Thursday, January 16, 2014

Bujang Valley Pathways -2

The pathways between the East and West coast of the peninsular ,from the Bujang Valley are clearer in this enhancement. A path from Penang to Sungai Patani  ,and then to Yala, navigating a narrow strip of higher ground, seems evident.

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Bujang Valley -Pathways

Dear Friends

I was alerted to the possible existence of an ancient trade route that may have connected the Merbok and Patani rivers.
While routes of type may no longer be visible to the naked eye, and on site, an enhanced terrain image can highlight pathways that have long been hidden by sediment and vegetation.
The image below is an attempt to make these pathways more visible, and as one can see , there are in fact formations in the central ranges  connecting a number of rivers that flow east and west.

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Bujang Valley -More Views From The Sky

This image is another enhancement of the satellite image of the Bujang Valley and surrounding areas in Northern Malaysia. This image has been enhanced such that viewers can more clearly identify the valleys, rivers and streams that come down into the valley from the central ranges.
Could it have been possible for the early   inhabitants of the  Valley to yo have traveled overland to the East Coast, thus creating a state or sovereignty that extended across the peninsula,from the west to east coasts?
Or could they have, from the Valley, traded with Chinese, Indo-Chinese,and other East Asians who could have landed their goods at various points on the East Coast? I look forward to your comments.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Bujang Valley Archeological Site -A View From The Sky

Dear Readers

The  Bujang Valley archelogical site  has been in the news recently and by all accounts it seems to be a site of some significance which has yet to be properly surveyed.This is an attempt to  publicly survey  that site using satellite imagery of the terrain at and around the site.

The first picture below is a Google map view of Northern Malaysia onto which a terrain image captured by a Shuttle mission has been superimposed. The second image is a magnification of the latter. The elevation (height) has been exaggerated to enhance features that may otherwise remain hidden.
 Its colour scheme is arranged such that higher elevations are more brightly coloured, and the plains mostly blue.
The Valley is located to the south the peak at  the top left corner of the "blue box"  in the Google Map image, and in the terrain image below that. The images may be magnified by clicking  on them.
Penang island is located at the bottom left corner of the blue box.
Feel free to comment,  or link this page to your own findings, from these images or your own.
Are there ancient pathways, roads, trade routes , leading into the valley?
Is there further evidence of the ancient jetty at the Sungai Batu complex? Is there something new that jumps out from these images? I look forward to your comments.
Ganesh Sahathevan

Bujang Valley Terrain Model

Monday, October 14, 2013

Public Bank's CEO designate demonstrates how when skin matters, the pool is indeed limited-Part 2

The decision to appoint Quah Poh Keat as CEO should not be approved of by Bank Negara which has responsibility to depositors whose funds are the obvious, predominant source of  Public Bank's financing.

To begin with Quah has had no experience running a bank. His only qualification seems to be the fact that he is Chinese, and was the managing partner at Public Bank's auditor KPMG.
This alone should count against him, but the fact of his prior duties at KPMG raises questions about potential conflicts of interest. Indeed the conflict arose in 2008 when Quah was appointed a non-executive director and KPMG remained auditor.
Then , come questions concerning past audits. While Public Bank has been awarded a number of awards for best annual report and so on in Malaysia by the Malaysian audit and accounting fraternity, the fact is the Big 4 in Malaysia have been known and proven to be rather slack in their work.For example,as  one study found :

Audit quality can be defined as relating to the probability that financial statements contain no material omissions or misstatements.  The results of this study are alarming, finding systemic failure on the part of Big 4 auditors in Malaysia to comply with even the most basic elements of the FRS 136 disclosure framework in relation to goodwill impairment testing.

