Friday, June 29, 2012

1MDB Paper Profits

Pakatan: 1MDB account 'manipulated' to show profit

S Pathmawathy
5:38PM Jun 28, 2012

1Malaysia Development Berhad's (1MDB) accounts are "not as sound" as made out to be, claimed three opposition members of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

This is because the profits shown in the balance sheet submitted by the government's strategic investment arm had been propped up by the re-evaluation of parcels of prime land as well as the injection of loans, said Petaling Jaya Utara DAP MP Tony Pua (right).

At a press conference today, he said PAC chairperson Azmi Khalid claiming that the company is financially sound was an "unfair assessment".

Citing the company's statement of cash flow from March 2011, Pua noted that 1MDB's profits of RM544 million that year were paper gains.

As for the profits recorded in 2011, they were from the evaluation of 1MDB's property from RM194 million to a whopping RM827 million bringing the total value of 1MDB's property to RM1.02 billion, a 426 percent jump.

Record balance from loan

Pua said the parcels of land included government-owned plots in Jalan Cochrane and Jalan Imbi, were transferred to the company for the development of the Kuala Lumpur International Financial District (KLIFD) at a "much lower" cost.

He added that the company's cash flow also showed that the record[ed] balance was due a RM 2.06 billion loan.

"If it was not for the borrowing, the cash flow would have been negative, resulting in a loss for the financial year 2011.

"The reality is that 1MDB's accounts are manipulated to (reflect profit). It is not fair to conclude that the accounts are in order. Let's not assume that their cash flow is healthy," he said.

Selayang PKR parliamentarian William Leong reminded Azmi that it is wrong to come to that conclusion when 1MDB had refused to furnish six out of seven documents requested by the PAC.

The sole document furnished by the investment arm to PAC was its financial balance sheet for the year financial ended 2011.

"Once when we have everything required then we can conclude," said Leong with concurrence coming from Tumpat PAS MP Kamaruddin Jaffar (left).


In the past, when the PAC was probing the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ), every document sought was handed over to the parliamentary committee, he said.

"Why should it be any different with 1MDB?" he asked.

Kamaruddin added that they had expressed their concerns on the issue at yesterday's PAC's meeting and the Auditor-General's office has been asked to look into the company finances.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Denial of Voter Stats Hints at Electoral Fraud

Denial of voter stats sparks fears of electoral fraud
By Shannon Teoh Jun 25, 2012

KUALA LUMPUR, June 25 — The government’s refusal to reveal the number of voters registered by political parties has raised further suspicion of fraud in the electoral roll, a claim which has seen tens of thousands take to the streets in two mass rallies over the past year.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz said, in a written reply to a parliamentary question by Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua, that the Election Commission (EC) “does not have statistics on newly registered voters by each party for each quarter since 2008.”

But Pua told a press conference today that the reply given last week to his written question posed during the March sitting contradicted previous reports in 2010 and last year where the EC issued a breakdown of voters registered by parties.

“I am shocked by this answer which is a huge lie by the prime minister,” the DAP publicity chief said, referring to reports by Bernama and The Malaysian Insider as proof that “the detailed breakdown exists.”

He added that he had made repeated requests for the statistics from the respective state EC offices as well as the headquarters in Putrajaya and in Parliament.

“Why is the government now refusing? This strengthens doubts over the cleanliness of the electoral roll and suspicions that new voters or foreigners are being planted,” he said.

The Malaysian Insider had previously reported in September 2010 that the DAP had registered the most number of new voters followed by Umno, based on figures released by the EC in a press conference.

EC deputy chief Datuk Wan Ahmad Wan Omar had also broken down the number of new voters in Penang according to which party registered them in August last year.

A survey by Merdeka Center last month also showed that 92 per cent of voters in Peninsular Malaysia want the electoral roll cleaned before the general election that must be called within the year.

Pakatan Rakyat (PR) has claimed that at least 120,000 doubtful voters are on the roll while independent political consultant Ong Kian Ming has said his Malaysian Electoral Roll Analysis Project (MERAP) pointed to over 400,000 doubtful names, enough to decide 35 federal seats.

The two Bersih rallies on July 9, 2011 and April 28 this year drew tens of thousands to the streets of the capital, events which ended in clashes with the police who fired tear gas and water cannons to disperse the crowds.

Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s popularity had dipped immediately after both demonstrations for free and fair elections.

The July 9 protest resulted in the prime minister announcing a raft of liberal reforms including a parliamentary select committee on electoral improvements.

But Bersih proceeded to hold the April gathering after saying it was disappointed with the findings of the panel, accusing the government of not being serious about cleaning up the electoral system.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Crime: Stop Spinning & Give Full Statistics

Minister in Prime Minister's Department, Datuk Idris Jala was quoted in The Star yesterday, "if the [crime] statistics are not convincing, perhaps then we should try to dwell into how the police were able to bring the crime rates down in a specific area, for example, one of the hotspots”.

He further called on the media to play its role in fighting crime and help arrest the “doom and gloom” by reporting on solved cases and not sensationalising crime by repeatedly reporting the same news.

We call upon the Government to stop the spin on the crime situation in the country. There is absolutely no question that the people do not feel safe in the streets regardless of the many "feel good" selective statistics the Government has released to the public.

Datuk Idris Jala claimed that “we as in the police (PDRM), Home Ministry (KDN) and Pemandu have been very transparent in acknowledging that there are 157,891 index crime cases reported in 2011”.  However, if the Government is so confident of its crime fighting achievements, why is it refusing to provide detailed statistics by districts (e.g., Petaling Jaya, Klang, Serdang etc.) or by type of crime (e.g., murder, kidnapping, snatch theft, robbery, armed robbery etc.)?

It is not helped by the fact that crime incidence appears to be on the rise again after at least 4 recent reports over robbery and attempted abduction in various shopping centres across the Klang Valley over the past month alone.

  • May 27: 25 year old internet marketeer Chin Xin-Ci had a meat cleaver pressed against her throat before being shoved into the car in an attempted kidnap and car robbery in The Curve.
  • June 3: Aeon Jusco Cheras Selatan - 2 robbers bashed the head of an unsuspecting customer for her purse as she walked to her car with a relative. 
  • June 12: Attack and robbery at the Adorn Level of Starhill Gallery’s car park
  • June 22: Victim was found leaning against a wall with blood gushing from her head and hands at Midvalley Carpark office tower lift lobby at parking zone G, on level 4.

Ironically, my very own special assistant had her house broken into in Taman Desa, Kuala Lumpur just last week.

And if crime is indeed on the rise, the media must not be faulted for reporting them. In fact they have the responsibility to report them to ensure that members of the public are alerted to take the necessary precautions.

On the other hand, in other much safer countries such as Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan, crime incidences are similarly reported, without jeopardising the confidence the people have in the safety of these countries. Hence if the situation on the ground is truly safe as the Government claims, then the Malaysians confidence in the system cannot be so fragile, and so easily shaken by "sensationalised" media reports on certain crime incidence.

