Monday, March 26, 2012

Death of journalism in Malaysian Insider

At the end of the day, Datuk Seri Jamaludin Jarjis and the country’s oldest newspaper the New Straits Times Press may not take ‘independent’ online newsportal the Malaysian Insider to court.

Both Jamaludin or JJ as he is popularly known and NSTP may have been clear victims of the Malaysian Insider’s latest fabrication but the real victim is the level of professionalism among Malaysian journalists.

How else would one view the latest fabrication spun by the Malaysian Insider, that has both JJ and the NSTP all riled up, other than the sorry state of the professionalism of the vocation.

The article in the centre of the storm, Five issues likely holding up June polls, say sources’, was written by an experienced and a veteran journalist who is now The Malaysian Insider’s No 1 editor.

Jahabar Sadiq is no ordinary journalist as he has had years of experience serving both the mainstream newspapers and foreign wire agencies before venturing into what is claimed to be an ‘independent’ journalism.

The article, which has since been removed from the news portal’s website, appeared like an ordinary breaking news item until the moment JJ sent a stinging letter to Jahabar.

“Based on the absolute absence of any truth in your report as far as my so-called briefing to NST editors is concerned, I can only conclude that your unnamed sources have lied to you or are absolutely unreliable or simply do not exist or have simply attempted to deflect from their identity.
In either case, it is also obvious that you have failed in your journalistic duty of trying to verify the truth of your information, choosing instead to run your story despite the absence of any sort of concrete evidence to prove your allegations.
In the process, you have dragged my name into your web of lies and have caused me undue inconvenience in having to defend the truth.
I am therefore demanding that you remove the posting with immediate effect and also run an apology for your article of untruths. I also reserve the right to institute further action against you and your newspaper.
Lastly, I find it most unfortunate that a newspaper which claims to offer “an unvarnished take on events and personalities in Malaysia” and one that claims to have among their readers “Malaysians who crave for balanced and serious reporting on issues”, can take such a lax attitude towards the authenticity of its information and the credibility of its sources. - Jamaluddin Jarjis

If JJ’s letter didn’t do enough to expose Jahabar and The Malaysian Insider’s lack of professionalism, NST’s group managing editor Abdul Jalil Hamid has followed up with a similar demand of apology and retraction over the same article they said were manufactured.

“You had every opportunity to verify with us regarding the accuracy and truth of your allegations in the First Report prior to its publication but failed to do so. In the Second Report, you were presented with another opportunity to clarify on our involvement in the alleged briefing but once again you failed to do so.
We therefore demand that you run an immediate and unreserved apology to us and our editors and correspondents for your fabricated report failing which we will not hesitate to take this matter further. This notice shall be without prejudice to take any action that we may deem necessary to protect our interests”. - Abdul Jalil Hamid

While the Malaysian Insider has dutifully published both JJ and Jalil’s letters, the newsportal or rather Jahabar’s professionalism continues to be questioned.

Blogger Freedie Kevin, who is not even a trained journalist, has pointed out the Malaysian Insider’s lack of professionalism.

The Malaysian Insider, Freddie says, never learns

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Optimising energy efficiency

