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Graft in Malaysia’s Defense Ministry

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Old October 4th, 2007   #1
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Graft in Malaysia’s Defense Ministry

Graft in Malaysia’s Defense Ministry
Mat Salleh
24 September 2007

Najib Tun Razak, Malaysia’s defense minister, finds a fountain of cash in military purchases.

Despite the fact that the country’s borders have been largely secure for 40 years, Malaysia’s Defence Ministry has for decades been available to provide a river of money to defense ministers, the ruling United Malays National Organisation and any of the Sandhurst-educated generals who could get their hands into the till.

But if three separate contracts over the past several years are any yardstick, Najib Tun Razak, who became defense minister in 1999 and kept the portfolio when he became deputy prime minister, appears to have mastered the game far beyond the expectations of any previous defense leaders. Opposition figures say the three contracts, one for Russian Sukhoi jet fighters, a second for French submarines and a third for navy patrol boats, appear to have produced at least US$300 million for UMNO cronies, Najib’s friends and others.

Describing “the mundane but important element of patronage,” Foreign Policy in Focus, a think tank supported by the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, wrote in a 2005 article that “many foreign arms manufacturers generally used well-connected Malaysians as their lobbyists for contracts. The commission paid to such representatives is estimated to range from 10 to 20 percent.” Even prior to the 1997 Asian financial crisis, Southeast Asia, which hasn’t had an external war in decades but is rich enough to spend plenty on guns, was the world’s second-largest arms market after the Middle East, representing about 20 percent of the world’s purchases.

By the end of next year, Malaysia is expected to have 18 Sukhoi-20MKM jets intended to replace 14 US-made F-5Es, which have been in service for two decades. Two Sukhois were delivered this year, and the Malaysian Air Force also has 18 MiG-29N Fulcrums.

All three of the contracts, which were approved under Najib and have been widely cited by the opposition, fit well into Foreign Policy in Focus’s patronage scale. Bringing the three together, and taking a new look at their associations, is instructive. They have been forced back into public attention by the continuing trial of Abdul Razak Baginda, one of Najib’s closest friends, who is on trial for his life in a suburban high court along with two of Najib’s bodyguards for the murder of Altantuya Shaariibuu, a Mongolian translator who was shot in the head on October 19, 2006, and then blown up with C4 explosives available only from Malaysia’s military.

According to testimony in the trial, Altantuya accompanied her then-lover Abdul Razak to Paris at a time when Malaysia’s defense ministry was negotiating through a Kuala Lumpur-based company, Perimekar Sdn Bhd, to buy two Scorpene submarines and a used Agosta submarine produced by the French government under a French-Spanish joint venture, Armaris. Perimekar at the time was owned by a company called Ombak Laut, which was wholly owned by Abdul Razak.

The contract was not competitive. The Malaysian ministry of defense paid 1 billion euros (RM 4.5 billion) to Amaris for the three submarines, for which Perimekar received a commission of 114 million euros (RM510 million). Deputy Defense Minister Zainal Abdidin Zin told the Dewan Rakyat, Malaysia’s parliament, that the money was paid for “coordination and support services” although the fee amounted to a whopping 11 percent of the sales price for the submarines. Altantuya, by her own admission in the last letter she wrote before her murder, said she had been blackmailing Abdul Razak, pressuring him for US$500,000. She did not say how she was blackmailing him, leaving open lots of questions.

Spending for defense accelerated across the board after Najib, called “the driving force” behind Malaysia’s military modernization program by Foreign Policy in Focus, became defense chief. The shopping list, the think tank reported, “includes battle tanks from Poland, Russian and British surface-to-air missiles and mobile military bridges, Austrian Steyr assault rifles and Pakistani anti-tank missiles. Kuala Lumpur is also negotiating to buy several F/A 18s, three submarines from France and an unspecified number of Russian Suhkoi Su-30 fighter aircraft.

It was the Sukhois that have become the second controversial purchase brokered by Najib. The deal, worth US$900 million (RM3.2 billion), was through a Russian state company, Federal State Unitary Enterprise 'Rosoboronexport' on May 19, 2003. IMT Defence Sdn. Bhd. was appointed the local agent for the Russian company and received 12 percent of the purchase price, US$108 million (RM380 million). The principal figure and chairman of IMT Defence is Mohamad Adib Adam, the former chief minister of Malacca, previous Land and Development Minister and a longtime UMNO stalwart.

