Hornbill Unleashed

November 20, 2011

More Big Boobs By Taib!

Sarawak Report

How much ‘economic analysis’ does it take to produce stuff like this?

Chief Minister Taib Mahmud and PM Najib Razak have been trumpeting their economic policies in the light of plaudits given by an outfit called the Oxford Business Group..

Explaining the significance of the praises lavished on Sarawak and Malaysia by the Oxford Busines Group, the Chief Minister’s ownwebsite claimed that the publication “provides in-depth detail on Sarawak’ current economic outlook and what the future holds for the state”.

However, the Editorial Director of these reports is none other than a former Editor of the UK’s most ridiculed porn rag, the Daily Sport, which closed earlier this year.

Peter Grimsditch was sacked 4 years after having launched the Sport for the UK ’Porn King’, David Sullivan in 1988. He was also sacked as Editor of another low-brow red top, the Daily Star, and is now based in the Middle East.

From editiing porn to finance PR – Peter Grimsditch

Another ‘boob’ by Taib?

The revelation raises question marks over the economic focus and expertise of the publication that are not satisfactorily answered by the qualifications of its predominantly youthful staff:

“They are mostly in their 20′s and they get posted for a couple of months to do the business”, explained one senior executive of a respected economic publication in the Middle East, where OBG have also started operating.

“It is basically what one calls an ‘Advertorial’.  They write sympathetic positive stuff about the subject matter. The purpose is obvious, which is to give the best possible spin and encourage investment.  The State will then quote the report”.

Oxford Business Group Report was launched with fanfare by Taib

Under these circumstances, the grand fanfare with which Taib personally launched the Oxford Business Group’s ‘Country Report’ on Sarawak in October at the Pullman Hotel, seems rather ridiculous.  ‘The Report Sarawak’ was presented as if it was a respected and objective third-party analysis, giving the thumbs up to investors.  In fact it was just a vanity publication, which he paid for out of state funds!  We suggest investors should therefore also read this Sarawak Report to gain some balance!

Taib and Najib both personally attended grand launches of their country reports with OBG’s top executives flying in

 Najib and his economic ministers have likewise indulged in silly self-promotion based on Oxford Business Group puff pieces, allowing junior OBG staff to opine in interviews with Bernama about Malaysia’s macro-economic policies as if they had qualifications in the subject.

Daniel Moore – BSc in Marketing

 For example, OBG’s ‘Regional Manager’, the youthful Daniel Moore, was quoted extensively inBernama at the time of the budget, praising the New Economic Model for ‘focusing in creating an environment that allowed for the private sectors to become the engine for economic growth’:

“This in turn will lead to more interest from foreign markets and a more organic growth curve for the domestic markets” explained Mr Moore, who is undoubtedly an excellent salesman, but who has no credentials as an economist.

In further articles Moore would have pleased Najib by arguing that the country should “support growth sectors such as tourism, Islamic finance and halal products”.

‘No plan B, because we commissioned the Oxford Business Group to say we were doing fine’ – Borneo Post!

Why are taxpayers being charged ?

We argue that the whole industry of releasing ‘economic reports’ to praise government leaders should not be charged to the taxpayer, but rather by the political party concerned.

Taib at the launch of his vanity publication – Pullman Hotel in October

This is particularly the case if misleading spin is being presented by the government as if it was objective analaysis of their policies.

All OBG reports follow the same format of featuring a flattering photograph of the leading political personality of the relevant country on the cover page and then proceeding to lavish praise on them throughout.

This is a fair indicator as to who has commissioned the book and an equally  good sign that purchases by investors of the heftily priced reports, ( £130 /RM650) each, are not the way the project is genuinely funded!

Jana has spend her entire 4 year career at OBG, after gaining a degree in Information Science

So how much did Taib pay out for the glamorous ‘Country Director’ Jana Treeck to head up a team for 6 months in Sarawak ‘analysing trends’ and coming to the conclusion that:

 ”The Report: Sarawak 2011 would play an important role in relaying the State’s emerging investment opportunities on the international stage”?

The Report Sarawak in fact consists mainly of extensive crawling interviews with a line up of Taib’s favourite cronies and family members!

Inevitable set-piece features include Taib himself, his cousin and business partner Hamed Sepawi, his brother-in-law Robert Geneid, Jabu, Masing, Awang Tenggah, along with Taib’s key foreign helpers Richard Curtis of CMS and Torstein Dale Sjotveit, the Norwegian Head of Sarawak Energy.

Each interview is merely a polite question and answer session accompanied by a flattering pen drawing of the subject, which they presumably get a copy of!

Nevertheless, the ‘advertorial’ is presented by Oxford Business Group as “a business intelligence report” based on “in-country research” conducted ”by experienced analysts” in order to identify investment opportunities.

