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Friday, 16 June 2017

Ten observations on DOJ's June 2017 1MDB-related civil suit

Here are my thoughts on the latest civil suit based on that 250 pages court submission from the USA's Department of Justice submission:

1. It is still a civil suit for forfeiture of assets and not a criminal suit.


Nothing has changed since last year except that more assets are listed. It is also important to note that civil asset forfeiture lawsuits are filed against the assets themselves and not individuals (such as Jhow Low etc). Owners of the assets can contest the forfeiture, which they are doing.

2. It is essentially a continuation of the previous suit in July 2016.


Nothing has changed since last year except that more assets are listed. However, the one that caught the public's interest is the allegation of a USD27 million (RM118 million) diamond gifted to MO1's wife - which everyone knows it refers to Datin Sri Rosmah, the Prime Minister's wife. We shall go into detail on this later.

1MDB did not borrow or lose any more money since last year July 2016. In fact, 1MDB actually made significant progress in making money and paying off debts over the last year.

3.  None of the money allegedly spent or invest legally belongs to 1MDB. 


This means that those money spent is not 1MDB's money.  I had proven this extensively last year in this post. Events since my post one year ago had further confirmed this - especially the IPIC-1MDB settlement in April this year where IPIC was reported to have arranged a buyer for the USD2.5 billion worth of units while agreeing to the following: "The parties have also agreed to enter into good faith discussions in relation to payments made by 1MDB Group to certain entities."

An example would be this: 


Imagine if I pay you RM1000 to invest and pay to your bank account. In return you give me an IOU saying you owe RM1.000 and you guaranteed that I will get minimum RM1,000 back.

Then you pay RM500 to a gangster.

Can people then say I paid RM500 to gangster?

People would also have to explain why the sovereign fund IPIC took the trouble to guarantee US$3.5 billion worth of bonds of another country's sovereign fund. And why Aabar would want to guarantee another US$2.5 billion worth of fund units of 1MDB.

This is also the reason why 1MDB keeps insisting that none of their money has been lost. 

4.  DOJ's allegations that the BSI or Cayman units were over-valued or wrongly-valued are irrelevant to 1MDB

As previously explained, the value of the units are guaranteed by the real Aabar Investments PJS. As far as 1MDB is concerned, the minimum value of the units is what Aabar had guaranteed it for. As was reported by the Singapore press, Aabar had arranged a buyer for the USD2.5 billion units (which includes the USD940 million units remaining in the BSI funds) and that 1MDB had already started to receive the cash proceeds.

In 1MDB's point of view, they had a certain money in the BSI units guaranteed by the real Aabar. Since the real Aabar had now gotten someone to buy the fund units and pay 1MDB the correct amount then there is no question of whether the fund units are worthless or undervalued or overvalued.

5.  DOJ's allegations that money was siphoned off from 1MDB's Deutsche Bank loan has nothing to do with 1MDB


DOJ reports that the Deutsche Bank loan was to pay for the cancellation of options held by Aabar in return for IPIC guaranteeing 1MDB's USD3.5 billion loan in the year 2012.

According to the DOJ, the money was paid to a "fake" Aabar Seychelles which they claim had nothing to do with the real Aabar in Abu Dhabi.

However, DOJ also confirms that the sole director of Aabar Seychelles was the Managing Director of the real Aabar and that the shareholder of Aabar Seychelles listed in the certificate of incumbency (also known as the company registration) document is the real Aabar.
 

As far as 1MDB is concerned, they had used the Deutsche Bank loan to pay Aabar for the purpose of cancelling the options.  Whether it is a "fake Aabar" or "real Aabar" does not matter to 1MDB as long as the options were cancelled - and it was.  This is especially so since the party that had dealt with at that time as the official managing director Aabar, Mohamad Husseiny and the company registration documents had clearly stated that the owner of the "fake Aabar" is the real Aabar.

Therefore, if there was any siphoning of money or fraud, it was Aabar PJS in the Abu Dhabi which was defrauded - not 1MDB.

Which brings us to the next point...

6.  Neither Prime Minister Najib, Rosmah nor 1MDB was named as a defendant in the DOJ civil suit. 

This means the US DOJ does not consider Najib, Rosmah or even 1MDB to have committed any wrong-doing. In fact, one Abu Dhabi's sovereign USD125 billion fund Mubadala Investment Company which owns IPIC and Aabar now has now been named as an involved party whose interests will be affected.


7.  There is no evidence that Rosmah ever received the US$27 million diamond

First of all, receiving a gift is not illegal. According to the DOJ lawsuit, Jho Low had purchased USD200 million worth of jewelry over the years and had given it to various parties including to his mother.



Jho Low was also alleged to have given millions in jewelry to his alleged girlfriend, the super-hot Australian model Miranda Kerr who recently married the SnapChat billionaire founder .


So, if receiving a gift is illegal then Jho Low's mother and Miranda Kerr will have to go to jail too.

However, the circumstances which the DOJ says that Rosmah was alleged to be the recipient of the diamond is very suspicious.

Firstly, the DOJ alleges that Rosmah viewed the diamond with a group of people on board of the yacht called Topaz.


The Topaz is not any ordinary yacht but at that time was the largest yacht in the world and was and is still owned by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed.


Sheikh Mansour is not only among the world's richest man with a fortune estimated at USD38 billion (RM162 billion) in the year 2014 but he is also the deputy prime minister of the United Arab Emirates, minister of presidential affairs and member of the ruling family of Abu Dhabi. He is the brother of the current President of UAE,

And plus, he is also the Chairman of IPIC and the boss of both Aabar Chairman Khadem Al-Qubaisi and also Aabar CEO Mohamed Badawy Al-Husseiny - the two persons most implicated in fraud and receiving funds in this entire 1MDB affair.

Both persons have never been charged for any crime. In fact, it was recently reported Khadem Al Qubasi is still in the UAE and under the protection of Sheikh Mansour Zayed.

This leaves us with two other possibilities.

1) The diamond may have been a gift from Sheikh Mansour to Rosmah. Arab royalty has a habit of giving expensive gifts to members of the leadership of other countries. After all, US$27 million is barely 2 days of interest for Sheikh Mansour's US$38 billion fortune. 

This is assuming that Rosmah even received the diamond in the first place. After all, a VIP from another country does not simply go on to the world's largest yacht owned by Arab royalty and one of the world's richest persons without the owner knowing.

