Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Sabah connection in Mara’s Aussie property buys

picture credit: Free Malaysia Today
There’s a strong Sabah connection in the  controversial purchase of properties in Australia.
Mara Investment chairman Mohammad Lan Allani, a former Sulabayan assemblyman, is one of three people named in The Age report on the government agency’s purchase of overpriced properties.
Mara Inc, the investment subsidiary of Mara headed by Mohammad Lan Allani, was directly implicated in the Australian article.
Mara comes under the Ministry of Rural and Regional Development. The Minister, Shafie Apdal, comes from Sabah and represents Semporna in Parliament. He’s also an Umno Vice-President.
Mara Chairman Annuar Musa has confirmed that “a proposal after being approved by the Mara Board, had to be approved by the Ministry of Rural and Regional Development, and then submitted to the Ministry of Finance (MoF) or the National Economic Council.”
Mohammad Lan could not be contacted but the social media has noted that he told the Australian newspaper that he “could not remember the Dudley House purchase”.
The newspaper apparently tracked Mohammad Lan through the Malaysian consulate website in Melbourne and spoke with him in May this year. He told The Age that he was “responsible for setting up offshore companies as a “convenient” way to dispose Malaysian government-owned property held overseas”.
The details uncovered by The Age paint a picture of a massive potential corruption scandal involving Mara.
According to its report, Mara, through its subsidiary Mara Inc, had in 2013 purchased a five-storey apartment block near Monash University in Caulfield, reportedly worth AUD17.8 million, at a vastly inflated price of AUD22.5 million (RM65 million).
Through an eight-month investigation that traced money flows, court files and corporate records, The Age discovered that the transaction was “part of a global money laundering and bribery scheme engineered by greedy local developers and powerful officials overseas who pocketed AUD4.75 million (RM13.7 million) in bribes on a single deal.
The Age went on to describe in detail how a property in question, the Dudley House, had been built by an Australian developer and two Malaysian businessmen, named as Yusof Gani and Ahmad Azizi, and subsequently sold in a “remarkable deal” to Mara at AUD22.5 million, a price that included a “massive mark-up” of AUD4.75 million in “kickbacks.”
The Age also cited confidential documents that showed the involvement of Ahmad Azizi’s son Erwan Azizi, who reportedly facilitated the elaborate deal, which eventually saw AUD4.75 million in “introduction and consultancy fees” wired to a Singapore shelf company linked to Umno politician and Mara Inc chairman Mohammad Lan Allani and Mara CEO Abdul Halim Rahim.
In addition to this transaction, The Age also alleges that other offshore shelf companies had been used by Mara to purchase three other properties in Melbourne, viz. 746 Swanston Street, 51 Queen Street and 333 Exhibition Street, cumulatively worth AUD63.5 million (RM183 million).
Read the original article here

Monday, June 22, 2015

Everything You've Always Wanted To Know About Sarongs

Spanking DA Monkey has received an anonymous tip that sarong manufacturers in Malaysia are rubbing their hands with glee as they expect sales of their product to shoot up. We called a couple of them up for verification, but they were all tightly wrapped up. One said he was busy preparing to laugh all the way to his bank.    
pic credit: Free Malaysia Today

So what really is a sarong? A sarong is simply a piece of fabric longer than it is wide. Sarongs are the traditional clothing for women and men throughout South-East Asia, particularly Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand. They’re worn by numerous other cultures as well, and known by different names in different countries.

In Hawaii, they’re called pareos; in Fiji and Tahiti they’re called lava-lava or sulu; in parts of Africa they’re known as kente or kikoy; in Brazil they’re known as canga, and in other places especially in India they’re called lunghi. There are other names as well.

pic credit: Free Malaysia Today

Sarongs are a coming-together of artistic expression, traditional story-telling, and functionality. They are often highly decorated using traditional batik or ikat methods. Producing batik or ikat fabrics by hand is complicated, labour-intensive, and slow: creating each sarong requires the skill, knowledge and cooperation of a group of artistic craftspeople. Of course you can also buy the commercial machine produced ones as well.