By Stephen Kay in NST
THE minister for energy, green technology and water recently blogged ( that "we are quickly moving towards becoming a country that has to rely on imports to meet our domestic energy needs".
One may wonder on reading this: so what? How is life different for an energy importing country relative to an energy exporting one? Like it or not, the difference is much larger than one might expect, because an importing country is fully exposed to the global energy situation.
The background to the situation facing Malaysia is that the world is facing depleting fossil fuel reserves, resource nationalism, the emergence of China as a major energy consumer and greater awareness of environmental issues (particularly global warming).
These factors are not within Malaysia's control and will push fuel prices up.
Malaysians have been "protected" from global energy prices for a long time. Malaysia's subsidies for gas, electricity and petrol are well known. This policy has been implemented together with an energy sector where various sub-sectors are dominated by only one or at most a few players.
Perhaps these policies were appropriate in the past; they were well intended and based on Malaysia having large oil and gas surpluses combined with shortages of skilled technical and managerial personnel at the different stages of the energy chain.
However, these circumstances no longer exist. While we are rapidly becoming an energy importer, the good news is that we have developed the skills to manage the full energy chain.
If we accept that we are becoming an energy importer, the question becomes, "What is the key issue for an energy importer?" Clearly, the answer is not "energy prices", but rather "energy security", which has to be addressed in a systematic and comprehensive manner.
For example, the price of electricity is only important if electricity is available when and where we need it.
If we constantly have brown-outs and blackouts, then "cheap" electricity is of no value.
What would a Malaysian policy framework encouraging innovation and efficiency (as also mentioned by the minister) look like? Perhaps this can be illustrated by focusing on the electricity sector, since the recent sale of Tanjung's power assets puts this in the news.
In order to get the right balance between price and security, a country has to accept what it cannot affect, and focus on what it can affect. Thus, a possible approach for the electricity generation chain could look like this:
DIVERSIFY fuel supply options to reduce the risk and impact of unforeseen events (this would include options for importing gas and coal, and perhaps also new players in the import space).
SELECT a fuel mix which provides a weightage to Malaysia's remaining fossil fuel reserves (for example, gas in Sabah and Sarawak) to provide a natural "strategic reserve" for times of crisis.
OPEN up the independent power producer (IPP) space to new players to encourage competition (as might happen if Tanjung assets are sold to a non-IPP player).
SEPARATE electricity transmission from power generation to encourage market forces in generation, transmission and distribution.
GIVE incentives to consumers to increase energy efficiency (yes, this might require raising prices).
PROVIDE spare generation capacity appropriate to Malaysia's rate of energy demand growth.
Taken together, such initiatives would encourage innovation and efficiency in areas which can be controlled by Malaysia, while reducing the risk and impact of unforeseen events, problems or disasters.
Perhaps more importantly, such an approach would, by rationalising prices, set the stage for the next step in electricity management, which includes smart grids, smart meters and the like.
These new technologies are designed to optimise energy efficiency and overall cost to society, but they typically do this best in an environment where the price of electricity reflects the true cost of generation and distribution (which in turn should be as efficient as possible).
Recent events, (for example, the severe losses borne by Tenaga Nasional Berhad because of gas shortages), show that it would be better if such initiatives were introduced in a planned fashion, well in advance of the next energy “crisis”.
In this regard, the pre-qualification exercise for the Prai power plant appears to be a good step, attracting many interested parties.
An even better step would be to develop, publish and periodically update clear plant-up sequences for future power generation. This would have the effect of providing clarity to consumers, industry and potential investors.
It would allow industry players the best opportunity to prepare for future power plant tenders. The result would be to increase the overall quality of proposals and hence increase the likelihood that the winning bid is actually the best value for money.
The global energy industry is going through a significant period of change. Because of this, there is clearly much to do as we move forward on energy in Malaysia.
It does appear though, that the Energy, Green Technology and Water Ministry, MyPower Corp, Energy Commission and others are focusing on the correct issues. We should wish them well. 

Friday, March 9, 2012

YAHOOOOOOOO!!! Zarinah is April Fool-ed

Ranjit Singh to succeed Zarinah as SC chairman

KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Ranjit Ajit Singh will succeed Tan Sri Zarinah Anwar as Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) chairman when she retires after completing her term on March 31.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Abdul Razak, who is also the Finance Minister, appointed Ranjit to succeed Zarinah, and Datuk Dr Nik Ramlah Mahmood as deputy chief executive, according to a statement by SC Friday.
Both currently serve as SC managing directors, and their new appointments take effect from April 1, 2012.
Zarinah, who has been SC chairman since 2006, has played a key role in strengthening and developing the Malaysian capital market over the past 10 years, establishing a robust regulatory and governance framework which has contributed to the growth of the market, and investing resources in building regulatory capacity.
Ranjit is a highly experienced regulator with over 20 years' experience in finance and securities regulation.
A financial economist and accountant, Ranjit has served the SC since 1994 in a variety of areas, including the supervision and overseing of the market, strategy and risk management, financial policy and economics.
He is chairman of the International Organisation of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) group on secondary markets, has chaired an expert group on capital markets for a Financial Stability Board taskforce, and has served as a member of the International Monetary Fund's expert group on governance of public sector agencies.
Nik Ramlah is trained in law and has served the SC for over 18 years covering legal and regulatory reform, product and market development, corporate governance, Islamic capital markets, investor education and enforcement. She also sits on the board of the Securities Industry Development Corporation, the SC's training and education arm.
She is a core member of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Asian Roundtable on Corporate Governance, and is a member of the Technical Committee of the Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB). - Bernama

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Why 1MDB is in power ah?

