Thursday, August 23, 2007

Abu Talib – Shut-up on Judiciary – Tainted Role as Prosecution Officer in 1988 Judiciary crisis; NO basis to Replace Common Law system after 50 years

LATEST from Malaysiakini, by Subscription, details H E R E

Abu Talib Othman (former AG)– Unfit to Comment – His Tainted Role - key prosecuting officer 1988 Judiciary crisis; Now Bar Council questions CJ on Replacement of English common law after 50 years of independence? (see bottom, full text of PR)

He was trusted and groomed but turned traitor on his superior; His extraordinary mission & cooked up stories in the Tribunal as the key prosecuting officer. Abu Talib was also instrumental in drafting many controversial constitutional amendments, including Article 121 (1A) on the separate jurisdictions of the civil and syariah courts.

ABOVE: Malaysiakini timely Report on 22nd Aug 07, details H E RE was spot on to shut him out on his advice to stop the judiciary rot.

Abu Talib the then AG was among those responsible for the damage done to the institution, stressed former UN special rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers Param Cumaraswamy (ABOVE) He said the damage cannot be undone by pointing the finger at Chief Justice Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim and demanding the removal of judges whose competence are under question.

"He worked hand-in-glove with then Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad (BELOW, the all powerful Dictator in 80's) to remove Tun Salleh Abas as lord president”

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To recap, reread & refresh for many - what role Abu Talib (ABOVE) played and the half-truths he spun out then, the extract below by Tun Salleh Abass himself says it all as he recalled the events.

"On the next day, Saturday, 28 May 1988, I went to my Chambers, early as usual and re-read my signed letter, made some corrections, had it re-typed and signed it. As my letter was about to be dispatched, at about 9.30. a.m., the Attorney-General came to see me.The Attorney-General subsequently told the world, in a court of law and outside it, that I had asked for the meeting. That is not true. I must stress, painful though it is, that the Attorney-General did not tell the whole truth of the matter

"The truth," as Oscar Wilde put it, "is rarely pure and never simple." That is one of the misfortunes of mankind. The truth of that Saturday morning is that a third party was involved, a third party whom I shall not name for the moment, who felt that a meeting with the Attorney-General "could do no harm." I did not heartily welcome the suggestion but I do not believe in closing doors to any potentially useful dialogue. And so I agreed to the meeting. What did I have to lose? I put my letter aside for the moment and talked to Tan Sri Abu Talib. The Attorney-General has since identified the third party as a Supreme Court Judge (See Appendix XIV), and implied that it was I who had used the judge as an emissary.

The Attorney-General and I talked for about an hour in my Chambers. I have known this man Abu Talib Othman for a long time. In the middle of the seventies, the then Attorney-General's Chambers lost many experienced officers through retirement, resignation and elevation to the Bench. It became my responsibility as Solicitor-General (the then Attorney-General, Tan Sri Abdul Kadir Yusof was an elected politician) to plan ahead with the view of training and exposing young officers to various kinds of work which the Chambers do, so that the Service would not suffer when the time came for me to retire.

I chose Abu Talib, who was then a comparatively junior officer, being the Legal Advisor and Deputy Public Prosecutor in Penang, to come to Kuala Lumpur to fill the vacuum. I took him to Geneva in 1977 for the United Nations Conference on the Right of Asylum, the idea being that although he was not an international lawyer he would gain some insight and experience into the world of international politics and diplomacy. I also took him as my junior in the prosecution of some memorable cases, notably the trial of former Selangor Menteri Besar, Datuk Harun Idris, for corruption and criminal breach of trust, in the mid-seventies. The case was full of high drama and political fireworks, and received wide local and international publicity. Datuk Harun Idris was convicted on all charges, tried and imprisoned. (Subsequently he was granted a full pardon by His Majesty The King, but that is another story.) All these things were done with the view of building Tan Sri Abu Talib's public stature so that he would be acceptable both to the authorities and to the public, to succeed me when I had to finally leave the Chambers. We went together through other vicissitudes in court. He did assist me more than once in prosecuting the high and the mighty. I then thought him fearless and fair as a prosecutor. Never did I entertain the thought that one day he would turn against me, and in the way he did. And now, on the morning of Saturday 28 May, he expressed his sympathy for me in my plight and said he was most unhappy about the whole affair because it was so unjust, particularly so because I was his former superior. (There was no logic in that, but people do say the oddest things under emotional stress, and the Attorney-General did appear emotional that morning).

According to him His Majesty was very angry over the letter which I wrote him and to the Malay Rulers, and in fact His Majesty was so incensed that he had minuted his reaction to the Prime Minister immediately on the face of the same letter, telling the Prime Minister to get rid of me as soon as possible! I could not help wondering, if that was indeed so (that the anger was immediate and great), why the action against me took two full months from 28 March when the letter was actually sent to His Majesty, to 27 May when I had my meeting with the Prime Minister - to materialise? But, to jump ahead for a moment, there was - and remains - one wonderful mystery. My letter written on behalf of all the Malaysian judges to His Majesty, has disappeared! The Attorney-General could not produce it and the Judicial Tribunal which sat on the matter never saw it! It seems the prime evidence for initiating my removal has simply vanished!

