Sunday, January 29, 2017

LKY on China -How Najib is destroying the victory against China won by Tunku and Tun Razak

The union with Malaysia was successful in breaking Communist power in Singapore, essentially by diluting the political influence of the largely ethnic Chinese Communists into a larger polity including many more conservative Malay Muslim voters. This made possible the political decapitation of the Communists, which put an end to the great momentum that the Communists in Singapore had enjoyed before that. There was a real fear of China, and a reluctance to stand up to China-backed Communism, in the region at that time. China's economy appeared to be growing very rapidly. In retrospect, it was all a Potemkin Village, but at the time, people did not realize that, Lee stated.


2009 August 17, 09:47 (Monday)
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b/b) 1. (C) Summary: In a meeting with Minister Mentor (MM) Lee Kuan Yew, Senator Bill Nelson stressed the importance of cooperation between Singapore's Internal Security Department (ISD) and U.S. counterpart organizations to address common threats in areas such as terrorism and proliferation. MM Lee responded that the United States keeps the world safe; if not, everyone else including Singapore will be in trouble. MM Lee noted that he has met the U.S. Vice President and the Secretary of State, but he has not yet had the opportunity to meet the President. He said the Indonesians are making important progress under President Yudhoyono, a decent man leading a nation that is always difficult to govern. Even two terms may not be long enough for Yudhoyono to ensure that Indonesia stays on the right path in the long run. MM Lee said Beijing knows that Singapore is the "undeclared ally" of the United States, with longstanding bilateral cooperation and the Strategic Framework Agreement. China has not yet fully learned the lesson about the need to provide a predictable environment for foreign investors, Lee noted. End Summary. Health of Lee's Wife -------------------- 2. (C) Senator Bill Nelson (D-Florida), accompanied by Mrs. Grace Nelson, the CDA (notetaker), and Legislative Assistant Greta Lundeberg, met at the Istana on August 13 with Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew, who was joined by Principal Private Secretary Chee Hong Tat and MFA Americas Assistant Director Jasmine Tan (notetaker). Mrs. Nelson extended her best wishes for improvement in the health of MM Lee's wife Kwa Geok Choo. MM Lee expressed appreciation for the good wishes. He said his wife's medical condition remains poor after three strokes. The fact that her cognitive facilities remain intact in some ways makes things more difficult, he said. H1N1 ---- 3. (C) Visitors to MM Lee are currently asked to apply hand sanitizer before shaking hand with him and Lee expressed concern about H1N1, which he noted is not particularly lethal but keeps mutating. He said dealing with challenges like H1N1 is inevitable in the globalizing world in which we live, in which diseases can spread around the world at the speed of a fast aircraft. U.S.-Singapore Relations ------------------------ 4. (C) Senator Nelson noted that he had met with Ambassador to Washington Chan Heng Chee (who extended her visit to Singapore so she could see the Senator) and with Internal Security Department (ISD) Director Pang Kin Keong. The Senator highlighted the importance of cooperation between ISD and U.S. counterpart organizations to address common threats in areas such as terrorism and proliferation. MM Lee responded that the United States keeps the world safe; if not, everyone else including Singapore will be in trouble. 5. (C) Senator Nelson expressed appreciation for Lee's and Singapore's leadership in the region, support for the United States, and contributions in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Senator noted that the President, the Vice President, and the Secretary of State are working hard to strengthen the U.S.-Singapore partnership. Lee said Ambassador Chan has briefed him on the Obama Administration's leadership. He noted that he has met the Vice President and the Secretary, but he has not yet had the opportunity to meet the President, although Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong did meet the President (before his election) in the United States. Indonesia --------- 6. (C) Regarding Indonesia, MM Lee said the country is making important progress under President Yudhoyono, a decent man leading a nation that is always difficult to govern. He is trying his best, but even two terms may not be long enough for him to ensure that Indonesia stays on the right path in SINGAPORE 00000773 002 OF 005 the long run. The challenge may pass to his successor. Extreme Islamists remain influential in Indonesia and can persuade politicians to make electoral promises that then limit the scope of action the politicians can take once they are in office. One extremist group is eliminated in Indonesia, but another springs up, he commented. China ----- 7. (C) China has not yet fully learned the lesson about the need to provide a predictable environment for foreign investors, Lee noted. (Comment: This seemed to refer to problems that foreign investors in China have faced including the current Rio Tinto controversy. End Comment.) Senator Nelson noted that dealing with China can be difficult. It was even difficult to ensure that China met the Secret Service's security requirements for former President Bush during the Beijing Olympics, he stated. MM Lee said at the end of the day China will do what is necessary to ensure good relations with the United States. Other countries, however, may not get what they need from China. China took a hardline approach with France over the Olympic Flame issue, with Chinese citizens boycotting Carrefour stores. Beijing basically ignored President Sarkozy's threat not to attend the Olympics, with Chinese officials simply observing "you are here" when he showed up for the Games. 8. (C) Senator Nelson asked how China treats Singapore. MM Lee said Beijing knows that Singapore is the "undeclared ally" of the United States, with longstanding bilateral cooperation and the Strategic Framework Agreement. China knows that Singapore continues to send troops for training in Taiwan. Beijing has asked Singapore to stop this and offered training areas in Hainan. Lee told Chinese counterparts that if Singapore forces go to Hainan for training, the Americans will stop selling Singapore arms. He intended for the Chinese to get the message that their arms are not equal to American arms, he said. He added that he has told Beijing that if Beijing is in charge of Taiwan, he will ask Beijing for permission to train there. 9. (C) Lee said Deng Xiaoping visited Singapore in November, 1978. Vietnam had just invaded Cambodia. The Chinese message was that the Russian bear was trying to use Vietnam to establish a Cuba in the region. Lee told Deng that he and his neighbors did not fear the Russian bear. Russia is far away from Singapore. Meanwhile, China was supporting insurgencies in Southeast Asia, providing arms and supporting propaganda broadcasts. China needed to stop. Lee expected push-back, but Deng considered the message and asked what Lee wanted him to do. Lee said just stop. Deng said he needed time and, in about a year, he had basically stopped the arms flows and the broadcasts, Lee stated. 10. (C) According to Lee, on the economic side, Deng saw that Singapore was running a fair and egalitarian society, but one in which capitalist multinational corporations were playing a major role in job creation. Under the British, Singapore had been a nation of traders rather than engineers or manufacturers. Singapore had learned how to develop these skills and attract American, Japanese and European investment. Singapore's Small and Medium Enterprises were supplying them. Under Deng, China shifted from calling Singaporeans "lackeys" and "running dogs" to calling Singapore a "garden city" and urging Chinese to learn from Singapore. After Deng's Singapore trip, China began opening Special Economic Zones. Some Chinese leftists like Chen Yun opposed this, saying the shift was a retreat from Communism and Socialism and the Party would lose control. In 1992, when Deng's policies again came under attack from leftists, Deng made his famous trip to South China and again urged Chinese to learn from Singapore. 