Archive for the ‘Economy’ Category

AAB’s 83 overseas trips in 44 months as PM

June 28, 2007
Yes, the PM should stay back to fight corruption, instead of spending too much time overseas. He aslo fails to bring investments back to Malaysia.

PM takes ‘too many’ overseas trips
Bede Hong
Jun 28, 07 4:55pm
Malaysiakini
Opposition Leader Lim Kt Siang has criticised Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi for making over 80 official visit overseas since coming to office, saying the premier’s time should have been better spent fight corruption back home.Lim said Abdullah should spend more time in the country to ensure his trips abroad “do not result in the neglect of his duties” as prime minister, internal security minister and finance minister.In a written reply to Fong Po Kuan (DAP-Batu Gajah), the Foreign Ministry reported that the premier went on 83 official and work-related visits overseas over a period of three years and eight months.

Abdullah made 22 trips in 2004, 25 in 2005, 20 in 2006 and 16 in 2007. His most recent visits were to Russia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Italy.

“One message from the answer is that Abdullah has not only three portfolios … he has a fourth portfolio as the travelling de facto foreign minister,” Lim told a press conference in Parliament lobby today.

Lim said Abdullah should “revamp his time-management” and focus on fulfilling his 2004 general election pledge to create a cleaner, more efficient government.

“The most important agenda of the Abdullah Administration to wipe out corruption has fizzled out, highlighted by the ignominious dismissal of the Eric Chia corruption case,” said Lim.

Chia, a tycoon charged with running steel company Perwaja in the 1990s, was the first public figure charged for graft in February 2004.

Long list of failures 

Abdullah had made pledges to fight corruption and cronyism as part of his campaign drive in early 2004. Chia was acquitted by the High Court on Tuesday on charges that he allegedly misappropriated RM74.6 million.

Lim added that Malaysia has dropped rank in the Transparency International Corruption Perception Index from 37th to 44th placing from 2003 to 2006 and that the country’s crime rate has soared since Abdullah took office.

He said the recommendations by the Royal Police Commission to set up the IPCMC was ignored.

“Such a list of failures of the Abdullah premiership stems from the hopes and expectations he has raised when he became prime minister … will be quite a long one.

“It will include setbacks to nation-building process arising from worsening religious polarisation because of the lack of political will and leadership to restore inter-religious dialogue as in the first three decades of nationhood,” he said.

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Dr CHen Man Hin: NEP not global friendly

June 26, 2007

media statement by dr chen man hin, dap life advisor in seremban on 26th June 2007

   

THE NEP IS NOT GLOBAL FRIENDLY AND HAS CAUSED FOREIGN INVESTORS TO AVOID MALAYSIA AS A PLACE FOR INVESTMENT

The NEP has been under attack by many foreign investors

the latest critic was Thierry Rommel, a top envoy from the European Union, who commented that trade relations with malaysia has been hampered by its policy of bumiputraism which is racial and not acceptable by global standards..

what Rommel said was embodied in a 34 page European Commission report titled Malaysia-European Community Strategy Paper for the Period 2007-2013 which stated ‘ ….Crucial policies are an open stance towards FDI, not least in the services sector which needs to be opened up; human capital development , innovation and research capabilities; more competition and less interference of government-enforced Bumiputra–related concerns in the functioning of markets.’

it is not only the European Union that is critical . the US Department of State also stated ” one source of impediments to Malaysia’s economic growth is its complex network of racial preferences to promote the acquisition of economic assets by ethnic Malays (bumiputra). the public aim of these programs is to encourage a more even distribution of wealth among races. despite th stated goal of poverty alleviation, these raced based policies.. in practice wealthy and well-connected bumiputera receive the lion’s share of the benefits.  the resulting economic distortions in the property, labor and stock markets inhibit growth and deter both foreign and domestic investment ….’

the world opinion of NEP is negative and is shown by statistics of  FDI inflows into malaysia and other countries.  UNCTAD figures show that fdi into malaysia have been low for many years. In 2006 fdi to malaysia was US 3.5 billion, by comparison singapore 30 billlion, chinae 75 billion. the figures from UNCTAD indicate foreign investors do not have malaysia on its radar.

