MBPP, contractor, engineers and DOSH named as responsible in fatal Penang landslide


https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2019/02/14/landslide-report-blames-contractor-mbpp-and-dosh/?jwsource=cl

Deputy Chief Minister I Datuk Ahmad Zakiyuddin Abdul Rahman, who is the committee chairman, said the MBPP as the owner of the project had failed in its overall responsibility to supervise the project despite having appointed Jurutera Perunding GEA as representative of the superintendent officer. NSTP/MIKAIL ONG

MBPP among four named as responsible in fatal Penang landslide

GEORGE TOWN: Four parties have been identified as being responsible for the fatal landslide at the construction site of the paired road at Jalan Bukit Kukus last October incident, including the Penang Island City Council (MBPP).

A special investigation committee set up by the Penang government following the fatal landslide at the construction site also named the other three parties, namely the contractor Yuta Maju Sdn Bhd, the consultant, Jurutera Perunding GEA (M) Sdn Bhd and the independent checking engineer G&P Professional Sdn Bhd.

Deputy Chief Minister I Datuk Ahmad Zakiyuddin Abdul Rahman, who is the committee chairman, said the MBPP as the owner of the project had failed in its overall responsibility to supervise the project despite having appointed Jurutera Perunding GEA as representative of the superintendent officer.

“By appointing Jurutera Perunding GEA, it does not mean that the council is free from responsibilities to ensure the success of the project from all aspects.

“As such, any actions to be taken against the council will depend on the outcome of investigations by the police, the Department of Occupational Safety and Heath (DOSH) and the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) into the incident,” he said when making public findings of the investigation committee.

Ahmad Zakiyuddin said as for Yuta Maju, it had failed to ensure satisfactory mitigation works at the project site, and that the temporary slope constructed at the project site was not endorsed or designed by accredited consultants, which was a violation of the Board of Engineers Malaysia (BEM) guidelines.

“It also failed to ensure site safety by removing the empty containers at the project site, where nine bodies were recovered,” he added.

As for Jurutera Perunding GEA, Ahmad Zakiyuddin said the party had failed to ensure that the contractor abide by the guidelines set out by the BEM, while G&P Professional had failed to abide by the job scope given by the council.

“Following our findings, we have recommended that the contractor, consultant and independent checking engineer be blacklisted from any tender consideration for projects in the future.

“That said, they will still have to continue their works for the paired road project, until the project completion, slated for May next year,” he added.

The landslide at the Bukit Kukus paired roads project site on Oct 19 last year killed nine site workers and left four others injured.

The search and rescue (SAR) operation was called off after five days. The project’s stop-work orders, separately issued by DOSH, CIDB and the council, were lifted up recently.

Ahmad Zakiyuddin said the special investigation committee also identified 10 main factors which had contributed the to fatal landslide, particularly not fully adopting best practices in construction work.

Other factors included:

* heavy rain on the morning of the incident at 55mm

* the contractor was unable to enter the project site to carry out mitigation works as stop-work order was issued by DOSH two days prior to the incident following a worksite accident

* unsafe construction processes

* failure to recognise the significance of an earlier incident (falling beams at another part of the project site two days prior to the landslide);

* lack of supervision

* failure to identify risk due to the change of process

* lack of comprehensive inspection and testing

* failure in risk communication

* poor management of sub-contractors.

Asked on why the services of the contractor, consultant and independent checking engineer were not immediately terminated following the incident, Ahmad Zakiyuddin said from what he understood, the stop-work orders issued on the three were only for one part of the project and not the entire project.

“Also, there was no record of safety issues prior to the landslide,” he said.

He called on efforts to protect the remaining part of the project as a resu

lt of a negative perception.

“Any delay will put the project at greater risks.”

To another question if the special investigation committee’s findings would be made public, he there had been no plans to do so as the report served as a guideline for the state. – By Audrey Dermawan, NST >

‘MBPP hired resident engineer for Bukit Kukus project’

GEORGE TOWN: The Penang Island City Council (MBPP) appointed a resident engineer and an independent checking engineer even before the start of the Bukit Kukus paired road project, says Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow.

“If you see the action taken by MBPP, they understand their technical insufficiency in terms of a geotechnical engineer. That’s why in the contract, they required the main contractor to appoint a resident engineer, who was paid by MBPP to monitor the project on MBPP’s behalf.

“The independent checking engineers were also paid by MBPP. So, it was a measure taken by MBPP even before the start of the project, knowing that this is a big project.

“They did not have the capacity to monitor the project as they have only two or three engineers who have to be looking at other matters besides this project.

“So, they took action to appoint a resident engineer as well as independent checking enginners to act on behalf of MBPP,” he told reporters at the Penang Development Corp­oration Chinese New Year celebration at the PDC office in Bayan Lepas yesterday.

Chow also said the state would wait for the Department of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) report first.

“We will leave it to DOSH’s findings. Let DOSH come out with the report and we will take the necessary action after that,” he said.

Asked if MBPP had to bear necessary compensation for families of the victims of the landslide last October, Chow said MBPP had not received any claim so far.

Chow was asked to respond to the Con­sumers Association of Penang’s (CAP) call for stern action to be taken against the wrongdoers responsible for the tragedy.