The Governments attempt to gag the media from reporting crime incidence and to focus only on gloating the selective "success" of crime fighting efforts, will only result in a sense of false security, causing more innocent victims to fall prey to crime.

We once again call upon the Government stop blaming the media for the concerns about crime. Instead, tell us why the Government refuses to provide detailed statistics on crime to all Malaysians, if they really have nothing to hide from us.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar's Empire Built on RM34.3 Billion Debt

In 1998, the Asian Financial crisis precipitated the collapse of UMNO crony company, Renong Bhd.  Renong which had debts in excess of RM20 billion, or approximately 7% of all loans in the banking system then, went bankrupt under the weight of its debt.  It caused hundreds of millions in losses to investors, the collapse of the stock market index and triggered a RM10 billion bailout of the company.  Renong was one of the largest and favoured conglomerates by the BN government with interests in highways (PLUS, UEM, Linkedua), rail (KTM, Putra LRT), property, telecommunications (TIME) and a whole host of other companies.

Fast forward 14 years later, we now have Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary’s group of companies which have a combined debt of RM34.3 billion or more than 10% of all local currency outstanding corporate bonds as at 2011.  These companies have an estimated total cash and cash equivalents of RM7.8 billion as at May 2012.

Hence the debt far exceeds that of Renong’s, causing genuine fears that a repeat of the crisis requiring monster bailouts with tax-payers’ funds.  This fear is especially real in the light of a global economic slowdown and a fallout from the Eurozone financial crisis.

Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar’s empire spans across scores of companies and industries, which are generally held under 4 listed entities.  The largest of them is the 51.8%-owned MMC Corporation Bhd whose group alone has outstanding debt of RM24.2 billion.  The key subsidiaries of MMC Corporation are Malakoff Corporation, Gas Malaysia, Aliran Ihsan Resources (water utility company), Port of Tanjong Pelepas, Johor Port, Senai Airport Terminal Services, SMART Tunnel and the MMC-Gamuda joint ventures.

His second largest entity is the 55.9%-owned DRB-Hicom Bhd which has debt of RM5.7 billion, inclusive of the most recent RM3.0 billion debt raised to acquire Proton Bhd.  The other companies of the group are Edaran Otomobil Nasional, MODENAS, Honda Malaysia, Bank Muamalat, PUSPAKOM, Alam Flora, POS Malaysia, Defence Technologies and several property development companies.

The third entity is 43.0%-owned Tradewinds (M) Bhd which has debt of RM3.48 billion.  It owns BERNAS which has a monopoly of rice purchase, import and distribution in Malaysia, Central Sugar Refinery and smaller stakes in Malaysian Sugar Manufacturing Bhd which together monopolises the Malaysian sugar market, and Tradewinds Plantations.

The final entity is 71.5%-owned Tradewinds Corporation Bhd which has debt of RM890 million. Tradewinds Corporation runs several major hotel chains in Malaysia, including Crowne Plaza Mutiara Kuala Lumpur, Hilton Kuching and Petaling Jaya and Hotel Istana.

Despite the expansiveness of his empire, and the load of his debt holdings, the Prime Ministers’ Department has just confirmed the privatisation of Penang Port to him.  With no details yet available, the acquisition will certainly require him to raise possible several billions of additional debt to fund the exercise.  What’s more, it has been widely rumoured that Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar is also leading the race to acquire Port Klang (Northport Holdings) as well as KTM Berhad.

The Government must explain the measures which are being taken to ensure that a repeat of the 1998 financial crisis will be avoided at all cost.  The Ministry of Finance must make available data on how much our financial institutions, statutory bodies such as the Employees Provident Fund (EPF), Civil Service Retirement Fund (KWAP), Tabung Haji Fund and Armed Forces Fund (LTAT). In addition, we call upon the Government to assure the Malaysian tax-payers that in the event of default, the rakyat’s monies will once again not be made to pay for the follies of Barisan Nasional cronies.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Crime Statistics: 1 Question, 3 Answers

Home Ministry's third boo-boo over crime rate?
S Pathmawathy
1:46PM Jun 21, 2012

Selangor's actual crime data is under scrutiny after it was pointed out that the Home Ministry has given three conflicting sets of figures for the crime rate in 2009.

Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua said he received a written parliamentary reply in 2010, which states the total crime cases in Selangor as 54,443 for 2009.

Two days ago, Pua received a written reply to a similar question, which had sought a detailed breakdown - by type and district - on crime in Selangor, which was stated as 56,689 cases.

Pua then held a press conference to complain about the vague details in the reply and claimed that it does not show that the war against crime was succeeding.

Yesterday, Home Ministry secretary-general Abdul Rahim Mohamad Radzi withdrew the written reply to Pua and revised the 2009 crime figure to 54,994.

Rahim had claimed that the written reply contained a "typographical" error.

'Correction sent out on Monday'

According to the secretary-general, the new figures show a 19.4 percent drop in Selangor’s crime rate since 2009, and a 24.7 percent drop nationwide.

Rahim also said that the correction was sent to Parliament on Monday for Pua's reference, a day before the media conference, but Pua said nothing had been placed on his desk.

"Are these figures adapted as and when the ministry wants to adapt them? If they are genuine about the crime statistics, they should publish all breakdowns as requested," Pua hit out.

He had earlier complained that the ministry had not been forthcoming with the thorough statistics since 2010, when the National Key Results Area (NKRA) on crime prevention under the Government Transformation Progamme was announced.

Prior to that, there had never been a problem in getting statistics on the rise or reduction of crime rates, he said.

Insisting that crime prevention "warrants serious attention" from the authorities, Pua urged the government to release the complete breakdown on crime in the country.

"If they are really proud that crime has been reduced by 20, 30 or 40 percent, then they should not hesitate to publish the results," he added.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

BAFIA Breach - Bank Negara in Denial?

The Malay Mail carried the front page story on Monday 18 June that local banks are disposing of their non-performing loans (NPLs) or bad debts to companies owned by foreign entities.  Under the Banking & Financial Institutions Act 1989 (BAFIA), “banks can only sell to locally incorporated companies which the purchaser is majority owned by domestic shareholders as the purchaser is subject to a foreign equity ap of 49%”.

The Bank Negara (BNM) has chosen to issue a flat denial to the report claiming it was “inaccurate and misleading”.

BNM statement said that “banking institutions can dispose of their NPLs as part of the bank’s risk management practice.  Disposal of NPLs provides the flexibility for banks to manage their loan portfolios effectively and efficiently to maximize recovery to protect depositors’ interest. Any  recovery action must be in accordance with the law.”

