Penang port X’mas bonanza for Bukhary


Look what Santa pulled out of his sack – again – for Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary! The well-connected tycoon, the eighth wealthiest Malaysian with a net worth of RM5.3 billion according to Forbes, has reportedly landed Penang Port, days after his MMC, along with Gamuda, was awarded the job of KL MRT project delivery partner.

See Insider report here. The news is made public at a time when most Malaysians are in holiday mode and soon after MCA president Chua Soi Lek was appointed as chairman of Penang Port Commission. The chairman of Penang Port Sdn Bhd is Hilmi Yahaya, a Penang state assembly member from Umno. Redza Rafiq Abd Razak,a PPSB director, is the head of the Umno Cyberjaya Centre branch and Chief Executive of The Northern Corridor Implementation Authority

Appallingly, the port has not been handed over to the Penang state government to manage. The federal government had already spent about a  billion ringgit of public funds in upgrading the port areas in Penang. Now, it looks as if even the iconic Penang ferries will also fall into private hands.

The larger issue, apart from handing over public assets to well-connected individials/firms, is the scourge of privatisation (at what valuation?), which undermines the spirit of public service and community solidarity.

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Syed Mokhtar now has an interest in many of the biggest infrastructure projects in the country. He already controls some of the largest ports in Malaysia, Port of Tanjung Pelepas and Pasir Gudang port in Johor and now Penang Port as well as Senai Airport. Will this one man now be in a position to virtually dictate terms to exporters in the northern and southern regions?

Syed Mokthar’s Tradewinds recently gained control of Bernas, which has a monopoly of rice distribution in the country. Tradewinds also controls Central Sugars Refinery Sdn Bhd and Kilang Gula Padang Terap Bhd.

In 2007, Gamuda and MMC were awarded the northern portion of the rail double-tracking job for RM12.5 billion.

In April 2010, DRB-Hicom, whose controlling shareholder is Syed Mokthar, reportedly received a letter of intent from the government to manufacture and deliver a dozen variants of the Malaysian AV-8 armoured wheeled vehicle.

The tycoon also has an interest in Malakoff Corp, the country’s largest independent power producer.

Now, let’s watch and see how much the port is valued at, bearing in mind that recent upgrading work using public funds amounted to RM1 billion.

Meanwhile, other public assets are now up for grabs. A RM2-company Jelas Ulung has suddenly emerged out of nowhere to offer RM26 billion to take over the North South highway at a time when government-controlled UEM-EPF had already offered RM23 billion.

Is the Great Malaysian Christmas/New Year Sale of public assets now underway before the next general election?

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Thanks again !!


Hi Anil,

Thank you very much for your reply. I will be very very grateful if you can e-mail me when you have more information about people operating business in residential zones.

Please do continue to highlight important issues in Penang because these issues are usually given very little coverage in the local newspapers. Your live coverage of major events are always the BEST !!

Thanks again and have a great Metal Rabbit Year in 2011 !!

Best wishes


George Lee

Dear Anilnetto, I know this e-mail has nothing to do with the port but it is a Penang issue. As an avid follower of your blog, you have always allowed me to keep in touch with both the latest and hottest news in town. I am from Penang and I have always been following the Penang issues highlighted in your blog with great interest. You have written on many problems relating to the housing issues that affects the people of Penang like the Surin and Pykett issues. If I may ask you, what do you know about people setting up… Read more »


its christmas everyday for this special UMNO machai. Dont forget, IJM is also under his thumbs. remember how the spineless ex-CM gave IJM the plum land reclamation deal. Real sweetheart at the expense of the rakyat. Sorrylah, Gerakan K, you not gonna smell a bit of the fat cake coz you are no UMNO elite,he2.


Bukhary got the Penang’s Port but the Naza boss got the Penang’s Marion. Double loss for Penangites.



IF you do not know he difference between LGE and Syed Mokhtar, let me enlighten you. Firstly, if there is a failure, LGE is answerable to the people, whereas, in the case of Syed, he is only answerable to God!… he will be well protected by his guardian angels from UMNO. Your type and likes, like Gerakan K, and UMNO=DAP will never see this obvious fact…!


Cronism. Privatise profit, socialize lost! BN. Hell.


Anil Merry X’Mas ! I am sorry if my post going to some what make your festive celebration a bit dimmer. I am sorry but I have to say that your piece here is riddled with a lot of fallacy and arguments not supported by facts. You had been made a fool before a few times on relying on unreliable (that pretty much include most of our so-called alternative media) sources. Almost every time the news not only proved to be wrong the actual story was quite the opposite of what reported by these PR-propaganda machines. In case of Penang… Read more »

Plain Truth

First, this article is a follow-on from the piece in Malaysia Insider. Anil made it clear early on.

