Friday, August 18, 2006

Another 34 YEAR CONCESSION for HARIS ONN HUSSEIN for the DUKE (Duta Ulu Kelang Expressway) - Linking Jalan Duta - Sentul Pasar - Greenwood - Semarak

Following closely to the heels of the disclosure that Lembah Sari (see previous post on Aug 15 06) has taken over Kod Efisen for the labeling of locally produced Cigarettes and Beer for a concession of 3 years, TheEDGE Daily has reported another feather in the cap for Haris Onn Hussein the youngest son of the Third Prime Minister Tun Hussein Onn and the youngest brother of the Education Minister Datum Hussein Onn.

Insert the new "Toll King" - Haris Onn Hussein in the Jalan Duta Interchange

Again the question is asked how the well connected are given the privileged to get this concession. Still no change in policy for PM Abdullah clarion calls for a open and equitable society? No open tendering process? Still a closed process by appointment only?

Now why 34 years of concession? Apparently it takes 4 years to construct and 30 years to cross his legs and collect toll to last for at least 3 generations for Haris Hussein family? Of course he does not take all the toll; other venture (or vulture) companies like Kesturi, Wira Kristal and MRCB would get their shares.

All these concessions in labeling and tolls can be viewed as “legalized open extortion” all in the name of privatization and to make traveling easier in and out of the city where the population has reached two million, causing daily massive traffic jams”.

Now why all this greed? One concession is not enough? How many more to take? You cannot take them along for sure.

All worldly pursuits end in sorrow!

All these materials possession are illusionary; closed your eyes and they are “not there”. Perhaps in a later posting, quantum physics can be used to prove that “the world is not the hard and unchangeable thing it may appear to be”.

DUKE highway is elevated from Jalan Duta toll, cut through Changkat Kiara bungalows (land space between the 2 plots of bungalow concrete fence), joining Jalan Kuching interchange and connected to Ulu Kelang.

The only consolation motorists from Sri Damansara, Sg Buloh, Sri Hartamas, Segambut, Sentul, Setiawangsa, Ampang, Ulu Kelang, Gombak, Selayang and Batu Caves would be able to enjoy a free flow ride to and from the city centre

However, Toll plazas will be set up at Kg Batu, Ayer Panas and Sentul Pasar

The Sentu Pasar Interchange TOLL B to Greenwood (Karak Hoghway)

Konsortium Lebuhraya Utara Timur (KL) Sdn Bhd (KESTURI), a joint venture company between MRCB (30%) and Wira Kristal Sdn Bhd (70%) has been awarded a 34 years concession to design, construct, operate and maintain the Lebuhraya Duta - Ulu Kelang (DUKE).

This 18.04km project is divided into 3 sections namely :-

  • Section 1 - 5.28km, from Jalan Duta Interchange to Sentul Pasar Interchange
  • Section 2 - 6.13km, from Sentul Pasar Interchange to Hill View Interchange
  • Section 3 - 6.59km, from Sentul Pasar Interchange to Greenwood Interchange

The AYER PANAS TOLL C Interchange to Jalan Semarak

The DUKE is nearby Changkat View Condominiums at Hartamas/Segambut area, which is selling at affordable price of around RM200 p.s.f

MRCB unit Kesturi to issue RM550m bond for expressway ;2-08-2004:

Malaysian Resources Corporation Bhd 30% associate Konsortium Lebuhraya Utara Timur (KL) Sdn Bhd (Kesturi) will issue a RM550 million 11-year bond to part-finance the construction of the RM1.16 billion Kuala Lumpur North-East Expressway (KLNEE).

Kesturi, the expressway concessionaire, will also obtain a term loan facility of RM200 million from Bank Pembangunan & Infrastruktur Malaysia Bhd, while the remaining funding will come from its equity.

Speaking to reporters after the signing of the concession agreement with the government in Kuala Lumpur on Aug 12, Kesturi managing director Haris Onn Hussein said the bond issue, to be managed by CIMB Bhd, would be carried out by year-end.

Kesturi is expected to start construction of the 18.6km KLNEE by the end of the year for completion by 2008. Kesturi is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Nuzen Corporation Bhd, which is 30% owned by MRCB and 70% by Wira Kristal Sdn Bhd.

Bloomberg reported that Wira Kristal is a closely held company controlled by Haris, who is a younger brother of Education Minister Datuk Hishammuddin Hussein.

The government has awarded the design work, construction, operation and management of KLNEE for a period of 34 years. The highway links the North Klang Valley Expressway to the Middle Ring Road II, and the KL-Karak Highway at Sentul.

Haris estimated that KLNEE would have a traffic volume of between 40,000 and 60,000 vehicles daily when it opened for traffic.

He proposed to rename KLNEE to Duke Expressway, short for Duta-Ulu Kelang Expressway, to better reflect the positioning of the expressway.

“To minimise land acquisition, a large portion of the expressway will be built on viaduct or bridge structures. In fact, only 20% of the land acquisition shall involve private land,” he added.

Works Minister Datuk Seri S Samy Vellu, who witnessed the signing ceremony, said the land acquisition cost would amount to RM334 million. It is learnt that more than 2,000 squatter families need to be relocated.

Proposed RM1.166 Billion KL North-East Expressway Project Signed

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 12 (Bernama) -- Construction of the proposed RM1.166 billion KL North-East Expressway (KLNEE) spanning 18 kilometres will commence at the end of the year and expected to be completed by 2008, Works Minister Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu said Thursday.

He said that the privatised expressway was expected to make travelling easier in and out of the city where the population has reached two million, causing daily massive traffic jams.

The privatised intra-urban KLNEE will begin from the
North Klang Valley Expressway (NKVE) starting at Jalan Duta and terminate at the Middle Ring Road (MRR) 11 at Ulu Kelang in the east and Batu Caves in the north.

Konsortium Lebuhraya Utara-Timur (KL) Sdn Bhd (Kesturi), a partnership between Wira Kristal Sdn Bhd and Malaysian Resources Corporation Bhd (MRCB) Thursday, signed a 34-year concession agreement with the government to undertake the design, construction, operations and maintenance of the proposed KLNEE.