11. (C) Lee said at that time the Chinese were sending people to Singapore and they were videotaping what they saw, but there were real limits to what could be accomplished in this manner, as Lee told Deng's son Deng Pufang. Lee therefore pushed for establishment of the China-Singapore Industrial Park in Suzhou, near Shanghai. Lee sought to work with Premier Zhu Rongji on the project, but President Jiang Zemin insisted that Singapore work instead with Vice Premier Li Lanqing, whom Jiang trusted more than Zhu. Lee returned to Suzhou in May 2009 to mark the 15th anniversary of the SINGAPORE 00000773 003 OF 005 industrial park. Vice Premier Wang Qishan represented the Chinese side. Through projects like this, Singapore has built a strong reputation for urban management in China, but Singapore still comes under pressure from Beijing on issues like Taiwan, Lee said. 12. (C) Senator Nelson praised MM Lee's efforts to support China's opening up over the years. MM Lee said President George H.W. Bush played a key role by supporting China's entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO). Many in China were skeptical about joining the WTO, but Zhu Rongji persuaded Jiang Zemin that WTO entry, and the associated pressure to comply with WTO rules, would be vital over the long term to the process of ensuring that China prospers and changes. Senator Nelson noted that economic integration seems to have promoted improved ties between Beijing and Taipei. Lee said former leaders in Taiwan, like President Lee Teng-hui and President Chen Shui-bian, had miscalculated and pushed for independence. Instead, they should have used their economic leverage to build better ties with Beijing. President Ma Ying-jeou understands this, but Taiwan does not have the economic leverage it once had relative to Beijing, Lee stated. Lee's Experience Under Japanese Occupation ------------------------------------------ 13. (C) Senator Nelson asked MM Lee about his experience in World War II during the Japanese occupation of Singapore. MM Lee said he was lucky to escape being massacred. Ethnic Chinese in Singapore had been active in raising relief funds for China and Chiang Kai Shek, so when the Japanese occupiers arrived they demanded that Singapore's ethnic Chinese business community raise $200 million for Japan, or else. The Singaporeans failed to raise the money, so the Japanese detained 50-100 thousand ethnic Chinese men in Singapore, including Lee. There was no real pattern to it; the detained men were just people who seemed like they might be anti-Japanese or guerrilla fighters. Lee was ordered to get into a truck with others, but he had an intuition that getting into the truck would be a mistake so he got permission to go get clothes and used the opportunity to slip away for three or four days. He was then able to blend back into the population. Those who had boarded the trucks ended up machine gunned to death on the beach. The Japanese were brutal and cruel, using intimidation and collective punishment to terrorize the population into submission, he noted. 14. (C) MM Lee said Singapore was occupied for three and a half years. Although Japan surrendered on August 6, 1954, the British were unable to accept the surrender in Singapore until September. In the interim, the Japanese were defeated but in charge, beating up anyone who celebrated their defeat. Some Japanese committed suicide. They were brainwashed to believe they were the chosen people of the Moon Goddess. If they lost, they brought shame on their country and their race. During the occupation, Lee and others in Singapore had to bow deeply in the direction of Tokyo and the Emperor three times a day on Imperial Rescript Day. It was therefore surreal for Lee, years later in the 1960s when he was PM of Singapore, to meet the Emperor over lunch. Senator Nelson asked Lee if he said anything to the Emperor about the occupation. Lee said he felt he could not in the context of the lunch meeting. The Emperor murmured something about regrettable events, he stated. Lee on Singapore's Union with Malaysia -------------------------------------- 15. (C) Senator Nelson asked MM Lee about his experience from 1963-65, first leading Singapore into union with Malaysia in order to break the power of the Communists in Singapore, then leading an independent Singapore following the breakup on the union with Malaysia. Lee noted that during the period of British rule, Singapore had been the seat of empire for a broad area that included Malaysia, Singapore, North Borneo including Brunei, the Cocos Islands, and Christmas Island. After World War II, the British knew they could not hold onto India and Pakistan and they soon realized they could not hold Peninsular Malaysia, which they granted independence, while keeping Singapore. As it became clear that Britain could not retain Singapore either, Lee pushed for union with Malaysia. SINGAPORE 00000773 004 OF 005 16. (C) Lee said that the Tunku, then the leader of Malaysia, did not want Singapore, which would bring with it all the complications of a largely ethnic Chinese city, but the Tunku was persuaded when the British added East Malaysia as a kind of dowry to the Tunku for taking Singapore. The union with Malaysia was successful in breaking Communist power in Singapore, essentially by diluting the political influence of the largely ethnic Chinese Communists into a larger polity including many more conservative Malay Muslim voters. This made possible the political decapitation of the Communists, which put an end to the great momentum that the Communists in Singapore had enjoyed before that. There was a real fear of China, and a reluctance to stand up to China-backed Communism, in the region at that time. China's economy appeared to be growing very rapidly. In retrospect, it was all a Potemkin Village, but at the time, people did not realize that, Lee stated. 17. (C) Lee said that the breakup of the union with Malaysia began when his People's Action Party (PAP) tried to get Malays in Malaysia to join the PAP. Lee argued that all citizens have equal rights, but the Tunku took the view that Malays must rule Malaysia. In 1964, there were race riots in Singapore, which were engineered by the Malaysians to intimidate the Singaporeans, as similar riots had intimidated the people in Penang. Lee responded by organizing a solidarity conference. If there were going to be riots in Singapore, there would be riots in Malaysia. At that point, the Tunku told Lee to "get out," Lee stated. Lee on Building an Independent Singapore ---------------------------------------- 18. (C) Lee said building up an independent Singapore outside Malaysia was a huge challenge, but he had one critical advantage: he had won the trust of the people of Singapore. In earlier years, the Communists had taunted Lee as a soft, English-speaking, UK-educated lawyer who slept in air-conditioned rooms. Lee and his colleagues had shown their character by fighting the Communists, then by standing up to the Malaysians, even though the Malaysians controlled the police and the army. After 1965, they needed to ensure that Singapore was more productive and better organized than its resource-rich neighbors. Singapore had a strategic location and an infrastructure inherited from the British. To make use of these advantages, it needed to rebuild relations between labor and management. It needed to provide jobs, food and shelter for a population, at the time, of two million, he commented. 19. (C) According to Lee, the critical thing was to create stability and confidence for investors, who want their people in Singapore and their families to enjoy security, health care, and educational opportunities. There can be no changing of the rules in the middle of the game. Even during the 1973 oil crisis, Singapore honored its commitments. Jumping ahead to the current day, Exxon Mobile is proceeding with a USD 4.5 billion cracker plant on Singapore's Jurong Island, despite all the uncertainties in the global economy. This is because they anticipate expanded demand in China and India and they have confidence in Singapore's investment climate. Lee on Norman Rockwell's "The Golden Rule" Painting --------------------------------------------- ------ 20. (C) As the meeting concluded, Senator Nelson presented PM Lee with a copy of a Norman Rockwell "The Golden Rule" painting, representing the unity of the people of the world. The Senator noted that when he had the opportunity to go into space on the Space Shuttle 23 years ago he had developed a new appreciation for the oneness of the people of the planet. Lee said that is not the way the Russians see it. Senator Nelson noted that, despite U.S.-Russia disagreements, the two countries have been cooperating in space since 1975. Lee said perhaps President Medvedev sees things that way, but not PM Putin, who is still calling the shots. Lee added that many extremists in the Islamic world also reject the idea of the essential oneness of the world's people. 21. (U) Senator Nelson cleared this message. Visit Embassy Singapore's Classified website: SINGAPORE 00000773 005 OF 005 ex.cfm SHIELDS

