Monday, December 25, 2006

Merger or control ? Malaysian style

Three recent postings raised my curiosity regarding the state of honesty and integrity of UMNO as the leading component of BN, the ruling party of Malaysia.

The first was the proposed Utusan - Starits Times merger combining two newspaper under the media prima group who have already control the private TV stations of TV3, NTV7, TV8 and TV9. Although it can be seen as a smart business move, the implications are far reaching and may determine the future of Malaysia.

Apart from making tons of money with the announcement of the proposed merger, the entity controlling the two newspaper will also control the "mindsets" of Malaysians. It has been said that the pen is mightier than the sword. And now two pens can definitely control the country. As the merger will be in "public domain", it is possible that the final controlling shareholder may not be Media Prima but someone with foreign support. When this happen, Malaysians will be re-colonised, not physically perhaps but mentally. The possibility is there, it is frightening but reality check should be done NOW.

Read another view here

The second issue also comes from the same source mentioning the proposed sale of Malaysian based PPB Oil Palms Berhad to Singapore based Wilmar International Limited. Although the transaction may be a friendly and family-based, the transaction involves two separate entities from neighbouring countries. PPB owns has a huge land bank, both in Malaysia (72,500 Hectares) and Indonesia (290,000 hectares). The sale will effectively transfer the ownership to foreigners.

What is more important is the reason for the sale? Is it a move by the PPB owner t transfer his RM 15.5 Billion asset to other countries? Is this a reflection of the business circle towards Malaysia? Afterall, Genting group has just won their bid to build a Gaming resort in Singapore. There will be another huge fund transfer from Malaysia to cover the construction and operating cost of the new resort in Sentosa Island. Is this the reaction for the lack of business opportunities for real private owned companies, with no where to expand in Malaysia the companies need to venture in other countries ?

Someone up there needs to look into this seriously and work out new strategies in offering healthy competition to Malaysia's own private companies and not too busy carving out financial opportunities for themselves, cronies, weak GLC's as reflected in the proposed merger of the big three in palm oil industry i.e. Sime Darby, Golden Hope and Guthrie.

The proposed merger of the big three is seen as robbing Bumiputras from the economic pie envisaged by the late Tun Razak in the 70's. The potential winner from the proposed merger is a close relative of a high ranking Politician. The merger is seen more as buying into potential property development. The cost? RM 31 Billion.

So, is the poposed PPB sale is meant to offset the proposed Sime Darby-Golden Hope-Guthrie merger which is thought out to offset the proposed Utusan-Straits Times-Media Prima "big brother is watching" scheme ? Time will tell.

Till then...G'nite M'sia...wherever u are...

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