Samy Vellu said that the cost of the expressway includes RM334 million in land acquisition costs and would take about three years to complete.

It will have seven interchanges and four directional ramps. Toll plazas will be set up at Kg Batu, Ayer Panas and Sentul Panas. (see maps)

The proposed KLNEE was a vital link for the intermediate ring road in the KL road master plan, the minister said after witnessing the signing of the agreement between the concessionaire and the government.

Signing for KLNEE was its managing director, Haris Onn Hussein, while Works Ministry Secretary-General Datuk Ahmad Dhaman Huri Mohamed Ali signed for the government.

Also present was Deputy Works Minister Datuk Ir Mohamed Zin Mohamed and MRCB chairman Datuk Seri Syed Anwar Jamalullail.

The concessionary period for the expressway, designed to a speed of 90 kph, includes four years of construction.

Samy Vellu also said that this link was a vital East-West route for the Northern KL region, allowing traffic to bypass the city centre.

It would also act as a dispersal scheme to disperse city traffic to the suburbs through connections to major radial roads such as Jalan Segambut, Jalan Kuching, Jalan Sentul, Jalan Semarak, Jalan Setiawangsa, Jalan 37/56 and Jalan Kg Bandar Dalam.

Haris Onn said that Kesturi would finance the project through a 11-year bond issue worth RM500 million, a loan facility from Bank Pembangunan for RM200 million and the remainder through equity.

The bond issue would commence at the end of the year while the loan would span 15 years, he said.

He also said that the proposed expressway would feature advanced traffic information and management system (MIS), and be equipped with modern facilities such as variable messaging signs (VMS), central control and monitoring and electronic tolling.

To identify more accurately with the expressway, Haris Onn suggested it be known as DUKE, the acronym for the Duta-Ulu Kelang Expressway, which is the exact route the road would take.

He said that DUKE would be a dual four-lane expressway from the Duta Interchange to the Kuching Interchange, where traffic volume was expected to be high while the remaining stretches would be built to a dual three-carriageway.

Through DUKE, motorists from Sri Damansara, Sg Buloh, Sri Hartamas, Segambut, Sentul, Setiawangsa, Ampang, Ulu Kelang, Gombak, Selayang and
Batu Caves would be able to enjoy a free flow ride to and from the city centre.

To minimise land acquisition, a large portion of the DUKE expressway would be built on viaduct or bridge structures, with only 20 per cent of land acquisition to involve private land.

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The Consumer Price Index (CPI) for January to July 2006 increased by 3.9 per cent confirmed the worst fears that inflation is soaring sky high. The biggest increase is noted in the transportation sector 12.6% (with the enormous hike in fuel prices). Food and non-alcoholic drinks up moderately at 3.5%. Housing, Electricity, Gas and other fuel by 1.5%.

We were assured that prices will not go up with the electricity tariff hike? So where are all the check and balances the Ministry people promised? Rising prices was a forgone conclusion even without the statistics.

And what is Bank Negara solution? It will allow the ringgit to gain further this year to combat inflation now the central bank has stopped raising interest rates, according to UBS AG.

So tighten your belt and loosen your seat belts (don’t drive unnecessary!)

And here are the details as reported by Bernama

CPI Up 3.9 Per Cent Jan-July ; August 16, 2006 18:15 PM

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 16 (Bernama) -- The Consumer Price Index (CPI) for January
to July 2006
increased by 3.9 per cent 103.1 compared with 99.2 in the same period last year.

The CPI in July 2006 was up 4.1 per cent to 104.0 compared with 99.9 in July last year. When compared with June 2006, the CPI, however, increased only slightly by 0.2 per cent.

Issuing details of the CPI for July 2006 here Wednesday, the Department of Statistics said the 3.9 per cent increase in the CPI was brought about by increases observed in the indices of all the main groups.

The exceptions were the Clothing & Footwear and Communication sectors, both of which decreased by 1.2 per cent and 1.3 per cent respectively.

Prices in the transportation sector noted significant increase, going up by 12.6 per cent, Food & Non-Alcoholic Beverages went up by 3.5 per cent, and Housing, Electricity, Gas & other fuels recorded a more moderate increase of 1.5 per cent.

The three main groups, Food & Non-Alcoholic Beverages, Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas & other fuels, and Transport together accounted for 88.5 per cent of the overall increase recorded for the current period, the department said.

The 3.5 per cent increase in the index for Food & Non-Alcoholic Beverages was the result of increases for Food At Home (+3.5 per cent), Food Away From Home (+3.8 per cent) and Coffee, Tea, Cocoa & Non-Alcoholic Beverages (+2.6 per cent).

Comparing the CPI of June and July 2006, increases were shown in eight main groups, namely Clothing & Footwear (+0.5 per cent), Food & Non-Alcoholic Beverages (+0.4 per cent), Health (+0.3 per cent), Restaurants & Hotels (+0.2 per cent), Recreational Services & Culture (+0.2 per cent), Education (+0.1 per cent), Alcoholic & Tobacco (+0.1 per cent) and Furnishing, Household Equipment & Routine Household Maintenance (+0.1 per cent).

Indices for Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas & Other Fuels and Transport remained unchanged at 101.7 and 112.3 respectively. A reclassification of items according to their durability and services rendered showed increases in Semi Durable Goods (+0.8 per cent), Services (+0.2 per cent) and Non-durable Goods (+0.2 per cent). The index for Durable Goods decreased by 0.3 per cent.

and report from

Malaysia's Inflation Accelerates to Three-Month High(Update 1) Updated : 16-08-2006 Media : Bloomberg;Story By : Stephanie Phang

Aug. 16 (Bloomberg) -- Malaysia's inflation rate accelerated to a three-month high in July on costlier food, beverages and transportation, suggesting higher electricity rates have prompted companies to raise prices.

The consumer price index rose 4.1 percent from a year earlier, after gaining 3.9 percent in June, the Putrajaya-based Department of Statistics said in a statement today. That atched the median forecast in a Bloomberg News survey of 22 economists. Prices rose 0.2 percent from June.

``We expect inflationary pressure to persist for the rest of the year given the recent hike in petrol prices as well as power tariffs,'' said Wong Lai Yee, an economist at TA Securities Holdings Bhd. in Kuala Lumpur.

