Monday, March 27, 2017

Open Invitation to Second Finance Minister, Dato’ Seri Johari Abdul Ghani on Monday, 27 March 2017


A week ago, Second Finance Minister, Dato’ Seri Johari Abdul Ghani wrote an open letter to me asking me to give the 1MDB issue “a rest”.  I had responded the next day with an open letter outlining some of the many reasons why I won’t “give it a rest”.  This includes the fact that the Minister has not only failed to answer the questions which have been posed, and the multiple attempts to obfuscate the truth for the Malaysian public.

However, a week later, the Minister has unfortunately chosen to maintain an elegant silence.  Perhaps Dato’ Seri Johari is just hoping that I would have no choice but to then “give it a rest”.

If so, the Minister must be daydreaming.  Instead, I would like to offer Dato’ Seri Johari Abdul Ghani the perfect opportunity to not only give the 1MDB issue a rest, but to give me “a rest”.

I would like to extend an open invitation to the Second Finance Minister to come to my fund-raising dinner on Saturday, 6 May 2017 to be held in the heart of the Petaling Jaya Utara (PJU) constitueny, at the SS2 open air carpark.

Dato’ Seri Johari Abdul Ghani will be given a full hour to speak uninterrupted to my voters to tell them about why they should not only give the 1MDB issue arest, but why they give me a rest by voting me out of office.  There would be no better opportunity for the Minister to do so than in front of an expected sell-out crowd of 300 tables.

Dato’ Seri Johari can explain to the 3,000 best-behaved audience why my “behaviour in respect of the entire affair does not fit that of a lawmaker”.

The Minister is free to put forth his argument, per his open letter, that “the spectacle of name-calling, not only towards me but towards other members of the administration as well, is nothing less than embarrassing and demeaning to your standing as a Member of Parliament.”

Then the Minister can ask the voters of PJU directly, whether “the folks of Petaling Jaya Utara elected you as their MP to do better things than just being obsessed with 1MDB”.

In fact, the other speakers who are attending the dinner are DAP Parliamentary Leader, Lim Kit Siang; former Prime Minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad; Amanah President Mat Sabu and PKR Vice-President, Rafizi Ramli.  The Minister has a chance to put all of us ‘out of business’.

No BN Ministers would offer me such an opportunity to attend their official events and get even 15 minutes to explain how the Najib administration has stolen and misappropriated some RM25 billion of funds raised by 1MDB.

However, perhaps in my foolishness, I am giving UMNO-BN an excellent chance to sign my political death warrant.  The question is, will Dato’ Seri Johari have the courage and conviction in his defense of 1MDB to pick up the gauntlet?

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Malaysians are massively dissappointed that the Government has sided to protect the profits of oil and gas companies, at the expense of the man-on-the-street

Malaysians are hugely disappointed that the Government has made a complete U-turn on the previously announced proposal for fuel retailers to compete freely at prices below a government-set ceiling price.

"After joint discussions with oil companies, we have agreed to announce the weekly price of petrol and diesel every Wednesday and the price (for the first week under the new system) will be effective March 30," the Minister of Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism (KPDNKK) said in a live announcement on RTM1.

Datuk Hamzah Zainuddin said any companies that wished to sell below the weekly ceiling price must seek approval from his ministry.  "Petrol dealers that wish to hold promotions and provide discounts on the set price can do so by first seeking approval from KPDNKK.

"All oil companies and petrol dealers are reminded to abide by the new pricing. Stern action will be taken against dealers that sell petrol or diesel at prices other than what is set by the government," he said.

This announcement reversed the earlier announcement by the Second Finance Minister, Dato’ Seri Johari Abdul Ghani and Datuk Hamzah himself.

Bernama has reported on 16 March that the Second Finance Minister, Dato’ Seri Johari Abdul Ghani has said that “although the ceiling price was determined by the government, it was up to the oil companies to sell the petrol and diesel below it”.

This was further to the announcement made by the Minister of Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism, Datuk Hamzah Zainuddin on 4 March.

The first sign of a U-turn was when I received a parliamentary reply from the Minister of Finance earlier this week who said that “with regards to the proposal to fix ceiling prices for petroleum products, it is still in the study and evaluation stage which will directly involve several relevant agencies such as the Ministry of Finance and the Minstry of Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism”.

The sequence of events clearly showed that the Government came under pressure from the oil companies who protested against the policy which allowed them to compete freely.

Although the Minister will claim that on paper, those companies who were interested to sell at a lower price or hold promotions will still be able to do so after obtaining “approval” from KPDNKK, this process will be cumbersome and any applications will be subjected to protests from other oil companies.

Why should these oil companies remain ‘protected’ by the Government when petrol and diesel are no longer subsidised by the tax-payers?  What makes these oil and gas companies so special that the deserve special protection compared to other goods and services?

I had previously issued a statement in support of the ‘free competition below ceiling price’ policy because the ultimate beneficiaries of the policy will be the man-on-the-street who are burdened with high fuel prices and that of other essential goods and services.  Competition will allow more efficient petrol companies to offer lower prices to consumers.

