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Monday, July 30, 2012

Of dubious deals and doubtful characters


Harry Truman once said, “If you can’t convince them, confuse them.” This type of approach surprisingly works with even today’s savvy and connected audiences. However, as dramatist and Nobel laureate George Bernard Shaw aptly pointed out, the problem with communication is that we often have the illusion that it has worked, when what is clear to us still seems confusing to audiences. Fabiani Azmi writes ..
In the last six months, the opposition has been going around making dubious claims of championing good governance. Always heavy on the rhetoric but often factually deficient or in grievous error, the opposition would dramatise to get public attention and lie, if necessary.
More shit has hit the fan on the questionable marshland deal between Selangor and Talam. What is surfacing from the water submerged lands is that PKNS was made to pay RM10 for a giganormous RM392 million Talam debt from Kumpulan Hartanah Selangor Bhd (KHSB), Universiti Selangor (Unisel) and Permodalan Negeri Selangor Bhd (PNSB). To Selangoreans and the country, this equation does not make for right.
President of the Pertubuhan Jaringan Melayu Malaysia (JMM), Azwanddin Hamzah while questioning PKNS general manager Othman Omar if the latter was coerced into this deal, needs to ask the right people. Fingers point at the main dramatis personae - Selangor Economic adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, its former CEO Rafizi Ramli and even Azmin Ali who are believed to have a hidden hand in the Selangor-Talam saga.
This week the plot thickened. Azwanddin said he has just exposed the tip of the iceberg – two documents of a hundred that he has in his hands. It would appear that the JMM president is faster at the evidence than the police, MACC, Securities Commission and Bursa Malaysia put together. Azwanddin has joined the super league of Rafizi Ramli in evidence gathering.  And in stylo-milo Rafizi fashion, he is also announcing in scintillating bits and pieces to tantalise audiences. The only difference is Azwanddin writes to interrogate the opposition for its questionable character while Rafizi is just drama for a political career.
Rafizi seems to be exceptionally quiet with the real truth on the Selangor-Talam saga. It would not have taken much to see him in action to the defence of Selangor. Selangoreans and indeed the country are quite bewildered why he has not put on the gauntlet for Selangor.
At a recent debate on the Syabas Saga, Rafizi took the opportunity to casually explain to a small audience the Talam restructuring deal. While it was reported earlier that the Talam deal involved RM392 million, MalaysiaKini now reports that the deal saw total assets obtained by Selangor at RM676 million with bank debts and costs at RM296.8 million.
Rafizi added that the debt was being upgraded so that it is in the rank of creditors in the upper strata. This affirms that the Selangor-Talam deal is indeed complex than meets the eye, and possibly smelling dubious. Just last week, Tony Pua had in a radio interview with BFM 89.9 said that it was merely a RM392 million deal and nowhere near RM1 billion declared by MCA Young Professionals Bureau chief Datuk Chua Tee Yong.
However, each day the numerics on the Selangor-Talam deal are metamorphosising, changing in magnitude, scale and reasoning. All these are now beginning to confuse the simple man on the street. Yes, the deal does have its complexities. If not at all, why then the need for five accounting firms to audit. 
Nothing further has been said by MB Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim on the five accounting firms. Or is this another drama from the opposition to tell us all is all clinically clean? Or on second thought, was this even a wrong move forward?
If as Awanddin says he has a pile of 100 documents, everybody from Khalid, Pua, Rafizi, Anwar, Azmin, needs to be investigated to get to the bottom of the truth. It has always been lies for the opposition to cultivate favour from the public. And it didn’t just start yesterday.
In March this year, the National Feedlot Corporation controversy on loans for the KL Eco City office lots is another perfect example in deception and lies by the opposition to dramatise the NFC. Rafizi deliberately distorted and misrepresented the bank documents he had unlawfully obtained from a bank employee.
Wielding and distributing the documents to a host of media in outright violation of BAFIA, he seduced audiences that he had the hard facts on purported loans taken for eight office lots as well as information on the poor credit standing of the directors. Rafizi lied that the loans were taken on the merit of NFCorp’s government deposit in the bank when he provided a sly analysis of the bank documents.
In a rebuttal, NFCorp however said no loans were ever taken for KL Eco City by the company. The documents Rafizi had in his hands were for other private loans taken in 2005 and 2008 not connected in any way to KL Eco City. A close inspection of the loan documents he had given to the media showed the loans had in fact commenced as far back as 2005 and 2008. It is also interesting to note that KL Eco City was only launched for sale in 2011. And if you look at the equation, NFCorp was not even formed in 2005. So here lies a number of lies concocted by Rafizi to defame NFCorp and rile public anger at a government project.
There have also been other instances that the opposition had deceived the public. In November 2011, the opposition had alluded that the Auditor General’s 2010 Report had said that NFC was “in a mess”. Auditor General Tan Sri Amrin Buang denied having said it. In a media statement on 26 January 2012, Amrin explained that the Jabatan Audit Negara (JAN) only audited government ministries, departments and government owned companies. He said that the JAN did not audit private limited companies. NFCorp Amrin said, was never audited by his department. So the opposition lied viciously here.
The opposition had also claimed that 5,000 acres of land in Gemas, Negeri Sembilan, had been given free to NFCorp. A lease agreement sighted showed that only 1,500 acres were allocated for the NFC project and leased to NFCorp by the Negeri Sembilan state government for a fee. The opposition’s attempt at deceiving the public into believing that land was given free was another outrageous lie.
The greatest public concern was that NFCorp had been given RM250 million in public money. Public money suggests that it is free money or a grant. It however is not. A formal loan facility agreement between the Government of Malaysia and National Feedlot Corporation Sdn Bhd dated 6 December 2007, exists. Tony Pua and MalaysiaKini provided a copy via the news portal.
The sum therefore represents a loan and just like any commercial bank loan, it has to be repaid. But the song drummed up by the opposition was made to sound it was free. There is no free money from this loan document. The opposition created yet another perception that there was a massive loss of public money. It lied and lied again.
Lies, lies, more lies, deceit and more deceit and inconsistencies are some of the ugly side of things that personify the opposition, says a blog. When opposition politicians and wannabes lie, the public is apt to ponder.
More recently, Utusan Malaysia has reported that Rafizi has now not the support of Pandan. Apparently he has also disappointed quarters in Bukit Antarabangsa and Ampang, neighbourhoods to Pandan led by Azmin Ali and Zuraida Kamaruddin respectively. Rumour has it that Rafizi has withdrawn to retreat to a safer haven in Terengganu.
The truth is catching up in this month of Ramadan.
About the Writer
Fabiani Azmi is an avid reader of Malaysia Today and the blogs. He believes equations are simple to solve. One plus two certainly equals three. He also believes you have to work fast during this month of fast.

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