Mahathir’s hidden hand in telecommunication deal

TTF: Here’s the thing:

1. Mokhzani Mahathir is as yet a shareholder of  Sapura Energy Bhd (SE) via his private investment vehicle, Khasera Baru Sdn Bhd.

2. Known previously as SapuraKencana Petroleum Berhad, SE came into existence following a multibillion ringgit merger between Mukriz’s own Kencana Petroleum Berhad and Tan Sri Shahril Shamsuddin’s telecommunications concern, Sapura, in 2011.

3. The deal came to be known as “the largest and most expensive merger ever in the history of corporate Malaysia” and involved massive cross-holding agreements with several proxies and nominees that were attendant to SE.

4. Despite media reports that “Mokzani is no longer a substantial shareholder in SE,” the fact remains, that he still holds a ‘major stake’ in terms of beneficial interests through the proxies and nominees.

5. So basically, Mokhzani is still actively involved in the telecommunications business as are some of his friends, who, currently are what we may term as his “cronies.”

6. On the 30th of July 2018, the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Dr Mahathir Mohamad, appointed Dr Mahathir Mohamad and his protege, Dato’ Seri Azmin Ali, to the board of Khazanah Holding Sdn Bhd.

7. Mahathir appointed Mahathir as Chairman of the board.

8. By assuming the role of chairman, he chairs all board meetings and decides the order of each meeting.

9. It follows, that he gets to direct discussions and influence decisions in ways that suit his whims.

10. He also takes a leading role in determining the composition and structure of the company’s board to ensure that everyone is on a page with him.

11. Telekom is a subsidiary concern of Khazanah’s, while Opcom is owned by two of Mahathir’s sons and controlled by one of them.

12. On the 31st of July 2018, the very next day after Mahathir appointed Mahathir as Chairman of Khazanah, Opcom announced that it had bagged an RM11.16 million contract from Telekom for Unifi service installation and restoration.

13. The group’s subsidiary, Opcom Cables Sdn Bhd, was tasked with undertaking the work over an 18-month period ending the 31st of Dec 2019.

14. At 10.48am, the 1st of August 2018, Opcom’s share value rose 6.38% or 6 sen to RM1 with 16.7 million shares done.

15. The key people who reaped all the benefits from the price hike were none other than members of the Mahathir clan.

16. Mokhzani is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Opcom Holdings Berhad.

17. Together with Mirzan Mahathir, Mukhriz Mahathir and Tok Puan Norzieta Zakaria, he is classified under a category within the company that reads, “Interested Directors, Major Shareholders and Persons Connected” (to be published soon).

18. There is absolutely no question that Mahathir’s recent appointment to Khazanah was politically motivated and contravened terms associated with Pakatan’s election manifesto.

19. As it is, Mahathir may already have abused his power as the GLC’s new chairman by not calling off the award of a RM11.6 million project by Telekom Malaysia to Opcom Holdings Bhd (OPCOM).

20. And today, we’re told that Opcom intends to take part in Tenaga Nasional Bhd’s (TNB) new venture into telecommunications high-speed broadband, as part of the government’s National Connectivity Plan (NCP). 

Can it get any more sinister than this?

SHAH ALAM: Fiber optics cable company Opcom Holdings Bhd intends to take part in Tenaga Nasional Bhd’s (TNB) new venture into telecommunications high-speed broadband, as part of the government’s National Connectivity Plan (NCP).

Its chairman and chief executive officer Tan Sri Mokhzani Mahathir, who is also the son of Prime Minister Tun Mahathir Mohamad, said Opcom is an established fibre optic manufacturer, so it could work well with the national electricity utility company’s telecommunications agenda.

“What we are interested to follow up on, is the recent announcement by TNB — which said that they too are going into the fibre communications market. So we would like to hear more about where we can play a role in all of these things,” he told reporters after Opcom’s annual general meeting today.

“Whatever they come up with; we are an established fiber optic manufacturer in Malaysia. We will try to participate in any request for proposals that come out from our clients,” Mokhzani added.

Last week, TNB announced it will start a pilot project in Jasin, Melaka this month, to assess the technical, safety and commercial viability aspects of using its electrical infrastructure as telecommunication network for high-speed broadband as part of the NCP.

Through this pilot project, TNB is exploring the potential of utilising the available capacity of its telecommunication assets for NCP — identified as an important catalyst towards the digital economy without compromising safety, security and reliability of the electricity supply network.

It was noted during the press conference that Opcom’s current orderbook stands at over RM100 million and is expected to last until middle of next year.

On his outlook for the year, Mokhzani said the telecommunications industry is facing a very challenging time, although he is optimistic there are more opportunities for the company to do business.

“Technology is always changing for the better; that also means faster and wider access but lower price expectations [from end user], in line with what the new Pakatan Harapan government has been talking about.

“So we will work as hard as we can to ensure we can improve efficiency, increase the kind of products that we put out in the market, and remain and retain our position as a smart partner to the telecommunications industry,” Mokhzani added.

At 12.20pm today, Opcom fell 5.56% or 4.5 sen to 76.5 sen, with 1.27 million shares done.

Source: The Edge Markets

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