Although countless millions wear sarongs every day and consider the sarong their normal clothing, batik and ikat are considered a great art form, and museums and collectors are always searching for rare examples. Some batiks date back 2000 years.

pic credit: Fake Malaysian News

Measurements vary from country to country.  A canga, for example, is described as being about as wide as an outstretched arm, and as long as the body.  The popular fringed rayon sarongs, or pareos, measure about 1.9m long by 900cm wide. Traditional sarongs measure approximately 2.2m long by 1.2m wide.

Whatever size and fabric you eventually choose, you’ll find that the sarong is the most versatile and useful item you’ve ever owned.

But hey - I'm a monkey. What do I know about sarongs?

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Pakatan Rakyat Coalition is not dead even if it no longer functions formally

"PKR President Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail says the Pakatan Rakyat Coalition is not dead even if it no longer functions formally"

10 Things You Probably Did Not Know about DYMM Sultan Johor

Five years after ascending the throne, Johor Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar was officially coronated on Monday, March 23, in a ceremony that was the first in 55 years for Malaysia’s southernmost state. 

1. Coronated 5 years after ascension

Sultan Ibrahim’s coronation took place five years after his ascension in 2010 following his father’s demise, but he is not alone in taking his time to be officially coronated.

In an interview with The Star he noted for example that his ancestor, Sultan Abu Bakar Daing Ibrahim, was crowned on July 29, 1886, 23 years after ascending the throne.

“I felt there was no need to rush…The coronation is not a legal requirement but a customary tradition to enhance the sovereignty or daulat (majesty) of the Ruler,” he said. He added that another reason for the delay were the necessary refurbishments of the places for the coronation, including the Istana Besar or Grand Palace.

2. Military training
Photo credit: the star/asia news network

Born on Nov 22, 1958, the Sultan is a fully trained army, navy and air force officer and has also studied diplomacy and international relations. He attended the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy in Boston, Massachusetts, where he completed courses on South-east Asian Strategic Studies and International Laws of the Seas, according to the Johor Sultan’s official coronation website.

3. British roots

Sultan Ibrahim is of Malay-British descent. His father Sultan Mahmud Iskandar, married Josephine Ruby Trevorrow in 1956 after meeting her in Britain while completing his studies. She adopted the Muslim name Kalsom Abdullah after her marriage.

4. His son, the Crown Prince, served in the Indian army
Photo credit: the star/asia news network

Johor’s Crown Prince, Tunku Ismail Ibni Sultan Ibrahim, and his bride Che’ Puan Khaleeda Bustaman waving to well-wishers as they arrive in their black Mercedes-Benz for their wedding celebrations held at Istana Besar on Nov 8, 2014.  
Sultan Ibrahim is married to Her Royal Highness Raja Zarith Sofiah and they have six children – five sons and a daughter. His eldest, Tunku Ismail, 30, is the state’s Crown Prince (Tunku Mahkota Johor). Tunku Ismail, who studied in Singapore at the Australian International School, was a Captain with the Indian army.

In 2007, he became the first foreigner to lead a unit of the Indian Army contingent. "It is a family tradition to get trained in the forces. My grandfather was trained in the Malaysian Army. My father, the Crown Prince of Johor, received training in the US," he told the Press Trust of India in an interview.

5. Son's battle with cancer

The Sultan has spoken candidly about his children, particularly about the health of his fourth child, Tunku Abdul Jalil, 25, who was diagnosed with liver cancer last December. Tuanku Abdul Jalil has since undergone a liver transplant and travels to Singapore for weekly treatments.

Recounting his son’s cancer battle, he said: “My son is lucky as he is my son. I understand the agony when a person is diagnosed with stage four cancer. Even my son did not believe that he would survive and neither did I."

His son has since established a cancer fund in his name, the Tunku Laksamana Johor Cancer Foundation. Sultan Ibrahim said in the interview: “I am grateful that he is alive and that is one reason why I have put aside RM10 million to set up the Tunku Laksamana Johor Cancer Foundation to help fund cancer patients who cannot afford the expensive treatment.”

