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Sunday, November 29, 2015

BANKRUPT 1MDB? YES! YES! YES!

1mdbEdra-Global
Explain those number differences. And we are not yet even in the territory of defining costs, opportunity costs and interests, much less debt. So stop fudging.
Shu Zheng
Arul Kanda has lauded the 1MDB business model as ‘good’ when it relied solely on debt for its range of businesses so that public finances could be freed for use in schools, hospitals and so on, and not passed through government to the company.
Set aside the infantile nature in the argument — it is so inane, it doesn’t need a rebuttal. But that’s the starting point in its cascade of troubles leading, finally, to what 1MDB has become: a 40 plus billion bull romping through a shop full of china porcelain.
So where, after five years, does it leave us?
Answer: Unwinding. Unwinding, and unwinding.
It is in this unwinding that has become 1MDB’s core business, yes, core business: How to sell its assets, that is, if they are worth anything. But, still, let’s focus on the selling.
First off the block: Edra.
Prior to its deal with a consortium led by CGN, 1MDB tried other exit doors, an IPO most prominently. That flopped, for whatever reason it doesn’t matter.
Now Communications and Multimedia Minister Salleh Said Keruak says this:
The situation is becoming more complicated when society doesn’t know what it wants.
They want 1MDB to reduce its debt but at the same time they don’t want any local company to buy 1MDB assets, and would not allow 1MDB to sell its assets to foreign investors. With that, what do they want 1MDB to do?
In the end, 1MDB can only do three things, and all three are unacceptable to the critics. There is however a fourth alternative, and that is bankruptcy.
Is this what they want 1MDB to do, which is to declare bankruptcy? So that they can use this issue against the prime minister?”
Salleh has now cast the 1MDB as an abused child, the wounds inflicted on it by people such as Mahathir Mohamad, in order to punish the parent named Najib Razak. And the whip, the cane, that is being used to flog Najib? It is called Edra. Hence, Salleh’s implication, captured in the Malaysiakini remark is: “Damned if it does, and damned if it doesn’t.”
Salleh’s response to the criticisms are two-fold: Edra, the Deal, which is then conflated with 1 MDB the Debt.
Edra, the Deal: Let’s cut to the chase. Why should it matter with who Edra ends up? Even to Eskimos or monkeys, so long as they can come up with the money. Those stations sit on Malaysian soil, so there isn’t anything the Chinese can do about it. It was therefore easy for Salleh to dismiss this part about foreign ownership but he lets himself off on the more specific criticisms, for example, from Mahathir. Which is, the numbers don’t add up.
Before that, 1MDB and Arul popped post-deal champagnes, letting off with the impression they have done a wonderful job: No hands, Ma. No bail out. Then as it turns out, 1MDB ‘broke even’ on the deal. Hang on there to your incredulity.
1MDB, the Debt: Edra is purely the beginning of the unwinding process which, to put it unflatteringly, is called asset stripping.
  • Tenaga priced its Edra bid at 8 billion.
  • CGN bought Edra at 9.83 billion.
  • With Edra gone, Arul says Debt goes down by 17 billion.
Explain those number differences. And we are not yet even in the territory of defining costs, opportunity costs and interests, much less debt. So stop fudging.
Small wonder people say, the Devil is in the details.
You see, Salleh: In your response you were clearly being disingenuous, as you had to — this cherry picking — and this can be overlooked easily. It is this nefarious quality in the answers, not particularly from you, but Arul et al. This is the same nefarious quality that fills 1MDB from its beginnings and how it has gotten to its present state.
That, I put to you, is why, in whatever you do, in whatever you say, could change nothing in 1MDB and what it has stood for. The first step went off wrong and so it would be well and good to say so, scrap this whole fucked-up business, and admit it’s all tuition fees in life’s learning experiences.
But you can’t, and He can’t. Because, once done, all those mangled deals done over the past five years covered up in nice folders and tossed to champagnes will be spilled onto the streets so that you and everybody will be swept off along with them as trash.
There is a smell in the house, Salleh. And you, though not especially, don’t want to know what you might discover rotting in the basement. Society doesn’t need to know what it wants; things will work out when it works out, fail when it fails. But you? It is not that you don’t know what you want; you don’t want to know.
That’s why, Salleh, damned if you do, damned if you don’t.
Song for you:
這樣是錯  那樣是錯  全部都是錯
This is wrong, that is wrong, everything is wrong.
 

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