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Friday, August 31, 2018

New Malaysia should push for meritocracy

The Meritocracy Paradox

Pakatan Harapan’s unexpected win in the recent 14th General Elections sent a signal that it is time for the country to move towards focusing on being more performance oriented and making decisions on the basis of meritocracy for the long-term good of its citizens.

Interview with Tan Sri G.Gnanalingam

Westports Holdings Bhd’s chairman Tan Sri G. Gnanalingam says this is the basis of how the company has been operating all this and notes that it is paying off today.

“Westports has always prided itself on being a performance-oriented organisation, being innovative and treating our employees as family members,” he says.

Gnanalingam, who has been the face of Westports for more than 20 years, says this idea can be extended to how the country can be governed as well.


He says that in the company, everyone is treated equally irrespective of race or gender and this has worked tremendously well.

He notes that this also comes with some form of a safety net for those who can’t perform as well as their counterparts.

“The system should be such that we reward success but provide some safety needs for the unfortunate few who didn’t make it, but the safety net is not so big that it promotes complacency.

“There will always be some members of the community who do not do as well as others. This is where we need to lend a hand to support them, regardless of race or gender,” Gnanalingam adds.

This is important because innovation is best built on meritocracy and is a needed ingredient for the country to excel in the new economy of the Internet.

“Innovation is needed as the world prog­resses forward; we cannot move backward. Today, we have a computer in our pocket called the smartphone, which does all kinds of things.

“Malaysia needs to forge ahead as the future is increasingly influenced by information technology, artificial intelligence and Industry 4.0,” Gnanalingam says.

“As for the new Malaysia, I believe that transparency, good governance and people first should be values that are celebrated,” he adds.

Gnanalingam, who is the founder of Westports, also tells of the company’s humble roots, noting that it has grown by leaps and bounds and is now listed on Bursa Malaysia.

“The year 1994 was when we started building Westports. In fact, we were the first private company to build a port after the British left in 1957.

“Prior to the birth of Westports, Port Klang was a port that had less than one million container volume. Malaysia transshipped everything from Penang, Kuantan, Johor and even East Malaysia to Singapore,” he says.

He also highlighted that while the company is primarily a family-owned firm and is now helmed by his son Datuk Ruben Emir Gnanalingam, who is Westports’ group managing director, the family still takes heed of the advice of professional managers.

“Leading Westports is a bit like managing a football team. In order to win, we must assemble the best players, train very hard, formulate specific strategies and out-do our opponents. And we must continuously improve our skills and knowledge of the game. There will always be room for innovation and a better way to do things,” Gnanalingam says.

Westports has grown steadily since its inception in the year 1994.

Today, the company is a RM12.8bil company in market capitalisation on the Bursa Malaysia Main Board.

Recalling the the company’s early days, Gnanalingam says Westports had to focus on what was important: its productivity.

“I always tell our people to focus on raising productivity, being innovative and being cost-effective. Westports is ranked among the top five in the world in terms of productivity.

“Westports has also risen from 27th place to 12th place in the world port traffic league rankings.

“Once Westports was born, we focused on producing the best service for our customers, the shipping lines. To do that, we improved our productivity.

“Our crane operators are well trained. Their performance is world class as they are able to do 35 or more containermoves per hour,” he says.

The company’s terminal tractor operators and stowage clerks have also been upskilled to create a fast turnaround time for the cargo from the container yard to the vessel and vice versa.

While the going seems smooth now, Gnanalingam notes that it was not always smooth sailing for Westports, as it had to go through several financial crises and political uncertainty on the global front, where it threatened or slowed down shipping demand.

However, hHe notes that it has grown its market share steadily and incrementally over the past 20 years.

Today, he notes that Westports captures 16% of the container volume moving through the Straits of Malacca and supports 38% of all container volume in Malaysia.

“And today, we are proud to be one of only three mega-transhipment hubs in the entire Asean region,” he says.

Costs to ship and out of Malaysia have also fallen tremendously and Gnanalingam notes that both exporters and importers pay some 90% lower in freight charges today.

“Before 2005, it cost about US$800 (RM3,280) to freight a container from Port Klang to Busan in Korea. Today, the cost is about US$35 (RM143) only.

“To cite another example, before 2005, it cost about US$500 (RM2,050) to freight a container from Port Klang to Kaoshiung in China. Today, the cost is about US$110 (RM450), which is almost 80% lower,” he says.

Credit to : Daniel Khoo The Star

Related:

Letters to CIA, Spies and the millions - Malaysian External Investigation Organisation (MEIO)' under probe

Bundles of money: Azam (second from left) and his officers showing the seized money during the press conference in Putrajaya.

https://youtu.be/89gTYnelAmA
> https://youtu.be/q4bT80wh29Y
https://youtu.be/7xVhzykRBbQ
https://youtu.be/BhdL4ocvsoM
https://youtu.be/u7Gc5Dossrs


PUTRAJAYA: The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) is widening its investigation into the alleged misappropriation of US$12mil (RM49.3mil) worth of government funds involving a little-known spy agency.

