Katanya, mesyuarat Pakatan Rakyat (PR) akan diadakan dalam masa terdekat bagi memutuskan pemimpin yang layak memegang jawatan tersebut.

"Mana dengar berita itu? Kita tak putuskan apa-apa lagi," katanya pada sidang media di ibu pejabat PKR di Petaling Jaya, selepas mempengerusikan mesyuarat Biro Politik PKR.

Tidak dinafikan yang isu pengganti Anwar sebagai Ketua Pembangkang Parlimen sangat penting kalau PR berhasrat menggunakan pemenjaraan Anwar sebagai pemangkin baru kawat cepat mereka ke Putrajaya.

Pertama, PR memerlukan ketua yang berwibawa bagi meneruskan kelangsungan (survival) dalam suasana di mana parti-parti anggota masih berbalah mengenai isu-isu ideologi dan dasar.

Kedua, PR memerlukan ketua yang boleh meyakinkan pengundi dan rakyat jelata mengenai kelayakannya memimpin negara.

Perdana Menteri Bayangan

Di negara-negara demokrasi matang yang berasaskan model Westminster, jawatan Ketua Pembangkang sangat penting kerana penyandang akan dilihat sebagai Perdana Menteri bayangan (shadow Prime Minister) atau Perdana Menteri menanti.

Sejak Anwar keluar penjara pada tahun 2004 dan kembali menjadi Ahli Dewan Rakyat pada tahun 2008, beliau adalah pilihan natural sebagai Ketua Pembangkang Parlimen. Beliau dilantik Ketua Pembangkang pada Ogos 2008.

Sebelum itu jawatan Ketua Pembangkang disandang oleh (Datuk Seri) Abdul Hadi Awang (PAS) 2002–2004,  Lim Kit Siang (DAP) 2004–2008 dan (Datuk Seri) Dr. Wan Azizah Wan Ismail (PKR) Mar–Jul 2008.

Jadi pengganti Anwar tidak semestinya dari PKR. Dr Wan Azizah tidak layak kerana beliau bukan Ahli Parlimen dan Mohd Azmin Ali mungkin “tidak sesuai” kerana masih “junior” dan mempunyai beban berat sebagai  Menteri Besar Selangor walaupun beliau juga Ahli Parlimen (Gombak).

Yang lebih layak adalah Lim Kit Siang kerana partinya mempunyai paling ramai anggota dalam Parlimen di kalangan komponen PR, iaitu 38. Tetapi kalau Abdul Hadi tidak dipertimbangkan, ahli PAS pula akan berasa disisihkan.

Sekiranya PR mahu menumpang pedati kepopularan Anwar dan menunjukkan setia kawan kepada beliau, ia akan memberi hak “first right of refusal” menolak pelantikan sebagai Ketua Pembangkang kepada PKR.

Kalau Mohamed Azmin dilantik Ketua Pembangkang ia akan memudakan lagi kepemimpinan PR dan ini akan memberi rangsangan tambahan kepada generasi muda menyokong PR.

Keputusan perlu dibuat segera kerana mesyuarat pertama Dewan Rakyat tahun ini akan bermula 9 Mac ini.

Sepanjang mengenai Anwar, penjara sudah menjadi darah dagingnya. Bagi beliau, tidak ada keadaan yang tidak menjanjikan kemungkinan. Beliau berpegang kukuh kepada frasa “politics is the art of the possible.”

BN Tanpa Asakan Anwar

Barisan Nasional, khususnya Umno, akan terus merasa tempias pemenjaraan Anwar. Tetapi ada juga yang berpendapat ketiadaan Anwar di pentas terbuka akan memberi ruang kepada BN untuk menarik nafas panjang.

Manakala yang lain pula berasa ia akan mencetuskan cabaran baru kepada BN dalam bentuk undi simpati dan undi protes generasi muda pada pilihan raya umum akan datang.

Buat masa terdekat, apa pihak yang berpendapat ketiadaan Anwar mungkin menyebabkan penentang dan pengkritik Perdana Menteri (Datuk Seri) Mohd Najib Abdul Razak menjadi lebih vokal menuntut pengunduran beliau.

Apabila ditanya bekas Perdana Menteri, (Tun) Dr Mahathir Mohamad pada 12 Februari berkata, kalau hari ini beliau Perdana Menteri, beliau akan mengundurkan diri kerana tidak popular lagi dengan rakyat jelata.