State utility Tenaga Nasional Bhd. won government approval to raise electricity tariffs in June for the first time in nine years, adding to rising prices which have caused Malaysia's inflation rate to surge as Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's government increased fuel prices five times since May 2004 to cut its subsidy bill.

Gains in consumer prices reached a seven-year high of 4.8 percent in March after Abdullah raised retail gasoline and diesel prices by as much as 23 percent on Feb. 28. That allowed the government to trim fuel subsidies paid to oil companies to keep retail pump prices low as global crude prices surged.

Electricity Prices

The government allowed Tenaga, Malaysia's state-controlled power distributor, to raise electricity prices, by an average 12 percent, for the first time since May 1997 in June 06.

Malaysia's consumer prices climbed 3.9 percent in the first seven months of 2006 from the same period a year earlier, the government said in its report today.

The central bank expects inflation to average 3.5 percent to 4 percent this year, compared with 3 percent in 2005 and 1.4 percent in 2004.

Faster inflation may prompt the central bank to raise its benchmark interest rate this month, after holding steady for the last two policy meetings, said Joseph Tan, an economist at Standard Chartered Bank in Singapore. Bank Negara Malaysia, which hasn't raised its key rate since April 26, may increase borrowing costs again at its next review on Aug. 25, said Tan, who expects the policy rate to rise to 3.75 percent this month from 3.5 percent

`Last Opportunity'

``I think August is the last opportunity to hike,'' said Tan. ``If they don't, they won't for the rest of the year. Growth in the remaining quarters of 2006 is also unlikely to exceed the first half, so raising interest rates later when growth is slowing will be awkward.''

Still, Governor Zeti Akhtar Aziz said on Aug. 14 that Malaysia's inflation will ease in the remaining months of this year, and bank deposit rates probably won't remain below the inflation rate for a long time, signaling the central bank may have room to keep rates on hold.

`We are expecting the central bank to maintain the overnight policy rate at 3.5 percent for the rest of 2006,'' said TA's Wong. ``Domestic demand will soften in the second half, the U.S. Federal Reserve will maintain its Fed Funds rate at 5.25 percent, and the inflation rate has peaked.''

Governor Zeti in November raised borrowing costs for the first time since the Asian financial crisis of 1997-98, and announced another increases in February and April. The central bank left rates unchanged on May 22 and July 28.

`Trending Lower'

``I don't see any impact on monetary policy'' from July's higher inflation, said George Worthington, chief Asia-Pacific economist at Thomson IFR in Sydney. ``Inflation was running much faster in the March quarter'' and ``is trending lower.''

Price increases in July were led by a 12.3 percent jump in transport costs, after a 12.6 percent gain in June. For the first seven months of the year, transport prices rose 12.6 percent, accounting for half of the increase in the consumer price index during the period.

The cost of food and non-alcoholic beverages rose 3.8 percent in July, accelerating from a 3.2 percent gain in June. Food and beverage costs gained 3.5 percent in the first seven months, accounting for about 30 percent of the gain in consumer prices, according to today's report.

``Food and housing have been rising gradually and steadily,'' Worthington said. ``Look for that to continue.''

Prices of alcoholic beverages and tobacco increased 7 percent in July from a year earlier, and climbed 7 percent in the first seven months.

Alcohol, Tobacco

Cigarette makers including British American Tobacco Malaysia Bhd. and beer companies such as Carlsberg Brewery Malaysia Bhd. raised retail prices in October after the government increased tobacco and alcohol taxes for a third year in its Sept. 30 budget.

The cost of recreational and cultural services increased 1.1 percent, the fastest pace this year.

Housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels gained 1.8 percent from a year earlier. Prices of clothing and footwear fell 1.1 percent in July from a year earlier, while communication costs dropped 1.5 percent.

Health-care costs increased 2.2 percent in July. Prices of furnishings, household equipment and household maintenance were 1.1 percent higher than a year earlier. Hotel and restaurant prices climbed 3.9 percent.

and from

Malaysia Will Allow Ringgit to Gain to Curb Inflation, UBS Says

Updated : 16-08-2006 Media : Bloomberg Story By : David Yong

Aug. 16 (Bloomberg) -- Malaysia will allow the ringgit to gain further this year to combat inflation now the central bank has stopped raising interest rates, according to UBS AG.

Bank Negara Malaysia's plan to maintain foreign exchange flexibility means it can use the currency to damp inflation, suggesting a shift in the preferred policy tool to the ringgit, according to a report yesterday from a team of UBS analysts including Nizam Idris. The central bank has kept rates on hold at its past two meetings after three increases since November.

``Having paused on interest-rate hikes, you wouldn't want your currency to weaken as well'' to guard against inflation, Nizam, a Singapore-based currency strategist at UBS, said in a telephone interview. ``You don't want to be on a clear monetary- easing stance in Malaysia.''

The ringgit traded at 3.6815 per dollar as of 1:16 p.m. in Kuala Lumpur. The currency may advance to 3.65 in a month and 3.60 by mid-November, Nizam said. The ringgit has risen 2.7 percent this year, the smallest gain among the five Southeast Asian currencies tracked by Bloomberg.

Malaysia scrapped its currency peg of 3.8 per dollar on July 21 last year in favor of a managed float system against an undisclosed basket of currencies. The change came an hour after China allowed the yuan to appreciate for the first time in a decade against the dollar.

Yuan Gains
Further gains in China's currency may spur a similar advance in the ringgit, according to UBS.

In July, the yuan had its best month since the peg was scrapped as policy makers including Zhu Baoliang, chief economist at a research group linked to the main economic planning agency, called for a stronger currency to narrow a record trade surplus and control inflation.

Bank Negara will maintain a highly liberal foreign exchange regime to promote capital mobility, Governor Zeti Akhtar Aziz told reporters in Kuala Lumpur on Aug. 14. The central bank is also monitoring fund flows to promote financial and economic stability, she said.

The central bank kept its overnight lending rate between banks at 3.5 percent on May 22 and July 28, saying inflation has peaked and risks to growth have emerged. Policy makers will probably keep the rate on hold again at their next meeting on Aug. 25, Nizam said.

