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Old 7th May 2008, 03:22 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Is Malaysia's "Towering" Business Icon Nothing More Than A Freeloader?

In the name of pride, our government not only tried to kickstart Malaysian entrepreneurs (which can be an admirable pursuit) but also tried to short-cut the process by virtually giving them freebies. Take for example, the recently deceased Tan Sri Nasimuddin Amin of Naza Group.

Naza rose from a single showroom to Malaysia's third domestic car manufacturer with factories and joint-ventures with the likes of Kia and Peugeot. But is he truly the kind of businessman we should emulate? Read this report on his less-than-stellar qualities :

UK probe into dead tycoon's business practices


Kingdom were alerted to a luxury auto distribution operation involving Malaysia's auto czar Tan Sri Nasimuddin Amin which was allegedly exporting cars to Malaysia using forged British vehicle-registration documents.
Now lawyers and auto executives wonder whether the probe will be abandoned following Tan Sri Nasimuddin's death in the US yesterday of cancer.

Sources close to the situation told The Straits Times that the investigation is in its initial stages and stems from a business disagreement between Tan Sri Nasimuddin and his one-time British business partner, Mr Nigel Peter Albon.

According to the lawyers and auto executives, the dispute is over funds Tan Sri Nasimuddin allegedly owed Mr Albon.

In the course of the legal wrangling, the mechanics of Tan Sri Nasimuddin's export operations surfaced.

The Malaysian tycoon was a major recipient of so-called Approved Permits (AP), which are essentially licences to import foreign cars into Malaysia. These APs are granted to a select group of government agencies and ethnic Malay businessmen like Tan Sri Nasimuddin.

Foreign auto industry executives have long argued for the scrapping of the controversial AP system citing concerns that the import licensing system is not well supervised, resulting in the loss of millions of ringgit in foregone tax revenues.

Auto industry executives say that in some instances new cars purchased overseas are passed off at the Customs entry point in Malaysia as second-hand vehicles using forged documents which predate the year of manufacture.

'By backdating the year of manufacture, the importer pays less tax to the government,' says a senior car industry executive familiar with the dispute between Tan Sri Nasimuddin and Mr Albon.

Executives from Tan Sri Nasimuddin's Naza Group were not available for immediate comment.

Disputes between Tan Sri Nasimuddin and his business partners are not new.

Last year, he was embroiled in a fight with his Singapore partners over the distribution of Ferrari models in Malaysia.

Businessman Alfred Tan Chor How and his son, Edward, left Malaysia abruptly last year after they fell out with him over disagreements on how to run their car import business.

The elder Mr Tan is the patriarch of Singapore's Hong Seh Group, a marine equipment supplier which diversified into the distribution of luxury cars in the early 1980s.

The company has been the sole agent for the distribution of Ferraris in Singapore since 1982 and added the Maserati and Bentley franchise to its list in the early 1990s.

The Tans struck a partnership with Tan Sri Nasimuddin in 1996 through a joint-venture company called Next Car Sdn Bhd.
So, if you THINK you can achieve success by emulating him, you should first ask our government for freebies in the form of APs. Heck, with APs, why even bother to work? You can just sit at home and hand out 2-3 APs a month. With our government's help, you can be set for life without lifting so much more than your hand (when you hand over the AP and take money for it).

All you need to do is agree to be called a "towering" entrepreneur and be used by the government as an example of how clever we truly are. Where do I sign up?

Don't believe me how easy it is to become one of these "towering" entrepreneurs? Then let Raja Petra Kamarudin open your eyes....

I would like to talk about Malaysia’s car czar, the recently deceased Tan Sri Nasimuddin Amin.

Tan Sri Nasimuddin is being investigated by the UK Police (read: UK probe into dead tycoon's business practices ). It seems his company, the Naza Group, has been forging documents so that brand new cars from the UK can be imported into Malaysia as used cars, or, as they are fond of saying, ‘recon’ cars.

The import duty for ‘recon’ cars would of course be far, far lower than that for brand new cars. Furthermore, there is a quota for the import of new cars. I think it is not more than 20% of the total cars sold or assembled in Malaysia (not sure which). No one really knows the real figure because many new cars are brought in as ‘old’ cars while Approved Permits (APs), which are issued according to the allowed quota, are cloned (read as ‘forged’) so the actual (unofficial) new car imports are certainly higher than the official figures.

