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Friday, January 30, 2015

300,000 Pakistani Refugees Flee To Afghanistan !!

As the stomach churns. Before this hundreds of thousands of Afghans ran away to Pakistan. Now 300,000 Pakistanis have run away seeking refuge in Afghanistan. 

  • Pakistanis flee to Afghanistan
  • More than 210,000 Pakistanis crossed into Afghanistan 

  • Pakistani military launched offensive in June against Taliban 
  • Eastern Afghanistan, Khost, neighboring Paktika, refugees sought shelter
  • 93,000 families — up to 750,000 people — displaced inside Pakistan. 
  • North Waziristan - Pakistani Taliban, al-Qaida and Haqqani network enjoy haven
  • offensive taking place in Khyber tribal region to pursue militants 
  • The conflict goes back more than a decade
  • Taliban place bombs so government comes in to hit them back
  • U.N. agencies provide shelter, food, water, health facilities and schooling 
  • U.N. does not expect flow of refugees to stop any time soon. 
  • 40,000 families, averaging 7.5 people, have crossed into Afghanistan
  • Afghan police try to keep the peace, ensuring orderly queues at water trucks 
  • In classrooms erected on land recently cleared of mines, children learn 
  • Ten-year-old Hayatullah Khan said he arrived at Gulan two months ago with his parents and four brothers. He misses his toy car, which he had to leave behind.
  • "We are not happy here," he said after class. "We want our homes. We have left behind our madrassas and schools. We have come here with nothing."
My comments :  If Pakistan fails as a State (and it looks like they will) they can always apply to rejoin India. I think the Indians will not have much problems taking Pakistan back. Its the same chappati lah. Apa pasal mau gaduh gaduh.

Alamak !! "Pendatang" To Bail Out 1MDB !

This news broke whatever 'wa' or peaceful harmony that our country had this morning. This is from Malaysian Insider here :  


  • Ananda Krishnan said to have firmed up agreement with 1MDB. 
  • loan beleaguered 1MDB RM2 bil to help settle Maybank & RHB due end Jan
  • however merely an interim measure
  • (AK and 1MDB) still looking at how to resolve the issue   
  • (In other words, how hard AK can squeeze 1MDB)
  • 1MDB & AK in quandary over how to settle RM2 b debt due in Nov '14
  • 1MDB given two one-month extensions 
  • part of larger exercise by 1MDB on RM6.17 billion loan due last year
  • debts refinanced into 
  • i.  RM3.5 b 10-year term loan secured against Powertek (PIH)
  • ii. RM2 b facility due on November 30 last year. 
  • RM2 billion loan secured after commitment by AK to inject same sum into PIH
  • enable PIH to pay lenders
  • snag because AK (get) majority stake in PIH
  • 1MDB would lose control of PIH, not politically tenable
  • Maybank/RHB waited to be paid  
  •  (this is a polite way of saying Maybank/RHB will suffer RM2b losses)
  • 1MDB and AK looking at various options to break deadlock 
  • finally opted for a loan from AK to 1MDB
  • not yet done, terms of loan to be agreed, looks like only option
  • even then, this is an interim solution so that the banks get paid
  • 1MDB after-tax losses of RM665.4 million in (FY14)
  • bleeding more severe had it not revaluated gain RM896.8 million on property 
  • FY14, long-term borrowings ballooned to RM33.5 bil, up  RM7.2 bil or 27% 
  • 1MDB short-term borrowings of RM8.3 billion.
  • 2014, 1MDB cash & bank balances RM3.8 bil, down 42% from RM6.7 bil in FY13. 
  • cash used to pay high interest charges and existing borrowings
  • 2014, 1MDB paid RM2.4 billion in finance costs. – The Edge Financial Daily

My comments :

1. First things first. Where is Mr Arul Kanda? Why has he gone absolutely quiet. Run silent, run deep?  And what is he exactly? President or CEO or both? Y'day a commenter said Arul Kanda is Executive Director only (as well as president) while the "old" CEO is still the CEO as well as the Managing Director. (This is according to 1MDB's website). So does 1MDB now have an ED as well as an MD? And a president as well as a CEO? Bayar gaji dua kali kah? 

2. Arul Kanda said that 1MDB had brought back that US2 bil or something from the Cayman Islands. Tun Dr Mahathir asked 'In which bank have you deposited that RM2 bil AFTER bringing it back from the Caymans?"  It looks like the money has been deposited in the Piggy Bank. Because no domestic bank has seen that RM2 billion.

3. And now considering that Ananda Krishnan has been called to do national service (to the tune of RM2 bil) to give 1MDB an extra RM2 bil emergency loan, it means that the money is not even in the Piggy Bank. Obviously then, there is no RM2 billion available to pay Maybank and RHB. 

4.  From Malaysian Insider's report above, Ananda Krishnan has already given RM2 bil to Powertek Industry Holdings.   "RM2 billion loan secured after commitment by AK to inject same sum into PIH ". Wow! And another RM2 bil now. 

