Penang land-for-tunnel swap: Who is this mystery man?


Work on the tunnel has not even begun but already the wheeling and dealing behind the scenes is taking place in earnest.

Ewein Bhd is holding an EGM today to discuss its diversification into property development. Ahead of the EGM, some convoluted corporate restructuring has taken place in a joint venture over a plot of land swapped in connection with the tunnel deal.

It involves less than four acres out of the 110 acres that Sri Tanjung Pinang Phase 2 developer E & O is supposed to hand over to the Penang state government, which in turn is supposed to hand it over to the tunnel developer, Zenith.

Ewein and Zenith are involved in a 60:40 joint venture for 3.67 acres out of this 110 acres. Initially Ewein was supposed to be pay Zenith RM80m for the land.

But the terms of the deal were reportedly changed on 27 February in favour of Zenith so that the joint venture reportedly now has to pay the whole RM133m to Zenith for the land. Read this very interesting Malay Mail report that outlines the elaborate arrangement.

All so complicated. Why?

More intriguingly, the report points out that Zarul Ahmad Mohd Zulkifli, who is the point man in the tunnel development, is now a common director of Ewein Land Sdn Bhd, Ewein Zenith Sdn Bhd and Consortium Zenith BUCG Sdn Bhd.

This raises the question: who is Zarul and how did he suddenly emerge on the scene as a tunnel developer and now a key player in this property deal?

READ MORE:  Severe flash floods swamp Teluk Bahang; Penang airport also affected

Does he have any political connections?

An entry in a politician’s blog in January 2012 may provide a clue. Read the second paragraph and look at the third photograph.

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  1. For someone with a … record on the Rakyat Merchant Bank fiasco this Zarul was also able to obtain a Datukship. Wonder who is powerful enough to … ‘close an eye’ for Zarul during the profile checking? Maybe a ‘Chief’ an answer this.

  2. Does Zenith has capability to undertake the massive project? What track record Zenith has? Where is transparency

  3. Today, it rained good cats & good dogs.
    Penang’s uncut hills received the much needed water to ‘hold’ for the coming drier months.
    But Botak Hill (Bukit Relau), a victim of broad daylight hill rape is still left naked without her ‘green cover’ of decency. One can still see the bleeding of red earth + water after today’s downpour, a statement of recalcitrant acts in defiance of civilised law & sustainable development.
    Is the state authority still CAT-napping?

  4. The international school in Kulim was closed down due to a lack of demand two to three years back compared to Penang Island which saw the opening of two new international schools POWIIS and Straits.

    A new airport in Kulim? How stupid !!!!

    • This is what Mukhriz has said on tis matter on interview by NST:

      I see that Penang is moving the right way. It is de-emphasising investments that require a lot of labour, and perhaps, also moving away from capital-intensive investments. They are now focused on attracting investments in the services sector, which is the fastest growing sector that offers high-added value, definitely a high-income industry.

      I think Penang’s move to launch the RM3.3 billion Information Technology (IT) Outsourcing and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), or IT-BPO, near its airport is a brilliant move. I foresee Penang heading towards that direction.

      In the near future, big factories on the island may consider shifting to the mainland due to higher production costs. This would allow Penang to continue expanding its services sector while supporting the manufacturing sector on the mainland.

      As such, the whole idea about the Kulim International Airport works in tandem with the plan. Penang need not feel threatened. In fact, they should see it as complementary to their own growth. The fact that PIA is taking more passenger aircraft also fits into the idea.

      • It takes more than an airport to entice the MNCs to relocate to Kulim.

        Perhaps Mukhzir can take a leaf out of LGE’s books. Having open tenders and running an administration that is perceived to be less corruption driven would be a great way to start.

  5. With less manufacturing activities on the island, Penang cannot justify airport expansion?

    Should new airport be built in Kulim or Prai? A good topic to discuss.

    • Another airport or better used land for affordable housing?
      The opportunity costs for global bing chui political portfolio or social housing care in the face of widespread mounting household debts.
      Anil, care to give a tick?

    • Mukhriz should just expand the airport in Alor Setar, and ask Tony Fernandez (who is having cooling interest in F1 now) add a JB-Alor Setar AirAsia flight as there are demand for Kedahans working in JB/Singapore. About time for Mukhriz to stimulate the tourism in Alor Setar and Lembah Bujang in Gurun. There are other gems in Kedah besides Langkawi which has been oversaturated with new hotels but no increase in foreign tourists.

