At 25, Ahmad Fauzan Hatim Abd Latif led a lavish lifestyle.
He owned a Nissan Skyline R35, Porsche Cayenne, a Mercedes-Benz CLA 200, loved motorsports and often travelled to Europe for holidays.
However, the eldest son of Johor Housing and Local Government Committee chairman Datuk Abd Latif Bandi was among five individuals nabbed by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) on Friday over allegations of graft.
Also nabbed were Abd Latif’s special officer Muhammad Idzuan Jamalludin, also in his 20s, a lawyer, two businessmen and another individual.
More civil servants, including ranking officers, were expected to be picked up soon.
I'm glad that they are finally doing something about this whole nonsense in Kota Iskandar.
I have been bitching about it since those early days.
This is one of those bitching postings I wrote on Jan 17, 2014 -
WARKAH TERBUKA YB TAN SRI DATO' HJ MUHYIDDIN HJ MOHD YASSIN BUAT DYMM TUANKU SULTAN JOHOR
Assalamu'alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh.
Terlebih dahulu patik merafak sembah memohon jutaan keampunan daripada Duli Yang Maha Mulia Tuanku di atas warkah patik yang tidak sepertinya ini. Patik terpaksa menjawab secara terbuka titah Tuanku mengenai patik yang telah dibuat secara terbuka dan pada hemat patik telah sedikit sebanyak mencemar nama baik patik. Walaupun Tuanku tidak menamakan patik secara khusus dalam titah tersebut, tetapi ramai pihak mentafsir bahawa patiklah yang Tuanku maksudkan.
Bukanlah niat patik untuk menderhaka kepada Tuanku dengan menulis warkah ini secara terbuka. Niat patik hanyalah untuk membersihkan nama baik patik yang kini telah dilihat sebagai seorang yang angkuh dan sombong sepertimana yang telah dititah oleh Tuanku.
Tuanku sendiri tahu bahawa patik tidak pernah bersikap angkuh dan sombong terhadap Tuanku. Ketika patik menjadi Menteri Besar Johor dan Tuanku adalah Pemangku Raja, hubungan kita amat akrab. Banyak hal-hal berkaitan pemerintahan negeri yang Tuanku kongsikan dengan patik dan patik telah mengurus Negeri Johor menjadi antara negeri termaju di Malaysia waktu itu. Hal ini telah diketahui umum dan tercatat dalam rekod negara.
Seingat patik, tidak pernah berlaku di zaman patik menjadi Menteri Besar, kerajaan negeri Johor tidak mempunyai wang yang cukup untuk membayar gaji kakitangan awam. Perbelanjaan diurus secara berhemah dan kerajaan negeri tidak berhutang atau meminjam utk membayar gaji.
Sebaliknya patik telah menubuhkan Tabung Amanah Warisan Johor di mana wang pampasan pembinaan Empangan Linggui berjumlah lebih RM300 juta yang diterima oleh Kerajaan Negeri Johor telah dimasukkan ke dalam tabung ini untuk kegunaan generasi akan datang. Kerajaan negeri Johor sebenarnya mempunyai lebihan wang untuk dibelanjakan. Perbadanan Kemajuan Ekonomi Negeri Johor juga adalah antara perbadanan kemajuan ekonomi negeri yang paling berjaya.
Ekonomi negeri Johor tumbuh pesat pada kadar purata 6.7% dari tahun 1991-1995. Dalam tempoh yang sama, pendapatan isi rumah kasar bulanan meningkat dari RM1,152 kepada RM2,138 dan kadar kemiskinan juga berjaya dikurangkan daripada 9.8% kepada 3.1%. Ini menunjukkan bahawa rakyat negeri Johor telah menikmati kemajuan ekonomi yang pesat sewaktu patik menjadi Menteri Besar.
Patik juga telah menangani masalah perpecahan Melayu Johor dengan menganjurkan perhimpunan Melayu Johor. Krisis pindaan perlembagaan tahun 1993 yang melibatkan soal imuniti Raja-Raja Melayu juga ditangani dengan baik.