CAP president S.M. Mohamed Idris in a statement yesterday said: “While we welcome the investigation committee’s findings as to who is responsible for the tragedy, we are concerned that apart from recommending the blacklisting of the contractor, consultant and independent checking engineer from any tender consideration for future projects, it appears that no further stern action has been recommended.

“In particular, we want to know what action will be taken against MBPP,” he said.

Deputy Chief Minister I Datuk Ahmad Zaki­yuddin Abdul Rahman, who headed the investigation panel, was reported yesterday as saying that MBPP and other parties involved in the construction of the Jalan Bukit Kukus paired road project had not adhered to construction and engineering best practices.

Meanwhile, MBPP acknowledged responsibility for the Bukit Kukus landslide tragedy as it is the council’s project.

MBPP mayor Datuk Yew Tung Seang said the council was not pushing away any responsibility or negative comments on the council and project, and that it would be taken seriously. – By Cavina Lim and Intan Amalina Mohd Ali, The Star

Penang landslide report blames contractor, MBPP and DOSH

The special investigative panel report on the Bukit Kukus landslide had not been made public, but excerpts of the findings were made available by the state.

However, it has raised more questions than answers as the state blamed the contractor, Penang Island City Council (MBPP) and the Department of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH).

In an immediate response, DOSH Penang director Jaafar Leman denied the department was to be blamed for the landslide.

“We were not even invited to be part of the investigative panel to give our views. How could we be blamed?” he asked.

According to the statement by Deputy Chief Minister 1 Datuk Ahmad Zakiyuddin Abdul Rahman who headed the investigative panel, the stop-work order on Oct 17 prevented contractors from entering the site to do maintenance works.

As a result, the temporary toe drain overflowed and water was retained on the reclaimed land contributing to the collapse of the slopes.

“How could a stop order which was issued on Oct 17 contribute to the landslide which occurred on Oct 19?” asked Jaafar.

He said the slopes would have been risky from the beginning as the contractor did not do any mitigation works to strengthen them and it does not make sense to blame DOSH.

The stop-work order was issued on Oct 17 after 14 beams fell in a ravine.

Earlier, during a press conference, Ahmad Zakiyuddin said MBPP and other parties involved in the construction of the Jalan Bukit Kukus paired roads project, had not adhered to construction and engineering best practices.

“The landslide was caused by many factors, which included a temporary construction of a platform to place machinery which was not constructed properly. The temporary platform was created to allow heavy vehicles lift beams for the paired road project.

“MBPP, as owners of the project, had failed to ensure all the hired parties carried out their job.

“MBPP had failed to hire a professional engineer for temporary works to design and supervise the site,” he said yesterday.

Ahmad Zakiyuddin said another factor was the downpour in the morning of the day of the landslide.- The Star

Related News

Kudos to Deputy Chief Minister I Datuk Ahmad Zakiyuddin for holding the four parties accountable for the Bukit Kukus landslide tragedy. The inquiry still begs a lot of questions, e.g. why was the contract given to Yuta Maju from Terengganu? Could the accident have been prevented if a proper EIA was done? It is not just a “bureaucratic hurdle” but supposed to identify risks and advise mitigation. If the authorities wish to go on with the project, it is not too late to commissi
See more

“This is no simple incident as nine deaths resulted from it. Very stern action must be taken against the MBPP, and that includes strong disciplinary action against the mayor and officers responsible.

“Otherwise, it will be business-as-usual in the MBPP as the officers will be allowed to go scot-free with impunity.

Fake Awards Scam for Penang Island City Council, Seberang Perai Municipal Council !

Dubious honours: (Above) Former Penang Island City Council mayor Patahiyah  Ismail with the trophy and certificate for Best Municipal Manager awards in 2013 while her Seberang Prai counterpart Maimunah (pictured here with the Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng and his aide Wong Hon Wai) received the same latter award in 2014
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The price we pay to axe East Coast Rail Link (ECRL)


KUALA LUMPUR: Loss of jobs, harm to diplomatic ties with China, damage to the economy plus a RM20bil compensation are awaiting Malaysia if the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project is cancelled.

The billion ringgit 688km long track linking Selangor, Pahang, Trengganu and Kelantan is already 20% completed, says MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong on the trail of potential damage if the project set for completion in 2024 is axed now.

The Ayer Hitam Member of Parliament who issued an open letter to Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Cabinet Ministers on the matter, said he earnestly hoped the Cabinet can explore the effects of axing the project.

The ECRL project whose construction contract was awarded to China Communications, Construction Co Ltd (CCCC) and financed by China is a hot topic in the past few days, and its fate is expected to be made known officia­lly this week.

Yesterday, Dr Mahathir said Malaysia will be “impoverished” if the government proceeds with the ECRL project.

While not confirming that the project has been scrapped, Dr Mahathir said paying compensation is cheaper than bearing the cost of the project.

Below is Dr Wee’s letter in full:

An open letter to YAB Prime Minister and Cabinet Ministers

The cancellation of the ECRL project and the bickering between two Cabinet ministers over the issue has become the talk of the town. I foresee this issue to be a hot topic in the Cabinet meeting this Wednesday (Jan 30).