The involvement of IMT Defence only became known because in March 2005, a former director of IMT, Mohamad Zainuri Mohamad Idrus, filed suit against several Adib-related companies, alleging that Adib and his sister, Askiah Adam, “wanted to prevent him from exposing the reality of the Sukhoi deal.” In 2006, Mohamad Zainuri lodged a police report alleging that Adib had stolen the US$108 million (RM 380 million) commission that was supposed to be channeled to the company.

According to Mohamad Zainuri’s report, Adib had secretly registered a new company in the federal island of Labuan, Malaysia’s offshore banking center, bearing a name similar to IMT Defence Sdn. Bhd., allegedly in order to channel the commission illegally to the new company. The report was then sent to the Commercial Crime Investigations Department Headquarters. No report, however, has ever been released to the public.

Then, over the last few weeks, a third military scandal surfaced. Malaysia’s Auditor General, in a report tabled in Parliament on September 7, alleged that a contract to build naval vessels given to PSC-Naval Dockyard, a subsidiary of Penang Shipbuilding & Construction Sdn Bhd, which is owned by another UMNO crony, Amin Shah Omar Shah, is near failure.

PSC-Naval Dockyard was contracted to deliver six patrol boats for the Malaysian Navy in 2004 and complete the delivery by last April. Those were supposed to be the first of 27 offshore vessels ultimately to cost RM24 billion plus the right to maintain and repair all of the country's naval craft. But only two of the barely operational patrol boats had been delivered by mid 2006. There were 298 recorded complaints about the two boats, which were also found to have 100 and 383 uncompleted items aboard them respectively.

The original RM5.35 billion contract ballooned to RM6.75 billion by January 2007. The auditor also reported that the ministry had paid out Rm4.26 billion to PSC up to December 2006 although only Rm2.87 billion of work had been done, an overpayment of Rm1.39 billion, or 48 percent. In addition, Malaysia’s cabinet waived late penalties of Rm214 million. Between December 1999, according to the Auditor General, 14 “progress payments” amounting to Rm943 million despite the fact that the auditor general could find no payment vouchers or relevant documents dealing with the payments.

The auditor general attributed the failure to serious financial mismanagement and technical incompetence stemming from the fact that PSC had never built anything but trawlers or police boats before being given the contract. Once called “Malaysia’s Onassis” by former finance minister Daim Zainuddin, Amin Shah was in trouble almost from the start, according to a report in Singapore’s Business Times in 2005. The financial crisis of 1997-1998 meant he was desperate to find funds to shore up ancillary businesses, Business times reported.

After a flock of lawsuits, the government ultimately cut off funding in 2004 amid losses and a net liabilities position. Boustead Holdings effectively took control from Amin Shah, reducing him to non-executive chairman.

According to the British group Campaign Against the Arms Trade, “Transparency International (UK) estimates that ‘the official arms trade (across the world) accounts for 50% of all corrupt international transactions’ and considers that ‘a conservative estimate of the level of commissions paid is 10 percent It needs stressing that this refers to the ‘official’ arms trade...Arms deals often involve huge sums of money and are always shrouded in secrecy. This combination renders them liable to corruption. Corrupt payments can generate a demand for weaponry where none should exist, potentially diverting resources from social needs, including health and development.”

It isn’t just the airplanes or the tanks or the ships themselves. A multi-engine plane, for instance, means that separate raiders can win contracts for different engines, different avionics, literally dozens of different items.

In the 1980s in particular, Malaysia became famous for two complete boondoggles, the first the purchase of British Alvis Scorpion tanks. Although the tank was supposed to be a lightly armed, fast-firing, lightly armored weapon, gun runners dealing with Malaysian military figures in managed to lumber the Scorpions by exchanging the recommended Rolls-Royce gasoline engines with slower diesel ones because the engine manufacturer managed got to the procurement team.

Another gun runner contracted to exchange the original recommended .75 millimeter gun for a .90 millimeter one so big that it had to be leveled each time a new shell was jacked into the chamber, meaning it was slow-firing. The gun was so heavy that the turret’s aluminum races had to be replaced with steel ones, making the vehicle so top-heavy that troops using it were afraid it would topple over. So instead of a fast-firing, lightly-armed and maneuverable weapon, the Malaysian army ended up with a tank that would only go about 60 km/hour instead of 90 and had to be stopped virtually every time it fired, which would have made it a sitting duck for an enemy, had there been one in the first place.

