Not many people realize the extent of Mahathir and Vincent Tan’s business ties which includes:
- 4D license,
- Sports Toto license
- renting 70 acres of DBKL land at Kiara for 70 years for annual quit-rent and rental of RM291,000 per year.
- renting out the Desa waterpark land for 30 years
- allowed to build his Bukit Tinggi resort on 16,000 acres of land
- Giving him 500 slot machine licenses
- Awarding him a 20 years monopoly on sports betting for a bargain price without tender or approval
- Selling Pantai Hospitals to his son, Mokzaini.
- Vincent Tan’s brother selling Diperdana Corp to Mirzan
- Mahathir also privatized the KL Monorail to Vincent Tan then bailed it out when failed.
- Mahathir also privatized our sewerage system to Vincent Tan using Indah Water and then bailed it out when failed.
- In fact, Mahathir actually privatized our Klang River to Vincent Tan and his partner David Chew for 99 years to build the 10 million square feet KL Linear City. Yes, our shit water and rivers were privatized by Mahathir to Vincent Tan.
- Later on Mahathir and David Chew formed a 50-50 JV company which brought out all the rights and production of an Italian light-aircraft company to form Euroala Industries.
- At present time, Mahathir is still the 50% shareholder and Chairman of an aircraft manufacturing company which owns the technology and sells the JetFox plane.
- So, on top of being a minority shareholder and director of a private jet leasing company with Country Height’s Lee Kim Yew, Mahathir also owns an airplane manufacturing company.
- At present time, Mahathir is also recorded still recorded as a shareholder of the Palace of the Golden Horses 5-star hotel.
- Not bad, even though conflict of interests are all over the place and Mahathir essentially tried to privatize almost everything to his close friends.
- Currently, there is now a list of 488 companies in Malaysia which Mahathir’s family (him, his 3 sons and his daughter) has interests in being spread around on social-media. That’s one giler long list.
But somehow still not enough to pay the monthly salaries of his personal cook and maid – forcing him to let them leave.
Privatizing Klang River:
From the same people who brought Malaysia its controversial national sewerage project, here comes another audacious plan.
Working quietly over the last two years, tycoon Tan Sri Vincent Tan Chee Yioun and a peripatetic idea man named David Chew Keat Soon have sold Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and the Malaysian government on a 10-billion-ringgit (US$4.01 billion) proposal to privatize the main river flowing through Kuala Lumpur and build office towers, condominiums and shopping malls along it and atop it.
The centerpiece of the bold project — called KL LinearCity — is what the promoters claim will be the world’s longest building: a 10-story, tube-like structure snaking along for two kilometers above the Kelang River. Known as Giga World, the building is envisioned as offering a kaleidoscope of attractions, including an artificial rain forest populated with rubberized robotic dinosaurs, an in-line skating arena and an indoor canal running through the seventh floor.
“This will be the happiest place in Asia,” gushes a Malaysian executive involved in the project who declined to be identified. “Some day someone may beat the Kuala Lumpur City Center (which includes the world’s two tallest buildings), but no one will beat the longest building in the world.”
Leasing State Land
Tan Sri Tan aims to wrap up the deal with the Malaysian government by August and to begin construction of its first component — a 2.4-billion-ringgit, eight-kilometer-long monorail system through the heart of Kuala Lumpur — by September. The plan is for a Tan-affiliated company called KL PRT Sdn. Bhd. to build and operate the monorail, known as the People-Mover Rapid Transit system, under a 30-year concession.
A related concern, KL Linear City Sdn. Bhd., would complete the project by building office towers, apartments, hotels, a toll road, a 10,000-car parking garage and segments of the modular Giga World structure over the next 24 years. All the construction would be on state land allocated to the developers under a 99-year lease. Linear City is currently in final negotiations with the government’s Economic Planning Unit, which evaluates privatization proposals, and other agencies.