    • Electronic road pricing or surcharge for entering inner city is the way to curb road congestion, enabling car-pooling. It may not be a popular decision but the money collected could be used to improve public transportation. People are now driving to reach short distance even though they could just walk, threfore rise in obesity.

  6. If this Zarul had political connections, it would have to be with the CM or the PR govt because they are the ones who decided on the project. The link you provided implies a connection with BN more than PR or LGE. Why would LGE support a businessman with links to BN? Unless you are suggesting that the two parties are in cahoots.

    • Swap deals can possibly / conveniently overlook the evils in the eyes of own political preaching.
      As long as Coast-Mud-Politan Penang Frenzies get to be fulfilled at all costs, including undermining 308 Ceramah’s middle-finger-totting + ‘how-sui tor-ko-char’ rhetorics.

  7. The Penang government should just sell land to the ROC Chinese developers, just like what Sultan Johor has done in Johor.

    Can get good price and no one will complain.

  8. The impact, positive or not, will be known to your children or grandchildren.
    The chronological events leading to such wheeling dealings starts ~10 years ago, not just swapping lands but responsibilities so that potentially guilty “heads” later may not be “chopped off” (using Perkasa figurative of speech).

  9. PROXY is common in local business dealing.
    The problem is many bark on the wrong trees not aware of actual happenings.
    Only gutsy like Serpico can reveal the truth rather than keep us guessing……..

  10. This is the land paid for doing the feasibility study. Unfortunately, you need to develop the land first in order to get the money to do the feasibility study. In Bolehland, we used to fake the feasibility study. Too bad, Ong Eu Soon is on the way to block this (alleded) faking of feasibility study! But last night I have a strange dream that I am the person responsible for the building of the tunnel. Does not make sense at all!
    Zenith Bucg will face cash flows problems if it start to do geological survey now. You need to bring in the heavy equipment, the experts. All need money, money,money!

    • Too bad, we have a No Money, No Talk Syndrome CAT.
      But still can justify drawing out from hard-saved state coffer for driving a MercS300Lansi-Lanyong.
      No money, can still swap mah!
      Next, boh bin chui Penangites will be swapped for rich & famous residents thro’ a social engineering unprecedented since Merdeka.

      • Dedicate this song “Follow Your Arrow” to tunglang since he now can’t follow the Rocket 🙂

        “Follow Your Arrow”
        If you save yourself for marriage
        You’re a bore
        If you don’t save yourself for marriage
        You’re a horrible person
        If you won’t have a drink
        Then you’re a prude
        But they’ll call you a drunk
        As soon as you down the first one

        If you can’t lose the weight
        Then you’re just fat
        But if you lose too much
        Then you’re on crack
        You’re damned if you do
        And you’re damned if you don’t
        So you might as well just do
        Whatever you want

        Make lots of noise
        Kiss lots of boys
        Or kiss lots of girls
        If that’s something you’re into
        When the straight and narrow
        Gets a little too straight
        Roll up a joint, or don’t
        Just follow your arrow
        Wherever it points, yeah
        Follow your arrow
        Wherever it points

        If you don’t go to church
        You’ll go to hell
        If you’re the first one
        On the front row
        You’re self-righteous
        Son of a-
        Can’t win for losing
        You’ll just disappoint ’em
        Just ’cause you can’t beat ’em
        Don’t mean you should join ’em

        So make lots of noise
        Kiss lots of boys
        Or kiss lots of girls
        If that’s something you’re into
        When the straight and narrow
        Gets a little too straight
        Roll up a joint, or don’t
        Just follow your arrow
        Wherever it points, yeah
        Follow your arrow
        Wherever it points

        Say what you think
        Love who you love
        ‘Cause you just get
        So many trips ’round the sun
        Yeah, you only
        Only live once

        So make lots of noise
        Kiss lots of boys
        Or kiss lots of girls
        If that’s what you’re into
        When the straight and narrow
        Gets a little too straight
        Roll up a joint, I would
        And follow your arrow
        Wherever it points, yeah
        Follow your arrow
        Wherever it points

      • Lovey-dovey Suarez.

        I only live once
        So making lots of noise
        Tis’ a daily wakeup call for CAT,
        Still dreaming in MercS300Lansi
        Kiss not its tricky paws
        Hold not its ‘shaky’ b… (if any)
        Any need to pray (to Komtar Deity)?