However, if Rosmah did receive the diamond as a gift from Sheikh Mansour then I think she should return it as it is inappropriate to receive such an expensive gift.

2) Rosmah never received the diamond at all and DOJ was misled by the false information fed by the opposition.

According to the DOJ suit, it is important to note that Rosmah did not make the order for the diamond, pay for the diamond nor personally received the diamond.

It has also never been proven that she even posses the diamond.

DOJ's allegation is that a Malaysian friend had collected the diamond and she was supposed to then hand over the US$27 million (RM118 million) diamond to Rosmah. But there is never any proof that the diamond was handed over to Rosmah.

This brings us to the next point...

8.  The whole diamond necklace and DOJ lawsuit seems suspiciously politically-motivated

Firstly, the DOJ had no evidence that Rosmah ever received the diamond but proceeded to include that story in all its juicy details in the suit anyway.

Secondly, the story has always been consistent with the opposition story about Rosmah buyting diamonds and cincin - until PKR's Rafizi Ramli was sued by Najib and said to the court that he was "just joking"


Thirdly, the timing is suspicious as it comes a week before Malays balik kampung for the Hari Raya where such a juicy story would be discussed. 

It is no secret that Pakatan is hoping for a "Malay Tsunami" and such a story at such a timing would benefit Pakatan the most.

It is also no secret that Pakatan is working with and has received funding from George Soros to help topple the BN government and Najib.
Late last year, the famous expose website Wikileaks had leaked details of a March 2016 lobbying by George Soros to the US Government to remove Najib and replace him with Anwar Ibrahim.


please don't call Anwar as a "barua" Amerika
One reason why the USA should remove Najib: China!

The secret documents from Wikileaks showed that Soros told the US Government that PM Najib is not fully loyal to the USA and plays both sides with China.

Soros also told the USA Governmetn that Anwar would be instrumental as the new leader of Malaysia if Najib falls. And even if Najib doesn't fall, Anwar can provide the USA Govt with "insight and strategic leverage" on Malaysia.
  
Four months later after that lobbying, the USA Government's DOJ launched a civil suit against 1MDB and popularizing the MO1 name to cause maximum damage to PM Najib and BN.

How coincidental and convenient!

That led me to this particular excerpt in the DOJ court document regarding where the DOJ seeks to recover movie collectibles purchased by the owners of Red Granite, Riza Aziz and McFarland.

Rather than saying "we seek to recover memorabilia purchased by Aziz and McFarlane as we believe it was paid for using illicit funds", the DOJ chose to sensationalize it by publishing excerpts of email exchanges between the two persons who were merely joking about their shared hobby.


I have asked several legal professionals and they say that this is highly unusual, unprofessional and totally unnecessary for a legal writ.

It seem to be designed to incite hatred and to provide sound-bites - like the one done by MalaysiaKini.



Nowhere was it also mentioned that Riza Aziz and McFarland had been highly successful and made a lot of money in their movies - which would have allowed them to finance their future movies directly and with other investors.

Certainly this DOJ writ does more political damage than actual legal damage - especially since the previous case in July has not moved since.

And more shockingly this diamond that DOJ had written so extensively in the civil suit IS NOT the subject of the items that DOJ says they want to seize due to alleged money laundering.

Yes, the much talked about diamond is not a subject of the DOJ's civil suit!

Is this because there is no such proof that the item exist nor gifted to DS Rosmah nor in the possession of DS Rosmah or was it because it simply cannot be linked to money laundering?

This is a proper legal document - not a Robert Ludlum fiction novel.

Serious questions now have to be asked of the DOJ as to why did they even bother writing such sensationalized details of the diamond in their civil suit if it is not even a subject of the civil suit.

Can anyone answer? Can Mahathir or Matthias or Soros answer?

Writing such details in a legal civil suit without a legal basis or aim other than to inflict political damage on behalf of Pakatan means there is a sure sign of collaboration or deliberate feeding of misleading stories from here to the USA.

Strangely, some pro-opposition individuals in Malaysia are even proud and prepared to be called a CIA agent or foreign agent as was reported just last week in MalaysiaKini.

Why would Malaysians and our opposition leaders want to work with foreign powers to launch propaganda attacks and bad-mouth Malaysia just so they can be the ones in power?

That is sabotaging your own country, bro. It's treason.

9.  1MDB's profitability and progress is unaffected. No Malaysians or their future generations will end up paying for 1MDB's debts.

Due to the April 2017 IPIC-1MDB settlement and also the past rationalization efforts, 1MDB now has assets of RM60 billion compared to still outstanding long-term (up to 2039) debts of an estimated RM41.7 billion.

If you can believe MalaysiaKini then the profitability of 1MDB will be even more as the forecast that the value of Bandar Malaysia is RM90 billion instead of RM26 billion.

Hence the value of 1MDB's assets is RM124 billion compared to RM41.7 billion debt.

For so long, Pakatan and their friendly portals have been saying that govt will go bankrupt because of 1MDB's debts (which is already substantially repaid with the rest taken care of) and that govt has to use GST, use fuel subsidies, use sugar price bla bla bla to bail out and that this debt will be a burden on your next generation and the generation after that.

But now the Pakatan folks are saying that Govt will make huge profits on 1MDB and there is no more debt that will be a burden on your next generation and the generation after that or need to bail-out?

So, there is no question of anyone having to pay for 1MDB's debts. In fact, the possibility of 1MDB being very profitable is high.

10.  Unlike in the past, the financial markets did not react to the news of this DOJ suit. Neither are many Malaysians

The Ringgit did not weaken substantially and the stock market did not drop.

In fact, the Bursa stock market went up today despite the news. It continued its rally as Malaysia's economy continues to perform well and our prospects continue to brighten. Investors continue to believe in the transformation agenda under Prime Minister Najib.