Likewise, Malaysian specifications required a wheeled armored car that could be loaded into an airplane and flown to East Malaysia in case of trouble with Indonesia or Singapore. But the contract for South African Sibmas wheeled 6x67 armored personnel carriers, armed with 90mm Cockerill guns, came up with a vehicle so big that the tires had to be deflated before it could be loaded into an airplane.

When local newspapers reported on the vehicles’ lack of military effectiveness, they were threatened with prosecution under Malaysia’s Official Secrets Act and the scandal was shelved.

But, said a foreign defense attaché privately at the time, “I hope to god Malaysia never gets into a war. They couldn’t get out of their own footprints.”

http://asiasentinel.com/index.php?op...=720&Itemid=31
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Old October 4th, 2007   #2
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Graft in Malaysia’s Defense Ministry
Mat Salleh
24 September 2007

Najib Tun Razak, Malaysia’s defense minister, finds a fountain of cash in military purchases.

Despite the fact that the country’s borders have been largely secure for 40 years, Malaysia’s Defence Ministry has for decades been available to provide a river of money to defense ministers, the ruling United Malays National Organisation and any of the Sandhurst-educated generals who could get their hands into the till.

But if three separate contracts over the past several years are any yardstick, Najib Tun Razak, who became defense minister in 1999 and kept the portfolio when he became deputy prime minister, appears to have mastered the game far beyond the expectations of any previous defense leaders. Opposition figures say the three contracts, one for Russian Sukhoi jet fighters, a second for French submarines and a third for navy patrol boats, appear to have produced at least US$300 million for UMNO cronies, Najib’s friends and others.

Describing “the mundane but important element of patronage,” Foreign Policy in Focus, a think tank supported by the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, wrote in a 2005 article that “many foreign arms manufacturers generally used well-connected Malaysians as their lobbyists for contracts. The commission paid to such representatives is estimated to range from 10 to 20 percent.” Even prior to the 1997 Asian financial crisis, Southeast Asia, which hasn’t had an external war in decades but is rich enough to spend plenty on guns, was the world’s second-largest arms market after the Middle East, representing about 20 percent of the world’s purchases.

By the end of next year, Malaysia is expected to have 18 Sukhoi-20MKM jets intended to replace 14 US-made F-5Es, which have been in service for two decades. Two Sukhois were delivered this year, and the Malaysian Air Force also has 18 MiG-29N Fulcrums.

All three of the contracts, which were approved under Najib and have been widely cited by the opposition, fit well into Foreign Policy in Focus’s patronage scale. Bringing the three together, and taking a new look at their associations, is instructive. They have been forced back into public attention by the continuing trial of Abdul Razak Baginda, one of Najib’s closest friends, who is on trial for his life in a suburban high court along with two of Najib’s bodyguards for the murder of Altantuya Shaariibuu, a Mongolian translator who was shot in the head on October 19, 2006, and then blown up with C4 explosives available only from Malaysia’s military.

According to testimony in the trial, Altantuya accompanied her then-lover Abdul Razak to Paris at a time when Malaysia’s defense ministry was negotiating through a Kuala Lumpur-based company, Perimekar Sdn Bhd, to buy two Scorpene submarines and a used Agosta submarine produced by the French government under a French-Spanish joint venture, Armaris. Perimekar at the time was owned by a company called Ombak Laut, which was wholly owned by Abdul Razak.

The contract was not competitive. The Malaysian ministry of defense paid 1 billion euros (RM 4.5 billion) to Amaris for the three submarines, for which Perimekar received a commission of 114 million euros (RM510 million). Deputy Defense Minister Zainal Abdidin Zin told the Dewan Rakyat, Malaysia’s parliament, that the money was paid for “coordination and support services” although the fee amounted to a whopping 11 percent of the sales price for the submarines. Altantuya, by her own admission in the last letter she wrote before her murder, said she had been blackmailing Abdul Razak, pressuring him for US$500,000. She did not say how she was blackmailing him, leaving open lots of questions.