It has already made nine arrests as it looks into unravelling the web of intrigue involving Datuk Hasanah Abdul Hamid, the former director-general of the Malaysian External Investigation Organisation (MEIO).

The anti-graft investigators are probing if the senior intelligence officers had “help” to bring in US$12mil – believed to be from a Middle East source – into the country.

The cash was believed to have been brought in via air, possibly through Kuala Lumpur Inter­national Airport.

Highly placed sources in the anti-graft body said this angle needed to be looked into as it would be difficult to carry such a staggering amount of money undetected.

Malaysian laws require those bringing in US$10,000 and above into the country to have it declared at the point of entry.

“Obviously, there was a breach of security because the cash was brought in without raising alarms of the authorities at the airport.

“We want to investigate if those who brought in the money had some assistance so that they need not declare it,” a source told The Star.

Following the remand of officers from the MEIO as well as its former chief Datuk Hasanah Abdul Hamid, investigators found out that the money was brought into the country three months ago in May.

“The timing suggests that the cash was for the general election. But the other question is why the officers had their hands on the money,” said the same source.

Investigators are also not discounting the possibility that the funds could be from 1Ma­­lay­sia Development Bhd (1MDB).

“We will have to probe deeper before coming to a conclusion,” the source added.

Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission deputy chief commissioner (operations) Datuk Seri Azam Baki said there was a possibility that the money was brought into the country through the airport.

“Whatever the entry point is, we would like to know how it passed through security. Obviously that would be one angle of investigation,” he said.

Azam said his officers could still manage the investigation but if the need arises, it would seek assistance from other authorities.

Hasanah and seven other former MEIO officers were arrested earlier this week, and a ninth arrest was made on Wednesday night involving a 47-year-old businessman.

The businessman, who has a “Datuk” title and is also a permanent resident of Britain, was ­arrested in Kota Baru at 11pm on Wednesday.

The MACC has so far recovered US$6.3mil (RM25.9mil) of the US$12mil that was brought into the country about three months ago, as well as RM900,000 in ringgit.

The bulk of the US currency, about US$4.07mil (RM16.7mil), was seized from the businessman.

“We have raided several locations, including a rented condominium in Cyberjaya and the Prime Minister’s Department, where we seized the cash along with other valuable items including a luxury watch.

“Our swoop on the suspects began on Monday and we are not ruling out the possibility of making more arrests in the future,” Azam told a press conference at the MACC headquarters earlier yesterday.

The MACC has already called ­several witnesses, including three foreigners, and at least 20 more witnesses will be tracked down and called to assist with the investigation, he said.

MEIO was listed as the “research division” of the Prime Minister’s Department under the previous Barisan Nasional administration.

“Initial investigations revealed that the funds were brought into the country about three months ago,” said Azam.

“We are investigating whether this was before or after the last ­general election (on May 9).

“We are also investigating the source of the funds and which country the money came from.”

And despite its widening scope, the MACC is hoping to wrap up its investigation within two months as long as it does not involve a complicated money trail or require any foreign assistance, he added.

Hasanah was arrested at the MACC headquarters at 4.15pm on Tuesday after she arrived to give a statement to the anti-graft body.

She had previously courted controversy after writing a letter to the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) director Gina Haspel, appealing to the United States to support former premier Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s administration.

She and the seven officers are also being investigated under Section 23 of the MACC Act 2009 for abuse of power.

Related

RM26mil in US currency seized in spy agency graft probe RM26mil in US currency seized in spy agency graft probe


Thursday, August 30, 2018

Foreigners Not Welcome as Malaysia Joins Property Clampdown

Malaysia Bans Foreigners From Project

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/videos/2018-08-28/malaysia-bans-foreigners-from-project-video

https://youtu.be/Xqnq7QFJpiI

https://youtu.be/8FJw3z0J340

  • Mahathir’s planned crackdown taps into nationalist rhetoric
  • Housing affordability has driven restrictions around the world

Hanging a ‘foreigners not welcome’ sign on a giant real estate development, Malaysia’s prime minister this week appeared to add to housing curbs around the world fueled by soaring home prices and populist politics.

Describing the Chinese-backed $100 billion Forest City as “built for foreigners” and beyond the reach of ordinary Malaysians, Mahathir Mohamad tapped into the nationalist rhetoric that helped secure him an election victory -- and global angst over housing affordability. Around the world, post-financial crisis property booms driven by low interest rates have left locals struggling to buy homes.

“The tension around foreign investment is always going to be much more acute when affordability is getting worse,” said Brendan Coates, a researcher in Melbourne at the Grattan Institute think tank. When locals get “priced out of the market,” foreign buyers may be blamed even when their effect is small, he said, commenting on the global picture.

Hanging a ‘foreigners not welcome’ sign on a giant real estate development, Malaysia’s prime minister this week appeared to add to housing curbs around the world fueled by soaring home prices and populist politics.

