A RM17 million price tag

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On 4 December 2009, Sime Darby Bhd, through its plantation arm, Sime Darby Plantation Sdn Bhd, bought the entire issued and paid-up capital (50,000 shares of RM1 each) of an obscure new company, Nature Ambience Sdn Bhd, for RM16.8 million.

What makes Nature Ambience, which was incorporated only a year ago (on 12 December 2008), so special? Although it will become an oil palm plantation firm, a company search reveals its nature of business to be “general trading”.

On 2 October 2009, the Ministry of Land Development, Sarawak granted Nature Ambience approval to be the investor/developer for 26,211ha of Native Customary Rights land in Kapit and Julau, Sarawak. This was reportedly in line with the Sarawak state government’s “new concept of development on NCR land”. The Ministry is headed by James Masing, who is also the state assembly member for Balleh, one of the constituencies in Kapit.

With its purchase of Nature Ambience, Sime Darby will now be allowed to develop oil palm plantations in the Sarawak NCR development scheme.

A joint venture is expected to be established between:

  • Nature Ambience, as the joint venture vehicle, Sime Plantation and
  • Pelita Holdings Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of the Land Custody & Development Authority of Sarawak (Pelita), acting for itself and as trustee for the natives holding the native customary rights in the NCR lands.

(Under the Sarawak NCR development scheme, the usual joint-venture structure is

  • Investor – 60%
  • NCR native landowners (with Pelita acting as trustee) – 30%
  • Pelita’s own stake in joint venture – 10%

Under the scheme, leasehold title (usually 60 years) is given to the joint-venture firm with the natives getting a 30 per cent stake in the firm in return.)

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For the purchase of Nature Ambience, Sime Darby paid close to RM17 million to buy the firm from Common Enhance Sdn Bhd. “The total cash consideration for the acquisition was RM16,816,212 which has been paid on even date (4 December) from internally generated funds,” Sime Darby reported to the Bursa on 7 December 2009.

Company searches reveal an interesting three-tier hierarchy of ownership of Nature Ambience:

  1. Of Nature Ambience’s 50,000 shares of RM1 each, 49, 998 shares were owned by Common Enhance Sdn Bhd.
  2. Common Enhance, which was registered on 15 September 2009, in turn has an issued capital of 50,000 shares of which 49,998 are owned by Fuji Perfect Sdn Bhd.
  3. And surprise, surprise, Fuji Perfect, which was also registered on 15 Sept 2009, also has an issued capital of 50,000 shares, of which 49,998 are owned by Chew Chiaw Ann, who reportedly happens to be CEO of Metro Sedia Group (see report in The Star here.)

The two remaining shares in each of the three companies are held by a Yap Liee Mee and a Loh Kuan Chween. All three firms have an identical registered address: First floor, Lot 2137 and 2138, Jalan Utama, Pending Industrial Estate, 93450 Kuching.

Several questions spring to mind:

  • Why the three-tier ownership?
  • How does the Ministry justify granting an approval letter to Nature Ambience? What is Nature Ambience’s track record, bearing in mind that the company was set up a year ago?
  • Why was the approval letter not given directly to Sime Darby?
  • What sort of work has Nature Ambience done in two months since getting the approval in Oct 2009?
  • Where did the RM17 million that Sime Darby paid actually end up?
  • How much have the natives who own the NCR land actually received so far?
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Coincidentally or otherwise, Kapit was chosen as Sime Darby’s first location in Sarawak for a corporate social responsibility project. In January, the firm reportedly donated RM500,000 for repairs to and new facilities for five schools in the division.

