CONSUMERIST: MSC STATUS, COOKED BOOKS, CORRUPTION AND INDIAN NATIONALS! (Part 1)

Dato Jacob George

CONSUMERIST: MSC STATUS, COOKED BOOKS, CORRUPTION AND INDIAN NATIONALS! (Part 1)

The following was a report that appeared in our Malaysian mainstream newspaper in 2005!

What has happened since?

Has the monies and paid outs being recovered?

In 2011 is Malaysia free from such scams and schemes and cooked books by locally incorporated companies going for MSC status with the aid and abetting of local players, IT specialist from India and others attempting to abuse grants made available by courtesy of the Malaysian ratepayer?

Is the MSC and its grants still being abused by a cartel of players, through seepage, corrupt practices, all working with one another with the presence of Indian and other nationals attempting to again abuse the system?

Who is getting the kickbacks in the system?

There are reports in 2005 (see below) indicating that a company was awarded a total of nearly half a billion ringgit in total and now 50 million ringgit has been siphoned off Malaysian Tax Payers.

http://www.thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2005/2/2/nation/10062793&sec=nation

Can we find out the name of this company, the name of the CEO and who aided and abetted this corporate criminal activity?

The Report:

Grant moved to US firm in RM50m MSC sting
BY NELSON BENJAMIN

KUALA LUMPUR: A Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) company chief executive officer has allegedly siphoned off more than RM50mil from its coffers by depositing the money into a company in the United States headed by him.

The 55-year-old CEO, from a foreign country, said to be one of the world’s leading scientists and technologists, is also the chairman and president of the company.

The money is said to be part of a grant of RM440mil awarded to the firm by the Malaysian government for research and development last year.

As at December last year, the Finance Ministry had released RM228mil to the company.

The alleged scam surfaced when the company’s chief financial officer found discrepancies in several payments made over the past few months.

She is said to have found out later that the CEO had made many payments without prior approval of the company’s board of directors.

Suspecting that something was amiss, she alerted the Finance Ministry.

On Friday, the chief financial officer, together with the Finance Ministry’s Secretary for Loan Administration and Financial Policy, lodged police reports at the Sepang district police headquarters over the matter.

It is learnt that a high-powered investigation team, involving officials from the Finance Ministry, Attorney-General’s Chambers, Bank Negara and Bukit Aman, have begun investigations into the alleged fraud.

The suspect’s bank accounts and assets have been frozen pending investigations.

Initial investigations found that the man had “emptied” all his bank accounts locally and transferred the RM50mil to a company in New York, which has also been given a grant by the US government for R&D purposes.

The man was invited to set up an R&D company in Malaysia during a visit to the United States in 2002.

At press time, it is unclear whether the man is still in the country or has fled.

It has yet to be established how the remaining RM178mil of the grant was used.

It is learnt that the Government awarded the grant to the company to be used as working capital and also for the transfer of eight different types of technology to the country.

The company has brought back many Malaysian scientists from abroad and has attracted some of the best researchers of different nationalities.

A senior police officer confirmed that police reports had been lodged by the company and the ministry.

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CONSUMERIST: BUDGET SPENDING MUST BE REALISTIC AND HONEST!

Dato Jacob George

‘But one must remember that if you think the 40% jump is a ‘quick fix’ to escalating cost of goods and services, one is sadly mistaken and gravely misinformed, as prices will immediately skyrocket, the moment the official confirmation comes and before Malaysian consumers in the public sector cashes out their cheques!

You do not need our spin masters in the civil service or PEMANDU to tell you that the pay increases will buffer the civil servants for a spell but remember it will hurt the private sector employees hard and worst to be hit, will be those who eke out a living and are now striving hard to make ends meet!

And what will I and millions of Malaysian voters and taxpayers support in budget 2012 – a realistic budget that will address escalating cost of living and services, a budget that will not be wasteful, that will check corruption, abuse. seepage, duplication and where we see not the fat cats of Malaysian Industry, the cronies and hangers on bleeding the nation to foster their lavish lifestyle addiction and monies to address primary needs of have not’s and not a penny spent on any more wasteful construction that only helps VVIP cronies of all religious persuasions, colours and shades!’ – Dr Jacob George

CONSUMERIST: BUDGET SPENDING MUST BE REALISTIC AND HONEST!