Umno bukan tidak sedar keadaannya sekarang. Saya amat yakin Umno tahu penyakit yang dihidapinya. Tahu bentuk dan puncanya (diagnosis). Tahu rawatan yang diperlukan dan tahu prognosisnya. Pemeriksaan pakar sudah banyak kali dilakukan cuma tidak ada tindakan susulan yang berkesan.

Maladinya ialah Umno semakin tua. Tindakannya adalah Umno memerlukan rawatan anti-penuaan yang radikal. Tanpa rawatan Umno akan mati sakit tua. Tetapi kalau menjalani rawatan “stem cell” yang radikal, proses penuaan boleh disekat dan sel-sel baru akan tumbuh bagi memudakannya semula.

Apabila ahli dan penyokong Umno berkata parti mereka dalam keadaan yang membimbangkan, ramai daripada mereka sekadar mengagak dan mengandaikan.

Tetapi di kalangan kepemimpinan tertinggi dan ibu pejabat Umno mereka tahu keadaan sebenar cuma mereka tidak tahu atau tidak berani memilih rawatan yang diperlukan.

Banyak kajian dan ujian kering (dry run) sudah dilakukan. Antara hasilnya ialah Umno berkemungkinan tidak dapat mempertahankan 88 kerusi yang dimenanginya dalam PRU 2013 apabila lebih ramai pemilih muda mendaftar untuk PRU akan datang.

Wujud kebimbangan yang bilangan kerusi Umno akan jatuh kepada 70 malah 60 sahaja kalau keadaan sekarang berterusan.

Sindrom PPP Dalam BN

BN ada 13 parti anggota tetapi lebih separuh dalam kategori PPP yang bukan saja tidak menampakkan kemajuan malah sekadar membanyakkan bilangan sahaja. PPP merujuk kepada People’s Progressive Party.

Pada PRU 2013, Gerakan dan MCA masuk kategori itu – ditolak oleh orang Cina sendiri. Tsunami Cina, kata Perdana Menteri Mohd Najib Abdul Razak. MIC pula sedang dalam krisis. Hatta kalau MIC kuat sekali pun ia hanya mampu menyumbang empat atau lima peratus undi sahaja kepada BN. Parti Rakyat Bersatu Sarawak (SUPP) pun dalam keadaan yang sama.

Jadi, selain Umno dan beberapa buah parti etnik Sarawak, BN sebenarnya dalam keadaan terancam. Undi blok Cina yang dimonopoli oleh DAP/PR mustahil kembali kepada MCA atau Gerakan.

Orang Cina makin selesa dengan situasi sekarang di mana mereka terus menguasai ekonomi dan mendapat manfaat daripada sesetengah dasar serta transformasi ekonomi yang Mohd Najib pelopori. Manakala dalam arena politik pula mereka boleh bergantung kepada DAP/PR untuk mempertahankan hak mereka.

Kesimpulannya, pengukuhan BN harus bermula dengan Umno. BN tidak dapat diperkuatkan untuk menghadapi asakan PR dan ditransformasikan agar menjadi lebih kontemporari untuk menarik sokongan generasi muda kalau Umno tidak membebaskan dirinya daripada hierarki yang mengongkong, feudalisme dan dinasti.

Umno perlu melakukan pembedahan besar bagi memotong dan mengubati anggotanya yang lumpuh, kelemayuh (gangrenous) dan berkanser.

Atau Umno boleh terus percaya kepada jampi mantera para bomoh, tukang tilik, ahli sihir dan tukang karut politik yang akan menceritakan apa yang para pembesar Umno mahu dengar dan bukan apa yang mereka perlu tahu.


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Federal Court Finds Anwar Guilty

A Kadir Jasin

GUILTY. That’s the Federal Court verdict on Anwar Ibrahim’s sodomy trial.

A show of support
It upheld a ruling by the Court of Appeal in March last year that found the 67-year-old Opposition Leader guilty of sodomising his former political aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan and was sentenced to five years’ jail. 


Monday, February 09, 2015

Young Malaysian Has an Appetite for New York

A Kadir Jasin 

WHILE waiting for Anwar’s sodomy verdict, which is scheduled to be made known by the Federal Court tomorrow, let me refer you to this link

You may be as eager to know more about the mysterious Jho Low as you are of Anwar’s fate tomorrow.

Ringkasan bahasa Melayu boleh dibaca di sini.


Thank you.

Sunday, February 08, 2015

Anwar's Date With Justice: Will PR Break Up?

A Kadir Jasin

THE clock is ticking for Parliamentary Opposition Leader and the Ketua Umum of Parti Keadilan Rakyat, (Datuk Seri) Anwar Ibrahim.