UNCTAD ranked malaysia as the 6th largest destination for fdi in 1995; based on final 2005 figures, malaysia now ranks 62nd

all these go to show that the nep is not a global friendly policy. the trading countries of the world, most mportantly usa,and european union have said so in clear distinct terms.

malaysia should welcome the criticisms of friendly world countries, and take measures to correct its policy of nep and bumiputraism

If the NEP is stubbornly implemented, then the DAP hereby warns that the malaysian economy would be affected severely, as in the case of the Proton car saga which did not follow a global strategy, and is now in deep soup, and is seeking  foreign car manufacturers to rescue it.

back in malaysia, there is widespread opposition to the NEP.  within  the country the NEP which was launched in 1970 has been extended  although the 30 per cent target in corporate equity was achieved, many years ago, it is allowed to continue. opposition parties and keadilan are opposed to the NEP and propose that for the poor a new form of affirmative policy could be implemented which would benefit poor. malaysians of all races

dr chen man hin

About salary increment for 1.02 million civil servants

May 22, 2007

Do you think the quantum of salary and allowance increase for the 1.02 million civil servants reasonable, too low or too high?

Before answering my question, please take note of what an expert on human resource has told me this afternoon. He told me that the lowest ranking government servants are getting less than RM500 a month. So, the increment of 35% for this group is around RM175 per month. Plus the 100% increase on COLA, that’s another RM150. This pay rise(about RM 325) will be ‘nullified’ by the prices increase of flour, milk powder, water, electricity, transport cost, toll and petrol hikes in no time.

Should our brothers and sisters in the civil service  vote for the BN coalition in the coming general elections because of this increment? A friend of mine (who’s a civil servant) told me that  he wil still vote for the Opposition because the increment was long overdue, and the money does not come from the BN leaders personal pockets but from the taxpayers. He also said that the increment at this point of time is tantamount to blatantly buying votes and such move was an insult to the intelligence and integrity of  the civil servants.  After all, the quantum of increment is no big deal if you factor in inflation. He also remarked that this is not the first time Najib made a ‘stupid’ comment ( Najib openly said that the increment was not an election goodies). He reminded me that it was Najib who made the silly ‘change our lifestyle’ remark at the time of fuel hikes,  and ‘drink less teh tarik‘ at the time of shortage of sugar.

Up to 35% pay hike for civil servants
May 21, 07 2:22pm Malaysiakini 
Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi today announced a hefty pay rise for civil servants which observers view as a strong indicator of a general election being around the corner.Effective July 1, Abdullah said government servants will get a pay raise of between 7.5% and 35%.The cost of living allowance, or Cola, will also be increased by 100%.

Meanwhile, members of the police and the armed forces will receive 20% over and above the announced increase in pay.

Abdullah’s announcement at a Workers Day gathering in Putrajaya drew a huge round of applause from those present.

He was later given a standing ovation and the crowd chanted ‘Hidup Pak Lah‘ (Long Live Pak Lah).

On the whole, the premier said the pay rise will amount to RM3.4 billion for this year or an additional expenditure of RM6.8 billion a year.

Whereas the increase in Cola will involve an additional expenditure of RM600 million for this year and RM6.8 billion annually.

Careful decision

Abdullah said the main factor behind the government’s decision for the pay hike was the strong GDP growth over the past five years at a rate of 5.6 percent a year.

The second factor, he added, was the need to attract and retain qualified and motivated personnel in the public sector.

The third factor is the increase in the cost of living due to global oil prices which is impacting the lower income group, he said, adding that the fourth factor is the capabilities of the government’s finances.

“In deciding on the pay rise, the government is careful on its impact on the country’s financial situation. Any pay increase will also involve pension and other allowances.

“In view of this, the quantum of increase was decided carefully. The government has successfully reduced the its expenditure deficit from 5.3% in 2003 to 3.5% last year and this good fiscal management will continue,” he said.

Not election goodies

Deputy Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak at the same function told reporters the hikes were not calculated to raise spirits ahead of an expected early general election.

Malaysia must hold a general election by early 2009, but a poll is expected by the end of this year or in early 2008.

“It does contribute a feel-good factor. Civil servants will welcome any form of increment,” independent political analyst Khoo Kay Peng told AFP.

“But at the end of the day, there will still be some people who can barely make ends meet given their low salary base,” he added.

Mohammad Agus Yusoff, head of political science at the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, said the salary hike was long overdue but added changes would not be enough of a sweetener ahead of an election.

“The cost of living has gone up. It’s a logical thing for the government to do … but they cannot rely on these sorts of goodies that they give.