Monday, January 23, 2017

Xi "the benign sun promising prosperity" wants to "tidy up the east " said Paul Keating: Implications for Australia's trade routes, supplies of oil

by Ganesh Sahathevan

The Sydney Morning Herald, that third world publication hiding behind a first world facade, had this to say  when comparing US   President Donald Trump to Chinese President Xi Jinping:

Trump is an angry north wind of threats and bluster; Xi is the benign sun promising prosperity.

The publication prides itself on its liberal views and might have wanted,before publication of that sentence, to consult with one of its heroes, former prime minister Paul Keating,who recently said this:

According to Keating, the Chinese are not looking out into the pacific at the cost of American hegemony or Japanese interests.

“The Chinese want to tidy up the east - but their real future is in the west," he said. "They want to rebuild the old silk road, the railways and highways up through the ‘Stan countries', through Istanbul, up to the Baltic coast of Poland," he said.

That the "Chinese want to tidy up the east" should be obvious to anyone who can read a map of China's South China Sea island buildings, as well as the map of China's plans for The South China Sea and the  Strait Of Malacca:

SCS Claims Map

Photo: Voice of America on Wikimedia
Now consider the grouping of the Chinese bases on “reclaimed” land. Besides the Cuarteron Reef near Malaysia, which hosts a high-powered 300km-range radar to watch over the Malacca Strait opening to the South China Sea, most of the other built-up bases are bunched at the near centre-point of the nine dash claim line curving short of and around the southern Vietnamese, south-central Kalimantan (Indonesia), Sarawak and Sabah (Malaysia) coasts, Brunei, and the southern Philippine islands.
This virtual mid-South China Sea grouping of the island-facilities to house naval and air assets has divided the South China Sea into two narrower seas on either side of the claim line for maritime traffic to negotiate. This will enable China to better police the two channels from the central verge, as it were.