The Country’s next General election must be near, very near indeed!

I am certain Malaysia’s over stocked civil service are overly excited of the rumor that Putrajaya is to implement a new pay scheme for them which will see salaries jump by 40 per cent?

Many goodies are also speculated to be part of the budget 2012!

How will it be financed?

I am curious where the said monies are coming from?

Is it from our EPF after forcing those reaching 55 the next few months from not withdrawing their saving having made a decision to retire gracefully at 55 instead of over staying their welcome as politicians do?

If this is not again a populist policy switch which paves the way to bankruptcy, then I do not know what is?

For all the claims of transformation spins and the various spending in the millions related to it things at the civil service is not only sluggish, it is overly bloated and immobile!

The bureaucracy, aided and abetted by little Napoleons and Cleopatra’s even a low grade personal assistant to a director can manipulate and do disservice in decision making as I found out the other day when I called a PA to one of  the nations’ top civil servants not to curry favor or ask for project like many do but to brief him on a matter which will hit the news and for the group to brief him so that he could be well versed with the matter if asked by journalist post ceremonies!

The PA kept stone walling me!

And as expected when he was asked the question he made a serious error that earned him brickbats as his comments not only was carried here but by the international media!

Secondly, if the 40% materializes and certainly it would as it follows the ‘I help you and you help me philosophy’ of the present administration prior to GE13 very late or early next year?

But one must remember that if you think the 40% jump is a quick fix to escalating cost of goods and services one is sadly mistaken and gravely misinformed as prices will immediately skyrocket the moment the official confirmation comes and before Malaysian consumers in the public sector cash out their cheques!

You do not need our spin masters in the civil service to tell you that the pay increases will buffer the civil servants for a spell but remember it will hurt the private sector employees hard and worst to be hit, will be those who eke out a living and are now striving hard to make ends meet!

That includes not just the unemployed, the poor, the marginalized, the single parents, mothers, the special cases, it also includes the retired and even those professionals who are caught in a downward spiral and debt trap!

And certainly no thanks to those whom we call our politicians who are so obsessed to retain power ‘at any cost’ – with ‘lies, fabrication. abuse, double speak, flip flops’, religious and minority bashing’ – that they cannot see or feel reason!

And now, our final hope to those who face financial hurdles to utilize their savings at the EPF put in jeopardy if the government unilaterally decides to prevent those wanting to opt out of service when they hit 55 and withdraw their savings to pay off creditors!

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CONSUMERIST: TREATING UGLY DEVELOPERS WITH KID GLOVES!

Dato Jacob George

‘Has things changed drastically to protect consumer interest and rights pertaining to housing in Malaysia?

Are there not still abandoned housing estates increasing in numbers, houses with shoddy workmanship, materials used causing sleepless nights to house buyers?

Are we still allowing the speculation in houses by allowing individual purchasers to buy second and third and fourth houses not to stay in but to speculate causing a ballooning of house prices artificially?

This vulgar behavior assisted by banks and financial institutions and developers?

Is it time we readmit capital gains tax to a limit that stops speculation in houses?

How much has this issue that is close to the hearts of first time buyers changed since I first wrote on it more than 10 years ago?

And ‘they’ (go figure!) have the audacity to say that I am wrong?

Today is budget day in Malaysia and will Premier and Finance Minister Najib address this vulgar abuse?’ Dr Jacob George

 

Take off your kid’s gloves on developers! (Posted on 01.56pm Aug 27, 2001 )


During the last few weeks, I spent numerous hours daily reflecting on the social and political development and changes that affect the Malaysian demography. Jacob George...

I tried to reason out why certain politicians, civil servants and policy-making bodies work and respond to community complaints and feedbacks the way they do.

