What the Opposition needs: an Ivanishvili

In Political governance on 12/10/2012 at 5:57 am

(But first, let’s give three cheers for our LionsXII, FTs and all. They came back fighting and only lost the Italian way: via penalty shoot-out. Sundram shld replace FT failure as Lions mgr. The “S” in FAS doesn’t stand for “Serbia”, it stands for “Sundram”. )

Right back to Ivanishvili

Who he, you may well ask?

Last week in Georgia (the country, not the US state), in an unexpected turn of events, Mr Ivanishvili’s coalition defeated President Mikheil Saakashvili and his United National Movement (UNM) in parliamentary elections. Polls had shown that the UNM would win the election.

The new parliament will convene and a new government will then be formed with Mr Ivanishvili as PM.

According to the 2012 list compiled by Forbes, an American weekly magazine, Mr Ivanishvili is the world’s 153rd richest man and worth  US$6.4 bn just under half of Georgia’s GDP, which in 2011 was about US$15bn. Forbes reports he  made his fortune in Russia during the breakup of the USSR.

He was virtually unknown in Georgia even though he was a major patron of the arts and the church. A year ago,s aying he was  fed up with the way he saw his country was going, he decided he could run it better.  He formed the Georgian Dream party and then got together a coalition of six parties. “The parties have nothing in common except being recipients of his largess and a hatred of the president. Many of the party leaders, who range from Western-leaning liberals to nationalist xenophobes, also hate each other; at least some of them don’t like Mr Ivanishvili much either”, an Economist blog writes.  

Some more abt him.

Too bad our very own TJS, KennethJ, Eric Tan, TKL, Chen Show Mao and JJ were not as successful, financially, as him. KennethJ  claims he was a “successful hedge fund mgr” and among billionaires there are quite a few hedgies. Sadly for KennethJ (and us?) he is not among them. And from the way he ran RP’s 2011 GE and the way conducts himself (taking public tpt, not using senior counsel in his case against govt), one gets the impression that he doesn’t have serious money. 

Likewise TJS doesn’t seem to have serious money. While qualified to stand for the presidential elections by virtue of being CEO of an int’l fund mgr’s regional operations, as I blogged, the biz he ran wasn’t a success. LOL. He then went on to StanChart where rumour has it he had problems with his Indian FT bosses. Rumour was that he couldn’t land the real estate financing deals that his job entailed.

TKL was the CEO of NTUC Income and was earning “peanuts” compared to the CEOs of commercial insurance companies. Anyway, as a politican, he has no cred, having lost his deposit in 2011 presidential election, after running a joke of a campaign. He wanted a $2m annual salary but was trying to fund his campaign via donations. His cheapness showed. TJS showed he was willing to spend his own money. And he garnered the most votes for every dollar he spent.

Chen Show Mao quit legal practice to become a WP politician and seems to have disappeared without a trace except to the residents of his ward in Aljunied GRC. JJ was a successful entrepreneur, who sold his online education company for a few million dollars, and is now a WP NCPM, and investor. Eric Tan was a senior bank executive, and WP treasurer who quit WP when an NCMP post went to GG, not him. He is a “private equity manager”. But none of them, I gather,  has the serious money to fund the Opposition. But to be fair to Eric, a few months ago I heard a story (that I cannot verify) that he donated $50,000  to WP when he joined the party in 2001. I am repeating this story because the guy telling it claims to know him and Low well. Guy is also in the “news” flow on things like this.

So the Opposition is still looking for its very own rich “Godfather”.

Yes I’ve left out someone who is a millionaire several times over and a “retired” politician. Having being a govt minister since the 1990s until last year,  and having a wife who owns a law firm, George Yeo should have the money (even if no billionaire) to get fund the Opposition. Once upon a time, hearing that he had presidential ambitions, I suggested to TOC’s then core team that they should offer TOC’s site to him for a million dollars and five-figure monthly salaries for all of them. I don’t think they followed up my suggestion. LOL. They are idealists.

And he may have a motive: revenge. The allegations persist that the PAP fixed him at Aljunied, giving the WP a GRC.

  1. You have misplaced your hope on an Ivanishvili in BG George Yeo,if one follows BG G.Yeo seriously,one could see that George Yeo is more suited to be a son rather the real sons.LOL.

  2. […] – Thoughts of a Cynical Investor: What the Opposition needs: an Ivanishvili […]

  3. Money would help. But there are structural factors that make it hard to topple PAP. For example, you mention the opinion polls in Georgia. In Singapore not allowed to conduct opinion polls!

    Also the grassroots system dominated by PAP. People rely on PAP-founded kindergartens. Electoral boundaries set by PAP. Media controlled by PAP. Public assembly controlled by PAP.

    You find a company with an excellent product plus strong management with ability to execute. But it is fighting against a state monopoly. Will you invest? The Georgian billionaire succeeded, a few Russian billionaires have failed miserably.

  4. […] – Thoughts of a Cynical Investor: What the Opposition needs: an Ivanishvili […]

  5. BG George Yeo and his present billionaire boss Robert Kuok share one common ambition:Market in Burma
    Robert Kuok is friend and partner of Lo Hsing Han, the infamous drug lord in Burma.
    Singapore: Burma-Singapore Axis: Globalising the Heroin Trade

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