Was the disappearance of the letter the cause of the great hiatus in the affair which was. allegedly of such grave import? How does a vital document like that vanish into thin air? Does that explain the extraordinary delay? We shall see. Now the Attorney-General suggested to me that it would be best if I resigned my post quietly. (Echoes of the Prime Minister's Royal message that I step down?) A Judicial Tribunal would be messy, embarrassing. He also told me that I could not trust or depend on my fellow-judges to support me in my predicament. The judges, he said, were not very reliable. (Who were the "unreliable" judges he had in mind?) Ale hesitation and the general lack of purpose the judges had displayed on the previous afternoon did nothing to encourage me to argue or contradict him immediately. But his open criticism of the judges disturbed me.

Then, to prove the point about these allegedly unreliable judges, and to demonstrate how angry His Majesty actually was with me, he said His Majesty had in fact minuted on the face of the letter I had sent to him, the word "buang", that is, "dismiss" me from office. In Malay the word "buang" means "throw out" or "expel". It is not a very refined expression.But of course we shall never know exactly what His Majesty wrote because that historic letter has vanished.

According to the Attorney-General the King had also introduced Tan Sri Abdul Hamid to his Hari Raya Puasa guests on 17 May, 1988 - ten full days before I was actually suspended - as the new Lord President! I must confess that this news shook me. I cannot describe the turmoil it created in my mind. Tan Sri Abu Talib then told me that he was very embarrassed by it all. It was not just a shocking story, or an embarrassing one; it was, I thought, the most disgusting story I have heard in my life! If there was any truth in it - and why should the Honourable Attorney-General make up such a tale? - the whole affair of my removal was most thoroughly planned, far in advance, and the plan was now about to be executed. There was now in me that goblin of doubt. Why was the Attorney-General telling me this unsavoury story at all? What effect was he aiming at?

I did not have much opportunity that morning to think it through. For he went on, and stressed that the whole business of the intended removal of me from office was very wrong. He then suggested that in the circumstances it was best that I quietly retire from the scene, take my pension, and put the whole episode behind me.

He also said he would see the Prime Minister and go over the matter with him, and undertake to make sure I got all my pension benefits, as if I had actually retired at the full age of 65 - I still had more than six years to serve to legitimately deserve all that - and secure me a job in the International Islamic Development Bank in Jeddah. It would mean a fantastic salary in comparison with what looked like the meagre wages of the Lord President, and with opportunities for a lot of travelling. This was a new and unexpected twist. I did not know what to make of it. I am not a banker, and was the Prime Minister really in a position to "fix" me a job of that kind as simply as all that? And should I participate in such a "fixing?"

Some ten months later the Attorney-General was to reduce that glittering offer to "perhaps get" me "a respectable job" provided I retired "prematurely." (See Appendix XIV). I can only say it was a pathetic attempt to rationalise away something that does not bear thinking about. It was impossible to admit, of course, that inducements - whether it was in the form of a "full pension," with or without an additional "respectable job", or a plum banking job in Jeddah - were offered to me.

The discussion, as I said, lasted about an hour. It may well be that I was overwhelmed by the enormity of what Tan Sri Abu Talib told me, and I finally found myself agreeing that it might indeed be best if I retired quietly. A confrontation would hurt my family and embarrass my fellow judges. If the episode in the Istana was true, the desire for my removal was very strong, and already decided upon, and only the mode of it was uncertain. Leaving the scene without a fuss would be the "practical" thing to do. The Attorney-General and I did not delve into any area outside the "practical", the "proper", the "sensible", the "reasonable", and, I suppose the totality of all these things, the "wise".

But the wisdom of a man under the kind of strain I was in on that Saturday morning was the wisdom of a sleepwalker or a man in a trance. Tan Sri Abu Talib then left my Chambers, according to him, to see the Prime Minister. He left me with the single thought: the King was angry and so I must go.

I may note here that the Attorney-General did not say a word about any other charge against me. I cannot stress this strongly enough or carefully enough here for it is a vital clue to the nature of his bona fides in the days to come.

So, to repeat, on Saturday 28 May, 1988 the Attorney-General mentioned no other charge against me in his arguments that I should retire prematurely and quietly. His one single point was that the King was angry with me. Yet he was to argue strenuously later that three days earlier, on Wednesday 25 May, 1988, (when I was in Ipoh with Justice George Seah and Justice Hashim Yeop Sani) the Prime Minister had already made his representations to His Majesty with three other major complaints.