Ketika patik menjadi Menteri Besar, patik telah menjalin kerjasama yang baik dengan pegawai kerajaan dan rakyat. Urusan negeri dijalankan tanpa campurtangan dari pihak luar termasuk Istana. Waktu itu Almarhum Tuanku Sultan Iskandar tidak mencampuri perjalanan Kerajaan Negeri atau terlibat secara langsung dalam politik atau perniagaan. Patik jalankan semua urusan pentadbiran negeri berdasarkan dasar-dasar yang memberi faedah kepada rakyat.
Tidak ada tanah negeri Johor yang terlepas milikan secara kekal ke tangan warganegara asing. Tanah-tanah yang dipindah milik kepada para pelabur asing untuk tujuan pelaburan dalam bidang perindustrian waktu itu hanyalah berstatus pegangan pajak (leasehold). Apabila tempoh pajakan berakhir, tanah-tanah tersebut perlu diserah semula kepada kerajaan. Tidak ada tanah yang tergadai kepada warga asing.
Sebaliknya, pembangunan yang pesat dalam bidang perindustrian telah berjaya menyumbangkan kemakmuran serta impak positif yang signifikan kepada ekonomi negeri Johor keseluruhannya. Malah ianya telah berjaya membuka peluang pekerjaan kepada bukan saja rakyat Johor tetapi juga kepada rakyat Malaysia di negeri lain yang berhampiran.
Pada waktu itu, kerjasama dengan Kerajaan Pusat di bawah pimpinan Perdana Menteri Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad begitu akrab dan peruntukan yang banyak dicurahkan untuk memajukan negeri Johor. Patik juga diberi kebenaran untuk mengadakan hubungan kerjasama dengan Singapura secara langsung kerana sedar tentang begitu pentingnya Kerajaan Johor bekerjasama dengan Singapura bagi faedah rakyat negeri Johor.
Malahan selepas patik berhijrah ke Kuala Lumpur dan menjawat jawatan Menteri Pusat, negeri Johor senantiasa diberikan perhatian dan layanan yang adil. Patik masih ingat, ketika patik menjawat jawatan Timbalan Perdana Menteri dan Tuanku baru sahaja ditabalkan menjadil Sultan, Tuanku menitahkan patik supaya menasihati Tuanku tentang bagaimana untuk memajukan lagi negeri Johor. Patik dengan amat berbesar hati menjunjung titah Tuanku.
Bilakah patik dikatakan angkuh dan sombong?
Patik dikatakan angkuh dan sombong selepas patik tidak lagi berada di dalam kerajaan setelah dipecat dari jawatan Timbalan Perdana Menteri dan Timbalan Presiden UMNO kerana menentang kemungkaran yang dilakukan oleh Najib.
Patik masih ingat sewaktu patik mengadap Tuanku selepas dipecat di waktu itu pun Tuanku menyatakan simpati dengan apa yang berlaku terhadap patik. Nyata, Tuanku murka dengan perlakuan Najib yang menyingkir patik.
Patik dikatakan angkuh dan sombong selepas patik menegur penjualan hartanah berstatus hak milik kekal di Forest City kepada warganegara asing atas sebab mempertahan kedaulatan negeri dan negara.
Apa yang patik lakukan selama ini adalah semata-mata untuk mempertahankan rakyat dan negara daripada kerosakan yang sedang dilakukan oleh Najib. Jika patik dikatakan angkuh dan sombong hanya semata-mata kerana patik berjuang menegakkan kebenaran dan menentang kemungkaran demi membela kepentingan rakyat dan negara, maka biarlah rakyat yang membuat penilaian.
Akhirnya, patik sekali lagi merafak sembah memohon keampunan daripada Tuanku di atas warkah patik yang tidak sepertinya ini. Patik sentiasa mendoakan kesejahteraan Tuanku dan mudah-mudahan negeri Johor sentiasa dilimpahi rahmat kemajuan, keamanan dan kemakmuran di bawah naungan Tuanku.