However, in today’s Malay Mail frontpage report, evidence was provided of several such companies who bought NPLs from local financial institutions where it is clear that the ownership breached the 49% limit.  Sinesinga Sdn Bhd for example, is 75% owned by Standard Bank London Holdings PLC.  Similarly, another company, Resolution Alliance Sdn Bhd is 55% owned by Standard Chartered Bank (Hong Kong) Limited.  What’s more, all 3 directors of Resolution Alliance are foreigners.

When posed these questions during the Supplementary Budget Bill 2012 debate yesterday, the Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Seri Dr Awang Adek refuses to give a straight answer as to whether the BAFIA has been breached, and was only willing to repeatedly emphasize “in his experience as an ex-Bank Negara official… I am confident (“yakin”) all necessary approvals would have been obtained by the local financial institutions from Bank Negara, because they would not act otherwise”.

Despite the seriousness of the matter, which has been reported since Monday, the Finance Ministry is obviously still completely clueless over the matter.  In fact, there are even questions as to whether the above companies who are acting as debt collecting agencies are in fact licensed to do so in Malaysia.

What is worse is the accusation by The Malay Mail in its Monday report that “a foreigner, who is the son in-law of a prominent local banker, owns the majority of shares in one such debt collection agency, which had procured a vesting order from a premier locally based foreign bank.”

The above raises the issue of serious conflict of interest, criminal breach of trust and even fraud and must be investigated by the relevant authorities.  Such incidences jeopardises the integrity of our financial institutions and the trust investors and consumers place in our banking system.  It also raises the question as to whether BNM is willing to act independently and expediently without fear or favour, or would it prefer to get cosy and collude with the movers-and-shakers of the local banks.

BNM must not sweep the issue under the carpet while the Finance Ministry cannot come to Parliament completely clueless and ignorant.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Crime Rising in Selangor

There has been increasing concern over the recent months over the crime rates in the country, especially in Klang Valley and urban areas.

On May 27, 25 year old internet marketeer Chin Xin-Ci had a meat cleaver pressed against her throat before being shoved into the car in an attempted kidnap and car robbery in The Curve. On June 7, teacher Teoh Soo Kim was found  at the Talam oil palm estate in Kuala Selangor after she had been abducted from Bandar Kinrara, beaten up and her car stolen.  Two days later, Bersih steering committee member Wong Chin Huat was left with a bloody face after being assaulted while jogging in Petaling Jaya in the morning.  There is no doubt that there are many other unreported cases.

However, the Home Minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein had said that the recent cases of violent crime were “isolated”.  He said “blowing a few cases out of proportion would create a perception that Malaysia was unsafe country, when official data showed otherwise”.

The problem is, when we request for official detailed crime statistics from the Minister, such statistics are not at all forthcoming.  This was not the case before 2009 when detailed statistics were readily made available to Members of Parliament.

I’ve finally received the official reply from the Home Minister to my written answer question posed in the March 2012 parliamentary session after more than 3 months of waiting.  And yet, the answers are intentionally incomplete so as to give the people an incomplete picture of the real crime situation.  I’ve posed the same questions to the Minister on several other parliamentary sessions over the past 2 years, and each time, I get the same reply with very little information.

In this latest question, I’ve asked for a detailed breakdown of crime statistics broken down by districts (Petaling Jaya, Klang, Serdang etc.) and type of crime (Violent crime: murder, rape, armed robbery, unarmed robbery, assault; Property theft: Motor vehicles, snatch theft, burglary etc.) in Selangor for each year since 2006.

The Minister has refused to provide the relevant detailed breakdowns. Instead, he gave only the total number of violent crime and property theft for each of these years.  There was no further breakdown by districts in Selangor or by type of crime.

I’ve also asked that the same national statistics be given, broken down by states and type of crime.  However, the Minister once again gave only the total number of crime incidence for the entire country since 2006.  He refused to break it down by states, or by the type of crime.

Clearly Najib’s administration is trying to provide only positive looking summary data to improve the perception of his government.  PEMANDU does the exact same thing by obfuscating crime data which will give a positive perception to the Government in its National Key Result Area (NKRA) reports.  For example, one will not be able to find any of the above data which I’ve requested in PEMANDU’s Annual Report in 2010 for the Government Transformation Plan (GTP) on the NKRA on Crime.

Despite that, with the little data that is provided in the latest parliamentary reply, we could already tell that crime is once again on the rise, especially in Selangor.  In 2010, the total number of violent crimes in Selangor was 7,853 cases but has increased to 8,141 cases in 2011.  Similarly, the total number of theft cases increased from 31,838 to 36,161 cases over the same period.  In total, the crime index for Selangor has worsened by 11.6% from 39,691 to 44,302!

This is despite the fact that many major cities in the Klang Valley has been turned into “war zones” with barricades, security checkpoints and boom-gates set up in various residential zones at the residents’ own expense.  These private security measures have contributed to significantly reducing crime incidence in these areas.

The above data proves that there are many possible areas of weakness in the Government’s fight against crime which it is trying to hide from the public.  While the overall crime levels may have dropped from 2009 to 2010 due to the initial flurry of police activities after the NKRA on crime was launched, it appears that crime is definitively on the rise again in 2011, and could have increased further in 2012.

We call on the Government to be completely transparent with its crime data.  In fact, the latest annual report of the Royal Malaysian Police which can be downloaded from their website is the 2008 copy.

There is absolutely no point of the Home Minister and PEMANDU singing praises of the Government with half-truths and blaming the people’s real fear of crime on “perception”.  Instead, the Government should tackle the serious crime issue head on, by recognizing the increase in crime, especially in Selangor and announce the necessary steps to halt the deteriorating circumstances.

PAC Dragging Its Feet?

PAC gets yellow card for 'wasting time'
S Pathmawathy
12:30PM Jun 19, 2012

Petaling Utara MP Tony Pua has questioned the Public Accounts Committee’s (PAC) motives in re-evaluating its decision on probes into four financial scandals, and has renewed the accusation that this is a delay tactic.

“I don't understand why the PAC can't just immediately set a date to summon the officers and management of the agencies and companies we want to investigate,” he told Malaysiakini.

“We've already discussed and agreed on the cases during our meeting on March 5. Why the need for another housekeeping meeting (tomorrow)?”

The four matters involve close to RM9 billion of government expenditure:

- The RM250 million government soft loan to the National Feedlot Centre (NFC) project

- The Highly confidential out-of-court settlement between Malaysia Airlines former boss Tajudin Ramli and Pengurusan Danaharta Bhd over his RM589 million debt

- 1Malaysia Development Bhd’s RM3.5 billion ‘dubious’ investments in Petrosaudi

- The higher cost of constructing the permanent low-cost carrier terminal in Sepang, which has ballooned from RM2.2 billion to RM3.9 billion

The meeting scheduled for tomorrow morning will debate whether the PAC should follow through its investigations, Azmi Khalid (right) had told reporters last week.

This is because Dewan Rakyat speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia had “advised” the panel to discontinue its probe into matters that are currently before the courts.

This is contrary to Azmi’s earlier assertion that committee is not "completely barred" from investigating the controversies.

