Singapore compromise on HSR has something to do with the South China Sea

Mahathir is backing Mirzan Mahathir all the way in his pursuit for deep water technology (FOLLOW LINKS BELOW FOR FULL STORY)

How Daim’s China trip has to do with Mahathir’s sons (Part Two)

Mirzan Mahathir a step closer to becoming Malaysia’s “Petrol Pump King”

To prevent the possibility of there being competition for his sons in the near or distant future, the Prime Minister is undertaking to consolidate all oil and gas related entities in Malaysia that are service based under the roofs of his cronies.

That helps explain Vincent’s recent purchase of T7 shares and the initial scrapping of the HSR project.

By calling off the project, Mahathir effected a 37.6 percent decline in the price of Gamuda Berhad’s shares which Daim’s and Vincent’s people have since purchased.

The developer and asset owner of the project, MyHSR Corporation Sdn Bid, selected Malaysian Resources Corp Berhad – Gamuda Berhad (MRCB-Gamuda) and Syarikat Yeoh Tiong Lay Sdn Bhd – TH Properties Sdn Bhd (YTL-THP) for its project delivery partner tender.

Gamuda was tasked to assist in the northern part of the project alignment.

Gamuda had previously partaken in a 50:50 joint venture (JV) to provide engineering and infrastructure solutions mainly to the Government of Malaysia (GoM).

The company it partnered with, MMC Corporation Berhad, is an investment holding entity that is 51.8 percent owned by Tan Sr Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary.

Syed was the onetime owner of an oil and gas concern that he recently sold to one of his own companies, Melati Pertiwi Sdn Bhd.

On the 21st of July 2018, I wrote (in red):

Thus, not only is Bukhari in the business of oil and gas, he is a joint shareholder with Gamuda in a company that constructs airports, highways, bridges and railway links. That is another reason why Daim is seeking to renegotiate terms associated with the construction of the ECRL. Apart from looking at ways to establish a banking nexus with EXIM and CITIC, the Council of Eminent Persons (CEP) de facto chief is seeking to offer MMC-Gamuda a lucrative slice of the ECRL project in a quid pro quo that involves the transfer of Melati Pertiwi shares to his people. The Chinese government is expected to commit itself to Melati Pertiwi in deep sea drilling at the edge of the South China Sea.

The deal would ultimately allow Syed Mokhtar to partake with Vincent in a cost-appreciated version of the railway project and Mahathir to sink his teeth into Syed’s oil and gas interest.

But things did not go as planned.

On the 23rd of July 2018, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi warned Daim Zainuddin “never to cross the diplomatic line” after having accused Malaysia of intimidating China.

Wang was bitter and aghast that Daim had the cheek to meet him moments after the MACC conducted two raids on a Chinese state-owned firm hinged solely on money laundering claims made by the DAP.

The Council of Eminent Persons’ (CEP) elder was in China to renegotiate infrastructure and energy related agreements that the Najib administration had undertaken to sign with China and Chinese-state entities.

When Mahathir went to China, Chinese premier Li Keqiang made it clear that terms associated with the ECRL and gas pipeline projects were not up for review.

That automatically thrashed Daim’s plans for a quid pro quo between him, Mahathir, MMC-Gamuda and Melati Pertiwi to drill the western edge of the South China Sea.

But a new deal has been reached.

It seems that a Singaporean-backed entity has undertaken in an agreement with Daim’s men to work out details with Melati on the possibility of there being a joint venture between the GoM and Singapore in drilling the western edge of the South China Sea.

The deal has offered some form of “temporary closure” to the Singaporean government which has long been wary of Mahathir’s plan to engage with the Chinese to drill within the region.

The Singaporeans knew precisely why Mahathir had planned to expand Malaysian territory southward by introducing non-submerged land mass around the Middle Rocks cluster.

The cluster just so happens to sit within the eastern opening of the Singapore Straits and the western edge of the South China Sea.

They know that the area is rich with oil and is of interest to the People’s Republic of China.

Mahathir is aware that the Chinese government has long had disputes with the Singaporean government and is desperate to work with Malaysia in exploiting the region.

He planned to build an island where Middle Rocks stands to redraw territorial borders and force Singapore into renegotiating Maritime Security arrangements.

The renegotiation would immediately grant Malaysia exclusive rights to the edge of the South China Sea and allow China to participate in deep sea drilling.

The Singaporeans were not too happy with the plan and engaged a state-backed entity to negotiate terms of a JV with Melati.

The negotiation is expected to last a little more than a year as Mahathir has insisted that the Singapore Malaysia Water Agreement be renegotiated in tandem as a measure of tradeoff to determine the final pricing and shareholding terms associated with the intended JV.

That probably explains the alleged compromise Singapore is said to have reached with Malaysia over the implementation of the HSR project (see news item below).

That may also help to explain the so-called “officials” Azmin was referring to when he claimed he had discussions in Singapore regarding the HSR.

According to the news report (below), the deferral will be in effect until May 31, 2020, which happens also to be around the time Mahathir is said to have planned to hold the 15th general election (GE15).

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia and Singapore appear to have reached a compromise over the implementation of the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High-Speed Rail (HSR) project.

According to a report by business weekly, The Edge, the move will see Malaysia being spared a RM500 million penalty for a two-year deferral of the project.

The report, which was also carried by its sister portal The Edge Property, said the deferral will be in effect until May 31, 2020.

Citing sources, it said the agreement was reached “in a spirit of good neighbourliness”.

The source added that Singapore recognised the strain the project’s construction could have on Malaysia’s financial health.

The report also said that the original agreement to build the HSR, which was signed in 2016, did not contain provisions for a postponement.

Malaysia would have faced up to RM500 million in penalties, had it decided to drop the project.

Pakatan Harapan, after taking over the government after the May 9 general election, had revealed the project could cost up to RM110 billion.

Economic Affairs Minister Mohamed Azmin Ali had been in negotiations with Singapore in the last month to reach a compromise.

Azmin, in a meeting with Singapore’s Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan on Thursday, had said they were inching closer to a “win-win deal”.

Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad had accused the previous government of raking up a debt of up to RM1 trillion.

He had since embarked on an effort to pare down the country’s debt, including postponing megaprojects and slashing government spending.

Source: NST Online

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