And it was to emerge, subsequently, that it was none other than the Attorney-General himself who had actually framed the charges against me! I shall return to this point again, for the Attorney-General was to claim that he came to see me that morning only "out of respect" for me. It was strange that a man who came to see me, "out of respect for me," did not see fit to tell me that there were a great many other reasons for the Government seeking my departure from office besides the alleged displeasure of the King. Why did he not tell me?

The other "charges", however absurd they proved to be, were at least not characterised by appearing to be something in limbo, something of an "insubstantial pageant" in the mind. They were foolish but only foolish, and not mythical as well. After the Attorney-General left my Chambers I hardly had time to reflect, for the newly elected Bar Council President, Raja Aziz Addruse (who was to become my personal lawyer shortly) and two other Bar Council members who had been waiting to see me, came in and I could hardly deny them a meeting. They wanted to confirm what were still, for the public, only rumours, about my position.

I told them I was unable as yet to comment. It was awkward because I myself did not know what lay ahead, and what the Prime Minister would have to say to the Attorney-General's proposals. (At that point I still believed implicitly in the still unfolding sequence of events to be just what they appeared to be.) Things had moved too quickly. In the circumstances I did not think it proper to tell the Bar Council officials what had transpired thus far. I asked for time. They would be kept informed, I said. They then left, and I could see, looking rather disappointed. I felt sorry for them.

At about 11.15 a.m. Tan Sri Abu Talib was back in my Chambers. The Prime Minister, according to him, was in a very bad mood (what was the relevance of that?) but nevertheless agreed to accept my offer (was the Attorney-General insinuating that this was a sign of the Prime Minister's great magnanimity?). As for the position in Jeddah, there were details to be worked out. The matter would be taken up. With that news in hand, I began to prepare the necessary letter to the Prime Minister. When I completed it, I showed it to Tan Sri Abu Talib.

The expression I had first used was retirement in "the public interest" and when I showed it to him he said that it should be changed into retirement in kepentingan negara or retirement in "the national interest", so as to enable him, so he explained, to secure payment of my gratuities and pension - because the whole affair was so unjust and that my services as a judge should at least be compensated. It was all very emotional.

The phrase "public interest" denoted that the person concerned was being retired for some reprehensible conduct in the interest of the public welfare, whereas in the "national interest" indicated that the official concerned was needed for higher duties elsewhere. One might sum up by saying "public" was for public enemies while "national" was for national heroes. Public officials to become Governors or to hold other special office were usually retired in the "national interest". But here I was, being forced out of office, in the "national interest!" What could that "Politeness" be good for except to justify giving me an "important" job? And yet there were to be sanctimonious assertions that no inducements were offered to me!

Subsequent events were to prove how splendidly ironic that morning's piece of literary work was going to be: I had "misbehaved" badly and therefore removed from office, and so I was to be retired "prematurely" in the "national interest!"Anyway, following his suggestion I got the letter amended and when that was completed, I showed it to him again, and he was satisfied with it. The letter (the original in Bahasa is in Appendix V) was very brief and to the point:

“Leave and retirement

"To avoid embarrassment all round I have reconsidered the matter and have decided that it is better in the national interest for me to retire immediately after taking all the leave due to me, that is 96 days, and the leave to commence from today."

The letter was then passed on to my Orderly to be delivered to the Prime Minister's office. But Tan Sri Abu Talib said that since it was nearing 1.00 p.m. [on a Saturday, being a half working day] he wanted to make sure that the letter reached the Prime Minister and was not mislaid. (But what was the hurry? Why was he so desperate to get my early retirement decision on that Saturday? But he was very anxious that it be done at once). Therefore he himself went out to arrange for his bodyguard to accompany my Orderly to get the letter safely delivered. Before he left my room he used my telephone to ring up the Prime Minister's office to ensure the delivery of the letter. Then he left my room saying he was in a hurry to go and see the Chief Justice, Tan Sri Hamid, next door.

He did not tell me why he had to see Tan Sri Hamid on that day. But it was obvious that if I stepped down, the Chief Justice would succeed me at once. I imagine the news had to be conveyed to the Chief Justice as soon as possible. But why? We were to discover that speed was an important consideration in more than one respect in this entire affair.

The reply to my letter to the Prime Minister came with startling, not to say suspiciously great, speed. In fact my Orderly delivered it to me at 1.00 p.m. on that eventful Saturday afternoon! I was greatly relieved, of course, because it promised to lift my suspension from office. Whatever the other implications, I was no longer in that alleged disgrace. I could now retire in peace.

But despite the relief, one fact was inescapable: the speed with which the Prime Minister had responded was impressive. My letter to His Majesty The Yang Di-Pertuan Agong had taken two full months to produce a reaction, but this letter to the Prime Minister had taken what looked like two minutes! It took longer than that, of course, but the Prime Minister's alacrity on the occasion was, to say the least, dazzling. But how? Had the Prime Minister in fact been waiting, pen poised, in his office, for my letter? Had the reply, perhaps, already been prepared even before my Orderly with my offer of early retirement reached him?

