Will The Shining Star Of Ambitious But Incompetent Zafrul Shine After GE15?

The ambitious but incompetent Zafrul posing with the then Minister of Finance YB Lim Guan Eng

The Shining Star, Zafrul!

To begin with the superstar Zafrul’s mother is the one-time powerful Raja Datuk Zaharaton Raja Zainal Abidin.  She was the former Director-General of the Economic Planning Unit (EPU) of the Prime Minister’s Department during Tun Mahathir’s administration.  While his father, Tengku Abdul Aziz Bin Tengku Harris is a businessman. The rest was history.

Zafrul, the MD of Avenue Capital Resource Bhd

In 2002 – 2005 Zafrul was the MD of Avenue Capital Resource Bhd (Avenue Capital), which was originally owned by Minister of Finance Inc.  Avenue Capital was incorporated on 3 March 1926, HERE.  

From 2003 – 2009 Abdullah Badawi was the PM.  It was an open secret that during this period a group of “punahsihat” aka known as “Budak Tingkat 4” was running amok in the PMO.  The Tingkat 4 was practically running PMO and everywhere!

During Badawi’s reign, his son in law the present Minister of Health, Khairy Jamaludin was flying very high!

Government / Rakyat Owned Avenue Capital Merged With ECM Libra

Soon after Zafrul left Avenue Capital in 2005, there was a move to merge ECM Libra, the then small share broking firm, and Avenue Capital. The said merger was extremely controversial to say the least.  

In 2006 YB Kamaruddin Jaffar, the then Secretary-General of PAS had questioned the sudden sale of Avenue Capital to ECM Libra, HERE

PAC’s Investigations Into The Controversial Merger

Just to digress a little. The merger was the talk of the town in 2007. In 2007 Public Account Committee (PAC) of Parliament was compelled to launch an investigation into the ECM Libra Bhd and Avenue Capital merger.  The controversies were about why a government / rakyat owned company had to merge with ECM Libra, which was many times smaller than Avenue Capital in every sense of the word!

Unfortunately, or fortunately for some the PAC investigation was abruptly halted by the power that be under the pretext of so-called principle of sub judice and the controversies died down, HERE.   

The so-called merger took place during Badfawi’s administration aka Tingkat 4 administration.

Kalimullah, Lim Kian Onn – ECM Libra

Kalimullah & Lim Kian Onn, who is still a director of AirAsia X

The founders of ECM Libra are:  

  1. Dato’ Seri Kalimullah Bin Masheerul Hassan, the chairman of ECM Libra. 
  1. Dato’ Lim Kian Onn

In 1979 Dato’ Seri Kalimullah Bin Masheerul Hassan aka Kali was just a NST reporter prior to the incorporation of ECM Libra. Prior to that Kali was attached to foreign press including Singapore Strait Time.  In September 2002, he was appointed as the chairman of Bernama. On 1 January 2004 he resigned as Bernama’s chairman and was appointed as the Group Editor of NST.    

Khairy Jamaluddin who is popularly known as SON IN LAW to Badawi, was one of the shareholders in ECM Libra. Of course, it was believed that this happened by chance!

In 2016 Khairy (when he was deputy chief of  UMNO Youth) sold his 10.2 million shares in ECM Libra which he purportedly had bought them in December 2015 for 71 Sen and sold it at 65 Sen according to the report, HERE

In June 2011, when there were allegations / rumours that Khairy Jamaluddin held shares in AirAsia, he threatened to sue who ever said that, HERE.   

Left to right: The still powerful former deputy minister of finance II, Nor Mohamad Yakop, the super star Zafrul, his good friend Tony Fernandes of PN17 AirAsia and Kalimullah Bin Maheerul Hassan, the former NST reporter, AirAsia X shareholder and founder / Chairman of the famous ECM Libra.

By the way the famous Nor Mohamad Yakop may have retired from active politics, he is very much around! Watch carefully then you will understand!

