Sunday, September 29, 2019

More on Neil Chenoweth's "The questions ICAC isn’t asking": Peter Hall QC turns away from evidence on Huang Xiama (and Zhu Minshen)

by Ganesh Sahathevan

From Neil Chenoweth's The questions ICAC isn’t asking
originally published in the Australian Financial Review 7th September 2019:

Huang has declined to testify, even by video link, though he told the AFR Weekend that the money given to Labor wasn’t his – he has never shopped in an Aldi supermarket, let alone handled an Aldi shopping bag.
(ICAC Chief Commissioner Peter) Hall slapped down Huang’s statement on Friday as unacceptable, given his refusal to appear. Even so, the inquiry keeps bumping into traces of Huang – meetings with him, phone calls that were made. Yet there have been no questions about these conversations.

This is strange for Hall's job is to gather evidence; he is no longer a Court Of Appeal judge who rules evidence in or out.



Peter Hall QC and ICAC have been provided information about Top Group by Dr Amen Lee, but ICAC will still not call Zhu Minshen

China's Luconia Shoals adventures may add to Petronas production sharing contractors' costs -the Malaysian taxpayer bears the cost

by Ganesh Sahathevan

Scs1 1309off
Malaysia has much to lose by giving in to China.Apart from access 
to the basins that clearly lie within Malaysia's Exclusive Economic 
Zone,there is a system of oil and gas production and collection 
which has been built up over more than 40 years.

It has been previously reported on this blog that  China is particularly interested in asserting sovereignty over Luconia Shoals and that the Chinese Coast Guard (CCG) seems to have launched a campaign to bully Malaysia into submitting to at least de facto control of the Shoals and the South China Sea.

Meanwhile, the CCG's habit of having its boats harass if not at least shadow oil and gas company vessels is likely to add to the .costs they incur in their work as production sharing contractors for Petronas. Petronas gets a share of profit oil from the contractors, after they deduct their costs of exploration and production. Malaysia 's membership of ASEAN, and its participation in the ZOPFAN Declaration  has ensured a relatively trouble free South China Sea,,bar the problem of piracy.

Consequently PSC contractors have not had to incur the costs of protecting themselves against the risks of territorial conflict which can include. among other things, the costs of changes in regulatory regimes and the costs of guarding against aggression by the disputing parties.

Oil and gas exploration and even production is a highly speculative business and anything that adds to the risk profile can easily make even existing projects uncommercial.  As a result, Petronas may see a reduced quantum of profit oil, and future revenue may be adversely impacted.
The party ultimately bearing the costs is the Malaysian taxpayer, who will have to bear the burden of making up for a lower Petronas dividend.

The Malaysian Government must know all this, so why it would simply stand aside and allow China to do as it pleases is unfathomable.

Friday, September 27, 2019

Turkish court finds that Gulen movement "planned and implemented" 2016 coup in Turkey: Meanwhile Australian members of the judiciary, Governor Beazley and her AG maintain they have better "insight "into the Gulen movement

by Ganesh Sahathevan '

More questions about Gulen in the international media: Meanwhile

On June 20(2019) , Ankara's 17th High Criminal Court handed down aggravated life sentences to scores of convicts for their involvement in the defeated 2016 coup in Turkey.

“The coup attempt on July 15, 2016 was planned and implemented by taking advantage of the organic integrity and effectiveness of the FETÖ armed terrorist organization across the country,” said the verdict.

“There is no dispute and controversy that the countrywide coup attempt was carried out by the armed terrorist organization FETÖ, using the name of the Peace at Home Council, which is terror group's structure in the armed forces.”

In Australia however, apart from condemning this writer for a lack of "insight"
the Governor of NSW Margaret Beazley ,her Chief Justice ,Premier and AG continue to support Erdogan's enemy Gulen, without providing any explanation whatsoever for their actions.


Gulen, Governor Beazley, the Premier and AG NSW and members of the judiciary : Revelation of Gulen's financing raises perception of bias that must be addressed.