Describing the Chinese-backed $100 billion Forest City as “built for foreigners” and beyond the reach of ordinary Malaysians, Mahathir Mohamad tapped into the nationalist rhetoric that helped secure him an election victory -- and global angst over housing affordability. Around the world, post-financial crisis property booms driven by low interest rates have left locals struggling to buy homes.

“The tension around foreign investment is always going to be much more acute when affordability is getting worse,” said Brendan Coates, a researcher in Melbourne at the Grattan Institute think tank. When locals get “priced out of the market,” foreign buyers may be blamed even when their effect is small, he said, commenting on the global picture.

A wave of restrictions or taxes on foreign purchases already stretches from Sydney to Hong Kong to Vancouver. Measures targeting foreign home buyers have included stamp duties, restrictions on property pre-sales to non-residents and limits on the types of homes that can be purchased.

‘New Colonialism’

New Zealand is banning foreigners from buying existing residential properties after Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern campaigned in last year’s election on pledges including affordable housing. Canada and Australia have rolled out one restriction after another, and Singapore just ramped up a tax on overseas buyers. Denmark and Switzerland have restrictions, a Grattan report shows.

The 93-year-old Mahathir’s comments came at a late stage of the game. Globally, property shows signs of cooling from the post-crisis boom. His concern seems to be sparked not by property market overheating but, rather, foreign investments that don’t benefit Malaysia and what he terms the risk of “a new version of colonialism.”

Late Tuesday, a statement from Mahathir’s office said the nation welcomes all tourists, including from China, as well as foreign direct investment that “contributes to the transfer of technology, provides employment for locals and the setting up of industries.” It didn’t refer to Forest City.


“Mahathir has never liked the idea of Forest City or the idea of many foreigners buying up property in Malaysia,” said Ryan Khoo, co-founder of Alpha Marketing Pte Ltd., a Singapore-based real estate consultancy.

Foreigners will be blocked from buying units at the project, on artificial islands in Johor, and refused visas to live there, Mahathir said at a press briefing on Monday. That left analysts and local officials parsing his words to guess at how bans might work. The Chinese developer, Country Garden Holdings Co., said his comments clashed with past assurances. The project’s targeted buyers have included people in mainland China.

With a wall of Chinese money blamed for pushing up prices around the world, local lawmakers, media and the public can struggle to disentangle xenophobia from legitimate efforts to constrain inflows of capital. In Australia, “populist reporting” exaggerated the role of Chinese investors, according to Hans Hendrischke, a professor of Chinese business and management at the University of Sydney.

Read more on global property: 

Chinese buyers had the “bad luck” of becoming overly visible in markets around the globe, said Carrie Law, chief executive officer of Juwai.com, a Chinese international property website.

Foreign buyers get blamed for soaring home costs even when the evidence is minimal. More than 60 percent of Sydney residents cite foreign investment for price increases, according to a survey from University of Sydney academic Dallas Rogers. That’s despite research by Australia’s Treasury showing only a marginal impact. Likewise, data suggest foreign buyers play only a small role in New Zealand’s housing market.

(Updates with Mahathir statement in seventh paragraph, chart on global restrictions.)

No Chinese belt, road or bedrooms for Malaysia

Construction works going on normally at the mammoth Forest City project in Gelang Patah in Johor

PERPLEXED, wounded, indignant or still optimistic. The Chinese developer Country Garden Holdings Co can put any spin it wants on its Forest City project, a US$100bil Malaysian township whose fate suddenly has been thrown into doubt after Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s pointed refusal to let foreigners buy apartments or live in them long term.

One thing is clear, though: The prime minister is not acting impulsively. The project claims to be a “new global cluster of commerce and culture,” and a “dream paradise for all mankind.” However, in Malaysian political discourse, Forest City is just a gigantic Chinatown of 700,000 residents.

Taking on the developer is part of Mahathir’s broader plan to redefine Malaysia’s relationship with Beijing, pulling Kuala Lumpur away from the client-state mindset introduced by his predecessor.

Already, the 93-year-old leader has cancelled the Chinese-funded East Coast Rail Link, dealing a blow to China Communications Construction Co, which was building the US$20bil belt-and-road route. Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, ousted in May, claimed the link would bring prosperity to eastern Malaysia.

But Dr Mahathir, who spoke bluntly in Beijing this month against “a new version of colonialism,” took a very different view of the railway, which would have connected areas near the Thai border along the South China Sea to busy port cities on Malaysia’s western coast, near the Strait of Malacca.


He also shelved a natural-gas pipeline in Sabah, a Malaysian state on the island of Borneo. Dr Mahathir justified the cancellations on the grounds that they were too expensive.

However, the abrupt message to Country Garden, which is neither linked to the Chinese state nor would add a dollar to Malaysia’s national debt, shows that sovereignty – and Malaysia’s racial politics – are Mahathir’s real concerns.

Two-thirds of the homebuyers in Forest City are from China. Last year, as a trenchant critic of Najib’s policies, Dr Mahathir flagged the risk that anybody living in Malaysia for 12 years would be able to vote.