Unlike in the past, Malaysians now seem indifferent to the DOJ-1MDB news

As Uber-Blogger Rocky Bru observed today:

"It's been a year since the US Department of Justice made that explosive lawsuit announcement involving 1MDB. Since then, the Americans have elected a new President, Dr Mahathir Mohamad has confirmed his desire to be Prime Minister of Malaysia once again, and the DOJ's lawsuit hasn't moved an inch. The department's latest "action" has similar elements and juicy bits that featured in its "action" of last July's. So why aren't Malaysians not debating it like they did last July? I belong to several dozens of WhatsApp groups but only one is discussing the DOJ's action and by "discussing" I mean one individual has been providing all the links to DOJ news that might be spun against PM Najib Razak. Does that mean we are immune to news involving alleged corruption and stealing of billions from our coffers? 
Or are Malaysians generally not buying what the DOJ's claiming, especially since nothing has come out of their last action?"
To most people and also thanks to the successful rationalization of 1MDB and its tangible evidence of its progress, most people feel that the 1MDB story is stale or "basi".

Pakatan's continued attack on 1MDB did not help them in the Sarawak elections last year where they had lost their pants. Neither did it helped them in the twin by-elections at Kuala Kangsar and Sungai Besar.

So, you must wonder why Pakatan is behaving like the (oft-misquoted) proverbial definition of idiots who "do the same thing over and over again and expecting different results"?

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Part 2: BN "sold" Jelutong Highway land in Penang for RM20psf? Here are the facts.

Continuing on from my previous posting where Penang Chief Minister's Lim Guan Eng's accusation that the previous BN Penang Govt sold land for a ridiculous RM1psf for the Tanjung Tokong/Pinang project, I go on to his second allegation.

Here's Guan Eng's much repeated (but lying) table again.


This time, it's the alleged sale of 325 acres of land at "Jelutong Expressway" for a total of RM325 million or RM20 per square feet (psf).

Again, this is an outright lie by YAB Lim Guan Eng.

The first thing that would tip you that this is not land is the fact that the land is named "Jelutong Expressway" by Lim Guan Eng.

I mean, which developer would go buy land which a highway is sitting on, correct?

This is because it is not actually land but was a privatization project signed 20 years ago in 1997.

This project is extensively researched in an article in the February 2014 issue of the International Journal of Construction Management.

Ignoring the fact that land prices would have cost much lower 20 years ago in the height of the Asian Economic crisis would be much lower than now and should not be even used for comparison like what Guan Eng did, let's go to the details of this project.

Firstly, this privatization project was awarded based on an open tender by the previous BN Penang Govt and involves asking a contractor to build a much-needed highway in return for land reclamation rights (not land). 

A company called Jelutong Development Sdn Bhd (JDSB). JDSB was initially owned by IJM Properties Sdn Bhd (40%), Hume Industries (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd (40%) and Kumpulan Pinang Holdings Sdn Bhd (20%).

IJM Properties Sdn Bhd later took up Hume Industries (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd’s share in October 2002 for RM3.02 million, making JDSB effectively a wholly owned subsidiary of the listed IJM Corporation Bhd

The Privatisation Agreement was signed on August 22 1997. In exchange for the 4.7 km Jelutong Expressway (JE) constructed on 81.04 acres of land which would be handed over to the Penang State Government at no cost, 324.9 acres of land (partly existing but mainly reclaimed from the sea) would be alienated to JDSB. 

All costs pertaining to reclamation would be borne by JDSB. 

JBSD was required to pay the Penang State government RM1.3 million upon signing of the privatisation agreement and a further RM24.1 million in instalments. 

JDSB was expected to develop new integrated precincts (for commercial, retail and light industrial use) on the reclaimed land. 

It was also expected to build 5,500 units of low cost and low middle cost dwellings, and over 4,000 units of other types of residential units. The entire real estate development associated with the JE was expected to take about 15 years to complete.

The JE project was awarded in 1997 and was expected to be completed at the end of 1999. It was originally valued at RM350 million, including squatter compensation, land acquisition and all direct costs pertaining to the project.

JDSB however was contractually bound to maintain the JE for two years after its completion. JDSB also guaranteed the expressway design for seven years and had to ensure that the design life of the interchanges was 20 years following construction, while that of intersections was 10 years following construction.

The JDSB was allowed to reclaim land totaling 324.9 acres, partly for the expressway, but mainly for residential (partly to resettle affected populace), recreational, commercial and industrial development from which JDSB could recover its investment. Half of the land to be reclaimed was given freehold status, while the remaining portion was on 99-year lease. In addition, JDSB was allowed to convert a 30 acre piece of land which had been previously been used for agriculture and refuse dumping, also for real estate development.

At that time in 1997, land in the middle of Georgetown was selling for RM150-RM200 psf while reclamation cost was estimated to be RM20 psf.

In a nut-shell under the so-called "sale", IJM:

- will get 350 acres of land, of which the majority is reclaimed by themselves at their own coast, 
- has to build the 5km dual three-lanes on grade Jelutong highway with 5 intersections at their own cost of RM350 million mostly on land that they reclaimed themselves,  (compare this to the 5km Lim Chong Eu to Air Itam by-pass dual two-lane roads that the DAP Penang Got wants to build that will cost RM1 billion)
- has to hand-over the highway back to the state govt including the 81.04 acres which the highway sits on.
- pay RM25.4 million to the state govt.
- has to pay for land acquisition, compensation and resettlement of the squatters including temporary housing
- has to maintain the JE for two years after its completion;
- guarantee the expressway design for seven years and had to ensure that the design life of the interchanges was 20 years following construction
- has to build 5,500 units of low and low-medium cost housing units (RM25,000 - RM50,000 type) on their reclaimed land, many of which were also given as compensation to the squatters.

The last part is even more telling when you compare to the so-called affordable housing of up to RM400,000 built by the DAP Penang Govt using their RM500 million state fund - the first 520 units of which is scheduled only to be completed next year, a staggering 10 years after DAP had taken over.

After 10 years, the first 520 units of affordable housing built by DAP Penang Govt costing up to RM220,000 on the mainland will be ready.

Imagine this. The IJM consortium that was claimed to have gotten land cheap by Lim Guan Eng actually built 5,500 affordable homes costing between RM25,000 to RM50,000 on the island - compared to 520 units costing between RM72,500 to RM220,000 on the mainland.

Conclusion
Again, just like the alleged RM1psf "land" sold at Tanjung Tokong, YAB Lim Guan Eng's allegation that RM20psf "land" sold to IJM in 1997 for the Jelutong Highway without tender (it was open tender) is yet another pack of lies that he uses to defend and divert attention away from his 500% increase in Penang operational expenses and his tens of billions of state land, land rights and assets that he has sold or traded away since taking power in 2008.