Among China's acquisitions are  the Strait of Malacca ports in Malaysia ,which are supposed to be for trade. A World Bank study commissioned by the Malaysian government in 2015  showed a new port on Malaysia's west coast is not necessary, as existing facilities have yet to reach capacity. That these port's are likely to be bases for the Chinese Navy and other armed forces seems likely.

Taking all of the above together one can then see that China would have effective veto of what moves in and out the South China Sea,starting at the mouth of the Strait of Malacca, giving itself control over trade and resources, including oil ,gas and minerals, in the East. Even if Keating did not quite understand it, that is "the Chinese want to tidy up the east" will mean. Without that "tidy-up" China will not have the resources to expand into the "stans".

The impact of China's efforts in the South China Sea and Strait of Malacca is better understood when one considers the trade roots described in these CSIS trade maps and their accompanying notes:

Trade and Resources in the Indian Ocean

Trade and Resources in the Indian Ocean

The Indian Ocean is not the site of nearly as many territorial or maritime disputes, but it is nonetheless inseparable Pacific assets and interests. Eighty percent of Japanese and 39 percent of Chinese oil imports pass through the Indian Ocean en route from the Middle East. Chinese firms also have billions of dollars of investments in East Africa, concentrated primarily in the oil and gas, railways and roads, and other mining sectors

South China Sea LNG Flows

South China Sea LNG Flows

One-third of the world’s liquefied natural gas passes through the Straits of Malacca and into the South China Sea, with the bulk of it originating in the Persian Gulf. LNG also flows into the region from Southeast Asia and Oceania. Much of this imported LNG is bound for Japan and South Korea.

Australians need  to keep in mind that theLNG export routes are also our petroleum import routes,Australia no longer refines crude, so all refined product including petroleum must come via that route, often from Singapore.

China is therefore setting the stage for complete domination of trade in this region, which will leave Australia totally dependent on Chinese goodwill for supplies of basic fuel.

Contrary to Xi and China being "the benign sun promising prosperity" , this will be a case of China demanding Australian resources on  its terms .Australia will be in no position to say no.


Obama's legacy: Chinese control of the South China Sea,Strait Of Malacca and ensuing instability

by Ganesh Sahathevan 

When China ignored the Law Of The Sea Tribunal's decision against it, Obama issued this "sharp" rebuke to the Chinese leadership:

"Part of what I’ve tried to communicate to President Xi (Jinping) is that the United States arrives at its power, in part, by restraining itself," said Obama in a CNN interview. "You know, when we bind ourselves to a bunch of international norms and rules, it’s not because we have to, it’s because we recognize that, over the long-term, building a strong international order is in our interest. And, I think, over the long-term, it will be in China’s interests, as well."

Clearly, this had little impact on the Chinese who having tested the Obama Administration over the eight years, understood that they could do whatever they liked.This Reuters report from October 2015 was probably confirmation of what the Chinese would have concluded  as far back as 2013:

The U.S. naval challenge to China's territorial assertiveness in the South China Sea this week came after months of frustration within the Pentagon at what some defense officials saw as unnecessary delays by the White House and State Department in approving the mission.

Washington's caution also caused disquiet among some military officials in Japan and the Philippines, both U.S. security allies, feeding concerns that China's ambitions in the South China Sea would go unchecked.

The Pentagon and U.S. military officials had been ready for months to carry out patrols, but ran into "repeated stalling" from the White House and State Department, said one U.S. defense official, who requested anonymity.

Since China's land reclamation began in December 2013, it had reclaimed more than 2,900 acres (1,170 hectares) of land as of June, the Pentagon said in a recent report. China had reclaimed 17 times more land than the other claimants combined over the past 40 years, it added.

Pressure for action from U.S. allies in the region grew after China's island-building became front-page news this year following the release of high-resolution satellite images that showed the scale of the work.

The consequences of Obama's actions are easy to see, for the Chinese no longer feel the  need to conceal their actions.

This Pentagon map illustrates what China wants,or claims it needs.

Among China's acquisitions are  the Strait of Malacca ports in Malaysia ,which are supposed to be for trade. A World Bank study commissioned by the Malaysian government in 2015  showed a new port on Malaysia's west coast is not necessary, as existing facilities have yet to reach capacity. That these port's are likely to be bases for the Chinese Navy and other armed forces seems likely.

Malaysia submarine base in Sepanggar, Sabah

And then came this feat, aptly titled "Rising From The Shallows" by the South China Morning Post, which the Chinese managed to pull-off without being really bothered by the Obama administration:

INFOGRAPHIC: Surveying territorial claims in the South China Sea

Quite an achievement, given American supremacy in the region for more than 70 years,a supremacy well accepted by all littoral states.That stability is now gone and that is Obama's legacy.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

NZ ignores AML/CTF obligations to favour Malaysia's PM Najib and Saudi prince Turki's 1MDB theft: Allegation of bias against Obama's UN Resolution against Israel deepens

by Ganesh Sahathevan 

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key presented Datuk Seri Najib Razak with a
Pix courtesy of Prime Minister's Office

This writer has previously shown how Obama's UNSC Israel Resolution is tainted by bias because co-sponsors New Zealand and Malaysia are both compromised by  the 1MDB scandal.

