Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Malaysians will pay more for electricity to help bailout 1MDB

During my speech at the DAP Petaling Jaya Fund-Raising Dinner in November 2014, I had told the audience that Malaysians will have to pay higher electricity prices in order to bailout 1MDB.  It was the same speech which the Prime Minister, Dato’ Seri Najib Razak has subsequently sued me for defamation.

I had then asserted that Malaysians have pay higher electricity prices because 1MDB was awarded several lucrative independent power producer (IPP) concessions without any open tender. Such direct awards went directly against the publicly stated principles of the Energy Commission to adopt open tender practices in order to promote competition in the industry.

The contracts awarded included a 2,400MW combined-cycle gas-turbine power plant in August 2014 and a 50MW solar farm in March 2014.  In addition, 1MDB was also awarded a 2,000MW coal-fired power plant in February, after the lowest tariff bid by YTL Power was controversially disqualified on a technicality.

I had argued that the tariff wil be higher for Malaysians in the future because the Government will award 1MDB will more lucrative tariffs in order to create more profits for the distressed firm to pay of its RM42 billion of monstrous debt.  Otherwise, why would the Government eschew the open tender process if 1MDB would offer the lowest possible tariff in the first place?

However, the situation is even worse than I have anticipated, because the Government has agreed to raise the tariff rates for 1MDB power plants even before their construction have even commence.

It was reported on Monday in The Edge Financial Daily that the Energy Commission has already approved an increase in tariff for the solar power plant from 41 sen per kWh to 50 sen per kWh.  That represents a whopping 22% hike in electricity tariffs within a year after the project has been awarded via direct negotiations.  The power supply will be sold to Tenaga Nasional, which will in turn transfer the cost burden to consumers.

As highlighted by my colleague, the Member of Parliament for Serdang, Dr Ong Kian Ming on Monday itself, the 50 sen tariff rate is higher the 49 sen recently awarded to smaller solar plants sized between 10MW to 30MW via competitive bidding.  As he rightly pointed out, the substantially larger 50MW solar farm will naturally enjoy higher economies of scale to offer cheaper prices.  In addition, with the rapidly plummeting global solar photovoltaic panel prices, tariffs should be declining over time, and not be increased by a whopping 22%.

Worse, The Financial Daily also reported that 1MDB is in the process of “disposing” its winning bid for the 2,000MW coal-fired power plant which it won via the controversial open tender.  This is because the debt-laden and cash-stricken 1MDB has no money to fund the project.  Furthermore no bank is willing to lend any more money to the company.

However, instead of cancelling the award due to breach of concession terms, the Energy Commission is allowing 1MDB to profit from the license award by on-selling its rights to Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB). To sweeten the deal for TNB to acquire the concession from 1MDB, it is understood that TNB will be allowed to renegotiate the tariff which was set earlier during the bid.  Once again, it means higher profits for 1MDB for doing absolutely nothing other than to on-sell the concession, while the rakyat will have to pay for higher electricity rates to TNB.

If the Government is truly concerned with the interest of the ordinary man, then surely the right thing to do will be to cancel all of the above recently awarded power plant concessions to 1MDB, simply because the latter has failed to produce the necessary funds to commence on their construction.  The power plants should instead be tendered out in an open and transparent fashion so that the most financial strong and experienced companies which bid at the lowest tariff rates should be awarded the contracts.

However, the Government chose to artificially improve the profitability of 1MDB in order to cover up the billions of ringgit of losses suffered by the company.  The losers are Malaysians who are forced to bear higher electricity prices on top of the recently implemented Goods and Services Tax. The above proves that I am right many times over that the men-on-the-street are being robbed with higher electricity prices in order to bailout 1MDB.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Treasury-General: 1MDB RM42 Billion Scandal Only A "Small Issue Involving One Firm"

Malaysians can only react in horror when the Treasury-General can claim that the RM42 billion 1MDB scandal is only a “small issue involving one firm”.
 
Bernama reported yesterday that 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) is a “small issue involving one company, which is current undergoing a restructuring process,” according Treasury secretary-general Tan Sri Dr Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah.
 
Malaysians are stunned by the blasé reaction from Malaysia’s top finance civil servant.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Dato' Seri Najib And Jho Low's Identical Responses To Questions: Mere Coincidence?

Why are Dato’ Seri Najib Razak and Jho Low giving the same standard reply which doesn’t answer the question of the latter’s role in 1Malaysia Development Bhd?