Raja Nazrin: Be colour-blind

April 6, 2007
We like to say that our youth are the future of this country, but then we proceed to ignore or marginalise them. We want our future generations to be able to think and act wisely, but then we do not give them sufficient opportunities to do so.” —Raja Nazrin

 In recent times, it has become usual to try and place the blame for the disintegrating state of world affairs on the doorstep of religion. This is a misunderstanding of the first order. Religion is not the cause of societal dystrophy; it is the antidote. It is a social stabiliser that allows believers to reconnect to values that are fast being lost in today’s ever more materialistic and self-centred world.” – Raja Nazrin

“Malaysians of all races, religions, and geographic locations need to believe beyond a shadow of a doubt that they have a place under the Malaysian sun. Only when each citizen believes that he or she has a common home and is working towards a common destiny, will he or she make the sacrifices needed for the long haul.”- Raja Nazrin

“I hope we will do our best to guard against cynicism and hopelessness. And I hope we will all stay the course. Failure, may I remind you all, is a costly option.”- Raja Nazrin

IMO, the speech delivered by Raja Nazrin Shah for young Malaysians should be read by all Malaysians, from an ordinary citizen right up to the prime minister of this country.

I will try my best to translate the speech into Chinese and Malay ( and get an expert to do it in Tamil). Watch this blog.

I thank the Sun for publishing the full text of his speech.

EXTRA! :: Cover Stories – the Sun 6 March 2007

Raja Nazrin: Be colour-blind
Malaysians of all races and religions have a place in this country. Sharing a common destiny, we must put our shoulder to the yoke and work to build the nation, in particular preserving the national unity we have enjoyed through 50 years of nationhood. Given our plural composition, it is a difficult task but it must be done for failure would prove too costly. The Raja Muda of Perak, Raja Nazrin Shah, tells of the ways to do this in his keynote address at the Young Malaysians’ Roundtable Discussion on National Unity and Development on Tuesday. Here is the full text of his speech.

Raja Nazrin is greeted by Malaysian Bar Council
president Ambiga Sreenevasan on arrival at the Bar
Council premises in Kuala Lumper for the function

It is my pleasure to be here to deliver the keynote address at this Roundtable Discussion on National Unity and Development in Malaysia: Challenges and Prospects for Nation Building. I am always happy to take part in an event where there are many young informed Malaysians. I find that this is time well spent. Not only does it give me a chance to share my thoughts, but it also lets me do a bit of opinion research among the younger generation.

We like to say that our youth are the future of this country, but then we proceed to ignore or marginalise them. We want our future generations to be able to think and act wisely, but then we do not give them sufficient opportunities to do so.

In my view, this is not a good way to prepare those who will take our place. If the young are to be good leaders and citizens, they must be exposed to more than just abstract concepts. Even those nation states which have failed miserably have had great political ideals.

I believe that good and upright leadership must be demonstrated. It has to be both taught and observed at work. Then, those who are found to be able, must be mentored by those who are capable. In this way, success can be learned and replicated.

Finally, the young must be given responsibilities they can handle. They should be allowed to make mistakes along the way as part of their overall learning process. If we do these things, our actions will echo loudly into the future.

My address this morning is on the challenges and prospects of nation-building, a topic that is of the greatest and gravest importance. Nation-building is essential to national unity which lies at the heart of what this country was, is and will be.

With the passage of time, it seems that we are starting to forget this and it is imperative that we do not. In the time available, I hope to say enough to provide some fuel for the discussions to follow. It is my earnest wish that you will gain some further perspectives on the nature of nation- building and that you will also deliberate on specific actionable ways to further it in this country.

Confucius insisted that language must be properly used if things are to get done, if justice is not to go astray, and if people are not to “stand about in helpless confusion”. He disapproved of those who misused words to hide their true intentions and actions.

So what exactly is nation-building? Not surprisingly, there are many definitions, some which differ by a little and others by quite a lot. In his book, The Making of a Nation, for example, Prof Cheah Boon Kheng defined it as “both economic progress and socio-political integration of a nation, that is prosperity and national unity”.

This captures what are hopefully the two end-results of nation building, but it makes no mention of its nature and process. I prefer the more common understanding, which is that it is the use of state power across different dimensions to ensure that a country is politically stable and viable in the long term. These dimensions include ethnicity and religion.

As a brief footnote, it should be noted that nation-building is a heated and even hated notion in some parts of the world. The main reasons for this are, first, that it is taking place in the midst of great domestic turmoil and, second, that it is primarily initiated and managed by foreign powers.

Trying to cobble a functioning state by papering over deep social and political rifts is, of course, easier said than done. History has shown us, time and again, that it is much easier to break down, rather than build up, nations.

In the case of Malaysia, nation- building has occurred in generally peaceful circumstances. It was not imposed by another country. And it is undertaken mainly by collective choice rather than compulsion.

The fact that we have been able to forge a nation without resorting to the rule of the gun has made us something of a rarity and a case to be studied, if not emulated. It has allowed a relatively effective system of governance to develop. Our track record in development and resolving problems such as illiteracy, poverty and poor health has been good.

