Monday, October 17, 2011

A bit here, a bit there can be mountainous

I don’t think that the memory of Mahatma Gandhi can ever be erased from the minds of all Indians ……. especially when iniquity rears its ugly head.

I somehow have this impression that this current wave of protests againsts India’s legendary corrupt civil service/corporate way of life emanated from the last Commonwealth Games in New Delhi ……. which was more popularly referred to as the ‘CON-WEALTH GAMES’!

This roller-coasted till the point of the ‘starve to the death’ ultimatum by activist Anna Hazare, if the Indian Government did not legislate tougher laws against corruption.

What was brushed off as a publicity stunt by the authorities turned out to be an issue supported by millions in India.

The Indian Government relented.

This was followed by revelations that the Government had lost revenue to the tune of US$39 billion ….. arising from the slip-shod manner in which the country 2G communication licenses were given out.

This is where Malaysia’s Ananda Krishnan is seriously implicated in the report issued by India’s Central Bureau of Investigation ……. with respect of its dealings in receiving those licenses involving Maxis and Astro.

This is quite symptomatic with economies like India, China and Malaysia whereby corporate big-wigs usually think that it is not the technical know-how but the TECHNICAL KNOW-WHO that is of ultimate importance.

What these big wigs generally do not realize is the serious ramifications some of their actions have down the line insofar as costs to the man-on-the-street are concerned ……. since the ‘costs of doing business’ will be borne by the consumers.

Most of the time anyway ……. if not all the time.

Here, we have an Indian economy that had previously been ‘closed’ for so long ….. and trying to open up to the world ….. and what we have are these foreign ‘entrepreneurs’ especially Malaysians zooming in at warp speed to cut deals ….. with the assistance of the powers that be!

It therefore makes one wonder how some of the other Malaysian companies had conducted themselves when cutting deals with their counterparts in India.

Is is possible that Malaysian companies are to receive astronomical profits from the Indian operations …… solely on the blood and sweat of the Indian taxpayers and treasury coffers?

Meaning that the Malaysian companies hardly raise any funds for their share of the arrangement ….. and if they do …. they are merely ‘PAPER CONTRIBUTIONS’ derived from the sleight of the accounting hand!

In the case of Ananda Krishnan’s woes, the deals mentioned were struck with parties too close for the comfort of corporate observers …… in that Ananda used Astro to purchase a stake in a company owned by the Indian Telecommunications Minister’s brother ….. shortly after Maxis’ newly acquired Indian company, Aircel, received 2G licenses from the same Minister!

Sure, it may be true that Ananda Krishnan’s companies have pumped in RM6.6 billion (financed mainly by borrowings from Indian banks?) into its Indian venture.

But let’s not forget the revenue that should have accrued to the Indian Government from these foreign investors!

Are these investors coming in on the cheap at the expense of the Indian people?

Blimey, US$39 billion of lost revenue to the Indian Government is a lot of money for a country where most of its people live below the poverty line.

Too many of these sweetheart deals have occurred in these emerging economies …… causing much discomfort and consternation to corporate observers.

In the Malaysian context, it becomes more pertinent when such questionable transactions occur just prior to the country’s General Elections.

This is a trend whereby deals of this nature have become alarmingly opaque and arrogant!

Some leadership to nip the problem at the bud, needs to be had in this area …… which unfortunately is not forthcoming from those that you would normally expect!

Should we therefore we surprised with the Anti Wall Street protests occuring in the United States against corporate greed?

Similarly, should we be surprised by the Spring Protests in the Middle East that has brought down Mubarak and Gaddafi todate?

Should we therefore be surprised by the Bersih Rally in July this year …… seeking for reforms and clean elections?

This ‘re-adjustment’ that is gathering steam around the world is only to be expected ….. much to the delight and support from the man on the street!

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