``For Malaysia, any increase in inflationary pressure is likely to be tackled by the ringgit rather than interest rates going forward,'' he said.

Inflation Accelerates
The government will probably say today inflation quickened to 4.1 percent in July from a year earlier due to higher electricity prices, according to a Bloomberg News survey. Consumer prices rose 3.9 percent in May and June, easing from a seven-year high of 4.8 percent in March.

The shift of Malaysia's preferred monetary policy tool to the ringgit is evident in the nation's changing foreign-exchange reserves, Nizam said.

``Bank Negara has been one of the most interventionist central banks over the last year relative to the reserves since July 2005,'' he said. ``This is slowly changing and we have seen less aggressive dollar-buying so far this year.''

Some BACKGROUND Reading from Ailran expressing their concerns when the electricity rates were upped.

Electricity tariff hike sparks concern ; Saturday, 05 August 2006

Egged on by investors, the government is allowing a tariff hike even though TNB and the IPPs are posting huge profits, says Ong Eu Soon.

When the public reacted with furore after the recent oil price hike, the government tried to assure the people that the oil price hike would not cause inflation.

The Prime Minister even pondered aloud, asking why there should be any price increases following the oil price hike: "I don't understand why prices of goods increase?" The government even pledged to go all out to curb inflationary pressures following the oil price hike.

Betting on the short memory of Malaysians, Energy, Water and Communications minister Dr Lim Keng Yaik announced on 24 May that the government will allow national power firm Tenaga Nasional Bhd to raise electricity tariffs from June 2006 - though small electricity consumers would not be affected..

Citing the spiralling cost of crude oil used to generate power as the reason for the tariff hike, Lim had earlier claimed that if the current tariffs were to be maintained, TNB would go bankrupt. The minister further noted that even with the new rates, the tariffs would still be among the lowest in the region.

Soaring profits

Is the tariff hike justified? It was reported that TNB's profit for 2005 was up 57 per cent, with the company earning RM1.28 billion, compared with RM813.7 million a year earlier. (Source: Reuters, 25 Oct 2005). The higher profit was due to forex gains and higher sales of electricity. According to a news report, TNB is expected to spend RM1.7 billion on fuel in the first half of this year against RM1.5 billion for the same period last year. (Source: Business Times, 6 May 2006). This would mean TNB has to bear an additional RM400 million on fuel. But if we look at the profit of RM1.28 billion, the additional RM 400 million is not going to make TNB bankrupt.

Judging from the persistent strengthening of the ringgit over the past six months, the ringgit is expected to further rise against the US dollar – in line with the overall weakening of the US dollar - over the next six months. With Bank Negara relaxing its grip on exchange management to tackle the inflationary impact from rising oil prices on the local economy, TNB stands to gain further from forex gains. A 1 per cent appreciation in the ringgit translates into a RM150 million gain for TNB. Of TNB's total debt of RM29.8 billion, RM13.7 billion or 46 per cent are foreign denominated debts (Source: StarBiz, May 6 2006).

The local currency has appreciated by around 5 per cent, which means TNB has gained a total of RM750 million. It is clear that the increase in the cost on fuel did not outweigh the forex gain. The issue of TNB going bankrupt if the present tariff rate is to be maintained is clearly unfounded, misleading and factually erroneous. In the words of
Lim Keng Yaik, the hike in fuel costs is just a mosquito bite for TNB.

Exorbitant IPP profits

If TNB is serious in boosting efficiency and productivity and in improving cost management, it should first target big power users with unpaid electricity bills, which run into more than a billion. It should reject outright the slipshod power purchase agreements with independent power producers (IPPs), which allow these IPPs to piggyback on TNB and rake in exorbitant profits to the detriment of TNB.

When news of a proposed tariff hike was first announced, research houses immediately reacted by upgrading TNB stock. Based on a forecast rate increase of 8 per cent for TNB, TA Securities upgraded TNB's 2006 earnings by 5.3 per cent and 19.8 per cent for 2007. The research house also raised its target price for the stock to RM10.50, based on 18.9 times the 2007 earnings per share of 55.6 sen for the financial year 2007. It maintains a 'buy" call on the stock.

According to CIMB Securities, every 1 per cent net increase in tariff rates would translate into an increase in earnings per share of 7-8 per cent (Source: Business Times, 6 May 2006). The buoyant mood among investors reveals to us how much TNB stands to gain from the tariff hike. This is a typical example of the indecent quest for profits and protectionism of big corporations with total disregard to the interest of the people.


Malaysia's tariff rate was the second lowest in the region after Taiwan. Imagine the Taiwanese government telling its people to pay more just because its tariff rate is the lowest. The Taiwanese government would be voted out from office if it dared to suggest to its people to pay more just for the benefit of government-linked corporations. Only in Bolehland can you imagine the unimaginable taking place.

If the government is truly capable, it should promote the fact that our electricity tariffs are among the lowest in the region to foreign investors. It should tell investors who intend to invest or who have already invested in China or India that we have plenty of cheap eectricity while both those countries are facing energy crises as a result of rapid development. The government should persuade investors to invest in Malaysia with this
competitive edge instead of constantly reminding Malaysians that we should pay more just because our tariffs are among the lowest.

Time and again, the government has attempted to take the easy way out by
passing on the cost
of TNB's mismanagement and its erroneous policies to the
people. The decision to raise tariffs while TNB continues to chalk up sizeable profits is set to increase public discontent.

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Thursday, August 17, 2006


“It involves several matters relating to the concession granted to Pantai Holdings, that is a contract to supply hospital requirements. But unfortunately it had gone to the hands of others

PM Datuk Seri Abdullah said that the government was studying the necessary action to be taken pertaining to theal 31% stake in Pantai Holdinggggs Bhd to Singapore based Parkways Holding Limited.. The Prime Minister said the matter is being looked into by the Treasury after it had realizing that it had become a problem, as it involved a concession for the supply of hospital requirements.

ABOVE: Insert Datuk Mokhzani Mahathir sold his shares to CEO Dato Lim T Y who resold to Singapore's Parkways Holding Ltd.

