Khazanah sold Proton for no profits? UMNO abusing public funds to safeguard cronies

January 25, 2012

The 'Che Det Consensus' is an economy built around problem solving that is 'practical' only for the Malaysia's business and Umno political elite.

I found it odd the statement from Khazanah Nasional Bhd that it didn’t make profit from its sale of Proton Holdings Bhd’s shares to DRB-Hicom Bhd. If no profits were made, why sell the shares?

Secondly, Khazanah’s statement can be construed as an admission that it was given a fait accompli – take this price and don’t ask any questions. In Malaysia, only one person can do that – the man who can walk on water – Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

I hope I can throw more light on the sale of Proton shares to DRB-Hicom. Were there any other bids besides DRB-Hicom presented to Khazanah?

Is Khazanah brave enough to publish the identity of all the bidders?

If it has the courage to do so, we shall not be surprised if the bidders were the Tengku Mahalil-Arumugam group, DRB-Hicom and Nazmi and company. And they all have only one master – Mahathir.

We all know Mahathir’s end-game.

He wants to be the Malaysian “King” Croesus. Croesus was a legendary king in a country known as Lydia in Asia Minor.

He was fabulously rich. It was said that gold from the mines and sands filled up his coffers.

Allow me to re-tell a short story about King Croesus in my own style.

I hope he (Mahathir) will suffer the same fate as the original King Croesus.

Empire destroyed

When the Greek law-giver Solon came to Lydia, Croesus displayed all his wealth and asked Solon to name three individuals whom Solon regarded as the happiest.

Solon named three unknown persons and Croesus was expectedly angered and asked why he, with all his wealth, was not included in the three.

Solon answered: how Croesus can be included as Croesus does not know what God has in store for him?

Shortly after the incident, Croesus consulted the Oracle of Delphi just as the Persian King Cirrus was embarking on his empire-building mission.

The oracle told Croesus that if he goes to war with Cirrus, he will cause the destruction of an empire.

Croesus went to war and was defeated by Cirrus. The empire that was foretold was his own!

Mahathir’s plutocracy

I recall hearing a remark that Khazanah at one time was supposed to be the golden handshake to Mahathir. That was the reason why almost all the equity in big companies is concentrated in Khazanah’s hands.

They were to be divested to private companies in line with the much exalted public-private sector partnership.

It should be called collusion between the political elite and the business elite. You get therefore a plutocracy.

If Mahathir cannot get Khazanah directly, he gets it indirectly through his business associates.

Mahathir is manipulating the business world.

Here’s more. Last year, Keretapi Tanah Melayu Bhd (KTMB) has been asked to assist MMC Corp Bhd to conduct due diligence on the national railway company.

The due diligence is important for MMC to decide if it wants to privatise KTMB.

MMC takeover of KTMB

MMC plans to pump in some RM1 billion into KTMB and take over its operations. And KTMB was asked to assist MMC. What exactly does “assist them” mean?

KTMB, on its part, said that it has not received any instructions from the government to put the matter on hold. In other words, it’s an ongoing process. When will the takeover take place?

The answer: when Mahathir paves the way for MMC to take over.

How can MMC recoup the huge investments or finance it? The answer: the double-track project from Gemas to Johor Baru.

Remember it has been delayed for 10 years. It will take off when MMC takes over KTMB.

Then they will go to the government and say since they are the end-user for that facility, we can build it ourselves.

Maybe we team up with the Chinese to give face to China.

Chet Det economics

So how do you describe our economic system since the time of Mahathir?

The smorgasbord of acronyms – ETP, PDP, NKEA, EPP – all mean nothing.

So what do we have? A capitalist development state like Japan? Malay mysticism mixed with market economics?

Can it be a slow-motion version of Soviet-style economics, where the elite grabbed productive public assets for private gain?

It looks that way: since Mahathir and Najib Tun Razak talk about welfare all the time, our economy should be called “robber baron socialism”.

But I prefer to call it a new model – the Che Det Consensus.

It’s an economy built around practical, problem-solving and technologically innovating model.

Except that it is “practical” only for the business and political elite.

It solves the problem for the robber barons, masking them under the guise of technological innovativeness.

Hence you have the fashionable phrase of unlocking value, releasing potential… ad nauseam.

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