Amin ya rabbal alamin.
TAN SRI DATO' HJ MUHYIDDIN HJ MOHD YASSIN
26 Februari 2017
My friend asked what I think of the letter, upon which I said Muhyiddin was actually challenging the Sultan.
True, he's using all the correct words to show he was not doing so, but the fact that it's an open letter for everyone to read is actually a challenge to the Johor ruler.
It has the same effect as this blog post by statesman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad,
Basically, Muhyiddin, as was Dr Mahathir, were pointing out in public that the Sultan of Johor was not telling the truth.
Personally, I don't think that's the right way to do it, especially for Muhyiddin who is a Johorean.
Furthermore, the Sultan's offending words against him were just these,
“In the past, the state government had no money to pay salaries, but today the state has billions in reserves.
“This success is possible because of my good relationship with the current MB, who is unlike the two previous MBs, who were arrogant and only listened to the federal government,” he said at the opening of a gallery in honour of the heroes of Bukit Kepong during the Emergency, in Muar, Johor.
Honestly, I'm still quite okay with Dr Mahathir responding to the Sultan because he had to bare the full brunt of the Sultan's wrath.
Muhyiddin's response, however, appeared to be a bit unnecessary.
Personally, I think he should cut the Sultan some slack and let him says what he wants in support of current Johor MB DS Mohamed Khaled Nordin.
After all, the Sultan said "unlike the two previous MBs", which means Muhyiddin was not alone.
He got TS Abdul Ghani Othman in the same boat.
Muhyiddin and Ghani when they were slightly younger. The two guys were classmates at Muar High School.
My friend who sent me the Muhyiddin's open letter actually asked me (in my capacity as a Ghani's big fan) whether the guy would like to issue a statement too in response to the Sultan,
"Ghani tak nak jawab ke?" he asked via Wassap.
In response, I wrote something which made him laugh.
This is another part of our Wassap conversation,
Of course Ghani would not say anything to embarrass the Sultan in the eyes of the people.
The Ghani that I know would rather bear the Sultan's harsh words without saying anything.
Okay, maybe he may grumble a bit in private, but that's about it.
For better or worse, Ghani is still a Johorean.
I believe he would not go against the Sultan just because of remarks such as those uttered by His Highness that day.
I don't think he wants to do that just because he felt slighted by what the Sultan said about himself.
You can also read this previous post if you hadn't already,
Rokcybru bukan sahaja mempunyai kepakaran kewartawanan dari segi membaling batu sembunyi tangan dengan mendakwa fikirannnya sebagai datang dari orang lain tetapi juga dari segi kejuaraan makan dedak keperingkat mentahkedarah sehingga busuk muntahnya menyebabkan orang menjauhkan diri darinya.
Judging by the choice of words, there's no doubt that former information minister TS Zainuddin Maidin (Zam), who is also a Tokoh Wartawan Negara is very angry with Rocky.
In my opinion, Rocky should know Zam better not to make him angry like that when he posted this,
Then a reporter from the news portal Malaysian Digest called me up for my comments. Damn. I was hoping I didn't have to comment on what Zam had written on his Twitter but a fellow journalist is asking me what I thought of Zam's tweets?
Well, to put it simply, and speaking as journalist, I was ashamed.
This is the recipient of the 2006 Tokoh Wartawan Negara (Eminent Journalist) award that we are talking about, I told the Digest.
Rocky should know that Zam doesn't take that kind of criticism very well.
And Rocky should also know that it's not out of the ordinary for the guy to tweet such as this,
Rocky should just let Zam be the way he is.
I know that it's not nice to link the JB bicycle tragedy which killed eight kids with the agenda to topple PM DS Najib Razak, but that's just typical of things these days.
