Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Sime Darby's forensic audit report will not be made public

Sime Darby Berhad has informed Bursa Malaysia that it does not intend to make public the forensic audit report on losses incurred by the group, which now runs into billions of ringgit.

In a filing to the bourse last night, Sime Darby admitted "possibilites of breaches of duties and obligations, and inappropriate conduct on a prima facie basis."

Here's the full Bernama report:

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 20 (Bernama) -- Forensic and legal consultants have completed investigations into Sime Darby Bhd's projects in the energy and utilities division and submitted reports today to the conglomerate's board.
Four key projects being investigated are the Bulhanine and Maydan Mahzam project with Qatar Petroleum, the Maersk Oil Qatar project, the Bakun hydroelectric dam and the Marine Project.
In a filing to Bursa Malaysia today, Sime Darby said the investigations revealed possibilites of breaches of duties and obligations, and inappropriate conduct on a prima facie basis.
It said the board had resolved to initiate legal proceedings and had lodged reports with the relevant authorities.
The board has been advised to keep details of the report confidential and nature of such proceedings so as not to adversely affect the interest of the group.
On May 27, Sime Darby's energy and utilities division reported an operating loss of RM1,019 million for the first nine months ended March 31, 2010.
This was after recording provisions for the oil and gas and engineering sub-segments which amounted to RM964 million that was announced on May 13.

I find it utterly ridiculous that Sime Darby has saw it fit not to reveal the findings to its shareholders. Sime Darby is a GLC and it is dealing with public funds.

I hope Sime Darby's shareholders attending the company's AGM on Nov 16, will demand that the report is made public.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Kenapa kes kehilangan yang lain masih tergantung? PDRM perlu jelaskan.

Seperti rakan-rakan blogger lain, saya juga ingin mengucapkan tahniah kepada Polis di-Raja Malaysia (PDRM) kerana telah berjaya membuat beberapa penahanan dalam kes membabitkan kehilangan jutawan kosmetik Datuk Sosilawati Lawiya dan tiga rakannya.

Tetapi hati kecil saya masih tertanya-tanya kenapa PDRM tidak dapat menyelesaikan kes kehilangan empat orang lain (dan mungkin lebih) yang kini diuar-uarkan oleh PDRM sendiri bahawa ianya mungkin ada kaitan dengan suspek-suspek yang sama. Malah, kes-kes ini dilaporkan lebih awal dari kes Datuk Sosilawati.

Saya khuatir umum akan beranggapan kes-kes ini tidak diberi keutamaan kerana ia tidak membabitkan individu berstatus tinggi?

Saya terkejut juga apabila membaca akhbar The Star dan New Straits Times hari ini (Sept 14) yang memetik isteri kepada salah seorang mangsa bahawa beliau telah membuat laporan polis kali KEDUA pada Sept 8, 2010. Malah, laporan itu dibuat di balai polis Banting.

M. Usharani datang ke Malaysia dari Chennai, India untuk mencari suaminya A. Muthuraja yang didakwa hilang setelah berjumpa dengan kedua-dua peguam yang juga suspek dalam kes Sosilawati. Kali terakhir beliau bercakap dengan Muthuraja ialah apabila Muthuraja berada di rumah suspek.

Saya hairan kerana walaupun sudah ada "lead", polis tidak dapat menyelesaikan kes tersebut. Persoalannya sekarang ialah apakah polis telah mengambil keterangan dari peguam-peguam tersebut dalam kes kehilangan Muthuraja? Bukankah ianya "Standard Operating Procedure" pihak polis untuk mengambil keterangan daripada mana-mana pihak yang terakhir sekali berada bersama mangsa?

Jika kes Muthuraja telah diselesaikan dengan penangkapan, MUNGKIN tragedi yang menimpa Datuk Sosilawati, pemandunya, peguamnya dan pegawai banknya dapat dielakkan.

PDRM perlu juga memulakan satu penyiasatan dalaman untuk mengetahui apa tindakan yang diambil (atau tidak diambil) diatas laporan yang dibuat oleh Usharani. Ini membabitkan nama baik PDRM dari kacamata antarabangsa.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Corruption cases: Why they just don't seem to stick?

Is there a serious flaw with the way corruption cases are being prosecuted? Are there anomalies in the law which make it technically easy for the accused persons to be let off the hook easily?

I raise these questions because it seems to me that far too many cases, especially high profile cases involving the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) are being thrown out of court. If the subordinate court finds an accused guilty, the superior court takes an opposite position.

