1MDB’s Dubious Middle Eastern Connections

1MDB’s Dubious Middle Eastern ConnectionsIn 2009, Jho Low Taek, the then 27-year-old investment wunderkind who persuaded Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak to establish the now-struggling 1Malaysia Development Bhd, also persuaded the fund to loan US$1 billion to help finance an oil exploration firm called PetroSaudi International Ltd, which was to put up US$1.5 billion with the stated aim of…

Double Tragedy Could Spell the End of MAS

Double Tragedy Could Spell the End of MASThe tragic loss of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 on July 17 with 298 passengers and crew aboard, coupled with the mysterious disappearance of a second Boeing 777-200 into the Indian Ocean with the loss of 239 on March 8, could well doom the airline. No other airline has ever suffered a double tragedy of this…

Johor Sultan Narrows the Singapore Strait

Johor Sultan Narrows the Singapore StraitTunku Ismail Idris, the Sultan of Johor, who was batted back a few weeks ago in his bid to gain control of the regulation of land development in his home state, is now precipitating a diplomatic crisis via massive land reclamations that subvert Malaysian laws and pose an environmental dilemma for Singapore. Tunku Ismail is…

Malaysia’s Rosmah Goes Hollywood

Malaysia’s Rosmah Goes HollywoodA Los Angeles-based law firm is charging that embezzled or misappropriated funds from a foreign nation – apparently Malaysia – were used to fund the Hollywood movie production and financing company Red Granite, which made the Oscar-nominated movie “The Wolf of Wall Street,” starring Leonardo DiCaprio and directed by Martin Scorsese.  The charge, by the…

Obama’s Cynical Malaysian Sojourn

Obama’s Cynical Malaysian SojournFor anyone in Southeast Asia with an interest in fair, honest and even-handed government, the disappointing visit of President Barack Obama to Malaysia is a victory for political expediency that largely glossed over growing discontent over racial tensions, corruption and abuses of judicial power by the ruling coalition. Obama, according to most reports, walked a…

Malaysian Airlines’ Troubled History

Malaysian Airlines’ Troubled HistoryMalaysian Airlines, the flag carrier whose MH370 Boeing 777-200 disappeared on March 8 without a trace into the Indian Ocean, has been given high marks as a quality airline. Nonetheless it has a troubled corporate history and a series of scrapes going back almost to the launch of its flying operations in 1972. The publicly…

Indonesia and Malaysia’s Tunnel to Nowhere

Indonesia and Malaysia’s Tunnel to NowhereThe Indonesian and Malaysian governments are jointly proposing to spend RMB15 billion (US$4.5 billion) to build 17.5 km tunnel that could well be a passageway to nowhere by two governments that can hardly afford it Plans, still in the development stage, have been mooted to construct the tunnel to link the small Indonesian island of…

Buyer Beware in the Malaysian Franchise Industry

Buyer Beware in the Malaysian Franchise IndustryMalaysia’s franchising industry is considered a potent road to success, having produced such stellar figures as Vincent Tan Chee Youn, who got his start with the McDonalds franchise before moving on to the Berjaya conglomerate and gaming through Sports Toto. Despite becoming one of the country’s most successful Chinese entrepreneurs, worth an estimated US$1.3 billion,…
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