The news on 1MDB buying Tanjong Energy Holding Sdn Bhd has attracted a lot of brickbats.

Many are quick to question why and as usual critics fail or simply refuse to look at the positive site of the ‘power’ acquisition.

Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister Datuk Seri Peter Chin Fa Kui had recently revealed the on-going rationalizing on the IPP sector.

The minister’s strongest hint came at and after the recent National Energy Security Conference last week.

Peter Chin said at the conference that it was indeed “a timely and important platform to discuss the various energy issues that are currently being faced by the country as we are quickly moving towards becoming a country that has to rely on imports to meet our domestic energy needs”.

“Our energy security is a critical issue that has to be addressed urgently in a holistic manner to frame out a sustainable energy plan that will fulfil our developmental goals towards becoming a high income country in 2020 and beyond.

“In the longer term, we need to have an open and competitive energy sector that promotes innovation and efficiency in the industry. For this, my Ministry through MyPOWER Corporation are taking steps to restructure the electricity supply industry to enhance competition and improve efficiency.

This, together with our energy subsidy rationalisation move will result in a more robust and vibrant electricity supply industry that will bring in the needed investments to expand and strengthen our energy supply infrastructures in the future.”

1MDB in a press statement on Wednesday stated its strategic intent.

1MDB seals Tanjong Energy deal

A strategic investment for long-term energy security

KUALA LUMPUR, 7 March 2012: 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) is acquiring Tanjong Energy Holdings Sdn Bhd (“TEHSB”) as a long term strategic investment.

1MDB signed a definitive agreement last Friday on the equity purchase for RM8.5 billion. The transaction is subject to customary financing and regulatory approvals.

1MDB CEO Shahrol Halmi said: “The acquisition signals the first step towards fulfilling 1MDB’s strategic intent towards fulfilling the country’s long-term energy security.”

Shahrol said: “Energy is one of the core focus areas for 1MDB, and TEHSB is a prized acquisition. We are attracted to the strong operating track record of TEHSB, its well-diversified portfolio of quality assets, its strong in-house capabilities and the potential for new growth both here and abroad”.

 “Given its unique private-public sector dynamics, 1MDB and TEHSB are in a strong position to create new synergies, establish global strategic partnerships and promote innovations in green and sustainable technologies,” Shahrol said.

1MDB aims to further enhance the capacity of TEHSB as a leading emerging market independent power producer. TEHSB is led by an experienced, Malaysia-based management team. The company maintains strong key relationships and deep understanding of local cultures and business practices in its various markets.

Shahrol said: “We have full confidence in TEHSB’s management team and its staff.”
Goldman Sachs (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd has been engaged to act as financial advisor to 1MDB for this transaction. - ends.

Note: In a nutshell, 1MDB's acquisition of Tanjung Energy Holdings Sdn.Bhd appears like a strategic move, not only to ensure national energy security but more towards creating a conducive energy supply-demand chain. 

In the final analysis, customers would certainly end up being the biggest beneficiary following the Government's restructuring of the energy supply industry. 

psssssst!  I think the government is just reining in the IPPs. We could expect better regulations, monitoring, efficiency, accountability and mossssst importantly lower tariff in the long run. Thats the plan.  He he he :-) 


Monday, March 5, 2012

Media Prima vs Astro vs RTM = WHO IS THE LOSER?

An anonymous email received today contained the above facts and figures.

The figures on Facebook "Likes' and Twitter 'Followers' explicitly shows the reach and influence of the three media organisations in the crucial Social Media sector.

The anonymous email also had a note which read : "Ketiga-tiga gambar itu adalah sebab mengapa terdapat pihak yang sengaja cuba melagakan para blogger dan pengamal media social bebas dengan pegawai Pejabat Perdana Menteri dan seorang Penasihat kepada Perdana Menteri"

"Fakta didalam gambar-gambar tersebut dibentangkan kepada jemaah menteri atas arahan Perdana Menteri sendiri dan tidak ada mana-mana pegawai Jabatan Perdana Menteri atau Penasihat yang memperlekehkan para blogger seperti yang didakwa mereka yang tidak bertanggungjawab"

"Mungkin fakta-fakta ini dapat memberi gambaran akan mereka yang terlibat dalam usaha untuk memburukan Pejabat Perdana Menteri serta Penasihat Perdana Menteri"