Spending for defense accelerated across the board after Najib, called “the driving force” behind Malaysia’s military modernization program by Foreign Policy in Focus, became defense chief. The shopping list, the think tank reported, “includes battle tanks from Poland, Russian and British surface-to-air missiles and mobile military bridges, Austrian Steyr assault rifles and Pakistani anti-tank missiles. Kuala Lumpur is also negotiating to buy several F/A 18s, three submarines from France and an unspecified number of Russian Suhkoi Su-30 fighter aircraft.

It was the Sukhois that have become the second controversial purchase brokered by Najib. The deal, worth US$900 million (RM3.2 billion), was through a Russian state company, Federal State Unitary Enterprise 'Rosoboronexport' on May 19, 2003. IMT Defence Sdn. Bhd. was appointed the local agent for the Russian company and received 12 percent of the purchase price, US$108 million (RM380 million). The principal figure and chairman of IMT Defence is Mohamad Adib Adam, the former chief minister of Malacca, previous Land and Development Minister and a longtime UMNO stalwart.

The involvement of IMT Defence only became known because in March 2005, a former director of IMT, Mohamad Zainuri Mohamad Idrus, filed suit against several Adib-related companies, alleging that Adib and his sister, Askiah Adam, “wanted to prevent him from exposing the reality of the Sukhoi deal.” In 2006, Mohamad Zainuri lodged a police report alleging that Adib had stolen the US$108 million (RM 380 million) commission that was supposed to be channeled to the company.

According to Mohamad Zainuri’s report, Adib had secretly registered a new company in the federal island of Labuan, Malaysia’s offshore banking center, bearing a name similar to IMT Defence Sdn. Bhd., allegedly in order to channel the commission illegally to the new company. The report was then sent to the Commercial Crime Investigations Department Headquarters. No report, however, has ever been released to the public.

Then, over the last few weeks, a third military scandal surfaced. Malaysia’s Auditor General, in a report tabled in Parliament on September 7, alleged that a contract to build naval vessels given to PSC-Naval Dockyard, a subsidiary of Penang Shipbuilding & Construction Sdn Bhd, which is owned by another UMNO crony, Amin Shah Omar Shah, is near failure.

PSC-Naval Dockyard was contracted to deliver six patrol boats for the Malaysian Navy in 2004 and complete the delivery by last April. Those were supposed to be the first of 27 offshore vessels ultimately to cost RM24 billion plus the right to maintain and repair all of the country's naval craft. But only two of the barely operational patrol boats had been delivered by mid 2006. There were 298 recorded complaints about the two boats, which were also found to have 100 and 383 uncompleted items aboard them respectively.

The original RM5.35 billion contract ballooned to RM6.75 billion by January 2007. The auditor also reported that the ministry had paid out Rm4.26 billion to PSC up to December 2006 although only Rm2.87 billion of work had been done, an overpayment of Rm1.39 billion, or 48 percent. In addition, Malaysia’s cabinet waived late penalties of Rm214 million. Between December 1999, according to the Auditor General, 14 “progress payments” amounting to Rm943 million despite the fact that the auditor general could find no payment vouchers or relevant documents dealing with the payments.

The auditor general attributed the failure to serious financial mismanagement and technical incompetence stemming from the fact that PSC had never built anything but trawlers or police boats before being given the contract. Once called “Malaysia’s Onassis” by former finance minister Daim Zainuddin, Amin Shah was in trouble almost from the start, according to a report in Singapore’s Business Times in 2005. The financial crisis of 1997-1998 meant he was desperate to find funds to shore up ancillary businesses, Business times reported.

After a flock of lawsuits, the government ultimately cut off funding in 2004 amid losses and a net liabilities position. Boustead Holdings effectively took control from Amin Shah, reducing him to non-executive chairman.

According to the British group Campaign Against the Arms Trade, “Transparency International (UK) estimates that ‘the official arms trade (across the world) accounts for 50% of all corrupt international transactions’ and considers that ‘a conservative estimate of the level of commissions paid is 10 percent It needs stressing that this refers to the ‘official’ arms trade...Arms deals often involve huge sums of money and are always shrouded in secrecy. This combination renders them liable to corruption. Corrupt payments can generate a demand for weaponry where none should exist, potentially diverting resources from social needs, including health and development.”

It isn’t just the airplanes or the tanks or the ships themselves. A multi-engine plane, for instance, means that separate raiders can win contracts for different engines, different avionics, literally dozens of different items.