The biggest winners to the Government’s policy now are Petronas, Shell, BHP, Petron and Caltex – as they effectively form a cartel to control petrol prices via a Government’s fixed price.

Such a policy will contradict the spirit and intent of the Competition Act which forbids price-fixing and monopolistic practices in nearly all of the other industries.  Even trade associations such as the Coffee Shop Association have been told that “fixing” coffee or tea prices – which have been their practice for decades – is now illegal under the Act.

We call upon the Government to prioritise the interest of the rakyat who are burdened with increasing prices of essential goods and services, and not that of big corporates like oil and gas companies.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Open Letter by Tony Pua, DAP National Publicity Secretary and Member of Parliament for Petaling Jaya Utara to Second Finance Minister, Dato’ Seri Johari Abdul Ghani on Tuesday, 20 March 2017

Dear Minister,

Thank you so much for your Open Letter addressed to me which was issued yesterday.  I am not sure whether I should be honoured to have received such a letter from a Minister for the very first time in my 9 years as a Member of Parliament.

Dato’,

You are extremely unhappy apparently because I called you a “liar” and accused you of “covering up for the Prime Minister”.  I checked my facts again and I’m more than happy to stand by my accusations.

Earlier this year, you told the media repeatedly that the Finance Ministry (MOF) would not take over any of the 1MDB’s debts.  This was a specific response to my question raised in mid-January as to whether the MOF took over 1MDB’s RM800 million loan from SOCSO and RM2.4 billion sukuk.

It was only when I received the convoluted parliamentary reply in the current sitting, I could conclude that MOF did indeed take over these debts.  The sad thing about the reply from the Minister of Finance was that it was clearly written in a way to obfuscate the truth.

You then dug a deeper hole for yourself by arguing that the RM3.2 billion of debt was an “operating debt” belonging to 1MDB’s wholly-owned subsidiary, 1MDB Real Estate (1MDB RE) and hence was not considered as 1MDB’s debt.  I then said that “no Finance Minister worth his salt would argue that the ‘operating debts’ of a wholly-owned subsidiary does not belong to the parent company’s accounting books”.

I also proved with facts published in the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Report, extracted from the Auditor-General’s (AG) report that more than 87% or RM2.8 billion of the RM3.2 billion of 1MDB RE borrowings never went towards the development of 1MDB’s real estate properties.  Hence I asked why did the MOF not insist that these advances to 1MDB be repaid?

Dato’,

You then went on to tell an audience at a MIDF lunch talk that the Malaysian government couldn’t press charges against 1MDB personalities “without complete information”.  You supported your claim by saying the the Auditor-General and the PAC could not point to anything specifically wrong with 1MDB.

Again, I pointed to specific sections of the PAC Report which clearly concluded that the 1MDB top management has on dozens of occasions – lied and misled the Board of Directors, defied the decisions of the Board or worse, acted without the Board’s authority, all of which are legal offences.  The PAC even asked the authorities to investigate the CEO, Datuk Shahrol Halmi and other officers involved for the above wrongdoings.  However, a year later, Datuk Shahrol Halmi remains comfortably as of today, a Director of PEMANDU agency in the Prime Minister’s Department.

You added in your letter that, “as far as the government is concerned, there is nothing to hide and nothing to cover up.” Then, I ask you, if so, why do you not propose for the Cabinet refusing to declassify the ‘harmless’ Auditor-General’s Report?

However, instead of answering all of the above questions, you ask me to “give it a rest”.

You opined that 1MDB is the most scrutinised entity by all enforcement agencies in Malaysia. However, you fail to also disclose that every single investigating agency was hampered and disrupted.

When the PAC announced that we were summoning Jho Low for questioning, the PAC Chairman was soon replaced by Datuk Hasan Arifin who promptly reversed the decision.  Datuk Hasan, even responded that he has to “cari makan” when asked by the media if the Prime Minister would be summoned.

Despite the diligence of the Auditor-General’s Office, key documents such as 1MDB’s bank statements for its overseas subsidiaries were not handed over to the AG.  Neither did Arul Kanda or Datuk Shahrol hand over many other documents they promised when requested by the PAC.

The biggest farce must be the “Super-Taskforce” investigating 1MDB comprising of the Attorney-General, the Inspector-General of Police, the MACC Chief Commissioner and the Bank Negara Governor  set up by the Prime Minister himself.  Did you forget that just as the then Attorney-General discovered shenanigans relating to the Prime Minister, he was promptly “retired” on spurious ‘health’ reasons?  As if on queue, the new Attorney-General effectively dissolved the “Super-Taskforce” and even went to the extent of instructing the MACC to stop any further investigations on the matter.

Dato’,

You started your letter whining that you are merely working “serve the nation” by taking “positive and proactive” steps.

Perhaps let me gently remind you that there is a difference between ‘serving the nation’ and ‘serving the Prime Minister’, by covering up the scandal so that the truth gets swept under the carpet and the crooks get away scot-free.