I tried to understand why certain local government enforcement units are being alleged for harassing petty traders at our ‘pasar malams’; why there are allegations of ‘rough house tactics” on restaurants having chairs and tables in vehicle density-free areas while “avoiding” others on busy streets; why the allegation that some are allowed to operate food stalls without council licenses while others on the same row with similar status are left untouched?

I also asked myself whether the present crisis management on community issues is really effective, and whether the government has brought about a holistic change in responding to the so-called “tyrannical and political bullies” alleged by civil and consumer action groups.

The answers to many of these questions are indeed hurting and difficult.

One thing certain in my mind is that some decisions are made without seeking the rakyat’s views but by political persuasions. Obviously, some interest groups with economic and financial agendas and ‘project hand-outs’ must be at work!

I, for one, am not surprised if some controversial politicians and civil servants continue to head government agencies or ministries despite much public outcry!

I am also not surprised of news that some personalities are presently using their cronies – lallang journalists – to write favorably about them, or of parties buying huge advertising space in business weekly and newspapers using ratepayers’ money. Such things have been done to project the same propaganda of how great, visionary and competent they are or have been!

We are aware of the identities of these lallang journalists. Some of them even claim to be “representatives of the people” by professing their allegiance to certain civil servants and politicians!

Among the things written by these lallang journalists are flattering about how great certain local councils are. In fact, reading from the articles we should congratulate one particular local council for claiming that the expensive kerbside can really minimize accidents.

Taking that cue, a politically well-connected contractor can put up a billion ringgit proposal to build similar kerbside nationwide. The road planners can also conduct an intensive/extensive research on such claims to promote an accident-free nation! We can then make preparations to enter the Guinness Books of Records for being the nation with expensive and high kerbs without first understanding the fundamental functions of a culvert in road construction!

The effort may give some political desperadoes some mileage in line for 2004!

However, whatever said and done, I am convinced recent events have put fear and anxiety into the minds and hearts of some people. They include the arrogant civil servants, politicians and appointed councilors who must be aware that their every move and decisions is being watched in the run-up to the next general election.

But, what actually troubled me during these weeks was witnessing a grown man, Terrence Chan, weep uncontrollably at a recent press conference after learning that his recently purchased “RM230,000.00 dream house” was indeed developing huge cracks and sinking!

My team and I accompanied by the media visited the site. We were nearly assaulted by thugs masquerading as security guards.

Only the intervention of my bodyguards had prevented an ugly episode befalling the media photographers.

Two days later, we visited the site again. This time, the entire area was condoned off and guard dogs brought in!

Why all these rough house tactics, no one really knows!

Incidentally, Terrence Wong was among the 40 who faced such problems after having paid progressive payments and waited patiently for his unit built by a high profile developer and public listed company!

Due to the pressure exerted by the initial media coverage – both local and international media and Malaysiakini – the developer was forced to call a briefing session to address the issues.

I had met the developers on numerous occasions since then, and appealed for a win-win situation.

The appeal centred on three main principles: One, the Defect Liability Period is to be extended to 10 years. Two, the developer is to issue an official guarantee on the structure and safety of the said buildings. Three, a discount of 20-35 % of the purchase price is to be given in goodwill to the affected buyers.

They disagreed without a blink of an eye, but extended the defect liability period by 6 months! They also agreed to two options namely, purchasers are given a choice to terminate the SPA and monies paid in full, and to terminate the present SPA to swap for future house project launches!

Though senior government officials – including a senior Minister – told me what a great negotiator job I had done in getting this high profile public listed company to come to agree to these options, I was aware that, morally and factually, I had failed.

You must remember that these were not equitable options – “ringgit for ringgit, share for share, future house launch for house”!

One must remember that these houses purchased were homes planned and saved for over two years by the affected house-buyers.

Plans were made on the eventual transfers in jobs and schools for children. Decisions were made to have a baby, a maid and the sale of present homes, fixtures and fittings!

What about the sleepless nights, anxiety, shock and sadness of the purchasers – the inconvenience caused? Is there no monetary value to these, in goodwill, in accountability, in corporate governance and responsibility – without a court battle?

