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The Agong is not the only victim of this spin machine. There is a book called ‘100 DALIL MENGAPA NAJIB TAK BOLEH JADI PM’ that Malaysia Today has received from an anonymous source.
THE CORRIDORS OF POWER
Raja Petra Kamarudin
Bank Negara sits on a report that a government-owned bank has lost millions on loans to politicians and royalty
An explosive auditor’s report on the government-owned Malaysia Export-Import Bank that details tens of millions of dollars in politically tinged nonperforming loans and possible illegalities has been hidden away in a central bank file for more than four years without being acted upon.
The report, by auditors from Bank Negara Malaysia, the country’s central bank, probes borrowers closely tied to the United Malays National Organisation, the leading party in the country’s ruling coalition, as well as companies tied to the Sultan of Terengganu, the current Malaysian king. The report into the bank’s lending activities details inadequate risk management on projects amounting to RM116 million (US$37 million).
Among other shortcomings, according to the Bank Negara report, was a RM13 million (US$4.13 million at today’s exchange rate) loan to companies related to BTM Resources Group Bhd ‑ Besut Tsuda Wood Products Sdn Bhd, Besut Tsuda Industries Sdn Bhd and Gimzan Plywood Sdn Bhd. The name of Besut Tsuda Wood was earlier changed from Mizan Timber Industries Sdn Bhd to BTM Timber Industries Sdn Bhd.
Mizan Zainal Abidin is the name of the current Malaysian king. Sources within the Exim Bank and other Malaysian financial industry sources say the group is headed by Mizan, who is also the Sultan of Terengganu.
Besut Tsuda Wood Products, according to the Bank Negara audit report, “suffered repeated losses, tight liquidity and was technically insolvent" and "appeared less efficient than the market because its competitors were making profit despite lower sales." The report described the firm as a "loss making company, (that) resulted to declining shareholders funds."
The Asia Sentinel report certainly looks bad for Malaysia’s Agong if you do not know the real story behind this whole thing. It makes one wonder who is behind this ‘leaked information’ and whether it was done to intentionally embarrass the Agong as punishment for throwing a spanner in the works. Last month, the Agong rejected Umno’s choice of Terengganu Menteri Besar and it is an open secret that His Majesty’s displeasure resulted from the siphoning out of RM1 billion a year in oil royalty since 2000.
It all started in November 1999 when the opposition kicked Umno out of Terengganu. A few months later, the federal government cancelled the 5% oil royalty that the state had been enjoying for more than two decades. They then handed the money over to Idris Jusoh, the Umno state chief, to manage. To circumvent the law, they reclassified the oil royalty as wang ehsan.
In the first place, Terengganu should have been allowed to retain 100% of the oil revenue under the terms of the Federation Agreement which stipulates that all state resources belong to the state. However, in 1974, they passed the Petroleum Development Act, which allowed the federal government to ‘rampas’ the state’s oil resources and nationalise it. This in itself was a breach of the Federation Agreement. The federal government then gave back 5% of this revenue to the state in the form of ‘royalty’. But in 2000 even this was rampas from the state when it fell to the opposition.
The misappropriation of this wang ehsan and how Idris Jusoh, Patrick Lim, Wan Farid, and their friends in Umno, siphoned out the money through various projects such as the Monsoon Cup is well-documented and has been discussed in great length in this same column so we do not need to repeat the details here. Suffice to say that The Agong saw more than RM7 billion of Terengganu’s money, from more than RM150 billion that the federal government pumped out of the ground since 2000, disappear and His Majesty decided that enough is enough.
The new Menteri Besar, who was handpicked by His Majesty, has now demanded that the RM1 billion a year be paid direct to the state and that it should no longer be handed over Idris Jusoh, Patrick Lim, Wan Farid, and his gang of thieves. And this has upset Umno who now wants to hit back at The Agong. And this was why the ‘secret’ about the EXIM Bank was leaked. Of course, those who do not know what is going on behind the scenes would quickly jump to the conclusion that The Agong is a slimeball just like all those others who have been robbing this country blind. But there is certainly more than meets the eye as far as this case is concerned.