Monday, 5 June 2017

BN Penang Govt's RM1 per square feet land sale? Here are the facts.

Recently, Penang Chief Minister has been under fire for selling land without open tender and also for increasing the yearly operating expenses of the Penang Govt by an astonishing 500% since 2008, which is covered mostly by sale of state land and assets - until there is little left.

In return, the Chief Minister continues to roll out his umpteenth-times repeated cover-line to say that BN sold 36 times more land and got  less money, which is of course untrue.

By now, most people would have seen the following table from Lim Guan Eng multiple times:
 

Much of these land were "sold" decades ago when prices on the mainland was cheap. In fact, it was not even land. Most were land reclamation rights.

I had written about this before here: 'BN sold more land than Pakatan in Penang and collected less' ??

But today, let's focus on item 1 Tanjung Pinang  where 980 acres of land was supposedly "sold" for RM1psf  under the previous BN Penang Govt - netting just RM42.7 million.

This is certainly a serious allegation - "selling" state land for just RM1psf.

But here are the facts:

This is not even a land sale but a 30 years land reclamation concession agreement awarded in1992 by the then BN state govt to a Joint-Venture that is 60% owned by the state agency Koperasi Gabungan Negeri Pulau Pinang  (KGN) and 40% owned by the 100% state-owned Penang Development Corp (PDC).

There is not a single inch of Penang land sold. On top of that, the concession was awarded by the BN Penang Govt to 100% state agencies.

In the interest of not coming up with capital to reclaim the land, the KGN-PDC partnership then formed a joint-venture company called Tanjung Pinang Development Sdn. Bhd. (TPD), with a company called  Permaijana Ribu (M) Sdn. Bhd. (PR).

Permaijana Ribu is owned 72% by UEM, 18% by Mechmar corp and 10% by Yayasan Bumiputera Pulau Pinang 

At this stage, the project has become 70% PR-owned and 30% KGN-PDC owned - with KGN-PDC getting it's 30% shareholding for free while PR has to bear the cost of the shares and  most of the reclamation expenses.

After UEM fell into difficulties due to the Asian Financial Crisis, it sold its stake to a private company called Bridgecrest Resources Sdn Bhd (Bridgecrest).

Therefore the effective ownership of the project is as folows

Note: Over the years, there were various changes in shareholdings as some of the shareholders sold out. As of today, the project is now 78.2% owned by listed Eastern & Oriental Bhd,, which Sime Darby is a major shareholder and 21.2% owned by the Penang Development Corp (PDC).

As you can see, fully 37% of the so-called RM1psf "sale" is owned by state-owned company which has already benefited by getting free shares and capital injections by the private companies who partnered with them.

This also means that when the land is fully-reclaimed, these state agencies will own an effective stake in 37% of the reclaimed land.

Wait... there's more!

Under the terms of the agreement. other than the 37% owned by the state agencies, a certain percentage of the land reclaimed has to be surrendered back to the Penang State Govt directly.

Under phase 1 of the reclamation (called STP1), which ended in the year 2006, a total of 240 acres of land was reclaimed.

And out of this 240 acres of land, 47 acres of land was handed back to the state govt free of charge.

Under phase 2 (called STP2), the remainder 760 acres of land will be reclaimed - out of which 191 acres will be handed back to the Penang Govt free of charge.

In fact, the STP2 was approved by the current DAP Penang Govt in 2011 and generously gave a 3 years extension to the concession too.

The Penang Govt has used 110 acres out of these 237 acres to pay for the RM6.34 billion Penang Tunnel project. - which values the entire land handed back FOC to the Penang Govt to be at least RM14 billion.

To summarize, not only is this not a RM1 psf land sale by the previous BN Penang Govt, but the Penang people benefits from the following:

1) State agencies own 37% of the reclaimed land for both phases of Gross development value (GDV) of RM21 billion
2) Penang Govt got roughly RM14 billion of land handed back FOC to them.

So, YAB Lim Guan Eng: How can you call this RM1 per square feet sale of land?

How can you claim the total sales proceed of 980 acres of land is only RM42.7 million?

How can you even claim this is sale of land?

Because of your repeated lies, many Penang people have the wrong perception that the previous BN Penang govt had sold land at RM1 per square feet to a private company.


What a liar that you are.

A lie that you have repeated umpteenth times over the last few years to justify your incredible sale of tens of billions of state land and assets.

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Crocodile tears: Mahathir and Proton

1. Proton sales started to decline in the year 2003 while Tun Mahathir was still Prime Minister. Just two years later in 2005, it was overtaken by Perodua in the Malaysia market and overtaken by Honda in 2016.
 
Exports sales to UK and Singapore have now dropped to zero.

In Australia, from Jan to April 2017, Proton only managed to sell 11 cars.


2. Lotus Cars have lost money every single year since Proton bought the company in 1996 - losing a total of an estimated RM6 billion over the past 20 years and RM920 million in 2013 alone.
 

3. Tun Mahathir had asked Volkswagen to take a 50% stake in Proton in the year 2005 but the deal did not happen. Later, Tun Mahathir asked the government to sell all of Proton to DRB-Hicom in 2011.
 
4. Since DRB-Hicom fully took over in 2012, Proton have lost RM4 billion. In the year 2016 alone, Proton lost RM1.4 billion. Proon had also dragged the parent DRB-Hicom group into losses - putting 100,000 jobs at risk.

Proton was threatening to bring down the entire DRB-Hicom groups that was very diversified and includes airports, ports, construction, power, logistics etc - along with its 60,000 jobs.

You can see this clearly from the Group's earnings since they completed the purchase of Proton in 2012.
 
 


5. The heavy losses and lack of cash in Proton also caused payments to Proton suppliers and vendors to be unpaid - putting another 40,000 jobs at risk.

Mahathir's son, Mokhzani Mahathir owns the official distributor of Porsche cars in Malaysia and has a long involvement in the local Auto Industry. The situation is so bad that Mokhzani, who had a fortune of RM4.22 billion in the year 2014 and is the second richest Malay tycoon, did not dare to pay the RM1.1 billion to buy up DRB-Hicom's stake to help save Proton

6. Due to the big amount of jobs at risk, the govt had no choice but to give RM1.5 billion in soft loans to Proton in early 2016 which Proton immediately used up to clear off all its debt to its suppliers and vendors. In late 2016, the govt was also forced to give another RM1.7 billion in credit line to Proton to enable it to continue operating.