In 2007 Tony Fernandes of AirAsia appointed Kalimullah as chairman of AAX. He was at one time one of substantial shareholders in AirAsia X Bhd (AAX).  In September 2015, AAX was bleeding badly and he had sold part of his shareholdings in AAX at 67.8 Sen and 66.4 Sen per share, HERE.  

AAX is now under PN17 and its share price is about 0.6 Sen only per share! 

Lim Kian Onn was and still is a director of AA and AAX. 

In June 2011, when allegations were amidst that Khairy Jamaludin held AirAsia shares, he threatened to sue, HERE

AirAsia Aviation Group Appointed Additional Directors – Jamaluddin & Norza Zakaria

On 23 March 2022, AirAsia Aviation Group (AAG) had announced four new board members initiatives to reflect the company’s commitment to deliver a new strategic direction for growth and gold standard corporate governance.  

Left: Tan Sri Jamaluddin Bin Ibrahim the former CEO of Axiata, now non executive chairman of AirAsia. Extreme right: Tan Sri Mohamad Norza Bin Zakaria, former UMNO Youth Chief of Federal Territory and current president of BAM, now a director of AA

Amongst the four is the famous Tan Sri Jamaluddin Bin Ibrahim aka Jamal, who was the former CEO of AXIATA, was appointed as non-executive chairman of AAG and Tan Sri Mohamad Norza Bin Zakaria (Norza Zakaria), HERE.

In March 2009 Norza Zakaria, the then Federal Territory UMNO Chief, was charged for bribing others to help him to win the UMNO elections, HERE.  In 2011 he was freed because the witnesses were not co-operative. 

In 2017 when Khairy Jamaludin was the then Minister of Youth and Sports, Norza Zakaria was appointed as the President of the Malaysia Badminton Association.

Rumour has it that Norza Zakaria has powerful connections!

Zafrul’s Rise From Tune Money Sdn Bhd To CIMB

In 2007, Zafrul was one of the substantial shareholders of Tune Money Sdn Bhd, Asia’s first “no-frills” online financial service provider.  In March 2007 he was appointed the CEO of Tune Money. 

Thereafter, Zafrul was flying to a majestic height then!  

On 16 June 2010, when Wahid Omar was the president of Maybank, Zafrul was appointed as the COO of Maybank Investment Bank.

In 2013, Zafrul left Maybank after losing the race to become the Maybank CEO.  Zafrul was then parachuted into CIMB and personally vouched for by joker Nazir Razak himself:

“He has a proven record in investment banking in Malaysia and ASEAN. He now has the opportunity to spearhead the largest indigenous APAC ex-Japan IB franchise to greater heights”. HERE 

Ambitious Zarul’s great achievement in CIMB was in 2015, when CIMB recorded its lowest net profit in nine (9) years while Zafrul was at the helm, HERE

In May 2018 soon after the collapse of BN government in GE14, the joker Nazir Razak abruptly resigned from his cozy CEO post and disappeared to London. After the collapse of PH government at the end of February 2020, Nazir Razak suddenly reappeared in Malaysia trying to spearhead so-called reforms under his pet project called “Better Malaysia Assembly” with his so-called 55 eminent Malaysians including Tony Fernandes and 54 others, HERE.

After The Infamous “Sheraton Move” – Zafrul Was Catapulted To Stardom!

On 9 March 2020 soon after the collapse of PH government, out of the blue Zafrul was appointed as senator and thereafter parachuted to be the new Minister of Finance.  He has no political experience whatsoever. Rumour has it that he has special connection with the power that be and the playmate of certain powerful non-politician with special “payung …”!   May be those in the know could tell us who is that powerful person. 