'Start with three cases’

Pandikar had expressed reservations about the probes into the NFC project and Tajudin’s deal.

However, the Pakatan MPs (right) on the bipartisan PAC had waved off the speaker’s objections, explaining that the committee would only question government agencies on the disbursement of funds, which will not amount to sub judice.

Pua said there is a possibility of “an intentional attempt to delay matters” in light of the looming general election, which must be called by April next year.

“Why waste another meeting? Also, why can't we call others - KLIA2, 1MDB and Tajuddin - if he (Azmi) doesn't want to proceed with NFC?

“Why is everything else stuck just because of NFC?” he asked

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

FGVH IPO: Settler's Income Cannibalised

Felda Palm Industries Sdn Bhd (FPI) is a palm oil processing company which purchases from Felda Plantations as well as other oil palm plantation companies, and processes them into Crude Palm Oil (CPO) for sale to refineries, traders and other users.

FPI is company where Koperasi Permodalan Felda (KPF) has a 64.7% effective stake.  Based on FPI’s latest available audited accounts, it made RM9.5 billion and RM204 million in revenue and profits respectively in 2010. More specifically, FPI sold 3.0 million metric tonne of CPO for RM8.1 billion during the year.

However, based on the FGVH prospectus, FPI has been forced to sign a concession contract on 1 March 2012 with FGVH where all CPO produced by FPI, except a small quantity used by FPI's own subsidiaries will be sold only to FGVH.

The above arrangement is clearly to enable FGVH to earn a margin from the sale of CPO to the final customers. FGVH adds no value to the entire process except to cannibalise part of the profits which would otherwise have been attributable to FPI.  As highlighted in the FGVH prospectus, FGVH “resells all of this CPO to third-party customers, such as refiners and traders in
Malaysia and abroad, to our joint ventures…” (pp 184)

Assuming just a mere 5% margin in sales price earned by FGVH, it is in essence a loss of profit amounting to RM405 million to FPI.

The biggest loser will hence be KPF which owns 64.7% of FPI but does not even own a single share in the soon-to-be-listed FGVH. KPF which is 70% owned by Felda settlers, with the balance owned by Felda employees, is the entity set up in 1980 to become a savings and investment trust for Felda members.  Its intent was to give a fair opportunity to Felda members to take part in equity ownership of companies set up by FELDA.

This is on top of the fact that 355,864 hectares of the Government's FELDA land previously managed by another KPF subsidiary, Felda Plantations Sdn Bhd, has been ceded to FGVH for 99 years.  The transfer of the above land will boost FGVH profits by RM680 million annually based on 2011 financial performance.

Hence it is clear that in order to inflate the profits of FGVH and the attractiveness of its shares to potential investors, the Government has sacrificed the interest of Felda settlers represented by KPF by robbing them of income which they've enjoyed all these years.

We call upon the Government not to shortchange KPF and the FELDA settlers.  The RM15,000 “durian runtuh” amounting to a total of RM1.69 billion does not even come close to the loss of income for KPF and the settlers for the next 99 years as a result of the above one-sided deals.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Parliamentary Questions 2012 (II)

Below are the set of 15 questions I've submitted to Parliament for the current on-going sitting.

Oral Answer Questions:

1. Tony Pua minta Perdana Menteri menyatakan terma-terma Lebuhraya Pantai Barat (WCE) termasuk anggaran tol yang akan dikenakan dan pulangan kepada pihak konsesi mengikut jangkaan kos pembinaan sebanyak RM7.1 bilion.

2. Tony Pua minta Perdana Menteri menyatakan
(a)   sebab Maju Expressway (MEX) akan diberikan kebenaran untuk menjual konsesi Lebuhraya KL-Putrajaya kepada EP Manufacturing Bhd
(b)   sama ada kerajaan boleh mengambil-alih MEX dengan kos RM400 juta mengikut perjanjian konsesi

3. Tony Pua minta Perdana Menteri menyatakan sebab pemindahan Pengkalan Tentera Udara Diraja Malaysia dari Sungai Besi ke Sendayan dan lain-lain tempat memakan kos sebanyak RM2.7 bilion, jauh melebihi nilai tanah Sungai Besi RM1.6 bilion yang dijual kepada 1MDB

4. Tony Pua minta Perdana Menteri menyatakan
(a)   sebab 1MDB menambahkan pinjaman kepada 1MDB-PetroSaudi Limited sebanyak US$500 juta (Mac 2010) dan US$200 juta (Mei 2011)
(b)   kedudukan kewangan PetroSaudi International yang memberikan jaminan kepada pinjaman oleh 1MDB-PetroSaudi Limited sebanyak US$1.9 bilion

5.  Tony Pua minta Perdana Menteri menyatakan
(a)   asas penilaian semula hartanah 1MDB daripada RM194 juta kepada RM1.02 bilion atau 426% dalam jangkamasa 1 tahun sahaja untuk merekodkan keuntungan RM544 juta
(b) lokasi dan deskripsi hartanah tersebut

6. Tony Pua minta Menteri Kewangan menyatakan
(a)   kedudukan siasatan Suruhanjaya Sekuriti ke atas kes RBTR Asset Management Bhd. (RBTR) yang melibatkan kehilangan RM13.5 juta sejak Ogos 2009
(b)   sebab tindakan tidak diambil ke atas pihak pengarah RBTR yang meluluskan dan menjual produk pelaburan tersebut kepada orang awam

7.  Tony Pua minta Menteri Kewangan menyatakan kedudukan siasatan Securities Commission ke atas saham Supercomnet Technologies Bhd yang melibatkan anak Perdana Menteri Mohd Nazifuddin menandatangani perjanjian option membeli saham syarikat tersebut dan selepas it menolak option tersebut dalam jangka masa 48 jam

8.  Tony Pua minta Menteri Kewangan menyatakan
(a)   jumlah pinjaman korporat merentasi kumpulan syarikat yang dikawal-milik Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar al-Bukhary dan sama ada Bank Negara mengambilkira risiko sistemik disebabkan pinjaman tersebut
(b) institusi kewangan yang terdedah kepada pinjaman beliau dan nilai kepada setiap satu

9.  Tony Pua minta Perdana Menteri menyatakan
(a)   sebab nilai saksama pelaburan anak syarikat yang tidak disebut Ekuiti Nasional Bhd. (Ekuinas) dapat meningkat RM163 juta dalam 2011 walaupun prestasi kewangan (EBITDA) syarikat-syarikat tersebut merosot
(b)   unjuran kewangan yang menjadi asas kepada pernilaian tersebut

10.  Tony Pua minta Perdana Menteri menyatakan punca wang dividen sebanyak RM1.69 bilion yang diperuntukkan kepada peneroka Felda sempena penyenaraian Felda Global Ventures Holdings (FGVH) di Bursa Malaysia.