Second, do you seriously expect the PPC to make money when it has/had on board politicians who had already been rejected by Penangites?

With all due respect, what do these politicians know about running a port, hence LGE’s assertion that he would bring in experts if the privatisation was awarded to the state.


Plain truth

What does LGE knows about running a port ? Can he run a port better than Syed Mokhtar ? Or he has his own cronies to support ?

Plain Truth


Read the last line of my posting. I said “LGE….would bring in experts….”.

We will never know if LKE and his “experts” can do a good job running a port.

But what we do know is that he is doing a brilliant job running Penang, miles better than the political eunuch KTK or have you forgotten the contempt heaped upon Ostrich Koh by the Penang Umno boys in full view of the press or by his own party advisor LKY for that matter?


This corrupted UMNO/BN administration knew it will take them many more years to retake Penang or never! So, the only obvious thing to do is indirect “korek, korek” in the name of privatization. Penangnites, expect more to come…UMNO last supper?

Damn! I am trying very hard to stay holy today…these UMNO corrupted creeps just give me the …

Merry X’mas, Anil!

Gerakan K

I agree with that decision. Dump that “rugi” business but at the safe hand of local. As for Lim suggestion, sorry lah. That is not your business any way. Don’t treat everything in Penang as yours/under your control. That is Federal Government asset. OK, don’t jealous with BN victory in GE12. On the other hand, that port needs massive investment and there is no point for Penang to buy it. Penang got no money to do so. You know lah after santa claus program, bonus, etc. So, the billionaire Bukhary is the ideal choice. He can transform the port with… Read more »

Plain Truth

Gerakan K,

You have conviniently forgot to declare your earlier publicly stated ( in this blog ) intention of seeking your “rezeki” from the PPC. Naughty clown!


Gerakan K, His intention has always been very clear. He would support any party as long he can get the benefits. Now its UMNO & BN but once PR gets into Putra he would definitely leapfrog for the benefits. Thats for sure ??? These are also the traits Zahrain and many others

Gerakan K

My friend, what’s wrong with you ???

That is the basic principle of “cari makan”.

Do you want carrot or stick ???

Of course carrot lah !!!

Mind you, your PR 100 days promises also a form of carrot. You like it or not ???


Another one for the cronies of UMO and Najib. Another one for the one who help to usurp Perak for UMNO and Najib. What more can we do is to make Changes. CHANGE IS what we need to kick out that UMNO and Najib.


Just imagine how much more damage they could do to Penang if Gerakan is still in power.


All super mega awards around this period, 10% up front lot of money thus indicate buy election on the cornor. Raykat money for buy election we are all dumped taken for a ride by one and only one … PM.

telur dua

They all belong to one big happy family, don’t they?


Dear Anil, In my opinion, the main issue is that the Port should be belong to the State of Penang. That is the main thing. The State of Penang should have the right to decide what to do with the port, NOT the Federal Govt. This is not an issue of whether to privatise the port or not – it is an issue of ownership. It is an issue of Federalism. This is an unresolved issue – much like the oil royalty for Kelantan. In that respect, Pakatan’s Common Policy Framework certainly addresses this issue well (Article 4. Federal-State Relationship… Read more »


The Penang Govt should file a law suit and do everthing it can to stall and stymie PPC from falling into this UMNO crony’s hands.

It should exploit anti-monopoly and anti-trust law provisions and call for an open tender so that these illegal direct nego awards that benefit monopolists do not bear fruit.

Fight! Fight! Fight!

we are all of 1 Race, the Human Race


anil, nothing is sacred from this marauding UMNOputras, who are filled with greed. Its socialise the losses and piratised the profits, UMNO’s way. the state must think out of the box to preserve its assets. LGE, take the bulls by the horn if need be.The people will be behind you (of course save and except UMNO and its (cronies)) as long as the intent is for the good of the state. One way is for the state to impose licencing fees if the federal govt continues to privatise the state assets to UMNO cronies. In this way, funds can be… Read more »


whats the bull about transparency from Najib? Aint the same when good assets are passed to UMNO cronies? any difference since he assumed the premiership?nothing except sloganism. Now wonder the taxpayers have to pay >RM70m to a supposedly israeli-linked firm to do the spins for him.


Dear Anil,

I do not fight privatisation of public services.
However, I fight the opaque manner in which the privatisation contracts are handed out to cronies, rent seekers and political associates.

You have not given us an option for that vote.