Whether the cancellation of ECRL was discussed in previous Cabinet meetings or not, I earnestly hope the Cabinet can explore the effects of axing this project.

Take a moment to consider factors such as the friendship between the people of both countries, jobs and economy, diplomatic ties and the reputation of Malaysia.

On the bilateral relations between Malaysia and China, I can safely say that putting a stop to the ECRL project will harm the diplomatic ties between Malaysia and China.

If we put ourselves in China’s shoes, we will surely respond negatively as well if our overseas investment is treated as such.

A nightmare looms should China take any retaliatory action, such as reduce or even halt the import of commodities (palm oil in particular) from us.

If that happens, Felda, Sime Darby and other big corporations will be the first to feel the heat.

The livelihood of some 650,000 smallholders and their families will be directly affected.

From the economic perspective, the ECRL project is likely to boost the GDP growth of three east coast states by 1.5%.

It will also spur the development of the east coast, enhance connectivity between the east and west coast, and close the economic divide between the two coasts.

Through bridging the rural-urban divide, the overall development of Malaysia will be more balanced and comprehensive.

The rail link is 20% completed, with several tens of billions paid to the contractor.

On top of that, Malaysia will be penalised for cancelling the RM30bil loan from the EXIM Bank of China.

We will have to repay the loan and compensation within a short period of time.

From my experience in administering engineering projects, any breach of contract will result in a hefty penalty. The compensation for cancelling ECRL could reach RM20bil.

Financial losses aside, scrapping the ECRL will also bring a negative impact to Malaysia’s reputation in the international arena and erode Malaysia’s trustworthiness.

Judging from my past experience dealing with China and its officials, as well as the friendly gestures displayed by China so far, I can conclude that China is willing to achieve a win-win solution instead of situation where both sides lose out.

The Malaysian government can consider restructuring the project timeline or reducing the project scale, which are alternatives that work in Malaysia’s favour while maintaining the amicable ties between Malaysia and China.

The government should also keep the small and medium enterprises in mind.

Business owners in 150 related industries, including tens of thousands of contractors who have taken a loan to purchase equipment, will suffer greatly should ECRL be cancelled.

China is Malaysia’s largest trading partner since 2009, with bilateral trade figures reaching US$100bil. Business linkages and people-to-people exchanges have also flourished over the years.

Products such as palm oil, bird’s nest, Musang King, white coffee, etc, are exported to China, while people from both countries visit each other for vacations and academic exchanges, benefitting Malaysians of all races.

All these have contributed to the income of various communities and brought in foreign exchange earnings for the country.

It takes years to build a bilateral relationship, and only seconds to destroy it.

The Malaysian government should appreciate our friendship with China and try its best to achieve mutual benefits and common prosperity with China.

Prioritise the economy and the livelihood of the people, and put an end to the political game to discredit your opponents.

For the sake of the people in the east coast as well as the whole of Malaysia, the government should not cancel the ECRL project.- The Star

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Truth be told: It’s not wrong to tell the truth


Two things could make the controversial Sedition Act fairer: It’s OK if you tell the truth, and it’s OK if you want to stop injustice.

A COUPLE of weeks ago, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad talked about the Sedition Act. He calmly explained to all Malaysians that it isn’t meant to avoid criticisms about wrongdoing, it isn’t meant to shackle whistleblowers, and it’s completely not sedition if you tell the truth.

“If you say something factual, you cannot be punished for it,” said Dr Mahathir, “But, on the other hand, if we shut the mouths of everyone, to the point that people cannot even speak up against acts of crime, then there will be injustice in the country.” (“Be clear on what insult means”, Nation, The Star, Jan 11; online at tinyurl.com/star-insult.)

Basically, it sounded like he could have been talking about anything – except the Sedition Act. Now, the Sedition Act is not unfamiliar to Pakatan Harapan. In its own manifesto, PH said that it would revoke the Sedition Act if it came to power, giving the reason that it is a law “inherited from the British colonial era without amendment to improve weaknesses”. And then after PH formed the government, it seemed to kind of casually forget this.

I have written about the Sedition Act before (“Lost in translation?”, Contradictheory, Star2, March 29, 2015; online at tinyurl.com/star-sedition). If you’re not reading this column online, here’s a summary of what I said then: I pointed out the problem that you can be guilty of sedition even if all you are doing is repeating what somebody else has said. And to top it off, it doesn’t matter if what you said was true, nor does it matter if you said it with the best of intentions. It’s like saying somebody’s dress is figure-hugging, and hearing them answer, “Are you saying I’m fat?”

It’s all there in the Act. The Act talks about whether “things” have a “seditious tendency”. These include actions, speech, words and publications, for example, and whether they influence people to feel hatred, contempt or disaffection for the Rulers or the government. Whether the “things” are true or not doesn’t matter.

The Act also says, “The intention of the person charged at the time … shall be deemed to be irrelevant”.

Why is it interpreted like that? It’s hard to say, but I think it does make it easier for the authorities to manage anti-government sentiments.

For example, it’s possible to be selective with the truth to manipulate a situation. So, technically, what somebody said might be fact, but might also be misleading.

