The Prince, The Doctor, Tin, Money and Murder
INTRODUCTION THE MAN WHO WOULD BE PRIME MINISTER
In as much as he is considered to be an economic genius, pragmatic, urbane and educated, Tengku Razaleigh has a history of risk taking, feathering his own nest and ‘playing Chinese’ in business. The man is driven by a number of forces and factors. He is in many ways isolated from the grassroots Malays of his constituency although they revere him for his royal pedigree. Tengku Razaleigh is more at home with the Chinese and Englishmen than he is with his Malay countrymen.
Tengku Razaleigh has always been in the pockets and in the company of the Chinese and outsiders like the Marc Richs and Philip Brothers types of this world. People who cultivated the man did so for much the same reasons the British industrialists and establishment cultivated the Tengku Abdul Rahman, Malaysia’s first prime minister another princeling. It was to further their own interests.
RM 5,000,000 TO BAIL OUT A CHINESE FRIEND AND PAYOUT HIS GAMBLING DEBT
In the late 1970’s a small private Chinese owned bank in Sarawak, Bian Chiang was acquired by UMNO. Tengku Razaleigh initially acquired 80% of the bank’s issued capital for just under RM 5,000,000 ‘to help a friend’ the late Wee Hood Teck settle a gambling debt as the story goes. A great virtue for a member of a Malay royal household and a prime ministerial aspirant to support a Chinese gambler one might say.
The late Tun Razak understandably concerned by the potential conflict of interest situation (Razaleigh was then in charge of Bank Bumiputera) ‘gave Razaleigh the opportunity’ to sell his shares in Bian Chiang to UMNO for a handsome profit and remain at Bank Bumiputera. Bian Chiang was later renamed Bank of Commerce then later Bumiputera Commerce Holdings Bhd.
There were other Razaleigh driven acquisitions using UMNO money during Razaleigh’s stewardship of Fleet Holdings. These included the Straits Times and joint venture with American insurer AFIA Worldwide Insurance.
There were many more Razaleigh inspired acquisitions, transactions and failures. And the state and level of accountability involving these transactions were very closely guarded then, opaque and murky.
Both the Tengkus, Abdul Rahman and Razaleigh had many things in common. A love of money, Chinese women in particular and the good things in life courtesy of their privileged status.
Both had a contemptuous disregard for their own kind. They were careful however to conceal their contempt with acts of random kindness and charity ensuring these acts were widely reported to reach their Malay grassroots constituents.
KuLi as Tengku Razaleigh is affectionately known to those close to him, is a man ready to punch above his weight. Sadly though he has been unable to achieve anything spectacular or noteworthy independently. Worse still he lacks the skills to achieve much by himself.
Apparently his drawbacks stem from his privileged upbringing. It is the kind of upbringing and attitude that the Tun Dr. Mahathir loathed about these ‘silver tailed’ hereditary rulers who saw it as their divine right to rule. Mahathir changed the rules and the players when he took control of UMNO and government.
THE PLOT TO TOPPLE TUN DR. MAHATHIR
Tengku Razaleigh contrary to his denials and his silence was in the thick of the Carrian affair dealing both with Bentley Ho and George Tan directly and through a third channel it is said. He was also at the time being groomed for a takeover of Dr. Mahathir’s job when disaster struck with the Carrian affair. At least that is what he and his backers believed then.
KuLi made fast, enduring and lifelong friends amongst the wealthy Chinese of Perak from his early life at Anderson High School in Ipoh. These friends would ride on his coat tails later in life milking favours out of the man as had become a tradition amongst UMNO’s elite ranks and the Chinese from the time of the Tengku Abdul Rahman.
Tengku Razaleigh’s fondness for Chinese women came a close second to his love of business, wheeling and dealing. These women served as a go between and a conduit between Razaleigh and the various connections within Chinese communities as Tengku’s mistresses once did with him.
During the time of the Carrian Affair and the tin debacle in Malaysia, it is known that in and amongst Tun Dr. Mahathir’s inner circle was embedded two plants (informants).Both these men who although close to the Tun at the time, had loyalties that lay outside that circle and the Tun. But the Tun, like Razaleigh, had a disdain for the Indians, a contempt for the Malays and a preference for the Chinese and a group of trusted elite Oxbridge educated Malays instead.
One of these plants a Chinese lawyer was a feeder to both, the sources in Singapore and through his connections traders in London. The Tun trusted the man and probably still does to this day.
The fact of David Zaidner’s ability to get so close to the inner sanctum of Tun Dr. Mahathir and his decision making team was no accident or skill on the part of Zaidner. There were other forces at work that helped David Zaidner to get to where he landed in Malaysia.
Ziadner’s boss the late mercurial and very powerful Marc Rich did not accept failure as an acceptable outcome from any of his employees or his traders. They worked everyone they targeted. Malayia Kini had a conveniently ill informed take on Zaidner’s role in the tin debacle.