Country Garden should have seen the political risk in marketing the flats to mainland Chinese, who were separately lapping up long-stay visas under Najib’s Malaysia My Second Home programme. Najib’s generosity toward the mainland wasn’t the natural state of affairs. In 1965, the country expelled Singapore from the Malaysian federation out of fear that the peninsula’s majority Muslim Malays could lose their political dominance to the island’s ethnic Chinese.

If Country Garden misread the political tea leaves, it’s also wrong to bark up the legal tree after Dr Mahathir’s outburst. So what if Malaysia’s national land code permits foreign ownership? Approval of global investors may not matter all that much to a politician who has, in his previous innings, trapped their money at the height of a financial crisis.

The new prime minister isn’t as reliant on Beijing as his predecessor. If anything, he has to reward local businessmen and contractors for switching their allegiance from Barisan Nasional, the erstwhile ruling coalition that suffered its first loss of power in six decades.

It’s a given then that Malaysia under Dr Mahathir will have little appetite either for One Belt, One Road – or, for that matter, three- and four-bedroom apartments that could create a new political constituency.

Forest City could still be salvaged, but as a predominantly local project. If Donald Trump can unilaterally change the rules of game for China and Chinese businesses, so can, in his limited sphere, Dr Mahathir. As far as Country Garden is concerned, he just has.

Credit Aandy Mukherjee— Bloomberg

Related: 

MB: Forest City beneficial to all - Nation | The Star Online

 

Confusion over property policy - Nation

 


Setback for foreign property buyers in Malaysia - Business News


Hey, it's normal for Dr M to be abnormal! 

 


Belt and Road envisions great win-win global connectivity

History will remember the Belt and Road initiative as one of the most significant chapters in China's history and a great milestone in the development of human civilization.

BRI envisions great win-win global connectivity

History will remember the Belt and Road Initiative as one of the most significant chapters in China's history, and a great milestone in the development of human civilization.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

The real Malay dilemma: race, religion & politics messed up!

Old politics: If the leadership keeps to the racialist, feudalist and religious-centric tactics and policies of the past, thinking this is what they need to do to keep the votes, it will just be the repeat of past mistakes of the Umno era.

The issue is whether any of the Malay leadership  would be willing to change its society from a religious-centric one to one that is progressive and modern in character


A HIGH-level panel has been announced to review the administration of Islamic Institutions at the Federal level. Commendably, all views from the general public is welcomed. The Keeper of the Rulers’ Seal is also quoted as saying, in the announcement of this Panel, that it was appropriate that the related institutions undergo improvement so as to protect the religion of Islam, as well as promote its universal values in the country.

So here is a short opinion - Islam does not need protection, nor does it need to be institutionalised.

As a Muslim, I believe in God Almighty. His religion does not need anyone’s help, least of all from fallible human beings. Islam and God has no need for anything, but human beings do. No one represents Islam. Everyone represents their version of Islam that suits their wants and needs. These include those in political parties that say it represents Islam but simply do not. They merely represent their personal human interest for power and authority.

We need our Government to protect us from people who want to wield powers upon others by using religion as their weapon. That is what we Malaysians, Muslims and non-Muslims need. I want to ask the political leaders of Malaysia, elected and unelected: What do you intend to do to protect us from those in power whose interest is to wield their religion over others?

In Malaysia today, we are obsessed with religion. Politicians and Ministers talk about religion and upholding religion. We have dedicated channels and programmes on religion on mainstream TV. Teachers force their religion and religious interpretations on children. Even the technical department, JKR (Public Works Department) for example, has set up sign boards espousing religious thoughts. Ever go to civil service offices? Observe just how many religious seminar banners and thoughts are plastered all over these places. Sometimes I wonder whether these are public services departments or religious propaganda functionaries.

Why this parade of religion in the public sphere? Is it because our people obsess on religion, as they personally have got nothing else of substance to promote that would enhance their work and the lives of the people they serve? Or that they have to cling to religion as that is their one and only part of their lives that provide them any sense of self-worth?

Today, our Malay society has become a society so religiously judgemental that the sight of a woman without head-cover is practically blasphemous.

Think about this, after all the hue and cry of the 41 year old with 2 wives, from Kelantan who groomed his third, 11 year old child bride from the poor family in Thailand, the state religious authority penalised him for an unregistered marriage and then, instead of voiding it, basically approves the marriage. A significant portion of our Malay- Muslim society rejoiced!

Can a Malay society, more insular and superstitious in thought, that is now funding thousands of religious schools and Tahfiz centres/boarding houses than ever before in its history, create a population that is competitive to succeed in the 21st century?

Can it even compete on a fair footing with the rest of the Malaysian non-Muslim population? Malays have been given preferential places in universities, GLCs and the civil service for more than 40 years now, what have we got to show for it? Uncompetitive universities, a significant pool of unemployable Malay graduates and with most being employed by the civil service and the failed GLCs, and such corrupt administrations that a 93- year-old man has to come back to be the Prime Minister, that’s what. Would more religion help? Or would it make the population less competitive? Let us all be honest.