On Tues, Feb 10, if the Federal Court keeps its date, Anwar will either be a free man or a prisoner.

[REMINDER: No anonymous comments will be published.  Please use Google Account, OpenID or Name/URL. Pseudonym is accepted. Thank you]

If he is set free, his supporters will say justice prevails. His detractors will say the judges erred and the conspiracy theorists will say Obama has a role.

If he is sent to prison, his supporter will say that justice is perverted and some Umno guys will jump with up and down like flea-infested primates believing that this is the end of PKR and Pakatan Rakyat.

Sodomy Verdict: Ominous Clouds Over Palace of Justice
But the man himself believes that, based on the law and the testimony of witnesses, he would surely be found not guilty.

But if he is send to jail, he said, the PR would win the next election and take over Putrajaya.

I am inclined to share his optimism. The PR is unlikely to suffer instantaneous combustion upon his second sodomy jailing.

On the contrary, his imprisonment could increase the resolve of the alternative coalition and encourage the member parties to stay together in spite of their deep ideological differences.

Today: Flanked (corrected) by Abdul Hadi and Lim Kit Siang, Anwar chaired PR meeting

It could also generate a new round of sympathy for him, especially among young anti-establishment Malaysians.

Bear in mind that the first sodomy trial and conviction (which was later overturned) took place in 1999 - some 15 years ago. Boys and girls who were then 10 or 15 years old are today 25 or 35 years old angry young men and women.

They did know much about what happened in the last century. But they know what is happening now. Even the most extreme of Umno loyalists admit that the Barisan Nasional (BN) is not getting the support of young voters by merely running down Anwar and the PR.

Anwar is preparing for the Feb 10 verdict well. On Feb 7 Anwar was reported as saying that despite all the attacks against PR, the opposition coalition still obtained 52% of the popular vote in the last general election.

"The people support us. We got 52% (of popular votes). If I am put in jail again, we will win 60%," he said at a gathering in Sungai Dua, Bayan Baru in Penang.

The vintage Anwar prevails, declaring “lawan tetap lawan” irrespective of whether he is jailed or not.

One PKR Member of Parliament put it this way. The PR idea was born when Anwar was in prison. It proved effective during the 1999 general elections. It took off when Anwar was released. It would not die should Anwar be sent to jail again. In the beginning it was driven by idealism. Now driven by the power vested in it by the people.


Friday, February 06, 2015

Lawatan Jokowi: Yang Baik Kita Teladani Yang Buruk Kita Jauhi

A Kadir Jasin

LAWATAN Presiden Joko Widodo aka Jokowi ke negara kita sangat penting. Pertalian darah dan sejarah diperkukuh dan teladan dipelajari.

Yang baik dijadikan teladan yang buruk dibuat sempadan.

Presiden Jokowi tandatangani buku pelawat Istana Negera.  
Presiden Jokowi dan isteri, Ibu Iriana. 
Urusan peribadi: Presiden Jokowi dan isteri terbang ekonomi.
Kata Presiden Jokowi: "Saya ini wong ndeso, wong kampung, nggak ngerti golf. Saya bisanya nyangkul. Saya itu tidak bisa main golf. Belum pernah pegang stik golf. Belum pernah lihat dalamnya golf gimana.”

Kata saya, ngak perlu risau Pak Presiden. Apa hebatnya golf?

Ular tedung tidak hilang bisanya kalau menyusur akar. Ular lidi panjatlah pohon paling tinggi tetap tidak berbisa.


Monday, February 02, 2015

Ancaman Sistemik Hutang 1MDB

A Kadir Jasin

BERITA terbaru mengatakan bilion-wan (billionaire) nombor dua terkaya di Malaysia, T. Ananda Krishnan atau lebih terkenal dengan singkatan AK bersedia memberi pinjaman RM2 bilion untuk atasi masalah hutang 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

[PERINGATAN: Komen guna “Anonymous” tidak akan disiarkan. Sila guna Google Account atau Name/URL. Boleh pakai nama samaran.]


Sesiapa saja yang kenal atau tahu modus operandi perniagaan AK akan bertanya: Apakah 1MDB yang ditubuhkan sebagai tabung berdaulat (sovereign fund) negara akhirnya menjadi hak milik AK?

AK mungkin ketawa ke bank kerana 1MDB
Tidak banyak dilaporkan dan dibahaskan secara terperinci mengenai syarikat tabung berdaulat itu dalam media berbahasa Melayu berbanding media berbahasa Inggeris.