The Pandora Papers & Zafrul

In 4 October 2021, Pandora Papers published about Capital Investment Bank (Labuan) Ltd, a boutique bank incorporated in the offshore jurisdiction of Labuan, in a cache of documents from leading Panama law firm Alemán, Cordero, Galindo & Lee (Alcogal).  There was an explanation by Zafrul’s aide on the date when he was the director of Capital Investment that he was no longer a director, HERE

Zafrul & His New Found Dream To Be A Full Fledge Politician in GE15

After Zafrul having tasted powers and trappings as an un-elected minister, rumour has it that this ambitious Zafrul is dreaming to stand for election in the Kuala Pilah Parliamentary seat come GE15!  Unfortunately, Kuala Pilah is an UMNO’s stronghold.  Rumour has it that he is using his special payung … to lobby for him!  Let’s watch the moves of this unelected minister which “Tongkat” he will be using to facilitate and realise his new found day dream / ‘mime siang’ for Kuala Pilah! 

Stay Tuned – Next Change

BANK NEGARA: Now Every PN17’s Related Companies Can Apply For Digital Banking Licence!

Left: The Best Minister of Finance of all time, Senator Tengku Zafrul. Right: Bank Negara Governor, Yg Bhg Tan Sri Nor Shamsiah Binti Mohd Yusuf, Governor of Bank Negara Malaysia.

Update on 30.3.2022 @ 5:15 pm: At last Bank Negara Malaysia has woken up about the problems that will arise from “Buy Now Pay Later Scheme” (BNPL). It is only now that BNM, SC and MOF are looking into passing new laws to regulate BNPL Scheme. What a joke! It is a case of “closing the stable door after the horse has bolted’. As usual it is better late than never. Thank you BNM for a job well done! See in HERE.

With the advent of various innovations in the financial world, in January 2021 our most competent Minister of Finance, Senator Tengku Zafrul, and/or Bank Negara Malaysia (“BNM”) Governor, Yg Bhg Tan Sri Nor Shamsiah Bini Mohd Yunus, have sought to enter the arena of financial technology by opening up applications for five (5) Digital Banking Licenses in. On 30.6.2021, applications for the so-called digital banking licenses had closed and it has been reported that there were twenty-nine (29) applicants as stated in HERE

On 1.7.2021, BigPay Malaysia Sdn Bhd (“BigPay”), an outfit of PN17 AirAsia had applied in lightning speed to BNM for a Digital Banking License as reported, HERE.  Other contenders for the coveted five (5) digital banking licenses include GrabFin, Sunway Group, AEON Credit, Kenanga Bank, Axiata, RHB Bank Berhad and etc. 

On 11.2.2022, The Star had reported BNM Governor YBhg Tan Sri Nor Shamsiah Mohd Yunus had announced that the results of the applications will be announced in March 2022, HERE.

On 3.3.2022, Malaysian Reserve reported that Tan Sri Tony Fernandes, the top executive of AirAsia group of companies which include BigPay Sdn Bhd and BigPay Later Sdn Bhd launched a brand new digital personal loan facilities and that it will be regulated by the Ministry of Housing and Local Government. This is very confusing and its not clear whether this is part of the Digital Banking or not, HERE.

During the said launch, Tan Sri Tony Fernandes had jokingly said: “I know we still owe people money through refunds, but now you can get loans from us.”

I’m sure all of you will find this very funny! It must be noted that many AirAsia customers have not been refunded what they have paid to AirAsia for flight tickets which flights were cancelled not due to the fault of the customers.

Rumour: BigPay May Be One of the Five

Rumour has it that BigPay may be one of the selected five (5) applicants but until this very day, the famous Tengku Zafrul and/or the BNM Governor have not uttered a word about the successful applicants. Lets wait and see as March is coming to an end soon!

Let us not forget that the apex authorities for all financial activities in Malaysia, namely BNM and the Minister of Finance are responsible to ensure that members of the public are adequately protected from the possible negative impacts of these so-called new innovations proposed by the smart alecs! 

Buy Now Pay Later Scheme

Although no proper announcement had been made by both Tengku Zafrul, the Minister of Finance and a good friend of Tan Sri Tony Fernandes and former CEO of Tune Money Sdn Bhd, an outfit of AirAsia Group, and BNM Governor, BigPay had started to offer a variety of financial technology products including microloans known as “Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL)” scheme, and also the so-called “instant digital loan” in Malaysia wherein borrowers can obtain instant personal loans within minutes HERE.