This has been the unintended consequence of the assimilation of Islamic values in governance (“penerapan nilai-nilai Islam”) instituted in 1985. The road to hell, they say, is always paved with good intentions. If nothing is done this nightmare is just beginning for the Malay society and Malaysian in general will suffer for it.

If we want to see where our nation is headed with this type of ideology and cultural religious mind-set besetting 60% of our population, we don’t have to look far to Saudi Arabia or Iran or even Aceh, we just need to see the state of governance and life in Kelantan. Democracy is only as good as an informed and intellectually challenging population. The Nazis in Germany and the Mullahs in Iran were all elected by the majority. Today, the Iranians are rebelling against their repressive theocratic Government but the Mullahs are not going to let go of power that easily. Thousands are in jail. But our Malays don’t seem to see or learn the lesson. Erdogan is taking Turkey on that road to already disastrous consequences and many of our Malays applaud.

The only reason the majority of the Malays today are satisfied with their lives to carry on being religiously obsessed, thinking non-stop of the afterlife and judging others, while the non-Malays are focused on bettering themselves in this life, is that the Malays, by and large, has been able to live off the teats of the Government in one way or another. It has been a fulfilled entitlement that will end sooner rather than later.

This gravy train has stopped. Mahathir and Robert Kuok, two 90-year-old plus statesmen, had to go to China almost in tribute with offerings, to extricate us from the mess our Malay leaders have created.

Unfortunately, Malays are oblivious to this fact. In fact, even most non-Malays are oblivious to the fact that if we do nothing, 30 to 40% of the population cannot sustain 100% of us. You need the remaining, at least, majority of that 60% to be able to truly contribute economically and not be consumers of tax from the minorities. And religion is not an economic contributor. It is an unproductive consumer of epic proportions with no returns.

Mahathir came to lead the Government in 1981 and transform an agricultural hamlet into an industrial one with liberal economic policies powered by an industrious non-Malay population and the liberal segment of the Malay society.

This was the population that made the country progress. Mahathir was not popular as a result of Islamisation. Mahathir was and is popular because he brought progress, prosperity and in-turn unity and pride in the country to everyone as Malaysians. He brought revolutionary change to real life. For all intents and purposes, he was a liberal progressive leader.

A progressive leadership will only be elected by a progressive society. The only reason the Pakatan Harapan government was elected was because the progressive societies of the non-Malays and the liberal Malay voted for it. We saved the nation, again. Unfortunately, that liberal segment is now forgotten and vilified. Malay liberals who are capable and focused on a productive life are labelled blasphemous and extremists, and shunned by the leadership in power, no matter who are in power.

The religious conservatives, on the other hand, are courted and coddled as if they will be the ever-lasting vote bank that must be assuaged. Think again on this paradigm. Malay swing votes are persuadable but only if the leadership shows the way.

If the leadership keeps to the racialist, feudalist, and religious-centric policies of the past, thinking this is what they need to do to keep the votes, they will just be repeating past mistakes of the Umno era. More of the Malay population will move to the right of centre towards the Mullahs. It is an inevitable outcome of such a policy. Islamisation was a counter to PAS, it only made Umno the old PAS, and PAS the new Taliban and a stronger party every year from that time onwards.

Religion by its very nature will always veer towards conservatism and fundamentalism, no matter how one wants to spin those words. Because institutionalised religion is about following. The attractiveness of institutionalised religion is the abdication of thinking to religious leaders with easy answers one shall not question. More so, when the population is uncompetitive against the outside world. In Malaysia, we have one of the most sophisticated array of institutionalised Islam in the world today.

So, without a change from the religious-centric environment the Malay society is currently in, and an education system that indoctrinates rather than enhance critical thinking, Malay society will continually drift towards the insularity of religious conservatism and away from progressive capabilities to succeed in the modern world. And population demographic will ensure that a progressive Government will eventually lose out.

Therein lies the real Malay dilemma.

Would any of the Malay leadership be willing to change its society from a religious centric one to one that is progressive and modern in character?

Do you want our Malay society to continue to regress and be uncompetitive? Do you want it to drag the rest of us down the road of conservatism and economic ruin?

As Malay leaders, do you placate or do you lead for change?

How do you lead that change?

Credit to: 


By Siti Kasim

We are Malaysians first - own it!


The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The Star.

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Saturday, August 25, 2018

1MDB scandal: Cops charge Lows, How Low will Jho go? He proclaims innocence!

Credit: The Edge

'He helped, among others, bring down a government that had ruled for 61 years, helped bring criminal charges against a former premier and friend, and catalyzed the return of a 93 year old man to power... - S. Jayasankaran'

 

https://youtu.be/txYy9oVWGCw
Headline News

Cops file charges against the Lows  


KUALA LUMPUR: Police have filed criminal charges against businessman Low Taek Jho and his father for offences under the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing Act 2001 over money allegedly stolen from 1Malay­sia Development Bhd (1MDB).