Well, maybe Rocky sorts of lost his cool when he saw that tweet by Zam.
After all, he tends to overly care about that sorts of things.
Everyone who really knows Rocky would agree that the guy almost never lose his temper or say/write something in anger.
The guy also never impose his opinion on others, as far as I'm concerned.
I really owe him a lot, yet he never asked me to write anything that I disagree with, let alone angry if I say or write something contrary to his opinions.
See, I'm not even afraid to put such a headline for this post which blame him for the whole thing.
I know he would be cool about it.
Well, whatever it is, I don't think Rocky was being too harsh that Zam had to respond the way he did.
I mean, the words that Zam used was rather extreme.
Still, as I said, Zam is Zam.
Rocky should just let him be and let the public decide what to make of his tweets and blog postings.
The whole thing actually reminds me of a quarrel I had with a very famous blogger sometimes back.
It went something like this:
Annie : Sis, you shouldn't say Umno members who disagree with the party leadership must be expelled. That's because they are still loyal to Umno itself and will vote for BN in the election.
Very famous blogger : You are stupid. You are a Trojan Horse. You are a paid DAP cybertrooper. I'm going to expose you. You bitch.
Annie : Okay lah, at least I'm not smelly.
Isn't it a bit similar to this Rocky versus Zam thing?
A bit cute eh :)
Anyway, personally, I think what really made Zam very angry was the part where Rocky mentioned his 2006 Tokoh Wartawan Negara award.
At first I didn't get it because Rocky seemed to be holding back something, which is typical of him about being proper and not rude.
But Big Dog in his latest posting went all out as usual and made it plain what it was all about,
If memory serves us right, he received the MPI award in 2006when he was still serving as the Cabinet Minister in charge of information, where media and press are answerable to him. It is irony for the statement he was quoted by Bernama against his gutter tweets, upon the tragedy for the teenagers cycling at Mahmoodiah, Johor Bahru a week ago. It is also believed that the Information Ministry then provided the organisation which gave him the award a substantial grant. The fact that as a serving Minister, he was willing to receive an award for an industry he had power of supervision and control itself demonstrated his moral values.
Of course Zam hit back at Big Dog in his latest posting,
and told myself to be extra careful with what I want to write in future.
I don't know what exactly that the teenager wrote but this is how it was described in that Bernama report,
This follows a police report made by a member of the public on Monday in connection with a Facebook posting calling on the people, especially cycling youths, to gather and seek an audience with Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar as well as meet the police.
According to Wan Ahmad Najmuddin, the spread of the statement could threaten the nation’s harmony and wellbeing.
Okay, I guess for one thing, I better not write anything about "gather and seek an audience with Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar as well as meet the police" if I'm not happy about anything.
I really don't fancy ending up in a police lock up for such things.
Even if later on I'm not found guilty of anything, I don't think I want to risk spending a few nights in the lock-up.
Never been in one, but I believe it's not going to be a nice experience.
Well, the law is the law and we better abide by it.
Don't simply write anything that crosses our mind.
I really need to caution myself over that as I do that quite a lot.
Simply write one.
Anyway, I hope the police will not be too hard on the teenager.
Maybe the boy was just venting out his frustration over the death of the other teenagers in the tragedy.
Sounded like he needs a counsellor rather than jail time for what he wrote.
Still on the JB bicycle tragedy, I received this comment at my previous post which I want to share in this post with you all.
I think it may help us understand a bit more as to why teenagers such as the ones who died in the tragedy did what they did, and what we should do to help them.
I polished it a bit to make it easier to read and I hope the writer doesn't mind it too much.
That I think is brutal honesty.
I even believe that the commenter is one of the youths.
You all may disagree with what he wrote but that I believe is a voice of kids such as those who died in the tragedy.
Maybe he wrote the comment to express his grief over the passing of his fellow youths in the tragedy.
Maybe it's the same with the other teenager who was detained by police for what he wrote.
Whatever it is, I think we need to be more compassionate.
Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Dr Ali Hamsa said Madinah would take over from Tan Sri Ambrin Buang, who will retire on Feb 22.
Ali said Madinah’s appointment was in accordance with the Federal Constitution, and consented by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong upon the advice of the prime minister, after consulting the Conference of Rulers.
He said Madinah, 60, has a Bachelor's degree in Political Science from Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), a Master's degree in Human Resource Development, and a Doctorate degree in Human Resource Management from Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM)
It's quite clear that she's not a chartered accountant,
A friend who is more knowledgeable than me in these sorts of matters pointed to me that Section 22 and 23 of the Accountant Act 1967 (Revised 1972) stated,
22. No person shall unless he is registered as a chartered accountant under this Act and has his principal or only place of residence within Malaysia--
(a) practise or hold himself out as a chartered accountant, auditor, tax consultant, tax adviser or any other like description;
(b) adopt, use or exhibit the terms "chartered accountant", "auditor", "tax consultant", "tax adviser" or any other term of like description; or
(c) adopt, use or exhibit the term "accountant" or any other term of like description in such circumstances as to indicate or to be likely to lead persons to infer that he is a chartered accountant or that he is qualified by any written law to practise the profession of or is in practise as a chartered accountant:
Provided that nothing in this section shall operate to prevent an advocate or any person authorised under any other law for the time being in force in Malaysia from carrying on the work of a tax consultant or a tax adviser.
23. No person shall unless he is registered under this Act and has his principal or only place of residence within Malaysia--
(a) practise or hold himself out as a licensed accountant or an associate member;
(b) adopt, use or exhibit the terms "licensed accountant" or "an associate member"; or
(c) adopt, use or exhibit the term "accountant" or any other term of like description in such circumstances as to indicate or to be likely to lead persons to infer that he is a licensed accountant or an associate member.
And Section 26 of the same Act stated that
26. Any person contravening section 22 or 23 shall be guilty of an offence and shall, on conviction, be liable to a fine not exceeding ten thousand ringgit or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year and on a second or subsequent conviction to a fine not exceeding twenty thousand ringgit or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years.
Unless my friend got it wrong, this appointment is actually illegal.
And if it's wrong, we have to say that it is wrong.
Why can't they get a proper chartered accountant for the job?
The law seems clear that only a chartered accountant can be an auditor, and I believe that should cover the Auditor General post as well.
I think the Chief Secretary to the Government has to answer this.
The anti-Najib people are already making noises over this appointment.
I don't care what they say about Madinah being the wife of an Umno division chief and such, but a clarification is needed on the legality of the appointment.
So, I think Ali Hamsa needs to hurry up a bit with the explanation.
You all also probably asked who are these kids roaming the streets on bicycles in the dead of the night and why did their parents do nothing to stop them.
Many of us probably had even passed judgement on these kids and their parents.
Bad kids, useless parents.
But I think we should know these kids and their parents much better if we want to really know why and how things happened leading to the tragedy.
Bernama has a story of one of them,
ONE OF EIGHT TEENAGERS KILLED IN ACCIDENT SOLD PUDDINGS
JOHOR BAHRU, Feb 18 (Bernama) -- One of the eight teenagers, Mohd Azhar Amir, who was killed when a car ploughed into a group of cyclists here early this morning, was a quiet boy and enjoyed helping his elder brother sell puddings. According to his mother Shabariah Yusof, 49, her son often went out with his friends at 11 pm after helping his brother sell puddings at Kampung Senibong. "He would only go out cycling with friends after helping his brother. I don't know where they went but he usually came back after 3 am.
"I found out about the accident when his friends came back and told me about it," she said in a choked voice when met by reporters in front of the Sultanah Aminah Hospital (HSA) Forensic Department here today. Mohd Azhar, 16, was eighth of 10 siblings and went to Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Permas Jaya 3.