In the 1980s in particular, Malaysia became famous for two complete boondoggles, the first the purchase of British Alvis Scorpion tanks. Although the tank was supposed to be a lightly armed, fast-firing, lightly armored weapon, gun runners dealing with Malaysian military figures in managed to lumber the Scorpions by exchanging the recommended Rolls-Royce gasoline engines with slower diesel ones because the engine manufacturer managed got to the procurement team.

Another gun runner contracted to exchange the original recommended .75 millimeter gun for a .90 millimeter one so big that it had to be leveled each time a new shell was jacked into the chamber, meaning it was slow-firing. The gun was so heavy that the turret’s aluminum races had to be replaced with steel ones, making the vehicle so top-heavy that troops using it were afraid it would topple over. So instead of a fast-firing, lightly-armed and maneuverable weapon, the Malaysian army ended up with a tank that would only go about 60 km/hour instead of 90 and had to be stopped virtually every time it fired, which would have made it a sitting duck for an enemy, had there been one in the first place.

Likewise, Malaysian specifications required a wheeled armored car that could be loaded into an airplane and flown to East Malaysia in case of trouble with Indonesia or Singapore. But the contract for South African Sibmas wheeled 6x67 armored personnel carriers, armed with 90mm Cockerill guns, came up with a vehicle so big that the tires had to be deflated before it could be loaded into an airplane.

When local newspapers reported on the vehicles’ lack of military effectiveness, they were threatened with prosecution under Malaysia’s Official Secrets Act and the scandal was shelved.

But, said a foreign defense attaché privately at the time, “I hope to god Malaysia never gets into a war. They couldn’t get out of their own footprints.”

http://asiasentinel.com/index.php?op...=720&Itemid=31
by the way malaysia only has 16 mig-29 in total now.........
and the reason malaysia equipped the pt-91 with fully equipped armour is because malaysia jungle terrotary
whats the use of having a fast tank in the thick jungle.....
armour and stealth is neede in that kind of situation
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Old October 5th, 2007   #3
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by the way malaysia only has 16 mig-29 in total now.........
So what happened to the other two Paskal?

We used to watch these things blast off from Kuantan of a morning. It was like wheels up and a near vertical climb to altitude. We always thought the probability of seeing one crash and burn was pretty high. Not sure if this was their standard routine or a show for the visitors.

One interesting thing about the MIG's is they use a type of alcohol as a hydraulic fluid. Being Russian aircraft and designed to operate in freezing temperatures the alcohol won't freeze in the hydraulic lines. Very smart those Ruskies!! Anyway with Malaysia being a muslim country and good muslims don't drink alcohol, let's just say the consumption rate of alcohol/hyd fluid in the RMAF MIG-29's is pretty high.

Hooroo
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Old October 6th, 2007   #4
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This Asia Sentinel websites provides an interesting read. It seems to have a couple of articles that provide some alternative views. Like for example, you won't find this article in Straits times i think. As for the graft in Malaysia's defense procruments, let's just say it's a sad thing that has gone on for too long, but then the graft issue is not just in the defence side. In other areas, graft is still a serious issue and far too much money has been has been spent on bailing out companies.


Asia’s ‘Financial Parking Lot’

William Boot 04 September 2007 Allegations persist that Singapore has become an economic tool for the region’s worst regimes