A source said the charges were filed in absentia by the police with the sanction of the Attorney Gen­eral’s Chambers at the Putrajaya Sessions Court yesterday morning.

According to the charge sheets made available to The Star, Low – also known as Jho Low – is facing eight counts of money laundering.

In the first, second and third charges, the 37-year-old allegedly received US$261,449,960 from unlawful activities into his BSI Bank Limited account.

In the fourth to eighth charges, he allegedly transferred €41,100,073.22 and US$140,636,225.10 into the account of World View Limited, Caymans Island, in Caledonian Bank Limited, Caymans Island.

The offences were allegedly committed at BSI Bank Limited, No.7, Temasek Boulevard, #32-01 Suntec Tower One, Singapore, between Dec 26, 2013, and June 3, 2014.

Jho Low’s father Tan Sri Low Hock Peng, 66, also faces a charge of money laundering where he allegedly transferred monies from unlawful activity amounting to US$56,449,980 from his bank account into his son’s BSI Bank Limited account.

He allegedly committed the offence at the same BSI Bank Limited on Feb 4, 2014.

All the charges were under Section 4(1)(a) of the Act, which carries a fine up to RM5mil, imprisonment for a term up to five years, or both, upon conviction.

The source said police also applied for warrants of arrest for Jho Low and his father.

The source said a portion of the money was used to purchase the luxury yacht Equanimity, which was seized by Malaysia two weeks ago.

Under Section 401 of the Criminal Procedure Code, an absent person with no immediate prospect of arrest may be tried by the court for an offence in his absence.

In a related development, Inspec­tor-General of Police Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Harun said the new charges enabled the Royal Malaysia Police to obtain new warrants of arrest for Jho Low and his father.

“From there, we will ask Interpol to issue a fresh Red Notice alert on the duo. The Red Notice will seek the cooperation of relevant countries in tracking down the wanted persons,” he told The Star.

The Red Notice will also expedite the extradition process, which will be handled by the Attorney General’s Chambers, and to bring the duo back to Malaysia, he said.

“Our priority has always been to track them down and detain them as soon as possible,” he added.

Based on the charge sheets seen by The Star, journalists visited Jho Low’s family home in Tanjung Bungah, Penang, but no one appeared to be home.- The Star.

 Statement by Equanimity (Cayman) Ltd


Despite being owners of the yacht in question, Equanimity (Cayman) Ltd. has received no legally valid notice of any filing related to a Sale Pendente Lite, nor any notice of a pending court hearing in the matter. This would be a requirement under law.

We also note that there are ongoing proceedings before U.S. courts – including a U.S. appellate court – regarding the ownership and custody of the asset, with active requests filed before a U.S. judge within the past 24 hours. Indeed, the U.S. Department of Justice submitted a filing in the U.S. court less than one week ago. For Malaysia to act unilaterally while there are pending court requests in the U.S. would be an affront to the international rule of law. In fact, Malaysia’s seizure of the vessel is already contrary to a U.S. court order appointing the U.S. Government as custodian of the yacht.

The U.S. has previously stated that it had no advance knowledge of Malaysia’s seizure of the yacht, and presumably the U.S. had no advance notice of this current Malaysian action either. It is important to note that, despite conflicting statements coming out of the Malaysian government, the U.S. has not proven its case regarding the Equanimity. The U.S. has only filed unproven allegations in court proceedings, after which the U.S. put the entire case on hold over Claimants’ objections. The result of that is that no party has been able to substantively respond to the allegations, and nor has the U.S. been required to prove them.

In addition, it is indisputably clear that Malaysia’s seizure of the vessel and apparent intent to immediately sell it goes entirely against the interests of the yacht and will drastically reduce – indeed, it is already drastically reducing – its potential sale value. Due to the Malaysian government’s precipitous, ill-conceived, and misguided actions, the yacht is running 24 hours per day, 7 days a week on generator power, which is unsustainable and harmful to the vessel. Moreover, Malaysia has currently docked the yacht in a hazardous environment in which toxins such as water pollution and nearby smoke are greatly damaging it. Because Malaysia apparently does not have – or does not want to spend – the necessary funds to properly maintain the vessel while it is prepared for a value-maximizing sale, Malaysia has instead proposed a “fire sale,” in which the yacht is to be sold for a fraction of its true value.

To move for a sale in Malaysia immediately would be a remarkable violation of due process and international legal comity and would call into question the actual ownership of the yacht for any potential buyer. These misguided actions would create a cloud on the Equanimity’s ownership that could easily take years to resolve in several courts around the world.

Tsuey Shan Ho
Account Manager
cid:image001.png@01D37B19.DFA09BC0Tel +44 (0)20 7092 3992



How Low will Jho go?

Superyacht: A file picture showing seized luxury yacht Equanimity being brought to the Boustead Cruise Terminal in Port Klang on Aug 7. — Reuters
A man who has never gone to school may steal from a railcar but a man who has gone to a university may steal the entire railroad –- former US President Theodore Roosevelt

FUGITIVE businessman Low Taek Jho, also known as Jho Low, 38, has described Malaysia’s legal proceedings to quickly sell the Equanimity superyacht as a vindictive “sham”.

