The World Anthem




by E.S. Shankar

Ex-PM Najib and Deputy PM Zahid Hamidi appear to be saying that because many got away with daylight robbery under Mahathir's 22-year Ketuanist Bumiputra era, they too should be allowed to go away quietly into retirement, instead of being publicly prosecuted for 1MDB/SRC's missing RM46 billion and their excessive, unaccountable wealth and probably spend a long time in Bamboo River Resort (to which name I own the copyright!).

Quick as a flash, now MMC-Gamuda has followed suit in warning the government of dire consequences if it went through with terminating them as Project Deliver Partner (PDP) for the underground portion of the RM16.71 Billion MRT2 contract. Does this false bravado have anything to do with the fact that a member of the Perak Royalty is both a director and shareholder of Gamuda?

The thieves, the plunderers, the toll highway robbers, the IPP mafia, the water pilferers and others have all started attacking the PH government, not for thievery and corruption, but for trying to rein in inflated public works contracts and to stop the bleeding. They have taken the cue from UMNO, Najib and Zahid. Bluff and counter bluff have been followed with UMNO's unprincipled credo - attack is the best form of defence.

But MMC-Gamuda is fooling no one. It was appointed Project Delivery Partner (PDP) by Najib via direct-nego, NOT through OPEN TENDER!

The fact that MMC-Gamuda so readily agreed to reduce the MRT2 price from RM16.71 billion to RM14.58 billion (12.75%) AFTER Tony Pua and Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng appointed an independent engineering consultant to sift through the numbers, tells us everything. There is an indication now that in fact the underground portion of the MRT2 contract could possibly be reduced by a staggering RM5.79 billion or 35%.

It is of course a well-known fact that under Bijan, the price of public works contracts could be artificially inflated to either facilitate "donations" to UMNO/BN and/or reduce 1MDB's humongous debts. Najib's (now cancelled by the PH govt) $55 billion ECRL contract had been gassed up with RM30 billion of fictitious scope of works. Much earlier, in 2002, the RM7.5 billion Scorpene Submarines contract had been primed with a RM 575 million fictitious "co-ordination and support services" fee.

So, to hell with MMC-Gamuda! Let the MoF terminate this ridiculously and obscenely priced contract and get a new one in place through Open Tender. I am for it even if it means a higher MRT2 price as it will put crooks and thieves in jail.

I assure you, 20,000 people will not lose their jobs, nor the KLSE crash if MMC-Gamuda were to be taken to the cleaners and shut down permanently. The Dow Jones did not sink into oblivion because Enron folded up or when USA was reeling under the US$700 billion sub-prime crisis. So, we must recognise MMC-Gamuda threatening Tony Pua/LGE and MoF for what it is - the empty words of those caught with their pants down and trying to pull a fast one on us.

MMC-Gamuda should also be taken to task for playing the racist Bumiputra card, while saying nothing or caring for non-Bumis who might lose their jobs. This was surely to stir up the hornet's nest among the natives!

So, Tony Pua, Lim Guan Eng, MOF and the PH government, you have been too kind to MMC-Gamuda. Give us the cue and we will march with you to MMC and Gamuda's HQ and tear down their walls to confiscate all those incriminating files and documents. You have the power, use it especially as it will be for honesty, truth and justice. The Rakyat will back you all the way.

Public companies which have risen and prospered largely through  multi-billion ringgit public works direct-nego contracts financed by the Taxpayer, and who are ungrateful, should be taught a severe lesson for trying to hold us to ransom! 




by E.S. Shankar

Mahtahir is dishonest and wrong and Rafidah Aziz, stupidly wrong. Pakatan Harapan did not merely announce its pre-GE14 Manifesto but also printed and distributed copies of it. They talked it up and down the country to win votes. The Bumiputra agenda is also clearly spelt out in extremely great detail in the Manifesto and clearly has Mahathir's paw marks all over it.

So, for Mahathir to now publicly claim that he had not agreed with the issue of abolishing tolls, a cornerstone of the Manifesto, and that it cannot be done, is downright dishonest. It is also a betrayal of voters who, together with the pivotal issues of abolishing GST and prosecuting 1MDB wrongdoers, cast their votes against Najib and his UMNO/BN government of thieves, looters and economic plunderers, in exchange for fair play and justice.