Will the local authority say that they are “only middlemen” and cannot assist to find an equitable settlement?

What about the much publicized Housing Act? I say and still say, due to the lack of punitive sanctions and proper enforcement, it remains a toothless tiger!

Will the local state assemblyman and member of parliament work hand in hand to protect purchasers’ interests?

Will the YB Minister of Housing, Local Government ‘turun padang’ to see for himself the claims made by those affected, or is he too busy?

What about the other government agencies, interest groups, professional bodies representing the architects, contractors, engineers? What are they doing?

Do they not have a ‘duty of care’ towards these purchasers or at least do something to uphold the professional pride?

Or is it going to be sacrificed on the altars of “obese profits and greed”?

Are they waiting for my letter before, yes you guessed correct, setting up a committee that perhaps will take forever to come a conclusion!

For the record, I am initiating a quiet and private visit to this site by a high profile leader of this nation. Perhaps, after his visit, there will be all round ‘red faces of embarrassment’ and perhaps, just perhaps, some good may come out for my friend Terrence Wong and the other 39 innocent purchasers!

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CONSUMERIST: DENISON SLAMMED FOR PALANIVEL COMMENTS!

Dato Jacob George


‘Denison’s simplistic answer to the allegation that Malaysian Indians are at the bottom of the food and economic chain because the community is divided politically, religiously, culturally, sub-ethnically, socio-economically (class), professionally, as working class and as English-educated, BM-educated, Tamil-educated and foreign trained or local trained and that is the problem that the community has lost its economical and political might in the country is unsustainable!

Actually, who exactly is Denison to even attempt to discuss G. Palanivel?

MIC President G. Palanivel is hands on!

He is consolidating the party, opening the door to ‘all and sundry’ who may have had issues with the past leadership and this is a warm gesture that is welcome sending the message of reconciliation, of renewal and re-energizing the party grassroots upwards!

Just because Palanivel is accommodating diverse views, even dissent he is not weak!

Being accommodating and sensitive is certainly not a mark of weakness!’ – Dr Jacob George.

CONSUMERIST: DENISON SLAMMED FOR PALANIVEL COMMENTS!

I have always believed if one has ‘perfectly clean hands’ then go ahead, criticize, make comments on a particular matter!

But if you were ‘part and parcel’ of the MIC policy setup when things ‘were rough’ on Malaysian Indians to put it politely – then just shut up!

That is my advice to Denison Jayasooria.

And for the record, was he speaking as the principal research fellow at the Institute of Ethnic Studies, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, or a veteran observer of MIC politics, former Suhakam, Police Commission  or Indian Task Force member?

He cannot claim to be observer of MIC politics as he was MIC’s former director of the Social Strategic Foundation, a think-tank that MIC established in 1997 to address the social problems of Malaysian Indians

So what was his locus here?

So was the Indian social problems addressed satisfactorily by him since he held many a portfolio involving the community?

Perhaps, I must also ask my classmates who had also done extensive doctoral work on the same subject or other dear friends in Hindraf who ‘took to the streets’ causing a political tsunami in the last general elections which returned dignity to the Indians!

Denison’s simplistic answer to the allegation that Malaysian Indians are at the bottom of the food and economic chain because the community is divided politically, religiously, culturally, sub-ethnically, socio-economically (class), professionally, as working class and as English-educated, BM-educated, Tamil-educated and foreign trained or local trained and that is the problem that the community has lost its economical and political might in the country is unsustainable!

It is also vulgar!

We are also told by this self confessed intelligentsia that we should ‘make a stand within the democratic tradition to exercise our human rights’ and that is interpreted as ‘find the time to cut a deal, in an open manner, transparent and in the best interests of the Indian community and nation’

I wonder what that means?

Perhaps Denison knows more about ‘cutting deals’ after all he was an integral part of the former administration being involved in a think-tank that MIC established in 1997 to address the social problems of Malaysian Indians

So was the Indian woes ever addressed apart from organizing conferences after conferences, forums after forums, seminars after seminars, talk shops after talk shops and publishing books after each of the former?