Do you not realise that we are now a renown kleptocracy and how damaging that is for our country?  Everyone who has taken an interest in the affairs of Malaysia knows from the documents presented by the United States Department of Justice and the Singapore Courts that US$731 million from 1MDB, found its way through dodgy investment funds and deceptive offshore companies into the personal bank account of Dato’ Seri Najib Razak.

Do you not think that to “serve the nation”, we must work to revive our heavily-tarnished global reputation?  And do you not think that the only way we can remove the kleptocracy label from Malaysia is not by sweeping the truth under the carpet but instead ensure that the kleptocrats are charged and appropriately punished?

In fact, if you really want to take “positive and proactive steps” to help the nation, why haven’t you made a claim for the US$1 billion worth of assets being seized by the United States which were acquired with funds laundered and stolen from 1MDB?  Why is the Government still keeping up the pretences that 1MDB did not lose these billions of dollars?

Dear Minister,

The above are just some of the many reasons why I won’t give the 1MDB issue a rest.  The issue doesn’t deserve to be rested because you and your fellow Ministers have refused to answer simple questions and more importantly, the crooks who audaciously misappropriated more than US$5 billion are still at large.

Any elected representative with any sense of morality and integrity, who believes in protecting the interest of the man-on-the-street and who wants justice meted out to criminals who rob the country will never let the matter rest until the truth is found.

I am sure that my voters in Petaling Jaya Utara and all right-thinking Malaysians would overwhelmingly back my dogged persistence and relentless pursuit to ensure that Malaysia’s corrupt leaders and its kleptocratic government are made accountable for their crimes.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Dato’ Seri Johari Abdul Ghani must prove that the Auditor-General (AG) couldn’t find specifically what went wrong with 1MDB by seeking declassification of the AG’s Report on 1MDB

Last week, the Second Finance Minister Dato’ Seri Johari Abdul Ghani told an audience of the investment community at a luncheon organised by the Malaysian Industrial Development Finance Bhd (MIDF) that the Government “can’t press charges on 1MDB without a full picture”.

He argued that "even the PAC (Public Accounts Committee) and AG (Auditor-General) were unable to specifically tell what went wrong”.

Dato’ Seri Johari must prove to Malaysians that he has not become a big liar defending a kleptocratic administration by demanding that the Cabinet declassify the Auditor-General’s Report immediately.

How can the Second Finance Minister expect Malaysians to believe him that the AG could not anything specifically wrong with 1MDB when the Najib administration has classified the AG’s Report under the Official Secrets Act (OSA) since its publication in February 2016?

Even the then Auditor-General, Tan Sri Ambrin Buang has emphasised that the intent of the OSA classification was only for the purpose of the PAC to complete its own report without unnecessary leaks.  He has stated clearly that there was no need for the AG’s Report to be classified after the PAC Report has been completed and left it to the discretion of the Government to declassify the document.

Can Dato’ Seri Johari tell us why the the AG’s Report remains classified?


Is it because even the ‘sanitised’ PAC Report itself has hinted at a whole lot of shenanigans discovered by the AG, if further exposed, would make life difficult for the Barisan Nasional Government?

For example, the PAC found that the 1MDB’s multi-billion dollar investments in Petrosaudi and other funds were carried out without any proper study or due diligence.  For that matter, the PAC and the AG found that 1MDB decided to invest a total of US$1 billion in a joint venture with Petrosaudi International Limited within just 8 days.

We have also since discovered with corroborating evidence from Bank Negara as well as court cases in the United States and Singapore, that US$700 million of that sum was siphoned to Good Star Limited, a company owned by the flamboyant Jho Low.

The PAC and the AG also found that 1MDB’s management executed multiple multi-billion dollar transactions without the approval of the 1MDB Board of Directors.  The PAC and AG also concluded that the top management had provided false information to the Board of Directors on multiple occassions.  Worse, the top management was found to have acted in defiance of decisions made by the Board of Directors.

The PAC and AG’s Reports were very specific in these allegations.

It true that the PAC and AG’s report were not sufficiently comprehensive. The PAC and AG could not investigate the US$731 million of funds originating from 1MDB which were deposited into the Prime Minister, Dato’ Seri Najib Razak’s personal bank account because 1MDB refused to supply its overseas banking documents.

However, there are already sufficient instances of criminal wrong-doings and negligence by the top management highlighted by both the AG and the PAC in their reports.  This was also the reason why the PAC had recommended that the authorities carry out investigations against Datuk Shahrol Halmi and other management officers who were involved.

Hence the question that the Second Finance Minister must answer is – why haven’t investigations into the shenanigans in 1MDB, especially by Datuk Shahrol Halmi been completed after more than a year?  Why is Datuk Shahrol still a Director at the PEMANDU agency in the Prime Minister’s Department?

Is it because he is ‘untouchable’ and protected by the Prime Minister himself, so as to avoid even more damning truths surfacing on how tens of billions of ringgit were misappropriated by 1MDB, of which a substantial portion of it was channelled to Dato’ Seri Najib Razak?

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Dato’ Seri Johari Abdul Ghani must think that Malaysians are born yesterday to buy his excuse that the Government “can't press charges on 1MDB without a full picture”.