According to the rotund reprobate, it was a sham because the boat’s ownership was also being contested in the courts of the United States so the ‘hasty” Malaysian admiralty hearing was, at best, iffy.

But what the corpulent conman seemed not to want to concede was that both governments agreed – unequivocally, unarguably and emphatically – that the yacht was not his to roam the oceans with.

They both agreed that the RM1bil boat was bought with monies that were skimmed out of a Malaysian sovereign wealth fund.

Our man Jho has since been keeping a low profile, so low that no one seems to know where the fat fugitive is.

You might say he was distracted: the bulging bandit even left a multi-million dollar private jet back in Singapore and he hadn’t even complained, once, of the uncivil way the authorities just left it out in the sun for over nine months!

In this case, however, the pudgy pirate brought forth his spokespeople to complain about the way the yacht was kept “under the sun” in polluted waters, and with its batteries running 24/7. In short, it was not being treated as a superyacht should have been.

He should be consistent and set forth similar arguments about his private jet. Did I forget to mention that Singapore issued a warrant of arrest for him way back when?

In fairness to our man Jho, he has maintained that he has not stolen anything at all and all the money was his family’s inheritance to begin with.

The problem with that is that at least three countries – the US, Malaysia and Singapore – disagree with its reasoning. Another problem would be his absence from places where people want to ask him hard questions.

It is said that a fool and his money are soon parted. But Fat Boy and Other People’s Money was soon partying and the money seemed endless.

Mario Puzo, the author of the Godfather, put it like this: “A lawyer with a briefcase can steal millions more than a hundred men with guns.”

Let’s face it. He lived, what the Eagles called, Life in the Fast Lane.

He had a private jet and a superyacht.

He had palatial homes all over the world.

He dated Hollywood actresses.

He helped bankroll a Hollywood blockbuster.

He helped bring down a government that had ruled for 61 years, helped bring criminal charges against a former premier and friend, and catalysed the return of a 93 year old man to power.

He may have had more citizenships than Caesar.

And – wonder of wonders - he had no official position in 1 Malaysia Development Bhd. His name must surely resonate in future history books.

Breaking news! Just got word that Fat Boy and his father have been charged by the Attorney General’s Chambers for money laundering offences involving RM1bil, funds that were allegedly used to buy the yacht.

This will make Malaysia the first country to charge our man Jho. Not bad for an Attorney General who was said to “know nothing” of criminal law.

Now we know why they say money launderers are filthy rich.

What will the dodgy deviant say now?

Catch me if you can?

By S. Jayasankaran

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Friday, August 24, 2018

New round of China US tariffs & The Art of War on current events

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Wisdom of Sun Tzu's The Art of War on current events



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1MDB scandalous Bombardier Global 500 Jet parking fees of RM3.5mil to be paid if govt wants it back

The Bombardier Global 5000 jet parked on the tarmac of  Seletar airport in Singapore


PETALING JAYA: Malaysia will have to cough up at least RM3.5mil to bring the Global 5000 private jet that belongs to fugitive Low Taek Jho, better known as Jho Low, back to Malaysia.

The luxury private jet, which was impounded by the Singapore authorities since February last year, is currently parked at the Singapore Seletar airport.

“However, before the plane is allowed to be flown to Malaysia, Seletar airport has asked for settlement of the parking charges first,” said a source.

The source said the parking charges over the last 18 months have escalated to about RM3mil.

It is learnt that Seletar airport had indicated the fee to the Singapore authorities following Malaysia’s keen interest in taking possession of the plane.

Seletar airport is managed by Changi Airport Group Pte Ltd, a facility mainly used for private flights.

Changi Airport Group declined to comment on the parking charges.

“Due to client privacy, we will not be able to share the information,” its spokesman told The Star.

The source said the Malaysian government would have to pay the fee before the airport authority allows the plane to leave its tarmac.

It is understood that negotiations on the parking charges have been held between the Malaysia and Singapore authorities and the airport operator.

But to date, the source said, they have yet to reach a conclusion on the payment.

“The Malaysian government would also have to fork out another RM500,000 to service the aircraft, which has been grounded and left under the sun at the airport apron,” said the source.

The source said the aircraft that has been grounded since February last year is currently undergoing service maintenance work to ensure its airworthiness before it is allowed to be flown to Malaysia.

“The maintenance work on the airport craft is almost completed,” said the source.

The plane is likely to be taken to Subang Airport, a facility mainly used by private planes, said the source.

The Global 5000 jet was listed by the US Department of Justice (DoJ) as one of the assets bought using Malaysia’s state-owned 1MDB laundered money, through a series of shell companies and bank accounts.

In a court filing in June 2017, the US DoJ document stated Jho Low used part of the US$700mil (RM2.3bil in 2009) diverted from the 1MDB to acquire the luxury jet.

The Bombardier Global 5000 built in 2008 costs about US$35.4mil (RM145mil). The aircraft was bought at the end of 2009, less than three months after the US$700mil was moved away from 1MDB.