Written Answer Questions:

11. Tony Pua minta Perdana Menteri menyatakan
 (a)   sama ada tanah FELDA sebanyak 340 ribu hektar yang diuruskan Felda Plantations Sdn Bhd akan diuruskan oleh FGVH sekarang
(b)   kadar harga pajakan tanah FELDA tersebut yang dicaj kepada FGVH dibandingkan dengan harga pajakan pasaran purata untuk ladang kelapa sawit

12.  Tony Pua minta Menteri Pengangkutan menyatakan sebab Lembaga Pelabuhan Kelang (LPK) masih membayar pemegang bon Kuala Dimensi Sdn Bhd sebanyak RM733 juta dalam 2011 walaupun litigasi berterusan sebanyak RM1.6 bilion terhadap KDSB atas pelanggaran kontrak dan lain-lain

13. Tony Pua minta Menteri Pendidikan menyatakan
(a) sebab kemerosotan prestasi pelajaran Malaysia yang dikemukakan oleh laporan terkini Program International Student Assessment (PISA) 2009+ dan The International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) 2007
(b) kos yang dibayar kepada konsultan untuk "Education Review" dan sebarang retainer yang dikenakan

14. Tony Pua minta Perdana Menteri menyatakan
(a)   kedudukan pembangunan Taman Industri Minyak, Gas dan Logistik Tanjong Agas sejak diumumkan pada tahun 2009
(b)   jumlah, terma dan status pinjaman Tanjong Agas Supply Base and Marine Services Sdn Bhd daripada institusi kewangan Malaysia

15. Tony Pua minta Menteri Pengangkutan menyatakan
(a) sebab syarikat Itali, ENAV, diberikan peluang menawar untuk menjadi perunding kawalan trafik udara KLIA walaupun ENAV sedang disiasat atas tuduhan rasuah
(b) jumlah kos terkini bagi pembangunan Lapangan Terbang KLIA2

Sale of Maju Expressway Scuppered?

No nod for Maju Expressway sale, Putrajaya tells Parliament
By Shannon Teoh June 14, 2012

KUALA LUMPUR, June 14 — The controversial RM1.7 billion sale of the Maju Expressway (MEX) appears to be scuppered for now after the federal government said it had not approved the sale of the concession held by Maju Holdings.

The Prime Minister’s Department said in a written reply to a parliamentary question by Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua (picture) yesterday that no permission has been given for the deal due to “several policy matters related to this highway concession that must be studied by the government.”

“The government has never given permission in relation to the proposal for the sale of the KL-Putrajaya Highway to EP Manufacturing Berhad (EPMB),” it said.

Maju Holdings had hoped to walk away with RM668 million in profit.
[Tony: It's RM1.09 billion in profit!]
But the DAP publicity chief told The Malaysian Insider that “while it appears the deal is off, the answer only says it has not but does not say it will not give approval.”

EPMB had in March entered into an acquisition agreement with Maju Holdings to acquire MEX for RM1.15 billion and also assume debts totalling RM550 million, valuing the deal at a total cost of RM1.7 billion.

This would allow Maju Holdings, controlled by Tan Sri Abu Sahid Mohamed, to walk away with a “whopping” return of RM668 million, taking into account that the construction cost of RM1.3 billion was offset by a huge government grant of RM976 million.

MEX is 96.8 per cent owned by Maju Holdings, in which Abu Sahid controls a 91 per cent stake.

The opposition had promised the same month to buy back the MEX concession if it took over federal power after a coming general election and later called the deal a “rape” of taxpayers perpetrated by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad while he was still prime minister.

Pua had said the concession agreement was awarded “on a silver platter” to Abu Sahid in 1997 and revised in 2003 just prior to Dr Mahathir’s retirement.

“The rape of Malaysian taxpayers which made a billionaire out of Abu Sahid... is simply outrageous and unacceptable because out of his ‘profit’, RM976.7 million was paid for by Malaysian taxpayers,” he said, referring to the grant which was worth 74 per cent of the RM1.32 billion construction cost.

Pua said it was the former Umno president who made the decision to offer the RM976.7 million grant instead of a loan, allowing Abu Sahid to cash out quickly.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Is the PAC Sleeping?

PAC’s failure to meet is attempt to cover up scandals, say Pakatan MPs
By Shannon Teoh June 14, 2012

KUALA LUMPUR, June 14 — The parliamentary Public Accounts Committee’s (PAC) failure to meet in more than three months suggests a bid to cover up financial scandals involving the incumbent federal government, Pakatan Rakyat (PR) members of the panel alleged today.

They told a press conference here that despite the parliamentary committee resolving on March 5, 2012 to prioritise four top issues involving government expenditure worth close to RM9 billion including the RM250 million National Feedlot Corporation (NFCorp) scandal, no meetings have been called since the end of March.

“This clearly shows that there is a cover-up order from the very top. The PAC chief has been told not to hold meetings as they could have a negative impact on Barisan Nasional’s (BN) chances of retaining power,” DAP’s Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua told reporters.

PAS’s Tumpat MP Kamaruddin Jaafar also added that “what has been spent has not been resolved but now we are spending another RM13.8 billion,” referring to Putrajaya’s tabling of a supplementary supply Bill earlier today.

DAP vice-chairman Dr Tan Seng Giaw (picture), who is also PAC deputy chief, said the five opposition members of the panel had sent a letter to panel chief Datuk Seri Azmin Khalid requesting that the committee be convened as soon as possible to look into the four controversial cases.

The cases are the NFCorp in which former Cabinet minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil and her family are accused of abusing a RM250 million federal loan, Tan Sri Tajudin Ramli’s confidential out-of-court settlement with Danaharta over his RM589 million debt, 1 Malaysia Development Bhd’s RM3.5 billion Petrosaudi investment and the cost of KLIA2 surging by RM2.2 billion to RM3.9 billion.

The PAC had on March 21 also decided to carry on with the NFC probe despite Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia’s orders that it cannot touch on criminal charges against Shahrizat’s husband and NFCorp chairman Datuk Seri Mohamad Salleh Ismail.

The order came just a day after the Wanita Umno chief’s family, who own NFCorp, refused to face the committee.

Dewan Rakyat had also rejected questions from four DAP lawmakers in March concerning the Tajudin-Danaharta settlement which politicians from across the divide said was a matter of public interest, saying it could not discuss issues being deliberated in court.

The four MPs had all asked Putrajaya to reveal details of the settlement and how it benefits the public as the former Malaysia Airlines chairman had already been ordered by the High Court to pay the RM589 million he owed Danaharta, which was set up to take over bad debts during the 1997 Asian financial crisis.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Pension Funds Used To Bailout MAS

Barisan Nasional is executing a monster RM9 billion bailout for Malaysian Airlines System Bhd and is digging deep into the rakyat’s reserves to cover up for its decades of management and abuse

Malaysian Airline System (MAS) announced yesterday the signing of a RM2.5 billion perpetual sukuk programme as part of the monster RM9 billion bailout plan for the loss-making airline.