Jadi izinkan saya bercerita selengkap yang mungkin mengenainya agar orang Melayu khususnya dan pengguna bahasa Melayu amnya boleh memahami isu ini dengan lebih mendalam. Berikut adalah maklumat dan isu pokok mengenainya:-

1. 1MDB dilaporkan bertaraf  tabung berdaulat Malaysia. Ertinya ia milik negara. Sebarang kecelakaan yang berlaku ke atasnya menjadi tanggungan negara dan rakyat jelata.

2. Asal 1MDB adalah Terengganu Investment Authority (TIA atau Lembaga Pelaburan Terengganu) yang bertujuan menjamin pembangunan ekonomi Terengganu secara jangka panjang dan lestari sambil memelihara kebajikan ekonomi rakyat Terengganu.

3. Ia ditubuhkan pada tahun 2008 ketika pentadbiran (Tun) Abdullah Ahmad Badawi dan pada waktu (Datuk Seri) Mohd Najib Abdul Razak menjadi Timbalan Perdana Menteri merangkap Menteri Kewangan.

4. Diberitakan TIA mempunyai dana (modal) permulaan RM500 juta, tetapi tidak jelas apa yang terjadi dengan wang itu. Ada yang mengatakan ia hangus.

5. TIA diubahkan menjadi 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) pada bulan Januari 2009. Pada 22 Julai tahun itu, Mohd Najib, sebagai Perdana Menteri, berkata keputusan menjadikan TIA badan kerajaan pusat bertujuan memperluaskan manfaatnya kepada seluruh rakyat Malaysia.

6. 1MDB bolehlah dianggap anak didik Mohd Najib. Beliau adalah Pengerusi Lembaga Penasihat 1MDB yang berupa badan pembuat dasar tertingginya.

7. Dalam temu ramah dengan TV3 pada 21 Januari lepas, Mohd Najib berkata kerajaan hanya memperuntukkan sebanyak RM1 juta sebagai modal kepada 1MDB.

8. Mohd Najib adalah ketua eksekutif de facto 1MDB dalam kapasiti beliau sebagai Pengerusi Lembaga Penasihat.

9. Pada 30 September 2009, 1MDB dan rakan strategiknya, PetroSaudi International Limited mengumumkan penubuhan syarikat usaha sama AS$2.5 bilion yang bertujuan mempelopori pengaliran masuk pelaburan terus Arab ke Malaysia.

10. 1MDB berkembang pesat di Malaysia dan luar negara dengan membeli aset-aset prasarana seperti penjana elektrik, membeli konsesi perlombongan dan memajukan hartanah. Ia meminjam (berhutang) dengan banyak dengan menjual bon di dalam dan luar negara.

11. Bagi tahun kewangan berakhir 31 Mac 2014 ia mempunyai harta bernilai RM51.4 bilion, hutang RM49.97 bilion dan menderita kerugian RM665.4 juta.

12. Ia menjadi kontroversi apabila parti-parti pembangkang, media atas talian, media ekonomi dan penganalisis pasaran mula melaporkan kegiatan luar biasa yang melibatkan seorang misteri bernama Jho Lo (Jho Taek Lo), anak seorang tauke Cina Pulau Pinang. Jho Lo dan beberapa orang rakan Arabnya dari PetroSaudi dikatakan menjadi“otak” (brain) di sebalik kegiatan luar biasa1MDB.

Jho Low anak tauke Cina Pulau Pinang berparti
13. Mereka ini pula menjalani kehidupan mewah (high life) di pusat-pusat hiburan Amerika dengan melibatkan tetamu-tetamu bintang filem, termasuk pelakon filem lucah, dan mendakwa akrab dengan “mogul” filem Hollywood.

14. Dakwaan ini menjadi lebih berwibawa apabila salah seorang daripada mereka, Riza Abdul Aziz, berkongsi menerbitkan filem berjudul “The Wolves of Wall Street” pada tahun 2013 dengan belanja AS$100 juta (kira-kira RM330 juta). Riza adalah anak (Datin Seri) Rosmah Mansor dengan suami pertamanya.

(Dari kiri): Jho Low dan Riza Aziz di pelancaran Wolves of Wall Street
15. 1MDB sekali lagi menarik minat orang ramai apabila ia dilaporkan berbelanja mewah menaja kempen Barisan Nasional pada Pilihan Raya Umum 2013, khususnya di Pulau Pinang.