Secondly, intent is something that can be very difficult to establish. You have to get into the mind of the accused and tease out what he or she intended by what he or she said or wrote.

For example, if all you wrote on a Facebook page is that somebody should be investigated for doing a Very Bad Thing, then you have sown the seeds of doubt in the minds of the audience. You might argue, I didn’t know it wasn’t true, I just wanted to see justice being done. What, people got upset by what I wrote? I didn’t know that would happen.

This is precisely the sort of annoying thing I have to face on social media almost every day. Somebody re-posts or retweets a rumour en masse to others with two button clicks and when you ask them why didn’t they just check it first, they shrug and say, “I just wanted people to know – just in case”.

(That’s really what we should have a law against: Indiscriminate and irresponsible retweets. The penalty would be to copy pages of Wikipedia by hand for the local library.)

But the thing is, it should be hard to put somebody in jail.

The system of justice we have now focuses on the presumption of innocence. In other words, people have to gather evidence and prove to the court that you are guilty. And people should be entitled to the best possible defence, and saying I am normally a good person who does good things should be taken into account.

Intent matters. The difference between murder and manslaughter is intent. Intent is the bedrock of whether we are kind to others because we want everyone to thrive, or because we want to later take advantage of them.

If we want to be able to prosecute people for saying hateful things that disturb society, you must show intent. Either make clear the context or show a pattern of previous behaviour. It’s the difference between an Internet troll and Karpal Singh.

The Sedition Act, in a way, does try to at least cover situations where you are trying to right a perceived wrong in society. But in a case like when artist Zunar (Zulkiflee Anwar Haque) drew cartoons making fun of alleged crimes in the previous government, it is clear there is still much leeway for interpretation there.

The facts do matter. In this world where politicians more than anyone seem to believe they can skate by on allegations, people who say horrible things should be forced to stand by their words and prove them. It’s an opportunity for the truth to shine instead of hiding out.

There are many who blame the PH government for being hypocritical for not keeping its election promise and maintaining the Sedition Act. I don’t disagree.

But the fact is that Dr Mahathir touched on the two things that perhaps could potentially make the Act fairer. He said it is OK if we told the truth. And it is OK if we want to stop injustice.

And I can’t think of why any Malaysian wouldn’t want to do both.

The facts do matter. In this world where politicians more than anyone seem to believe they can skate by on allegations, people who say horrible things should be forced to stand by their words and prove them.

star2@thestar.com.my Dzof Azmi

Logic is the antithesis of emotion but mathematician-turned-scriptwriter Dzof Azmi’s theory is that people need both to make sense of life’s vagaries and contradictions. Write to Dzof at star2@thestar.com.my.

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Malaysia files criminal charges against Goldman Sachs, ex-bankers in 1MDB probe


https://youtu.be/jNJU98b4lzI

Malaysia takes Goldman Sachs to court with AG Tommy Thomas saying that the bank’s dealings with 1MDB broke laws at the heart of the capital markets; MRT Corp will be looking for a new CEO; and Unisem’s offer is “not fair or reasonable”.

This is the first time Malaysian prosecutors have directly targeted Goldman Sachs for its alleged role in the 1MDB scandal © AP

PETALING JAYA: The Attorney-General Chambers has filed criminal charges against subsidiaries of investment bank Goldman Sachs and its key employees over the handling of bonds issued by 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) totalling USD6.5bil (RM27.2bil).

Attorney general Tommy Thomas said that charges were filed against Goldman Sachs’ former Southeast Asia chairman Tim Leissner and former 1MDB employees Jasmine Loo Ai Swan and fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho, also known as Jho Low.

He added that banker Roger Ng Chong Hwa would be charged shortly.

Thomas said Leissner and Ng had conspired with Low, Loo and others to bribe Malaysian public officials in order to procure the selection, involvement and participation of Goldman Sachs in three Bond issuances.

He also said that the Goldman employees had not only received part of the misappropriated bond proceeds, but also received large bonuses and enhanced career prospects at the bank and in the overall investment banking industry.

“The charges arise from the commission and abetment of false or misleading statements by all the accused in order to dishonestly misappropriate USD2.7bil (RM11.3bil) from the proceeds of three bonds issued by subsidiaries of 1MDB, which were arranged and underwritten by Goldman Sachs,” he said in a statement on Monday (Dec 17).

Thomas said the three bonds were the 10-year USD1.75bil (RM7.32bil) issued by 1MDB Energy Limited, the 10-year USD1.75bil (RM7.32bil) issued by 1MDB Energy (Langat) Limited and the 10-year USD3bil (RM12.6bil) issued by 1MDB Global Investments Limited.

Thomas added that the investment bank had benefited by receiving underwriting and arranging fees of approximately USD600mil (RM2.5bil), which was higher than market rates and industry norms.

Thomas also said the Offering Circulars and Private Placement Memorandum for the Bonds filed with the Labuan Financial Services Authority had also contained statements which were false, misleading, coupled with omissions of material.

“Offering Circulars and Private Placement Memorandum are serious documents, intended to be relied on, and, in fact, were relied on, by purchasers of the bonds.