Where is Malaysian Indian equity at the present moment?

Where was it before?

Where are Malaysian Indians economically, educationally, sociologically, materially and dignity wise compared to new arrivals of Indonesians, Bangladesh, Pakistanis, West Asians to cite a few?

Putting it another way where do we stand where corporate, home, business, employment, education, religion, temples, alleged conversions, health, micro credit, birth rights, documentation and the future of Malaysian Indians are concerned?

What happened to the allocations given to the party and the think tank by the government to address Indian woes?

Denison Jayasooria should know after all he was ‘part and parcel’ of the political intelligentsia then?

So forgive me if I get a little upset when we are told by the same person today ‘wearing another hat’-  that MIC president G Palanivel still has much work to do to establish himself as a credible leader as he is not tested, not elected nor does he have a parliamentary seat!

Actually who exactly is Denison to even attempt to discuss G. Palanivel?

The truth is, times have changed and changed radically post GE12!

It is no more a directive top down hierarchy that works but one that needs to be steeped in collective leadership, accountability, good governance and transparency.

Warlords and bullish and thuggish methodologies of the past do not work any longer.

Neither threats of deserting the party if post not given as one 31 year old idiot told me claiming he represented a former politician who should be given a seat to return to active politics!

He wanted me to speak to the Premier but I told him that both his political master and he are not only political opportunist but plain idiots!

They forget – the operative word today is political diplomacy which is never the manner things were done within MIC before!

Today voters want leaders who are role models and not alleged to be drunkards, womanizers, pimps, thugs and all those corrupt and vulgar.

And the truth is if indeed MIC – the third-largest BN component party – is to survive the next general elections there must be holistic change and collective leadership.

I am not talking about ‘Press Release Change’ – and – true, we can preach about training, leadership and management courses for division and branch leaders, of KPIs and all that but plainly that is all sheer poppycock!

As a political and public policy analyst, I am aware that we can announce well-worded press releases with all kinds and manners of spins but all these are to no avail in today’s political climate!

The grassroots demand a ‘hands on’ approach!

As I stated to a senior Minister last week, if political parties had carried out its boast that they will embrace a key performance indicator to gauge its leaders’ performance and party policy and directions – this matter would have been long resolved!

The feedback on the ground is firm and direct. They want to see change, holistic change and they want model leaders!

In MIC I believe G Palanival is attempting that.

He is hands on!

He is consolidating the party, opening the door to ‘all and sundry’ who may have had issues with the past leadership and this is a warm gesture that is welcome sending the message of reconciliation, of renewal and re-energizing the party grassroots upwards!

Secondly, G. Palanivel is not new to politics either and his ascendency is not sudden or ‘parachuted’ as some were!

He was politically challenged and won in a three cornered fight!

Thirdly, I am certain he is politically ready to face any challenge having won the admiration and support of a wide cross section of the community and party!

This was also evident in several recent by elections!

This is a credit to his political style of listening attentively, upholding collective leadership, meeting and discussing and addressing grassroots issues in an open, transparent and cordial manner!

This perhaps surprising and shocking to some used to autocratic and bullish styles but this is Palanivel’s style!

The politics of accommodation, upholding one’s dignity and mutual respect!

True, he wants to bring in new and fresh faces and those respected and having a track record of service not embroiled in scandals, having baggage as today’s voters are very well informed and what is wrong with that?

If you think he is politically fragile you are a fool!

Just because Palanivel is accommodating diverse views, even dissent he is not weak!

Being accommodating and sensitive is certainly not a mark of weakness!

One final word!

I am certainly not saying that there have not being ‘political glitches’, perhaps there were in regard the recent appointments of senators but these are not politically fatal and can be rectified!

What is important is finally there is political vision and commitment, the desire for action and audits according to time lines!

Most importantly, he is committed to bring in new qualified faces in the new MIC line up, candidates for elections or for a administrative task force and think tank!

