How did a RM3 company get a RM13 billion project in Sabah?

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It was recently reported that Burel Industries Sdn. Bhd has been awarded a RM13 billion project to build a petrochemical plant together with Sabah state owned entity, POIC Sabah.

Upon further investigation, we found that Burel Industries is in fact a dormant company registered in Malaysia in 2009 with only THREE shares issued worth RM3 in total. These shares are fully owned by Ingrit Holdings Pte Ltd, a company registered in Singapore that was incorporated in 2010.

In company documents, Ingrit’s principal activity is service activities incidental to oil and gas extraction with other holding companies as the secondary activity. However, Ingrit has been struck off the Singapore companies register as of 1 July 2017! This means an invalid, non-existent company is the official shareholder of Burel Industries – which has now secured a RM13BILLION deal with a Sabah State-owned entity!!

As for Burel Industries, there is no clear indication on what are the company’s actual activities as they don’t even have a website.

According to sighted documents, the two Malaysian directors sitting on Burel Industries’ board are Mahalingam Rajaratnam and Dato’ Khalib bin Hassan.

Mahalingam Rajaratnam goes by another alias, Guna Mahalingam. He is the founder of Swiss based SSP Global (Energy) Solutions. Burel is an associate partner of SSP and SSP recently entered into a deal through Burel with Chinese government-owned conglomerate, China National Machinery Import and Export Corporation to develop an integrated ethylene and polymer production plant in Gebeng, Pahang.

Guna is based in Switzerland and is always seen around the Malaysian government and corporate delegation in the World Economic Forum in Davos, entertaining them in expensive restaurants.

This demonstrates a clear link between the people behind Burel and Chinese state-owned companies which is indeed worrying. Since Burel is a mere RM3 company, it is likely that they would have to engage external partners to execute the RM13 billion project in Sabah and these partners are Chinese state companies. This is a well-known modus operandi used by Corporate China to infiltrate countries by financially supporting local “front companies” like Burel who have local connections only and slowly taking over the projects and asserting their dominance in the country.

The job to help smooth things on the ground with local leaders, falls on the shoulder of Brunel’s other Malaysian director, Dato’ Khalib who is also a director at Ingrit. He deals primarily with ‘financing’ relations between the state government and other stakeholders as well as securing government cooperation and land approvals to build the plant. 

Essentially, Sabah’s new WARISAN government has approved a RM13 billion project to be developed by a dormant company, Burel Industries, with a paid up capital of RM3, which is owned by another struck off oil and gas company, Ingrit Holdings. The cherry on top of this disaster of a sundae is that this company has close ties to Chinese state owned corporations which have always eyed Sabah for China’s geostrategic purposes.

As if that’s not enough of a red flag, questions are also being raised about the location of the petrochemical plant in Lahad Datu which is away from the major shipping lanes of the South China Sea and Straits of Melaka. Given that the largest petrochemical markets are China, India, Latin America and the Middle East, it would only make sense if the plant is located close to the main shipping lanes to reduce logistics costs.

During the signing ceremony, Sabah Chief Minister, Shafie Apdal said that he sees “an emerging industrial direction” with Burel’s investments and that “this is something the WARISAN Sabah-led government is pursuing.” But he cunningly qualified his statement saying “IF” the investment is a success, it would be the single largest investment in Sabah to date.

Well Chief Minister, sorry to say but with such a dodgy deal, Sabah’s industrial direction will only be heading downwards towards rock bottom. It is clear that this is something the WARISAN leadership will keenly pursue thanks to the many kickbacks likely to be received from a project as large as RM13 billion.

Single largest investment to date? More like single largest corrupt deal in Sabah to date.

PKR, DAP, PBS, KDM – where are your voices??

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