“The scheme designed and crafted by the accused to fraudulently structure the bonds for ostensibly legitimate purposes when they knew that the proceeds thereof would be misappropriated and fraudulently diverted by the accused themselves was planned and executed in order to defraud the Government of Malaysia and the purchasers of the bonds,” he said.

Thomas said their scheme had contravened Malaysia’s securities laws, particularly, Section 179 of the Capital Markets and Services Act, 2007 (Act 671).

“Malaysia considers the allegations in the charges against all the accused to be grave violations of our securities laws, and to reflect their severity, prosecutors will seek criminal fines against the accused well in excess of the USD2.7bil (RM11.3bil) misappropriated from the Bonds proceeds and USD600mil (RM2.5bil) in fees received by Goldman Sachs, and custodial sentences against each of the individual accused: the maximum term of imprisonment being 10 years,” he said.

He said that if no criminal proceedings are instituted against the accused, their undermining of the financial system and market integrity will go unpunished.

“Having held themselves out as the pre-eminent global adviser / arranger for bonds, the highest standards are expected of Goldman Sachs. They have fallen far short of any standard. In consequence, they have to be held accountable,” he said. – The Star.

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Huawei Surprise goldfish in a bowl


Uncertain future: In this courtroom sketch, Meng sits beside a translator during a bail hearing in Vancouver. She
faces extradition to the US on charges of trying to evade US sanctions on Iran. – AP 
The arrest of Huawei ‘heiress’ has thrown a rare spotlight on the family of the reclusive smartphone giant founder, Ren Zhengfei.

WHEN Huawei CFO Sabrina Meng Wanzhou appeared on Wednesday in a Vancouver courtroom, clad in an unbranded green tracksuit, the moment was witnessed by a single reporter from the local Vancouver Sun newspaper who happened to notice her name on the hearings list that morning.

By the end of the day, Meng’s arrest in Canada at the request of Washington was the biggest story in the world.

And when her bail hearing resumed on Friday, Meng entered court to see about 100 reporters, craning to look at her through two layers of bulletproof glass.

Meng who faces extradition to the United States, was charged for helping Huawei allegedly cover up violations of US sanctions on Iran.

Like many top Chinese executives, Meng is a mysterious figure even in her home country, but the 46-year-old chief financial officer of Huawei Technologies had been widely tipped to one day take the helm of the tech giant her father founded.

That was until her shock arrest, a move that has entangled her in the protracted diplomatic tensions between Washington and Beijing.

Crucially, Meng is the daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei – one of China’s leading businessmen, an ex-People’s Liberation Army officer and an elected member of the 12th National Congress of the Communist Party of China.

In other words, Meng is part of China’s elite.

Her father Ren moves in the highest government circles in China and founded Huawei in 1988, after he retired from the Chinese armed forces. Born into a rural family in a remote mountainous town in the southwestern province of Guizhou, Ren rose to the equivalent rank of a deputy regimental chief in the PLA and served until 1983, according to his official Huawei biography.

Officials in some governments, particularly the United States, have voiced concern that his company is close to the Chinese military and government. Huawei has repeatedly insisted Beijing has no influence over it.

Ren is one of the most watched entrepreneurs in China and was on Time magazine’s list of 100 most influential people in the world in 2005 and again in 2013.

But like his elder daughter, Ren has largely kept a low profile.

Ren has married three times. His first wife was Meng Jun, daughter of a former senior official in Sichuan province, Meng Dongbuo; she bore Ren two children: Sabrina Meng Wanzhou and a son, Meng Ping.

Meng’s current wife is Yao Ling, who gave him a younger daughter, Annabel Yao, 20. In a rare move, the three posed last month for a family photoshoot for French lifestyle magazine Paris Match. Annabel, a Harvard computer science student, became a sensation at last month’s Le Bal des Debutantes (or Crillon Ball) in Paris.

Ren’s third wife is Su Wei who, according to Chinese media reports, is a millennial who was formerly his secretary.

Interestingly, all his children opted not to take on their father’s surname – Meng adopted her mother’s surname after her parents divorced. According to Chinese news websites, Meng’s brother Ping, who also works for Huawei, followed her in taking their mother’s surname to “avoid unnecessary attention” – though the son was also known as Ren Ping in the past.

(This practice is not uncommon among the families of China’s elite. The co-founder of Chinese auction house China Guardian, Wang Yannan, opted not to take her father’s surname – she is the daughter of late Chinese premier Zhao Ziyang.)

Born in 1972, Meng joined the company in 1993, obtained a master’s degree from Huazhong University of Science and Technology in 1998, and rose up the ranks over the years, mostly holding financial roles.

In her first media appearance before the Chinese press in 2013, Meng said she had first joined the company as a secretary“whose job was just to take calls”.

In the interview with China’s 21st Century Business Herald, Meng said she began her first job at China Construction Bank after graduating with her first degree in 1992.

Arrested Meng: Like her father, the Huawei CFO had led a quiet life, out of the spotlight. – Reuters

Arrested Meng: Like her father, the Huawei CFO had led a quiet life, out of the spotlight. – Reuters

“I joined Huawei one year later because a branch closed its operations due to the business integration [of CCB],” said Meng, describing her early jobs in Huawei as “very trivial”.

