How should we judge a government?

In Malaysia, if you don't watch television or read newspapers, you are uninformed; but if you do, you are misinformed!

"If you're not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing." - Malcolm X

Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience - Mark Twain

Why we should be against censorship in a court of law: Publicity is the very soul of justice … it keeps the judge himself, while trying, under trial. - Jeremy Bentham

"Our government is like a baby's alimentary canal, with a happy appetite at one end and no
responsibility at the other. " - Ronald Reagan

Government fed by the people

Government fed by the people

Career options

Career options
I suggest government... because nobody has ever been caught.

Corruption so prevalent it affects English language?

Corruption so prevalent it affects English language?
Corruption is so prevalent it affects English language?

When there's too much dirt...

When there's too much dirt...
We need better tools... to cover up mega corruptions.

Prevent bullying now!

Prevent bullying now!
If you're not going to speak up, how is the world supposed to know you exist? “Orang boleh pandai setinggi langit, tapi selama ia tidak menulis, ia akan hilang di dalam masyarakat dan dari sejarah.” - Ananta Prameodya Toer (Your intellect may soar to the sky but if you do not write, you will be lost from society and to history.)

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

1MDB epitomizes bad governance

A so-called sovereign wealth fund, created out of just Rm1 million seed capital, added with government-sold (almost like given) cheap lands, used as collaterals for huge loans, which are supported by government guarantees.

After just a few years, it is evident that certain things just cannot be fast-tracked despite all the special treatment given by relevant government departments because the company is headed by none other than the PM cum Finance Minister himself.

Suspicious deals include buying a power plant which is nearing its end of concession period at a higher than market price. No doubt, with special treatment, getting extension of concession is a piece of cake when you know who rather than having know-how. But in finance, the most basic involves cash-flows and anything negative cannot be sustained for long without creating hiccups and requiring quick funds to at least take care of interest due periodically. Before long, we find the company in the proverbial situation of having only 9 covers (or even less) to cover 10 pots.

Its use of tax haven to park its funds and deliberate avoidance of Bank Negara controls only add to creating more rumours and suspicions. The lack of transparency plus the conflicting statements  to put up a front that 'everything is well and good' only create the impression that it was covering up one lie after another.

Desperate situation requires desperate measures and thanks to investigative journalism and the internet, we were privy to private and confidential documents proving one wrongdoing after another, with the relevant authorities silent on major breaches of the law. Of course, on the basis that all those accusations were lies, they need not do anything. The police seems super efficient (led by the super twit) in monitoring all tweets, internet postings and comments. Anything that could possibly harm the good name of the PM, Rosmah and 1MDB will see the messenger in police remand and enjoy their hospitality of wearing purple uniform, hand-cuffed and bare-footed, with free publicity in the mainstream media.

The system of political patronage is now out in the open, with Umno divisional leaders known to be heading one GLC or another, as reward for supporting the PM. Now that the PM is in want of support, they are only too glad to show theirs so that they can continue to be in highly paid positions which also provide opportunities to enrich themselves.

Not only that, the recent purchase of land from 1MDB by Tabung Haji revealed at least 4 persons in positions with conflict of interest. They were trustees as well as advisors or directors of TH and IMDB respectively. They could well be in positions of conflict of interest without anyone knowing, until the exposure of the actual land purchase. This particular deal must be the last straw which tests the patience of the Malays. TH was established to provide an opportunity for ordinary Malay Muslims to save for their pilgrimage. It is surprising how small amounts from a large population could build up a formidable fund worth billions.

The transaction which saw a piece of land (half the size of a football field) bought by 1MDB for less than Rm100 psf, was sold to TH for almost Rm2800 psf! The exceptional appreciation over a period of 4 years serves to prove the special treatment given to 1MDB. Why is it so special to be practically given the land and why must TH made to buy the land even if it is considered fair market value now? The fact that TH paid for it in full (unlike the usual 10%, followed by 90% upon completion) only prove to show how desperate 1MDB was to get the money in order to pay off an amount imminently due on a loan.

The outcry from the Malays was quick, especially with some withdrawing their savings immediately after the rumours, and effective, because the PM cum Finance Minister actually instructed that the land be sold by TH to a third party! What are the implications of such actions?

Firstly, did the PM give the instruction to TH to buy or at least knew about the decision to do so? The fact that he could now give instruction to sell could only mean that he has the power as well as the intention in the first place. The Chairman of TH (an Umno division head) actually denied that there was such a deal, why?

With such great powers, surely the PM cum FM could actually reverse the deal instead of selling the land so soon after buying it. I can see RPGT at 30% on the expected Rm5 million gain, as well as at least 5% on the huge gain when 1MDB sold the land. The reason could be so simple ie. that any subsequent sale by TH is of no concern to 1MDB since they received the required sale proceeds needed to pay interest due. Had the deal been reversed, any further delay in finding a buyer could mean default on loan repayment which could set off a chain reaction of defaults.

Before the dust settled on this TH deal, there are already rumours of KWAP (pension fund) being in another purchase of 1MDB land.

What happened to 'leadership by example'? Having witnessed all the breaches of the law involving 1MDB, people would be cynical about law and enforcement in Malaysia. While the ordinary people are subject to strict law enforcement, some favoured ones are able to break the law with impunity.

By the way, there was a suggestion recently that a state or parliamentary candidate standing for election must have a credit in Bahasa Malaysia. While the suggestion makes practical sense, I would prefer anyone who has the passion to serve the public, has high integrity as well as possesses what it takes, when appointed to hold public office.


2 comments: said...

regretfully the correction I send some time back to inform you of the fact that the land in question is in fact much larger than "half the size of a football field" as claimed in your article has not been acted on. What a shame! Nobody to be trusted anymore.

KoSong Cafe said...

Zul, please accept my apology for having overlooked your comment, but I take offence to your 'Nobody to be trusted anymore' which presumably includes me. I am all for good governance and I value honesty, integrity and trust in people. So you can imagine how I feel insulted by your comment just for not publishing your comment at the first instance. My explanation for the oversight is simple: I tend to check my email via mobile phone and I realised it had not been in sync for the purpose of publishing any comment via the phone. It still has the same problem which I did not bother to correct. I have accumulated over 1000 emails in my inbox, so you can imagine how easily I could have missed your earlier comment. The last comment I received was from someone who provided me with direct links to almost 30 porn sites! I am sure my handphone has been hacked since I clicked on to something out of curiosity and was led to a site purportedly for cleaning up viruses and malwares which I did not click further.

I did a quick check on size of football fields and I am none the wiser. I shall be posting specifically on that later.