Meanwhile, his elder brother, Khainurizam Amir, 33, said he had often told his brother not to get involved in the cycling activity. "I have told him on numerous occasions not to get involved in the activity but children can be stubborn. He would leave the house on the quiet when friends beckoned and we hear from others when something happens," he said. In the incident at 3 am, eight male teenagers were killed while eight others were injured, two critically, when a car ploughed into their bicycles in Jalan Lingkaran Dalam, near the Mahmoodiah Cemetery near here.
Bernama stories are not always the best because sometimes they lack details, but based on this one, the deceased boy and his family apparently lived in Kampong Senibong where he and his brother sold puddings.
It's a fishermen village of about 400 people famous for its seafood restaurants.
If I'm not mistaken, the village is about 100 years old.
It's one of several remaining traditional Malay villages in the rapidly developing JB.
Many of the inhabitants of these villages are squatters.
Almost all of them are from the lower income group.
The seafood restaurants in their village mostly belong to rich people from elsewhere.
Based on the story of the tragedy, all of the victims are Malay teenagers and I believe they came from the same background as Mohd Azhar whose story was highlighted by Bernama.
I'm actually quite familiar with the condition of the Malay villages in JB.
Some are good but many are not so conducive for growing up kids.
It's the conditioning of the kids living in those villages which I believe led them to indulge in activities leading to the tragedy that happened this morning.
I learnt that the night cycling of the kids is called "main lajak". They raced each other on modified bicycles down the hill from Mahmoodiah to a spot near Jalan Skudai every weekend nights or early morning.
It's probably the only form of outdoor entertainment they were interested in and could afford.
True, the parents were partly to be blamed for letting their kids getting involved in such a dangerous activity, but kids of that age and living in such an environment as where they lived were hard to control.
Bear in mind that the villages where these kids lived are in the midst of the rapidly developing JB. Villages such as Kampung Senibong are surrounded by high rise luxury apartments such as Senibong Cove.
It's likely hard for them to cope with peer pressure and the need to keep up with things around them.
The kids, who were mostly from poor families may felt out of place in their surroundings and struggling to adapt, leading to them getting involved in social ills such as the one leading to the tragedy.
Whatever it is, hopefully those in power can do something to help people such as the families of the unfortunate kids.
Surely something can be done. Maybe if their welfare could be cared better, they would manage to improve themselves and live better lives than now.
Maybe they could be helped to live in more conducive environment.
We can't just say - Too bad, you can't adapt, you get out.
We are humans after all....and we live in Malaysia, and not some poor third world countries, okay.
Note (Feb 23 2017) :
There have been several requests for me to take down pictures of the victims' identity cards.
I want to clarify here that I decided to publish them because I don't want the kids who died in this tragedy to become faceless victims that everyone will soon forget.
It's in no way meant to disrespect them or their families.
The kids were real human beings who lost their life in an accident which we can learn not to repeat.
The memory of them should stay with us.
However, after careful considerations, I decided to grant those requests because I don't want to cause discomfort to any quarter.
Still, least we forget, these are the kids who died in the tragedy :
Everyone thought the Chinese are going to get everything in this country.
But apparently not so.
The fight is apparently still on for the High Speed Rail (HSR) project between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.
The Japanese are apparently still not giving up.
I was actually happy when I read this news by The Japan Times earlier this morning,
Japan makes shinkansen safety pitch in bid for Malaysia-Singapore rail contract
KUALA LUMPUR – Japan pitched its safety record to Malaysia at a high-speed rail symposium Friday as it plays catch-up with China in chasing a lucrative project to link Kuala Lumpur with Singapore by train.
The symposium, hosted for the second year in a row by the Japanese government, was attended by Malaysian Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai and Japan’s Junzo Yamamoto, a senior vice minister in the transport ministry.
“Safety is the biggest characteristic of the shinkansen,” Yamamoto said in his speech at the symposium, “It has maintained an impeccable record with zero fatalities in its 50 years of operation.”
