EXXONMOBIL Scandal Starring Mirzan Mahathir


Mahathir Mohamad on the one hand is using Ibrahim Ali to stoke up the Malay sentiments’ anti-drinking, anti-everything for his return to power, while on the other using his son Mirzan to buy Esso Malaysia using San Miguel’s beer drinking money.

By JO & M.Nathan

I am so utterly disgusted with the BN government for its inability to engage Esso Malaysia for the rakyat. I am further disgusted with the hypocrisy of Mahathir Mohamad on the one hand using Ibrahim Ali to stoke up the Malay sentiments’ anti-drinking, anti-everything for his return to power, while on the other using his son Mirzan to buy Esso Malaysia using San Miguel’s beer drinking money. Worse still, he is exploiting the tax incentives reserved for us the rakyat, the unimportant Malaysians.

If you remember, Mirzan surfaced as a director of Petron, San Miguel’s beer company as the parent. Now he is using his brotherly influence on Muhkriz as the Minister of MITI to get the FIC approval and whatever else needed, for a deal which no decent government would ever allow.

Yesterday, the Domestic Trade Minister Sabri even said Malaysia cannot do anything about it. What a statement. The point is these Ministers are put there to safeguard our interests, not to spend time mixing with singers and artists so that his son Dafi can cut another album or so. Ministers need to protect the welfare of the rakyat especially when 80% of Esso customers are Muslim and do not want to have to change their lifestyle or travel another 25 km to pump petrol at another station that is halal, just to line Mirzan’s pocket. For Mirzan everything can, for us unimportant Malaysians everything cannot.

Back to Mahathir, how can we the rakyat even think of allowing this Mahathir-Mirzan-Muhkriz beer for subsidy petrol scandal to occur? In the internet, so many people are complaining that even the minority shareholders are up in arms and considering a class action suit against Exxon-Mobil for the utmost disregard for minority shareholders.

We expect Exxon-Mobil to uphold the highest and most stringent standard of professionalism and integrity, whether it is in the USA or in another third world country such as Malaysia. But obviously our BN government doesnt seem to think that is important. It seems to think that what is good for Mirzan must be good for Muhkriz, and therefore it is good to rip off all of us normal Malaysians, and we must just swallow.

I wonder why the goverment has not hauled up Esso staff Mr Stafford T. Kelly who made several announcements on the manner in which he felt Exxon-Mobil divested San Miguel. The funny thing is, his valuation exercise was done in a highly irregular manner leaving us minority shareholders to question what is actually behind this deal, and who in Exxon-Mobil is benefitting personally from this deal?

First, everyone knows that the assets in Esso Malaysia are part of a listed company and thus require close scrutiny. It is precisely because of this we are shocked that Mr Stafford told the reporters that the decision to sell the Esso assets (at USD280 million valuation for the whole 100%) cheaper than the Mobil equivalent (at USD 400 million) have been sanctioned and approved by the Government of Malaysia tacitly.

One only has to examine whether the sales of the assets are mutually exclusive. Judging from the newspaper report, it is a packaged deal and not mutually exclusive. It is then very curious that the sales of the assets are cross-subsidized using the unlisted ones in Mobil to be subsidized by the listed Esso shares in Malaysia.

This is against the law but Mr Stafford knows the Mahathir children will follow the footsteps of the father to cheat all Malaysians. Since he has taken care of Mirzan (where do you think the difference of USD 400 and 280 million went?) he does not have to worry who he steps on. That is why the Bursa is so quiet even though this is clearly criminal. 

Second, it is obvious Mr Stafford has botched up the entire bidding and valuation exercise when he can announce to the world (and all of Malaysia) that the deal to his preferred partner San Miguel is final even before the Malaysian authorities have a chance to consider the Foreign Investment Committee ruling. Obviously he knows something we don’t.

He must know that it will just be Mukhriz telling his puppet Minister Mustapha to sign on the dotted line. Strangely, he is trying to rush something which needs due process, and behaving so arrogantly as if EXXON is more important than the interests of the rakyat under the BN government. If this is the case, I urge all Malaysians to vote them out this PRU-13.

Third, Mr Stafford goes on to say that the tax incentives benefitted from Malaysia for the Esso refinery will be passed to San Miguel (read as pass on to San Mirzan or maybe one or two more of Mahathir’s children since he is after all THE ADVISOR to Petronas) simply because he says so – on the reasoning that San Miguel is going to invest some money into rehabilitating the refinery.

Come on, give us a break. We dont need Mirzan to use his ill gotten money as equity and then borrow to the hilt from the local banks and enjoy the subsidy by trying to say as though San Miguel is doing us, the rakyat, a favor. And then use the profits to fund Ibrahim Ali and make the non-Muslims look bad. Shame on you.

Let me remind you that we only have to ask the question in open court – where did the tax benefits given by the Malaysian government to Esso Malaysia finally accrue to? It will become obvious that this will lead to a bigger scandal than BP’s Gulf of Mexico burst oil-wells.

No American or French journalists take lightly individuals or corporations who evade tax. Also, Mr Stafford has no feel on whats on the ground as it is not about how much who is going to invest in the refinery as it is an afterthought (not to mention that it has been picked up as an attempt by Exxon to try to openly bribe the authorities as if Malaysia is so starved of Foreign Direct Investment). By jove, this will go to court, and Mahathir and the children after PRU-13 can hide behind a cage as they give their statements.

Fourth, the Foreign Corrupt Practice Act (FCPA) specifically prohibits any employee from concealing information from the tender committee be it in the form of shredding or disposing of evidence which would clearly show that the entire tender exercise was skewed to favor San Miguel. This is evident in the inability of EXXON-MOBIL to explain how a single executive like Mr Stafford was allowed to make such decisions which contravenes not only the laws of good ethical corporate governance, but also the follow up cover up and announcements of trying to justify his pick of the winner by saying that San Miguel will then invest heavily in the refinery. Who cares? A simple check on the phone numbers most called by the San Miguel local team will reveal and clearly show the trail to the EXXON-Mobil nest and of course to Mirzan and his 012345678 special number.

The same fate that bestowed Mubarrak and Gaddafi is awaiting Mahathir. And it would be silly of Mr Stafford to count on that rather than on good clean corporate governance which is what Exxon-Mobil has been built upon. For us simple Malaysians, I think we should stand up and say that if after all these years of benefitting from our subsidy as a foreign company in Malaysia, the least you can do if you want to exit is to do so graciously, and not so bloody arrogantly, not caring for the minority shareholders, and in the process, make a mockery of our government.

I used to be a long-time BN supporter. No more because I can see that this is not a government that will protect the interests of us the rakyat. Even as I read how the Muslim dealers have protested against this, everything is falling on deaf ears.

Esso Malaysia is supposed to be a blue-chip company, not material for a future B-grade movie with San Miguel booze starring Mr Stafford and Mirzan, tax evasion, shredding of evidence amid growing protests and boycotts in a country which is predominantly Muslim. Not to mention all of us minority shareholders will lose from the General Offer since we are getting a far lower valuation and subsidizing Mobil, and amortizing the big bucks which Mirzan wants to extract from us the unimportant Malaysians.