When Member of Parliament for Wangsa Maju, Dr Tan Kee Kwong asked the question on 12 March 2015 on whether there was any business transactions or dealings between 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) and Jho Low, Dato’ Seri Najib Razak provided a short and curt answer.He said “Mr Low Taek Jho never worked in 1MDB and all 1MDB decisions and transactions are made by the management and the Board of Director of 1MDB”.Why are the responses from the Finance Minister and Jho Low so strikingly similar in not directly answering the questions posed?

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Where Is 1MDB Global Investment Limited's US$3 Billion?

Where is our Government-guaranteed 1MDB Global Investment Limited’s US$3 billion?

Deputy Finance Minister, Datuk Ahmad Maslan had repeatedly denied that the Government had issued a “letter of support” for 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) via its subsidiary 1MDB Global Investment Limited to raise a US$3 billion bond on the 6 November 2014. He was subsequently forced to apologise embarrassingly to the August House on 18 November 2014 by conceding that there was such a letter.

However, he had insisted in his apology and revision of his Hansard speech that the letter does not tantamount to a guarantee.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Second Finance Minister Must Be Joking That 1MDB's Cashflow Problems Can Be Solved This Year

Dato’ Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah must be joking to claim that 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) is facing only cashflow problems which will be resolved by the end of this year.

During the last parliamentary sitting, Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Ahmad Maslan assured Malaysians that 1Malaysia Development Bhd’s losses were temporary and “it will return to profitability” for the financial year ending March 2015.

The Deputy Finance Minister spoke to reporters during a press conference on 21 November 2015 after 1MDB reported its first annual losses of RM665 million for its March 2014 accounts.

As we approached the end of March 2015 financial year, the Datuk Ahmad Maslan prophecy of 1MDB making profits looks as remote as any attempt to grow money on trees.  It showed clearly that we had a Deputy Finance Minister who had no grasp of the subject matter.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Sarawak Report Chief Investigate Journalist To Join "1MDB: The Ultimate Low Down" Forum

Sarawak Report’s Clare Rewcastle will join the “1MDB: The Ultimate Low Down” Forum via video conference.

This press release is to announce that Sarawak Report’s chief investigative journalist, Clare Rewcastle will be joining the forum “1MDB: The Ultimate Low Down” via video conference.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Minister Of Finance II Completely Deluded To Think IPO Can Solve 1MDB's Cashflow Problems

Minister of Finance II must be completely deluded to believe that an Initial Public Offering (IPO) of 1MDB’s energy subsidiary will solve 1MDB’s cashflow problems.

The Second Minister of Finance, Dato’ Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah told the Dewan Rakyat that the government is hoping that the initial public offering (IPO) from 1MDB's energy arm would be able to pay for the company's growing debts.

"1MDB's stumbling block is it's cash flow. But once the IPO is up, this would be settled," he said.

Dato’ Seri Husni must be completely deluding himself, or has been deluded by 1MDB to actually believe that the IPO of 1MDB’s energy arm will rescue the RM42 billion indebted Ministry of Finance subsidiary.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

SRC International Investment In Gobi Coal: Yet Another 1MDB-like Scandal?

Is SRC International’s 50:50 joint venture with Mongolian company, Gobi Coal & Energy Ltd another multi-billion ringgit PetroSaudi-like scam waiting to be exposed?

SRC International Sdn Bhd is an anonymous-sounding company owned by the Ministry of Finance.  However, a peek into the company’s short history and balance sheet raises plenty of suspicion-arousing question marks.

I have asked for my oral question yesterday on whether SRC International Sdn Bhd had invested in a Mongolian energy company and what are the details of the investment and its current status.  I received the shortest of written response from the Minsitry of Finance late yesterday afternoon.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Bank Negara Malaysia To Investigate Jho Low For Potential Money Laundering

Low Taek Jho and his associates must be investigated for possible money laundering in the acquisition of UBG Bhd via PetroSaudi International (Seycelles) Ltd using illicitly obtained funds from 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB)

Over the past few days, both the Sarawak Report and The Edge Malaysia exposed how a 28 year old Low Taek Jho (Jho Low) had engineered the acquisition of Utama Banking Group Bhd (UBG) via PetroSaudi International (Seychelles) Limited (PSI Seychelles) in 2010.  UBG was a company owned by the former Chief Minister of Sarawak, Tun Taib Mahmud.