Earlier, news reports said that the former Prime Minister’s son, Datuk Mokhzani Mahathir, had sold his shares in Pantai Holdings to Pantai Group chief executive, Datuk Lim Tong Yong. (see Bernnama’s report below)

The shares were sold gradually since 2001 and according to the reports; the 31 per cent interest in Pantai Holdings was sold by Mokhzani to Lim and sold to Parkways

Meanwhile PAS vice-president Husam Musa amonst other things has called PM Abdullah for a full discolosure of he circumstances for this sale. It looks like it is greed on the part of Datuk Mokhzani Mahathir as Khazanah Nasional Bhd had also expressed interest to invest in Pantai, but backed out when the asking price was “too high”

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'Pak Lah, tell us the truth' ; Aug 16, 06 7:30pm

Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has been asked to clear the contradictions in his statements on the issue of Malaysian companies being snapped up by foreigners, especially Singaporeans.

In an open letter to the premier, PAS vice-president Husam Musa raised, among others, Singapore firm Parkway Holdings Ltd's purchase of a 31 percent controlling stake in private healthcare services provider Pantai Holdings Bhd.

Other issues raised include the merger of ECM-Libra and Avenue Capital, the dealings of Scomi Bhd - owned by Abdullah's son Kamaluddin - and the premier's son-in-law Khairy Jamaluddin's involvement in business. Over the weekend, Khairy sold his entire stake in ECM-Libra worth more than RM9 million following much controversy.

When contacted, Husam said a copy of his letter was both faxed and posted to the prime minister yesterday.

In his five-page letter, the PAS leader said he welcomed the government's decision to try to regain control of Pantai Holdings as reported in the media.

Husam cited a Berita Harian report on Aug 14 which quoted Abdullah as saying the government was relooking at the issue because the concessions given to Pantai Holdings included a government contract for hospital supplies.

The premier said with the sale of the shares, the concession was now "in the hands of others", which the government had hoped it would remain with Malaysians.

However, Husam said this contradicted what Abdullah had claimed in an interview with TV3 on Aug 7 that no Malaysian business entity had been taken over by foreigners.

In his letter, the PAS leader also included an excerpt of the interview where Abdullah said:

"Firstly, I say what is wrong with foreign companies wanting to buy shares in our companies as this is good because they have confidence in our companies...

"But what is important is that we safeguard our interests, we should not let others take over. In this matter, not one of our companies have been taken over..."

Why didn't you act earlier?

Husam also pointed out an earlier letter he wrote to Abdullah late last year, which among others questioned why the Finance Ministry allowed Parkway Holdings to buy a stake in Pantai Holdings, which operated seven hospitals.

"Maybe I am such an insignificant person that my letter was not worthy to be read by you despite you asking everyone to 'tell you the truth'...," said the PAS leader.

"Due to this, you have forgotten that the issue was raised long ago, and you should have acted then even if you had not read my letter," he added.

Husam wondered how Abdullah failed to act when the issue was raised by many quarters, including a member of the cabinet, the health minister.

Newspapers also reported that soon after the takeover, five out of the seven Pantai Holdings directors were changed, he added.

He said under the Practice Notes 2.4 for the Malaysian Code on Take-Overs and Mergers, a company is deemed as being under a new management when more than half of its directors are changed in less than a year following the entry of a new shareholder.

"I am sure you (Abdullah) were aware of all these," he said. "What is even more confounding is that all transactions involving the sale of a local company's interest to the foreigners must first get your approval as finance minister, or at the very least you must be informed about it."

Husam also listed other similar transactions that took place under the stewardship of Abdullah:

Singapore's purchase of a five percent stake in Telekom Malaysia in 2004, where ECM-Libra was its financial advisor.

The five percent stake in Proton purchased by the Government of Singapore Investment Corp (GSIC), also in 2004.

"Why did you agree then but now talk about regaining control? Are you not aware of the cost involved in this process?" asked the opposition leader.

"What is even more unforgivable is that the sale of Pantai Holdings shares amounting to 31 percent to Parkway Holdings contradicted the guidelines on mergers and takeovers issued by the Prime Minister's Department on May 21, 2003," he alleged.

Abdullah took over as prime minister from Dr Mahathir Mohamad six months after that - in November 2003.

"You have transgressed the guidelines issued by the Prime Minister's Department. How can this happen?" he asked.

Meanwhile, Husam said two Pantai Holdings subsidiaries - Fomema and Medivest - were involved in privatisation concessions and based on the privatisation guidelines, they are not allowed to change hands and fall into the control of foreigners.

"Strangely, this has happened. Who gave the approval? As much as you are fond of hearing the truth from the people, I as a citizen would also like to know the truth about this issue and you can do this (tell the truth) at the coming Dewan Rakyat sitting," he added.

Conflict of interests

Touching on the prime minister's family, the PAS leader said there could be a conflict of interest between Abdullah's position as finance minister and his son and son-in-law's business interests.

"Although your son-in-law has given up his stake in ECM-Libra, you must be aware that the government-linked Avenue Capital whose assets are estimated to be around RM4 billion - including its stake in POS Malaysia worth more than RM600 million - is now in the final stages of a merger with ECM-Libra and this happened when your son-in-law was still a shareholder in ECM-Libra."

He said the management of the merged entity ECM Libra-Avenue will be under investment advisory group ECM-Libra.

"This would mean the government-owned company (Avenue Capital) will fall
into the hands of private individuals," he said.

Husam also cited news reports which revealed that Scomi, owned by Abdullah's son, obtained numerous contracts.

"It is difficult to understand how these contracts have nothing to do with your position as prime minister," he said.

Husam said the current situation does not bode well for Abdullah's political standing and it gave the impression that "the nation's agenda has now become your family matters".


Parkway's Pantai booster;Updated : 12-08-2006 ;Media : The Star ;Story By : ANITA GABRIEL and TEE LIN SAY

IN the middle of last year, the rumour in early 2003 that Pantai's major shareholder Datuk Lim Tong Yong was keen to put his block of shares up for sale turned into reality. There were two interested parties ¨C Parkway and Singapore's Raffles Medical Group.

Prior to this, state investment arm Khazanah Nasional Bhd had also expressed interest to invest in Pantai considering healthcare services features prominently in its overall strategy. However, negotiations bogged down essentially due to pricing-related issues.