While there is no question that MAS is in need of urgent rescue after decades of abuse and mismanagement by the Barisan Nasional (BN) government and its cronies, we are taken aback by the fact the rakyat’s hard-earning retirement savings are being forced to invest massively into this bailout exercise.

The RM2.5 billion perpetual sukuk programme is deemed as a debt instrument of the highest risk as there is absolutely no maturity or redemption date for the loan principal.  In essence, this debt instrument is deemed even riskier than junk bonds with the lowest priority in terms of repayment.

In fact this type of bonds are deemed worthy of warnings to investors by both the Monetary Authority of Singapore as well as the Thailand Securities and Exchange Commission.

However, despite the obvious high risk, the Civil Service Pension Fund (Kumpulan Wang Amanah Pencen – KWAP) have been forced to take up a huge RM1 billion stake in the sukuk programme meant to bailout MAS.

On the other hand, Dr Mahathir’s protégé Tan Sri Tajuddin Ramli, one of the key actors behind the financial disaster in MAS, has his RM589 million of debt due to the Government completely written of at the instruction of the Prime Minister’s office.

The Government chose instead to put at risk decades of savings by our civil servants, who rely on payouts from KWAP to sustain their living expenses post-retirement.  Should anything happen to MAS’s ability to repay its debts, then the Government will be forced to conduct another mega-monster bailout to bailout the current bailout.

So far this year, many government-linked companies (GLCs) and institutions are raising massive amount of funds from the bond market – RM3 billion by Johor Corporation, RM11 billion by PLUS Berhad, RM3.5 billion by PTPTN and RM5.25 billion by 1Malaysia Development Corporation.  All these debt add directly or indirectly to the Federal Government’s contingent liability, which as at December 2011 already amounted to RM114 billion.

This doesn’t take into consideration the creatively structure Felda Global Ventures Holdings (FGVH) initial public offering to bailout FGVH, which will see Malaysian states and public funds such as the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) and KWAP subscribing to more than RM3 billion of its shares.

The manner by which our GLCs, statutory bodies, provident funds and tax-payers’ monies are being massively used and abused by the BN government to cover up their excesses will only lead to major systemic risks in our financial system.  At the rate we are going, a Greek tragedy will no longer be just a remote possibility, but an inevitability.

Monday, June 11, 2012

EC Powerful or Powerless?

EC indeed has power to reject registration, says DAP
Kuek Ser Kuang Keng
1:39PM Jun 6, 2012

DAP today attempted to prove that contrary to the Election Commission’s (EC) earlier claim, the panel actually has the power to reject the registration of voters with incomplete or inaccurate details.

During a press conference held at the party’s headquarters this morning, DAP parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang and national publicity secretary Tony Pua (right) furnished the party’s records that showed voter registration forms submitted to the commission had been rejected due to various reasons.

These reasons include the addresses given by the voters were different from the addresses recorded in their MyKad, voters did not state their religion in the forms or they had given a different religion from the one recorded in their MyKad.

Those forms were submitted to the state EC office last year by DAP assistant registrars appointed by the EC.

“They told us the forms were incomplete so they were rejected, so it is within their power to do so,” Tony said.

“Hence the comment made by the EC chairperson Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof was completely reckless. He was trying to defend the indefensible action of registering dodgy voters to support the government.”

Pua was referring to Abdul Aziz’s statement to Malaysiakini yesterday that the commission has no right to reject the registration of voters with incomplete and dubious addresses as long as they are in the records of the National Registration Department (NRD).

If these registrations receive no objection from local residents and are subsequently gazetted, whatever critics have to comment would have no effect unless the voters themselves applied for changes, Abdul Aziz added.

Abdul Aziz was asked to comment on political researcher Ong Kian Ming's recent findings that many new voters registered by a government agency (not the EC) have code 71 in their identity numbers but without house numbers and street names.

Code 71 indicates that those voters were born outside of Malaysia.

The lack of complete addresses make it difficult for political parties to trace these voters and verify if they are valid voters in the areas they are registered.

Ong further raised the question whether these dubious voters were given identity cards by the NRD to vote in the election.

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Election Commission - BN Colludes to Cheat

'EC-BN collusion clear in snub S'gor call'
Kuek Ser Kuang Keng
2:39PM Jun 6, 2012

The DAP sees “clear evidence of collusion” between the Election Commission (EC) and the BN, based on calls to the public to snub the Selangor government’s voter verification exercise.

“There can't be clearer evidence of collusion between the EC and the BN especially Umno,” said DAP national publicity secretary Tony Pua at a press conference this morning.

“It is completely illogical because the EC should be thanking the Selangor government for cleaning up the electoral roll for them ... (instead) the EC is defending a dirty electoral roll... If the electoral roll is clean, why are they so afraid of our cleaning exercise?”

Pua was responding to EC deputy chairperson Wan Ahmad Wan Omar’s advice to voters not to cooperate with the Selangorku Bersih campaign, as he is worried this may “create uneasiness”.

Wan Ahmad reportedly said the public have the right to decide whether or not they want to show their MyKad to campaign workers, and advised against handing over the document too easily.

He was echoing Selangor Umno deputy chief Noh Omar's stance that the campaign amounts to abuse of power as only the EC has the authority to verify voters' identity.

Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim (left in photo) had recently launched the campaign, which is mobilising civil servants and village development and security committee members to clean up the electoral roll.

They will conduct house-to-house visits to verify the identity of voters registered at the addresses and raise objections should they fail to locate the voters.

This is in response to the discovery of a spike in the number of voters in the state.  

Pakatan Rakyat has alleged that this may involve irregularities and fraud, including the registration of foreigners as voters, and the transfer of voters into the state.

Friday, June 08, 2012

BERSIH 3.0: Semangat Bersih, Harapan Negara

The truth to Bersih 3.0, the call for free & fair elections!

FGVH IPO: BN States Forced To Subscribe To IPO Shares?

The Prime Minister, Dato' Seri Najib Razak has on 31 May 2012 said that Felda Global Venture Holdings' (FGVH) initial public offering (IPO) will turn the “domestic organisation into a global player” at the launch of the company's prospectus.

According to Bernama, the Prime Minister added that "he was also proud as the move at listing has gained extraordinary acceptance and now Felda is facing a new problem - satisfying all parties applying for the FGVH shares.”

However, as listed on FGVH's prospectus (pg 32), 5 Barisan Nasional-ruled states - Pahang (5%), Sabah (5%), Perak (0.4%), Terengganu (0.16%) and Negeri Sembilan (0.28%) will be taking up 10.84% of the FGVH's enlarged share capital.      

These states have provided "irrevocable undertakings" to subscribe for the IPO shares. Based on the shares available to be subscribed by investors, the states are actually taking up 18.1% the funds to be raised, worth approximately RM1.8 billion.

