Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Daim's 71 undeclared assets not quite a catch


One of the list of companies undeclared by Tun Daim Zainuddin is FNQ Advanced Material Sdn Bhd. Upon googling, it is found that the company once owned 21.6 million shares or equivalent to 7.29% in Protasco Berhad in 2012

It rings a bell because back in 2014, mother blog ABITW was in hot pursuit of a shareholders squabble of the public-listed beneficiary of government privatisation of JKR's road maintainance (seek for link here via VPN).   

One member of the Board of Directors then claimed that he was there to sort the financial mess it is in at request of Daim who has sold his interest. By now, doubt there is still money from the shares sale. If it had not been sold, company have gone to the dump as shareholders alleged the controlling shareholders siphoned money out of the company. 

It highlights that there is more to the story than just a list of undeclared assets of Tun Daim. MACC should dig deeper and thoroughly research each of these assets for a full picture of the transactions and real assets Daim owned. If found guilty, he could be required to fines or imprisoned. 

Given his health condition, he will likely get away scot free to pay peanuts of a fine for the billionaire. The government attempt to recoup the assets allegedly acquired through ill-gotten gains from corruption or abuse of power turned out futile.

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Sunday, January 28, 2024

Can Daim challenge the constitutionality of MACC Act?

Tun Daim is expected to be charged Monday under Section 36 (2) of the MACC Act for failing to comply with the request by MACC to declare his assets within and without the country after the stipulated time and given ample time including 5 extensions.

Earlier last week, his wife Toh Puan Naimah Mohd Khalid was charged under the same law for not declaring her assets which include the RM2.7 billion Ilham Tower, 5 plots of Bukit Tunku (Federal Hill) land, vehicles and properties in Taman Tun Dr Ismail and Penang.  

There were exchange of words beween Naimah and MACC Chief Commissioner Tan Sri Azam Baki which ended with Daim to be charged tomorrow. It will not be from his hospital bed in which he warded himself upon knowing MACC was to interrogate him. 

Initially Daim trid to draw sympathy on his illness and by getting hospitalised. However he turned combative to challenged MACC to charge him on his hospital bed

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Thursday, January 25, 2024

Marina Yusof's 1987 letter to Mahathir on Daim

Before sharing an old 1987 letter from Marina Yusof to Dr Mahathir, it would be useful to share a little bit of background of her for the benefit of the laser circumsized generation. 

The story from the past still beseiging Malaysian politics and dragging the country back is sickening. Unfortunately the country seemed not able to move on till the demise of older generation of leaders. The bad blood need to be let out.

However, another problem is the new generation have not stepped up to the plate. Still expecting a free passage which will not happen. In the same rhetoric of meritocrasy they once preached, do earn their merit badge and place. 

Those given chances still not grasp the essence of leadership. Still lost in their childish tantrum despite reaching the mature age of 40 to 50.

Back to introducing Marina, she is a former magistrate, Deputy Public Prosecutor, and an early Malay woman entrepreneeur who built Marinara but sailang-ed by Mahathir. 

She was a shining star and potential competition to Rafidah Aziz in UMNO. 

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Wednesday, January 24, 2024

When Azam Baki touched the untouchables ...

Dr Mahathir is in rage. 

His close confidante and key conspirator, Tun Daim has his asset frozen, awaiting investigation, wife charged yesterday while he is undergoing medical treatment, and his medical condition is apparently quite critical. 

Before Daim and his wife gave any press statement, Mahathir threw the first salvo at Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim. On Saturday, he attended a Seminar on Pangkor Treaty organised by Malay NGOs and intellectuals politically aligned to him for his second salvo at the royal institution. 

Then Monday, he was on defcon 5 mode to press the ICBM button to blast at Anwar for MACC's investigation of his son, Mirzan. He rewind a past recording on ex-BNM's Dato Murad SD allegation  Anwar had a RM3 billion political war chest and at Azam Baki

An expected response for touching the untouchables. 

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Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Dr Yu and YNH: How the mighty could fall

YNH is gone and the vultures are encircling the air to seize on the carcasses of the dying company. The company shares could fall further and at discount to its NTA, it will be a good buy or bye depend which side of the deal one is. 

The medical doctor and his advisers of young lawyers thought they won and able to outwit a Bank. But then 19 Banks pulled the carpet from under their feet. 

Reading back articles of Dr Yu Kuan Chon in 2014 here, 2016 here, and 2017 here, it is a good reminder and gave a sense of realisation of our mortality. Even the mighty could fall. 

M Shanmugam of The Edge wrote a piece today on Dr Yu: 

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Monday, January 22, 2024

Political funding: The elephant in the room

In the midst of the 1MDB scandal, Dato Najib invited opposition to seat together with the government side to address the issue of political funding. They already had him under the bag. Agreeing would actually be giving him breathing space. Nothing happened. 