The letter was brief, but unlike yesterday's missive, very far from blunt. He approved my leave. As to my retirement, he wrote, routine action would be taken on it. It was a polite letter. In fact it was a very polite letter. Considering the Attorney-General's message that the Prime Minister was in a bad mood just an hour earlier, it was an extremely polite. letter. The official translation of it read as follows:

"I have no objection for YAA Tun to take all leave due to you prior to your retirement: that is 96 days from today. "With regard to your retirement from the post of the Lord President, appropriate action will be taken in accordance with the procedure that is being practised. "I will always pray that Tun remains in good health."

For a moment I thought it was all over. In a matter of about 24 hours I had been reduced - six years and 3 months prematurely - from Lord President of the Supreme Court of Malaysia to a humble pensioner, and sudden obscurity.

But slowly new thoughts entered my mind. The thought of obscurity did not particularly disturb me. I am not a man given to a life of active intercourse with the glittering elites of society. I play some golf but I enjoy gardening and reading more. Retirement would be no pain at all. Besides, public officials, however important, sooner or later had to step down from office and fade from the mainstream of national life. We all have to anticipate and accept that small ending as one of several rites of passage in our short mortal journeys.

But now there was a more disturbing question. The relief from tension brought forth my own sensibilities out of their trance. Wisdom was not only a matter of the "practical", the "proper", the "sensible", the "reasonable". What about the not so "practical" and at the same time perhaps the most "practical" matter of all, the question of my self respect, my honour?

Did this descent into obscurity - after allegations of "misbehaviour" - also mean ignominy? Will I be remembered in the future only as the first Malaysian judge who was ever forced to retire from office because he misbehaved himself so grossly? I went home that day weighed down by these unpleasant thoughts.

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For further read, Go H E R E ON

Wednesday, September 27, 2006 - TUN SALLEH ABAS Bares ALL- New and Important Facts for a REVIEW of the 1988 JUDICIAL CRISIS & Dr MAHATHIR Immediate RESPONSE

& for additional read, Go H E R E ON


= == = == =and the Latest from Bar Council - Replacement of English Common Law after 50 years?

Press Release, Ambiga Sreenevasan ; President; Malaysian Bar

Wednesday, 22 August 2007, 08:06pm;

The Bar Council is disturbed to read reports published in today’s papers containing remarks made by the Chief Justice questioning the need to use English common law after 50 years of independence and seeking its abolition. It is an issue that has been raised before in 2004, and now that it has resurfaced, some explanation is necessary. The Federal Constitution is the supreme law of the land as provided in Article 4(1). This Merdeka Constitution also formed the basis when Malaysia was established on 16th September 1963 and North Borneo and Sarawak joined the Federation with the common law system having pride of place.
The Courts are tasked with the responsibility of interpreting the Federal Constitution. In undertaking that duty, common law principles are applied. The cold print of the words used in the Constitution and its spirit are developed by judges deciding cases within the structure of the common law system. Interpretation of the Constitution is not undertaken in a vacuum. The body of Malaysian law comprises the Federal Constitution (as the supreme law), written law, that is, Acts enacted by Parliament, and judge made law that is, case law. Subject to being declared as unconstitutional by a Court, Parliament has a free hand to enact laws. In the exercise of its legislative function, Parliament has passed hundreds of statutes since Merdeka: some of which are modelled on or inspired by foreign statutes while others are purely domestic without any foreign parallel.

Judges have applied the laws of
Malaysia in the thousands of cases that have been determined in all branches of the law in all the Courts of Malaysia for the past 50 years. A significant portion of them have been reported in our law reports, and form the large corpus of case law which is an integral part of the laws of Malaysia. These reported cases operate as precedents for future cases, so that like cases are decided in a like manner to avoid injustice and thereby promoting reliability and certainty. The Civil Law Act, which came into force in Malaya on 7th April 1956 and therefore prior to Merdeka, provides for the reception of English common law and the rules of equity, but only insofar “as the circumstances of the States of Malaysia and their respective inhabitants permit and subject to such qualifications as local circumstances render necessary”: see Section 3 (2).