The slightly dilapidated five-story building in Singapore’s business district known as Burma Mall houses numerous small shops, cafes and under-the-counter, cash-remitting services.
It’s a familiar sight across East Asia’s richer cities, from Kuala Lumpur to Hong Kong, wherever contracted Indonesians, Thais, Filipinos and, to a lesser extent, Burmese work.
Burma Mall—real name, Peninsula Plaza—caters to the lowly laborer or homesick student seeking out a bowl of moh hin gha (fish and noodle soup) and probably money launderers, too.
But it’s not a visible hangout of Burma’s big money dealers in Singapore, like Tun Myint Naing, also known as Steven Law, and his father Lo Hsing Han, or the junta generals who make frequent visits to the city-state for medical treatment and, perhaps, a little business on the side. They move in much more exalted circles.
Singapore’s opposition Democratic Party leader Chee Soon Juan would probably say over-privileged circles.
Singapore ranks a noble fifth in the world index compiled by the Berlin-based, anti-corruption-monitoring organization Transparency International. Burma is ranked 160th out of 163 investigated countries. But the two countries have curiously close business relations that seem incongruous for a Singapore government seemingly so obsessed with being perceived as squeaky clean.
While ranking Singapore highly on its anti-corruption index, a report by TI says: “Singapore could do more to discourage corruption in a broader regional context, in cooperation with … government leaders of neighboring states.”
Chee Soon Juan has tried without success to force the Singapore government to disclose the extent of its business dealings with the Burmese company Asia World, run by Lo Hsing Han and Steven Law, both barred from the US for alleged drug-running rackets but who move freely in and out of Singapore.
Alongside most other countries in Southeast Asia, Singapore is a model of rectitude, but even TI finds fault with the city-state’s failure to hold itself accountable to inquirers.
“National Integrity Systems in East and Southeast Asian countries still have profound weaknesses,” says the TI report. “Even Hong Kong and Singapore still have significant room for improvement, for example in involving civil society in government decision-making processes.”
Efforts by Chee Soon Juan to get the Singapore government to make public the details of its investments in Burma—supposedly made on behalf of Singaporeans—have been met with silence or vague answers. On one occasion Chee was baldly told that government investment in Burma was “above board.”
Chee Soon Juan told The Irrawaddy: “I have not received any recent information on Burma money laundering in Singapore, although I understand that the practice is rife with respect to many other countries, for example China, Indonesia and Russia.”
Chee has been jailed for speaking in public without a permit and was declared a bankrupt in 2006—debarring him from elections until 2011—for failing to pay fines of US $330,000 after being convicted of defaming government leaders such as Lee Kuan Yew. He is now also barred from traveling abroad because of his debt.
“Singapore’s relationship with the Burmese junta is pragmatic, in both commercial and what one might call ‘national need’ terms,” suggested a Western embassy regional analyst in Bangkok, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“Singapore’s foreign minister, George Yeo, was one of the first regional government officials to trek out to that oddly located new capital Naypyidaw earlier this year. But he did not go there to admire the place, it was for national need. Singapore needed building materials, such as a supply of sand that Indonesia had just stopped delivering,” the analyst said.
“Likewise, Singapore’s construction companies need somewhere to expand. Burma has got absolutely no infrastructure worth the Singaporean government-owned investment agencies such as Temasek to buy into, like Thailand, but hotel developments would do nicely. In return, we do not dig too deep,” the analyst added.
About 50,000 Burmese live and work or study in Singapore, and many families back home depend on remittances. But Burma Mall, wedged between the trendy nightlife Quays quarter and the ritzy hotel district that includes world famous Raffles, is believed to serve more as a conduit for others who aspire to emulate the success of Steven Law and his family.
Burma Mall is not the most fashionable shopping venue in Singapore, but there’s big property price inflation in the city—fueled, many analysts believe, by investors parking money to avoid tax and other official obstacles to money movements.
The monthly rent on a shop in the mall is around $2,000. Some of the tenants would have to sell a lot of jars of dried foodstuffs, leather trinkets or Burmese-style clothes to cover overhead and still turn a profit.
“No one can prove anything, but some of us suspect that many of those shops inside that so-called Burma Mall are fronts for other activities, where the real business is going on,” said a Singaporean running a street-level business adjacent to the mall.
Singapore is estimated to have invested up to $2 billion in Burma since the country’s tightly shut economic door opened a crack in 1988. Much of the money has gone to develop the tourism industry, despite efforts by Western countries to boycott holiday visits on the grounds that it benefits the regime.
Asia World is a major construction contractor, and much of Singapore’s investment in Burma is linked to that company. Steven Law has a Singaporean wife with business and political contacts in the city-state.
For the 2006-7 financial year ended in March, Singapore was listed by Burma’s Ministry of Commerce as the third-largest trading partner behind Thailand and China, with bilateral trade for the year totaling $1.21 billion.
Financial analysts are perplexed by Singapore’s current luxury property development boom—hence, the need for that Burmese building sand—with land and condominium prices and rents soaring by as much as 150 percent. The overall economy is not on fire, but the consensus view is that the city-state has become a haven for no-questions-asked money “parking.”
Indonesia (ranked 130 in the TI corruption index) is considered to be a major source of such money and Singapore is not fussy about requiring its banks to report large incoming transactions or interest payments. The EU eyes Singapore with some suspicion as a tax shelter.
It’s not surprising, then, that Singapore comes near the top of another global ranking – the tiny city-state is home to more than 50,000 US dollar millionaires.
Ong Ying Ping, the founder of a Singapore-based law company that provides advice on spotting and thwarting illegal money movements, notes: “While anti-money laundering laws have been or are being adopted in over 100 countries around the world, no country yet requires its financial institutions to detect money laundering.
“The effectiveness of anti-money laundering laws has been mixed, falling far short of the ideal of strict, fair and universal enforcement with well-knit international cooperation.”