The plane, registered in the US as N689WM/MSN 9265, is registered to a company called Wynton Aviation and placed as a trust with Wells Fargo Bank Northwest.

Wynton Aviation is a company that was registered in the British Virgin Isles in 2009. The DoJ stated that Wells Fargo’s records indicate that it is a holding company owned by Low.

It was learned that prior to the plane being seized, the jet was based at Teterboro Airport New Jersey, close to Jho Low’s New York home.

Airliners.net website showed the plane had flown to Paris, Geneva, Beijing and London among other countries between 2009 and 2017.

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had on Aug 13 said Malaysia was keen to take possession of the aircraft.

Early in the month, Malaysia also took possession of the superyacht Equanimity from the Indonesian authorities.

The vessel, valued at US$250mil (RM1bil), was handed over to Malaysian authorities near Indonesia’s Batam island on Aug 6.

It has since been brought back to the Boustead Cruise Centre in Pulau Indah.

Equanimity, which according to DoJ belongs to Jho Low and purchased with funds diverted from 1MDB, was seized by the Indonesian authorities in Tanjung Benoa port, Bali, in February.

The yacht, which is 54th in luxury vessels of its class in the world, was seized at the request of US authorities as part of its initiative to recover the billions diverted from 1MDB.

Another source said due to the high maintenance of the superyacht and its crew, the Indonesian government had decided to turn over the vessel to Malaysia at the request of Dr Mahathir when he visited Jakarta in June.

Credit: Eddie Chua The Star

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Thursday, August 23, 2018

Probe on ‘Big 2’ accouting firms: KPMG and Deloitte still on over 1MDB accounts


KPMG and Deloitte being investigated over 1MDB accounts


KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Institute of Accountants (MIA) is investigating KPMG and Deloitte, the two accounting firms involved in signing off the accounts of the controversial 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).

The investigations are on whether the auditors in question who handled the accounts had breached the Accountants Act when signing off 1MDB’s accounts between 2009 and 2014.

The MIA has the power to regulate the accounting profession in Malaysia.

“There are complaints lodged against KPMG and Deloitte and we are investigating the auditors in question. The complaints are on the auditors and it is ongoing,” MIA’s chief executive officer Nurmazilah Mahzan told StarBiz in an interview.

Nurmazilah said it could not be determined at this stage when the investigations would be completed.

“The results of the investigations will be studied by a committee. The process is continuing but we have not got the final verdict yet. We cannot predict how long it will take at this point in time. If the auditors are found guilty or if there is a basis to these complaints then we have to wait for the judgement of the disciplinary committee,” she added.

MIA’s executive director for surveillance and enforcement Datuk Muhammad Redzuan Abdullah said the investigations were at the disciplinary committee level now and investigations had started since mid-2016.

The scandal-riddled 1MDB that had accumulated debts of RM42bil over the five years between 2009 and 2014, has had four auditors since its inception. They are Parker Randall, Ernst & Young, KPMG and Deloitte.

1MDB appointed Ernst & Young as its auditor when it was set up in mid-2009. However Ernst & Young resigned in 2010 without signing off the accounts of the fund that was set up by the previous government headed by Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

KPMG stepped in to take over from Ernst & Young and signed off the accounts for the financial years ended March 31 in 2010, 2011 and 2012. The accounts were signed off without any qualification from the auditors.

Deloitte took over the auditing in December 2013 after 1MDB contended that KPMG could not “conclude” its 2013 accounts.

1MDB had also said in May 2015 that Deloitte had signed off 1MDB’s accounts for 2013 and 2014. When questions arose as to why KPMG could not conclude the accounts for 2013, 1MDB stated in 2015 that Deloitte had signed off the accounts without any qualification.

Nevertheless, resignations by Ernst & Young and KPMG as auditors then had raised questions over the fund. In the accounting world, a firm rarely leaves a job half-done, especially more so when it involves big and prominent clients such as 1MDB.

After KPMG left, 1MDB obtained an extension of six months to submit its accounts for end-March 2013.

It was reported then that KPMG had relinquished its role as auditor. Deloitte then came in and managed to close the books within the extended period of six months.

Earlier reports quoting sources said the primary reason why KPMG could not give an opinion on 1MDB’s accounts was because it was not able to make a fair assessment of the value of the assets backing the fund’s US$2.3bil investment placed with a Hong Kong-based asset management company.

Subsequently Deloitte managed to complete the books wherein the fair value of the investments was put at RM7.18bil based on the assessment done by a third party engaged by the fund administrator.

Recent reports said KPMG which had then signed off on three unqualified audit reports for 1MDB, had informed its board of directors that the audited financial statements did not reflect a true and fair view of the company.

It was also reported that Deloitte in 2016 also said its audit reports on 1MDB’s financial statements issued on March 28, 2014, and Nov 5, 2014, for the financial years ending 2013 and 2014 should no longer be relied upon.

Credit: Daniel Khoo The Staronline


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