The developers intend to finance the huge project locally, possibly by seeking a stock exchange listing for the venture, according to executives familiar with Linear City.
Opaque Decision Making
Linear City joins the growing list of megaprojects that are a source of pride to Dr. Mahathir, but dismay some Malaysians, who worry about the financial and environmental impact of the country’s freewheeling privatization strategy. (Malaysia defines “privatization” as any allocation or sale of government-owned assets or resources to private investors.)
How the venture was promoted reflects 44-year-old Tan Sri Tan’s close rapport with Dr. Mahathir, a longtime admirer of the hard-charging entrepreneur. It also illustrates the opaque, top-down nature of Malaysian decision making that can spring a previously unknown project on the Malaysian public as a fait accompli.
Last December, for example, a team of 40 technicians worked all night to shift a massive scale model of the Linear City project to Dr. Mahathir’s office compound and to reassemble it for his personal inspection during briefings by Tan Sri Tan and Mr. Chew. The developers also put together a stylish multimedia presentation for the prime minister.
Despite such elaborate behind-the-scenes preparations, the first official public disclosure of the Linear City plan came in a one-line mention in Malaysia’s seventh five-year plan, released in April. The few local press reports to appear since then don’t mention Tan Sri Tan’s central role in the plan. A survey conducted for Linear City earlier this year indicated that an overwhelming majority of residents and businesses in areas affected by the project knew nothing about it.
Linear City Managing Director Mr. Chew said he couldn’t comment on the venture before final agreements with the government are signed. Tan Sri Tan didn’t respond to a written request to discuss the project.
Some of the few Malaysians aware of Linear City are apprehensive. Environmentalists, stunned by the gargantuan dimensions of the Linear City plan, are worried about the impact on such things as flood control and traffic congestion, which they fear would grow if Linear City’s 10 million square feet of commercial space is built. Parliamentary opposition leader Lim Kit Siang has also criticized the plan, alleging it violates government guidelines on riverfront development and underscoring that Kuala Lumpur awarded the project without calling for competitive bidding.
“Does Kuala Lumpur need hanging gardens?” asks N. Nithiyananthan, treasurer of Malaysia’s Environmental Protection Society, a public-interest group. “That’s a question which the Malaysian public haven’t been given the opportunity to address. While a grandiose monument will be created and millions of ringgit made in the process, there’s insufficient proof that the river (environment) or the public will benefit.”
Gurmit Singh, an engineer and environmental activist, contends that the project is “totally unnecessary” and worries about the design of Linear City’s over-the-river structures, which he says have never been built anywhere. In particular, Mr. Gurmit wonders about heights and weights of the structures, which, according to Linear City documents, will be supported by stilt-like pillars on either bank of the river.
Proponents of the plan reject such views as short-sighted and ill-informed. Executives involved in the plan promise a cleaner, safer river corridor. They argue that the monorail system will ultimately reduce the traffic volume in the city center.
An environmental impact assessment of the project commissioned by Linear City and released in May warned that the plan, among other things, could exacerbate air and water pollution and traffic problems during the project’s construction. But the report indicated such problems could be mitigated with various countermeasures and weren’t sufficient cause to block the project.
Linear City represents an even more ambitious reprise of the approach Tan Sri Tan and Mr. Chew used in 1991 to win Dr. Mahathir’s endorsement for the 6.3-billion-ringgit national sewerage privatization. Mr. Chew, an engineer trained at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, conceived that plan and took it to Tan Sri Tan, who successfully pitched the privatization idea to Dr. Mahathir and the government.
A joint-venture company called Indah Water Konsortium Sdn. Bhd., was awarded a 28-year sewerage concession and promised to overhaul and modernize Malaysia’s sewage-disposal system.
But the project hasn’t gone smoothly. In recent months, Malaysian consumers, businesses, politicians and even state governments have complained bitterly over Indah Water’s pricing and billing policies and customer service. More than 500,000 Malaysians have signed a petition of the Federation of Malaysian Consumer Associations, which criticizes the company.