6. Coronation diet

In order to prepare for the coronation, Sultan Ibrahim went on a diet to look his best for the ceremony. The diet consisted of eating lots of fruit and vegetables and drinking a lot of water, the New Straits Times reported. “The coronation ceremony has given me the motivation to go on a diet because I want to be slimmer. I want the people to see me fit because this is a once-in-a-lifetime event,” he was quoted saying.

7. Tanjong Pagar train's last journey

The Sultan has the honour of also driving the last KTM train to pull out of Tanjong Pagar Station in 2011. On its last journey, the train ferried some 600 passengers which included members of Johor royalty and officials, current and former KTM staff, KTM train enthusiasts and journalists. 

8. Business ventures

The Johor royalty is involved in a variety of businesses, including a power plant and property development in Johor.

For example, the Sultan emerged as Malaysian telecommunications firm Redtone's largest shareholder after he upped his stake in the firm to 20 per cent from 4.8 per cent. He recently talked about his business ventures, saying: “I believe it is healthy for royalty to be involved in proper and legitimate businesses rather than to be in dubious businesses that harm the image of the institution.

“Let's be honest here, we are a constitutional monarch. I have to earn my living like everyone else. I cannot depend on my allowances of RM27, 000 a month. I must earn a living, like ordinary Malaysians,” he added.

9. Winning number plate
Photo credit: the star/asia news network

The Sultan of Johor and his car with the WWW 1 registration number that he paid a record price of RM520, 000 for. 

Sultan Ibrahim has a penchant for cars and once won a tender for a much sought after number plate.

In 2012, Sultan Ibrahim’s bid of RM520, 000 helped him top 9,999 other bidders including the Yang di-Pertuan Agong (the ceremonial Head of State), in the bid for the car number plate WWW 1. Transport Minister Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha then announced that WWW 1 had set an all-time high bid. Thousands had thronged three branches of the Kuala Lumpur Road Transport Department to place their bids for the "WWW" prefix, which is the acronym for "World Wide Web".

The Yang di-Pertuan Agong won the number plate WWW 5 in that tender.

10. Passion for sports

Sultan Ibrahim also has a passion for sports and has participated in international championships, according to his official coronation website. He is also an avid tennis player, sailor, shooter, racer and parachutist. Like most royals, however, he cites polo as his favourite sport. 

article sources: the star, bernama, official johor sultan coronation website, new straits times, press trust of india

Spank here for the original article: 

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

It does not matter how many Presidents you have. If you're too busy fighting each other, how are you going to serve those who elected you?


PAS Wants To Marry Two Wives - Vagina Shape Not Important

Sunday, June 14, 2015

How Much Do Top Politicians In Malaysia Earn?

Reproduced in full from an infographic published in iMoney.My, on 1 June 2015. Written by Iris Lee Illustration by Achmad Baraja

Before the recent amendments to the Members of Parliament (Remuneration) (Amendment) Act that was passed on April 10, 2015, members of the parliament (MPs) in Malaysia received a monthly income of RM4,112.

Other perks MPs get are RM2,500 entertainment allowance, RM1,500 fuel allowance and a RM300 toll allowance, but these do not go into their pockets as income earned.

Whether you think they deserve it or not, a pay raise for members of Parliament and senators has been approved a month ago.

The base salary of an MP jumps to RM16,000 from RM6,508.59, which was higher than the initial proposal of RM11,000 when the Bill was tabled in November last year.

Senators, on the other hand, will receive RM11,000 from RM4,112.79, a whopping 167.45%!

The last amendment to federal lawmakers’ salary and allowances was a mere increase of RM700 more than a decade ago in 2002.

Other than the additional claimable allowances for entertainment, fuel, travel and others, the parliamentarians also receive an allowance of RM200 a day when attending Parliamentary sittings and a daily allowance of RM150 to attend meetings with government agencies.

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