From the Irrawaddy Magazine, based in Thailand

Last edited by wzhtg; October 6th, 2007 at 06:08 AM.
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Old October 6th, 2007   #5
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So what happened to the other two Paskal?

We used to watch these things blast off from Kuantan of a morning. It was like wheels up and a near vertical climb to altitude. We always thought the probability of seeing one crash and burn was pretty high. Not sure if this was their standard routine or a show for the visitors.

One interesting thing about the MIG's is they use a type of alcohol as a hydraulic fluid. Being Russian aircraft and designed to operate in freezing temperatures the alcohol won't freeze in the hydraulic lines. Very smart those Ruskies!! Anyway with Malaysia being a muslim country and good muslims don't drink alcohol, let's just say the consumption rate of alcohol/hyd fluid in the RMAF MIG-29's is pretty high.

Hooroo
they crashed at a mountain
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_Malaysian_Air_Force

i think the reason that happen is because malaysia pilots are damn brave!
did you once in 2003 or 2002 malaysian mig-29 fly under the penang bridge
damn that was owesome as the penang bridge was damn small....
it was all over the news
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Old October 6th, 2007   #6
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This Asia Sentinel websites provides an interesting read. It seems to have a couple of articles that provide some alternative views. Like for example, you won't find this article in Straits times i think. As for the graft in Malaysia's defense procruments, let's just say it's a sad thing that has gone on for too long, but then the graft issue is not just in the defence side. In other areas, graft is still a serious issue and far too much money has been has been spent on bailing out companies.


Asia’s ‘Financial Parking Lot’

William Boot 04 September 2007 Allegations persist that Singapore has become an economic tool for the region’s worst regimes