Thus, the Malaysian Courts have a wide discretion whether to accept any English common law principle or rule of equity. When Malaysian judges accept such principles, they become part of Malaysian common law and Malaysian law is developed in that manner. Nearly every British colony has adopted the common law system inherited from the British. But in each country, the Courts develop their own common law which may not be identical or similar to English common law. It is in this flexibility that lies the strength of the common law. Thus, Malaysian common law differs in many respects from Indian common law or Australian common law.
Without doubt, the common law system is one of the greatest and most respected legal systems in the world. It also forms the basis of public international law. There is no other comparable legal system that commands such universal respect among jurists. In these circumstances, it is unfortunate for the head of the Judiciary, which institution applies Malaysian common law principles in all the Courts of the land daily, to state publicly and without acceptable basis that the common law system should be replaced. What then is the system suggested? What is to happen to the corpus of Malaysian case law painstakingly built up by distinguished Malaysian judges — is it to be discarded overnight? What about the commercial community including foreign investors; for whom - the common law’s certainty, flexibility and adaptability have made it a favourite and for whom any suggestion of change will be a source for concern?
There is little to be gained in changing a system of law that is respected and has worked well for 50 years in our country, and hundreds of years in other jurisdictions. What is required instead is an examination and positive change in the system that administers that law so that it inspires public confidence and ensures a strong and independent judiciary
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= == == = == == =UPDATE: Aug 23 07

1 'English common law still needed'

2 Govt to look into CJ's suggestion: Nazri Our judiciary may risk insulating itself: Ex-judge
Cindy Tham, SUN
PETALING JAYA (Aug 22, 2007): Is the English common law still relevant to Malaysia, 50 years after the nation attained independence from British rule?
A former law professor said the English common law has a role to play in the Malaysian legal system. He said Sections 3 and 5 of the Civil Law Act provided for the use of English common law where there was no Malaysian statute to deal with the case. "The English common law is particularly important for commercial law," he told theSun today.

He said that being a legal practice that was recognised internationally, the English common law would strengthen the credibility of Malaysia's legal system in the eyes of the world, such as among foreign investors. He was responding to Chief Justice Tun Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim's (ABOVE) comment that there was no need for Malaysia to refer to the English common law as there were many legal experts here who could help to solve legal matters.At the opening of the "Ahmad Ibrahim: Thoughts and Knowledge Contribution" seminar in Petaling Jaya yesterday, Ahmad Fairuz said despite being independent for 50 years, Malaysia had yet to be truly free from colonialism because of the provision in the Civil Law Act.

He suggested that the seminar participants discuss the common law issue to see if it should be retained or substituted. According to Black's Law Dictionary, unlike laws enacted through the legislature, the common law comprises principles and rules of action that are derived from usages and customs, and court judgments which affirm and enforce these usages and customs. These principles tend to have general or universal application.
As distinguished from ecclesiastical law, the common law system of jurisprudence is administered by secular tribunals. The former law professor said any move to sever English common law from the Malaysian legal system would give rise to several questions. "What should be used to replace the lacuna that would result from a removal of the English common law?" he asked.He said Malaysia has several pieces of legislation, such as the Contracts Act, which resulted from the codification of English common law principles or statutes into Acts, passed by the Malaysian Parliament.
"In applying the Acts, some judges still go back to the principles of common law," he said. "If you want to stop referring to common law, does that also apply to the Malaysian Acts that had originated from English common law statutes?" He also asked: Has there been a high incidence of cases which Malaysian laws are unable to deal with? "I don't know of any case in the past five years where there were no Malaysian laws to deal with the case," he said. He added that the English common law has not had any negative effect on the process of justice in
Malaysia, but served to strengthen its credibility in the international arena.

Govt to look into CJ's suggestion: Nazri
B.Suresh Ram, SUN

PETALING JAYA (Aug 22, 2007): The government will look into Chief Justice Tun Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim's suggestion that Malaysia should examine whether there is still a need to use the English common law, 50 years after the nation has attained independence. Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz (ABOVE) said any change would have to be rational and have a basis. However, he said the government will not rush into this as it is still a proposal, but will wait for the judiciary to study the matter thoroughly first. "We will wait for the judiciary to finish its study (on the need for the English common law). Then we will look into it," he said, when contacted.

Our judiciary may risk insulating itself: Ex-judge

Tamarai Chelvi, SUN
PETALING JAYA (Aug 22, 2007): The Malaysian judiciary may risk insulating itself if it were to stop referring to the English common law and English judgments, former high court judge Datuk Syed Ahmad Idid said. He was commenting on Chief Justice Tun Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim's statement at a seminar organised by the Islamic Understanding Institute of Malaysia yesterday. According to news reports, Ahmad Fairuz said he supported the late Islamic law expert Prof Ahmad Mohamad Ibrahim's view, that the use of English common law be abolished, and that local court decisions and circumstances be referred to instead. "What is certain is that Ahmad's efforts were a clear objective that has placed Islamic law at its most qualified position," he said. Syed Ahmad said while Ahmad Fairuz might prefer more decisions from Islamic courts to be cited, it would be up to the judges to decide whether they wanted to accept the principles in these judgments. He added that Ahmad Fairuz could also mean that we cease to refer to English judgments. "Well, we can be insulated by referring to our own!" he said. "But I miss the days when Malaysian judgments were cited or referred to in many Commonwealth Courts." Syed Ahmad said the Malaysian legal system is based on the English common law.