What an innovation! Such products are undoubtedly extremely attractive for low-income groups such as students, B40 and others who may normally face difficulties in obtaining a bank loan due to their financial track record. This BNPL scheme and instant digital loan will encourage the said low-income group to “SPEND NOW and THINK ABOUT THE REPAYMENT LATER.

Yours truly opines that this is a dangerous trend which might result in B40 especially students to start their lives with debts which they will not be able to repay or they will be burdened with debts. 

It is strange that BNM Governor is going to make her grand announcement of the five (5) successful applicants for this Digital Banking License when there are no existing regulations to control and to protect members of the public especially the B40, students and the like. 

To Date No Regulations are In Place To Regulate Digital Banking

On 15.3.2022, it was reported in The Edge that Ministry of Finance, BNM and the Securities Commission (“SC”) are “spearheading collaborations with other agencies” to draft a new law known as the Consumer Credit Laws to regulate BNPL schemes and the like HERE

For the benefit of BNM, Minister of Finance and SC, since 2021 BNPL schemes have already been in use in e-commerce namely Shopee. This is how BNM and SC protect public interest in Malaysia! Of course, proactivity is not the norm in Malaysia. The authorities will only become “kalam-kabut” when there were public outcries and/or many B40s are in hot soup! 

China and Australia Have Regulations In Place To Regulate BNPL Scheme

In China, the Banking Regulatory Commission has capped interest rates and financing fees for microloans (including BNPL schemes), and banned students from access from microloans in order to protect them. HERE.

In Australia, its Financial Industry Association has developed a binding Code of Practice for BNPL Providers whereby these providers are obligated to ensure that their terms and conditions are written in plain English and are clearly distinguishable from marketing materials. There are stringent rules that regulate these BNPL providers in their advertising materials for these BNPL schemes in order to protect vulnerable consumers like the B40s, HERE.

On Paper BNM Seems To Know Its Role As a Central Bank

On 31.12.2020, BNM seems to know its role as the central bank in Malaysia and came up with the Licensing Framework for Digital Banking Digital (“FRAMEWORK”), HERE.

For ease of reference, paragraph 1.1 of the said Framework dated 31.12.2020 states as follows:

“The Bank endeavours to ensure the regulatory framework remains conducive for enablement of these innovations in a safe and sound manner that supports transformation of the financial ecosystem to meet future economic needs of the nation, and promote sustainable and inclusive financial sector.”

Under paragraph 8.2 of the said Framework, the criteria to be taken into account when assessing the suitability of the shareholders of a licensed digital bank include the following:

In the Frequently Asked Questions for the said Framework:

 “…nature and sufficiency of the financial resources of the proposed licensed digital bank shareholder as a source of continuing financial support to a licensed digital bank as well as the business record and experience of the shareholder

  • Robust risk management and compliance capabilities, which may be demonstrated by a track record of operating in a regulated environment;
  • Ability to continuously serve as a source of financial strength to the proposed licensed digital bank. 

See in HERE

PN17 Companies Or Its Related Companies

Normally, if a company is being classified under PN17 or to be classified under PN17 or pending formal classification of PN17, no financial institution will grant them any banking facilities to it or its related companies or subsidiaries.  As for the case of AirAsia has been classified as PN17 company in January 2022.

On 14.1.2022, it was reported in The Edge that in July 2020, the auditor for AirAsia (Messrs Ernst & Young) had “issued an unqualified audit opinion with material uncertainty relating to going concern”, HERE.