7. The total assistance given by Govt to Proton in 2016 alone is RM3.2 billion -  This is more than half of the RM5.9 billion that the govt paid in BR1M to 4.7 million households and 2.7 million single individuals for the year 2016.

This would be on top of the RM14 billion assistance that the govt had given Proton since it was founded.

8. After being made Chairman of Proton in Jan 2014, it was Mahathir and Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar who traveled to China in April 2014 to invite Geely to help save Proton. It was Mahathir who first approached Geely for help.



The Govt no longer owns Proton. The sale to Geely was DRB Hicom's decision - not the govt.

As pointed out earlier, it was Mahathir who had asked Govt to sell its stake in Proton to DRB Hicom, a private company, which then sold a stake to Geely.

Therefore, it is strange for Mahathir to suddenly criticize the sale of a stake in Proton to China's Geely and claim he is crying since it was Mahathir who first said that Proton should sell a stake to Germany's Volkswagen in 2005, it was Mahathir who asked Government to sell all its stake in Proton to a private company in 2011 and it was Mahathir who first approached Geely in China in 2014 to ask it to help save Proton.

In fact, just 3 months ago in February 2017, Mahathir said he has no objection with Geely buying a stake in Proton. Suddenly, 3 months later he criticizes the government, blames Najib and he says he wants to cry because his "son" was sold?

Looks more like Mahathir was the one who sold his own son instead. Bapak jual anak!


Even though Mahathir was instrumental in the govt selling off Proton to private companies and in getting Geely to be interested in Proton, this has not stopped Mahathir from going all over Malaysia during the month of Ramadhan to slander and blame Prime Minister Najib over Proton's sale and make low-classed jokes about Najib's wife. This is from two days before Ramadhan started.

   

Of course, Mahathir supporters and fan-pages take their cue from his low-class jibes and proceeds to hit even lower lows with posts such as this - on the first day of Ramadhan too.



9. Proton continues to be 50.1% majority-owned by DRB-Hicom, a Malaysian company while Geely owns 49.9%. Geely has a good track-record. After buying 100% of Volvo from Sweden in 2010, Geely has helped make Volvo a success. Last year, Volvo sold the highest number of cars in its history - it's fourth straight years of record sales.

10. By partnering with Geely, Proton's survival is more assured. Instead of a market of just 30 million people in Malaysia, Proton can now access a market of 1.4 billion people in China.

It is better for Malaysia to own 50.1% of a company that has chance to survive and have a market of 1.43 billion people than to own 100% of a company that is on the verge of bankruptcy and losing billions of Ringgit every year in a market of just 30 million people.

Friday, 19 May 2017

The big TWIST: Parroting Guan Eng, a slap to Mahathir's face.

The "slapping" incident between Mat Over and David Teo has been a hot topic over the past two days.

Both Mat Over and David Teo had said they had lost their temper and acted badly. Both had publicly said that this issue is over for them and asked Malaysians to move on.
Movie producer David Teo and actor-comedian Sulaiman Yassin, who were involved in a scuffle at a National Transformation (TN50) dialogue session, say they are putting the ugly episode behind them and urged Malaysians to do the same. 
Teo, the Metrowealth Pictures chief executive officer, said that he has forgiven Sulaiman, who is better known as Mat Over, with an open heart. 
“I told the Prime Minister that I forgive him (Sulaiman) over the incident, when I shook the Prime Minister’s hands (on that night),” Teo said when contacted yesterday. 
Teo explained that he was talking to the moderator of the programme, actor-producer Datuk Rosyam Nor, before the scuffle happened. 
“It was not my intention to be rude to the Prime Minister. I just told Rosyam some of the participants were not given an equal chance (to talk). I had yet to talk to the Prime Minister so how could I be rude to the Prime Minister?” he asked. 
Sulaiman also expressed the intention to move on from what happened. 
“I was just unhappy because he did not respect the Prime Minister by raising his voice. Anyway, both of us apologised to one another in front of the Prime Minister, and I ask all Malaysians to move on from this chapter. 
“No one was injured during the incident, because he was not hit when I tried to slap him. I also did not kena (not injured) when he tried to kick me,” he said.

While any form of physical violence or attempt at violence should be condemned but the Pakatan politicians continue to make an issue out of a non-issue - twisting it beyond all recognition with their lying interpretation.

The first to start this was unsurprisingly, DAP Secretary-General Lim Guan Eng who said:
"What happened in front of the prime minister last night gave the impression that violence can be used on certain Malaysians," he added. 
Asked what he meant by "certain" Malaysians, Lim said this included minorities and opposition leaders or members who come from all races.

I don't know how he does it but Guan Eng is something special.

While most people would have seen it as two creative Malaysians getting emotional and behaving badly,  Guan Eng somehow manages to make this into a racial issue of a Malay bullying a Chinese or oppression on opposition leaders.

Everything he does seems reeked in racism and he sees racism in everything.

It has been said that the true racist is the one who can see racism where no one else can.

Salute and greatest respect to this fellow who can see and say something that no other politician or sane human being can.

Next to follow Guan Eng's line to twist the incident was Tun Mahathir who said:
Dr Mahathir Mohamad has used the incident where a movie producer was slapped in front of Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak to illustrate how freedom of expression has been curbed. 
The former premier, who was known to have little tolerance for dissenting views during his tenure, alleged that those who ask Najib questions would end up in trouble. 
"This never happened during my time and the prime ministers before me. This only happens during Najib's era ... Those who speak end up in trouble. The newspapers are censored, so is TV3 and other (media). 
"So when given a chance to speak, they try (to air their views), and this is the consequence and result of such attempts to speak the truth. Ask questions also cannot, (you get) beaten,” he added.
So, Mahathir's twist is that this incident is proof that Najib is a dictator who does not allow anyone to ask questions.

Let's look at the video again (please watch properly) :


  
It is clear from the video that the moderator was looking for a Chinese Artist to give his views. The moderator could not see David Teo putting his hands up which caused David to come forward on his own.

The moderator then clearly gave David 1 minute to give his views in front of Prime Minister Najib but instead of giving his views, he launched an emotional outburst at the moderator yelling that the moderator is not fair and did not call on those seated at the back.