Erdogan’s anger toward Australia may have to do with the defiant support for Gulen: Governor designate Margaret Beazley’s Gulen problem gets more complicated

Zhu Minshen announces that NSW LPAB review "went smoothly": AG NSW Mark Speakman and officers unconcerned by Clive Hamilton's disclosures of threats, intimidation and defiance of AFP directives ,share price collapse

by Ganesh Sahathevan

The LPAB''s tick of approval does not seem to have reversed the downward trend in share price.Indeed it does look as if the LPAB has ignored all together the fact that Top's market capitalisation has collapsed since listing. Note that Top's shareprice has fallen 14.29% over the past month,compared to 1.13% for the overall market as measured by the Hang Seng Index

In the words of Zhu Minshen, chairman and CEO of his Top Education Group Ltd:

Bachelor of Law Re-accreditation 

The scheduled re-accreditation process of our Bachelor of Laws (‘‘LLB’’) went smoothly. On 27 June 2019, TOP received formal notification from the Legal Profession Admission Board of New South Wales (‘‘LPAB’’) to accredit TOP’s LLB for a further five-year period commencing from the notification date.

All this despite the revelations of open defiance of an AFP directive, threats and intimidation disclosed in Clive Hamilton's "Silent Invasion",which have been previously reported on this blog:

In his 2018 book "Silent Invasion" Professor Clive Hamilton reports that Top Education Group's Zhu Minshen organised  students , including students from his Top Education Institute to protest  against Tibetans at the  2008 rally , which counted towards the Top students’ assessment.  Zhu’s Top Institution is “perhaps the only accredited degree program in Australia that counts agitating for a foreign power towards its qualifications.”

Hamilton provides details of Zhu's Communist Party China antecedents and his organisation of the 30,000 strong demonstration by Chinese students at the Canberra torch relay, many of them brandishing Chinese flags.

This was clearly an open challenge to the authority , and in public defiance  of, the AFP's directive to Chinese government security that they were not to be involved in the torch relay. As Hamilton puts is "ASIO shat themselves".

Despite this open defiance of the law that they are meant to defend and uphold the Attorney General NSW Mark Speakman and the other senior judicial officers at the LPAB determined that an exception should  be made to allow Zhu to operate the "first and only" law school in Australia that is not part of a university.


See Also 

Law Council Australia 's exception for Zhu Minshen despite Law Council declaring China's justice system "a joke"

Thursday, September 26, 2019

China is particularly interested in asserting sovereignty over Luconia Shoals ,Chinese Coast Guard in strategy to bully Malaysia into submitting to at least de facto control

by Ganesh Sahathevan

“There don’t appear to be any other contested areas where CCG [China Coast Guard] presence is so persistent, and where China clearly wants regional counterparts to know they are present,” the report said.
“Beijing has evidently taken a special interest in Luconia, Second Thomas and Scarborough shoals. It seems to be wagering that if it can maintain a semi-permanent CCG presence for long enough, regional states will eventually accede to its de facto control of those areas.

The SCMP has reported:

Some Chinese coastguard vessels deployed in the South China Sea have deliberately made themselves visible to rival claimants of the 
contested waters
 by turning on tracking signals – a move analysts described as an attempt to assert sovereignty.
A report released by the Washington-based Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative said it had identified 14 Chinese coastguard vessels broadcasting automatic identification system (AIS) signals while patrolling the Luconia Shoals, Second Thomas Shoal and the Scarborough Shoal over the past year.
.(AMTI said that)
many Chinese coastguard vessels patrolling in other parts of the South China Sea broadcast the signals only when entering and leaving port.
But the vessels patrolling the three shoals appeared to have made efforts to be seen. One at Luconia had broadcast AIS signals on 258 of the past 365 days.
“There don’t appear to be any other contested areas where CCG [China Coast Guard] presence is so persistent, and where China clearly wants regional counterparts to know they are present,” the report said.
“Beijing has evidently taken a special interest in Luconia, Second Thomas and Scarborough shoals. It seems to be wagering that if it can maintain a semi-permanent CCG presence for long enough, regional states will eventually accede to its de facto control of those areas.