I was stunned by the Second Finance Minister, Dato’ Seri Johari Abdul Ghani’s remarks to the media that the Government “can’t press charges on 1MDB without a full picture”.  I had certainly expected better of him, as he was a known critic of 1MDB before his appointment as a Minister.

"The transfer of the money to the accounts and so on, it’s not that. That’s only half the story. If you want to charge people, you need the complete story," Johari said at a luncheon talk organised by Malaysian Industrial Development Finance Bhd which was reported by the Edge Financial Daily yesterday.

Of course, we need the complete story in order to charge any person for a crime.  However, the question is there must be a concerted effort to investigate the crime. 

From what we can see happening in Malaysia at this point of time, there is no attempt at all to investigate the crimes everyone can see which have taken place in Malaysia.

The United States Department of Justice (US DOJ) has clearly presented all documentary evidence of how funds amounting to more than US$5.6 billion have been siphoned from 1MDB and laundered overseas.  This included more than US$1 billion which have been siphoned to Good Star Limited which was owned by Jho Low, whose whereabouts are a mystery today.  The 1MDB management had persistently tried to hide this fact by lying that Good Star Limited was owned by 1MDB’s joint venture partner, Petrosaudi International Limited.

In Singapore, bankers have been sent to jail and bank licences have been withdrawn for facilitating the above same transactions.  This has included funds which has passed through to and from a Tanore Finance Corporation via its bank account with Falcon Private Bank to the personal bank account of Dato’ Seri Najib Razak.

And yet, despite the obvious and ease of accessing all the relevant evidence of grand corruption, the Second Finance Minister has the cheek to tell Malaysians that the Government “can’t press charges without the full picture”.

Dato’ Seri Johari even had the gall to dismiss the case in Singapore as not having involved Malaysians. "The governance issue happened in Singapore, not in Malaysia. And those characters are actually Singaporeans,” he said.

The Minister is obviously pretending very hard to be ignorant and stupid because the Singapore cases clearly named the parties who laundered the funds included Jho Low, his father Tan Sri Larry Low and other associates who were Malaysians.  Evidence including banking transactions were presented to the Court demonstrating how these funds stolen from 1MDB were misappropriated, including the amounts ending up in the Prime Minister’s bank account.

If the Minister is really clueless about the evidence and what took place in the US DOJ and Singapore Courts, I will be most happy to share the information and documents with the Minister.

However, please don’t tell half-truths to the Malaysian public that "even the PAC (Public Accounts Committee) and AG (auditor-general) were unable to specifically tell what went wrong.

The AG has discovered many wrongs which were cited in the AG’s Report on 1MDB which the Cabinet has decided to classify under the Official Secrets Act (OSA).  This was despite the fact that 1MDB had refused full cooperation with the AG by denying the AG access to crucial banking documents of its overseas subsidiaries.

But even what little revealed in the PAC Report was sufficient for the PAC to conclude massive wrong-doing on the part of the management.  The PAC has specifically demanded that Datuk Shahrol Halmi be investigated for his role in causing the billions of ringgit of losses to 1MDB and the Malaysian Government. 

It has been nearly a year since the report has been tabled in Parliament. Why hasn’t any action at all be taken against Datuk Shahrol Halmi?  In fact, why is Datuk Shahrol Halmi still a Director at the PEMANDU agency in the Prime Minister’s Department?

The reality is, not only has the Government made no effort into investigating the scandal, it is blocking all attempts to investigate the crime. For example, the Attorney-General abused his power by instructing the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) from further investigating the US$681 million or more which were discovered in the Prime Minister’s bank account. Subsequently, he rejected a request for cooperation by the Swiss Attorney-General to investigate the case.

Dato’ Seri Johari Abdul Ghani may not have been involved in the attempts to stall or stop the investigations, as he was only appointed a Minister in July last year.  However, he should not try to belittle the intelligence of ordinary Malaysians or take us for fools by claiming that the Government can’t press charges because it doesn’t have a “full picture”.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Which Finance Minister in the world worth his salt would tell you that the debts of its wholly-owned subsidiaries are not the debt of the parent company?

First of all, I would like to thank the Second Finance Minister, Dato’ Seri Johari Abdul Ghani for issuing the official statement “Some Facts for Tony Pua”, in response to my earlier press statement on this issue.

This is because the Minister confirmed the very facts which I had stated.

1.     The Minister confirmed that real estate owned by the Government was sold to 1MDB at “nominal” prices.  A check on 1MDB financial statements would show that the 70-acre Tun Razak Exchange (TRX) land was priced at RM64 per square feet (psf) for a total of RM194 million, while the 486-acre Bandar Malaysia was at RM72psf for a total of RM1.67 billion.

2.     The Minister concurred that the 1MDB real estate companies took loans amounting to RM800 million from SOCSO and another RM2.4 billion worth of sukuk for Bandar Malaysia.

3.     The Minster also confirmed that the above debts amounting to RM3.2 billion are no longer under the books of 1MDB as they have been assumed by the Ministry of Finance.

The question is, how else to describe the above transactions other than a bailout?  The Government granted these parcels of land at “nominal prices” to 1MDB, but when effectively less than 50% of these parcels of land were ‘returned’ to the Government, they came with an attached liability of RM3.2 billion?