Seeing this yelling in front of the Prime Minister (as opposed to asking a question), Mat Over lost his temper and tried to slap David.

So, clearly Mahathir has twisted this beyond all recognition and lied (something he has done with increasing frequency since joining Pakatan) to say that David was not allowed to ask questions.

I repeated. David Teo was given the opportunity ask questions - which he didn't but used the opportunity to yell at the moderator instead.

Yes. Mahathir lied. Again.

Mahathir then said that no one was ever assaulted for going against him when he was Prime Minister.
 
Yes, no one was ever assaulted when Mahathir was PM. Anwar? Oh.. he hit himself or fell down.
Even MalaysiaKini was incredulous at his hypocrisy when they reported what Mahathir said that under Najib there is no Freedom of Speech unlike during Mahathir's time and inserted this sarcastic paragraph in their article:
The former premier, who was known to have little tolerance for dissenting views during his tenure, alleged that those who ask Najib questions would end up in trouble. 
If there was no Freedom of Speech under Najib's time then MalaysiaKini would not have existed nor would Mahathir have the chance to slander and lie about Najib every single day up and down the country.

Both the owners and editors of MalaysiaKini and Mahathir himself would be in jail under ISA (which Najib abolished) if Najib followed what Mahathir did when he was Prime Minister.

It is sad to see that Mahathir's personal dendam against Najib for not following his instructions has caused Mahathir to throw away any remaining honesty he had.

Neither is he even slightly afraid of the world seeing his repeated displays of hypocrisy.

It is a slap to Mahathir's face that after all these years, he is now just one side of the very same coin as Lim Guan Eng - the son of the person that Mahathir once called the biggest racist in Malaysia.

Friday, 5 May 2017

1MDB: Is RM60b enough to pay for RM41.7b?


After the majority of bank loans and short term debts have been settled by 1MDB in their past rationalization exercise, Tony Pua's statement lists out the remaining liabilities for 1MDB and details how he comes out with the RM41.7 billion figure.
Because 1MDB simply does not have any more substantial tangible assets or cash in its books, the Malaysians taxpayer will have to pay for most of 1MDB’s still-outstanding debts including:
  • RM5 billion 30-year bond guaranteed by the federal government issued in 2009;(Due only in the year 2039)
  • US$3.5 billion 10-year bonds issued in 2012, now guaranteed by MOF Inc;(due in the year 2022)
  • US$3 billion 10-year bond issued in 2013, guaranteed with a ‘Letter of Support’ issued by Finance Minister Najib Abdul Razak; (due in the year 2023)
  • US$1.23 billion borrowed from IPIC in 2015, guaranteed by MOF Inc; (it is actually an advance on the settlement - not a loan but it is due to repay by end of 2017)
  • RM800 million loan from Socso in 2010, guaranteed by the federal government; and
  • RM2.4 billion sukuk issued in 2013, which have already been assumed by MOF. (due in 2022)
The above sums up to RM8.2 billion and US$7.73 billion, (exchange rate USD1-RM4.33) or a combined total of RM41.7 billion.
*notice that other than the US$1.23 billion due within this year, the rest are all long-term debts.

Tony alleges that 1MDB has no more assets as these assets are now transferred from 1MDB to the Ministry of Finance (MOF).

Only lying politicians would say that assets are transferred but MOF do not need to take care of the liabilities.

When you transfer "businesses", you transfer BOTH the assets and the liabilities attached.

In any case, it doesn't really matter as 1MDB has always been 100% owned by tMOF. Whether the assets and liabilities are parked under 1MDB, which is parked 100% under MOF or the assets and liabilities are parked under different subsidiaries or holding companies under MOF, the end result is still the same.

The opposition will never admit that 1MDB's current situation has been mitigated and well-managed or the rationalization plan has been successful.

Pakatan has invested too much time and energy over the past 3 years to attack 1MDB and will not give up now as the general elections are near.

They will just continue attacking 1MDB using any excuse. They simply cannot stop now as their entire elections campaign strategy will fail immediately.

Anyway, to examine Tony Pua's claim, let us examine what are the assets left over from 1MDB's businesses:

1. Remaining land in TRX and share of Lend Lease's LifeStyle's quarter - RM8 billion 

After selling about 60% of the land in Tun Razak Exchange (TRX), there is still 40% of land left for sale which the govt says they would not sell in the next two to three years until the infrastructure is ready to allow it to unlock higher value and premium later.

The Govt also have ownership of 40% share in the June 2014 Joint-Venture for the 17 acres TRX LifeStyle Quarter project with Australia's Lend Lease group with a gross development value of RM8 billion.

This project comprises a retail mall (which is already 25% leased out) and due to open in the year 2020, 6 residential block and a luxury hotel. Lend Lease is among the largest international property group and is in charge of funding the development (govt contributes the land and helps with approvals) and marketing them world-wide to its international clients.

At the present moment, this 40% remaining TRX land and 40% share of the LifeStyle Quarter is worth approximately RM8 billion but is expected to increase further as the infrastructure is put in place and due to property appreciation.

2. 100% of Bandar Malaysia land - RM26 billion 

After the recent cancellation of the sale of 60% share in the Bandar Malaysia project signed in Dec 2015, the government now owns 100% of the land and project.

After value-enhancement, development plans completion, various approvals granted and increased visibility for the project, the former buyers had valued this land as high as RM26 billion today compared to RM10.35 billion valuation when the sale agreement was signed two years ago.

Bandar Malaysia land estimated to be worth RM26 billion now by the former buyer in interview dated 28 Feb 2017

Again, this RM200 billion gross development value Bandar Malaysia project is an appreciating asset that will only increase in value over time as the project develops.

3. Monetization of US$2.5 billion 1MDB's Fund Units - RM10.83 billion

As part of the recently-signed settlement between 1MDB and Abu Dhabi Govt's IPIC, these fund units which was mischievously claimed by opposition for the longest time as worthless is being monetized and the first tranches of payments have already been received by 1MDB from the foreign buyers of the funds.

On 28th April 2017, the Singapore Straits Times owned by the Singapore government reported:
"To overcome the hurdle, 1MDB agreed to waive its right to claim from Aabar the US$2.43 billion guarantee. In return, Abu Dhabi arranged for an undisclosed entity domiciled in the Seychelles to buy the units from 1MDB at the guaranteed value, to be settled by deferred payments from this month to October 2022, said a senior financial executive familiar with the matter."