It is sad that the UK government is only now investigating this matter. It is sad for two reasons. Firstly, two days ago, Tan Sri Nasimuddin died of cancer in the US so now, instead of being remembered as a Towering Malay, he is going to go down in history as the greatest Malay scammer. Secondly, this scam has been going on since the last 30 years and billions of Ringgit in tax evasion and fraudulent imports has passed through the pockets of the AP holders. This is like trying to lock the stable door after the horse has bolted, or, in Tan Sri Nasimuddin’s case, after the horse has died.

APs have always been a very hot and very saleable commodity since the mid-1970s. Even back in the early 1980s, that is 26 or so years ago, I had to pay RM20,000 for an AP from Pantai Motors, one of the AP holders cum car importers. I had imported a Mercedes Benz 190E for my wife but did not have an AP so I approached Pantai Motors and they offered to sell me an AP for RM40,000. After some heavy negotiations, and considering we are ‘friends’, they agreed to sell the AP to me for half price, RM20,000.

Today, the APs can still fetch a price of RM50,000. And rest assured that the cost of this AP is added to the price of the car even if you buy the car from the AP holder. With the tax ‘savings’ included, a RM250,000 imported car can easily give the AP holder cum car importer a RM150,000 profit. RM150,000 profit is no small matter when you can sell tens of thousands of cars a month. So we are talking about billions in profit every year.

As I said, the real import and profit figures are unknown. We have the new cars imported as second-hand cars -- so they pay a very low import duty -- while the cars are sold as new with the real (what should be paid but is not paid) import duty added to the price. Then we have the forged or cloned APs where the same AP is recycled and used over and over again. When we say they are printing money this is no longer metaphorically speaking. APs translate to money and they have been printing APs like there is no tomorrow.

Yes, we should be proud of these Towering Malays. From humble beginnings they are now able to fly from their homes to their offices in helicopters. The rest of us have to get caught in the traffic jams and arrive late for our appointments. Even Chinese businessmen can’t afford to fly around Kuala Lumpur in their private helicopters.

This, of course, can’t be possible unless the Trade Ministry (the Trade Minister included), the Customs Department (close one eye to the shady documents) and the Road Transport Department (close both eyes to the fact that the documents say ‘used’ but the cars scream ‘new’), etc., are part of the syndicate.

What is the common denominator to this entire syndicate? Yes, that’s right, they are all Towering Malays. I wish I could say that Samy Vellu and the Ong Brothers are also involved but unfortunately I can’t. The entire band of slimeballs and scumbags are mosque-going, pray five times a day, fast 30 days a year, and go to Mekah every year, Malays.

And that is what is most sad about this whole thing. These Malays who would eat no pork and who would condemn Malays who drink beer are slurping swill like the true pigs that they are.

Oops…..I hope this statement is not seditious. It seems if I write something that will make people hate other people this is considered seditious and a crime under Malaysia’s Sedition Act. Well, let me share a little secret with you. God, too, hates munafik and fasik people so there is no sin in you also hating them. And God does not recognise unjust man-made laws. So, while the Malaysian government will send you to jail, God will compensate you for this unjust in the next life. And as Tan Sri Nasimuddin has just discovered, the next life could actually be nearer than you think.
IMHO making it big in life is not about taking handouts. It's about building something from nothing more than passion, drive and hard work. What's so "towering" about building up a company with millions of dollars of free money? Heck, anyone can do that. With that kind of money, you can hire the best in the business and reap the benefits without even turning on a single brain cell.

I may be rich and I may not ever become any kind of "towering" Malaysian but at least I know that I can truly be proud of whatever I accomplish in life because they are truly MY OWN ACHIEVEMENTS.

I don't know how Nasimuddin can face his parents, his wife or his children everyday knowing that his achievements were a sham. I know I couldn't have done it. I would have felt like a thief, stealing credit for what I have not done.
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Old 24th Sep 2008, 05:19 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default All-round Doubts About MAS' Success

MAS' reputation has reached such a low level that even our Honourable Members of Parliament have openly expressed doubts about the 'profits' recorded by the national carrier. Some have even urged the government to be more transparent about the airline's profit. What a turn of fortunes for a one-time trailblazing superstar of an airline for whom even the sky was not the limit.
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