It appears that the incident involving the Malaysian flag reported on this blog in 2016 was a first step in what can now be seen to be a larger strategy to assert sovereignty over the South China Sea.

uesday, August 9, 2016

Pedra Branca/Batu Puteh decision suggests Malaysia has surrendered right to Luconia-removing own flag from Luconia Shoals in stark contrast with past practise

by Ganesh Sahathevan

These submissions by the  Government Of Singapore to the International Court Of Justice in the Pedra Branca/Batu Puteh matter were part of Singapore's ultimately successful defence against Malaysia's claim:

6.53 It should be noted that Malaysia has demonstrated her awareness of the significance of flying national emblems over territory for purposes of evidencing sovereignty. Malaysia demanded (and obtained) the lowering of the Singapore Ensign flown until 3 September 1968 over another lighthouse facility maintained by Singapore at Pulau Pisang, a territory over which Singapore does not exercise or claim sovereignty.

7.11 In the present case, neither Johor nor Malaysia ever protested against the regular flying of the British and Singapore emblems over Pedra Branca, even though this was done as a clear display of State authority and without seeking consent from Malaysia or Johor, and Malaysian officials were fully aware of this.

7.12 Moreover, Malaysia’s long silence regarding this clear and public manifestation of Singapore’s sovereignty over Pedra Branca since 1847 is in sharp contrast to Malaysia’s response to the flying of the Singapore marine ensign on the lighthouse administered by Singapore at Pulau Pisang, an island which belongs to Malaysia. In 1968, Malaysia objected to the flying of the Singapore flag over Pulau Pisang Lighthouse320. Following Malaysia’s objection, Singapore ceased flying her flag on the Lighthouse. In contrast, at no time had Malaysia ever protested against Singapore’s flying of her flag over Pedra Branca. 7.13 If Malaysia had any belief that she had a claim to sovereignty over Pedra Branca, one would have expected Malaysia to have exercised or attempted to exercise her sovereign authority over the island in the same way that she had done with respect to Pulau Pisang, if only to put on record that, notwithstanding Singapore’s presence on Pedra Branca, Malaysia had sovereign authority over the island. This omission on Malaysia’s part is especially significant as it occurred shortly after Singapore left the Federation of Malaysia in August 1965, when the governments of both countries treated each other with the utmost caution on bilateral issues.

7.14 Singapore contends that, given these facts, Malaysia had consciously (and correctly) decided that, in contrast with Pulau Pisang, any protest was not appropriate with respect to the flying of the Singapore flag on Pedra Branca. 

Given that these arguments led to the decision against Malaysia, one would expect that the Government Of Malaysia would exercise and strenuously defend its right to fly the flag on all its possessions, but this was obviously not the case with Luconia Shoals.  It is hard to see that by removing its own flag, Malaysia has not surrendered its right to the Shoals.
(Hans Berekoven, an Australian  marine archaeologistchose Malaysia's independence day, August 31 last year, to protest against the situation by raising the Malaysian flag on the tiny island.
It is the first time the video of the incident has been released.
"I took the curator of the museum that we're working with, and a couple of other Malaysian friends, and a journalist from the Borneo Post," he said.
They mounted a stainless steel flagpole into a cement footing and raised the Malaysian flag, as the China Coast Guard vessel watched from about 500m offshore.
"They must have got on the blower to Beijing and Beijing must have got on the blower to Kuala Lumpur, because suddenly there was a big kerfuffle in KL," Mr Berekoven said.
The next morning, a Malaysian aircraft flew low over Mr Berekoven's boat and the island.
"A Malaysian coast guard vessel was despatched. Went out there and unbolted the flag," he said.
"It's absolutely absurd. It's 88 miles, well within the 200 mile economic exclusion zone, and they've forced the Malaysians to take the flag down — their flag, asserting their authority, their sovereignty."



ABC Australia reports that Malaysia surrendered special rights to Luconia Shoals to China : Rights to adjoining EEZ may be lost

Friday, September 20, 2019

Zhu Minshen met PM Turnbul and AG Brandis with regards Top's law school after the NSW LPAB issued the license::Why meet with Turnbull,Brandis over a state matter?

by Ganesh Sahathevan

Top Education Group Ltd
HKG: 1752
0.30 HKD −0.0050 
20 Sep, 4:00 pm GMT+8 · Disclaimer

Mkt cap748.69M
P/E ratio73.20
Div yield-
Prev close0.30
52-wk high0.45
52-wk low0.24