Among critics’ charges against Indah Water: sloppy, poorly supervised installation of sewerage works, billing for nonexistent services, a baffling system for computing charges and a generally lackadaisical attitude toward customer complaints.
Indah Water’s executive chairman, Datuk Ghazi Hasbullah Ramli, resigned in June after disagreements with Tan Sri Tan and other investors. The resignation followed a cabinet order to Indah Water to review its pricing and service policies. Tan Sri Tan, whose Berjaya Group holds a dominant 21% stake in Prime Utilities Bhd., the company that controls Indah Water, hasn’t publicly commented on Indah Water’s shaky performance.
Linear City has been on the drawing board for at least two years. Mr. Chew, who steered the Indah Water privatization to completion in early 1994, soon came up with the notion of building around and above the shallow, heavily polluted Kelang River, which meanders through the city on its way to the Straits of Malacca.
As he did with Indah Water, the 42-year-old Mr. Chew took his new concept to his corporate patron, Tan Sri Tan. Acting on Mr. Chew’s brainstorm, Tan Sri Tan in July 1994 acquired a newly formed Malaysian company called Pripadu Sdn Bhd., which was capitalized at two ringgit. Tan Sri Tan and his associates joined the board of thecompany, later renamed KL Linear City. According to people familiar with the project, the entreprenuer used his ready access to the prime minister to help sell the idea. “You could say (the approach) was similar (to Indah Water),” says an executive.
In January 1995, Tan Sri Tan recruited Datuk Kamarudin Jaffar, a politically well-connected 44-year-old bumiputra , or ethnic Malay, politician and businessman to Linear City. An ally of Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Anwar Ibrahim, Datuk Kamarudin became chairman of Linear City. In March, Mr. Chew joined the board and became Linear City’s managing director.
First Come, First Served
In winning support for Linear City, Tan Sri Tan exploited Malaysia’s “first-come, first-served” privatization policy, which won him the Indah Water deal. Under the policy, if a private-sector proponent pres ents a novel proposal that appeals to Kuala Lumpur and shows that it is both feasible and in the “national interest,” the proponent gets the deal.
Linear City’s proponents argued that the Kelang River should be exploited as a transportation and commercial corridor. They offered to take responsibility for cleaning up the river and building the monorail system in return for rights to develop the state land that includes the river. They also pledged to resettle more than 1,400 squatter families who would be removed from their river-bank slums to make way for the project.
The first-come, first-served policy has been criticized because awards are made without competitive bidding and because, typically, little or no information about prospective projects is publicly disclosed until the government has embraced the proposal. By then, critics say, any public debate is pointless.
But defenders of the policy argue that it promotes private-sector initiative, innovation and creativity. Awarding such projects without bidding, they contend, cuts red tape and gets plans on track quickly and efficiently.
On April 12, 1995, the Economic Planning Unit issued a letter of award for the project to Linear City after Malaysia’s cabinet had cleared the plan.
In July 1995, KL Linear City increased its capitalization to 10 million ringgit from two ringgit and raised its authorized capital base to 300 million ringgit in preparation for the project. Records on file with Malaysia’s registrar of companies don’t disclose the current ownership of KL Linear City, but people familiar with the company say that Tan Sri Tan, Datuk Kamarudin and Mr. Chew are among the shareholders. According to company records, KL Linear City owns 63% of KL PRT, which holds the monorail concession.
According to executives familiar with the project, Linear City aims to complete the monorail and the first of six modular segments of the Giga World structure by September 1998, in time for Kuala Lumpur’s hosting of the Commonwealth Games. The developers aren’t concerned about a possible property glut because they plan to take an incremental approach to Linear City’s construction. “We’ll start Giga World and how much we’ll do will depend on its success,” says one executive. “We’re committed to river cleaning and the PRT (monorail), but other development is completely up to us.”
Source : Lim Sian See