Daim may have plans to ‘part finance’ Vincent’s share of the ECRL

Robert Kuok owns 13 percent of a Hong Kong based investment entity that has some serious links with China’s State Council (SC), the chief administrative authority of the People’s Republic of China.

The entity, CITIC Limited (previously known as CITIC Pacific), is an investment firm that is subsidiary to a state-owned conglomerate, CITIC Group Corporation Ltd (CITIC).

In 1984, the People’s Bank of China approved the setting up of a banking division under CITIC that came to be known as the China CITIC Bank.

Like the Export-Import Bank of China (EXIM), CITIC helps the Chinese government administer assistance to ASEAN nations in a bid to realise China’s “One Belt, One Road (B&R),” the initiative under which the ECRL project is parked.

EXIM agreed to provide soft loans to help finance the project.

CITIC, on the other hand, has agreed to deepen its commitment to the B&R initiative by providing more assistance to ASEAN nations.

Question is, will Daim now offer to part finance the ECRL by tying his banking network up with EXIM and ECRL?

THE THIRD FORCE

On the 16th of November 2016, the Government of Malaysia (GoM) undertook to sign an agreement with state-owned China Communications Construction Company Ltd (CCCC) to construct a standard gauge railway linking Port Klang with Pengkalan Kubor. The northeast-southwest link came to be known as the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) and was supposed to cost CCCC some USD13.1 billion. The Export-Import Bank of China (EXIM) agreed to help fund the project by providing CCCC with soft loans.

In case you’re wondering, the GoM got a Chinese banking institution involved simply because CCCC is China based and agreed to finance the project. EXIM came into the picture as it conforms to a framework of connectivity that the People’s Republic of China has long established. The framework concerns efforts by the Chinese government to expand its official development aid (ODA) to ASEAN member nations.

To facilitate the plan, the Chinese government established EXIM in 1994 and placed it directly under the purview of China’s State Council (SC), the chief administrative authority of the People’s Republic of China. Not many are aware that Robert Kuok owns 13 percent of a Hong Kong based investment entity that has some serious links with the SC.

The entity, CITIC Limited (previously known as CITIC Pacific), is an investment firm that is subsidiary to a state-owned conglomerate, CITIC Group Corporation Ltd (CITIC). Last year, CITIC was listed as among China’s biggest conglomerates and registered the largest foreign assets reserves in the world. In 1984, the People’s Bank of China approved the setting up of a banking division under CITIC that came to be known as the China CITIC Bank.

Of late, the bank has been involved in the administering of assistance provided by the Chinese government via the MPAC framework. On the 26th of June 2015, CITIC Limited announced that its securities, trust and banking divisions would jointly invest more than 700 billion yuen to support China’s “One Belt, One Road” (B&R) initiative. Two years later, CITIC committed to deepening that backing without specifying the exact amount it intended to allot.

The ECRL constitutes part of China’s broader B&R initiative

Less than a year later, Dato’ Seri Najib Tun Razak was removed as Prime Minister of Malaysia following an electoral debacle part triggered by the South China Morning Post (SCMP).

A coincidence?

Robert Kuok seems to have his way through Chinese bureaucracy. A report by Malaysiakini (Kini) more or less cemented the idea when it announced that Daim Zainuddin would “utilise fellow CEP (Council of Eminent Persons) member Robert Kuok’s connections in China to smoothen” renegotiations associated with the ECRL. Let’s forget for a moment that the CEP has no jurisdiction whatsoever in administrative matters and has no right representing the GoM in China. What is so interesting about the Kini report is that Kuok, like Daim, represents the very CEP that is now seeking to renegotiate financing terms with EXIM, the Chinese government’s official industrial and diplomatic policy facilitator.

On the 25th of June 2018, The Third Force revealed that Tan Sri Vincent Tan snapped up 22.2 million shares belonging to Syarikat T7 Global (T7), an oil and gas service provider that entered a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with three other entities to bid for the ECRL project. Not long after, the GoM threw a bolt from the blue when it announced that the project, previously called off for being costly, was back on track at an added cost of RM15 billion. Question is, will T7 Global now offer to foot the RM15 billion difference?

Perhaps you should ask Daim.

He will be able to tell you whether or not his trip to China has anything to do with possible plans by his banking network to provide T7 Global with soft loans. Perhaps Vincent’s purchase of T7 was part of a broader scam involving the Mahathir administration to reap harvests worth RM17 to 18 billion from thin air by doing absolutely nothing. Perhaps that is the reason the CEP instructed the Registrar of Companies (RoC) to ‘black out’ a search tool that previously allowed members of public to purchase company profiles online.

Perhaps, just perhaps, the media should immediately head over to Daim’s office and see if he has anything to say about this.

To be continued….

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