Parkway, who had the highest bid, managed to secure the block. It acquired a stake of some 31% in Pantai for RM311.58mil through various transactions ¨C 8.8% from off-market transactions at RM1.70 per share from a ¡°mysterious seller¡± and 22.5% from T.Y. Lim at RM2.45 per share.

It also acquired 37% of warrants from T.Y. Lim at RM1.33 per warrant. At an average price of RM2.24 per ordinary share, the purchase was transacted at the historical FY05 PE multiple of 20x.

Parkway is listed on the
Singapore stock exchange. In June 2005, Newbridge Capital and Associates emerged as a significant shareholder of the company after acquiring a 26% stake. Newbridge is a US private equity firm.

It ought to be noted that since the emergence of Parkway into Pantai, the management team of the latter has remained intact with Datuk Lim Tong Yong still holding key executive powers as group CEO.

In fact, a key member of Pantai's staff points out that apart from the board and exco, Parkway has not ¡°brought into Pantai any of its own key people.¡±

The many-fold benefits that the acquisition of Pantai brings to Parkway are easy to appreciate. For one, Pantai owns 7 private hospitals totalling 1,300 rooms in the
Klang Valley, Penang, Ipoh and Malacca, hence widening Parkway's exposure from the current 2 hospitals throughout the country.

Parkway's recently released results for the first half ended June 2006 show that its revenue increased 106% while earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) grew 64%. Excluding Pantai, Parkway's revenue and EBITDA grew 20% and 10% respectively.

The board said it would consolidate the full year results of its investment in Pantai Holdings.

In Parkway Holdings' financial statement on its first quarter ended March 2006, it notes that the group had acquired about 30% equity interest in Pantai Holdings.

It added, however, that notwithstanding that the equity interest is less than 51%, the directors consider Pantai as a subsidiary on the basis that inter alia, the group has board control of Pantai¡±, adding that it has accordingly accounted for Pantai as a subsidiary with effect from Sept 30, 2005.

In other words, as pointed out by an accountant, although Parkway may not have control in terms of percentage (which is anything over 50%), it does have control in substance as it clearly has board control of Pantai Holdings; it now has four members (out of seven) representing the interests of its new major shareholder.

In addition, she says that it is important to look at the rest of the shareholding.

If someone has a big block of shares in a company but it does not amount to over 50%, and the rest of the shareholders are small and are not likely to consolidate to assert control, then it is called defacto control.

But that's debatable, and is currently vigorously discussed in global markets,¡± she says. Interestingly, on July 28, the Government of Singapore Investment Corp Pte Ltd emerged as a substantial shareholder in Pantai with a 5.01% stake or 25.59mil shares.

While the move appears to have piqued the suspicion of some market observers, others think nothing of it.

Their entry into Pantai changes nothing. The GIC is a passive institutional investor,¡± says an analyst.

Pantai's shares have been climbing steadily since June this year from RM2.14 to RM2.30-RM2.35 at current levels, which is not far from its high of RM2.50 achieved in May this year.

PARKWAY Holdings Ltd has been appointed as the consultant for the setting up of a mega medical hub in
South Johor. Sources say that this is one of the major projects that come under the grand South Johor Economic Region masterplan that was unveiled not too long ago by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

It is not hard to appreciate why Parkway was chosen; it is the region¡¯s leading fully integrated healthcare group and has one of the largest networks of hospitals and healthcare services in the region.

It is believed that Parkway has in fact already submitted its study and recommend-ations to Khazanah Nasional Bhd.

The other mega projects under the masterplan include the state¡¯s new administrative centre, Southern Johor Industrial Logistic Cluster,
Waterfront City, Educity and an international resort.

Report from Bernama

Govt studying action to be taken on Pantai sale

August 14 2006

KEPALA BATAS: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said the Government was studying the necessary action to be taken pertaining to the disposal of a 31 per cent stake in Pantai Holdings Bhd to Singapore-based Parkway Holdings Ltd.

He said the matter was being looked into by the Treasury after realising that it had become a problem as it was related to the concession for the supply of hospital requirements.

“The share sale has become a problem as it involves several matters related to the concession given to Pantai Holdings, that is a contract to supply hospital requirements,” he said.

He spoke after launching the Yayasan Budi Penyayang Foundation Day and opening Bank Muamalat Malaysia Bhd’s Kepala Batas branch at the Budi Penyayang Complex here today.

He said the Government had always hoped that the equity would remain with Malaysians but unfortunately it had gone into the hands of foreigners.

“The concession has changed hands, and it has gone to other people and (we) hope it would remain with the Malaysian side, and held by Malaysian citizens,” he said.

Earlier, news reports said that the former Prime Minister’s son, Datuk Mokhzani Mahathir, had sold his shares in Pantai Holdings to Pantai Group chief executive, Lim Tong Yong.

The shares were sold gradually since 2001 and according to the reports, the 31 per cent interest in Pantai Holdings was sold by Mokhzani to Lim and was later sold to Parkway.

Parkway acquired the 31 per cent interest in Pantai Holdings which operates seven hospitals in Malaysia for RM311.58 million in a bid to be the key player in the healthcare industry in the region.

Parkway chairman Richard Seow was reported to have said that the acquisition would enable the company to expand the number of hospitals under its flagship in Malaysia to nine compared to the current two.

UPdate, Aug 08 2006; 19:32 hrs

And response from Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Mukhriz: I've done nothing wrong ;R. Manirajan; The Sun

Umno Youth exco member Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir says he has done nothing wrong and that his conscience is clear.

"For 22 years, when my father was the prime minister, all kinds of allegations had been hurled against me," he told theSun yesterday.

"As far as I know, I have done nothing wrong. My conscience is clear and I don't want to respond to allegations.

"Those making the allegations can continue to do what they are doing. I know my credibility."

Mukhriz, who polled the highest votes in the race for an exco seat in the party elections in 2004, was responding to recent listings of his business interests on the Internet by bloggers.

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who has been engaged in verbal attacks against the Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi government during the past few months, had said his children were not involved in businesses in the country and challeged the authorities to probe their wealth.

Mukhriz is the youngest of Mahathir's five children.