AirAsia was given 12 months to regularise by 7.1.2022.  On 7.1.2022, AirAsia sought an extension of time from Bursa KL (“BSKL”) but it was turned down by BSKL. On 13.1.2022, AirAsia announced in BSKL that it had been classified as a PN17 company, HERE

The International RM200 mil Bribery Scandals Involved PN17 AirAsia Executive 1 & 2 & Airbus

It must be noted that in the Judgement of UK Crown Court in January 2020, it was clearly stated that AIRASIA executives 1 and 2 have been found to have received RM200 million in BRIBES from Airbus in exchange for orders of aircraft, HERE

This news had been widely publicisely internationally. Airbus agreed to pay over $3.9 Billion in Global Penalties to Resolve Foreign Bribery Scandals, HERE.

However, in Malaysia the two criminals known AirAsia executives 1 and 2 were allowed to run amok in the corporate world. Authorities in Malaysia and regulatory bodies are playing dumb to condone and encourage such briberies.

Lapsed of More Than Two Years Chairman of SC & SC Playing Dumb

Left: Datuk Syed Zaid Albar, Chairman of SC. Centre: Senator Tengku Zafrul Aziz, Minister of Finance

Early 2020 SC and Bursa KL had commenced investigations into this international bribery scandals. SC had instructed Bursa KL to stop its investigation as it was taking over the task. After a lapsed of two years, Datuk Syed Zaid Albar the chairman of SC and SC are still keeping their elegant silence over the said investigations, HERE.

Lets see for how long more Datuk Syed Zaid Albar and SC are going keep their elegant silence over this international bribery scandals.

We can only hope that Bank Negara and its Governor are not in the same category as Datuk Syed Zaid Albar and SC!.

Danajamin Approved RM500 mil Loan Guarantee Facilities To PN17 AirAsia

The newly minted Chairman of Bank Pembangunan Bhd, another famous Datuk Nazir Razak who was the former CEO of CIMB Bank. Danajamin is under it. Nazir is a buddy with Tony Fernandes of AirAsia

Recently Danajamin headed by Datuk Nazir Razak had granted RM500 million loan guarantee to PN17 AirAsia. It is an open secret that Datuk Nazir Razak is the buddy of Tan Sri Tony Fernandes of PN17 AirAsia. Thanks God that AirAsia rejected the RM500 mil facilities because its directors, Tan Sri Tony Fernandes and Datuk Kamarudin Meranun refused to stand as guarantors for the said RM500 mil facilities otherwise the Rakyat may be burdened by this RM500 mil. This is the level of confidence that both directors, Tony and Kamarudin have for PN17 AirAsia. See in HERE.

In 2019 The Executive Chairman of AirAsia, the famous Datuk Kamarudin Meranun Fined For Insider Trading

The famous Datuk Kaamruddin Meranun, when he was appointed as a director of MAS
during the infamous MAs-AirAsia Share SUAP.

The famous Datuk Kamaruddin Meranun is the executive chairman of AirAsia Group. In 2019 Kamaruddin was not charged by SC for insider trading during the infamous MAS-AirAsia share SUAP and he was only fined RM3.6 million, which was a pittance and extremely unusual.  Kamaruddin trade shares bought under the names of Nor Ashikin Khamis and Malizan Mahmood. SC had explained:

“The amount disgorged from Datuk Kamarudin Meranun is equivalent to three times the difference between the price at which the shares were acquired and the price at which the shares would have been likely to have been acquired at the time of the acquisition, if the information had been generally available.” In HERE.

For the benefits of BNM Governor and Tengku Zafrul, the best Minister of Finance in Malaysia of all times, the above information are in the public domain. Can a central bank in any part of the world still consider, let alone approve the digital banking license or any financial license to a PN17 company’s related companies or its subsidiaries? 

So-Called Bank Negara Framework For Digital Banking

An applicant is further required to provide Bank Negara Malaysia with an independent external review on the feasibility of the business plan as per paragraph 10.4 of the said Framework. The said independent external review must also include an assurance that the applicant’s financial statements are accurately prepared and adequately disclosed to Bank Negara Malaysia.

This is the financial statement as filed with SSM.

According to the above financial statement filed with the Suruhanjaya Syarikat Malaysia as of 14.3.2022 showed that BigPay (M) Sdn Bhd had made losses to the tune of RM59,062,000.00!