"The laws we observe, while many term them as our civil law, are grounded on common law and common law is also called Anglo-American law, which simply encompasses the body of judicial decisions and reports of decided cases. "Some experts refer to the common law as laws that receive its force and authority from universal consent and practice of the people. Others call it 'unwritten law' because it is not written by politicians but rather by judges," he explained. Lawyer and Kota Baru member of parliament Datuk Zaid Ibrahim said the judges had always made decisions based on Malaysian laws. He said that at the same time, the judges also adopted certain principles from other laws, not only the English common law but also laws from India and Australia, to arrive at a decision.

= = = = see related last Post H E R E ON

Acting Chief Judge Ahmad Fairuz: No Truth in Allegations of Unfair Promotions; Judiciary relies on meritocracy & other factors; Failure to write grounds of judgment – Not a Misconduct? Listen his exact words & manner over the pertinent issues & inter alia in Video Clip (also in Malaysian Bar Website)

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PM Abdullah summoned to the Negeri Sembilan palace?

August 23, 2007 10:50 AM Abdullah Arrives For One-Day Visit

SEREMBAN, Aug 23 (Bernama) -- Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdulah Ahmad Badawi arrived here today for a one-day working visit to Negeri Sembilan. Accompanied by his wife, Datin Seri Jeanne Abdullah, he was received upon arrival at Istana Hinggap by Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan and his wife, Raja Datin Seri Salbiah Tengku Nujumuddin.

He then had an audience with the Yang Dipertuan Besar of Negeri Sembilan, Tuanku Ja'afar, and the Tunku Ampuan, Tuanku Najihah, at the palace. Abdullah is scheduled to perform the ground-breaking ceremony for Universiti Teknologi Mara's (UiTM) permanent campus in Kampung Beting, Kuala Pilah, visit the Bandar Baru Seri Sendayan housing project, launch Sekolah Kebangsaan Tengkek's centenary celebration and attend a closed-door meeting with state Barisan Nasional (BN) leaders.

= = == Preview of the next post ON

MORE PICS & Video – PKFZ Bull Shit Explanation? Do you Buy land to include Infrastructure Works? Nilai3 for PKFZ – the Way out to Utilize the Excessive warehouse

ABOVE: Malaysiakini had the details H E R E on Aug 23 07 at 6.36. Contrast its details and those from the SUN with the glorified report from the STAR (24th Aug 07, below).

Opposition Leader Lim Kit Siang said that he had given notice to speaker Ramli Ngah to move an urgent motion on the matter. He argued that Parliament is entitled to know whether past or present transport and finance ministers are responsible for wasting billions of ringgit of taxpayers money. “If Ling Liong Sik who was transport minister until 2003 was responsible for the scandal, then he should be arrested and prosecuted in court. If (present transport minister) Chan (Kong Choy) is responsible, then let Chan be charged for the RM4.6 billion negligence,” Lim said.

“If both Ling and Chan are both jointly responsible, let both be charged in court – which is the only way to ensure that Malaysians can celebrate the 50th Merdeka anniversary with some pride about our national integrity instead of having to hang our heads in shame

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Instead of wasting any more time, to make the PKFZ recoup some of the wasted money, convert this place to a "TAX FREE" SHOPPING Haven (like the Nila 3 in Negeri Sembilan, where hundreds of smaller warehouses were built and now almost fully utilized as a shopping destination attracting people far away). It will be the Klang Valley Shopping destination iF PRICES ARE CHEAPER THAN THE SHOPS.

The customs can do the necessary SALES & IMPORT tax on exit from Zone

ABOVE & BELOW: The PKFZ location of PKFZ in Westports

MORE PICS & Video – PKFZ Bull Shit Explanation? Do you Buy land to include Infrastructure Works? Nilai3 for PKFZ – the Way out to Utilize the Excessive warehouses

Transport Minister Chan Kong Choy and his subordinates once again evaded fielding questions on the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) controversy. The minister was conspicuously absent from a press conference called Tranport Ministry at the PKFZ headquarters regarding the issue today. Other ministry officials also did a disappearing act, leaving PKFZ officials to distribute a five-page statement from the ministry.

ABOVE: Senior Manager Chia who read out the statement

Unfortunately, the statement does little more than state some facts already known about the fiasco, fudge other facts, while completely ignoring a host of other important questions that have been raised with regards to the development project.