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malaysia bus

AirAsia also operates a shuttle bus from KL Sentral to LCCT and vice versa, for a one way fare of RM9.00. It is called the Skybus and it’s recognisable with its bright red AirAsia corporate color. The buses depart from LCCT and KL Sentral every 30 mins. There has been many reports on local newspapers of bus drivers conducting improperly on these buses and many passengers complained about verbal harassment at KL Sentral and LCCT. If you do have problems with the bus drivers and conductors, kindly approach the AirAsia counter or the KL Sentral counter to lodge a complaint.

ghkok

Hmmm. So Sime Darby paid RM16.8 mil to buy Nature Ambience, a company that is owned by Common Enhance, which is in turn owned by Fuji Perfect, which is essentially owned by a “Chew Chiaw Ann”. A simple Google search shows that “Chew Chiaw Ann” is “honorary president of the Nanyang Wushu Federation of Sarawak”. Not sure whether it’s the same person. Anyway … hmmm. Ok, as a listed company, Sime Darby must announce significant “investments” like these. And it would have been approved by the board. The board is answerable to shareholders. The major shareholders of Sime Darby is… Read more »

KB
LBJ

Something tells me it really stinks. It is … maddening.

Motorist

This is the last chance for the corrupted politicians to milk the country coffers dry.

They know its over come the next GE, so who cares if the Gov is pokai. Better the $$$ in their Swiss bank account before it’s too late.

The mansion in Aust/NZ/South Africa/India is ready. $$$ in Swiss/Cayman/Bermuda bank accounts are safe. Children already studying overseas. Mistress can always find another one (perhaps next one be a blonde). Its going to be a very comfortable exile.

O

What if corruption of such scale go unabated in Malaysia? Corruption is bad Governance, is it not? Corruption plus bad Governance is what we are facing right now. Rule of law is being compromised, brain drain, 300,000 left last year. Failing education system, lawlessness. Oh! We are the next Rhodesia? Inflation, this is what is happening in Malaysia, what if hyperinflation were to hit Malaysia if the current state of corruption is not curb? Just imagine inflation of 1,000 to 10,000 % in just a short period of a year? What about our bank balance which we toiled for all… Read more »

O

TDM once said, even airplanes will go missing one day sometime back, could it be by then, he already had information of the missing jet engines? Sorry, to have diverted from the above topic.

Then he qualified that UMNO is rotten to the core, so corrupt at every level. And sadly it is the leader of the coalition call BN, with jokers like MCA, MIC and the almost decimated Gerakan and a string of mosquito parties.

Corruption seem to look like legal basis in Malaysia with the above transaction. Haram can become halal. Malaysia boleh!

O

I think there is less corruption in Afghanistan! Even though corruption is rampant, it is certainly not as much as in this country, and the people are careful because they know “corruption” is shameful and it shows the poor upbringings of individuals people involved, and it brings great shame to the family. Here, ya Allah, even jet engines went missing! Never in our wildest dreams can we imagine such things will happen in Afghanistan, as such treacherous acts is akin to selling one’s own mother! How can we be disloyal and commit treacherous acts against the country and the King?… Read more »

1sarawak

Here is 1Malaysia and 1Sarawak in action: (Some) people first for whom performance is immediate! By the way, the 10% for Pelita aka LCDA, also known in coffee-shop talk as “Let’s Chase Dayaks Away”, is payment to Pelita for being trustee! So, together with the Ministry, that’s another 1Malaysia/1Sarawak for you — harapkan pagar, pagar makan padi. Now, if Sime Darby is prepared to pay such money, it should have gone directly to the landowners. Assuming that each landowner had only 5ha each — and that’s a low estimate — then over 5000 low income landowners would have received 3,000… Read more »

ARUL

Easy to see the transaction is benefitting some big shorts . You dont have to be an FBI .
It still should go through several makeshif companies to strike the final deal.

MyBlog

Welcome to Malaysia, this is how business is done in Malaysia.

What a sorry state of affairs and if some people likened Malaysia to Zimbabwe, can you blame them.

aca

sime darby cant pay under counter money for governance reasons.

simple, get a conduit. these chinamen and chinawomen are just conduit and the money will go to the usual suspect. its the usual modus operandi.