If indeed the demand for FGVH shares is so hot as described by the Prime Minister, why is it that these Barisan Nasional (BN) states are being asked or even forced to give “irrevocable undertakings” to acquire such a substantial portion of the IPO shares on offer?

In fact, the acquisition of such a big stake in FGVH by the respective states add little value to the organization as the shares are being sold by Federal Government-owned FELDA, which plans to reduce its stake in FGVH from 100% to 40%. FELDA which is a statutory body already holds in trust the interest of all Malaysians and Malaysian states in FGVH, so why is there a need to ask for money from the Malaysian states which are by far poorer than the Federal Government?

What makes it more perplexing is, the investment by these states is not meant to fund FGVH’s future investment and operations by subscribing to new FGVH shares being issued.  These states are acquiring their shares directly from FELDA, which means that the RM1.8 billion raised will go to the Federal Government, and not the company!

The question must be asked as to why is the Federal Government or FELDA is such desperate need for funds, firstly to massively sell down its stake in FGVH from 100% to only 40%, and secondly on why such desperation that it must even draw funds from the Malaysian states?

Both the Government and FELDA has not responded to my earlier statement on what is the intended use of the RM5.5 billion that it will raise for itself from the sale of its shares in FGVH.  The sheer lack of transparency does not bode well for FELDA or FGVH as surely, the people will be convinced that there is more than it meets the eye.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Tony Pua Ordered To Pay RM200,000 Damages to SYABAS

Dear friends & supporters,

I've been ordered by the Kuala Lumpur High Court Judge Amelia Tee Hong Geok Abdullah to pay RM200,000 damages to Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor (SYABAS) for demafing the latter.

I'll make available the 49-page judgement later, but I was found to have defamed SYABAS for the following impugned words in a Chinese article published in Nanyang Siangpau in November 2009.
"Tony Pua said... the Selangor State Government will aggressively launch a signature campaign to return water rights to the people of Selangor... He said, after the breakdown of negotiations for the Selangor state government's plan to take over the 4 concessionaires, [the Selangor state government] launched the signature campaign to return water rights to the people, to ensure the water tariff in the state of Selangor will not be increased by 37%. 
... He said, if the water concessionaires have insufficient funds to repay its loan, it should return the water rights to the state government; if the water concessionaires are unable to replace water pipes, it should give up or exit the water business..."
The bold text above are deemed to have defamed Syabas.

I would maintain that the above statement is not defamatory, and will instruct my lawyers to file an appeal in the Court of Appeal.

Thank you all for the support! ;-)

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

FGVH IPO: Why is the Government Cashing Out?

At the launch of the FGVH prospectus on 31 May 2012, the Prime Minister, Dato' Seri Najib Razak said that the company's listing will turn the “domestic organisation into a global player”.

“This fulfils our aim of transforming FELDA from a domestic and local organisation to making the quantum leap as a global player that is important and successful,” he said when launching the prospectus for the initial public offering (IPO) that is set to raise around RM9.96 billion.

However, if it is indeed the case that FGVH will make the "quantum leap as a global player", why is the Government massively cashing out on its ownership of FGVH?

Out of the RM9.96 billion to be raised, only 40% of the money will accrue to FGVH for the company's operations and expansion purposes.  The prospectus had listed that out of the RM4.46 billion expected to be raised for FGVH, 87.7% of the funds will be utilised for investment purposes such as acquisition of plantation assets, oil and fats manufacturing facilities and businesses as well as other upgrading capital expenditure.

However, the balance of the 60% of the IPO proceeds will go towards the Government, via the FELDA statutory body.  The amount raised by the Government will be even larger than the amount raised by FGVH at RM5.5 billion.

There is absolutely no mention of why the Government would need to raise as much as RM5.5 billion by cashing out on its shares in FGVH in the listing prospectus.  The only known use of the money to be collected is to distribute a "windfall" payment of RM15,000 to each Felda household, expecting to cost RM1.69 billion.

In fact, the Government is selling out so much that its ownership of FGVH is reduced from 100% to only 40%.

In contrast, using the recent Facebook IPO as an example, the founders and investors of the company only sold a 25% stake, retaining 75%.  However, for some strange reason, the Government sees it necessary to immediately reduce its stake massively in FGVH by 60%.

The above action by the Government therefore begs the question, if FGVH is truly going to be "transformed" into a massively profitable global company, why is the Government cashing out as if it cannot wait to get rid of its stake?  If the words of the Prime Minister were to be believed, shouldn't the Government hold its shares in FGVH for as long as possible to reap the "quantum" returns expected in the coming years? In addition, the Government is selling its stake at a time when global investors are viewing the markets negatively, which means that it will not get the best price for its shares.

Such desperation, compounded by the devious manner by which the profits of FGVH are padded with cannibalised income from Koperasi Permodalan Felda (KPF), which represents the interest of the Felda settlers to the tune of more than RM500 million annually points to the fact that there's much more than it meets the eye.

Given the huge sum of money involved as well as the interest of 112,635 settlers at stake, we call upon the Government to be completely transparent and accountable in the FGVH IPO exercise that is inundated with question marks.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Is This Najib's Moderate Malaysia?

It was just a month ago that Prime Minister Najib Razak had called forth Malaysians to show a more moderate approach way to life and challenge extremism in all facets of life. In fact, in his keynote address in January at the International Conference on Global Movement of Moderates (GMM) in Kuala Lumpur, Najib Razak had announced proudly that “here in Malaysia, moderation has always been our chosen path.”

Ezra Zaid’s charge for an alleged religious publishing offense is a stark example that what is being preached is far from being exemplified in reality, and makes a mockery of Malaysia’s quest to be the face of the ‘Movement of Moderates’

While there are more pressing issues to be addressed, such as PKFZ, NFC of which millions of Malaysians’ hard-earned money have been lost in corruption, the Barisan Nasional government seems to be more preoccupied with bringing a man to court for publishing a book that may have a differing view from the mainstream.

Ezra’s arrest and charge last week exactly epitomises Dato’ Seri Najib Razak’s definition that extremism is “a head-in-the-sand refusal to acknowledge the views and the values of others”.  In fact his Government is acting the exact opposite of what he advised the GMM, that it was time for the masses to stand up and say to the extremists “with a single breath a firm and resounding no.”

We certainly support the call by the Prime Minister for moderation, tolerance and acceptance of differing views, especially in our multi-racial, multi-cultural and multi-religious society.  However, the sheer abandon at which his own administration defies his rhetoric proves only that there is no sincerely or political will to ensure the goals of moderation are promoted.

This will lead only to a failure in the GMM, the brainchild of Dato’ Seri Najib Razak himself, who failed to prove that he believes in the cause.  The latest episode of clear cut intolerance only adds to the unrestrained attacks by UMNO-owned Utusan Malaysia and broadcast television to spewed messages of hatred to other racial and religious groups.