There is, of course, much more that can be done. Our institutions of governance are far from perfect and quality improvements will probably occupy us for at least the next 50 years, if not longer. Nevertheless, for all the criticisms that have been made, it is only common sense that we could not have survived, let alone prosper, these last 50 years if government institutions had not been responsive or effective.

So, what are the central challenges to nation-building going forward? Let me speak first more generally about the world, and then move specifically to Malaysia.

To my mind, there are many challenges, but one that stands out most is that of having to balance the need for change with that of continuity.

Globalisation, in particular, has unleashed sweeping economic, political, social and cultural transformations that have weakened national institutions, values and norms. It is as if all the boats on the ocean had suddenly lost their anchors, rudders and compasses overnight.

Naturally, this has produced a strong reaction in the form of a desire to preserve identity, character and tradition. These are among the strongest motivations known to mankind and have been at the foreground or background of practically every conflict that has ever been waged. Add to this, a deep sense of deprivation, powerlessness and injustice, both real and imagined, and the tension between change and continuity mounts greatly.

Managing change on a national level is never easy, and certainly not on the scale and speed that we are witnessing. Multi-ethnic countries have to be especially watchful, and particularly if they have a weak sense of national collective identity.

In the absence of a strong binding nationalism, they are prone to polarisation and competition along ethno-religious lines. The state, which may well start out by being a relatively honest broker, can become increasingly pressured to act in ways that favour the interests of one group over another.

If the pendulum swings too far in one direction, dissatisfaction and frustrations will inevitably result. These can be expressed in ways that range from passive non-cooperation to active opposition and even violent conflict. To a large extent, this has led to the fragmentation of states.

Countries need to recognise the larger macro forces at work and understand their implications. They have to engage creatively to ensure that there are sufficient investments in social capital and cohesion. They must create and capitalise on cooperative systems within societies.

In recent times, it has become usual to try and place the blame for the disintegrating state of world affairs on the doorstep of religion. This is a misunderstanding of the first order. Religion is not the cause of societal dystrophy; it is the antidote. It is a social stabiliser that allows believers to reconnect to values that are fast being lost in today’s ever more materialistic and self-centred world.

What does Malaysia have to do to ensure that it continues to be successful at nation-building? Psychologists say that our short-term memory can only hold seven items. Let me outline seven guidelines that I think will have to be borne in mind in future nation-building efforts.

First, Malaysians of all races, religions, and geographic locations need to believe beyond a shadow of a doubt that they have a place under the Malaysian sun. Only when each citizen believes that he or she has a common home and is working towards a common destiny, will he or she make the sacrifices needed for the long haul.

In Malaysia, the Federal Constitution, the Rukun Negara and Vision 2020 encapsulate the rights, hopes and aspirations of the population in a way that no other documents do. The integrity of these documents must be defended and promoted, especially the first.

Second, when we seek solutions to problems in nation-building, we must be careful not to assume away problems. Nation- building is required precisely because there are stark differences within society. If we all walked, talked and thought the same, it would probably not be needed.

There will therefore be chauvinistic groups in this country, just as there are in others. They will fight the idea of national unity, block social change and try to be politically dominant. The existence of these groups, however, does not mean that nation-building is a futile exercise.

It does mean that we must be prepared to negotiate our way through and around these differences. We can, for example, create social movements that aim to enlighten and dissuade popular support being given to them.

Third, nation-building requires accommodation and compromise. In our haste to be prescriptive, we should not be so idealistic that we are incapable of also being practical. We should not allow perfection to be the enemy of the good. Yes, we should seek the best solutions and expect the highest standards of performance.

But we should also be prepared to sacrifice some part of our positions for the good of the whole. The virtues of pure self-interest are largely a myth. What seems to be a reality is that individuals end up worse off when they act out of self-interest, as opposed to acting in their collective group interests.

Fourth, if nation-building is to be successful, enforced solutions must be avoided. Nation-building is effectively rendered null and void by coercion or the threat of violence. Might cannot, and must not, be shown to be right. If solutions cannot be found within the political and social structures, there will be a strong temptation to resort to illegitimate ways and means.

Fifth, nation-building occurs when society is open, tolerant and forward-looking. So important are these values that they are embedded in Vision 2020’s nine strategic challenges, as are those of mature democracy, caring society and innovation. Only by being inclusive and participative can the various sectors of our society be productively engaged. It follows that all forms of extremism, chauvinism, racism and isolationism must be guarded against. They must be soundly sanctioned socially, politically and, if necessary, also legally.

Sixth, nation-building is a process rather than an outcome. When Malaysia started off 50 years ago, there were no examples to study. There were no manuals to follow. Mistakes were made and, to a greater or lesser extent, lessons have been learned.