Meng has served in various roles at the company since, until her latest role as the Hong Kong-based CFO of Huawei.

In 2003, Meng established Huawei’s globally unified finance organisation, with standardised structures, financial processes, financial systems, and IT platforms.

Since 2005, Meng has led the founding of five shared service centers around the world, and she was also the driver behind completion of a global payment center in Shenzhen, China. These centres have boosted Huawei’s accounting efficiency and monitoring quality, providing accounting services to sustain the company’s rapid overseas expansion.

Meng has also been in charge of the integrated financial services (IFS) transformation program, an eight-year partnership between Huawei and IBM since 2007. This has helped Huawei develop its data systems and rules for resource allocation, and improve operating efficiency and internal controls.

In recent years, Meng has focused on advancing detailed financial management at Huawei, working to align these efforts with the company’s long-term development plans.

Meng’s importance at Huawei became apparent in 2011, when she was first named as a board member. Company insiders describe her as capable and hardworking. Earlier this year, Huawei promoted Meng, to vice-chairwoman as part of a broader reshuffle. Meng is one of four executives who hold the vice-chair role, while retaining her CFO position. Despite assertions by Ren that none of his family members would succeed him in the top job, it is widely speculated that she was being groomed to take over the reins of the company eventually.

Married with a son and a daughter, Meng’s revelation that her husband did not work in the industry, dispelled the speculation she was married to a senior Huawei executive.

Meng did not conduct public interviews before 2013 and has seldom mentioned her personal life until recently, when she used her son to illustrate the importance of persistence.

“My son did not want to go swimming one day and he almost knelt on the ground and begged my husband so that he would not have to go. But he was rejected,” Meng said in a speech at Chongqing international school in 2016. “Now my son is proud to represent his school in swimming competitions.”

Meng recently made a speech at a Singapore academic conference in 2018, in which she talked of Huawei’s future role in technology development.

“Without universities, the world would be left in darkness. Without industry, science would be left in the ivory tower,” said Meng. “The fourth industrial revolution is on the horizon and artificial intelligence is one of its core enabling technologies. Huawei is lucky to be part of it.”

While her brother, Meng Ping, as well as her father’s younger brother and his current wife all work at Huawei and related companies, none has held such senior management roles.

“The other family members are in the back office, Sabrina is CFO and sits on the board,” a Huawei source said. “So she is viewed as the boss’s most likely successor.”

But her fate now is uncertain.

She faces up to 30 years’ jail for the alleged crime. Her lawyer in Canada, David Martin, had told the court that Meng posed no flight risk and should be granted bail. To flee would shame her in front of her father and all of China, said Martin.

“Her father would not recognise her. Her colleagues would hold her in contempt. She would be a pariah,” he said.

Meng leaned forward in her seat and dabbed at her eyes with a tissue.

When the hearing adjourned, she was led away with her head bowed, a goldfish in a bowl that is the biggest story in the world. – South China Morning Post

Younger Huawei daughter: ‘I’m just a normal girl’

Arresting Yao: ‘My daily life is actually pretty boring compared to this.’

JUST last month, the reclusive Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei made headlines by appearing in French lifestyle magazine Paris Match with his younger daughter and current wife.The daughter, Annabel Yao, 20, posed with a smile in front of a grand piano with her mother, identified by the magazine as Yao Ling, and Ren, who wore a blue shirt with his hand resting on her shoulder.

Suddenly, the whole family are making headlines again – even if for quite different reasons.

Few outsiders had previously heard of the younger daughter, a Harvard computer science student and ballerina. But Yao recently made a high-profile appearance at the exclusive Le Bal Debutante ball in Paris.

While Le Bal des Debutantes in Paris each year is a nod to the tradition of young society ladies entering the elite social scene of Europe, these days it courts modern debutantes, aged 16 to 21, who are chosen for their looks, brains and famous parents – prominent in business, entertainment and politics.

They parade in glamorous couture gowns, waltz with their cavaliers – young men who accompany the “debs” for the evening – and take part in photo shoots and interviews.

The schedule at the event, organised by Ophélie Renouard, is full of young women such as Baroness Ludmilla von Oppenheim, from Germany; Julia McCaw, daughter of AT&T founder Craig McCaw; and Yao – one of three debutantes chosen for the opening waltz this year.

“I definitely treated this as a debut to the world,” said Yao after the ball. “From now on, I’ll no longer be this girl living in her own world, I’ll be stepping into the adult world where I have to watch my own actions and have my actions be watched by others.”

Today’s Le Bal, is a diverse affair, a microcosm of the shifting tides of the global elite. Of the 19 debutantes of 2018, there were young ladies from India and America, Europeans from Portugal, France, Belgium and Germany, as well as Hong Kong’s Angel Lee, Kayla Uytengsu from the Philippines and China’s Yao.

Yao – who has lived in Britain, Hong Kong and Shanghai – was one of several Chinese debutantes in recent years. Hollywood offspring, such as the daughters of actors Forest Whitaker, Bruce Willis and Sylvester Stallone, have also become Le Bal regulars.

“All the girls were down-to-earth, easygoing, helpful and outgoing. No one was pretentious,” said Yao.