The bloggers claim a local magazine had estimated Mukhriz to be worth RM55 million, making him among the 10 richest in Malaysia, with ownerships in Mesdaq-listed companies.

The bloggers listed details of his business interests, beginning from the day he was appointed a tourism affairs consultant by a bank with a RM20,000 monthly fee after graduating from Japan's Sophia University in business administration and Boston University in marketing.

The bloggers also claim that a report on a search with the registrar of companies revealed that Mukhriz had business interest in 67 companies as at 1994.

and continue reading the new Toll King, Haris Onn Hussein in

Another 34 YEAR CONCESSION for HARIS ONN HUSSEIN for the DUKE (Duta Ulu Kelang Expressway) - Linking Jalan Duta - Sentul Pasar - Greenwood - Semarak

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Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Lembah Sari (Haris Onn Hussein) Lucrative CONCESSION –SECURITY LABELLING CIGARETTES; Malaysian BREWERS RESISTING; PM Open Tender for Concession Award?

All you need is a directive (see below, on the use of hologram security device for pharmaceuticals products) from the relevant Ministry and you need to comply. And who is donig the labeling - local private firm Mediharta – is capitalised at RM1 million and has five shareholders, mostly unknown except for two.They are Saleha Mohd Ali, the sister-in-law of Dr Mahathir with 9 per cent, and entrepreneur Sandra Wong with 25 per cent. Ms Wong used to be a corporate adviser to Halim Saad in the early 1990s when the tycoon ran the Renong conglomerate but left to pursue her own business interests in 1996. (Source)

Similarly a directive is issued for cigarettes and beer sold and Kod Efisien was awarded (in Sep 2003) a government concession to security-label all locally produced cigarettes and beer in an unpublicised decision by Malaysia's Customs Department, a unit of the Finance Ministry.

Now since Aug 01, Lembah Sari (chairman Haris Onn Hussein is the youngest son of Hussein Onn, Malaysia's third premier, and a brother of Hishamuddin Hussein, the country's Education Minister) has taken over from Kod Efisien

Ostensibly these labeling measures are to prevent smuggling and fake products, But are they effective as they raised the prices of goods.

So the question many are asking is- PM Abdullah practicing what he preaches. How the well connected worm themselves into taking over “CASH COWS”?

Now read on…


Concession switch raises eyebrows
Question mark over how lucrative concessions are awarded in M'sia

By S JAYASANKARAN IN KUALA LUMPUR, Published August 15, 2006

SINCE Aug 1, a little known private Malaysian company named Lembah Sari has taken over a lucrative RM70-100 million-a-year (S$30-43 million) concession to security-label packaging for locally made cigarettes, sparking questions over how concessions are awarded in Malaysian business circles.

'These are international companies that can do their own protection on a far more cost-efficient basis.' - An industry executive

In September 2003, little known Kod Efisien was awarded a government concession to security-label all locally produced cigarettes and beer in an unpublicised decision by Malaysia's Customs Department, a unit of the Finance Ministry.

Kod Efisien reached an agreement with the cigarette makers in March, 2004 but could never broker an agreement with Malaysia's beer makers in a dispute that still continues. If a deal had been reached with the brewers, the company could have added another RM30 million to its annual cash flows.

In mid-July, industry executives said that cigarette companies received a letter from Lembah Sari's chairman Haris Onn Hussein informing them that it was taking over the security labelling facilities provided by Kod Efisien for a three-year period.

At around the same time, the executives said that the Confederation of Malaysian Tobacco Manufacturers had been informed by Kod Efisien that its services would be replaced by Lembah Sari from August. No reasons were given for the change.

According to documents lodged with Malaysia's Companies Commission, Lembah Sari is a RM2 company - it may have increased its capital to its authorized RM100,000 by now - with two little-known shareholders. Its chairman, Mr Haris, however, is the youngest son of Hussein Onn, Malaysia's third premier, and a brother of Hishamuddin Hussein, the country's Education Minister.

The unpublicised rotation of the award raises questions about how concession awards are given out in Malaysia, the executives said. Indeed, it used to be one of the chief complaints against the previous administration of Mahathir Mohamad: that a lack of public disclosure regarding contract awards resulted in an opaque process without open, competitive bidding or public debate. Meanwhile, the current premier Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had promised competitive bidding in government awards.

Moreover, the shift of companies seems to negate arguments that Malaysian companies which promised state-of-the-art security features were passing on unique technological benefits to its customers. In this case, for example, the executives said that Lembah Sari will continue to supply the same security equipment and ink supplied by Kod Efisien - from the Swiss-owned Sicpa Holdings SA.

In effect, the executives said, it was, like Kod Efisien before it, acting as a middleman in a process that usually resulted in price increases for consumers.

Indeed, the state's mandating of security labelling for products from cigarettes and beer to pharmaceuticals - through local private firm Mediharta - to prevent smuggling and fake products, has drawn flak from multinationals and Malaysia's International Chamber of Commerce. They have fretted that the move would burden consumers unfairly.

'These are international companies that can do their own protection on a far more cost-efficient basis,' said one of the industry executives on condition of anonymity. 'In any case, it's all a matter of enforcement.'

Many of the pharmaceutical makers in Malaysia are multinationals as are the vast majority of the beer and cigarette manufacturers. The latter include British-American Tobacco, Japan Tobacco International and Philip Morris while the two beer makers in Malaysia are Guinness-Anchor and Carlsberg.

The industry executives point out that the record of security labels has been mixed. Immediately after Kod Efisien began its labelling, smuggled cigarette sales dropped by 50 per cent but it has begun increasing again to around 17-20 per cent of the whole market, according to figures from the tobacco confederation. The executives said that the figures indicated that smugglers may have found a way around the security.

Meanwhile, Kod Efisien continues to battle it out with the beer-makers which refuse to security-label their products claiming that beer prices are already too high. They also claim that the label prices are too expensive. For its part, Kod Efisien has argued that the savings - from reduced smuggling - would more than compensate the companies.

Following is the Directive for pharmaceuticals.