4. Claim on IPIC for US$3.5 billion in payments already made by 1MDB - RM15.17 billion

Again, this is part of the 1MDB-IPIC settlement signed recently.

This was also reported by the Singapore Straits Times in that same article.
"Under the settlement, Malaysia and IPIC will enter into negotiations to resolve roughly US$3.5 billion in cash advances and payments 1MDB made to several Abu Dhabi entities. Should IPIC fail to make full settlement before the deadline of end-December 2020, the Malaysian government can pursue legal claims against IPIC."  


Among all assets, this is still the biggest question mark but is anticipated to be resolved as IPIC has little choice since all those legal documents are in 1MDB's favour as the settlement to end the arbitration was signed due to the bigger picture of diplomatic relationships and not embarrass any party.

Let's Summarize then


Remember also that the majority of the liabilities listed by Tony Pua are long-term in nature and are only due many years away while the value of the majority of assets listed above are based on current prices and will only appreciate in value in the coming years - hence the interest costs are already well covered.

Which major development projects or businesses doesn't have debts? But the government and 1MDB has done very well to monetize and develop the assets until they have become very attractive assets with great prospect which more than covers the debts and interest.

And this is not counting the vast number of jobs that the 1MDB projects have created and will create as the flagship projects continue to develop.

Also not taken into account are the big Corporate Social Responsibility projects already done, the 8 military bases that 1MDB has helped to fund and develop and the role that 1MDB has played to correct the lop-sided Independent Power plant agreements signed during Mahathir's time and will help save Malaysia and Malaysians approximately Rm200 billion in the next two decades.

So, is RM60 billion more than enough to pay the RM41.7 billion claimed by YB Tony Pua?

In fact, it is very likely that those projects under 1MDB will make huge multi-billion profits at the end of the day.

*UPDATE* If you can believe MalaysiaKini then the profitability of 1MDB will be even more as the forecast that the value of Bandar Malaysia is RM90 billion instead of RM26 billion.

Hence the value of 1MDB's assets is RM124 billion compared to RM41.7 billion debt.



Mkini's former business editor and co-owner of Kinibiz (which failed and was closed down) just wrote an article with the title "Here’s how gov’t can make RM90b from Bandar Malaysia".


Basically, he is saying that the development of Bandar Malaysia has great prospects and 1MDB will end up making a lot of money - enough money to repay all its debts (which they allege people had songlap) and still have great profits (which they again allege that govt can songlap in future).

For so long, Pakatan and their friendly portals have been saying that govt will go bankrupt because of 1MDB's debts (which is already substantially repaid with the rest taken care of) and that govt has to use GST, use fuel subsidies, use sugar price bla bla bla to bail out and that this debt will be a burden on your next generation and the generation after that.

_But now the Pakatan folks are saying that Govt will make huge profits on 1MDB and there is no more debt that will be a burden on your next generation and the generation after that or need to bail-out?_

Please... make up your mind.

Which is which? You are making your supporters confused.

Govt going bankrupt or not going bankrupt but make huge profits instead?

But at least this article also pointed out that 1MDB had to pay RM2.7 billion to build/upgrade 8 military bases as payment for the Bandar Malaysia land - which completely destroys their previous argument that 1MDB got the land free or super-cheap!

BTW, this article also justifies that 1MDB borrowing to develop their projects will mean that eventually 1MDB will make huge profits and repay their debts - just like how any other business out there does it.

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Bandar Malaysia: Is there still a need to rush?

The news that the Malaysian Ministry of Finance has called off the sales of 60% interest in Bandar Malaysia due to non-payment came as a surprise to many.

MOF had said that the buyer, IWH CREC Sdn Bhd (ICSB), the consortium of locally-owned Iskandar Waterfront Holdings Sdn Bhd (IWH) and China Railway Engineering Corp (CREC) from China (M) failed to meet the payment obligations despite being granted repeated extensions.

Seeking to pounce on anything negative about 1MDB, the likes of Wall Street Journal and the Pakatan politicians has also came out with messages that says China has refused to allow CREC to bring money out of China to invest or that the cancellation of this deal is proof that the Bandar Malaysia project is not-viable.

Some Pakatan politicians such as DAP's Tony Pua  has opportunistically slammed the cancellation saying 1MDB's rationalization plans have failed and that Arul Kanda must resign.

Strangely, these politicans were the people who had initially slammed the signing of this sale in end 2015 - claiming it is Jual Negara to China.

And now, they are slamming that the deal has been cancelled?

These politicians are strange creatures.

If the reason for non-payment is indeed due to the capital controls imposed by China to stop outflows of funds and protect their foreign reserves, then this is not the first or only case.

There have been many deals in the world that was affected by these capital controls as you can read in the South China Morning Post article here.

In fact, a month back the media had also highlighted the Forest City project in Johor was briefly affected by  the capital controls.

However, in my opinion, there are many other reasons for the cancellation of this deal but chiefly, I believe there is simply no more need to rush and 1MDB and MOF can wait to extract bigger value and a better deal for Malaysia.

These are my reasons:

1. The political pressure on 1MDB has eased tremendously since 2015.


The period when the tender for Bandar Malaysia was called in Aug 2015 was also the period where the political pressure on 1MDB, PM Najib and the Government was the highest,

Hence there was a need to prove that 1MDB can monetize its assets and pay-off its big debts by itself without any assistance or bail-out for the government.

Due to the huge world-wide negative publicity on 1MDB then, it is likely that the Bandar Malaysia sale may not have gotten its best value.

On top of that, there was also uncertainty about Malaysia's economy in 2015 which came true when our economy slowed in 2016 - which would mean the Bandar Malaysia asset was not as attractive then.

Now that the political pressure and negative publicity of 1MDB has eased and our economy has started to recover strongly, it is likely that new bidders and more bidders may give a higher valuation for the strategic Bandar Malaysia land.

2, 1MDB cash-flow now is no longer squeezed compared to that period in 2015.



Recall that the sale of Edra  for a combined equity and debt of about RM17 billion in 2015 has allowed 1MDB to clear off all short-term loans and bank debts - except for the 3 bonds due in the years 2038, 2022 and 2023 - and has left 1MDB with RM2 billion cash to pay off bond interests and working capital requirements.

