BOMBSHELL – NAJIB TO SACK PETRONAS CEO WAN ZULKIFLEE, FORCE EPF TO BAIL OUT RAPID FOR WARNING AGAINST HIS LOPSIDED ARAMCO DEAL?

IN NAME, ECONOMIC SABOTAGE BUT IN REALITY, FOR THREATENING HIS CORRUPTION PIPELINE?

While PM Najib provided no evidence of who exactly “almost sabotaged” the Aramco-Petronas JV,we do know that  Petronas CEO and President Datuk Wan Zulkiflee Wan Ariffin himself expressed concerns about the JV just two days before signing, and he did so publicly ,via a press conference that he himself called.The Star reported these matters: 

Wan Zulkiflee expressed surprise at the report of Saudi Aramco pulling out of Rapid when it had not gone into any agreement with the entity from Saudi Arabia.

“How can there be a situation of a party pulling out of something when the party was not part of it in the first place?” he said referring to reports of Saudi Aramco supposedly pulling out of Rapid.“From day one, we have stated that we are able to fully fund Rapid. We are and will not be dependent on anyone for this project. We are close to 60% complete, costs are within projections and the refinery will be ready by 2019 followed by the petrochemical portion by 2020.”The above was preceded by an earlier report in The Star,dated 25 February 2017  in which Petronas seemed to be warning off PM Najib and his government.Headlined “Let Petronas Do Its Job”, the story included the following statements:

There has been a fair bit of speculation surrounding Aramco inking a deal with Petronas in relation to the latter’s Refinery and Petrochemical Integrated Development or Rapid project in Pengerang, Johor. The latest is that both parties will sign an agreement on Monday during King Salman’s visit to Malaysia.

Petronas has not said anything about any potential deal with Aramco, except that it is always in talks with potential partners, but that any deal inked would have to be on Petronas’ terms. In other words, beneficial to Petronas and not lopsided, as it should be.

Petronas’ president and CEO Datuk Wan Zulkiflee Wan Ariffin recently told editors in Kuala Lumpur that Petronas never takes on projects with the view that it has to depend on investors for funding to complete the project.

That said, partnering Aramco should have its benefits, considering it is not only the company with the vastest oil reserves, but also the most valuable company in the world today. The deal just has to be struck on equally beneficial terms.

…..the O&G resources of the country belong to all Malaysians, and they have to be handled with care.

It does appear then that it was the Petronas CEO himself who was trying to discourage Aramco, and he was not afraid of doing so publicly.

Then there is the matter of the EPF. Najib is reported to have said:

“Some unpatriotic people had spread claims that the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) was almost bankrupt and that the government was unable to pay the salaries of its civil servants.

“The Saudi Arabian government had received this wrong information about our country and thus, were quite doubtful about investing in Malaysia.

“We had to meet them and correct the facts that Malaysia is among the best countries in the world (to invest in). When they were convinced, they finally agreed to invest with us” .

However, Aramco sells its crude to Petronas, and it would,as any oil company would, be interested only in the viability of its client. If otherwise, Shell, ExxonMobil and others would not be investing in say Nigeria. Put in another way, oil companies have long ago learnt to limit their exposure to the oil assets that they deal with, managing to ring-fence these from the problems of the countries they deal with.

Therefore the matter of EPF would be of interest only if the  EPF is expected to bail-out the RAPID project, for a bail-out is what it would be.If not, the EPF would already be an investor in the project. A bail out should not be unexpected, given that the JV  agreement with Aramco seems not to involve any injection of cash.

END

Heartless individuals almost cost Malaysia RM31b Saudi investment: Najib
Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak attend a Memorandum of Understanding signing ceremony in Putrajaya, Malaysia, Feb 27, 2017. Photo: Saudi Royal Court via Reuters
Heartless individuals almost cost Malaysia RM31b Saudi investment: Najib
PUBLISHED: 3:15 PM, MARCH 18, 2017
 
PUTRAJAYA — False negative perceptions on Malaysia almost cost the country a RM31 billion (S$9.8 billion) investment from Saudi Arabia.
Prime Minister Najib Razak on Saturday (March 18) disclosed that Saudi Arabia was initially reluctant to invest in Malaysia due to the false perception that the country is deemed a high political risk.
“Some unpatriotic people had spread claims that the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) was almost bankrupt and that the government was unable to pay the salaries of its civil servants.
“The Saudi Arabian government had received this wrong information about our country and thus, were quite doubtful about investing in Malaysia.
“We had to meet them and correct the facts that Malaysia is among the best countries in the world (to invest in). When they were convinced, they finally agreed to invest with us,” Mr Najib said at the Ekspresi Negaraku launch at Dataran Putrajaya, here on Saturday.
The Ekspresi Negaraku event serves as the first platform to mobilise the Negaraku initiative nationwide to spur Malaysians to show their spirit of patriotism and love for the country.
Meanwhile, speaking on the Saudi investment, Mr Najib said it would open more job opportunities for the younger generation.
He said Malaysia almost lost out on the investment due to the acts of certain unscrupulous individuals.
“These individuals are heartless people who were politically motivated to topple Malaysia. In the end, it is the rakyat who end up as the victims,” he said.
Mr Najib also related this to a statement by former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who had claimed that Malaysia is one of the 10 most corrupted countries in the world.
“The corruption index showed that Malaysia is at 55th place out of 160 countries. We are not as bad as what some have claimed.
“We can accept criticism but not attempts to topple the government. We believe there is still room for improvement for Malaysia,” he said.
Saudi Aramco recently agreed to invest RM31 billion for a 50 per cent stake in Petroliam Nasional Bhd’s Refinery and Petrochemical Integrated Development (Rapid) project.
Under the agreement, Saudi Aramco will be supplying up to 70 per cent of the crude feedstock requirements of the refinery. Petronas, on the other hand, will supply natural gas, power and other utilities.
Both parties will hold equal ownership in selected ventures and assets of the Rapid project within Pengerang Integrated Complex.

The share purchase agreement was signed on Feb 28 during a state visit by Saudi ruler King Salman Abdulaziz Al-Saud. THE NEW STRAITS TIMES

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