The latest being the acquittal of former Ampang Jaya Municipal Council (MPAJ) enforcement director Capt (R) Abdul Kudus Ahmad and former Pahang State Exco member Datuk Omar Othman. I am not suggesting that both of them are guilty or that they should have been found guilty. But it is rather surprising that in the case of Abdul Kudus who was charged with 30 counts of corrupt practices, not even a single charge stuck!

Datuk Omar was acquitted after a six-year trial. He was charged with abusing his power to award two village road projects to a company he allegedly had interest in.

After six years of trial (and a lot of tax payers' money, including mine spent), he was released.

I think the number of high-profile corruption cases which ended up in acquittals in recent years are far too many for to me to list down here. Given the frequency of these cases being thrown out of court, I wonder what is MACC's actual success rate of convictions after all avenues of appeal are exhausted.

And a bigger wonder is whether the investigation methods used by the MACC are in fact effective.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Stop intimidating bloggers!

Have our authorities lost their sense of humour? Or is this an attempt by the Attorney-General and Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) to intimidate bloggers.

I am referring to blogger Hassan Skodeng who will be charged at the Petaling Jaya sessions court tomorrow for poking fun at Tenaga Nasional Berhad and Earth Hour. Now it is also a crime to make jokes.

I have reproduced below what Hassan wrote, and let me make it clear that this is a joke...a parody, in case they decide to charge me too for reproducing the blogpost.

By Hassan Skodeng
TNB to sue WWF over Earth Hour

KUALA LUMPUR — Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB), Malaysia’s premier energy provider today announced that they were taking legal action against the World Wildlife Foundation (WWF) for organising the Earth Hour, a global movement that makes a stand against climate change by turning off all non-essential lights and electrical equipment for an hour every year.

In a Press conference, TNB president and CEO Dato’ Sri Che Khalib Mohd Noh said that the annual worldwide symbolic gesture, which this year would be observed this Saturday at 8.30pm, is nothing more than an ‘arrogant and thoughtless viral movement’ aimed to hurt power companies such as TNB.

CHE KHALIB: These people are inconsiderate. “Obviously these green-minded fellows think they’re really cute, organising such an irresponsible campaign,” said Che Khalib angrily. “They say ‘turn off your lights for an hour’ and people do. I bet that really makes them feel all powerful.

“What these western colonialists fail to grasp is how such drastic action affects the poor companies like us. One hour of unused electricity means an hour of wastage for TNB. Did you know that last year’s Earth Hour costed us millions in unrealised revenue?” asked Che Khalib, seething.

“How do you think that affected our production? We couldn’t exactly turn off our power plants just because a large number of Malaysians turn off their lights at the same time. So imagine all that wasted energy.

“This year, we expect even more people to fall for this global con-job,” added Che Khalib.

“So there’ll be more lights turned off. KL alone would be engulfed in darkness. Yes, sure, it may seem fun to some, running around in complete darkness. But that also means TNB would get less money. Tell me, what am I supposed to say to the kids of this electrical technician when we can’t give bonus this year?” asked Che Khalib, as he pointed to a TNB staff manning the lights for the Press conference.

He added, “In light of such inconsiderate actions by these tree huggers, TNB has no choice but to take legal action against the Earth Hour organisers, WWF. We’ll wait for our accountants to come back with the loss figure after this year’s Earth Hour, and we plan to sue them for that same amount. We may even add a hundred million ringgit or so, to teach them a lesson.”

Che Khalib also reminded Malaysians to ignore the Earth Hour, calling it a ‘cultural invasion, a concerted assault by extreme liberal forces aimed to destabilise poorer nations’.

“We are Malaysians, and we should be proud of our lights. Every night we should go out and see the beautiful sparkling lights in our city skylines. Don’t be ashamed of the lights,” said Che Khalib, as he unveiled a set of pictures showing the Petronas Twin Towers and the surrounding buildings consequently going dark during last year’s Earth Hour.

God knows how many people tripped over things and hurt themselves in the complete darkness, not to mention the number of bad people going around doing naughty things, knowing the authorities could not see them.

“Let’s reverse the order of these pictures this year, and fight for the rights to our lights,” continued Che Khalib. “Let’s unite as 1Malaysia, and tell these green terrorists that we will not go dark! We will not switch off! Let’s tell them that we love our lights!

“POWERRR… EXTREME!” he screamed, as powerful clusters of foglamps flooded the conference room with ultra-bright and hot light, temporarily blinding everyone present, and signalling the end of the Press conference.