“All of them attended top universities or high schools like Stanford, Brown and Columbia, so it’s a group of girls who are privileged, but also work really hard.”

 

Diverse affair: Today’s ‘Le Bal’ is a microcosm of the shifting tides of the global elite like Yao (far right, front row).

 

As they swapped their jeans for tiaras and couture gowns and trade teenage antics for waltzing, the girls got to play fairytale princesses for three days and make their grand debut in high society.

They all arrived in Paris two days before the ball to meet, socialise with other girls and their cavaliers (Yao’s cavalier was the young Count Gaspard de Limburg-Stirum), rehearse and take part in portrait sessions.

Girls are given questionnaires about the fashion styles they like, and then choose from a selection. Yao donned a champagne gold J Mendel gown.

“An American designer with a very French style I wanted something modern,” she said. “I’m not super girlie inside, so I prefer something more chic and not so princessy It’s very elegant, and I’m not a fan of very [strongly] pigmented hues. I also loved the tulle texture of the dress, as it reminds me of a ballerina.”

“I definitely feel very honoured to be included, as there are only 19 girls in the world this year,” Yao added. “It means I have to work harder, try to accomplish great things in my life and be a role model for other girls.”

She said: “As people who have more privilege than others, it’s more important for us to help those with less opportunity. I want to get involved in philanthropy and charity I still consider myself a normal girl; it’s important for me to work hard and better myself every day.

“My daily life is actually pretty boring compared to this. I usually live like a normal student.”

Computer science is a heavy subject with a high workload, so she studies a lot. Her spare time is often taken up at the Harvard Ballet company (she’s been dancing since childhood). “I try to dance as much as possible,” she said.

A quick glance at the Ivy League student’s social media shows her jetting around the world wearing Dior, Louis Vuitton and Saint Laurent, but she’s quick to show her serious side. This summer, she did an internship at Microsoft “on a team focusing on machine learning and image recognition”.

However, she noted: “As much as I enjoy coding, I enjoy personal interactions a lot I have a passion for fashion, PR and entertainment.”

In the future, she sees herself working on the business side of technology. “I’ll try to integrate the tech knowledge I have,” she said. “I don’t think I’ll be a software engineer but maybe I’ll be more on the management side. I enjoy building connections.” – South China Morning Post

Growing stronger, opening wider key to resolving Huawei crisis

Huawei is now facing its most severe test since it became the world-renowned innovative tech company.

With executive’s arrest, US wants to stifle Huawei

The Chinese government should seriously go behind the US tendency to abuse legal procedures to suppress China’s high-tech enterprises. It should increase interaction with the US and exert pressure when necessary. China has been exercising restraint, but the US cannot act recklessly. US President Donald Trump should rein in the hostile activities of some Americans who may imperil Sino-US relations.

 

Related posts:

Huawei CFO arrest violates human rights as US takes aim at Huawei, the real trade war with China

In custody: A profile of Meng is displayed on a computer at a Huawei store in Beijing. The Chinese government, speaking
through its embassy in Canada, strenuously objected to the arrest, and  demanded Meng’s immediate release.  
AP

China-US trade truce set to benefit world


Illustration: Peter C. Espina/GT

Chinese President Xi Jinping and his US counterpart Donald Trump’s meeting in Argentina on Saturday yielded results that boosted the confidence of both countries and the world. The US agreed to hold off on raising tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods to 25 percent and the two countries decided to start a new round of negotiations in the next three months. The meeting has prevented bilateral relations from going into a nosedive, showing how rewarding diplomacy between heads of state can be.

The meeting lasted an hour longer than expected, created a cordial atmosphere for talks and ended with a spontaneous group photo. A White House statement released on Saturday said the meeting was “highly successful.”

These details are very indicative. After US Vice President Mike Pence delivered a stinging speech on its China policy at the Hudson Institute in the beginning of October, many worried that a new Cold War between the two countries was looming. But now, the Xi-Trump meeting on the sidelines of the G20 summit has shown that Beijing and Washington have the wisdom and ability to avoid the shadow of the Cold War shroud the world once again.

The compromise between China and the US is a wise decision to deal with their respective domestic challenges. The intensified trade war in the past few months upset farmers, enterprises and financial institutions of both countries. US farmers planted 89.1 million acres of soybeans this year, some were reportedly letting their crops rot as they were unable to sell them to their biggest buyer and the storage costs rose amid the trade conflict with China.

In addition, US companies involved in the international economy are suffering because of a worsening global economic environment. Although the US economy has maintained relatively rapid growth thanks to tax cuts and increased federal expenditure, the economies of Europe, China and Japan have all contracted.

Just as IMF Chief Christine Lagarde recently warned, the headwinds of trade friction, notably between China and the US, “could have slowed momentum even more than we had expected.” She also said that if Trump follows through on this threat to impose steep tariffs on auto imports, it would result in retaliation from trading partners on US exports and could cut a large chunk out of the world economy.