ABOVE: The details of the PKFZ - Precints 8, 6 7, 4 & 1 are Service land plots and all are locating on the fringes bordering the he PKFZ; all reclaimed from the swampy land and most probably not suitable for and building structures. There are 512 warehouse in Precinct 5 (purple colour)

Why this cost RM4.6bil; SUN; Terence Fernandez

ABOVE: The main office building and BELOW: The 4-STAR white hotel with the 2000 unoccupied covered parking bays on the right located in Precinct 5

KLANG (Aug 23, 2007): The Transport Ministry today responded to reports over the bailout of the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) today, explaining how the project cost ballooned to an estimated RM4.6 billion. Although it did not answer all pertinent questions raised by theSun in earlier reports, the five-page statement partly attributed the huge cost to advice from the Jebel Ali Free Zone Authority (Jafza), which was managing the PKFZ until it decided to sever ties on July 18. "Initially, the project was to be completed in two phases on just 500 acres, with development cost estimated at RM400 million. "However, following advice from Jafza, the Port Klang Authority (PKA) developed the free zone in a single phase utilising 1,000 acres (250ha), at a total cost of RM1.845 billion," the statement said. (see table and more stories on Page 7) Other elements that pushed up the cost to an estimated RM4.632 billion were interest of 7.5% (on loan to buy the land, payable over 15 years), a 10% professional fee and a variation order capped at 20% (if effected). The statement confirmed reports that 250ha were bought from Kuala Dimensi Sdn Bhd (KDSB) at RM25 per sq ft for development of the free zone, although government valuers had estimated put it at about RM10 psf.

The ministry explained that the RM25 price tag included improvement works such as reclamation and irrigation works, constructing a road, bridge and street lights, water supply and payment to utility companies. Although the price tag was RM1.088 billion, the final cost would be RM1.807 billion considering that the payment would be made over 15 years, with interest at 7.5% per annum. As the cost was high, the ministry said the government had approved a loan to the PKA as the PKFZ was a project to help spur economic growth, create job opportunities and offer ancillary support services and business activities.

"Details of the loan are being ironed out."

On the fallout with Jafza, the ministry re-iterated the authority's press statement on July 18 that Jafza was looking at business opportunities where it could hold equity. Where the PKFZ was concerned, the PKA held 100% equity. "However, this does not affect future cooperation between Jafza and and PKA," it said, adding that the free zone has been in operation since Nov 1 last year and has 30 investors who pumped in RM725 million. The project was completed on Oct 31 last year, with additional works to be finished at the end of this year. The PKA will continue operating the free zone through its subsidiary, PKFZ Sdn Bhd. It said the PKA has established a one-stop committee to help investors to get speedy approvals, among others. It added that the PKA will embark on trade missions to woo investors, with the help of Mida/Matrade and foreign marketing firms to attract markets in Europe, China and India. "We are confident of a 80% occupancy in five years," the statement said.

= = == =and from the STAR
Friday August 24, 2007; By SHARIDAN M.ALI; STAR

Port Klang Free Zone targets 80% occupancy

PORT KLANG: The Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) management is confident of reaching 80% occupancy by 2012. General manager (business development) Chia Kon Leong said this would mean attracting 650 to 700 companies to invest in the 404ha PKFZ. To date, after 10 months in operation, the country’s first integrated free zone for commercial and industrial activities has already attracted 30 companies (see BELOW)with total investment of RM725mil.

ABOVE: One of the few investors who has taken up space & buildup facilities in PKFZ

Owned by the Port Klang Authority (PKA), PKFZ provides mixed facilities of open land, light industrial units and business complexes with amenities such as Customs Centre and other Government agencies' offices, trade offices and 24-hour security. “In 2010, PKFZ is expecting a total revenue of RM40mil and it would be a self-sustaining company by then,” he said. Chia said the target was achievable through a revamped business model with aggressive marketing strategies although Jafza International has pulled out from managing PKFZ. “We have allocated 20% of our total expenditure to promotion and marketing. PKFZ is expecting to spend RM12mil to RM16mil as working capital for the next three years,” he said. “PKFZ ideally wants to attract 70% foreign direct investments (FDIs). The rest will be local investors,” Chia told the media at a special briefing session following reports on the company’s financial problems. The Transport Ministry, in a statement, gave an assurance that PKFZ was an important national project and that the Government has agreed to provide a soft loan to PKA. The details are still being discussed. PKFZ has received Government support as it will increase the cargo volume at Port Klang – the national maritime gateway – generate economic growth, create job opportunities and encourage supporting services,” it said. The statement added that the Government respected Jafza International's change of policy and its decision to pull out of the agreement to manage PKFZ.

“Jafza withdrawal was due to its new policy to hold equity in the free zones it manages,” said the statement. The Transport Ministry is positive that PKA would continue to run PKFZ successfully. “PKA has formed a one-stop agency to help investors to get approval from the authorities as well as business consultancy. “PKA will actively participate in trade mission, briefings and exhibitions to attract more FDIs ,” it said. The Transport Ministry said the effort to market PKFZ would be assisted by Malaysian Industrial Development Authority, Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation and marketing firms in Holland, India and China. “This will realise the Government's mission in making PKFZ a regional distribution and trading hub,” it said.