The Minister failed to mention the fact that 1MDB has sold 30.5 acres of TRX and 40% of Bandar Malaysia for RM3.5 billion and RM7.8 billion respectively where the proceeds are due entirely to 1MDB.  None of it went towards the settlement of these debts.  So why is it that 1MDB gets to keep all the astronomical profits, while the Ministry of Finance is left to carry all the liabilities in their entirety?

Dato’ Seri Johari tried to wriggle his way out of it by claiming that the above were merely the “operating debts” of the real estate subsidiaries.  Malaysians fail to understand his convoluted argument that “there is therefore a clear distinction between 1MDB debts, which will not be taken over by MOF Inc, and the BMSB/TRXC project company operating debt, which are part of the assets and liabilities of the company…”

I hope that Dato’ Seri Johari, who was formerly a corporate man himself, did not actually draft the statement because it makes no financial sense.  No Finance Minister worth his salt would argue that the “operating debts” of a wholly-owned subsidiary does not belong to the parent company’s accounting books.

The Second Finance Minister might do well to consult 1MDB’s newly appointed auditors, Parker Randall for an accounting opinion before issuing such embarrassing statements.

What is worse is that, even if Dato’ Seri Johari’s illogical statement holds, he has failed to acknowledge that both the Auditor-General and the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) have discovered that the bulk of the money raised from the borrowings did not go towards the real estate projects!

Page 43 of the PAC Report would tell you that out of RM800 million borrowed from SOCSO, only RM338 million went towards 1MDB Real Estate and its projects.  The balance was “advanced” to the 1MDB parent company for other purposes.

Even more shocking, Page 45 of the same report would tell you that not a single sen of the RM2.4 billion sukuk raised went towards the development of Bandar Malaysia or TRX, or any other 1MDB real estate projects!  The net proceeds from the sukuk were “advanced” to the 1MDB parent company for other purposes as well as to refinance previous borrowings, which were also utilised for non-real estate purposes.

The 1MDB CEO, Arul Kanda himself, confessed to the Public Accounts Committee that due to cashflow difficulties within the 1MDB group, these funds were “diverted” from their intended purposes.

Hence while the intent of the RM3.2 billion of borrowings was perhaps “operational” as emphasized by the Second Finance Minister, in reality, the overwhelming bulk of the borrowings was brazenly utilised for “non-operational” purposes.

Therefore, using Dato’ Seri Johari’s own argument, since more than RM2.8 billion of the borrowings were “non-operational” in nature, 1MDB must pay back these “advances” to MOF.

Otherwise, it’s a triple-whammy for the Malaysian tax-payers – where (1) 1MDB made multi-billion ringgit profits from nominally priced land from the Government to partially cover up tens-of-billions of ringgit of losses from other 1MDB transactions; (2) the Government takes back less than 50% of the land attached to a RM3.2 billion liability and (3) the RM3.2 billion borrowed was never invested in the land in the first place, which means that MOF itself has to further invest in the projects to realise their value.

The Malaysian tax-payers cannot be more screwed and victimised than the extra-ordinary bailout that is taking place right before our very eyes.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Don't “thank” the Domestic Trade Minister for raising sugar prices by “only 11 sen” - facts proved that the BN Government has allowed Malaysia’s sugar duopoly to make super-profits over the past 2 years

Two days ago, Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin said Malaysians should be thankful for the minimal hike in sugar price.  He said the hike, at only 3.8%, was minor compared with what was proposed.

This followed the ministry’s recent announcement that the new price of coarse granulated white sugar from March 1 onwards was RM2.95 per kg, up from the previous RM2.84.

“In fact, when we did the calculation, the millers had been asking us to increase the price to RM3.20, which is a jump of 40 sen. But from our calculation, we took the average and set it at the minimum of 11 sen,” he told reporters at the Dewan Rakyat.

“Malaysians should thank me instead of being angry with me,” Hamzah said.

An arrogant statement like that by the Minister is an open invitation for a fact-check.  In keeping with the current fad of “fact-checks” as epitomised by Malaysia Communications and Multimedia Commission’s (MCMC) “Sebenarnya” portal, I dug up the historical prices of global raw sugar prices, Malaysia government’s “Long-Term Contracts” (LTC) for raw sugar supply, our historical subsidies for processed white sugar and the Manufacturer’s white sugar price (before subsidy). (Please refer to table attached.)

Prior to 2015, Malaysia’s two sole sugar manufacturers purchased raw sugar via Malaysia government’s LTC for imported raw sugar supply.  For 2009-2011, the fixed raw sugar price was US$17.50 per 100lbs, while for 2012-2014, the price per 100lbs was US$26.00.

The LTC raw sugar purchasing system was subsequently abolished and manufacturers purchased import their raw sugar supply directly based on global market raw sugar prices.

I have also calculated the Manufacturer’s white sugar price, which is the sum of retail white sugar price plus any subsidy paid by the Government.  This will be the price that the two manufacturers receive per kilogram of sugar sold.

