Thursday, February 12, 2015

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad on "The Malaysian Dilemma"

The following are a very rough transcript of the Center for a Better Tomorrow's talk by Tun Dr Mahathir entitled, "The Malaysian Dilemma" held on 12 Feb 2015 from 10.10am till 12.30pm at the Connexion@ Nexus, Bangsar South City, Jalan Kerinchi, Kuala Lumpur. I could not transcript the entire 2 hour talk so i can only publish the more notable bits which i found relevant and amusing in Tun's own light-hearted manner.

(Tun flanked by Lim Chee Wee standing to the left and Gan Ping Sieu seated to the right)

I was the first to get at the venue this morning after an hour and a half of driving during the early pre-dawn hours up to KL to meet The Man. And boy, Tun didn't disappoint me in the least. Let's just say that this was a most memorable and fruitful trip in recent memory for Yours Truly.

Tun: "Dilemma means if you do you are damned, if you don't you will also be damned. So, if you are going to be damned anyway, let's do something about it (referring to the government's efforts to decrease the disparity between the rich and the poor in Malaysia and the disparity between the races which was why the New Economic Policy was introduced). "It resolved the disparity during that time and the country grew by 12% almost every year but now we grow by about 5% annually so it is still OK. When you are poorer the rate of growth is much higher. If you look at the Developed countries, if they achieve 1-2% growth that is fantastic because they already have a high base but for us we still need about 5% growth which is still good."


Tun: "So we have a dilemma. Do we continue with the formula which has served us well or do we discard it now that we have done well? That is the Dilemma. It is a Tongkat. Some people think that it is a Status Symbol but we have to disabuse them of this thinking. The process is one of changing their culture, their values system. I find that whether they (the Malays) succeed or not is a function of their culture/values system. The hardworking men, the hardworking nation will succeed. A nation that is postponing everything till tomorrow will not succeed. That is why we promoted the "Look East" Policy. You know, today Europe is in Big Trouble. Japan is also in trouble. But China and Korea (South) are doing well. Samsung is doing well, they manufacture all sorts of gadgets tvs handphones and consumer items, etc So we have to look east because we see people who have succeeded there while in the west people have failed. It is the culture needed by the Malay community. They HAVE to CHANGE if they want to succeed. They do not have to go to Japan, they have a role model from the Chinese in this country."

 During the Q & A session which lasted for about an hour after the hour-long talk by Tun (remarkably, this almost 90-year old man stood for over 2 hours speaking on the rostrum!), a teenage student posed a question about the difficulties faced by students under the new education system.

Tun replied that he personally never liked the Malaysian education system even when he was still the Prime Minister and that he wished to emphasize the importance of mastering the English language so as students can better grasp maths and science subjects where daily advancements and tremendous changes are all written in the English medium. That is why he insisted on having maths and science to be taught in English. He added that it was impossible to translate all technical advancements from English to the Malay language and the quickest way to acquire such knowledge and know-how was to be competent in English.

Tun's personal advice to Students in particular and Malaysians in general?
"Read as widely as you can, acquire knowledge and skills through reading as many books as you can. Nowadays people do not do much reading, kids play with their hand-held gadgets or computers etc, adults do the same. But reading books is so very important."

Asked about his comments on the perception that Malaysian society had become more polarised and divided in recent times, Tun remarked that there will always be extremists from all sides of the political divide and of all races and one had to have the courage as a moderate to speak up and not remain quiet although the tendency of a moderate is usually to be quiet and maintain a low profile. Tun said: "They (the extremists) will always be a minority but sometimes when we speak up we are accused ourselves of being an extremist (to much laughter from the floor). But if you do not speak up as a moderate, then you will be deemed to have accepted the extremists' views and so their views will set the agenda." He added that the perception of increased polarisation and division in Malaysian society was also a minority view as whenever he personally went out shopping to places like Pavillion in Kuala Lumpur as he liked to do, ordinary malaysians from all walks of life and ethnicity would come up to him and tell their children to shake his hands and greet him which would not happen if there truly was such polarisation and division in Malaysian society.