1 May 2005



1. Background:

    1. Due to the concerns of the Government in respect of counterfeit, imitation and unregistered products being manufactured or imported and sold, and in an effort to streamline the manufacture, import and sale of genuine products, the Ministry of Health has issued a directive on the use of a hologram security device to authenticate and verify that products sold have been duly registered with the Drug Control Authority (DCA). The directive can be referred under the Circular Section of the website ( ).
    1. The security label is only one of the many means that will be employed by the Ministry of Health to complement its enforcement activities to ensure public safety.

1.3 The requirement for the affixation of this security device (called the MeditagTM) to product labels, is only applicable to pharmaceuticals, including traditional products and health supplements. Cosmetics are currently excluded from the exercise. Implementation on the use of the hologram label will be carried out in 2 phases.

      1. Phase 1 beginning 1st January 2005 for products which are non-parenterals, i.e. not in the form of injections ; &
      1. Phase 2 from 1st July 2005 for parenterals/injectables

1.4 Products like vaccines and biologicals which are temperature sensitive and require cold chain maintenance are exempted from the requirement of security labelling.

1.5 The local manufacturer (meaning also the repacker for products which are imported in bulk and packed locally) or the importer shall be responsible for affixing the security device onto the individual unit packs.

1.6 With the affixation of the hologram security device onto the product label, the requirement to label OTC products with “diluluskan oleh KKM“ does not remain and may be considered optional.

following extracted from

Storm brews over move to make drug labels; May 04 2005

It is estimated that 7 per cent of all medical products sold in Malaysia are counterfeit.
The concession - agreed upon in the waning years of former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad's government - is expected to be a goldmine for Mediharta and will lead to an increase in drug prices throughout Malaysia.

But it is also likely to be unpopular and, going forward, could even lead to international complications.

Drug companies will pay Mediharta 5.6 sen for each label and will be responsible for affixing the labels themselves.
Given that it could involve repacking of, especially, imported drugs, the final price hike at the retail level could be anything from 5 per cent to 30 per cent, say executives from several drug companies

read on for this related Privatization by the backdoor

Please support Malaysiakini by subscribing for as low as RM10 for 20 days / RM15 per month to RM150 per year. Details at

Privatisation by the backdoor? KJ John Aug 15, 06 11:55am

The government's privatisation policy, when launched by the Economic Planning Unit, promised to deliver efficiency, improved costs and greater effectiveness in the delivery of what was hitherto considered as public goods. That was more than 20 years ago.

Today, it appears that the spirit of privatisation has become the basis for a new kind of economics of artificial demand creation and especially to create false and artificial oligopolies to benefit select people, apparently so that crony capitalism can be propagated as a full blown policy.

Is this the new and unwritten government policy for privatisation? Pardon my skepticism.

After the last attempt by the Selangor government to monopolise advertising space in all local authorities failed, there now appears to be another attempt by two councils to require another public good function to be 'piratised' by way of some agents from the pest control and fumigation industry.

This improved demand creation strategy took the form of requiring food and hawker businesses under these local authorities to seek approval of the specified 'agents' before the annual licences are issued.

The theory is that cleanliness needs to be ascertained - in practice it is a quality assurance issue. Both councils are supposed to have approved this new policy.

The Sun got another scoop in discovering that the so-called 'agents' are not "accredited by the professional association or approving authorities to undertake the specified function". It raises a number of questions.

How did this happen? Why the sinister need to dictate or create such an oligopoly? Are any kick-backs involved? Are there other reasons, like trying to kill the currently competition for the benefit of a few? Why this pro-monopoly market development policy? Should it be the public sector that defines and controls suppliers in the market?

Is this really in the best interests of citizens? Who are the ultimate consumers of the public good of cleaner and healthier eating places? Is it not all of us? But at what cost and at whose cost will all this be added?

Why dictate demand?

I fail to understand why the privatisation policy has blatantly and vulgarly become the framework for backdoor 'piratisation' of countless goods and services all of which can also be secured through the tender process?

What do I mean? Most of such contracts are given to new RM2 companies that who have a short track record or none at all. They may have the right connections instead of the right competence. When these unqualified companies are entrusted with work in an area where they have no demonstrated competence, is that not an official way of allowing pirates to come in?

There are many legitimate and authorised pest control agencies. Why not let the market determine demand and supply? Is that not what free-market economics is all about? Why should the public sector begin to dictate
specific and particular demand that cuts off competent suppliers?

Is the creation of such oligopolies in the particular interest of the powers-that-be? Do the RM2 companies represent some kind of special interest, and could someone help identify them? Why are dormant companies given contracts for a 20-30 year period without due diligence?

As has been made evident by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) in the Matrade building case, why would the finance ministry reject a legitimate and qualified company selected by the tender process and instead conclude a negotiated tender with an unknown company which led to a fiasco?

Will the cabinet address such cases and clarifies what the 'new' privatization policy is about? Does not the Financial Procedure Act clearly state and dictate the due processes for all public assets procurement or disposal? Are such violations not clear and definite evidence of corruption or at least abuse of power through the absence of due diligence process?

Waiting for answers.

Who will answer my questions where these relate to Selangor and its local authorities? If the semua-ok MB of Selangor cannot answer the questions - since his is subsidiary jurisdiction in relation to financial due diligence - can the housing and local government minister - as the second most senior member of the Barisan Nasional cabinet - please answer the question of this taxpayer?

Alternatively can the finance minister clarify the real policy and due procedure for such privatisation of public goods? Or, must this also must also fall to the PAC to check if there is any conflict of interest, non-compliance with federal law, or absence of mandated due diligence processes?

In conclusion, how can the two local authorities incompetently approve unqualified agents of public goods delivery, without due process, as dictated by the Federal Financial Procedure Act for all public assets
acquisition and disposal?

Based on what the Subang Jaya assembly person is reported to have said, the "Finance Committee of the MPSJ was misled into believing that these were fully authorised agents".

Can we then be assured that someone's head will roll over this specific misinformation? Or, is this also part and parcel of the semua-OK MB's governance of the state and local authorities?

Can I expect someone with authority and responsibility to reply, or does the MB have to be invited to meet the PAC before this citizen can expect a policy oversight reply?
KJ John served in public service for 30 years and took optional retirement
to work in his own consulting group. He hopes to see transparent and open, new governance practiced in
Malaysia some day.

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