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PAC to probe Sime Darby and Pos Malaysia

June 2, 2010

KUALA LUMPUR (The Edge): Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) will probe the poor financial performances of two government-linked companies, Sime Darby Bhd and Pos Malaysia Bhd, due to public interest.

Speaking to reporters after a PAC meeting in parliament on Tuesday, June 1, PAC chairman Datuk Seri Azmi Khalid said the committee would summon the relevant parties on matters pertaining to both the companies.

Pos Malaysia’s net profit plunged to RM1.63 million in its first quarter ended March 31, 2010 from RM14.93 million in the preceding quarter, while Sime Darby slipped into the red for the first time with a net loss of RM308.63 million in its third quarter ended March 31, 2010 (3QFY10) versus a net profit of RM428.191 million in the preceding three months.

Sime Darby, the world’s largest listed oil palm plantation group, made huge provisions amounting to RM1.33 billion year to date (YTD) and RM964 million for 3QFY10 alone for its oil and gas and engineering divisions, leading to its first quarterly loss since its 2007 mega-merger.

Sime Darby then asked its president and group chief executive Datuk Seri Ahmad Zubir Murshid to take a leave of absence following the huge cost overruns and project losses over the last four years.

These comprise the Bulhanine and Maydan Mahzam installation project with Qatar Petroleum, the Maersk Oil Qatar (MOQ) project, the building of vessels for the MOQ project and the Bakun hydroelectric dam project.

The 3QFY10 loss led to its net profit for the nine months to March 31, 2010 falling to RM804.2 million from RM1.3 billion a year earlier.

Meanwhile, Pos Malaysia’s financial malaise has been linked to its investment in Transmile Group Bhd. Its latest quarterly net profit plunged from RM22.84 million a year earlier due to the adoption of FRS 139 and specifically, the stating of the fair value of its investment in Transmile.

The fair value of Transmile shares was 39.5 sen as at March 31, 2010, down further from the restated value of 88 sen per share as of Jan 1, 2010.

Profit from operations fell 14% to RM23.07 million from RM27.82 million due to higher expenses, which was slightly cushioned by a 0.1% rise in revenue to RM231.08 million from RM230.93 million.

Meanwhile, Azmi said: “We will be calling officials and those whom we think are able to give us information on the two organisations. They will be called in the second week of the upcoming parliament sitting. The secretariat will fix the dates.”

Parliament is scheduled to convene its meeting beginning June 7 for 22 days.

Asked on the areas that PAC would look into, Azmi said: “We don’t know yet. Since the matters are of public interest and PAC feels responsible to call them up because it is a high-profile case.”

On whether PAC had established a list of individuals to be called, Azmi said he would leave the matter to the PAC secretariat.

“Of course the ministry concerned will be the finance ministry and since Sime Darby and Pos Malaysia are under Khazanah, I am sure Khazanah will also be called,” he added.

Azmi said it was not known yet if the probe would be as extensive as the one it did on the Port Klang Free Zone scandal which took a few months and saw many officials testifying before the committee. He said PAC would see what had gone wrong and what it ought to look into.

“Whatever is there. So much has been said in the media and whatever else that the people (officials) will tell us. We cannot say for sure what it is all about until we see them.”

PAC is expected to table its report on the double-tracking rail project and on Syarikat Prasarana Negara Bhd in the upcoming parliament sitting.


PM: No decision yet on subsidies

Written by Bernama
Tuesday, 01 June 2010 22:28

KUALA LUMPUR: The government has not made a final decision yet whether to reduce or scrap subsidies, said Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

The Prime Minister said on Tuesday, June 1 the government was still carefully studying what should be done with regard to subsidies.

“As stated before, we are visualising the impact (on the country’s future) if we don’t do anything about it,” he said when asked by reporters whether the government planned to cut incentives for small and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs), besides reducing or abolishing subsidies for a number of commodities.

He replied that the incentives for SMEs would continue. “SMEs and subsidies are separated issues. Don’t mix the two.” Earlier, the prime minister visited ‘SMIDEX 2010-SME Innovation Showcase’, here.

To another question, Najib said the Tenth Malaysia Plan (10MP), to be tabled soon, would contain elements based on the New Economic Model (NEM).

On some non-governmental organisations’ objection to the NEM, he said: “They have their opinions on it. But let me make my speech first (on the 10MP).” — Bernama


Update2 Kong appointed Transport Minister, Chor promoted to Housing Minister

Written by Joseph Chin

The Edge

Tuesday, 01 June 2010 18:04

KUALA LUMPUR: The Prime Minister has appointed Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha as Transport Minister while Datuk Wira Chor Chee Heung was promoted to be the Housing and Local Government Minister under a Cabinet reshuffle.

Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said in a statement on Tuesday, June 1 that Kong takes over from Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat with effect from Friday. Kong was previously the Housing and Local Government Minister while Chor was the Deputy Finance Minister.

The reshuffle also saw the appointments of Senator Datuk Maglin Dennis D’Cruz as Deputy Minister of Information, Communications and Culture and Senator Datuk G. Palanivel as Deputy Minister for Plantation Industries and Commodities.

Serian MP Datuk Richard Riot was appointed Deputy Foreign Minister.

The reshuffle also saw four deputy ministers switching portfolios.

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