The New Zealand Government has since become further compromised by refusing to enforce its own anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing laws against the family of one Low Hock Peng, which includes eldest son Jho Low who is said to be a central figure in the 1MDB theft.

The Lows have gone before the High Court in Auckland, New Zealand ,in order to substitute the trustees of a trust used to hide 1MDB related assets,so that the US DOJ's seizure of those assets might be challenged. They have succeeded in obtaining those orders against their trustees Rothschild Trust New Zealand, who feared being found criminally liable if they challenged the DOJ seizure.

The decision of the court in granting the Lows the orders they sought is a technical one based on the law of trusts and has little if anything to do with US DOJ action:

"Given the true nature of this proceeding, the background and extensive news media interest," Justice Toogood said it would be necessary for him to give a judgment which contains background "and perhaps emphasises what this proceeding does not involve".

"The central issue here is whether or not the beneficiaries are entitled to seek replacement of the trustees so they can resist the US proceedings, without this court needing to express any view about the merits" of the US allegations, Justice Toogood said. "The judgment would simply reflect the general nature of the allegations."

However, regardless of those orders , the fact remains that the New Zealand Government despite now being clearly made aware of the matter of the Lows using New Zealand as a shelter for their tainted assets, refuses to enforce its own AML/CTF regulations and seems determined to ensure that the Lows are unhindered in their criminal enterprise.

It is a matter of public record  that the beneficiaries of the 1MDB scandal include Malaysia's PM Najib and well as Saudi prince Turki Abdullah , a son of the late King Abdullah.

The case against New Zealand as a party tainted by bias when it moved Obama's UN Resolution against Israeli settlements grows even stronger. That case may now include elements of terrorist financing.


Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Sultan of Johor's Forest City reclamation may be in an area where reclamation is not viable, if not impossible

by Ganesh Sahathevan

(Note:Click on images to enlarge)

The following satellite  images show how the Sultan of Johor's Forest City development, that is to be built on re-claimed land, may not be viable for it appears the proposed site will be in a particularly "weak" or "soggy" area.

Using the example of Singapore ,the first two images show that Singapore, which itself
comprises much reclaimed land,sits atop a subsurface not very different from that which
is found beneath Peninsular Malaysia. In other words, Singapore sits atop the yellow areas, much like Peninsular Malaysia.

Readers can easily see that the Strait of Malacca, or rather the earth under the Strait, is green or green-yellow, indicating a weaker subsurface, or weaker region.

The second image shows that where the subsurface is green ,ie not as hard as the yellow areas,Singapore's planners have been careful not to build, and where they have ensured that building is limited to ports and the airport.

The proposed Forest City development on the other hand is an area that is dark green, almost blue suggesting a particularly weak area where reclamation may not be possible, or if possible not commercially viable.


Sunday, January 15, 2017

Sutlan Of Johor appears to have misunderstood what the sale of Forest City strata title entails;and Mahathir is not the only person with concerns about the project.

by Ganesh Sahathevan 

The Star reported this morning:

Enough is enough: Sultan Ibrahim stressing a point during an exclusive interview with The Star.

The Sultan of Johor has said he is “deeply offended and hurt” by the political spin used by certain politicians against mainland Chinese investments in the state, saying if this is left unchecked, it would drive away investors.

In a no-holds barred interview, a visibly upset Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar singled out Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad for “putting political interests above Malaysian interests, particularly Johor”.
“Enough is enough. I have so far restrained myself from commenting on the controversy on Forest City generated by Dr Mahathir and his supporters.
“But Dr Mahathir has gone too far with his twisting of the issue. He is making allegations that 700,000 mainland Chinese will stay in JB, and that citizenships will be given away, and that huge tracts of land have been sold to the Chinese.
“He is giving the impression that Johor is surrendering land to the Chinese and that we are giving up our sovereignty, comparing even how we gave up Singapore to the British,” he said in an interview at Istana Bukit Serene here.
His Royal Highness said he did not wish to intervene in politics but he had to set the record straight as “the facts have been twisted by people with twisted minds and intentions”.
“Let me ask him this – Forest City is to be built on reclamation land and most of these units are condominiums. In simple language, these units are up in the air. They are strata units.“I would like to ask Dr Mahathir if these foreign buyers can just take their apartments back home or carry off an inch of the reclaimed land.
While His Highness is right in asserting that these units are up in the air,  these units are part of  strata developments  where the owners' corporation will have effective control of the land. Even if the majority of owners are loyal Malaysians (or better still loyal subjects of His Highness) it is the Malaysian experience that the developer , in this case China's Country Garden Pacific View (CGPV), and not the owners , that will  control the owners' corporation. 
That control of the land  can have many consequences, which  the Malay Rulers ought to have learnt from their past experience with British Advisers. 
Finally, while this writer's history would show that he not exactly a Mahathir apologist, the Bloomberg article below shows that Mahathir is not the only one who has concerns about the Forest City Development.

$100 Billion Chinese-Made City Near Singapore 'Scares the Hell Out of Everybody

'Planeloads of buyers fly in as condos rise from the sea

The landscaped lawns and flowering shrubs of Country Garden Holdings Co.’s huge property showroom in southern Malaysia end abruptly at a small wire fence. Beyond, a desert of dirt stretches into the distance, filled with cranes and piling towers that the Chinese developer is using to build a $100 billion city in the sea.