While a sense of impatience is perhaps fully understandable, nation-building takes place over a period of time and only with persistence. Where there is no trust, trust has to be built. Where there is no cooperative network, one has to be established. Building on layers of foundation is the only way to ensure that the process is solid and sustainable.

Seventh, the political, social and economic incentives must reward good behaviour and penalise bad. I know that this statement is virtually self-evident, but it is a fact that many countries are as likely to punish good behaviour as to reward it. After all, if there are benefits for corruption, then there is a real cost to being honest. The incentives for building up a nation must be greater and more compelling than breaking it down. The price of racial and cultural intolerance must be made prohibitively high.

I believe fostering national unity is the responsibility of every Malaysian. However, schools, institutions of higher learning and sports centres have a very special role to play. This is because the sense of national unity is best inculcated in the young.

Through textbooks, sports and interaction, educators should eliminate ethnic stereotypes. Through the imaginative teaching of the history of Islamic, Chinese and Indian civilisation, educators could foster greater understanding among different ethnic groups.

It is said that it takes a village to raise a child. I believe this is true. To me, the village comprises three main institutions – family, school and community.

From birth, we should be taught to respect and honour each other’s culture and heritage. Learning to interact with others is part of this process. Playing with children of other races on the playground and in friends’ homes, we learn to go beyond the colour lines early in life. In school we should be taught about other cultures and beliefs under the same roof as others of different ethnic groups – once again cutting through the colour lines.

I am aware that there are many Malaysians who are deeply troubled at the state of national unity in this country. What I have tried to do today is disabuse you of the notion that there are any “quick fix” solutions in nation-building.

If you look closely enough at any country, even those that are regarded today as highly successful, such as Japan, you will find there have been episodes in their past where events were very tenuous.

I hope we will do our best to guard against cynicism and hopelessness. And I hope we will all stay the course. Failure, may I remind you all, is a costly option.


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The time of reckoning a.k.a. crash came sooner than expected

February 28, 2007
Do you still remember what I have written about the KLSE CI on Feb 21 (barely one week ago) in this blog? The warning issued by iCapital was proven correct.I hope none of our bloggers were “burned ” this round.  God saves those who believed AAB “the punter” (the PM earlier predicted that the KLSE CI will break the 1350 mark pretty soon). Guess why he was keeping very quite these days. Those who suffered big losses these two days should bring AAB to courts as suggested by DAP SG Lim Guan Eng earlier. I am reproducing the posting from the archive here. Just read the highlighted portion if you do not have time…

Archive for the ‘Economy’ Category

“KLSE CI is now only some 80 points away from its all time high of 1,314…

Wednesday, February 21st, 2007

and surpassing this would seem to be a breeze.”

The above comment came from a local stock market specialist. But he cautions Malaysians to be more circumspect rather than exploiting the current market rally and be patting ourselves on the back.

He commented that “for the politicians and policymakers, stock market rally can be very ego boasting (when the market rallies, they would claim all the credits but when the market drops, they would pass the buck to people like George Soros).”

“Why?A stock market rally seems to be telling the whole world that everything is fine with its economy and that the government has adopted the right policies”.

“Generally speaking, this is true but the stock market rallies for all kinds of reasons and some times, the market rally can be self-deluding or what is worse, the rally generates complacency among the politicians and policymakers and painful but necessary decisions are not made or postponed until it is too late. Then, the market crashes. The Great Asian Crisis in 1997/98 is a classic example of how rallies in stock markets can camouflage structural problems until it is too late and the day of reckoning comes in full blast”.

The specialist opines that the way to manage a country or company is in a sense , very simple and commonsensical. ” When things are fine and dandy, do not become overconfident;instead get ready for the storms ahead. This way, when the storms come, which eventually they will, one will not be so wounded or so devastated that one cannot recover forever or that the recovery takes such a long time to come. The storms, like the bright sunny days, will eveuntually pass and the whole cycle repeats. Take advantage of the storms and and use them to ensure that the eventual bright sunny days do not get to be so blinding”.

The essence of this specialist criticisms was that the government under the leadership of the former prime minister implemented very short-term measures that greatly reduced or attempted to reduce the pain of the Great Asian Crisis. “In so doing, the government ignored the the adverse long-term implications of its actions and decisions. Instead of using the Great Asian Crisis to implement serious structural reforms, the government went for quickies. And we all know what quickies are like. Instead of using the crisis to prepare Malaysia for more and greater challenges, it went round blaming others for its follies.”

” In many respects, Malaysia has paid a heavy price for this and is still paying the price for ignoring long-term problems. By shielding Malaysia from the harsh and painful realities of market economy, we now have a Malaysian workforce that is hopelessly complacent and in the process, losing out to the many fast rising regional competitors.”