The issue of political funding came up immediately upon Anwar being sworn in as Prime Minister in November 2022. The relationship between business and politics is seen a source of illicit political fund in exchange for business monopoly. The approach advocated was for a Political Funding Act to ensure transparency and legitimacy in financing of political campaign. 

Politics need money. To push law to regulate is easy, but the solution to the need of political parties to finance campaign without the trade-off in principle was never offered. Say, if no unregulated private political financing allowed, is the public willing to allow public fund to be used? 

Do Malaysians have a strong sense of advocacy on issues and willing to donate to candidates voicing their raison d'etre? Perhaps, not quite.

The same dilemma facing the Indonesian Presidential candidates to address this real source of corruption. Leading candidate Probowo is comfortable the way it is. He will not likely speak up. Other candidates Anies Baswedan and Ganjar badly need the donations. They are silent too. 

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Sunday, January 21, 2024

Pardonner ou ne pas pardonner?

The Agong is busy with his farewell events. Unless the dwindling rumour of a new PM in Hishamuddin happened on any day as the tenure of Tunku Abdullah as Agong draws to a close, nothing unexpected will likely to happen. 

The new Agong will come in end of the month. Getting louder is the conversation on Najib's pardon but that is nothing new. Before the 15th general election, there was even the frivolous claim that there was a pre-planned pact between UMNO and PKR to form a coalition in which the pardon of Najib is part of the deal. 

Equally frivolous were the claim Anwar and Zahid pulled the brakes for fear his release will end in them being toppled. However, the fanatics actually believed that Najib would be out to celebrate Hari Raya with his family last year. They grew more impatient on Najib's first anniversary in prison.   

There is the expectation now that the present Agong would pardon Najib to avoid the embarassment that his successor cum brother-in-law cum next Agong, Tuanku Ibrahim the Sultan of Johor will be the one to pardon Najib instead.

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Thursday, January 18, 2024

YNH: Punished by the market

Several counters came under heavy selling in the market on Tuesday to go limit down. There were politically sensitive issues related to the Sarawak counters. One is an on-going saga and the other apparently is rumoured to be linked to moneygame syndicate. 

Nevertheless it is the development of YNH Property Berhad and that other companies linked to Datok Dr Yu Kuon Choon, namely Rapid Synergy and Imasprocorp that is of more interest. The fall in share prices saw a sharp decline in Dr Yu's networth by RM858 million!

YNH caught this blogger's attention from a tip-off last year by a source to a particular url. The time it was permissible to look it up  the link was not easily accessible. Apparently the company lodged police and MCMC reports in February last year.

Hate this censorship of Internet by MCMC. Company should reply and explain instead of getting authority to block websites. Sometimes it raise suspicion of collussion. If its necessary, sue or enforce the law on the writer or publisher. 

Whistleblowers have a role to play. Imposing censorship serve to delay or worsen a latter day crisis. Its a sea of red as sell-off continue.  Something for Fahmi Fadzil to reflect.

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Tuesday, January 16, 2024

Why Daim evading to set record straight?

In his column in the Edge Weekly, M Shanmugam seemed overzealous to penalised Tun Daim. That's exactly the prejudicial argument put forth by his 20-men legal team against MACC in their court application to stop investigation.  

It is understandable for Shanmugam because when it involves Mahathir and Daim (or sometimes referred as Firaun and Qarun), their misadventures in business and corporate dealings since the 90s are common knowledge that no proof maybe deemed required

It has been the talk for more than 40 years that it is not convincing for Mahathir to say "saya tidak ada duit" and deny he is a billionaire relying on his pension for livelihood.

More so, Daim's wife boasted nothing wrong to be rich and the Qarun (equivalent to Korah in the Bible) was already rich before joining politics

Hear one should but it is difficult for any sensible person to believe an opportunistic businessmen would forego the potentially rewarding position of Minister of Finance. 

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Sunday, January 14, 2024

When Sanusi resort to threat, there could be smoke and fire

Relating to a 3-hour long interview by MACC on the Kedah Football Association investigation, Menteri Besar Dato Seri Sanusi Mohamed Nor threatened to sue social media commentators for alleged wrongful accusations. He claimed of a plot to topple him

Kedah PN almost made a clean sweep except for 3 seats during the state election. It is an open secret that the decision by PAS Central Committee for no competition for the party's top 5 position was to block Sanusi. Currently there is discomfort within PAS leaders of his late night antics for casual duet with young ladies online. If there is any attempt then it would have come from within PAS and PN. 

Sanusi explained it involved the companies Tulangis and Berjaya Corporation, in which owner Tan Sri Vincent Tan has a lawsuit against Sanusi. They are supposed to be on the same side of the political coin so no issue of any agency out to destroy him. 