On communal politiics and whether the Barisan Nasional ethnic-based parties were themselves a cause of the perceived polarisation, Tun continued: "By and large we have gotten well together through the years after independence, despite the occasional bickering and quarrels. We have not become like Iraq, Syria or Libya for example. What is so important is the concept of "KONGSI" or Sharing in Malaysia. The Malays being the majority with the political power shared their political power while the Chinese with their dominant economic clout in Malaysia shared their economic power. We are not depriving anyone of their slice of the cake but we seek to enlarge the cake so that everyone can have a bigger slice of it respectively."
Tun stressed that only by continuing and being willing to Share can the  peace and stability enjoyed by all Malaysians and the nation's continued prosperity be assured and Wawasan 2020 or Vision 2020 (the year when the Malaysia government has set its target to become  a developed nation) is achieveable.

He said that someday a time may come when there was no need to have communal-based parties but for now as people still generally identified themselves by race first rather than as Malaysians, they were a part of life in Malaysia. He described how once during an overseas trip to Japan he overheard some young people walking behind him speaking in perfect Malay amongst themselves. "When i turned around i found that they were Indonesian ethnic Chinese", he said. So it is this issue of race and language which must first be overcome before a Bangsa Malaysia can be achieved.

To a question from the audience about 1MDB, Tun said that he would never have such a body in his time as it was not necessary. "They have only loans and you must pay back loans", he added, saying that loans were not assets as such. He likened 1MDB's loans to the Malays in the kampungs owing monies and loans to their local chettiars and once when his own father had passed away, his late father's chettiar appeared at his doorstep to ask for repayment of his late father's loan. When told that Tun's father had died, the chettiar simply replied that although tun's father had died, the loan had not died (to much roars of laughter from the floor).

Tun said that at the end of the day, a leader was only a leader when he had followers. "A leader does what he does to serve the interests of his followers. If he is there just to enjoy himself, then well..." (again to much applause and laughter).


 (Tun accepts a token of appreciation from Cenbet moderator Gan Ping Sieu)

While the above transcript is faithfully reproduced from memory and personal handwritten notes and Yours Truly was seated about 5 rows away from Tun, apologies are in order for any unintended mistakes errors omissions or misheard/misreported comments. No malice is intended and this transcript is intended to be for public consumption in honour of our former Prime Minster. Tun was also good enough to autograph my copy of his memoirs (see below, but alas to rotate anti-clockwise once).




Thursday, December 25, 2014

1MDB - no more the elephant in the room (article extracted and re-reproduced from TheEdge Malaysia, Dec 22, 2014)

1MDB - no more the elephant in the room (pages 27 & 30, TheEdge Malaysia, Dec 22, 2014)

