India Insight

Ambani rivalry spills over at shareholder meeting

Anil Ambani on Tuesday used an annual shareholders’ meeting to lay into his older brother and the government for good measure, over the issue of gas pricing which is at the heart of the most recent spat between the fighting Ambani brothers.

Anil charged Reliance Industries, India’s top private-sector conglomerate run by estranged brother Mukesh, had used every trick in the book, and some outside the book, to feed its “greed”, and was firing from the shoulder of the oil ministry that he claimed was being “partisan”.

The 90-minute diatribe livened up what threatened to be an otherwise staid shareholders’ meeting, with accusations, pleas, emotions, tears and the inevitable invocations of the father, founder Dhirubhai Ambani, whose death helped bring the feud between the two brothers out in the open. All peppered with energetic cries of support from shareholders.

The dispute next comes up for hearing at the Supreme Court on Sept. 1.

Leaving aside the legal issues, was it right for Anil to have used a shareholders’ meeting to wash the family’s dirty linens and take potshots at the government? Certainly, there are implications for the company’s earnings and therefore shareholder value. But does that make it OK to discuss a matter that is sub-judice?

The two brothers have fought before in the full glare of the media spotlight, and are quite likely to do so again. Anil has already given interviews to all major newspapers stating his stand, signalling that the gloves are off in this stage of the Ambani battle.

from Global News Journal:

Giving in to Ali Baba

I once paid a cop 30 ringgit (about $10 then) for making an apparently illegal left-hand turn in Kuala Lumpur. Scores of drivers in front of me were also handing over their "instant fines", discreetly enclosed within the policeman's ticketing folder. It was days ahead of a major holiday and the cops were collecting their holiday bonus from the public.

Malaysia opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim holds a disc he says contains evidence of judge-fixing in Malaysia 

I felt bad about this, of course. What I was doing was illegal, immoral and perpetuating an insidious culture that goes by many names in the East -- "baksheesh" in India, "Ali Baba" (and his 40 thieves) in Malaysia, "swap" in Indonesia (means "to feed").  But the policeman pointed out I would have to take off the good part of a day to go to court and pay 10 times as much to the judge. So I rationalised: "When in Rome..."

from FaithWorld:

Exercised over yoga in Malaysia

Of all the things to get exercised about, yoga would seem to be an unlikely candidate for controversy. But such has been the case in Malaysia this week.

Malaysia's prime minister declared on Wednesday that Muslims can after all practice the Indian exercise regime, so long as they avoid the meditation and chantings that reflect Hindu philosophy. This came after Malaysia's National Fatwa Council told Muslims to roll up their exercise mats and stop contorting their limbs because yoga could destroy the faith of Muslims.

It has been a tough month for the fatwa council chairman, Abdul Shukor Husin, who in late October issued an edict against young women wearing trousers, saying that was a slippery path to
lesbianism. Gay sex is outlawed in Malaysia.

Guilty until proven innocent? It doesn’t end there for some

Derided by the media and under pressure to show results following the series of terror attacks in the country, the security establishment recently announced a number of arrests relating to the explosions in Ahmedabad and Bangalore and the earlier ones in Jaipur.

While it is praiseworthy that the police acted comparatively quickly this time in tracing the culprits, it later turned out that some of those arrested, whose names the media had readily released, had no involvement in the dastardly acts.

blastBut the damage had already been done, as a ‘suspect’ told a newspaper after his release: “I will have to live with a ‘terrorist’ tag for the rest of my life.” Anwar Hussein, a doctor, said his family now faces abuses from neighbours and customers are avoiding his family’s business of iron work in his native village.

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