BigPay Later Sdn Bhd

The financial statement filed by BigPay Later Sdn Bhd with SSM.

BigPay Later Sdn Bhd, another outfit of AirAsia, was only incorporated on 20.7.2020 with no financial information filed with SSM for 2022.  

Good Governance

For the sake of good governance and the objective of protecting public interests, both BNM and the best Minister of Finance of Malaysia should not wear blinkers and approve any form of financial licenses in a wanton manner to PN17 companies or its related companies, which are under controlled friends.

Public interest dictates that Minister of Finance and the BNM Governor must clarify this matter before approving the Digital Banking Licence to the five selected companies.  

Belated congratulations to the newlywed!

Congratulations to the newly wed – Yg Bhd Dato’ Sri Mohammed Shazalli Ramly & Datin Sharifah Menjelara Husein aka Lara,  at W Resort, Seminyak, Bali, Indonesia.

A belated congratulation to the newlywed couples of the year!  The couples have tied the knot in mid February, 2018.   At last, nurturing this special relationship for many years to fruition in style with selected friends at none other than the W Resort, Bali, is the ultimate for most couples.   Continue reading “Belated congratulations to the newlywed!”

TS Azman Mokhtar, Rashdan, Tony Fernandes, Kamaruddin, Md Nor Md Yusof and AJ must be held responsible for the fine of RM20 million – Part 1

The Happy Family of the MAS-AirAsia share swap and the architects of the violation of the Competition Act.
The iconic photo of the “Happy Family” of the MAS-AirAsia share swap and  architects of the violation of the Competition Act. From 2nd left; Datuk Kamarudin Meranun, Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar, Tan Sri Md Nor Yusof, Tan Sri Tony Fernandes, the Khazanah Whiz Kid Mohamad Rashdan Yusuf aka Danny & Dato’ Sri Nazir Razak of CIMB

Updates @ 6:50 pm on 11-9-2013:  “The avenging goddesses eventually caught up with anyone who had outraged all decency by killing their father, marrying their mother or serving red wine with fish.” By Jonathan Guthrie of Financial Times, UK

Updates @ 6:10 pm on 10-9-2013: “Deloitte has been fined a record £14m for failing to manage conflicts of interest during its role as an adviser to collapsed British carmaker MG RoverOn Monday the Financial Reporting Council, which brought the case against Deloitte, said the outcome of an independent tribunal was a “strong vindication” for its six-year-long probe into Deloitte’s work for companies involved with the carmaker in the lead-up to MG Rover’s collapse.”

Deloitte was fined 14,000 Pound Sterling
The international accounting firm Deloitte was fined 14 million Pound Sterling by UK authority. Will we ever see our authorities taking the same actions here?

In the case of the MAS-AirAsia share swap, there were two advisors namely Dato’ Sri Nazir Razak and Bain & Co but it is unclear about their scope of appointment.  For full report of the fine imposed against Deloitte, please read HERE & HERE,.

Continue reading “TS Azman Mokhtar, Rashdan, Tony Fernandes, Kamaruddin, Md Nor Md Yusof and AJ must be held responsible for the fine of RM20 million – Part 1”

TS Azman of SCOMI, Dato’ Rohana of ASTRO & TS Tan of IJM should resign

Tan Sri Azman Yahya of SCOMI and Symphony House, the longest serving director of MAS

Updates at at 10:45 am on 8-9-2012On 7-8-20122 MAS has made an announcement to Bursa KL that Datuk Rohana Rozhan of ASTRO has resigned from MAS due to “other work commitments”, in HERE.

En Al-Ishal Ishak, the talented VP for Marketing and Promotion of MAS, has sent out an e-mail stating amongst other things that on 22-5-2012 the Board of Directors has approved the MAS re-banding, new corporate identity and new livery of MAS, in HEREContinue reading “TS Azman of SCOMI, Dato’ Rohana of ASTRO & TS Tan of IJM should resign”