Bye-bye, Abdullah. Closely followed by the exits of Kalimullah and now Patrick Lim from their current positions… All three riding into the sunset – or is that the mirage of the Penang Global City Centre project?
This report from mysinchew/Straits Times/ANN:
Businessmen close to PM quit
Two businessmen close to Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi are quitting their positions, as an expected exodus of his inner circle begins.
The two men – New Straits Times Press (NSTP) deputy chairman Kalimullah Hassan and Equine Capital chairman Patrick Lim – have been attacked in the past by former premier Mahathir Mohamad, for allegedly benefiting from Abdullah’s reign.
News of their resignations from their respective companies comes just days after Abdullah’s announcement that he intended to step down as premier in March.
With deputy prime minister Najib Razak set to take over the premiership in five months’ time, the circle around him is expected to rise, political observers and bloggers say.
Kalimullah is also group executive chairman of ECM Libra Investment Bank, which has made headlines with major deals in the past few years.
But he is better known as the controversial editor-in-chief of the mainstream New Straits Times (NST) newspaper, and has been accused by Mahathir of being a key ‘spin doctor’ for Abdullah.
Mahathir, who appointed Abdullah as his successor in 2003, has in recent years become his most bitter critic.
The former premier blames Kalimullah for allegedly blacking out his comments not only in the NST, but also in other mainstream media.
In a column in the NST on Friday (10 Oct), Kalimullah defended Abdullah’s short reign and harshly attacked critics such as Mahathir.
‘One thing Najib will not have to worry about is a predecessor breathing down his neck, slandering him, his Cabinet, his party colleagues, his family, aides and friends. Because, for all his weaknesses, Abdullah is a decent, religious man,’ Kalimullah said in the column.
So who will be next to go and who will replace them?
It appears that Equine will now come under new parties, and concerned Penangites will be watching them very, very closely to see what they have in store for the Penang Turf Club land.
Moreover, the status of the 300 acres in Batu Kawan, acquired by Equine’s associate company Abad Naluri, is still unclear. Has the land been paid for? How did the previous state administration award over 1,000 acres (including the 300 acres) of land to the obscure but ‘politically well connected’ Abad Naluri? These are questions that demand answers – but so far, the silence has been deafening.
The following is an excerpt of a report from The Edge on Patrick Lim’s departure from Equine. That reminds me, it was only some moons ago that The Edge had featured Patrick Lim on its front cover, trumpeting his ambitious plans for Equine and PGCC.
Patrick Lim cuts loose from Equine Capital
by Jose Barrock
KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Patrick Lim Soo Kit, the controlling shareholder of property developer Equine Capital Bhd, stepped down late last week as the company’s chairman and executive director.
Speculation that Lim planned to leave the company had been circulating for months, after Equine’s RM20 billion Penang Global City Centre project was shelved. Equine’s associated company Abad Naluri Sdn Bhd was given the mandate to develop the mammoth project.
Lim’s stepping down has raised yet more questions surrounding the shareholding structure of the company, including what has happened to his 29% equity stake.
The equity interest was held via private vehicles Indera Muhibbah Sdn Bhd, Perharap Sdn Bhd, Temasya Permai Sdn Bhd, Insan Mayang Sdn Bhd and Duta Kembang Sdn Bhd, as well as under his wife Datin Wong Mun Yee’s name.
In April this year, rumours had it that Equine and Lim were about to part company and a new controlling shareholder would appear. The notion was dispelled by the company, as the parties that were purportedly affiliated to Datuk Lim Siew Choon of Malton Bhd were already in the company.
There has also been many shareholder changes in the company this year.