While Chinese home buyers have sent prices soaring from Vancouver to Sydney, in this corner of Southeast Asia it’s China’s developers that are swamping the market, pushing prices lower with a glut of hundreds of thousands of new homes. They’re betting that the city of Johor Bahru, bordering Singapore, will eventually become the next Shenzhen.

“These Chinese players build by the thousands at one go, and they scare the hell out of everybody,” said Siva Shanker, head of investments at Axis-REIT Managers Bhd. and a former president of the Malaysian Institute of Estate Agents. “God only knows who is going to buy all these units, and when it’s completed, the bigger question is, who is going to stay in them?”

The Chinese companies have come to Malaysia as growth in many of their home cities is slowing, forcing some of the world’s biggest builders to look abroad to keep erecting the giant residential complexes that sprouted across China during the boom years. They found a prime spot in this special economic zone, three times the size of Singapore, on the southern tip of the Asian mainland.

The Forest City project will span four artificial islands.

Photographer: Ore Huiying/Bloomberg

The scale of the projects is dizzying. Country Garden’s Forest City, on four artificial islands, will house 700,000 people on an area four times the size of New York’s Central Park. It will have office towers, parks, hotels, shopping malls and an international school, all draped with greenery. Construction began in February and about 8,000 apartments have been sold, the company said.

It’s the biggest of about 60 projects in the Iskandar Malaysia zone around Johor Bahru, known as JB, that could add more than half-a-million homes. The influx has contributed to a drop of almost one-third in the value of residential sales in the state last year, with some developers offering discounts of 20 percent or more. Average resale prices per square foot for high-rise flats in JB fell 10 percent last year, according to property consultant CH Williams Talhar & Wong.

Country Garden, which has partnered with the investment arm of Johor state, launched another waterfront project down the coast in 2013 called Danga Bay, where it has sold all 9,539 apartments. China state-owned Greenland Group is building office towers, apartments and shops on 128 acres in Tebrau, about 20 minutes from the city center. Guangzhou R&F Properties Co. has begun construction on the first phase of Princess Cove, with about 3,000 homes.

Country Garden said in an e-mail it was “optimistic on the outlook of Forest City” because of the region’s growing economy and location next to Singapore. R&F didn’t respond to questions about the effects of so many new units and Greenland declined to comment.

Singapore Draw

“The Chinese are attracted by lower prices and the proximity to Singapore,” said Alice Tan, Singapore-based head of consultancy and research at real-estate brokers Knight Frank LLP. “It remains to be seen if the upcoming supply of homes can be absorbed in the next five years.”

The influx of Chinese competition has affected local developers like UEM Sunrise Bhd., Sunway Bhd. and SP Setia Bhd., who have been building projects around JB for years as part of a government plan to promote the area. First-half profit slumped 58 percent at UEM, the largest landowner in JB.

A decade ago, Malaysia decided to leverage Singapore’s success by building the Iskandar zone across the causeway that connects the two countries. It was modeled on Shenzhen, the neighbor of Hong Kong that grew from a fishing village to a city of 10 million people in three decades. Malaysian sovereign fund Khazanah Nasional Bhd. unveiled a 20-year plan in 2006 that required a total investment of 383 billion ringgit ($87 billion).

Singapore’s high costs and property prices encouraged some companies to relocate to Iskandar, while JB’s shopping malls and amusement parks have become a favorite for day-tripping Singaporeans. In the old city center, young Malaysians hang out in cafes and ice cream parlors on hipster street Jalan Dhoby, where the inflow of new money is refurbishing the colonial-era shophouses.

Outside the city, swathes of palm-oil plantations separate isolated gated developments like Horizon Hills, a 1,200-acre township with an 18-hole golf course.

“The Chinese developers see this as an opportunity. A lot of them say Iskandar is just like Shenzhen was 10 years ago,” said Jonathan Lo, manager of valuations at CH Williams Talhar & Wong, a property broker based in Johor Bahru. “Overseas investors coming to Malaysia is a new phenomenon so it’s hard to predict.”

Construction soon outpaced demand. To sell the hundreds of new units being built every month, some companies took to flying in planeloads of potential buyers from China, prompting low-cost carrier AirAsia Bhd. to start direct flights in May connecting JB with the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou.

On the first such flight, 150 of the 180 seats were taken by a subsidized tour group organized by Country Garden. Almost half of them ended up buying a residence, the developer said in an e-mail.

“A lot of [Chinese developers] say Iskandar is just like Shenzhen was 10 years ago”

Potential buyers at the Country Garden sales office.

Photographer: Ore Huiying/Bloomberg

Buses disgorging Chinese tourists at Forest City in November were met by dozens of sales agents, with the women dressed in traditional Sarong Kebaya outfits similar to those worn by Singapore Airlines Ltd. stewardesses.

The visitors filed into a vast sales gallery where agents explained the enormity of the project using a replica of the finished town, with model buildings as tall as people. They viewed show flats with marble floors and golden-trimmed furniture, dined on a buffet spread and were encouraged to sign on the spot. A two-bedroom apartment cost as little as 1.25 million yuan ($181,400), about one-fifth of the price of a similar-sized private apartment in central Singapore.