By Ben Shane Lim

For most Malaysians, 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) has been a complex engima - just one of the many plots and subplots that form the political background noise to everyday life. But the troubling story of the state-owned fund that is Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib's brainchild finally came to the fore in 2014, with potentially far-reaching implications for the nation's finance and politics.
Opposition politicians and former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad may have their own agendas for criticising 1MDB, but the man in the street has many reasons to be worried as well - about 42 billion and counting.
Even one of Najib's own from Umno broke ranks earlier this month, with Batu Kawan deputy cheif Datuk Seri Khairuddin Abu Hassan lodging a police report against 1MDB, whose advisory board is chaired by Najib himself. Penang Umno members were quick to step in and pacify the party president, stressing that Khairuddin had been acting alone.
Political motives aside, there are justifiable reasons for Malaysians to be concerned as well.
In a nutshell, 1MDB appears to have borrowed a huge amount of money at too high a price to purchase overpriced assets that cannot cover the debts. Why this has happened is open to speculation.
The net effect is that 1MDB has been relying on massive land revaluation gains to book accounting profits, but auffers from negative cashflows as whatever cash it has is used to service the debts. In the financial year ended March 31, 2014 (FY2014), it suffered a negative cash flow of RM2.25 billion.
Ultimately, this business model doesn't appear sustainable, a fact that became more apparent when 1MDB posted a loss of RM665.3 million for FY2014, weighed down by RM2.4 billion in financing costs.
This isn't particularly surpirsing, since 1MDB had relied on over RM2.74 billion in land revaluation to turn a profit in FY2013. But the losses have been a wake-up call for Najib's administration.
There are two linchpins that are supposed to turn 1MDB around - the development of the 70-acre Tun Razak Exchange (TRX) land in the heart of KL and the listing of 1MDB's power assets.
While the development of TRX saw little progress this year, it has been an eventful year for 1MDB's energy unit that aims to list next year and raise over RM9 billion.  The listing is crucial to raise money for 1MDB to pay off some of its debts, evidenced by the fact (that) 1MDB is willing to retain 20% stake in the listed company.
So what happended?
1MDB started the year on a sour note, having to change auditors for a second time in four years to Deloitte from KPMG. This in part resulted in 1MDB delaying the lodging of its FY2013 financial results with the Companies Commission of Malaysia (CCM) by over six months.
The 2013 financials revealed that 1MDB had channelled over RM7.18 billion to the Cayman islands. 1MDB claims that the funds were professionally managed by Hong Kong-based Bridge Partners, but little is known about the obscure firm and 1MDB largely kept mum about the funds.
The financials also showed that 1MDB overpaid for the acquisition of its power assets by some RM3.3 billion in the form of goodwill. Recall that 1MDB acquired Genting Sanyen power assets from the Genting group for RM2.3 billion, and the Tanjong Power assets from tycoon Ananda Krishnan for RM8.5 billion.
By March 2013, slightly over a year after the acquisitions, 1MDB would write off RM1.9 billion of that goodwill.
While this was a poor start to 1MDB's planned listing of its power assets, the group has had a wi ndfall year when it comes to securing new projects.
It began when it was awarded Project 3B, a 2,000MW coal-fired power plant project worth RM11 billion, after a close fight with a consortium consisting of YTL Power International Bhd and the Sultan of Johor's SIPP Energy Sdn Bhd.
1MDB would go on to win two more projects on a direct-award basis - a 50MW solar project as well as a 2,000MW combined cycle gas turbine plant in Melaka due in 2021.
Including a few more undisclosed hydroelectric projects in and outside the country as well as a joint venture with Tenaga Nasional Bhd to undertake new projects in Bangladesh, 1MDB went ahead with its plans for list its power assets, aiming to go public in the first quarter next year.
However, this would prove to be extremely challenging for the group, which came under yet another round of scrutiny when its FY2014 financials were filed, revealing losses and negative cahs flow amounting to RM2.25 billion. At this point, the fund's borrowings also expanded to RM42 billion.
1MDB would come under even more pressure when documents revealed that it had paid very expensive fees, around 10%, for US$4.75 billion (RM15.2 billion) worth of borrowings it had raised via Goldman Sachs. This is on top of expensive coupon rates as high as 5.99%, compared with government guaranteed bonds which are typically issued at less than 4%.
Goldman Sachs came out to defend the deal, pointing out that the fees reflected the risk that it had undertaken in raising the money for 1MDB.
Unsurprisingly, opposition politicians took the opportunity to grill Najib about 1MDB in Parliament. After all, he is the minister of finance and his ministry owns 1MDB.
Questions were raised in the media as well as in Parliament over the exposure of the government should 1MDB fail to meet its debt obligations, which in FY2014 totalled a whopping RM2.5 billion. After an initial denial to Parliament, Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Ahmad Maslan would backtrack and finally admit that the government issued a letter of support for 1MDB's debts of around RM5.8 billion.
Of more concern was the fact that 1MDB has had to extend and restructure some RM5 billion worth of borrowings in the form of a bridging loan with Malayan Banking Bhd.
On a more positive note, 1MDB claims that it would be redeeming RM4.26 billion of its funds invested in the Cayman Islands.
The negative publicity was enough to draw out 1MDB's chairman, Tan Sri Lodin Wok Kamaruddin, to address the questions. However, only select media organisations that were controlled by the government were invited to the "press conference" in mid-November.
With all the negative news flow, it isn't surpirsing that 1MDB's soon-to-be-listed energy unit has distanced itself from its parent, changing its name to Edra Global Energy Bhd from 1MDB Energy Group Bhd.
Edra Global has already lodged its draft prospectus with the Securities Commission Malaysia, but it is taking longer than usual for the SC to expose the prospectus as it is constantly being tweaked.
That said, it will still be an uphill battle for Edra Global, which is expected to offer yields of between 2.5% and 3.5% - which are hardly attractive. On top of that, given the size of the issuance in excess of RM9 billion, it may not be tenable to list in the first quarter of next year due to weak market sentiment.
Furthermore, the group even had to delay the issuance of RM8.4 billion worth of sukuk to finance the construction of Jimah East, which is also expected to be delayed.
Nonetheless, the fact remains that 1MDB sorely needs Edra Global to be listed as soon as possible to pare down the group's borrowings - and time is running out.
The recent depreciation in the Ringgit against the US dollar is putting more pressure on the fund, given that it has an estimated US7.4 billion in dollar-denominated debts. As at March 2014, that amounted to RM22.048 billion but has since increased to an estimated RM25.7 billion at the current exchange rate of 3.48 against the dollar.
It remains to be seen how 1MDB will support its ever-growing debts, but a default is certainly in nobody's interest, which would be catastrophic - not only for the many banks that are exposed but also the country's balance sheet and indirectly, every Malaysian's pocket.
Silent and ominous, 1MDB has been much more than a four-letter word that has defined 2014. It could well be the legacy that Najib is remembered for, perhaps not in a way he would have hoped for, unless something quick is done to fix its fundamental problem - debt and asset heavy but lacking in cash flow. 