Very simply, I put the manufacturer’s raw sugar purchasing price and the processed sugar selling price historical trends from 2010 to date together in a single chart as shown in Chart A below.

The Chart itself speaks a thousand words.

Between January 2012 to December 2014, the manufacturer’s raw sugar supply price was US$26 per 100lbs.  They could sell processed sugar at RM2.84/kg and had no problems making a profit.

The question that needs to be asked is, today, the global market raw sugar price is approximately US$18.16 per 100lbs, why is it that the BN government see it fit to further increase the retail sugar price to RM2.95/kg?

Even after accounting for the differences in exchange rate over the period of time, the price of sugar should have been reduced, and not increased!

Chart A:


Worse, if you look at the raw sugar supply price in 2015, it dipped for the manufacturers immediately from US$26 in December 2014 to US$15.06 in January 2015, and further to a low of only US$10.67 in August 2015, why did the Government allow the manufacturers to continue making astronomical profits at RM2.84/kg?

Why hadn’t the Government reduced the price of sugar drastically in 2015 when the raw sugar supply price hit rock bottom?  As a comparison, even when the manufacturers bought raw sugar for US$17.50 prior between 2009 and 2011, the manufacturer’s sugar price was only between RM2.05 and RM2.50.

The data proved beyond doubt that there is absolutely no need for Malaysians to “thank” the Domestic Trade Minister as demanded by Dato’ Seri Hamzah Zainuddin.  Instead, Malaysians should perhaps be cursing and swearing at the Minister and the BN Government for stupidly (or perhaps intentionally) allowing the two Malaysian sugar manufacturers for profiteering via a Government-imposed selling price at the expense of ordinary suffering Malaysians.

We call upon the Government to not only withdraw the recent price hike of 11 sen for the retail price of sugar, but instead further lower the ceiling price from RM2.84/kg to reflect the substantially lower global price of raw sugar over the past 2 years.  This should be done immediately without any compensation or subsidies paid to the manufacturers.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Finance Minister’s convoluted answer on MoF takeover of 1MDB’s real estate assets was a blatant attempt to mask at least a RM3.2 billion bailout

I had submitted a question last week to the Finance Minister, Dato’ Seri Najib Razak which only required a simple straightforward, possibly 2-sentence answer.  I have asked the Finance Minister to “list the 1MDB real estate assets taken over by the Ministry of Finance (MoF) and the consideration paid for them”.

More importantly, I asked “did MoF take over the borrowings associated with these assets including, the RM800 million from SOCSO and RM2.4 billion in sukuk bonds”.  This question only required a simple “yes or no” reply, with the total borrowings assumed by the MoF, if any.

What I received was a long grandmother story which tried to obviously obfuscate the answer.

The Finance Minister tried to pin the blame or responsibility for the take over of assets on the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).  The PAC had indeed recommended that the MoF takeover these assets and I have no problems with that.
Anak-anak syarikat dan aset milik kumpulan 1MDB (TRX, Bandar Malaysia, tanah Air Itam, tanah Pulau Indah) seharusnya diserahkan kepada MKD, supaya dapat dikawal selia dan diuruskan dengan lebih rapi dan teliti. (pg 106)

To the second part of my question, again he shifted to responsibility to the PAC by quoting page 81 of the PAC report which stated that
…pinjaman SOCSO sebanyak RM800 juta oleh TRX City Sdn Bhd dan sukuk sebanyak RM2.4 bilion oleh Bandar Malaysia Sdn Bhd akan diuruskan, di mana ia akan kekal ditanggung oleh aliran tunai projek TRX dan projek Bandar Malaysia.

That was a most blatant slight of hand, and I actually had to double-check my own copy of the PAC Report because I didn’t recall any such recommendations. My memory certainly did not fail me because the statement on pg 81 was actually the proposal submitted by 1MDB to the PAC and not, a recommendation by the PAC!


However, while Dato’ Seri Najib Razak did not explicitly say “yes” or “no” to the above question, it is now clear as day that the MoF has effectively bailed out 1MDB to the tune of RM3.2 billion by taking over these debts!

It also meant that the Second Finance Minister, Dato’ Seri Abdul Johari Ghani’s prior insistence to the media that there was no taking over of 1MDB debts planned over the assets takeover was a blatant lie.

Malaysians are being raped two-times over the above transaction because these pieces of land were “sold” to 1MDB by the MoF at bargain basement prices.  The land for the 70-acre TRX was priced at RM64 per square feet (psf) for a total of RM194 million, while the 486-acre Bandar Malaysia was at RM72psf for a total of RM1.67 billion.

However, 1MDB has already sold parts of TRX to Tabung Haji and Armed Forces Pension Fund-owned Affin Bank for more than RM2,700 and RM4,500psf.  In total, 30.5 acre of TRX was sold for approximately RM3.5 billion.  At the same time 40% of Bandar Malaysia has been sold for more than RM1,000psf.  The proceeds of these sale has already gone into the pockets of 1MDB to service its mountain of debt unrelated to its property division.