Massaging vital statistics? Is The Report Sarawak any more realistic and objective than this typical offering from the Daily Sport?

According to the OBG website :

“Oxford Business Group’s in-depth coverage and research is produced in-country by our teams of experienced and specialist analysts.

For each country we cover, we aim not only to provide macro-analysis of key sectors but also to identify investment opportunities in sub-sectors, all supported by graphs and statistics”.

In fact, when Sarawak Report reviewed The Report Sarawak, our study identified a number of advertisements and a directory of hotels and businesses, but no graphs and no statistics!

We therefore question whether Peter Grimsditch’s Country Reports for OBG owner Michael Benson-Colpi are attempting to be any more realistic or objective than his representations of females for the Daily Sport?

The economy is serious

Previous thumbs up given by the Oxford Business Group have not provided much cause for encouragement.  Last year OGB’s The Report Libya gave a rosy representation of the dictatorship of Ghadaffi, which has clearly not been born out by events!

Speaking of rapid economic reforms and closer international ties the Report grovels “The country’s earlier political history was troubled, but since 1969 [the date of Ghadaffi's coup] institutions have developed at a steady pace and are now largely stable”!  A few months after this insightful report the people of Libya had risen up against their dictator and the rest is history.

The Report Libya in 2010

The Oxford Business Group, which describes itself as “highly acclaimed” made no better job of their report on Tunisia, where OBG founder Michael Benson-Copi interviewed the hated former President, Ben Ali, himself in 2010.

Just weeks before the uprising that deposed him, the report states:

 ”political and social stability lie at the core of the Tunisian model”! [OGB Report]

As for the economy, which is believed to have been the root cause of the Tunisian uprising, The Oxford Business Group headed its coverage with the statement: ”The Economy – a model for resilience, staving off the global financial crisis” !

Such outputs might leave the reader wondering on what basis the Oxford Business Group describes itself as ‘highly acclaimed’ when it comes to the economic analysis of investment opportunities and future developments?

But, back in the days of editing the sport Peter Grimsditch explained some of his less believable stories by saying: “It’s not dishonest journalism — we are printing what people say happens to them.”  This perhaps provides a useful insight for his approach to ‘Country Reports’.

OBG provides PR bulletins for its clients, many of which find their way to agencies like Bernama and then into publications like the Borneo Post

 Sarawak Report has investigated the UK headquarters of Oxford Business Group, which claims to have been publishing country reports since 1994.  There is no relationship to Oxford the town nor Oxford the University. The London HQ advertised on the company’s website is in fact an office rental centre, where rooms can be let on demand.  We were informed that the Oxford Business Group no longer has office space in the building, although “they sometimes still come in and out” .

Office rental space in Great Titchfield St, London

 OBG Founder, Michael Benson-Colpi has been involved in a number of company ventures, including the St James Partnership, now defunct, and Oxford Business Group (Reports) Limited, OBG Reports Limited, Oxford Business Group (London) Limited and Oxford Business Associates LLP, all started in February 2010.

Michael Benson-Colpi and yet another report is produced. This time for the Economic Community of West African States

His Country Report enterprises are tellingly targetted at ‘emerging’ economies, in countries with limited accountability and transparency.

He is clearly welcome to his business, but the people of Malaysia and Sarawak should know that Taib and Najib are using his services to promote themselves for PR purposes and to justfify their policies and not for genuine economic analysis.

In the wake of so many recent PR scandals it seems that yet more public money is being poured out on questionable self-promotion by BN politicians, dressed up as genuine objective analyses by foreigners.

Oxford Business Group’s representation of Tunisia is equally risible in the business of forecasting for investors.

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6 Comments »

  1. PBB…. Party Big Boob

    Comment by welcomeToSarawak — November 21, 2011 @ 4:09 PM | Reply

  2. WHAT I SEE THAT….
    NAJIB IS A BIG SPENDER WITH A BIG VISION….. IN ECONOMIC DOWNTURN?
    TAIB LOVES TO COLOR SARAWAK BUT… NOT WHAT IN REAL PICTURE?
    SAY THAT IT ALL JUST “FAKES” AS WHAT IT IS….
    JUST LIKE BIG BOOBS.

    Comment by babai — November 20, 2011 @ 10:28 PM | Reply

  3. It is very obvious by now that Najib and Taib are both novice and desperate in polishing their dubious image and inflate our country’s economic statistics. Malaysians must never ever allow these criminals to get away with their manipulation of our assets and mismanagement.

    Comment by Bakrie — November 20, 2011 @ 8:53 PM | Reply

  4. ANOTHER BOOB JOB!

    From the cover of the “Daily Sport” it was obviously an inflated “boob job” which sums up Taib’s attempts to artificially inflate and polish his and the UMNO PBB BN gang’s soiled image.