(All rights proprietary and intellectual belong to the abovenamed author and to TheEdge Malaysia, this article was extracted from and re-produced by this blogger without prior written permission on the grounds of public interest and in the interests of academic discussion only and is not to be sold or used in any form or manner for commercial purpose whatsoever).  

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Apa Lagi Cina Mau?

Hari ini saya menulis blog dalam bahasa malaysia untuk kali yang pertama. Ini adalah kerana saya rasa kalau saya mengarang dalam bahasa inggeris seperti biasa, maka ia boleh dipandang oleh orang umum bahawa penulis blog ini dan kandungan blognya tidak relevan kepada isu-isu yang sedang menghadapi negara kami yang tercinta ini.  Saya terlebih dahulu mohon maaf daripada semua pembaca blog saya sekiranya taraf bahasa malaysia saya tidak begitu elok ataupun karangan saya mengandungi kesilapan tatabahasa. Sila betulkan saya jika saya salah atau telah silap. Tetapi percayalah bahawa motif saya adalah ikhlas.

Saya merasa amat sedih melihat negara kami semakin lama semakin huru-hara dengan isu-isu politik terutamanya dari segi isu-isu perkauman. Bagi kami orang yang biasa, hubungan diantara pelbagai kaum-kaum dalam kehidupan kami setiap hari tidak menjadi sedikit masalah pun. Saya berani mengatakan bahawa kawan-kawan saya meliputi melayu, india, eurasian, cina, iaitu semua jenis kaum yang ada di Malaysia hari ini. Jadi, saya berasa amat hairan apabila ahli-ahli politik yang tertentu boleh anggap sesuai untuk selalu mengkategorikan rakyat malaysia kepada kaum-kaum masing-masing dan memecahbelahkan masyarakat malaysia sampai perasaan benci-membenci dan ketidakpercayaan menimbul dalam hati sebahagian masyarakat kami. Seolah-olahnya seperti malaysia ini hanya meliputi satu kaum, satu agama, satu budaya dan apa-apa yang tidak asli walaupun dari beberapa tahun/generasi dahulu dan apa-apa yang bukan berasal dari tanahair ini sesuai untuk dikeji sebagai pengasing yang haram. 

Adakah semua ini berlaku kerana masyarakat cina di malaysia mengundi untuk pihak pembangkang dalam pilihan raya umum Malaysia ke-13? Dan olehkerana mereka tidak mengundi untuk parti kerajaan, maka mereka ini boleh dianggap sebagai pengkhianat negara dan pembuat kacau/huru-hara? Saya rasa tidak. Masyarakat cina dimalaysia pernah dipuji oleh sesuatu pemimpin dahulu sebagai rakyat yang baik, setia, rajin dan yang tidak memberi masalah yang besar ataupun banyak masalah sosial. Tetapi, pada masa itu majoriti masyarakat cina mengundi untuk pihak kerajaan. Lihatlah betapa mudahnya untuk mengubah nasib sesuatu bangsa pada keseluruhannya! Dari kawan menjadi lawan. Senang.