The Malaysian government had received a recommendation to accept Zaidner’s plan. The recommendation came straight out of Singapore. The introduction and recommendation on Zaidner came to the Tun courtesy of tin magnates from Ipoh and the plant in Tun’s inner circle. Neither cared a hoot what Maminco, the tin council or the shorting of the tin market did to the Malaysian economy as such.
Every one of the players near the Tun knew that this was a shorting exercise and there were hundreds of millions of dollars to be made in not only trading in the physical commodity in a market which many of the players now controlled. This exercise also offered these players the opportunity to manipulate the derivatives markets that the physical product (tin) they controlled underwrote. Tengku Razaleigh was one of these in the know.
THE GREAT BETRAYAL
ZAIDNER DID NOT ACT ALONE- IT WAS AN ORGY OF SHORTING ON BOTH SIDES-THE KEY TO OPENING THE DOORS TO A TREASURE CHEST
Zaidner and some of his plants (mainly local Chinese connected to the tin industry) impressed the Tun about how trading in the derivative markets operated. They dazzled him with the language and the way in which derivatives operated along with the physical commodity it represented. They went to great lengths to explain to the Tun how the dynamics between physical and derivative could be manipulated for obscene profits if Maminco controlled both the derivatives and the physical which Malaysia was able to do with tin.
The Tun was hooked on the idea and joined in the fun. As he had done with Yeoh Tiong Lay and Eric Cheah, he was willing to underwrite this risk without parliamentary approvals using state funds. In other words he was risking money which belonged to the country for the benefit of a group of mainly Chinese and some privileged Malays. That was precisely the opening Marc Rich was looking for and the object of his plans which Zaidner was sent to Kuala Lumpur to secure, develop and execute. And it is what Zaidner achieved with the help of those close to Tun Dr. Mahathir.
Marc Rich, thanks to Zaidner had now obtained unfettered access to Malaysia’s treasury bypassing parliament and all regulatory obstacles that would otherwise stand in his way. It was something the Jewish trader had a knack for setting up. He had Tun Dr. Mahathir to thank for that access.
The late Sir James Goldsmith (cricketer Imran Khan’s former and late father in law) a major tin player who controlled much of the tin from the world’s second largest producer Bolivia at the time, was being fed information about Maminco’s plans by an individual within Tun Dr. Mahathir’s inner circle. That informant was passing that information onto a relative of his in London who kept Sir James Goldsmith in the loop.
Dr. Mahathir placed his trust in a number of these tin magnates of the Ipoh Chinese tin mafia. Many of them were close friends of a close friend of Dr. Mahathir one Yap Lim Sen (Ipoh Gardens) and Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah. Yap personally vouched for the credibility of many of these tin magnates who were informally also vouched for by highly placed Singaporean officials.
CARRYING COALS TO NEWCASTLE
These tin magnates had strings attached to them leading to hands in Singapore. Those strings led to a very senior cabinet minister in Singapore at the time. The vultures it appears were circling the would be political corpse, Tun Dr. Mahathir, in preparation for a Razaleigh led internal coup.
Singapore’s customs turned a blind eye to the illegally transported tin concentrate being shipped out of its ports arriving from Malaysia under the radar of Malaysian authorities. Whilst Malaysia’s tin strategy designed to allow Maminco to enrich itself through derivatives trading in the London tin markets was in action, a number of Ipoh’s Chinese tin magnates in cahoots with Singapore, Sir James Goldsmith’s interests and Zaidner were busy undermining that plan through undisclosed selling of their tin back to Maminco at inflated prices via Singapore.
The overall plan to corner the tin market by Tun Dr. Mahathir could well have succeeded and worked to benefit of Maminco and Malaysia had Tun Dr.Mahathir not been betrayed by those close to him.
The various groups and individuals involved in what was essentially a scam using Tun Dr. Mahathir as a patsy and Malaysia’s reserve bank as its open cheque book were shipping tens of thousands of tonnes of tin, flooding the physical market with it reaping millions of Malaysian treasury money for their efforts.
On the other side of the equation at the same time Malaysia’s government through Maminco was kept busy buying their own tin from the Ipoh Chinese at highly inflated prices on the open market in an effort to keep the price up for the benefit of others.
Many a ‘tin towkay’ many of them Razaleigh’s Ipoh friends were in fact shorting both the physical as well as the derivative markets playing it with insider information and benefitting immensely from it. Dr. Mahathir did not know what was going on and maintained a stoic silence with their help. They blamed Britain and the US for the disaster when the market came crashing down in the end.
Tun Dr. Mahathir trusted many of these Chinese businessmen. around him A solitary Indian warned him about what was occurring. The Tun to his detriment chose to ignore the man as he did with many Indians. The man in question has asked not to be named.