Indeed, Teh Hong Piow himself had difficulty explaining how this loss was accounted for, claiming that no one lost:

By Ho Kay Tat.
313 words
14 October 1995
(c) 1995 Singapore Press Holdings Limited
ALL the parties involved in two separate legal suits filed over a US$14 million (S$20 million) derivatives trading loss suffered by Malaysia's Berjaya Industrial have settled the matter out of court, it was announced yesterday. Also embroiled in the dispute were Public Bank subsidiary Public Bank (Labuan), Credit Suisse Financial Products, CS First Boston (Singapore) and CS First Boston (Hongkong).
The other two parties in the settlement were Berjaya Corp (Cayman) and Yong Teck Ming, the former executive director of Berjaya Industrial who resigned for allegedly getting the company involved in the ill-fated derivatives deal without proper clearance.
The parties recognised that it was in their interest to avoid protracted litigation, Berjaya Industrial and Public Bank said in separate but similar statements.
All parties have, therefore, reached a mutually acceptable full and final settlement. All legal proceedings in the English and Malaysian courts have been withdrawn, they said.
The dispute began last December when Berjaya Industrial said it had suffered a loss of US$14 million from several interest-rate swap transactions entered into by its subsidiary Berjaya Corp (Cayman).
The shock disclosure prompted Bank Negara to issue guidelines to ensure that local banks traded prudently in derivatives.
In January, Public Bank (Labuan), which was the intermediary in the transactions, filed a suit in a London court against the two Berjaya units and Credit Suisse Financial Products for, among other things, breach of contract.
Berjaya Industrial and Berjaya Corp (Cayman) responded by starting legal proceedings in the Malaysian High Court on March 1 against Public Bank (Labuan), CS First Boston (Singapore), CS First Boston (Hongkong) and Credit Suisse, seeking damages of M$500 million (S$280 million).
Berjaya Industrial claimed the various transactions were not authorised by its directors and accused the defendants of negligence and misrepresentation.
Document stbt000020011104drae00259

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Public Bank's CEO designate demonstrates how when skin matters, the pool is indeed limited

Quah Poh Keat might have made a good accountant, given his experience in "audition" but CEO of a bank?
Then again, Public Bank is no ordinary bank.  A 83 year old who saw it fit to be chairman of  Berjaya Toto and the bank, and who oversaw massive loans from that bank to Berjaya(more about that later) , remains to this day its chairman, while the CEO of the same age continues to run the bank out of his hospital bed. That said, when out of bed he continues to display the usual conservative style  that has marked his leadership, accentuated as always by his dancing girls.
This is how the bank, using public funds, celebrated the his birthday in 2009:

That same sense understated style  is seen again at an awards night for  salesmen and women from its mutual fund business: 

Yang Berbahagia, Tan Sri Datuk Teh Hong Piow, the Chairman of Public Bank, Public Mutual, 3rd richest man in Malaysia and one of the richest man in the world... driven in in a 'float' carriage by Malaysian Supermodel Amber Chia

Many might think me unfair , but let's start first with a bit of history:

The 4  June 1966 advertisement in the Straits Times, (see link) congratulates one Teh Hong Piow, General Maneger, Publiic Bank Bhd, on being conferred a datoship by the then Sultan of Pahang:

On 6 August 1966 , Public Bank Bhd opened for business, its MD the same Dato Teh Hong Piow.

However, Teh (nw Tan Sri Dato Sri Dr) tells the story very differently:

From THE STAR 18 October 2007:
Teh Hong Piow
, then 36, beat all the odds and became the founder, owner and managing director of Public Bank Bhd, which opened its doors for business on Aug 6, 1966, in a three-storey building at No 4, Jalan Gereja in Kuala Lumpur

In 1960, the 30-year-old Teh left OCBC to be part of a small group which helped start Malayan Banking. He was one of the management staff charged with building the bank from scratch.

He rose swiftly through the ranks and became general manager within four years.

In 1966 came the decision to strike out on his own.

One of his earliest breakthroughs – a foray into housing development – generated some RM10mil, which was used as seed money to set up the bank.
( )

So -Teh left Maybank in 1966-got into property development , made RM 10 million-and started his own bank in August that year. Admittedly, the story was hard to believe, but now the public record tells a very different story.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

“We are still on our way to becoming Asia’s BHP Billiton" : Ekuinas last stand?