With the KLSE CI rallying, the specialist is deeply worried that our world-class complacency would become universe-class. “As the LKSE CI rallies, the politicians and policymakers would surely sit back and pat themselves for a job well done . Such self-prasing and complacency can be very infectious and soon Malaysians from all walks of life would fall into the same mental trap. Then, when the next crisis hits us, totally unprepared again. A few rounds of such a crisis, very quickly Malaysia would be in an economic quicksand”.

The specialist’s analysis is directed at the politicians and polymakers and Malaysians from all walks. Do not be seduced by the current market rally into thinking that we are on our way to developed status. Do not postpone the major structural reforms needed.

Stock market recovers after panic selling

Feb 28, 07 7:15pm malaysiakini
Bursa Malaysia saw panic selling this morning causing the stock market to shed as much as 101.07 points to 1,136.01 – the biggest fall in recent history – before recovering to close at 1,196.45.The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index (KLCI) staged a late recovery, supported by strong buying from some institutional funds when the stock exchange reopened after lunch.Still, the index fell by 40.63 points, or 3.28 percent – the second day in a row in which KLCI was hit by significant losses.Yesterday, it shed 2.8 percent, closing at 1,237.08. The fall wiped out RM3.8 billion in market value of listed companies.

The last time the KLCI had its biggest single day loss was five years ago – on Sept 21, 2001 when it declined 3.5 percent.

Wall Street in tailspin

According to Bernama, the panic selling was triggered by the big losses on Wall Street overnight following the nearly nine percent fall in Shanghai stock market yesterday.

The Dow Jones index was in a tailspin yesterday, falling a whopping 416.02 points at 12,216.24 – a drop of nearly 3.3 percent.

This was the biggest fall since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, and it erased US$600 billion in market value from listed companies.

All the regional bourses were down today, continuing yesterday’s trend, triggered by renewed concern over the slowdown in the US and China economies.

吉隆坡股市持续猛泻
早盘休市狂跌5.99%
■日期/Feb 28, 2007   ■时间/12:40:19 pm
■新闻/财经前线   ■作者/merdekareview 陈慧思
           

【本刊陈慧思撰述】继昨日猛挫35.79点之后,今日吉隆坡股票交易所早盘市再报恶讯,综合指数延续跌幅,狂跌74.17点,或5.99%

马来西亚股市今日早盘1220分休市时,股票行情直线下降,综合指数狂跌74.17点,或5.99%,到了1162.91点,富时马来西亚大型30指数大跌474,到7446.42点;第二交易板指数也下跌6.95点,到93.78点;下跌股1118只,上升股只有21只,26只股平盘,158只股没有交易。

马来西亚股市受美国和亚洲股市影响,昨日狂泻35.79点,或2.81%,创下20019月以来最大单日跌幅,以致马股市立即萎缩马币383亿元。市场分析员认为,马股年初持续大涨,因此我国股市的跌幅比其区域股市大。

在重量级蓝筹股方面,云顶今早约1030分跌马币2元,或5.16点,到36.50点;名胜世界下跌80分,或5.13点,到了14.80点;国能下跌50分,或4.10点,到了11.70点;马电讯泻45分,或4.33点,到了9.95点。

受原油价上升影响

分析员认为,股市大跌显示世界股市正在进行大调整。昨天美国道琼斯指数猛挫点,首度跌破2001911日的猛烈跌幅。中国股市昨日也出现自1997年以来最大跌幅,上海综合股市闭市时猛挫268.81点,下跌了8.84%,到了2271.79点,深圳综合股市跌66.31点,或8.54%,到了709.81点。香港恒生指数下跌了1.44%

此外,日本日经指数昨日闭市时也跌了95.43点,或0.52%,到了18119.92点。邻国新加坡则挫75.90点,或2.29%,到了3232.02点。

全球股市相信是受到原油价格回扬影响,出现全线滑落的现象。由于美国对伊朗的战争一触即发,中东局势蒙上阴影,原油价格近日扳回跌势,持续回扬。由于股市进入了调整期,因此香港一家投资管理公司董事经理安迪(Andy Mantel)认为,香港股市下跌并非一朝一夕的事情尚有许多下挫的空间

虽然我国市场分析员也认为,我国股市近日将继续受到昨日股市大地震的余殃牵连,但相信不会影响股市的长期走势。

“KLSE CI is now only some 80 points away from its all time high of 1,314…

February 21, 2007

and surpassing this would seem to be a breeze.”

The above comment came from a local stock market specialist. But he cautions Malaysians to be more circumspect rather than exploiting the current market rally and be patting ourselves on the back.