The slightly dilapidated five-story building in Singapore’s business district known as Burma Mall houses numerous small shops, cafes and under-the-counter, cash-remitting services.
It’s a familiar sight across East Asia’s richer cities, from Kuala Lumpur to Hong Kong, wherever contracted Indonesians, Thais, Filipinos and, to a lesser extent, Burmese work.
Burma Mall—real name, Peninsula Plaza—caters to the lowly laborer or homesick student seeking out a bowl of moh hin gha (fish and noodle soup) and probably money launderers, too.
But it’s not a visible hangout of Burma’s big money dealers in Singapore, like Tun Myint Naing, also known as Steven Law, and his father Lo Hsing Han, or the junta generals who make frequent visits to the city-state for medical treatment and, perhaps, a little business on the side. They move in much more exalted circles.
Singapore’s opposition Democratic Party leader Chee Soon Juan would probably say over-privileged circles.
Singapore ranks a noble fifth in the world index compiled by the Berlin-based, anti-corruption-monitoring organization Transparency International. Burma is ranked 160th out of 163 investigated countries. But the two countries have curiously close business relations that seem incongruous for a Singapore government seemingly so obsessed with being perceived as squeaky clean.
While ranking Singapore highly on its anti-corruption index, a report by TI says: “Singapore could do more to discourage corruption in a broader regional context, in cooperation with … government leaders of neighboring states.”
Chee Soon Juan has tried without success to force the Singapore government to disclose the extent of its business dealings with the Burmese company Asia World, run by Lo Hsing Han and Steven Law, both barred from the US for alleged drug-running rackets but who move freely in and out of Singapore.
Alongside most other countries in Southeast Asia, Singapore is a model of rectitude, but even TI finds fault with the city-state’s failure to hold itself accountable to inquirers.
“National Integrity Systems in East and Southeast Asian countries still have profound weaknesses,” says the TI report. “Even Hong Kong and Singapore still have significant room for improvement, for example in involving civil society in government decision-making processes.”
Efforts by Chee Soon Juan to get the Singapore government to make public the details of its investments in Burma—supposedly made on behalf of Singaporeans—have been met with silence or vague answers. On one occasion Chee was baldly told that government investment in Burma was “above board.”
Chee Soon Juan told The Irrawaddy: “I have not received any recent information on Burma money laundering in Singapore, although I understand that the practice is rife with respect to many other countries, for example China, Indonesia and Russia.”
Chee has been jailed for speaking in public without a permit and was declared a bankrupt in 2006—debarring him from elections until 2011—for failing to pay fines of US $330,000 after being convicted of defaming government leaders such as Lee Kuan Yew. He is now also barred from traveling abroad because of his debt.
“Singapore’s relationship with the Burmese junta is pragmatic, in both commercial and what one might call ‘national need’ terms,” suggested a Western embassy regional analyst in Bangkok, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“Singapore’s foreign minister, George Yeo, was one of the first regional government officials to trek out to that oddly located new capital Naypyidaw earlier this year. But he did not go there to admire the place, it was for national need. Singapore needed building materials, such as a supply of sand that Indonesia had just stopped delivering,” the analyst said.
“Likewise, Singapore’s construction companies need somewhere to expand. Burma has got absolutely no infrastructure worth the Singaporean government-owned investment agencies such as Temasek to buy into, like Thailand, but hotel developments would do nicely. In return, we do not dig too deep,” the analyst added.
About 50,000 Burmese live and work or study in Singapore, and many families back home depend on remittances. But Burma Mall, wedged between the trendy nightlife Quays quarter and the ritzy hotel district that includes world famous Raffles, is believed to serve more as a conduit for others who aspire to emulate the success of Steven Law and his family.
Burma Mall is not the most fashionable shopping venue in Singapore, but there’s big property price inflation in the city—fueled, many analysts believe, by investors parking money to avoid tax and other official obstacles to money movements.
The monthly rent on a shop in the mall is around $2,000. Some of the tenants would have to sell a lot of jars of dried foodstuffs, leather trinkets or Burmese-style clothes to cover overhead and still turn a profit.
“No one can prove anything, but some of us suspect that many of those shops inside that so-called Burma Mall are fronts for other activities, where the real business is going on,” said a Singaporean running a street-level business adjacent to the mall.
Singapore is estimated to have invested up to $2 billion in Burma since the country’s tightly shut economic door opened a crack in 1988. Much of the money has gone to develop the tourism industry, despite efforts by Western countries to boycott holiday visits on the grounds that it benefits the regime.
Asia World is a major construction contractor, and much of Singapore’s investment in Burma is linked to that company. Steven Law has a Singaporean wife with business and political contacts in the city-state.
For the 2006-7 financial year ended in March, Singapore was listed by Burma’s Ministry of Commerce as the third-largest trading partner behind Thailand and China, with bilateral trade for the year totaling $1.21 billion.
Financial analysts are perplexed by Singapore’s current luxury property development boom—hence, the need for that Burmese building sand—with land and condominium prices and rents soaring by as much as 150 percent. The overall economy is not on fire, but the consensus view is that the city-state has become a haven for no-questions-asked money “parking.”
Indonesia (ranked 130 in the TI corruption index) is considered to be a major source of such money and Singapore is not fussy about requiring its banks to report large incoming transactions or interest payments. The EU eyes Singapore with some suspicion as a tax shelter.
It’s not surprising, then, that Singapore comes near the top of another global ranking – the tiny city-state is home to more than 50,000 US dollar millionaires.
Ong Ying Ping, the founder of a Singapore-based law company that provides advice on spotting and thwarting illegal money movements, notes: “While anti-money laundering laws have been or are being adopted in over 100 countries around the world, no country yet requires its financial institutions to detect money laundering.
“The effectiveness of anti-money laundering laws has been mixed, falling far short of the ideal of strict, fair and universal enforcement with well-knit international cooperation.”

From the Irrawaddy Magazine, based in Thailand

Is this off-topic response some desperate attempt to claw back face lost from Malaysia's graft issues?
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Old October 6th, 2007   #7
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.......Ain't you being a bit over sensitive. It is as I say, you can find some alternative views in that site which you won't see in the newspapers usually. I already said I agree that there's graft in the Malaysian side already isn't it? Don't be so sensitive.

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Old October 7th, 2007   #8
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Hmm. I see you edited that part about you serving ns in Singapore. Don't think I didn't notice that.
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Old October 7th, 2007   #9
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Well that's because i felt it was unnecessary, but yes i am serving ns in sg now but not suprising, there are quite a number of malaysians/SG PRs that serve ns in singapore.
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