Saya disini tidak menafikan bahawa masyarakat cina di malaysia tidak dikecualikan daripada masalah sosial dan boleh dengan sepenuh kepercayaan dianggap sebagai warga negara teladan ("model citizen"). Saya mengaku bahawa adanya unsur-unsur masyarakat cina di malaysia yang terlibat dalam aktiviti-aktiviti yang kurang sihat seperti menjudi haram, kegiatan kongsi-kongsi gelap, menjual dvd dan cd cetak rompak, berniaga secara pencatutan demi untuk mendapat keuntungan yang lumayan, yang tidak membayar cukai ataupun mengelakkan kewajipan untuk membayar cukai, yang bersikap tidak jujur, suka bohong/menipu dan seterusnya. Tetapi disebalik batu ada juga masyarakat cina yang jujur, rajin bekerja untuk memajukan perniagaan mereka yang sah, yang sanggup membayar cukai kepada kerajaan, mempunyai pendidikan yang tinggi, penyayang negara dan yang boleh dianggap sebagai aset kepada negara dalam bidang perniagaan, sukan dan seni mereka. 

Kelebihan ataupun kelemahan seorang individu itu tidak bergantung kepada kaumnya kerana kami semua adalah anak-anak keturunan Adam. Kalau kamu berkata bahawa kamu tidak kenal saya daripada Adam, maka saya akan menjawab bahawa darah saya yang berwarna merah serupa dengan warna darah kamu yang merah juga. Walaupun kami berasal daripada pelbagai kaum-kaum, tetapi kami semua tetap adalah anak malaysia. Kami dilahirkan di malaysia, dibesarkan dimalaysia, dan akhirnya akan dikuburkan dimalaysia. Keistimewaan satu kaum daripada kaum yang lain adalah sesuatu ciptaan politik dan tidak boleh memisahkan rakyat malaysia dan tidak patut menjadi punca pencerobohan muhibbah negara kami yang tercinta ini. Pada masa-masa yang merisaukan ini, negara kami sangat memerlukan seorang pemimpin yang boleh, yang sanggup dan yang berazam untuk menyatukan semua rakyat malaysia tidak kira kaum ataupun agama, dan bukanlah oportunis politik yang memecahbelah rakyat dan memainkan isu-isu perkauman untuk mengekalkan kuasanya.    

      

Sunday, May 25, 2014

MPHB throws down the gauntlet to Johor

MPHB throws down the gauntlet to Johor

By Kamarul Azhar

Is it right for the Johor government to forcibly acquire private land and then resell it for a hefty profit?

That is the crux of the suit MPHB Capital Bhd has brought against the state government as the first defendent and national oil company Petronas as the second defendent.

MPHB's subsidiary Kelana Megah Development Sdn Bhd (KMD) filed the suit as the landowner on May 9.
In essence, the Johor government and Petronas are being accused of conspiring to unfairly and forcibly acquire seven parcels totalling 1,150 ha (2,841 acres), which is an abuse of the Land Acquisition Act.

Here are the salient points of the suit according to affidavits filed in court by Kelana Megah:

- The Johor government used the Land Acquisition Act to buy the land at 93 sen psf without granting KMD sufficient time to appoint an independent valuer to value the land. KMD was notified on Aug 9, 2012, and at a land enquiry conducted by the state land administrator on Sept 3, 2012, that the administrator had fixed the acquisition price at 93 sen after refusing a KMD request to delay a decision pending submission of an independent valuation.

- The state government proceeded with the acquisition at 93 sen on Oct 8, 2012, while it already had an agreement to sell the same land to Petronas at RM8 psf, which the national oil company needed for its Refinery and Petrochemical Integrated Development (RAPID) project.

- KMD alleges that the RM8 psf price was agreed upon by the state government and Petronas in May 2012 - four months before the Sept 3 enquiry that decided that KMD was only to get 93 sen psf from the state.

- KMD further alleges that three of the seven parcels acquired were not on the original list of land that Petronas had asked for and needed for RAPID and so should not have been acquired by the state.

The  land administrator set the price at 93 sen psf despite KMD producing a receipt for the payment of stamp duty on one of the parcels, which had been valued at RM5.75 psf just a year before.

At RM5.75 psf, all seven parcels would have been valued at RM711.55 million, based on a back-of-the-envelope calculation by The Edge.

The price differential between the RM8 psf paid by Petronas to the state government and the 93 sen psf awarded by the land administrator to KMD means that the state government made a whopping profit of RM800 million.
"Why should the state get the difference between the RM8 and 93 sen?" sks a corporate executive. "If the acquisition was made in the name of national interest, surely, the state should not have made money at the expense of the private landowner?"

Landowners are watching the outcome of the court case with great interest, although this is not the first time one of them has taken both the federal and state governments to court (see accompanying story).
The RAPID project, announced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak in May 2011, is positioned to turn southern Johor into Southeast Asia's oil and gas and petrochemical hub.