He commented that “for the politicians and policymakers, stock market rally can be very ego boasting (when the market rallies, they would claim all the credits but when the market drops, they would pass the buck to people like George Soros).”

“Why?A stock market rally seems to be telling the whole world that everything is fine with its economy and that the government has adopted the right policies”.

“Generally speaking, this is true but the stock market rallies for all kinds of reasons and some times, the market rally can be self-deluding or what is worse, the rally generates complacency among the politicians and policymakers and painful but necessary decisions are not made or postponed until it is too late. Then, the market crashes. The Great Asian Crisis in 1997/98 is a classic example of how rallies in stock markets can camouflage structural problems until it is too late and the day of reckoning comes in full blast”.

The specialist opines that the way to manage a country or company is in a sense , very simple and commonsensical. ” When things are fine and dandy, do not become overconfident;instead get ready for the storms ahead. This way, when the storms come, which eventually they will, one will not be so wounded or so devastated that one cannot recover forever or that the recovery takes such a long time to come. The storms, like the bright sunny days, will eveuntually pass and the whole cycle repeats. Take advantage of the storms and and use them to ensure that the eventual bright sunny days do not get to be so blinding”.

The essence of this specialist criticisms was that the government under the leadership of the former prime minister implemented very short-term measures that greatly reduced or attempted to reduce the pain of the Great Asian Crisis. “In so doing, the government ignored the the adverse long-term implications of its actions and decisions. Instead of using the Great Asian Crisis to implement serious structural reforms, the government went for quickies. And we all know what quickies are like. Instead of using the crisis to prepare Malaysia for more and greater challenges, it went round blaming others for its follies.”

” In many respects, Malaysia has paid a heavy price for this and is still paying the price for ignoring long-term problems. By shielding Malaysia from the harsh and painful realities of market economy, we now have a Malaysian workforce that is hopelessly complacent and in the process, losing out to the many fast rising regional competitors.”

With the KLSE CI rallying, the specialist is deeply worried that our world-class complacency would become universe-class. “As the LKSE CI rallies, the politicians and policymakers would surely sit back and pat themselves for a job well done . Such self-prasing and complacency can be very infectious and soon Malaysians from all walks of life would fall into the same mental trap. Then, when the next crisis hits us, totally unprepared again. A few rounds of such a crisis, very quickly Malaysia would be in an economic quicksand”.

The specialist’s analysis is directed at the politicians and polymakers and Malaysians from all walks. Do not be seduced by the current market rally into thinking that we are on our way to developed status. Do not postpone the major structural reforms needed.

Merdeka Centre: Economic situation brews discontent

February 9, 2007
Poll: Economic situation brews discontent
Beh Lih Yi- Malaysiakini
Feb 9, 07 12:57pm
The government has painted a rosy picture of the country’s economy but a survey discovers that the sentiments on the ground are rather thorny.The continued rise in living costs and inflation top the list of concerns among voters, according to the survey by independent opinion research firm Merdeka Centre. It was conducted from October to December last year.

Of the 1,025 respondents, 32 percent said they feel the effects of the country’s economic performance.

As for the ‘top issue of the day’, respondents listed, among others, price hikes, inflation, economic slowdown, unemployment, poverty and development issues.

“Although the economy has always been the top concern for a large number of voters, this however has heightened since the hike in fuel prices in the first quarter of 2006 and has remained high since then,” said Merdeka Centre director Ibrahim Suffian when contacted.

He said the discontent over this issue was already apparent in a poll conducted last April, a month after the price hike was announced, where more than 60 percent of the respondents said the economy affected them the most.

Apart from fuel, there were also price increases for electricity and water supply last year. The government had also announced that effective Jan 1, the toll rates for five highways will be increased.

The price hikes led to a public outcry and numerous demonstrations were held.

Varied effects

The latest Merdeka Centre survey revealed that the economy had varied effects on the different communities.

Sixty percent of the Malay respondents said they were satisfied with the government’s overall management of the economy but 39 percent were dissatisfied.

As for the Chinese, 55 percent gave the thumbs-up while for 41 percent, it was thumbs-down.

The Indians registered the highest dissatisfaction rate over this issue. Sixty-three percent were unhappy while only 34 percent were satisfied.

Overall, the dissatisfaction for the government’s economic management rose from 39 percent last March to 47 percent in October.

According to the Chinese respondents, they have been affected by the ‘directionless economy’, rising inflation and a sense of pessimism among the Chinese business community.

The Indian respondents said they were also affected by the rising inflation and lack of access. They also felt the community lacked credible representation outside the ruling Barisan Nasional.

