Friday, January 30, 2009

In Malaysia: Raju is a Raja - Malaysiakini

HYDERABAD, Jan 30 — Barely two days after Ramalinga Raju confessed about fraud in Satyam, the Malaysian Human Resource Minister Datuk Dr S. Subramaniam, who was attending the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in Chennai, was forced by the Malaysian press to make a statement on the Satyam issue. The minister only said that Raju's fraud was a great matter of concern for Malaysia.

If you are wondering why the minister was compelled to give a statement by the local press, then don't be surprised: Raju's name in Malaysia is as well known as those of key businessmen and ministers there. The creator of jobs, the best paymaster and the man playing a key role in Malaysia's IT story are among the many identities Raju has in the country.

Satyam associates who have visited Malaysia say they were surprised at how Raju's name commanded respect. "The government, the people... they all looked up to him. Raju was treated as god there,'' said a senior associate.

Raju's Malaysian connection is not a recent one. Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad's visited the Satyam campus in Hyderabad in 2002. The next PM, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, also signed many government agreements with Raju.

"This is because Raju created a huge Satyam name there. He picked up the best SAP talent and Satyam was considered as a good paymaster,'' says a senior Satyam associate. The Satyam founder recruited fresh graduates from over 20 universities in Malaysia and carried out a nationwide plan to develop IT talent under the “Campus Link” programme, a government initiative there.

In February 2008, Satyam had announced that the firm would set up a 15-acre campus in Cyberjaya, about 50km south of Kuala Lumpur, which would be the largest campus in Malaysia and provide high-end services to a range of customers. The firm already has an office in Cyberjaya.

Little wonder then that ever since the news of Raju's fraud broke out, Malaysian newspapers have been following the developments very closely, reporting extensively on the issue much like the Indian media.

Raju consistently maintained his commitment to the Malaysian community through Satyam's website and messages such as, "Satyam believes in nurturing local talent to catalyse IT progress in Malaysia''.

And barely two months before his inflated balance sheet confession, Raju acquired a software development centre of Motorola in Malaysia.

Apart from expanding Satyam's IT empire, Raju also found a “land” connect with Malaysians, who share the same passion for land as Indians. Industry observers say it is hardly surprising to find Ng Ching Meng's name figuring in the IT department's list of individuals in the Satyam group as they speculate whether Raju could have used Ng’s local identity for land dealings there. — The Times of India

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