Petronas plans to have the RAPID project commissioned by 2016. However, opposition to the project from the local residents and the complexity of acquiring individual parcels and relocating the affected people raised concerns that the project may not see the light of day.

Petronas then turned to the state government for assistance in acquiring 8,200 acres in Pengerang, including the seven parcels belonging to KMD.

According to KMD, it should have been given sufficient time to determine the valuation of its land since Petronas had said it would only make a decision on RAPID in 2013. In fact, it was only in April this year that a final investment decision was made by the national oil company on the project.

In its suit, KMD is seeking a declaration by the court that the acquisition of the land was illegal and of no effect and to order the state authority to take all necessary steps to revoke the acquisition.

It is also seeking an order that Petronas deliver vacant possession of the land within seven days, pay damages for trespassing on the land, general damages for cutting down trees and destroying its oil palm estate as well as interest at the rate of 5% per annum from the date of the acquisition.

(Re-produced without permission from the Edge Malaysia magazine, the week of May 26 to June 1, 2014. All rights belong to the author of this article and the Edge Malaysia magazine, i own no proprietary rights and am only re-producing it for the sole purpose of academic discussion)   

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

life and death

5 days ago, my world got turned upside down when my boss and partner died suddenly without a hint of warning to us all. One day he was in office and making phone calls as usual to lunch with his business associates and the next he was gone. Now we as his partners have to take care of his estate and the continuity of the partnership and firm. We have had to set aside personal sentiments and notions of loyalty and seek legal advice ourselves as to the legal implications of his untimely death, especially what now we, as his surviving partners, are to do. The problem is that my late partner's son is not a lawyer which rather complicates things. We cannot let him assume the reins of the practice and step into his father's shoes because of this, as much as we may personally feel obliged to do so. The assets capital and Good Will of the firm belongs to the estate of my late partner and it is up to us now as the surviving partners whether to buy over the Good Will of the firm to continue the practice in the same name and style as before or to dissolve the partnership and call it a day. Me and my 2 other partners have come up with an initial sum of RM20,000 each to keep things running but we cannot personally pick up the daily expenses of the firm indefinitely. As such, a meeting with the family of my deceased partner and the representatives of the state bar has been arranged over the next few days so that we could iron out the various issues we have to deal with on an urgent basis. 

I pray that God grants my late partner rest in heaven and mercy for his soul and divine guidance for us in managing his affairs and our partnership.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Drought


It's been almost a month since we last had a full good rain. Now everyday that passes without rain is a day to dread. The grass is yellowing and drying up and becoming tinder, fires are breaking out in more places and some states like in Seremban and Selangor have already begun rationing water supplies to residents. Some desperate residents have taken to protests and there are even reports of foreign workers hijacking water trucks. If this dry spell keeps up it won't be long before we are hit here. Already some people are stocking up on water containers and water tanks in anticipation of a last-minute rush for these items. At times like these, no amount of money you possess is good when water is scarce. It just goes to show how fragile we are - and what we have done to the environment has come back to bite us with a vengence!      

Friday, June 14, 2013

Bad

You never know who someone really is until you have walked a mile in their shoes. There was a bank officer who was a close acquaintance of my mum and he used to come over to our house to transact banking business with my mum. That is, until 2 days ago when he disappeared with another client's monies - over RM7 million in fixed deposits that were never deposited into the client's account. It is sad when these kind of things happen. It doesn't just reflect badly on him but it also shows how deeply flawed our culture can be. What we see on the surface as a kind, helpful, humble and hard-working intelligent young man of 27 years old has suddenly been replaced by the image of a con-artist. It was all just for show. His mannerisms didn't betray what he was planning to do all along. Everybody was fooled. He told my mum: "when i was small, my mother used to beat me the most of all her children because i was so naughty". Ominous words indeed. The amount of faith that our society places on money and getting money is such that a young man is willing to abandon all that he is familiar with and destroy his reputation and good name just to get money. False humility. false virtues. Is this what we want? Can we do better? Can we not emphasise so much on money but more on character and depth of character, qualities that no amount of money can ever buy or replace? Sadly, it doesn't look too bright for our young people. And i blame us for what has happened as much on that young man who has run away from family, life, and his future prospects for the sake of money.