Hence we were screwed first time when we practically gave the super-prime land to 1MDB for free, allowing 1MDB to blindly profit for billions of ringgit.  We are now screwed the second time, when MoF takes back the balance of the assets from 1MDB, now attached with a mega RM3.2 billion debt.

Malaysians can now understand why former Second Finance Minister, Dato’ Seri Husni Hanadzlah decided to quit the Cabinet.  The brazen bailout horrors which are taking place today are just mind-blowing – and the above refers only to the real estate transactions.

No Minister with an iota of integrity or credibility would want to remain in this Cabinet, bent on using billions of ringgit of tax-payers’ money to cover up the single largest kleptocratic crime by the Najib administration.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

1MDB Chairman, Tan Sri Irwan Serigar must answer as to why his fellow Directors are so tardy in making urgent and critical decisions on the financial audit of scandal-ridden 1MDB

The last audited financial statements filed by 1MDB was for the accounts for the year-ending March 2014.  1MDB has failed to file their financial statements for 2 consecutive years, March 2015 and March 2016 which were due to by October 2015 and 2016 respectively.

Even so, Deloitte Malaysia has since July last year, withdrawn its endorsements for the financial statements of March 2013 and 2014.  At the same time, the disgraced audit firm announced that it had resigned as the auditors of 1MDB as at February 2016.

The new auditors, Parker Randall, which is operated locally by a four-partner Afrizan Tarmili Khairul Azhar (aftaas) was appointed in January this year.

I had asked in my parliamentary question to the Finance Minister last week as to whether Parker Randall will re-audit the 1MDB financial statements for March 2013 and 2014.

The Minister of Finance responded that the Board of Directors will make a decision on the above on “after further discussions with the new auditor”.

The reply also stated that the last time the Board of Directors met to discuss the implications of the US Department of Justice asset-seizure kleptocracy suit was prior to 26 July 2016 when 1MDB had issued a press statement.

Malaysians are shocked that for exactly 1 year after Treasurer-General, Tan Sri Irwan Serigar took over the 1MDB Chairmanship from the disgraced Tan Sri Lodin Wok Kamaruddin, the Board of Directors had basically sat on their backsides and demonstrated little or no urgency over the 1MDB fiasco.

Allegations and evidence have been produced and made available globally by the US Department of Justice which showed that more than US$5 billion have been misappropriation from 1MDB and laundered around the world and yet our Treasurer-General acts as if it is no big deal.  These allegations and evidence have been supported since by court prosecutions which took place in Singapore and Switzerland against banks which had facilitated the money-laundering transactions.

Worse, it has also been discovered that at least US$731 million from the above misappropriated sum had found its way into the Prime Minister, Dato’ Seri Najib Razak’s personal bank account.  Despite the gravity of the crime, our Treasurer-General, the most senior civil servant responsible for managing our hundreds of billions of ringgit of annual tax revenue has shown only nonchalance in the scandal.

Any auditor worth their salt would immediately tell you that they will not be able to complete a financial audit for the year without the “opening balance” or prior year accounts.  In this case, it is clear that there have been no audited and certified accounts for March 2013 and 2014 given that Deloitte has withdrawn its endorsement.

What’s more, the Companies Act requires the annual submission of financial statements endorsed by an appointed external auditor to the Registrar of Companies.  It is the statutory requirement for the independent auditor to carry out the above task and Directors who fail to ensure that the above are duly completed in a timely matter may be punishable by up to 5 years’ jail or thirty thousand ringgit.

The only resolution for the above matter is for the accounts for March 2013 and 2014 to be re-audited and re-stated.

Hence, what is the point of appointing Parker Randall as the new auditors if they cannot properly perform their duties? Why is the 1MDB Board of Directors dragging its feet under the chairmanship of the Treasurer-General?

We call upon Tan Sri Irwan Serigar to do what he is being paid to do by the Malaysian tax-payers properly.  He must remember that his job is to protect the integrity of his office and not to protect those who have misappropriated and stolen billions of ringgit from the Government and the people.

Monday, March 13, 2017

There’s nothing personal about a Tun Dr Mahathir – Dato’ Seri Nazri Aziz 1MDB Debate

A public spat between former Prime Minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and the Minister of Tourism, Dato’ Seri Nazri Aziz has led to a 1MDB debate challenge which has been duly accepted by the latter.

The Tourism Minister even took a dig at his colleague, EPU Minister, Dato’ Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan, who withdrew at the last minute after agreeing to a highly anticipated debate with the Penang Chief Minister, Lim Guan Eng.

Dato’ Seri Nazri said he would not budge. "Why should I? I am Nazri Aziz, you should know me better, I am not Rahman Dahlan," he told Malaysiakini when contacted.

The Minister’s bravado has apparently put the Najib Cabinet in a panic mode as the debate on 1MDB has been a subject matter which they have taken great pains to hide and cover up.

Even 1MDB CEO, Arul Kanda withdrew from a debate with me last year, after accepting a similar challenge with much bravado – holding a press conference in a hotel to say “Bring it on!”

They are so worried about the negative fallout for the Najib administration that Finance Minister II, Dato’ Seri Johari Abdul Ghani had to declare that the proposed debate between Tun Dr Mahathir and Dato’ Seri Nazri had “nothing to do” with the Government.