5. The question is what does AK get in return? Surely 1MDB has no cash. So AK will negotiate for a higher stake in 1MDB's IPO. He will ask for more shares. Why not? He is saving their butts.

6. The question is what is the price that AK will offer for the IPO shares? Remember AK is saving their butts. AK can state his price. 

Dont worry about losing control to the 'pendatang'. Just structure a mandatory 'call' option at an agreed price. A mandatory call - 1MDB need not lose control of the listed company. But they must be prepared to pay.  (I can see AK's boys smiling).

7. The other theories are : AK will negotiate for a stake in the mother company 1MDB. Subsequent to that 1MDB will take over TNB. Or maybe take over a portion of TNB's power distribution business.  TNB's power distribution business may be broken into zones or regions. Northern region, Southern region, Central region, Eastern region etc. So 1MDB will have a stake in the broken up TNB and AK will have a stake in 1MDB.

This is not a crazy idea. Only the people behind the idea are crazy. For example this guy who "took over" a power plant in Kulim, Kedah (which used to belong to the company where I was a director) may be rejoicing at the idea to break up TNB.

If TNB's power generation and distribution is broken up, 1MDB and some favoured cronies can buy a broken up TNB. 

Lets get back to reality. This RM2 bil loan from AK will be an interim measure. Where is all that cash that 1MDB said they have brought back from the Cayman's?

Dr Mahathir did ask :  "In which bank have they deposited that cash which they brought back from the Caymans?"

Arul Kanda did say that the cash has been brought back. Why the need for AK to bail out 1MDB.

Finally, where is Arul Kanda?  Cat got his tongue ke apa?

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Hamas Kena Tipu Pak Arab, Turning Towards Israel Pula !!

Relationships are so complicated in the Middle East.

After the last Gaza war, the Arabs, the UN etc convened a big conference in Cairo. They pledged billions of US Dollars in aid for Gaza. The reconstruction of damaged houses alone required US720 million. 

However todate (the Arabs who made the pledge) have only coughed up US$135 million. 

Even this US135 million is not getting to the Palestinians whose homes were destroyed.  Some of the Hamas guys are selling the aid materials on the black market.

Pak Arab tipu sama Pak Arab. Here is some news :

Hamas Desperate to Renew Talks With Israel After PA, UN Funding Slows
  • 96,000 Palestine homes damaged / destroyed during conflict 
  • US $720 million required to address this need
  • To date received only US $135 million in pledges
  • leaving a shortfall of US $585 million. 
  • Hamas confiscated construction materials donated by intn'l community
  • materials turning up on Hamas black market
  • sold at premium prices,” Zahran charged
  • Hamas funneled over US$300 million to weapons and military 
  • freeze on funding from Palestinian Authority (PA), halted UN funds
  • Hamas urgently wants to restore indirect talks with Israel, NRG News reported 
  • Hamas' Osama Hamdan admitted trying to resume negotiations with Israel 
  • on Hamas’s Al Aqsa TV, Hamdan said members went to Egypt 
  • to promote meeting with Israeli negotiators 
  • negotiations were suspended by Egypt in October.
  • after attack killed 30 Egyptian soldiers in Sinai, a Hamas operation
  • Egypt demolished 13-km of housing, evacuated thousand people along border
  • to build security barrier against Hamas
The Egyptians have demolished Palestinian houses along a 13 km stretch of border with Gaza to build a security zone. This is to prevent the Hamas guys building tunnels under the border to smuggle weapons and other stuff.
The Egyptians got pissed off after an attack in the Sinai killed 30 Egyptian soldiers last year - which they blame on terrorists linked to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.
The other Arab countries are also reneging on their pledge to help rebuild Gaza. They need US720 million for house construction. Only US135 million has been received. Then parts of this US135 million are being siphoned out by the cronies and the powerful. Its the same story.
So now out of desperation, Hamas is reaching out to the Israelis who do allow the import of all essential items needed for the reconstruction of Gaza. Things are really complicated in the Middle East. My advice always is - jangan kita masuk campur.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Moro Peace That Never Was

  • killing of 44 commandos in southern Philippines
  • government's biggest single-day combat loss 
  • two senators withdraw their backing for Muslim autonomous region 
  • abandoning peace efforts could usher "warlordism, lawlessness, .breakdown of governance.
  • peace talks with 11,000-strong MILF ended major fighting in the last four years. 
  • insurrection has left 150,000 dead and blocked progress 
  • police commandos barged into Mamasapano to hunt Malaysian Zulkifli bin Hir, or Marwan
  • and a top Filipino terror suspect, Abdul Basit Usman
  • Marwan maybe killed but Usman escaped. 
  • commandos came under fire from Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters
  • 44 commandos were dead and 12 others were wounded
  • about a dozen insurgents dead
  • Moro leader Mohagher Iqbal accused commandos of violating cease-fire
  • security officials suspicions that Moros may be harboring foreign terror suspects 
  • head of police commandos, Getulio Napenas, removed from post. 
  • huge body count sparked outrage and placed the government in a dilemma
  • reason to doubt commitment of Moro to peace and development
  • Despite casualties, officials said peace process actually worked.
  • Malaysian-led peacekeeping contingent pacified combatants. 
  • Moro rebels withdrew allowing policemen to retrieve the slain commandos
  • In 2011 troops clashed with Moro Islamic Liberation Front forces that killed 19 soldiers
  • one of the largest army losses in a single clash. 
  • sparked calls for Aquino to break a truce 
  • Aquino rejected calls and decided to pursue talks
  • Malaysia-brokered talks led to signing of Muslim autonomy deal last year
My comments : Well folks, not all the news is coming out. There was a police operation by Philippine police commandos. 400 of them entered this town called Mamasapano. The Moros (and there were more than two Moro factions involved) say the police did not inform them of the operation and so they opened fire. They killed 44 police commandos.

