Isn’t politics interesting? But what is even more interesting is: what is Daim’s role in this whole thing? Is Daim, through his protégé and nominee, Wan Azmi, fighting for change and would like to see Umno kicked out? Or is Daim more interested in seeing PKR split into two camps and, through Wan Azmi, is making sure that they have millions to spend to make this possible?THE CORRIDORS OF POWER
Raja Petra Kamarudin
Tun Daim Zainuddin met up with Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in the US in 1978 where Dr Mahathir persuaded Daim to return to Malaysia to contest the general election that was held that same year. Dr Mahathir also offered Daim the Chairmanship of the Urban Development Authority (UDA).
Daim was not interested in taking up the Chairmanship of UDA, which he deemed too big and widespread, too bureaucratic, and doing too many things at the same time. Instead, Daim suggested that UDA form a holding company so that all its assets could be transferred to this holding company.
Peremba was established as this holding company and Daim became its non–executive Chairman with a team of young and bright hand–picked officers to assist him. Amongst these protégés were Tan Sri Wan Azmi Bin Wan Hamzah, Tan Sri Halim Bin Saad, and Tan Sri Samsuddin Bin Abu Hassan, all well-known Umno cronies and nominees.
Today, we want to talk about Wan Azmi, and you can read more about him in the reports below if you want to. And why do we want to talk about Wan Azmi? Well, because Wan Azmi is one of those millionaires (or is it billionaire?) who are financing the opposition parties.
That is well and fine. After all, you need money, plenty of money, to win the elections, especially since Umno and Barisan Nasional are going to spend no less than RM1.5 billion in the coming election. Hence, Pakatan Rakyat needs Malaysian, American and Middle Eastern tycoons to help fund the elections.
But Wan Azmi is a Daim protégé and Umno nominee. He made money through Daim and Umno. So why is he now funding the opposition? Has he turned? Has he repented? Is he suddenly sorry that he ripped off the country and now wants to give back some of this money by funding the opposition? Or is he a Trojan horse who is trying to bring the opposition down?
In fact, Wan Azmi is not only funding the opposition, or rather PKR. Wan Azmi’s man, Wong Chen, who played a major role in Zaid Ibrahim's failed bid to win the Hulu Selangor parliamentary by-election, is now a strategist in PKR, together with the now famous Rafizi Ramli who exposed the NFC fiasco. The other person in their team is Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad, the Communications Director of the party who was Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim’s Political Secretary before Faekah Husin took over.
Nik Nazmi and Rafizi, Azmin loyalists and his 'secret weapon' to prevent Nurul Izzah's rise
And all these people are Azmin Ali loyalists. And they are bent on making sure that Nurul Izzah Anwar does not emerge as her father’s successor.
Rafizi actually wanted to contest the PKR Youth Leader’s post in the last party election. And he wanted Nurul Izzah as his running mate because he knew he could only win if Nurul Izzah was in his team. But Nurul Izzah did not want to contest the Deputy Youth Leader’s post. She wanted to contest the Vice Presidency so Rafizi had no choice but to abandon his plan to contest.
Khalid knew that he was surrounded by Azmin loyalists. Hence he made the decision to replace Nik Nazmi with Faekah, a Dr Wan Azizah Dr Wan Ismail loyalist. Of course, the Azmin camp is trying very hard to get rid of Faekah but so far they have not succeeded because, in spite of the ‘letter of recommendation’ controversy, Khalid is still backing Faekah, much to the chagrin of the Azmin camp.
Their hope is that Nurul Izzah will be defeated in Lembah Pantai in the coming elections, which will cut her political career short. Then, in the next party elections, Azmin will contest the Presidency with Rafizi as his Deputy and Nik Nazmi as one of the Vice Presidents. And with Wan Azmi’s help this may all come true. Hell, Wan Azmi may even throw a few tens of millions into Raja Nong Chik’s election campaign to help him defeat Nurul Izzah.
Rafizi’s resignation recently and the attack on Faekah are not isolated or unrelated incidences. There are moves by some quarters to check the ambitions of Azmin’s team and Rafizi was one of the victims of the counter-move by these people. Rafizi was upset that Anwar did not come to his defense but instead adopted a 'hands-off' policy in his normal ‘divide and rule’ strategy that once saw Ezam Mohd Nor’s exit from the party for the same reason.
Anwar is not too happy with Khalid who the party views as uncontrollable. Anwar himself admitted this back in 2010. But there is nothing much they can do because Wan Azizah, through her loyalist, Faekah, is solidly behind Khalid. Hence it appears like it is now down to the Azmin team, backed by Anwar, and the anti-Azmin team, backed by Wan Azizah and Nurul Izzah.