16. Enam hari sebelum pengundian PRU 2013 ia membeli 234 ekar tanah pegangan bebas dengan harga RM1.38 bilion di negeri itu. Ketua Menteri Pulau Pinang, Lim Guan Eng, dilaporkan berkata harga yang dibayar oleh 1MDB adalah 95% lebih tinggi daripada penilaian bagi tanah di sekitar kawasan itu pada tahun 2011. Tanah yang dibeli itu pula mempunyai ramai setinggan. Ini mencetuskan spekulasi yang Jho Lo, sebagai anak tauke Pulau Pinang, berperanan dalam urus niaga itu.

17. Satu lagi berita sensasi ialah beberapa hari sebelum hari mengundi PRU 2013, 1MDB membawa keluar wang sebanyak RM7.18 bilion untuk dilaburkan dalam bentuk Segregated Portfolio di pusat kewangan luar pantai Cayman Islands.

18. Soal yang kerap ditanya ialah mengapa 1MDB tidak melabur wang itu di Labuan yang setaraf dengan Pulau Cayman. Pengurusan 1MDB dilaporkan berkata Labuan tidak mempunyai instrumen kewangan yang mereka idamkan. Kerajaan mendakwa pelaburan itu telah dilunaskan dan hasilnya dibawa pulang. Tetapi pada 10 Januari lalu, Presiden dan Pengarah Eksekutif baru 1MDB, Arul Kanda Kandasamy, dilaporkan berkata 1MDB gagal memenuhi jadual membawa pulang kesemua wang tersebut.

19. Serentak itu, 1MDB juga gagal membayar balik hutang berjumlah RM5.5 bilion yang diperolehnya daripada konsortium bank tempatan yang dikenal pasti sebagai Maybank, AmBank dan RHB. [Rujukan kepada CIMB terpaksa dipadamkan kerana sebab-sebab tertentu. Sila ambil maklum.]

20. Saya juga menghantar SMS kepada seorang yang berkedudukan tinggi dalam kerajaan dan pakar dalam hal kewangan serta perbankan. Jawapan beliau berbunyi: “I think your info is inaccurate. You may want to refer to The Edge report. Lots of details there. I believed Edge mentioned about the RM5.5 billion loans from a consortium of five lenders. A portion of the long term debts is supported by cash flow. Another portion of short term loan is to be paid from IPO proceeds or capital injection. As part of credit risk management, banks will normally structure financing based on sources of payment i.e what is the first way out, second way out etc. Also the banks will rely on appropriate covenants and security. Anyway, being a former banker, I can attest that Malaysian banks are well capitalise, well managed with good risk management, has good asset quality and are well supervised and regulated by Bank Negara. Whatever risks they underwrite must be within their risk appetite and guidelines. On the RM5-billion bonds guaranteed by government, the last transacted price (January 26) was at a yield of 4.9% compared to 5.75% coupon, meaning to say that they are traded at a premium. Hope this helps. Regards.” [Saya fikir maklumat anda tidak tepat. Anda mungkin mahu merujuk kepada laporan The Edge. Ada banyak maklumat di situ. Saya percaya The Edge ada menyebut jumlah kira-kira RM5.5 bilion (yang diperoleh) daripada konsortium lima buah bank. Sebahagian daripada hutang jangka panjang itu disokong oleh pengaliran tunai. Sebahagian lagi hutang jangka pendek akan dibayar balik daripada pendapatan IPO (keluaran awam permulaan) atau suntikan modal baru. Sebagai sebahagian daripada pengurusan risiko pinjaman, bank-bank lazimnya akan menyusun pembiayaan berdasarkan sumber pembayaran balik iaitu apakah jalan keluar pertama, kedua dan seterusnya. Bank-bank juga akan bergantung pada perjanjian dan jaminan yang bersesuaian. Apa pun, sebagai bekas eksekutif perbankan, saya boleh memberi jaminan bahawa bank-bank Malaysia mempunyai modal yang cukup besar dan diurus berasaskan amalan risiko yang baik, mempunyai aset bermutu dan dikawal selia serta diawasi dengan rapi oleh Bank Negara. Apa jua risiko yang mereka jamin haruslah dalam lingkungan selera dan garis panduan mereka. Mengenai bon RM5 bilion yang dijamin oleh kerajaan, harga urus niaga terakhir (Januari 26) membawa hasil 4.9% berbanding nilai kupon 5.75%. Ertinya, bon-bon itu diniagakan pada kadar harga tinggi (premium). Harap penjelasan ini membantu. Salam.”