An escalation in trade disputes worldwide will inevitably bring more pressure on both Chinese and American companies. According to a statement by the WTO on November 22, countries belonging to the G20 group of the world’s biggest economies applied 40 new trade restrictive measures between mid-May and mid-October, covering around $481 billion of trade. Trimming its outlook for the global economy, the OECD calculated that a full-blown trade war and the resulting economic uncertainty could knock as much as 0.8 percent off global gross domestic product by 2021.

In this context, the efforts made by China and the US in Argentina to ease trade tensions are valuable to save the global economy. How to take the next step is of course full of challenges. Reaching an agreement on a number of sensitive issues within the next three months will be a big test for both countries.

The Trump government should not overestimate its bargaining chips. It should review the fundamental role healthy and balanced globalization can play in helping the US economy maintain sustainable growth. Trump recently asked General Motors to stop making cars in China and open a new plant in Ohio. As General Motors is highly dependent on the Chinese market, such requirements appear to run counter to common sense and reason.

Besides, the Trump government threatened to impose export controls on new technologies like robotics, hoping to weaken China’s position in the global supply chain and win an upper hand in technological competition with China. Such an approach has been opposed by sane minds in Silicon Valley who argue that it will only benefit companies in Europe and Japan.

China needs to accelerate the implementation of the new round of reform and opening-up policy in the following three months. The Chinese government in the past few months rolled out more policies to support private companies, which is necessary, but more importantly, it should hasten steps to establish a more mature market economy.

If China can reform its own development model based on its own plan under the pressure of a trade spat, it will be the biggest winner and the whole world will also benefit from it.

By Zhao Minghao Source:Global Times

The author is a senior research fellow with The Charhar Institute and an adjunct fellow at the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn

Related:

Trade cease-fire welcomed – Capital markets shoot up in response to tariff truce

Malaysia goes to UK court to challenge IPIC-1MDB consent award US$5.78bil (RM24.16bil)


Malaysia legally challenges a consent award granted in 2017 to Abu Dhabi’s sovereign wealth fund, International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC), following a debt dispute with its state investment fund, 1Malaysia Development Bhd.

Under the consent award, Malaysia is obliged to pay US$5.78 billion to IPIC and the bond trustee over five years. The country has paid US$1.46 billion so far.
Below is the full media statement from Malaysia’s attorney-general, Tommy Thomas, explaining why the country is filing the legal challenge.

CHALLENGING THE IPIC ARBITRATION CONSENT AWARD

1. The Government of Malaysia will apply to the Courts of England for an order to set aside a Consent Award recorded on 9th May 2017 by an Arbitration Tribunal sitting in London. We are confident that we have a strong case. The Arbitration, conducted under the Rules of the London Court of International Arbitration, was between International Petroleum Investment Company (“IPIC”) and Aabar Investments PJS, as Claimants, and 1MDB and our Minister of Finance Inc., as Respondents.

2. Under the Consent Award, Malaysia is obliged to pay US$5.78 billion to IPIC and the Bond Trustee over a five year period. So far, US$1.46 billion has been paid, leaving a balance of US$4.32 billion, with the next interest payment of US$50 million due on 11th November 2018. Similar interest payments are payable periodically until April 2022. The final bullet payments, representing principal and interest of US$1.8 billion each, are due and payable in May and October 2022.

3. The basis of Malaysia’s legal challenge in the High Court in London is that the Consent Award was procured by fraud or in a manner contrary to public policy. The Court application relates to the knowledge of IPIC and Aabar of the serious allegations made by the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) against former Prime Minister and Finance Minister Najib Razak, who was also the moving spirit and ultimate decision maker in 1MDB. Such knowledge on their part was acquired, “inter alia”, no later than the time when the DOJ’s Press Conference was held by the Attorney General of the United States, Loretta Lynch, in July 2016 when she announced the filing by by DOJ of several civil suits for the freezing of assets purchased by fraudsters from stolen proceeds, and popularly described as the greatest kleptocracy in modern history.

4. The grave, detailed allegations in those DOJ court documents were given tremendous global publicity, particularly in the political and business media. They had certainly entered the global public domain by July 2016. Najib Razak is identified as “MO1” in the DOJ pleadings. Any reasonable reader reading these court documents would immediately become aware of his central role in defrauding 1MDB to the benefit of himself, his stepson and Jho Low.

5. In such circumstances, Malaysia takes the position that IPIC and Aabar were aware of the fraud of Najib Razak. He was principally responsible for 1MDB and Minister of Finance Inc. consenting to the Award. Every system of law would hold that he could not possibly have acted in the best interests of his country and his company. Indeed, he did not. Fraud is an established ground to challenge the consent award for public policy reasons.

6. We are pleased to report that the application will be filed today in the High Court in London. Malaysia will claim that as a result of the fraud, we are relieved from any obligation to pay the balance of the US$4.32 billion to IPIC or Aabar under the Consent Award, and additionally have a right to recover the US$1.46 billion already paid.

Tommy Thomas
Attorney General
30th October 2018
 

Related:

 

1MDB and IPIC settle arbitration proceedings

 

 

Govt to appeal consent award – Nation | The Star Online

 

 

Malaysia to appeal for order to set aside RM24.16bil consent award in …

 

AG says Malaysia doesn’t have to pay US$4.32b to IPIC as 1MDB defrauded 

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