The investigation arise from an aggrieved party making a complaint to MACC.

No doubt there could be wayward commentators making unfounded accusation. Generally they would exercise restrain and instead, word it by raising questions or playful tease. 

There is nothing wrong with giving opinion, so why the threat?

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Friday, January 12, 2024

When an MP spoke through his ass ...

.... it cost the PLC shareholders and pension fund contributors.

A late Merchant Banker once shared this somewhat wise words over a drink. Everyone is born with a mouth to speak and a posterior to excrete waste, he said. 

The function of the body parts is specific and not meant to be reversed. Otherwise the mouth end up excreting human waste and posterior used to speak.  

When Boustead announced intention to sell a substantial shares in its plantation, the immediate question is why sell assets. 

However, such reservation need further research on the group's cashflow, debt situation, corporate structure, status of its investment, financial commitments and timeline to better understood the problem.

The LTAT restruturing plan unveiled in early October was to address the PN17 Boustead's RM6.8 debt, poorly managed plantation, and endless stream of Boustead military contracts and bailouts (including those involving Daim's). 

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Tuesday, January 9, 2024

Langkah Merbok money in via foreign fund's market buy-up?

The stock market bolos (pierce through) the 1,500 level this morning to hit the morning high of 1,503.9 at 9:15 AM this morning. That was pretty much the hope in the stock market following Fed loosening their choke on the interest rates. 

1-year Bursa KLCI 

Brokerage houses getting upbeat for 2024 to not only reasoned the optimism to the rate cut by developed economies, but expressed optimism for fiscal reform, economic restructuring, NIMP 2030 and NETR to boost consumer spending, private and infrastructure investment, and recovery for trade related services and manufacturing. 

Hate to be party pooper but the rollout for those plans is still a work-in-progress and need to remind of the 9 major factors to look at for 2024

For the market, eyes should be on Fed's monetary policy, China's expected comeback, extend of ringgit rebound, and lastly fiscal reform and foreign inflows.  

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Sunday, January 7, 2024

In the midst of monsoon season, Penang facing water shortage?

The attention on social media is still on the Dubai Move but The Star's columnists' Joceline Tan and  Phillip Golingai trying to play it down. Due respect to their professional assessment, we differ and believe the tree was shaking due to winds blowing.

Nevertheless we are more intrigue by Joceline's earlier column on Chow Koon Yeow in Penang. The Chief Minister gave comforting words to ensure the public that they will succeed in undertaking a drastic preventive measure. However, it is not so when he explained some pipes will burst in this exercise. 

The scheduled water disruption will affect 590,000 PBAPP customers over four days from January 10th next week to replace two leaking main control valves. However, the water problem in Penang goes beyond this incident and traced back to 2022

For a electronic manufacturing hub, it is embarassing for Penang to have a problem frequent water disruptions and it leads to possible problems of insufficient storage for emergency or bad management. It points to the state government under Chow. 

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Tuesday, January 2, 2024

Who gets called in this week?

When Tun Daim's Ilham Tower was seized by MACC last week, yours truly provoked a source to doubt the action of MACC and warned him of possible retaliation from the powerful Tuns. His reply was interestingly short and sweet, "Its too late." 

Probably all would have known that Daim refused to cooperate and make the statutory asset declaration required by MACC Act. After five extensions and 10 months, something would have turned up on their Pandora Paper investigation. Its only a week yet few interesting finding came our way. 

MACC hinted they have done much when they publicised the visit of FBI Director Christopher A. Wry. PN cytro spinned as though Malaysia was warned for being sympathetic to Hamas. Its to the contrary and Finance Twitter has their take here.

Strangely on the evening of New Year Eve 2024, Azam Baki gave an uncustomary new year message: 

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Monday, January 1, 2024

Happy Challenging Year 2024

Seemed people in the market are banking on a better market for 2024 in the light of Federal Reserve expected to lower interest rate and the usual gang bang wham bam of bond going up and Wall Street too. 

They hope the spillover sentiment will see Bursa "bobos" (pierce through) 1,500. All the best to them because a comment we read somewhere described 2024 to be as challenging as 2023 due to geo-global tensions. 

The Russia-Ukraine war reversed the post-Covid 19 recovery and left the EU in economic devastation and food inflation globally, Now came the Gaza genocide and the latest is the potentially explosive Red Sea conflict. 

Read and believe the Western media claim of Israel winning it hands down. It is far from over. One social media video claimed the cowardice Jews of Israel are leaving the country. Some 40% Israeli plan to leave for permanent holiday. 

Political and more so, geo-global political issues will detour any confidence build-up in any market and economic initiatives. 

As a finance guy more keen on the future and what's next moving forward than historical centric accountants, last week's Edge Weekly entitled "9 factors to watch for 2024" is a good read.

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