King of AP Kings Nasimuddin dies, Proton to beg VW?

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May 02 2008
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NAZA Group’s big boss, Tan Sri S.M. Nasimuddin S.M. Amin, passed away of lung cancer in Los Angeles, California today at the age of 54. The founder, chairman and CEO of NAZA Group which was formed in 1974 has 14 business divisions covering industries such as cigarette distribution, credit and leasing, engineering, hotels, insurance, machine tools and parts, manufacturing, motorcycles, property, transport services, plantations and water craft – reported theStar. If you do not know, his empire, NAZA, was derived from the name of “Na”simuddin and his wife’s “Za”leha – hence NaZa.

However Nasimuddin was famous for his monopoly in the lucrative Approved Permits (AP) Nasimuddin and Rafidahbusiness, so much so that he invited controversy in 2005 when he was called the “AP King”. Besides holding the import permit for Mercedes-Benz and Mazda vehicles, Naza Group is also the franchise holder for Ferrari, South Korea’s Kia, Peugeot, Brabus, Hamann and Ducati bikes in Malaysia. And when you talk about “AP King” chances are you cannot run away from mentioning the name of former Minister for International Trade and Industry, Rafidah Aziz.

Nasimuddin is also known as the GodFather or “King of AP Kings” besides other AP Kings such as Datuk Syed Azman Syed Ibrahim and Datuk Mohd Haniff Abdul Aziz. It was reported that this three AP Kings collectively issued 33,218 APs (about 50.1% of total of 66,277 APs) for 2004 and 28,283 APs (or 41% of total of 68,330 APs) for 2005 alone. Street estimation value of RM30,000 per AP easily translates the above “paper” into mind-boggling RM996 million pure profit for 2004 and RM848 million for 2005.

It was puzzling how the three individuals were reaping over Rafidah CryingRM1.8 billion for the mentioned two years alone *Wow!*. But the figures were just the tip of an iceberg as the APs were issued since 1988. Rafidah’s own niece, Annie Tajul Arus, was reportedly given AP to import 850 Kleeman cars in 2004 and 199 in 2005. At one time Nasimuddin was rumored to be son-in-law of “AP Queen” Rafidah Aziz. It’s ironic that Nasimuddin passed away right after Rafidah was dropped from the Cabinet, must have something to do with feng-shui but then it could be purely coincident. Maybe he should quit smoking after amassing such a huge fortune. Somehow, “Malay-sian” automobile tycoons do not have the luxury to live to a ripe old age. The late founder of the DRB-Hicom group, Tan Sri Yahya Ahmad, died in a helicopter crash in 1997.

NAZA GroupWith Nasimuddin out of the picture, will this make things easier for new Minister for International Trade and Industry, Muhyiddin Yassin, to create another new AP King? You don’t think such a lucrative business will stop, do you? And who would be the saddest person with the passing away of Nasimuddin if not Rafidah? NAZA was also rumored to have been given the preferential option to become the strategic partner of the ailing Proton Holdings Bhd (KLSE: PROTON, stock-code 5304) after Malaysian government officially closed the door for Volkswagen (FRA: VOW) to do so. Will Proton and the government reverse the gear and beg Volkswagen again, assuming the earlier decision to show the Germany’s carmaker the exit was due to the reason above?

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It is ironic that a person who have the desire to earn billions ringgit can’t determine enough to quit smoking.

Wealthy life is a balanced life.

maybe he thought he was invincible with all the wealth on his feet 🙂

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