Isn’t politics interesting? But what is even more interesting is: what is Daim’s role in this whole thing? Is Daim, through his protégé and nominee, Wan Azmi, fighting for change and would like to see Umno kicked out? Or is Daim more interested in seeing PKR split into two camps and, through Wan Azmi, is making sure that they have millions to spend to make this possible?
Well, Dr Mahathir is now the de facto leader of Umno. That, we all know. Can we assume that Daim, through his protégé and nominee, is the de facto leader of PKR? And since Dr Mahathir and Daim are in the same team, can we, therefore, also assume that Dr Mahathir is the de facto-de facto leader of PKR? Sheesh…politics…you never know who your real friends and real enemies are.
Tan Sri Wan Azmi Wan Hamzah
Wan Azmi steps down as a board member of Malaysia Airlines
(Bernama, June 2012) - Tan Sri Wan Azmi Wan Hamzah has stepped down as a director of Malaysia Airlines (MAS).
In a statement, the national carrier said Wan Azmi had announced that he would not seek re-election as an independent and non-executive director of the company at its 41st Annual General Meeting here yesterday.
Arising from his decision, the resolution seeking shareholder approval for his reappointment was withdrawn, it said. The company’s chairman Tan Sri Md Nor Md Yusof thanked Wan Azmi for his significant contributions to the national carrier as a board member since Aug 9 last year.
Wan Azmi: Sime is strong
(The Star, September 2011) - Tan Sri Wan Azmi Wan Hamzah of Land & General needs little introduction, having been an active corporate player in the 90s. He remains an active portfolio investor but has been thrust into the limelight after he sold his shares in Eastern & Oriental Bhd to Sime Darby Bhd. Below are excerpts of an interview with StarBiz.
Wan Azmi lists firms in London
(The Star, December 2007) - Although Land & General Bhd (L&G) founder Tan Sri Wan Azmi Wan Hamzah has kept a local profile in recent years, he remains the shrewd investor with a string of successful listings overseas.
The most recent was PureCircle Ltd, a maker of plant-based sweetener, which went public last week on London’s Alternative Investment Market (AIM).
Early backers of the biotech firm, including the Kelantan-born Wan Azmi, sold 14.28 million shares to the public at 170p each to raise £23.4mil (RM157mil) for expansion.
According to the listing document, PureCircle was founded in Malaysia in 2002 and is headed by managing director and co-founder Magomet Malsagov.
It also showed Halfmoon Bay Enterprises Ltd as the company’s second biggest shareholder with a 10.3% stake post-listing.
Halfmoon Bay is Wan Azmi’s family investment vehicle. The same firm used to own shares in Amway (M) Holdings Bhd when Wan Azmi was the company's chairman.
Wan Azmi withdrew from the local corporate scene after the collapse of his flagship company, Land & General Bhd (L&G), due to the Asian financial crisis in 1997. His other known listed firm, Rohas-Euco Industries Bhd, is on the verge of being taken private by Temasek Team Sdn Bhd, a company that Wan Azmi, his wife and associates have set up for the exercise.
Wan Azmi, 57, has maintained a 6% stake in L&G.
While he stayed in the background at home, the protege of former finance minister Tun Daim Zainuddin had stepped up his international ventures in recent years.
At least three companies he is involved in, including PureCircle, were floated in London over the past two years.
They include Steppe Cement Ltd, in which Halfmoon Bay and another of Wan Azmi’s private entities are among the major shareholders.
Steppe Cement, which was floated on AIM in September 2005, has several cement manufacturing complexes in Kazakhstan.
In an interview with StarBiz in October this year, Steppe Cement chief executive office Javier Del Ser Perez said that he, Wan Azmi and Malaysia-based investor David Crichton-Watt each owned a third of the shares in the cement maker.
The company is worth £286mil (RM1.9bil) at the current market price of 251p.
Wan Azmi and Perez also have stakes in a Kazakh real estate company known as Chagala Group Ltd, which was listed on the London Stock Exchange's main market in February this year.
Wan Azmi and Crichton-Watt have been business partners for over a decade.
In the StarBiz interview, Perez said both Wan Azmi and Crichton-Watt were invited by Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev in 1995 to look at opportunities in the then fledgling nation.
Meanwhile, PureCircle is said to the world's biggest producer of Redaudioside-A (Reb-A), a natural high-intensity sweetening extracted from the Stevia plant.
The company's stock hit a high of 186.5p on its first day of trading, but has since drifted back to near the IPO level. At Tuesday’s closing price of 178.5p, the company had a market value of £232.6mil.