That is a start!

What MIC President and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, G. Palanivel needs is constructive feedback, analysis, a helping hand and not a subtle ‘left hook’ to politically deck him on the canvas for a 10 count!

It is time those who want to criticize first look at themselves and their role in matters that have affected Malaysian Indians before indulging in unsolicited comments!

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CONSUMERIST: RAIS SHOULD APOLOGIZE TO PENANGITES!

Dato Jacob George

‘This is childish and pre GE13 politically foolish!

This is playing the race card yet again!

As a Penang born, I am dismayed at the systematic highly irresponsible, reckless acts and serial attempts to undermine the Penang government with lies and racist sentiments which will backfire come the elections whenever one is brave enough to call for one!’ – Dr Jacob George

CONSUMERIST: RAIS SHOULD APOLOGIZE TO PENANGITES!

It is very simple deduction – in Malaysia the opposition can do no right and the federal government can do no wrong!

How else can you explain the amount of time, resources and effort spent by Malaysian politicians addressing non issues, creating issues and abusing the public space like bickering idiots when Malaysia will face economic challenges in the coming months!

World leaders in the US, UK, Europe, in the Asia Pacific Region, accomplished in their fields are busy planning how to prevent being sucked by in a double dip recession much worst than the Great Depression of the 30s!

But not here thanks to bickering and foolish politicians!

Have politicians forgotten that voters are suffering to manage ‘bread and butter issues’ and the disparities are clear to see between the haves and the haves not!

It is time we had fresh faces, intelligent new candidates with a breath of fresh thought and aspirations!

Not the aged recycled faces with huge political baggage!

And this is precisely why when leaders of both the opposition and the federal government need to choose candidates for GE13 they need to think real hard whether they want to recycle politicians who have overstayed the welcome, who think by harping on sentiments, race, language, and political bigotry is the recipe to re-nomination or pick new faces!

Picking on politicians to retain their seats when they are past their prime – post 60’s is committing political hara kiri!

Worst, when they are alleged to have a track record of controversy spinning or of stating blatant lies for political expediency, or use forums to attack a political opponent by calling him ‘arrogant and dishonest’ forgetting that today’s electorate are not ill informed as they were at one time before the advent of the alternative media!

Even worst, when there is political racial incitement in the statement?

So is it true that Bahasa Malaysia was not being given its due respect in Penang after the opposition took over the state two years ago?

That is a very dangerous and serious allegation that was made!

How can someone representing the premier at a function to win the ‘hearts and minds’ of voters especially the Chinese make such a blatant and silly remark devoid of any facts and based on his own assumption from one event which is now undermining an effort to win over the Chinese?

If Rais was unhappy with the manner in which Han Chiang organized the event he should take it out on the organizers and not use this as a pretense to make a political attack against the incumbents!

That is childish and pre GE13 politically foolish!

This is playing the race card yet again!

As a Penang born, I am dismayed at the systematic highly irresponsible, reckless acts and serial attempts to undermine the Penang government with lies and racist sentiments which will backfire come the elections whenever one is brave enough to call for one!

Rais has once again made a political blunder after the last on Christianization in Penang!

Remember the Christians have not forgotten that attack!

This time his statements and comments have hurt the Chinese badly and nothing but an unconditional apology will now suffice!

It should not be difficult for one who wrote against ISA in his doctoral thesis and later distanced himself from his thesis by stating it was an academic exercise only!

This time his comments have dire repercussions as those behind Han Chiang in Penang are very well respected and politically connected. They have from time immemorial given dedicated service to education which today has resulted in Han Chiang College which is again a private institution founded by prominent leaders of the local Chinese community in 1999!

You do not go into their gathering representing the Premier and use that as a platform to activate a political racist and racial tremor for your political opponents!

That undermines the Premier’s position!

This is not political astuteness but absolute stupidity given current political sentiments on the ground!

As for Lim Guan Eng – he should just concentrate in administering the state and allow facts to speak for itself!

He should remember he is not an opposition member but a Chief Minister of a state!

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