How ridiculous is it for the Finance Minister II to claim that the RM50 billion corruption scandal has “nothing to do” with the Government?

The 1MDB debate has everything to do with the Government, and in particular the Prime Minister, Dato’ Seri Najib Razak.  The latter, who is also Finance Minister I, has been found to have received US$731 million which had originated from 1MDB based on the documents and evidence produced by the United States Department of Justice (US DOJ).  The 1MDB scandal has made Malaysia the kleptocratic capital of the world and put Malaysians to shame.

In fact, it is shocking that to date, since the US DOJ filed the suit to seize assets acquired with money laundered from 1MDB in July 2016, Dato’ Seri Najib Razak has not once denied the allegations that he has received the US$731 million misappropriated from 1MDB.

Dato’ Seri Johari Abdul Ghani tried to argue that the matter had purportedly already been “debated extensively in Parliament”.

He told the reporters that “the report that (was) prepared by the auditor general, (the) public accounts committee (PAC), have been deliberated extensively in Parliament, all questions have been answered in Parliament.”

However, the Finance Minister II failed to also clarify that the Parliament Speaker has forbidden any answers on questions relating to the 1MDB US DOJ suit, preposterously claiming “subjudice”.  At the same time, the then newly appointed PAC Chairman, Dato’ Hasan Arifin took pains to unilaterally make amendments to the PAC Report and refused any attempts during the meetings to investigate links between the scandal and the Prime Minister.  Worse, if all questions on 1MDB has allegedly been answered, then why is the Cabinet hiding the Auditor-General’s Report under the Official Secrets Act (OSA)?

Even the Finance Minister II himself failed to answer questions raised in Parliament on the scandal during the last sitting.

Hence with the utter failure of the Parliament, the next best thing Malaysians can hope for to gain the truth is via a debate. And one between the former premier and one of the harshest critic of the Najib administration, versus one of the most senior Minister’s in Najib’s cabinet could not have come at a better time.

In fact, if the Government has nothing to hide, we call upon the Cabinet to insist that the debate be broadcast live on RTM or TV3, for there could not be a better opportunity for the Najib administration to destroy the opposition’s allegations on 1MDB and clear its tainted reputation.

Friday, March 03, 2017

Dato’ Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan failed to convince anyone that he has not abused his powers to benefit developers while he was the Housing Minister

Dato’ Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan has been embroiled in the controversy of granting an extension of time (EOT) for the construction of condominium projects by BHL Group of Companies.  The former Urban Well-Being, Housing and Local Government (KPKT) Minister’s move has resulted in the house-buyers failing to secure Liquidated and Ascertained Damages (LAD) from the developer as stipulated in the Sale and Purchase Agreements (SPAs).

The aggrieved house-buyers have filed a judicial review against the Housing Controller and the Minister for the above decision last year.

Last Tuesday, the High Court ruled that the Housing Controller has no power to grant an extension of time to developers who delay the completion of housing projects.  Justice Hanipah Farikullah, who allowed the judicial review application by 71 house buyers, said the minister’s decision to rely on a regulation to allow the extension was against the Housing Development (Control & Licensing) Act.

We have called upon Dato’ Seri Rahman Dahlan to explain why he abused his powers to benefit the developers who have failed to deliver their projects on a timely basis for the house-buyers.

Worse, it has been discovered that the appeal by BHL approved by the Minister was supported by a letter from the wife of the Attorney-General, Tan Sri Apandi Ali, masquerading as a Director of the company.  The existence of the letter raises valid suspicions of bias, cronyism and impropriety.

Yesterday, the former Minister, Dato’ Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan denied that he has abused his power in the process.



"The decision I took was based on the powers clearly given to KPKT minister as stated in Act 118 (Housing Development (Control and Licensing) Act 1966)," he said.  He added that the decision in granting EOT was based on merit and was not influenced by support letters.

However, the Court ruling has stated clearly that the Minister has no power under Section 24 of the Housing and Development (Control and Licensing) Act, to empower housing controllers to waive or change any of the terms and conditions of the prescribed statutory agreement.  What “power” is the Minister harping about?

What is however most important, is the fact that Dato’ Seri Rahman Dahlan had insisted that his decision was based on the “merits” of the case.  However, in his statement, the Minister failed to specify even a single instance of such a “merit” to justify his decision which had rubbed salt onto the wounds of the house-buyers.

What could be so convincing and justifiable in the appeal by the developer, other than the fact that it was put forth by the wife of the Attorney-General, which moved the Minister to arbitrarily extend the completion date of the housing project by 12 months resulting in millions of ringgit of losses by the house-buyers?

Among the primary roles of the Minister is to safeguard the interest of Malaysian home-buyers against incompetent and unscrupulous developers.  Barring perhaps acts of God, the Minister should never interfere in a transaction, especially if it were to clearly result in substantial losses to the house-buyers.

Instead of granting approvals for extensions to Developers and penalising house-buyers, the Minister should have instead given warnings to the Developers that the Government will not hesitate to assist home-buyers in asserting their rights should the former fail to deliver their promises.