But JB is not Shenzhen. The billions poured into the economic zone in southern Guangdong in the 1980s and 1990s by Hong Kong and Taiwanese firms was soon dwarfed by Chinese investment as factories sprang up all along China’s coast.

In Malaysia, investment growth is slowing, slipping to 2 percent year on year in the third quarter, from more than 6 percent in the previous quarter. The value of residential sales in Malaysia fell almost 11 percent last year, while in Johor the drop was 32 percent, according to government data.

“I am very concerned because the market is joined at the hip, if Johor goes down, the rest of Malaysia would follow,” said Shanker, at Axis-REIT Managers, who estimates that about half the units in Iskandar may remain empty. “If the developers stop building today, I think it would take 10 years for the condos to fill up the current supply. But they won’t stop.”

Ongoing construction of the Country Garden Danga Bay project.

Photographer: Ore Huiying/Bloomberg

Property Pipeline

Developers have a pipeline of more than 350,000 private homes planned or under construction in Johor state, according to data from Malaysia’s National Property Information Centre. That’s more than all the privately built homes in Singapore. Forest City could add another 160,000 over its 30-year construction period, according to Bloomberg estimates, based on the projected population.

“Land is plentiful and cheap,” said Alan Cheong, senior director of research & consultancy at Savills Singapore. “But buyers don’t understand how real estate values play out when there is no shortage of land.”

The developers haven’t been helped by government measures designed to prevent overseas investors pushing up prices. In 2014, Malaysia doubled the minimum price of homes that foreigners can buy to 1 million ringgit, and raised capital gains tax to as much as 30 per cent for most properties resold by foreigners within five years.

The stream of new developments has scared away some investors, pushing developers to concentrate more on finding families who will live in the apartments, said Lo at CH Williams. Profit margins have fallen to around 20 percent, from 30 percent when land was cheap a few years ago, according to his firm.

Ongoing construction of the Tropicana Corp's Danga Bay project.

Photographer: Ore Huiying/Bloomberg

Singapore billionaire Peter Lim’s Rowsley Ltd. said last year it will no longer build homes in Iskandar and will instead turn its Vantage Bay site into a healthcare and wellness center.

“The Chinese players have deep financial resources and are building residential projects ahead of demand,” Ho Kiam Kheong, managing director of real estate at Rowsley said in an interview. “If we do residential in Iskandar, we would be only a drop in the ocean. We can’t compete with them on such a large scale.”

UEM Group Bhd., the biggest landowner in Iskandar, is selling plots to manufacturers to boost economic activity in the area.

“The market is joined at the hip, if Johor goes down, the rest of Malaysia would follow”

A Country Gardens ad outside the sales gallery.

Photographer: Ore Huiying/Bloomberg

“Industries are the queen bee,” creating jobs and wealth for local residents, said Chief Executive Officer Izzaddin Idris. “That will bring a demand for the houses we are building.”

U.S.-based chocolate maker Hershey Co. is among those building a plant in Iskandar, joining tenants such as amusement park Legoland Malaysia and Pinewood Iskandar Malaysia Studios—a franchise of the U.K.-based movie studio.

Meanwhile, sales reps sell a Utopian dream—a city of the future with smart, leafy buildings and offices full of happy, rich residents.

“It will take a while for all the parts to fall into place: infrastructure, manufacturing, education, healthcare and growth in population,” said Ho at Rowsley. “But I have no doubt it will happen eventually.”

—With assistance from Emma Dong.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Why did Obama meet Riza Aziz, and why did the CIA not advise against that meeting, or did it?

My selfie with President Obama !

Image result for obama najib

by Ganesh Sahathevan 

The WSJ  reported in 2016:

Malaysia’s government-fund scandal, one of the world’s biggest alleged white-collar crimes, has been connected to a Hollywood studio, high-end U.S. real estate—and now, a visit to the White House.

Federal investigators are looking into whether money improperly obtained from the Malaysian fund was paid to a businessman who later arranged an Oval Office visit for relatives of the Malaysian prime minister, according to people familiar with the probe.

The businessman is Frank White Jr., an entrepreneur who helped start an investment firm called DuSable Capital Management LLC, along with partners including a rap star. Mr. White has also raised funds for President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

Mr. White’s Malaysian connections were on display in December 2013 when he escorted to the Oval Office a delegation that included the son and stepson of Malaysia’s prime minister, according to visitor records. Actor Leonardo DiCaprio and director Martin Scorsese accompanied them to present to the president a copy of “The Wolf of Wall Street,” a film the stepson, Riza Aziz, co-produced.

By December 2013 Riza Aziz was already in the news,in the US and elsewhere for all the wrong reasons,including money laundering and use of state funds to finance his movie making career. Some examples of what was already in the public domain have been copied and pasted below.

A junior open source (OSINT) analyst would have picked all or any of this up with a simple Google search.One assumes of course that the CIA and other US intelligence services backgrounded these visitors to the Oval Office.If they did not,they need to explain why.

Assuming that they did, why then did they not advise against the meeting? Or did they ,but were ignored by Obama and his advisers?

This should have alerted the CIA to the issue:

From the Hollywood Reporter, May 2012:

Red Granite was formed by Riza Aziz — the 35-year-old son of Malaysian Prime Minster Tun Abdul Razak and among the new generation of film financiers flocking to Hollywood — and Joey McFarland, 40
THR: How much money are you backed by?
McFarland: We do not talk about that. 