What is even more disconcerting is the silence from Tony Pua, Lim Guan Eng, DAP, Anwar and PKR. They seem so intent on not losing their Cabinet posts and foothold in government that they are prepared to allow Mahathir to ruin the new government's integrity and election promises which we took extremely seriously. This is cowardly of them beyond belief when you consider that between PKR and DAP, they hold  nearly 70% majority in the coalition!

If Tony Pua and LGE are going to ditch abolishing tolls, the least they should do is publish the Tollcos valuations and buy-out costs and let us judge if they have really done their homework. There are many outside this politically entrenched bunch who do know as much, if not more, about Tollcos as them and are even capable of advising them how such a buy-out can be engineered to the government's advantage. That old mentality, UMNO's "government knows best", is, as has been proven after GE14, only fit for the ditch!

In any event, Mahathir, the architect of much of all our woes, is the man who crafted the crony sweetheart Tollco giveaway deals and contracts with their automatic toll increase and no-divulge OSA-classified clauses. He therefore owes it to us to find a way to abolish tolls and the Tollcos Mafia, come hell or high water.

In the interim, measures can be taken to reduce the Rakyat's toll burden. If I recall correctly, in 2008 Anwar promised us that should the Opposition with the GE, tolls would be halved the day after the elections! Even the Maju Group which made an offer to take over PLUS some two years ago, was shocked at the high maintenance costs incurred by our Tollcos. There is much fat there, the usual result of inflated sub-contracting out to cronies of the directors and CEO's, that can easily be trimmed and still give a fair return to the Tollcos.

It is clear to every Malaysian that Tollcos (just like the IPPs) have been raping us for some 30 years with inflated construction, running and maintenance costs. I bet that much of their financial statements will not stand up proper scrutiny, in the same way that 1MDB's audited accounts have been proven to be utter rubbish and fraud. 

All that is required is for the MoF and Income Tax Department to, for once, use their extensive powers truly for the Rakyat's benefit. They should re-audit all Tellcos and determine exactly how much they have been taking us all for a ride. If you add in the billions of ringgit these Tellcos have been using to donate money from shareholders' funds to the crooked UMNO/BN's war chest without securing approvals at their AGM's, there is a lot of room for the government to reduce the Tollco valuations to the bare minimum.

The Attorney General should also review all the Tollco contracts. When you add in the fact that these contracts were awarded by UMNO/BN's Ali Baba direct-nego method against public interest, I am confident that the Tollco valuation can be made "affordable" to the government. The government should not be afraid to stiff-arm them into submission. They deserve a huge dose of the same medicine they have been dishing out to us for so many years. Also, any payment to Tollcos can be staggered (with no interest) over the next 50 years to reduce the government's cash flow constraints.

So, I am suggesting a two-stage approach:

Stage 1. 
(a) An immediate 50% reduction of tolls.
(b) All toll maintenance contracts to be re-tendered out and overseen by MoT
(c) Tollcos are not to be allowed to make super profits, the rate of return to be restricted to say, cost + 15% or 15% on capital employed whichever is the higher. Toll rates will be revised up or down after each year's audited accounts have been posted.

Stage 2 ( to be completed by end 2019)
(a) Re-audit of all Tollcos for inflated costs, fraud, illegal donations to UMNO/BN.
(b) Review of all Tollco contracts by AG.
(c) Compulsory acquisition of Tollcos by MoT.
(d) Abolishing of tolls and tollcos.

The argument that EPF members will lose out if PLUS is taken over and abolished by MoT holds no water. Firstly, not all EPF members use toll roads, so why should they be the only ones to benefit from PLUS profits? Besides that, some sacrifices are needed in the interest of the greater good i.e. the 30 million citizens of the country.

As for Rafidah, okay, I give her some credit for speaking out against Najib and his ex-government of thieves. But, there is still a huge cloud floating over her head from the multi-billion ringgit AP scandal of the early 2000's. I do not need any advice from those who stood by silently and profited personally while Mahathir ran riot with his racism, Bumi crony capitalism and Ketuananism then. And yes, Manifesto promises do matter and Mahathir, DAP & PKR will renege on them at their own peril. Enough is enough!