Wednesday, June 11, 2008




Unless the god you worship is dumb, and stupid, you will never get away with the things you have been doing in Malaysia, such as the police refusing to take a report made against a crown prince who battered a young woman he kept as a lover, and the Prime Minister elaborately lying through his teeth on TV about his son’s business dealings.

But the second matter is old, resurrected currently after it was known who has been selling buses to Rapid KL and the monorail to Penang.

On 7 August 2006, in an arranged interview on TV3 with BERNAMA chairman, Datuk Annuar Zaini, the premier said this:

Q: You are known as Mr Clean and Mr Nice Guy. Sometimes that intention is
disrupted because of business interests. Besides KJ [Khairy Jamaluddin, his son-in-law], your son, Kamaluddin, is also in business and has he misused or taken advantage of his
relationship with you to excel in his business?

A: Kamal has never used his relationship with me to advance in business. His
business is in a field which only has two companies in the world. Of the two
integrated oil companies, one is in the US and the other is his.

He is not involved in many other companies and he operates overseas. Sometimes people ask, why is he overseas?

He tells them that since his father has become the Prime Minister, it is difficult for him to make a living here. That is why he opted to do it overseas. Eighty percent of his contracts are from overseas and that is where he gets his rezeki (sustenance).

Petronas usually participates in international open tenders. Any tender he gets is too small compared to what he gets overseas and he also has to compete for the tenders with other companies.

He usually gets tenders from companies like Shell and Esso because it is related
with oil and gas. He has never asked for help from the Government. There is also
no bail out. None.

Q: In your capacity as the Finance Minister, has his company obtained
government tenders?

A: No, not at all. To my knowledge, he has not received any. He does not manage
the business and is only the major shareholder and had made a move to buy a
Singapore company with 188 ships to transport coal.

Q: Some say that the Penang monorail is reserved for Kamal. Is that true?

A: Siapa cakap? (Who said so?) I tell you, it is hard to be nice.

That was on Monday, 7 August, 2006. Nine days later (15 August 2006) in Malaysiakini, Sulaiman Rejab wrote to say he did not wish to refer to the Prime Minister anymore as “Pak Lah”, saying the man had lost all his endearing qualities since becoming Prime Minister.

Then he recounted the following:

‘In March, The Malay Mail reported that KTM had in 2005 awarded a five-year RM50
million contract to Scomi Group [Kamaluddin’s company] ‘to overhaul and maintain’ as many as 1,000 wagons.

‘Also in March, Business Times reported that Scomi Group was going to submit a
bid for a RM120 million contract ‘to make body parts for about 400 buses for
state-owned Syarikat Prasarana Negara Bhd’.

‘Then in April, The Edge reported that Scomi Engineering Bhd is acquiring a 51%
stake in MTrans Transportation Systems Sdn Bhd for RM30 million to provide it a
platform to be a key player in urban transportation.

‘Scomi Engineering had on April 28 signed an agreement with Kiara Kilau Sdn Bhd,
which owns 100% stake in MTrans, to acquire the 51% stake. MTrans owns bus
manufacturer MTRans Bus Sdn Bhd and MTRans Technology Bhd, which specializes in
monorail systems and technology. This is, of course, for the Penang monorail

So the five-time hike in petroleum prices over the last year on the pretext of
improving public transportation is certainly benefiting some parties - your
son's Scomi Engineering, to be specific.

‘What have you done to improve the public transportation in Kuala Lumpur since
then? The LRT is still madly congested and the city buses are still breaking
down in the middle of already congested roads
.’ .[Italics mine]

‘The pieces fall into place nicely…’, Sulaiman wrote, possibly fully aware the end of the story was still a long way from where he was looking.

Even after Malaysian society had awaken to the regime-corruption signage and almost voted the Barisan Nasional (BN) out in the recent 8 March elections, the BN, and especially Umno, is still appearing like it is enjoying somnolence of the kind dreams never visit.

It is in deep sleep, and apparently believing God is dumb and is causing the acquired impotence of the party members.

What now?

Superman-under-siege, Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, former premier and all that jazzy stuff, in his phenomenal blog,, recalled the great open lie on 6 June 2008, and once more set the stage for awakening Umno from the “elegant” somnolence that’s making many think it is, indeed, in a smear of death.

Scomi, the flagship of the premier’s son, after taking over M-Trans Sdn. Bhd., which is the bus and monorail builder, has now been supplying the GLC, Rapid KL, with new buses, some it built itself in the M-trans yard and others it bought from China, which must be pretty convenient, of course.

Hence, Dr. M wants to know:

What prices did Scomi (or the relevant subsidiary) pay for the Chinese buses and what did it charge Rapid KL for the same imported buses? What tariffs and taxes did it pay for bringing in those buses?

He also wants to know if it is possible for Rapid KL and Khazanah to show the people their profit and loss accounts, which could mean he thinks transparency concerning the GLCs has gone under the Official Secrets Act as well under Pak Lah.

What does Rapid KL intend to do with more than a thousand buses it now keeps in a yard at Sungai Chua, Kajang, which it paid for in its takeover of City Liner and Intrakota? Surely these buses could be repaired or refurbished and be taken back on the road or sold?

Why on earth were they replaced by new buses from China in the first place, when public transport in the Klang Valley and surrounding areas are appalling and can do with the extra buses now lying idle?

And, of course, in Penang, isn’t the monorail given to Scomi’s subsidiary to build?

These and many other questions will surely be raised in the forthcoming parliamentary session.

But will it move Umno in any direction that shall serve the society in a way that can inspire maturity and refinement 62 years after the ruling party was born or would that necessarily need a regime change?

To state that differently, how much of corruption, nepotism and poor governance will it take for Umno members to aggress and demand for Pak Lah to retire?

I cannot answer that. The present Umno is not the Umno I knew.

It would be equally audacious for me to try and suggest this may be the final straw that will break Umno’s gentle somnolence and that the party will soon wake up to say “it’s enough!” and bid Pak Lah a tearless goodbye.

Therefore, keeping alive the belief there will be a regime change sooner than later is, indeed, the wiser thing to do.

Pak Lah’s Nice Guy and Mr. Clean images could have all been appearances of the Dorian Gray sort, a magic of art or an artifice of magic, which, in a single word, is a lie. ---a. ghani ismail, 11 June 2008

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