Hence we call upon the Prime Minister to withdraw the charges against Ezra Zaid in order to return Malaysia to the path of moderation, as well as to uphold the spirit of Article 10 of our federal constitution, which guarantees the right of all Malaysians to freedom of expression as set out by our founding fathers.

Saturday, June 02, 2012

FGVH IPO: Government Should Handover 20% Stake to Felda Settlers' Cooperative

The federal land development scheme, FELDA’s chairman Tan Sri Isa Samad told a press conference yesterday that a 20 per cent stake in FGVH was already set aside under a “trust fund”. Hence the Felda settlers were not short-changed in the FGVH listing exercise which did not involve Koperasi Permodalan Felda (KPF).

KPF which is 70% owned by Felda settlers, with the balance owned by Felda employees, is the entity set up in 1980 to become a savings and investment trust for Felda members.  Its intent was to give a fair opportunity to Felda members to take part in equity ownership of companies set up by FELDA.

Tan Sri Isa even went on to claim that KPF had refused to participate in the listing of FGVH.  “We had reserved 37 per cent for KPF. But we still have a trust fund so 20 per cent of all profits will be given directly to the settlers as dividend,” he said at the launch of FGVH’s initial public offering (IPO) prospectus today.

That is a complete lie because KPF has expressed shock at their being left out of the initial public offering (IPO) exercise in its statement issued on 27 April 2012.  They had claimed that the decision to leave them in a lurch contradicts the Budget statement issued by the Prime Minister, Dato’ Seri Najib Razak which stated that the interest of the Felda settlers will be protected via the majority ownership of FGVH via KPF.  KPF has further stated in no uncertain terms that they had supported the Government’s intent to list FGVH.

Hence under such circumstances where KPF has been a willing participant, why should the government set up a new mysterious “trust fund” when it could just park the shares whose beneficiaries are the Felda settlers, under KPF?

The fact that the listing prospectus of FGVH made absolutely no mention of the existence of such a “trust fund” only serves to deepen suspicions over the real intent of the Government.  The “trust fund” idea appears to be an afterthought expressed to placate the settlers who are clearly at the losing end of the Felda restructuring and FGVH listing exercise.

I had highlighted yesterday that FGVH will be cannibalizing the income and earnings of KPF as 355,864 hectares of plantation land previously managed by KPF subsidiaries is transferred into the hands of FGVH, to boost FGVH profits by RM680 million annually (based on 2011 performance).

Hence the exclusion of KPF from any participation in FGVH after KPF’s future earnings have been significantly cannibalized by the latter proves that the Government isn’t sincere about prioritizing and protect the interest of the Felda settlers.

The Prime Minister, Dato’ Seri Najib Razak was also clearly attempting to mislead the settlers by claiming that Felda settlers “will definitely get priority in the listing of FGVH when over 70% of the retail shares offered for public listing are allocated for the settlers, Felda staff and individuals who have contributed to the organization”, as reported by Bernama.  The Prime Minister’s assurance is disingenuous because only 12.5% of the offer shares are reserved for retail investors.  Therefore in real terms, only 9.2% of the shares offered are reserved for the above group of people to purchase.

And in fact, after listing, should the entire allocation of shares be fully subscribed, the said group of settlers, Felda employees and other contributing individuals will hold only meager 3.68% of the enlarged share capital!

It is not too late for the Government to honour its pledges to the Felda settlers.  The Prime Minister and Felda Chairman must immediately announce that 20% of the Government’s stake in FGVH post-listing will be transferred directly to KPF, as the sole body entrusted to protect the savings and investment interests of the Felda settlers and its employees.  If the Government choose to persist with the hare-brained “trust fund” idea, then it is clear that the Government intends only to take the settlers for a ride.

Friday, June 01, 2012

FGVH IPO: Felda Settlers Fleeced

Koperasi Permodalan Felda (KPF), which represents the interest of the Felda settlers have been completely left out of the Felda Global Ventures Holdings Berhad (FGVH) public-listing exercise.  KPF is the 51% shareholder of Felda Holdings Bhd (FHB), while FGVH, a wholly-owned subsidiary of FELDA statutory body holds the balance 49%.  Based on the KPF 2010 Annual Report, it is 70% owned by Felda settlers, with the balance owned by Felda employees.

It is therefore not a surprise that KPF has expressed shock at their being left out of the initial public offering (IPO) exercise in a statement issued on 27 April 2012.  They had claimed that the decision to leave them in a lurch contradicts the Budget statement issued by the Prime Minister, Dato’ Seri Najib Razak which stated that the interest of the Felda settlers will be protected via the majority ownership of FGVH via KPF.

However, the lack of ownership in FGVH is in effect, the least of KPF’s problems.  As discovered from the official draft FGVH listing prospectus, not only will KPF not get any ownership of FGVH, KPF’s existing business and income will be cannibalised by FGVH.

Prior to 2012, FELDA, the Government statutory body owns 355,864 hectares of plantation land, which was managed by Felda Plantations Sdn Bhd, a 51% subsidiary of FHB.  The remainder 49% is owned by FELDA.  However as at January 2012, FGVH is granted 99-year rights to the land.

The 355,864 hectares of plantation land generated RM680 million in net profit in 2011. The net profit attributable to KPF-FELDA would be RM510.1 million based on its KPF’s 51% ownership of FHB and FELDA’s 49% ownership of Felda Plantations.  Given the proposed price of RM4.65 per FGVH share on a market valuation of 16-17 times earnings (市盈率), KPF's stake in the above plantation land contributed as much as RM8.8 billion to FGVH's market capitalisation (市值).

Hence the Government's promise to pay RM15,000 to each settler, amounting to RM1.69 billion for 112,635 settlers is only a fraction of the value of the plantation (RM8.8 billion) land ceded by KPF to FGVH.  The compensation certainly does make up for the loss of profits to KPF over the next 99 years!

Besides ripping off KPF, the Government is also short-changing FELDA by leasing the above plantation land to the to-be-listed FGVH at dirt-cheap prices of RM1,490 per hectare or RM530 million annually.

In comparison, the Al-Hadharah Boustead Plantation REIT (房地产投资信托基金) receives an average rental of RM3,358 per hectare for its plantation lands.  Even after taking into account the 20% lower yield from the FELDA land -- 16 metric tonnes per hectare (MT/ha) compared to 20 MT/ha -- the market price for leasing that land should be at least RM2,600/ha.

Hence the heavily discounted 99-year land lease agreement at RM1,490/ha causes FELDA to lose RM394 million annually. FELDA would lose some RM39 billion over the next 99 years, before taking into account any upward revision in market rental rates.

Therefore, in the Government’s haste to list FGVH for mysterious reasons, it has really turned out to be a no-holds-barred attempt to fleece the Felda settlers and severely shortchange the Government.  After listing, FELDA will only retain 40% of FGVH, with the balance being sold to local and foreign investors.  Hence it is clear that the interest of the Felda settlers have been compromised, in order to ensure a sizeable listing for FGVH.