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ABOVE & BELOW: Rows after Rows of empty warehouse, totalling 512 units lying idle in Precint 3
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ABOVE: A side view of the warehouse and BELOW: The rows facing each other
Follow Nila3 to utilise these warehouses

= = == = == = == and from Business Times
Klang scandal to delay plans for a central ports body?
Bill now likely only after next year's forecast GE

By S JAYASANKARAN IN KUALA LUMPUR ; Published August 23, 2007

AN oft-delayed parliamentary Bill to create a central authority for the regulation of Malaysia's ports is likely to be shelved until after the general elections, widely expected to be held early next year. Bailout? The PKA may get a loan from the government to prevent it from going bust. The delay, said industry executives, could have something to do with a scandal engulfing the RM4.6 billion (S$2 billion) Port Klang Free Zone. The plan to create a National Port Authority had been announced as far back as 12 years ago owing to the fact that Malaysia has 10 separate port authorities regulating as many as 14 ports.

But disagreement between the port authorities, terminal operators and the Ministry of Transport delayed the proceedings with various Bills passed around for approval and comment. Even so, the final draft was supposed to have come out this year but industry executives said that the matter had been shelved again. It isn't clear why the Bill has been delayed but the executives say that it might have to do with the growing scandal surrounding the
Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ).

The Port Klang Authority (PKA), which contracted its development, saw its costs escalate to RM4.6 billion from an initial RM1.1 billion and is likely to get a soft loan from the government to prevent it from going bust. Even so, the port authority has said publicly - in the 2005 Auditor-General's Report - that it intends to defray some of those costs by getting them out of the National Port Authority; the national authority would have a lot more cash than the separate authorities, all of which are financially self-sustaining. From the magnitude of the publicity given to the PKFZ, any move that might be construed as hastening the formation of the National Port Authority could be politically sensitive, the executives said.

The Port Klang Free Zone fiasco is the biggest scandal to rock the three-year administration of Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and the continued publicity given it by some Malaysian media has put it firmly in the public eye. Even so, the coverage given the issue has largely been confined to one newspaper - The Sun - and reflects in part the political sensitivities surrounding the issue. The PKA and the Ministry of Transport, which oversees it, are both helmed by appointees of the Malaysian Chinese Association, or MCA, the second largest component party in the ruling National Front.

Meanwhile, The Star, the largest selling English newspaper in the country owned by the MCA, ignored the issue altogether. For its part, The Sun is majority owned by two ethnic Chinese businessmen and is considered relatively independent. Still, the publicity given to the debacle by The Sun has drawn attention. Lawmaker and Public Accounts Committee chairman Shahrir Samad said that he would convene a special hearing of the PAC to determine if the Klang Port Authority needed a bailout from the government. For its part, neither the government nor the PKA has said anything although BT has learnt that Mr Abdullah ordered Transport Minister Chan Kong Choy to brief local editors yesterday evening. It isn't clear what transpired.

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Port officials face graft probe
The troubled Port Klang Authority has racked up debts totalling RM4.6b

Published August 23, 2007, from Business Times
(KUALA LUMPUR) Malaysian authorities said yesterday they will investigate for possible corruption officials of the country's troubled port operator which has piled up over US$1 billion in debts.As the extent of Port Klang's debt problems filters out in the local financial press, there has also been widespread speculation of a possible bailout from the government of Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

The bailout, if pushed through, could become the biggest in Malaysia's history, said Shahrir Samad, chairman of the government's powerful Public Accounts Committee. Mr Shahrir said the government's main economic agenda before the scandal broke out was its budget report due out in November. 'But (now) we must certainly look into this matter which seems very serious,' Mr Shahrir said. With mismanagement of funds appearing to be the case 'then we must speak to the relevant authorities of Port Klang and a full-scale investigation will be conducted', Mr Shahrir told AFP.

'It is up to the government when to allow the police and the Anti-Corruption Agency to take the matter even further,' he said. The issue remains 'politically sensitive', Mr Shahrir said, noting that Prime Minister Abdullah has repeatedly pledged transparency in all government dealings. Mr Abdullah, who is widely expected to call for general elections next year, has kept silent on the issue. The Port Klang Authority operates the 400-ha Port Klang Free Zone shipping area that opened in western Malaysia last year. I

t has racked up debts totalling RM4.6 billion (S$2 billion) and the management has been in disarray, reports said. The problem was further complicated when Dubai-based Jebel Ali Free Trade Zone Authority announced last month it was pulling out of a deal to manage the zone for 'strategic reasons'. The country's main opposition party, the Democratic Action Party, subsequently filed a police report seeking an investigation into the allegations of corruption that it said led to Port Klang's woes. Several government bailouts of state-linked prominent companies, including a bank and a steel firm, damaged public confidence in the 1990s. -- AFP

= = =Watch the Video Clip 1 min 30 s- PKFZ Rows after Rows of Unoccupied Blue Ware houses

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