1MDB had also successfully sold plots of the Tun Razak Exchange (TRX) land to various local and international buyers which also has helped with 1MDB's cashflow.

It is also important to note that last week's settlement between Abu Dhabi and 1MDB has allowed 1MDB to monetize US$2.43 billion worth of fund units.

On 28th April 2017, the Singapore Straits Times owned by the Singapore government reported:
"To overcome the hurdle, 1MDB agreed to waive its right to claim from Aabar the US$2.43 billion guarantee. In return, Abu Dhabi arranged for an undisclosed entity domiciled in the Seychelles to buy the units from 1MDB at the guaranteed value, to be settled by deferred payments from this month to October 2022, said a senior financial executive familiar with the matter.

Out of this US$2.43 billion, US$1.2 billion have to be paid to IPIC by the end of this year while the remaining US$1.23 billion (RM 5.32 billion) will be used to pay off half-yearly interests right up to the year 2022 for the US$3.5 billion bonds.

On top of this, 1MDB had also cleared the way to pay off its biggest single debt - which is this US$3.5 billion bonds where the Singapore Straits Times also said:

"Under the settlement, Malaysia and IPIC will enter into negotiations to resolve roughly US$3.5 billion in cash advances and payments 1MDB made to several Abu Dhabi entities. Should IPIC fail to make full settlement before the deadline of end-December 2020, the Malaysian government can pursue legal claims against IPIC."  

Certainly there is new found cash-flow flexibility for 1MDB here.

The single biggest concern about the termination of the sale of Bandar Malaysia is really the RM2.4 billion Bandar Malaysia sukuk which is only due in various phases between the year 2021 to 2024 - but you can weigh that against the additional RM5.32 billion in cash-flow flexibility arising from the monetization of the fund units.

Therefore, there is certainly breathing space and cash-flow flexibility for MOF and 1MDB to extract the best value for Bandar Malaysia now which did not exist in the year 2015.

This is further evidenced by TRX's bold declaration early last month that there will be no more land sales in TRX for the next two to three years in order to unlock a higher land premium later,

3. The value and prospects for Bandar Malaysia have greatly increased since.


Remember that the tender for Bandar Malaysia was called in August 2015 and the signing of the sale was in December 2015 amidst great negative publicity and a slow-down in the economy then which has now improved on both counts.

Since then, land values in the Klang Valley has increased and much have been done to increase the prospect or remove the uncertainties for Bandar Malaysia.

For one, the MRT2 Sungai Buloh–Serdang–Putrajaya line has started construction and will have two stations in Bandar Malaysia - SSP21 and SSP22.

Additionally, the Singapore-Kuala Lumpur High Speed Rail-line agreement was finally signed on Dec 14, 2016 between the governments of Singapore and Malaysia which also confirms Bandar Malaysia to be the terminus station.

This signing moves it from being a planned HSR project to a confirmed HSR project in progress.

High-Speed Rail official signing in December 2016

The realignment of the Duta-Ulu Kelang Expressway Phase 3 (DUKE 3) expected to run along the border Bandar Malaysia has also been signed by the government in January 2016.

Certainly the confirmed and increased connectivity has further increased the value of Bandar Malaysia since the tender and signing of sale in 2015.

At the time, the total value of Bandar Malaysia based on the 60% sale price of RM7.41 billion was RM12.35 billion for the 486 acres land or 21.17 million square feet.

That works out to just RM583 per square feet.

Compare this to the plots of land sold in nearby TRX including Tabung Haji's acquisition of land in TRX for RM2,780 psf and Mulia Group's acquisition of land in TRX for RM4,490 psf -  in line with other commercial land deals in the Jalan Ampang and KLCC areas that were transacted around the RM3,000 to RM3,500 psf range.

And you must remember also that once the HSR is completed, Bandar Malaysia is just 90 minutes away from Singapore by rail.

Singapore commercial land prices are very high. In Oct 2016, a 1.1 Hectare plot of land was sold for SGD2.57 billion (RM7.96 billion). This works out to a staggering RM67,228 psf.

Even if Bandar Malaysia land is worth only 5% of Singapore land, it is already RM3,361 psf - much higher than the RM583psf in the now aborted sale.

In fact, one of the buyers IWH had publicly estimated the value of the Bandar Malaysia land at RM26 billion less than 3 months ago in an interview in February 2017 more than double the RM12.35 billion valuation during the sales signing in December 2015.

Tan Sri Lim Kang Hoo of IWH valuing the Bandar Malaysia land at RM26 billion now

Additionally, 1MDB and MOF, as the single largest shareholder in Bandar Malaysia also benefits from the 16 months planning and publicity put into developing Bandar Malaysia.

Aborting the sale does not mean that the High Speed Rail project or Bandar Malaysia project has been cancelled. It just mean that there are possible new JV partners coming in. MOF continues to plan and develop the site while waiting for new partners.

As one of my friends put it:
This is business matter and not politics as bring played by PH. If the government had played politics, then they would have further extend the agreement and terminate it after the election.

Conclusion

The financial markets have decided that the initial buyers are the losers in this cancellation. Share prices of locally listed IWH and its sister company Ekovest was punished by the markets - with Ekovest dropping as much as 30% within a single day after the cancellation of the sale was announced.

The cancellation of the sale certainly benefits the Malaysian Govt more than the private companies which got punished badly.

With the reasons given above, MOF's bold decision to cancel the sale agreement due to delayed payments is a positive step to ensure Malaysia and the Rakyat gets a better deal as it puts 1MDB and MOF in a much stronger and un-pressured position to extract higher values.

However, all is not cast in stone yet as IWH and China Rail has strongly protested the cancellation while PM Najib is scheduled to attend a Belt and Road forum in China next week where Malaysia is expected to sign a Memorandum of Understanding on basic infrastructure development with China.

I would not be surprised if Malaysia and the buyers revive the sale -perhaps with penalties for late payment or even revised terms and valuation more favourable to Malaysia. After all, the JV for Bandar Malaysia was one of those deals signed in PM Najib's historic visit to China in November 2016 where President Xi Jinping was a witness.

Regardless of the outcome, the evidence shows that the move by MOF to cancel the sale of Bandar Malaysia yesterday was the right move to extract better value for Malaysia.