21. Apa yang beliau katakan ialah lima buah bank tempatan telah memberi pinjaman RM5.5 bilion kepada 1MDB. Walaupun 1MDB gagal bayar balik hutang itu dalam jangka masa yang dijanjikan, ia mempunyai keupayaan untuk menjelaskannya.

22. Kalau 1MBD gagal membayar balik hutang itu, bebannya akan ditanggung oleh kerajaan kerana ia memberi jaminan berjumlah RM5 bilion. Kesimpulannya rakyat jelata dan pembayar cukailah yang akan tanggung bebannya.

23. 1MDB sudah beberapa kali dapat sambungan dan tarikh terakhir menjelaskan hutang itu adalah Jun ini. Kalau ia gagal juga, maka jadilah hutang lapuk (non-performing loan/NPL) dan bank-bank yang memberi pinjaman terpaksa membuat peruntukan dalam akaun untung-rugi mereka.

24. Bank yang paling teruk hadapi risiko itu adalah Maybank milik Permodalan Nasional Berhad (PNB) dan RHB milik Kumpulan Wang Simpanan Pekerja (EPF). Inilah yang saya ulangi berkali-kali. Kita tidak boleh membenarkan syarikat bersangkutan kerajaan (GLC) dan tabung pelaburan bersangkutan kerajaan (GLIC) dijadikan lubuk duit bagi membiayai 1MDB.

25. Selain itu, sistem kewangan dan perbankan negara terdedah kepada ancaman sistemik (systemic risk) kalau 1MDB gagal membayar balik hutangnya yang begitu besar. Ada sumber mengatakan keseluruhan hutang dan tanggungan 1MDB kini bersamaan 4% keluaran dalam negara kasar (GDP) – hampir serupa dengan konglomerat Renong-UEM ketika krisis kewangan Asia 1997/98 yang memaksa kerajaan melakukan operasi penyelamatan dengan mengambilnya balik daripada (Tan Sri) Abdul Halim Saad.

27. Kebimbangan mengenai kegagalan sistemik ini menjadi ketara apabila Gabenor Bank Negara, Tan Sri Zeti Akhtar Aziz, berkata Bank Negara tidak akan sekali-kali membenarkan mana-mana syarikat menyebabkan wabak sistemik ke atas sistem perbankan negara. Beliau berkata demikian ketika ditanya mengenai kegagalan 1MDB membayar balik hutang dalam masa yang dijanjikan.

28. Tanpa kegagalan sistemik pun, masalah hutang dan modus operandi perniagaan 1MDB berkemungkinan menyebabkan ancaman terhadap penarafan berdaulat (sovereign rating) Malaysia. Akhbar The Star melaporkan pada 13 Januari lalu yang agensi penarafan antarabangsa Fitch mengekalkan penarafan Malaysia sebagai “negatif” – setaraf dengan Mongolia (negara mendiang Altantuya Shaariibuu) – sedangkan lapan lagi negara pasaran membangun ditarafkan sebagai “stabil”.

29. Mana-mana orang yang faham ekonomi akan gementar apabila disebut “systemic failure”. Itulah yang hampir-hampir melanda kita ketika krisis 1997/98 tetapi, Alhamdulillah, berjaya disekat oleh Perdana Menteri ketika itu, (Tun) Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

30. Sama ada 1MDB mampu membayar faedah dan seterusnya melunaskan hutangnya bergantung kepada kejayaan menyenaraikan aset jana kuasa yang telah beberapa kali ditangguhkan.

31. Pada 16 Januari lalu, media massa melaporkan bahawa Tawaran Awam Permulaan (IPO) 1MDB yang pada mulanya dijadualkan April ini telah terpaksa ditangguhkan sehingga separuh kedua tahun ini. Ia dijangka menghasilkan AS$3 bilion (kira-kira RM10.74 bilion).

32. Kesimpulannya, sama ada kita suka atau tidak, isu 1MDB ini sudah menjadi isu yang melibatkan kita semua dan sekiranya gagal ditangani akan membebankan kita dan anak cucu kita untuk jangka masa yang lama. Jadi kita wajib faham dan mendesak agar tindakan terbaik diambil bagi mengelakkan sebarang kecelakaan. Inilah antara beban besar yang menguji kewibawaan Mohd Najib sebagai Perdana Menteri dan Menteri Kewangan.


Nota Kaki: Penulis adalah juga Adjunct Professor, Othman Yeop Abdullah (OYA) Graduate School of Business, Universiti Utara Malaysia, Kedah.

About Me

My photo
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).