Merry Christmas Anil & all your readers!
Folks, do say a little prayer and spare a thought for the aged and less fortunate as as you get together for your family reunion dinner.


This article in MI raises some eyebrows. No one seemed to know about this decision except for MI. And my grapevine said MI had been taken over by the infamous Jho Lo and behind him Auntie Rossie.

Can we trust this source.

K S Ong

A few things come to mind. First, the hurry to privatize could be a ploy like that used by major shareholders of a company in warding off competitors trying to take over. The lop-sided contracts would be like poison apples which should put off would-be predators, or at the least make things difficult if they did take over. If not, they would have made their pile from the mega deal already. Win-win? The reason that SMAB owns other ports as in having experience and track record, reminds me of when Samy Vellu actually went over to Energy Ministry when TNB… Read more »

telur dua

I think Senai Airport is already privatised to him.


KS Ong This is a pile of horse manure from you. Do you know that what you are saying do not make any sense or logic at all ? First of all this is not a sort of plumb contract as Penang Port being bleeding money for years. Secondly, it was not Samy Vellu who privatised TNB and do get your facts right. And as for the timing of opening ceremony, what that got to do with CM’s rant ? This project had been announced years before and just carried out quickly after LGE’s idiotic barking. And finally most ports… Read more »

Plain Truth

Give it to a crony and the rent seekers will continue to be paid their buta gaji which will not be the case had the Penang state government been awarded the privatisation.

Standard BN operating procedure. Nothing new.

tan, tanjong bungah

Hi everyone, The Federal Govt has poured in the people’s funds into PPC, socialising the cost and is now profitting the BN and UMNO’s rent-seekers! They would definitely have tighten contract terms, like in Kg Buah Pala’s case, such that even when PR takes over Putrajaya, it is legally binding, and PR then would not be able to undo the ‘hurriedly put-together cheap sale’ of PPC! The people needs to teach UMNO and BN another LESSON in the next GE, and put an end to such abuses of enriching cronies! UMNO and BN can never change until the people decide… Read more »


tan Are you living at Tanjung Bungah or Planet Pluto ? Don’t you know that Pakatan had been busily giving away public assets at furious pace in the last 2 years ? In Penang the Cheap Minister had been selling the state to developers at a break neck pace. In fact according to Eu Soon, there the Cheap Minister had launched more development projects in the last 2 years than Gerakan/MCA in the last 51 years ! This is DAP for you. As for KBP, please do get your facts right.It is an undeniable fact that the Cheap Minister is… Read more »


We the fools pay our BLOOD, SWEAT & TEARS tax money in advance so that somebody easily, conveniently and greedily get to be … rich. The chances of private corporatisation of public services are more to failures, inflation of service charges and monopolization of service leading to inefficiency rather than super efficiency. Look at TNB, a very good example. The Feds should pay back to Penangites our advanced money from the sales of Penang Port to private hands. In Malaysia, the super rich are given the golden X-large spades to dig into Ah Kong’s (public) wealth to become super-super rich… Read more »

Andrew I

“And at the expenses of struggling Rakyat trying to buy a slice of bread without kaya for breakfast, lunch and dinner.”

That’s why there’s an advert for a certain bread on TV that keeps telling you it’s so good you can eat it on its own.

Keeps for ages as well. No mold for a long time.


That is the art of perception. Perception becomes a reality in mind, thanks to David Ogilvy, icon of 20th century advertising and desires of consumerism. But the “And at the expenses of struggling Rakyat trying to buy a slice of bread without kaya for breakfast, lunch and dinner.” is a reality, not a perception, not a metaphor for pitiful empathy. The powers that be are aware of the reality but prefer to look at this perceptively thus absolving themselves of any responsibility. Perception like fallacy is only a reality when their golden rice bowls (not one bowl but many) are… Read more »

Jefri Mamak

20 years down the road, Anil Jr. may be running this blog and we are very sure that more privatisation will go to the sons of Bukhary and Naza…

Mat Sederhana (our version of Average Joe) will never get ‘the equity’ except a few shares in Amanah Saham Bumiputera.

That’s why the only way to change this is to have an alternative to the current BN.


I vote a NO.
Even a private run port are always more efficient as long as it is not GLC owned or “RENT SEEKER” management. But in Malaysia case, when public privatised not openly bid by private company, I am 100% firmed that, it fells into hand of rent seeker such as SMAB! And rent seeker are WORST than public owned organisation. Beside inherit low efficiency, rent seeker make things worst : increase cost, reduce efficiency.
MAS, Putra LRT, KTM, Syabas,etc. The list are endless.