In a news conference later, he said Japan has agreed to collaborate with Malaysia’s regulator, the Land Public Transport Commission of Malaysia, better known by its Malay acronym SPAD, to develop the railway sector.
“We will be enhancing in terms of capacity-building, sharing of best practices and other areas of cooperation through collaboration between universities and research institutes, training in Japan as well as dispatch of experts to Malaysia,” he said.
After the symposium, Yamamoto held talks with Malaysian officials led by SPAD Chairman Syed Hamid Albar and MyHSR Corp Sdn. Bhd. Chief Executive Mohd Nur Ismal Mohamed Kamal.
MyHSR is the developer and asset owner of the ambitious project that was first announced by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak and Singaporean counterpart Lee Hsieng Loong in February 2013.
The rail line would stretch about 350 km along the west coast of the Malay Peninsula from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore and have an estimated travel time of about 90 minutes.
A memorandum of understanding between the two governments is expected to be inked by middle of this year, to be followed by a more binding bilateral agreement later, before a tender can be called, which some news reports said could be in the first quarter of 2017.
While the governments are ironing out the kinks, competition is heating up among the favorites, China and Japan, for a contract unofficially estimated to be worth between $10 billion and $18 billion.
On the surface, China appears to be leading the race.
If in the 1980s and ’90s, Japan stamped its mark on every major project in Malaysia under former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad’s “Look East” policy, today it’s China.
Some of its high-profile projects include the $1.1 billion Second Penang Bridge and the $2 billion Gemas-Johor Baru electric double-track rail.
In the rail sector, some 80 percent of Malaysia’s rolling stock is supplied by China Railway Rolling Stock Corp., which opened a $97 million manufacturing plant in northern Perak state last year.
But what many felt would tip the scale in China’s favor was when another state-owned company, China Railway Group Ltd., which is eyeing the HSR project, together with its local partner Iskandar Waterfront Holdings, acquired a 60 percent stake in Bandar Malaysia, a new 486-acre commercial and residential development in the city center where the proposed HSR terminal will be located on the Malaysia end.
They bought it last December from debt-laden state-investment fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad for 7.41 billion ringgit ($1.82 billion).
Three months later, China Railway Group Ltd. announced plans to invest $2 billion for a regional center in Bandar Malaysia that it hoped would give it an edge over rivals bidding for the HSR project.
“Our regional center is here, not our competitors. We find resources together with our local developer in infrastructure . . . I cannot find (anyone) who can match us,” General Manager Cai Zemin told reporters after a grand ceremony to unveil their investment plan that was attended by Najib.
The China Railway deal with 1MDB came after another Chinese state-owned firm, China General Nuclear Corp., paid over $2.3 billion for 1MDB’s power assets.
The sales of the power assets and Bandar Malaysia were part of 1MDB’s strategy to pare down a massive debt estimated at 50 billion ringgit as of this January.
1MDB is under investigation at home and abroad for possible fraud and money laundering. A parliamentary inquiry had found questionable dealings and unexplained outflows of funds ranging in the billions of dollars.
The scandal has become a millstone around the neck of Najib, who chairs the 1MDB advisory board. He is under pressure to resign.
Transportation consultant Goh Bok Yen believed Najib may feel indebted to China for bailing out 1MDB.
“China saves 1MDB, China saves Najib,” he told Kyodo News, “Today they come in, they throw in money. Stage one, they are in the forerun . . . China is hitting the nail at the right places.”
But he cautioned that since the project also involves Singapore, the sentiment there may not necessarily be pro-China.
MyHSR’s Nur Ismal brushed away talk about China being the front-runner as mere speculation. He said all bids will be evaluated fairly.
Besides Japan and China, others who have expressed interest in the high-speed rail project are from South Korea and Europe.
I hope the Japanese get the project.
I'm just not comfortable with the Chinese getting every project in the country.
It's just not strategically wise to let that happens.
Anyway, I always prefer the Shinkansen for the HSR as I posted here,