The collapse in Top Group's market capitalization seems not to have bothered the relevant Australian regulators,which include the Legal Profession Admission Board NSW and TEQSA.
Fergus Hunter reported in the SMH , 

Top Education Institute, the company Dr Zhu established in 2001 and PricewaterhouseCoopers invested in earlier this year(2016) , specialises in law, business and accounting qualifications costing between $8500 and $80,000.
In November(2015) , he met Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull for a dinner related to the institute's newly established law school.
In April (2016), he discussed the merits of law degrees with Senator Brandis.
This interesting given that Top's law school is accredited by the New South Wales Legal Profession Admission Board,which is under the purview of AG NSW Mark Speakman SC.  The common thread however is in the fact that Turnbull ,Brandis and Speakman are all "moderates" which in English means they are of their Liberal Party's Left faction.


Wednesday, April 10, 2019

NSW Libs received donations of $44,275 from TOP Education Group just before after TOP was granted the "first & only" license issued a private company to award law degrees: AG Speakman and his LPAB refuse to disclose all details in the LPAB Annual Reports

by Ganesh Sahathevan

Troy Grant MP

Mark Speakman

As First Law Officer of the state, Mark oversees 
the administration of almost 200 Acts of Parliament, 
the most of any minister in the NSW Government. 

The Legal Profession Admission Board is a  statutory body chaired by the Chief Justice of New South Wales.Its annual report is tabled in the NSW Parliament by the Attorney General NSW , currently Mark Speakman SC,for approval.

The LPAB's duties include granting licenses for the award of  Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degrees to interested parties ,which until recently were all public universities. In 2015 the LPAB issued a license to grant LLBs to TOP Education Group Ltd, which proudly proclaims the fact that it is the "first and only" private company to have been granted such a license. 

The AG NSW is also the Liberal Member for Cronulla and he,as well as the LPAB , have been queried about the following issues discovered in the LPAB's 2015 Annual Report which relate to the TOP Group application. 

The  LPAB states in its 2015 Annual Report:

In addition, the LPAB received an application for accreditation of a new law degree to be offered by a non-university provider, TOP Education Institute (LLB).
The LPAB considered the advice of its Accreditation Sub-Committee and Legal Qualifications Committee, and also consulted with other admitting authorities through the Law Admissions Consultative Committee (LACC),  before deciding to accredit the new degree with effect from 1 January 2015.

With regards the above the LPAB and the  AG have  been asked why in considering the TOP application they  appear not to have considered   TOP  Group's CEO and controlling shareholder Minshen Zhu's  business failures which were a matter of public record in 2015 ,and collated in its 2018 Prospectus issued in connection with the Initial Public Offering (IPO) of its stock and listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Zhu's business failures are listed on page 160 and 167 of the IPO Prospectus. They are failures in small businesses which in turn raise questions about his capacity to fund a much larger venture like TOP.

The LPAB and AG were  also queried about the exclusion from the 2015 Annual Report of material that had been disclosed in the 2012 Annual Report where it is stated  that LPAB member  Dr Gordon Elkington was assigned to TEQSA to assist with the TOP  application for the relevant licenses from TEQSA. 

The exclusion from the 2015 annual report of the information disclosed in the 2012 annual report gives the impression that the LPAB's assessment of the TOP application in 2015 was a dealing with a party with which it had no prior relationship, when in fact it had.

All of the above would be of  concern to both students and investors given the dramatic collapse in TOP's share price, The AG and the LPAB have confirmed in writing that they are not interested in answering any of the questions above.

It has since been discovered that in the 4 months or so prior to the LPAB granting TOP  the license to issue law degrees, TOP made donations worth AUD 44 275 to the Liberal Party NSW Branch.

While  Mr Speakman is AG and the most senior law officer in the state, he is first and foremost a politician.He would not be AG had he not been elected.

It was to his party that the above donations have been made,and his refusal to answer the questions above does raise the perception that something is not quite right. 

His Department Of Justice has in the past shown that the Minister ,his Department Of Justice,and the LPAB can and do work together in the interest of their Minister and vice versa.This has included a recent non-disclosure of complaints against the LPAB and the College Of Law in the 2018 Annual Report.

Hence it is not unreasonable to expect that together they  provide answers to these issues which are of public interest,and which concern their conduct as public servants.