For anyone not familiar with BHP Biliton, a company with a history of over 100 years , and a current market cap of AUD  175 Billion

Published: Wednesday October 9, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Wednesday October 9, 2013 MYT 7:12:54 AM

New shareholder fails to lift Blumont; Asiasons and LionGold also fall




SINGAPORE: The share prices of the three Singapore-listed companies with Malaysian major shareholders – Blumont Group Ltd, Asiasons Capital Ltd and LionGold Corp Ltd – continued to fall, even after the announcement that Alex Molyneux, the former chief executive officer of SouthGobi Resources Ltd, would acquire 135 million shares or a 5.2% stake in Blumont at 40 Singapore cents (RM1.02) per share, and become chairman of the company.
In the first few minutes of trade, Blumont’s share price reacted positively by rising more than 100% to 30 cents. However, it was soon downhill all the way, and the stock ended the day flat at 13 cents.
In the last two days, Blumont had erased S$4.9bil (RM12.55bil) from its market capitalisation after restrictions were placed on the stock.
Shares of Asiasons and LionGold, meanwhile, fell 3.4 cents and six cents, respectively, to 11.6 cents and 19 cents.
During a press conference held yesterday, Molyneux said that the company’s share price was not for the company to look into.
He said that he had invested in Blumont as it presented a “huge opportunity at the price where it is trading today” and explained that the company’s strategy going forward was not going to change.
“We are still on our way to becoming Asia’s BHP Billiton,” he said.
On the question of the valuation of Blumont – which was trading at a price-earnings ratio of nearly 600 times before its plunge – Molyneux said that the value of mining companies came “from creating resources”.
“Resources in the ground is like having gold bullions in your safe, discounted of course to its extraction cost. Mineral companies have value before they have revenue,” he said, adding that major mining companies were valued this way abroad.
Separately, Blumont executive director James Wong said: “Blumont is not under any investigation by the authorities and there’s no reason why there should be one.”
When asked about the events over the last few days, Wong said he did not know the reasons behind the sharp sell-off of Blumont shares.
“We have been in constant communication with the authorities,” he said.
On the sidelines of the press conference, Jett Capital Advisors partner Stephen Silver said he was surprised by the continued designation of Blumont. New York-based Jett Capital had arranged the funding for some of Blumont’s overseas acquisitions.
The Singapore Exchange Ltd (SGX) had declared Blumont, Asiasons and LionGold as designated securities last Friday.
The exact basis for such a move is still not clear, but SGX officials have pointed to its rules, which state that the exchange can designate a security “if, in its opinion, there has been manipulation of the security, excessive speculation in the security, or it is otherwise desirable in the interests of markets established or operated by SGX”.
“We believe all investors should be on an even playing field. By designating stocks, investors are now not allowed to trade on the same terms as a week ago,” said Silver.
Meanwhile, the acquisition price of Blumont shares is subject to adjustment. The final acquisition price will be the volume weighted average price of the group’s shares between the date of the agreement and the closing of the transaction, subject to a floor price of 20 cents per share and ceiling price of 60 cents per share. Closing is expected to take place within 30 days.
Molyneux and Pacific Advisers have agreed that acquired shares would be held for at least 24 months from the completion of the transaction.
In a statement released on Monday, Blumont said that Molyneux would immediately become a consultant and chairman-designate of the group and would formally assume the role as chairman upon the completion of the share purchase transaction.
Last week, Blumont had scrapped a deal to buy Australia’s Cokal Ltd for S$146mil the same day it announced the deal, as the shares had plunged on Oct 4, affecting the commercial terms discussed. Molyneux is a key stakeholder and chairman of two Blumont investee companies: Azarga Resources Ltd and Celsius Coal Ltd.
In Azarga, now Asia’s largest uranium company, he is co-founder and chairman and remains its largest shareholder.
Celsius is a coking coal development company with assets in the Kyrgyz Republic.
Molyneux also serves on the boards of Ivanhoe Energy Inc and Goldrock Mines Corp. From April 2009 to September 2012, Molyneux had served as president, CEO and director of SouthGobi Resources.