        Let’s get straight to the point
        Say what’s real in our hearts,
        And not be hazed & dazed like Davidian cultists
        Only to feel temp good but deceived
        No, that’s not heaven but hell like Waco

        I only live once
        Follow my maverick heart
        Go wherever it leads
        Do whatever it loves
        By just being tunglang
        Cheers Kopi-O kau kau

      • follow your arrow (heart) —>the direction points to mainland Penang in 5 years time new airport, new township Spore HDB style with new job opportunities closer to home for 95% of young generations, and where new generation food ori-maestros to mushroom…..
        the envious die-hards remain on island cursing the rich depleting savings (epf) on higher cost of livings

      • Some diehards will fight back, not necessary follow the misleading arrow.

        Arrogance not entitled to do as they like it as their global playground.
        There needs to be a balance of development for the locals.
        Go read 308 PR manifesto.
        Shame on CAT’s bluffs.
        Progress is inevitable but not at the price of social injustice against the have-nots nor environmental degradation leading to unsustainability + chaos of development.
        Not unsustainable bing chui lifestyle that courts financial slavery for life.
        (The latter one is up to individuals & businesses – there is a price of lifestyle democracy).

        CAT says it is the solution to decades of stagnation in Penang.
        Words are cheap nightly ceramah thrills to the undiscerning brains @Han Chiang field.
        But not the kind of Cosmopolitan Frenzies at the behest of developers fancies we now are witnessing.
        (Might as well get a newly revised version of Local Plan drafted & signed by the property tycoons).
        See the still Botak Hills, the Coast-Mud-Politan Gurney Drive, the Sore Thumb.
        Surely, some like it cool cos’ there’s maxi-money to be made at the expense of locals.
        Shame on the Vans (what kind of exploitative foreigner?)

        Singland’s HDB township, you must be exhilarating to the core.
        Bagan Ajam is one ‘Kejam’ social-engineering which LKY is not at par with CAT Deity.
        Oh! another airport in mainland! Thrilling to the adrenaline, isn’t it. How many Penangites actually fly, notwithstanding AirAsia’s cheapo rates?
        Can’t take care of flooding yet want another Rm-billion bing chui airport?
        The opportunity costs of such airport are better prioritised to serve majority Penangites’ daily needs (not flying here & there).
        Just imagine the large expense of airport land for affordable housing as spelled in 308 manifesto. Any accountant (without the lust for political propensities) with a human heart can figure this out.

        We can argue the pros & cons of Cosmopolitan Penang Frenzied till the Kg Buah Pala cows & dungs come home & fill up!!!
        But at the end of the day, the locals will decide what is best in the longer run for Penang.
        Developers come & go, the same with politicians. Kucing kuraps, anybody’s guess.
        We have the finite weapon of GE votes. Let’s see.

        Not all diehards are envious of others as perceived by narrow, fearful minds.
        There are justifiable reasons not to shoe shine a CAT (dying to be spotlessly white) with black KIWI.
        Btw, some already opposed with black cakes.

        Starry-Eyed Bucks Coffee. Not for sustainable & ‘freedom’ living.

      • One undeniable fact of Cosmopolitan Penang (still in the making):
        many who own one or more properties in prime areas have turned millionaires (Yang included I surmised)
        If you are one of them, either you:
        🙂 🙂 🙂 with a healthy asset (properties, rentals, incomes)
        or 🙁 🙁 🙁 b’cos your children will find it hard to buy their own homes

        “You have one life”, if nothing is more close to my heart,
        I will ‘kuasa’ my property to my children to help them financially get their own homes.
        Now you know why I am willing to migrate to Hutan Belum for the last chapter of my life.

        Now, nothing to be envious or covetous about a stroke of CAT’s luck in Penang.
        Cheers Kopi O kau kau to all the instant millionaires who should be thankful to CAT Deity of Good Property Fortune!

      • Revisit CAT 308 Manifesto that promised safer streets, better living standards, quality education, healthy environment; gender equality and youth empowerment and a transparent government.

        Streets safer ? I think better now

        Living Standards ? I think so as many more can affory Starbuck kopi & Chartime tea otherwise these shops cannot sustainn businesses.

        Quality Education ? personally i not sure

        Healthy Environment ? Botak hill a black mark. otherwise less sexual spots around in heritage penang.

        Gender Equality ? I think YB Pulau Tikus she can speak out so ok lah

        Youth Empowerment ? I think the youth like the cosmopolitan lifestyle except those about to retire

        Anil, what’s your comment ?

  11. Friend!Not complicated how to drive Lamborghini!
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    More details to be available soon.

    Property Project: City of Dreams
    Location: Seri Tanjung Pinang, Penang
    Land Tenure: Freehold
    Built-up Area: 1,000 sq.ft. onwards
    Indicative Price: RM1,000 psf. onwards
    Marketing Agent: Zeon Properties Group


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