Aziz: I will say that I have money invested in the company. It shows that I have skin in the game and am committed from a financial point of view. We also have a group of investors, mainly from the Middle East and Asia.

A simple Internet search would have revealed Riza's Linkedin profile ,and shown  that Riza was ,  prior to becoming a Hollywood movie producer,  a UK bank officer.. That alone should have raised questions about his "skin", especially after his partner Joey McFraland insisted that they "do not talk" about their source of funds. 

Image result for rosmah new york penthouse

There was then this article from a well known celebrity blogger in Malaysia, which should have raised immediate concerns:

Dec 13, 2012




See, even CNN can make foolish mistakes and get their facts seriously wrong!

Isn't Riza Aziz, based on his age of only 35, the son of Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak rather than his grandfather? Well, Riza is an investment banker who worked in London for the last 10 years and accumulated a vast fortune there 
by investing in houses and properties and the stock market. 
A million ringgit house ( a mere L 200,000) bought 10 years ago 
can now be worth a million pounds (RM 5 million) and if you had 
bought 10 such houses, you could have made a profit of 
RM 40 million!

This fabulous 15-room, 7,738 sq ft condo has fantastic views from 
its wraparound 1,244 sq ft balcony and is one of the most exclusive 
and expensive condos not only in New York City but the world. In fact, 
even if I am given this condo totally free, I still cannot afford to live in it?


The monthly maintenance fee is RM 60,000!

Riza Aziz is also the founder owner of Red Granite, a production house
 which makes him a Hollywood movie producer. Riza is a close friend of 
Leonardo diCapracio and funded the RM 300 million movie 
'The Wolf of Wall Street' which begun shooting in New York last August.

Red Granite was launched at Cannes Film Festival in 2010 in what
 was dubbed the 'hottest party in years' and attended by all the hottest stars attending the Cannes Film Festival.

Riza Aziz also met Kris Aquino, sister of the President of the 
Philippines and she tweeted she was surprised to learn "he is a 
Hollywood producer. 
Napayasosyal." Well, based on Kris's acting career, don't be 
surprised if she asked to be in his next movie which may star 
Daniel Radcliffe of 'Harry Potter' fame.

This 2012 article confirms and adds to stories about Riza Aziz's investment 
portfolio, which seems to have come out of nowhere:

Housing & Economy December 7, 2012, 3:00 pm

Big Ticket | Sold for $33.5 Million


The Park Laurel condominium
Librado Romero/The New York Times The Park Laurel condominium
A large and lavish duplex penthouse that dominates one of the asymmetrical towers at the Park Laurel, a luxury condominium residence built in 2000 and anchored by the historic McBurney School, sold for $33.5 million and was the most expensive sale of the week, according to city records.

The penthouse, No. 29A, a sprawling 15-room combination of three units designed by the architect Alan Wanzenberg for a previous owner, occupies 7,738 square feet of interior space and has a 1,244-square-foot wraparound trophy terrace that faces south and captures both park and city views. There are seven bedrooms, five bathrooms, two powder rooms and a personal elevator entrance.

Special attention was paid to soundproofing: a 2010 listing for the apartment noted that, in addition to radiant-heated tiles in the master bath, the unit had been soundproofed by JRH Acoustical Consulting, with all pipes insulated to achieve “sound elimination.” Carrying charges are around $20,000 per month. 

The Park Laurel, at 15 West 63rd Street, was designed by Beyer Blinder Belle and Costas Kondylis with an eye to the Modernist architecture at Lincoln Center nearby. Previous residents include J. Michael Evans, a Goldman Sachs vice chairman and potential successor to Lloyd C. Blankfein. His 5,000-square-foot Gwathmey Siegel-designed duplex penthouse, No. 40/41, is currently listedfor sale with Douglas Elliman Real Estate for $26.5 million. For $29.25 million, Mr. Evans, who decamped to 995 Fifth Avenue this summer, will throw in an auxiliary two-bedroom unit he owns on the 14th floor.

When No. 29A changed hands in 2010, the seller was the hedge-fund honcho Ephraim F. Gildor, the asking price was $28 million, and the Swiss buyers, Peter Edward Chadney and Simone Cecile Von Graffenried Simperl, paid $23.98 million. Agents from Douglas Elliman represented both parties in the deal. This time around, there was apparently no formal listing; both Janice Chang and Raphael De Niro, who were involved in the 2010 transaction, confirmed that they had no connection to the $33.5 million deal.

Mr. Chadney and Ms. Simperl used Park Laurel Ltd., a company based in Zurich, to identify themselves in city records, and the buyer, based in Los Angeles, acquired the penthouse under the shield of a limited-liability company, Park Laurel Acquisition.

The sale appeared in city records on Dec. 4 and a post that day on the Web site of The Real Deal identified the buyer as Riza Aziz, an investment banker and a founder of Red Granite Pictures, a fledgling film company in Beverly Hills, Calif. Mr. Aziz is a son of Tun Abdul Razak, the Malaysian prime minister from 1970 to 1976. His film company’s debut offering was “Friends With Kids”; it is currently producing “The Wolf of Wall Street,” a $100 million venture directed by Martin Scorsese, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and filming in New York City. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Mr. Aziz and Mr. DiCaprio are fast friends.
Big Ticket includes closed sales from the previous week, ending Wednesday.
A version of this article appeared in print on 12/09/2012, on page 
RE2 of the NewYork edition with the headline: $33,500,000.