Mizan Sawmill was a company set up more than 35 years ago by the then Menteri Besar, Wan Mokhtar Ahmad, and his business partners, Dato Yong, Dato Azhar and Dato Yusoff. Dato Yong was a gangster who had been banished to Terengganu under the Prevention of Crime Ordinance (PCO). Dato Azhar later became the Terengganu State Secretary while Dato Yusof was the then Sultan of Terengganu’s Private Secretary. The Sultan then was the present Agong’s grandfather.
The present Agong was still in primary school and not at all involved in the business of these very notorious plunderers infamously known as ‘The Gang of Four’. Even back then the Terengganu Malay Chamber of Commerce was very upset with how ‘The Gang of Four’ raped and plundered the state’s resources but no one could do anything about it since the four were the Menteri Besar, a Chinese gangster, the State Secretary and the Sultan’s Private Secretary.
About 25 years ago, the Terengganu Malay Chambers of Commerce raised the matter with the Parliament Back Benchers’ Club (BBC) Chairman, Shahidan Kassim, who then brought it to the attention of the Deputy Prime Minister, Ghaffar Baba. There was a huge brouhaha, which made the front pages of the mainstream newspapers, in particular the Malay language newspapers, but because of the Constitutional Crisis that had just blown up, they decided to play up the issue and slant it as if it was the Sultan himself who was behind all this.
Mizan Sawmill then applied for huge tracts of forestry land in the Kenyir Lake under the guise of ‘tourism’ project. But what they really wanted to do was to cut down the trees, not to embark on any tourism project, and no one dared take any action to stop them, mainly because of the powerful people behind the company. This upset many members of the Terengganu Royal Family, the present Agong included, but then Umno and not the palace called the shots -- and in the 1980s, at the height of the Constituational Crisis, who dared challenge Umno? Even the palace kept mum lest they incur the wrath of the Umno warlords and kingpins.
Besut Tsuda, the company that was mentioned in the Asia Sentinel report, was a joint venture between Japanese interests and the Terengganu State Economic Development Corporation (SEC). This was set up about 35 years ago and was the cashcow to siphon out money to fill up Umno’s war chest. The head of Besut Tsuda was an Umno man appointed by the Menteri Besar. Besut Tsuda and Mizan were two separate entities. Besut Tsuda was for purposes of financing Umno Terengganu while Mizan was for the personal coffers of the Umno Menteri Besar of Terengganu.
Both these companies that were set up 35 years ago by those who walk in the Terengganu corridors of power when the Agong was still in primary school are now being linked to The Agong. This is clearly a spin machine that is spinning out of control. Maybe they think that this ‘revelation’ will frighten The Agong and will probably make His Majesty ease up on the demand that the RM1 billion a year wang ehsan be taken back from Umno and handed over to the state as what had been decided by Parliament in 1974.
The Agong is not the only victim of this spin machine. There is a book called ‘100 DALIL MENGAPA NAJIB TAK BOLEH JADI PM’ that Malaysia Today has received from an anonymous source. Of course, the party that gave us this book wants Malaysia Today to publish it, maybe a dalil a day for 100 days. We are still studying the contents of this book to assess whether the 100 dalils are mere innuendoes and insinuations or are really points of substance. No, contrary to what the government says, Malaysia Today does not publish innuendoes and insinuations.
Those close to the Deputy Prime Minister are not being spared either. Malaysia Today was given the name of the ex-Minister who has been accused of molesting the cigar girl in the Havana Club in a five-start hotel in KL Sentral. Malaysia Today’s initial investigation points to a smearing campaign aimed at bringing down all those close to the Deputy Prime Minister and it seems the incident has been denied by the girl concerned.
On Sunday, Najib sealed a secret pact with Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. Yes, Najib has thrown his forces behind Abdullah and has sworn to sink or swim with his boss. This has riled the Team B forces and they now want Najib and his boys brought down as fast as possible so that Abdullah can be isolated and brought down as well in due time. And this is probably the reason for the smear campaign that suddenly intensified the last few days.
Hmm…everyone is trying to bring down everyone so maybe we should just sit back and watch who is going to be the last man standing. Then, maybe, we can leisurely stroll in and pick up the pieces, if there is anything left to pick up after this.