First question is : why was there a police operation in a ceasefire area? I think the Philippine police were looking for those kidnapped hostages.

Hostage taking is not only a family business but a major economic sector among the Moros. The ceasefire plus the peace treaty has not been able to put an end to this hostage taking  business.

I dont think the Moro problem will go away. My view is the problem will get worse if the Moros get autonomy. 

My reasoning is very simplistic but unfortunately closer to the truth (in my view of course). The Moro society is still very basic. They are not ready to rule themselves or handle autonomy. They have no idea  how to put democracy into practise.

Here is "evidence" of sorts. Look at Malaysia - after 58 years there are increasing restrictions on freedom of speech, curtailing individual freedoms and etc. Our democracy is going backward. There is a growing cry for shariah and hudud. Folks, shariah and hudud have nothing to do with democracy. Under shariah, non Muslims and women cannot be leaders. Under shariah, non Muslims pay a tax (jizya) to the Muslims.

That is Malaysia today in 2015. The Moros are maybe 50 years behind Malaysia. I dont think they can handle autonomy, democracy, free speech or independent elections. These folks are more used to negotiating with guns and the bolo knife.

All this fighting and skirmishing between the various factions is about money. Nur Misuari  was left out of the peace treaty. He did not get any money. So he organised that Sulu intrusion in 2013.  Because he wants money. They are poor. They dont have jobs.

30 years ago under Marcos, what was the economic and social standing of the Moros? Was there any significant improvement under Corazon? Or Fidel Ramos? Or Estrada? Or Arroyo? What about now? How many times a week do they eat meat today compared to 30 years ago? Has their lot improved? Not really. They have nothing. Hence they have nothing to lose, nothing to defend. To die fighting (or attacking Sabah)  could be an option for them.

Despite all the agreements on paper, the peace treaty and autonomy agreements cannot guarantee how tax will actually be collected on the ground and by whom in the southern Philippines, channelled to Manila (??) and then resent down to Mindanao again.

They can make all the agreements on paper but putting it into real practise among a populace infested with religious locos (crazies), warlords, oligarchic land owning families, kidnapping syndicates and dirt poor illiterate people is just not going to happen.

Peace treaties and autonomy is going to be disaster for the southern Philippines. 

Err.. here is more evidence (of sorts again) : Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Yemen.. Even Jokowi is either faltering or facing "resistance" after 100 days. These countries need more time to warm up to democracy, which should also come with autonomy in Mindanao.

In the Philippines, the Muslim Moros make up about 3 million 'problematic people' in a democracy of 100 million - 97 million of whom are Catholics.  Manila is 1000 km from the Moros. The Philippines is becoming a stronger democracy. A 100 million strong democracy will not give two hoots about a troublesome 3 million minority, located 1000 km away in some Allah forsaken backwoods islands.  And the 97 million Catholics are none too rich themselves. They too are struggling for their survival.

The other country that is closest to the Moros is Malaysia. Maybe if the Moros join Malaysia and become the 14th state in our Federation things may simmer down. The 1 million or so Moros who live in Sabah have absolutely no complaints about Malaysia. 

(Dont worry guys we can handle everyone. If this country can absorb 7 million Chinese, 3 million Indians, 1 million Banglas, 1 million Nepalis, 2 million Indons, 500,000 Rohingyas, 50,000 Iranians, 100,000 Pakistanis what is a mere 3 million Moros? Plus the Moros come with their own islands and fantastic beaches. Think about it.)

Nine month's pregnant Moro women take a two day boat ride from their islands in Mindanao to Kota Kinabalu to give birth at our hospitals. This is happening today. (Any Sabah readers - please give some numbers. I can tell you it is more than 100 births a day).

They really appreciate our free school system ('di sini ada sekolah untuk anak' was what one Moro told me). He said there are no schools where he came from. He worked as a dive instructor and could hold his breath underwater for four minutes. 

I can 'feel' some of you wincing. There is another less stressful option. 

The other option (which is more fun and more profitable) is we must invest big time in Mindanao. Invest in schools, businesses, industry, farms, aquaculture, tourism. A sort of 'Marshall Plan for the Moros'. 

Create a great future for them. (If we dont, they will visit Sabah again - without passports. Please mark my words).

97 million Catholics in a democracy have no time for 3 million trouble causers on some islands 1000 km away. They just dont have time.