    This termite maggot has chewed up and vandalised beautiful Sarawak and used public monies to finance his image polishing. This is the depth of his greed and utter mendacity in the misappropriation of Sarawak wealth. It seems he will take every cent.

    Taib is also your self-made modern entrepreneur who moves with the time. When you know you have enriched yourself by unjust means you need to dress this up in beautiful clothes. Hence FBC Media was brought in to do the job of selling the idea that Taib PBB BN and UMNO “developed” Sarawak.

    Before they re-wrote the history books, you may even have read or remember the famous book “Sarawak and its People” – In retrospect the writer did a fair job compared to the UMNO re-written and distorted history. This is the more accurate version of who we are or was before we got re-colonised re-branded and UMNOnized!

    The Brookes by comparison (except for Vyner who sold us to British colonial rule and this led to UMNO colonization) were more honest and responsible rulers than the new “white hair” rajah and UMNO!

    Sarawak history is “unique” in that it evolved from being a private territory granted to James Brooke by the Brunei Sultanate (in helping to suppress a local rebellion- a familiar “whiteman’s burden”) into an independent sovereign state recognised by Britain from 1863 (!). The Brunei Sultanate recognised James Brooke as the Rajah of Sarawak. So the legalities and identity of Sarawak statehood were settled 170 years ago.

    Our present day problems began when after liberation from Japanese Occupation (1942-1945) Vyner Brooke decided in 1946 to sell Sarawak to British colonial rule for money and title. This was opposed by his appointed successor Anthony Brooke and the anti-cession movement. It was the beginning of our people’s modern day struggle for real independence. And it was against the background of the S.E. Asian independence struggles- Indonesia, Malaya, Bruma, Vietnam Laos and Cambodia.

    Unfortunately, Britain did not agree with the people’s demand for real independence. In the words of the anti-Malaysia independence movement, Britain “hatched” up the Malaysia plan to incorporate Brunei Sabah and Sarawak into a federation called Malaysia with Singapore under UMNO rule. This was a great move for Britain to secure its Borneo colonial assets under the guardianship of its proxy UMNO installed in power in 1957 in Malaya.

    The Northern Borneo/Kalimantan independence movement opposed its a neo-colonial creation. The anti-Malaysia Brunei Independence Uprising broke out on December 8 1962 when Britain had totally ignored their demands for an independent “North Kalimantan” comprising the 3 Borneo/Kalimantan colonies.

    Malaysia was created on 16 September 1963- 8 months after suppression of the Brunei Uprising but without Brunei. So the original consent and justifications became invalid. The expulsion of Singapore further voided the concept. This is what the United Borneo Front (UBF) is saying in Sabah. They have even taken this matter as far as the House of Lord which unfortunately the paper may have been filed in a waste paper basket.

    That is to say Sabah and Sarawak were forced at gun point into an ILLEGAL union despite this or that “agreement”.

    Having got their writ large UMNO proceeded to mould “Malaysia” with its hidden Malay supremacy agenda and came up with the NEP following UMNO engineered May 13 massacre. It was a brand new APARTHEID SYSTEM.

    Typically colonial in nature they also engineered the installation of UMNO proxies in Sarawak and Sabah. In Sarawak the more “patriotic” Ningkan Government was “sacked” and replaced by the Rahman Yakub/Taib Mahmud clique and similarly in Sabah when CM Stephens died in a mysterious plane explosion. 2 re-calcitrant politicians out of the way. They were then able to “legally” secured control over our oil fields when Rahman Yakub and his sabah counterpart signed away Sarawak and Sabah oil to Petronas.

    To cut the story short, 48 years has gone by and we are left with hardly any Sarawak (or Sabah) irreplaceable ancient timber standing after the seizures and stripping of native lands. At the same time this created thousands of landless ulu people and multiplied their poverty manifold after they were deprived of the jungle sources of survival.

    A crime against humanity and genocide in the making! Sarawak and Sabah have become the poorest colonies in “Malaysia”. It took 48 years to confirm and prove that the independence movement’s opposition was correct,

    All these laments probably better put by SR here.

    Sarawakians need to seriously review of the value of being imprisoned in “Malaysia” as the Sabahans are doing. The Sarawak opposition is however linked to the Malayan opposition parties’ programme and are in fact branches of Malayan parties.

    This brings up the question of “independence”. Do we have real independence in Malaysia or have we just been re-colonized.

    Our view is clear. Sarawak has to be de-colonized and given its independence.

    Comment by SARAWAK INDEPENDENCE — November 20, 2011 @ 6:55 PM | Reply

  5. truly 1Transformation, Najib

    Jala, your acronym comes from these thrash psuedo journalist too?

    Comment by mmc — November 20, 2011 @ 5:49 PM | Reply

  6. How fitting, goons and groans.

    Comment by apaijabu — November 20, 2011 @ 3:48 PM | Reply


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