PSI Seycelles via its wholly owned subsidiary, Javace Sdn Bhd made a general offer to acquire all UBG shares for a total of RM1.4 billion on 29 September 2010.  AmInvestment Bank Bhd had provided RM700 million to finance this acquisition.

Monday, March 09, 2015

Messaging Conversation Between PSI CEO And Jho Low Exposed

As the Finance Minister, Dato’ Seri Najib Razak must confirm if he has given the go-ahead for 1Malaysia Development Bhd to extend additional US$500 million loans to PetroSaudi International Limited’s wholly-owned subsidiary?

For the very first time, emails exposed by the Sarawak Report on the monster 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) scandal have implicated the Prime Minister, Dato’ Seri Najib Razak and his possible involvement in the PetroSaudi International (PSI) collaboration fiasco.

In a messaging conversation where Patrick Mahony, CEO of PSI was expressing grave concern over the need for approval by Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) for a fund transfer from 1MDB to the PSI subsidiary, Jho Low (JL) had insisted that only the Ministry of Finance approval for the loan is required, and the loan had already been signed by the Prime Minister, who is also the Finance Minister.

Saturday, March 07, 2015

Supporting Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin's Statement On 1MDB

Full support for Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s statement on 1MDB.

The statement issued by Deputy Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin on Friday evening on the simmering 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) crisis was the most sensible and responsible ever issued by any Cabinet Minister on the controversial issue.

Dato' Seri Najib Razak's Defamation Suit

I will not be shackled by the defamation suit brought by the Dato’ Seri Najib Razak because I am supported by millions of Malaysians out there who demand good governance, transparency and accountability from the Prime Minister and his Government.

My lawyer, Gobind Singh who is also the Member of Parliament for Puchong, has received the writ served by Dato’ Seri Najib Razak’s lawyers at 4.30pm yesterday evening.

The suit by the Prime Minister accused me of having defamed him in my speech at a DAP Petaling Jaya Fund-Raising Dinner on 3 November 2014 where I spoke extensively on the “mother of the mother of the mother of all scandals”, 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).

Friday, March 06, 2015

Dato' Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi Should Stop Criticising Critics Of 1MDB

Dato’ Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi epitomises UMNO’s penchance for shooting the messenger, in this case those who exposed the wrongdoings of 1Malaysia Development Bhd

Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi claimed today the barrage of criticisms against 1 Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) is part of a systematic effort by groups out to destroy the nation’s image.

According to The Star Online, the home minister told reporters in Kota Baru that he has reasons to believe as such, following 1MDB and accounting firm Deloitte’s briefing yesterday to the federal Cabinet.

“All the attacks, speculations and unsubstantiated claims launched by certain quarters had far-reaching consequences on the country’s image in the eyes of foreign investors. Any attacks against 1MDB will indirectly affect the country and it is deemed to be a concerted attack on Malaysia. Those behind it must take responsibility for any false accusations,” he was quoted as saying in the English daily’s online report.

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Datuk Seri Najib Clears 1MDB After Calling For Full Investigation

Datuk Seri Najib Razak cannot have his cake and eat it too by calling for the Auditor-General to conduct a full investigation into 1Malaysia Development Bhd but clears the Company of any misconduct in the very next breath!

We are pleased that after literally years of pressure, the Datuk Seri Najib Razak Cabinet has finally succumbed to instructing the Auditor-General to conduct a full investigation into the financially stricken 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).  Unfortunately, it has taken an explosive expose by the Sarawak Report which published documents and emails pointing towards brazen shenanigans in the deals transacted all the way back in 2009 for the Cabinet to act.

However, we are at the same time flabbergasted that the Prime Minister, in the very same breath cleared 1MDB of any wrongdoing.

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

PM Najib's Extraordinary Family Wealth

Now that Dato’ Seri Najib Razak has denied that his wealth originates from "legacy family assets", it is even more pressing for the Prime Minister to explain the source of his family’s wealth worth hundreds of millions of ringgit.

The New York Times (NYT) exposé published on 8 February 2015 surfaced the incredible wealth of Dato’ Seri Najib’s immediate family and raised questions on how this extraordinary wealth has been accumulated.

The Prime Minister’s Office responded to the report claiming, “neither any money spent on travel, nor any jewelry purchases, nor the alleged contents of any safes are unusual for a person of the prime minister’s position, responsibilities and legacy family assets.”