CUT THROATS AND LAMBS TO THE SLAUGHTER
The problem with shorting tin at the time was that Malaysians close to Tun Dr. Mahathir who claimed to know how to operate in the commodities markets were not as connected or skilled as they thought they were. Many more lacked the technical skills required to do what traders do in places like Wall Street and the City of London.
Playing against Sir James Goldsmith was financial suicide. Goldsmith worked closely with Philbros to whom Marc Rich was once connected. Goldsmith a skilled and connected trader had long controlled tin via his connections in London and Bolivia. And that’s exactly what occurred.
Marc Rich (who Zaidner represented) and Goldsmith worked hand in hand with people close to Tengku Razaleigh and the plants inside Tun Mahathir’s inner sanctum at Maminco to milk Malaysia and to short the tin market. In fact documents show that Bank Bumiputera funded some of the transactions against the Malayan Tin operation on the side. Malaysia was in fact buying up all the tin on the world market including Ipoh’s output both legal and illegal and Bolivia’s at a premium. And Bank Bumiputera and the treasury were funding the enrichment of the Ipoh tin mob an Sir James Goldsmith.
Tengku Razaleigh was and remains very closely associated with sources close to the likes of George Soros and his hedge fund. Soros and Sir James Goldsmith and Marc Rich moved in very close circles and kept each other informed of such opportunities as the tin debacle. It was ‘money for jam’ to them.
IF HE DOES
Tengku Razaleigh if he does become Malaysia’s next prime minister will likely turn the nation into another Chinese enclave like Singapore and a haven for traders like the late Marc Rich and the ageing Soros. This is not simply because of his wife being Chinese or that he is an economist. It is because the man has been a captive of the Chinese business communities and foreign business in Malaysia for decades from his Anderson High School days.
Tengku Razaleigh loved his late wife Yvonne although he kept company with a bevy of Chinese women whilst still married to her.
Tengku Razaleigh many forget was instrumental in the attempts and the strategy to wrest control of world tin by first taking over what was then the London Tin Company. It was a move that failed when Singapore intervened. That was the Haw Par imbroglio for reference.
CARRIAN AND THE BANK BUMIPUTERA SCANDAL
Razaleigh knew well in advance of the dangers of funding Carrian. He knew every bit of what was going on with Bumiputera finance in Hong Kong and Carrian but pleaded ignorance when the Carrian scandal blew up. Razaleigh even knew David Zaidner was a plant in the tin shorting business as he knew what David Zaidner’s dual role was within the Malaysian side. However he kept that information to himself.
It was Razaleigh’s and his Chinese friends belief that Dr. Mahathir and his government would be so consumed by the scandal and implicated in some way by it that the scandal would force Dr. Mahathir to resign paving the way for a Razaleigh to be Prime Minister of Malaysia. It was not be. And the wily Dr. Mahathir changed deck chairs long before the plan was put into action sinking Razaleigh’ s dreams.
Wong Aun Pui’s involvement in the whole Bank Bumiputera Hong Kong fiasco was never ventilated or investigated. KD Eu who was also on the board of the Bank had other thoughts about the direction of the bank which he would later reveal to close friends. The late Ubaidullah an Indian Muslim businessman with extensive business connections worldwide including with the very powerful Hong Kong Indian business chamber of commerce also on the board of the bank warned Tun Razak about the Chinese and their nexus to certain board members using the bank as their piggy bank. Tun Razak unfortunately did not live long enough to remedy the situation.
JALIL IBRAHIM- THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH AND PAID EVEN MORE FOR IT
Jalil Ibrahim was an internal auditor of BBF (Bank Bumiputera Finance- a subsidiary of Bank Bumiputera Malaysia) at the time of the Carrian scandal. Jalil whilst in Hong Kong came across a number of telexes and notes that indicated the Hong Kong office of Bank Bumiputera and its subsidiary had been making unauthorized and unsecured loans beyond its permissible limits to George Tan and Bentley Ho connected companies. These instructions were relayed by someone very high up in the Malaysian government.
It is now revealed that Jalil was murdered not on the orders of George Tan as was indicated by the suspect in his murder Mak Soon Than, a story many continue to believe.
Recent disclosures by a former investigator into the Bank Bumiputera scandal suggests strongly, Jalil was murdered on the orders of someone very high up in the Malaysian government at the time in cahoots with someone very high up in the bank (not Loraine Osman) and not as Mak Soon Than claimed at the time.
Dr. Mahathir he says was disturbed on hearing what occurred to Jalil Ibrahim in Hong Kong. Mahathir it is said had his own suspicions as to who may have ordered Jalil’s murder.
Following the Carrian fall out Dr. Mahathir rapidly and decisively moved to consolidate his own power base within UMNO, sidelining some of the privileged within its ranks purging them and making sure they did not undermine his authority ever again.