Despite the odds, half of the respondents were optimistic about making ends meet in future. Nineteen percent expected to see a decline in their personal financial situation while 21 percent said it will be stagnant for them.

Seventy-one percent of the Indian respondents are confident that the government will be able to provide solutions for the problems affecting them.

However, 53 percent of Chinese and 46 percent of Malay respondents believe that the government was incapable of solving the country’s woes.

Corruption

As for the Ninth Malaysia Plan (9MP) unveiled by Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi last March, only 25 percent of Chinese respondents believe they will benefit from the five-year economic blueprint. As for the Indian and Malay respondents, the figures were 67 percent and 38 percent respectively.

The issue of corruption was also a major complaint, with 72 percent of the respondents rating the present situation as ‘unfavourable’. However, the survey noted this will not affect the voting behaviour.

“Low-level corruption affects non-Malays more than the Malays. A plurality of Malays accept patronage as part of ‘development’,” read the survey.

Apart from the economy, respondents, especially those in urban areas, were concerned with crime and public safety as well. Social and moral problems were also major concerns for the Malay and Indian respondents.

The Chinese and Indian respondents also felt that their rights and equality in education were the most relevant issues to them.

The survey also found that ethnic relations remained positive on the surface but the potential for fissures still exist.

Islamisation

About 50 percent Chinese and 41 percent Indian respondents were also worried about the Islamisation of Malaysia where Islamic values and rules of conduct are gradually incorporated into public life.

On the contrary, 63 percent of the Malay respondents wanted to see greater Islamisation take root.

Seventy-nine percent of the Indian respondents and 58 percent of the Chinese respondents also felt that their respective political parties are ineffective in voicing the concern of their communities in respect to Islamisation.

The poll findings raise the question if the government led by Abdullah will be able to repeat its 2004 general election success?

Merdeka Centre’s Ibrahim said despite the dissatisfaction of the respondents over several issues, the general public appears to be contented with the present government.

“Overall public satisfaction has improved. Despite (some) issues, the majority of the public remains appreciative of the status quo,” he added.

May the new King play a greater role in Malaysian life.

December 14, 2006

  A friend of mine jokingly said that the BN Government is forced to build a new palace for the King because they were so embarrased to see that the “Istana Idaman” built by  “Raja Zakaria” of Klang was bigger than our present Agong’s palace.

I have blogged about the new palace shortly after PM Abbdullah and his cabinet ministers have launched the work on the new palace. I commented that it was not right to build a new palace of such high price at the time when our economy and market are so sluggish, and whatever money we have should be used for schools and hospitals. Besides, the present palace is still in fairly good conditions and fit for our King. That’s what I told Reuters and Australian Radio when I was asked to comment on the subject.

I told the Australian Radio that the Opposition Leader Lim Kit Siang had raised the question of proper tender for the new palace of which he did not get a good answer. I said we accept the fact that it costs Malaysians money to upkeep the monarchy system but we must be careful with our money. We do not have a lot of money to throw away, so to speak.

I also told the Australian Radio that while we were mindful that the King and Sultans should not involve in partisan politics, we hope the Royalty could speak out in the interest of the people, helping to shape the political landscape positively.

 Just like the Thai King, the positions of Agong and Sultans were of great influence and they enjoy respect and support from the people in general. They have the right to advice the heads of the government and the people on matters important to the people ( such as politics, religion and ethnic relations).

I have cited HRH Sultan of Selangor as a good example. In recent months, the Sultan has spoken out for the people on several issues important to the people of Selangor and Malaysia.

I also expressed a great hope that the new King HRH Mizan Zainal Abidin could play a greater role in Malaysians life. The King of this country is the figure head of the state largely ceremonious. He is the nominal chief of armed forces and the supreme head of Islam, the official religion. He also sits on the Pardon Board, which is part of the judiciary system.

Michael Backman… again!

December 6, 2006

 Malaysia Bodoh? Yes. Mr Backman. Many Government leaders have disgraced our nation to the extent that they could not defend when you turned the table against them. Rafidah Aziz for instance has yet to face the NGOs on the issue of “no transparency in the negotiations for FTA with America”. She signed the FTA with Japan without informing the Malaysian Parliament and that document was not in favour of Malaysian ecocomy.

 We thank Med for the alert… 
Malaysia bites back and industriously trades the insults
by Michael Backman
The Age
November 29, 2006

MY LAST column on wasteful government spending in Malaysia (Business, 15/11) generated a furore. I received more than 600 emails from readers, mostly Malaysians (both expatriate and in Malaysia) and nearly all supportive.The column was the most emailed item on The Age’s website for six days straight and it was replicated in dozens of blogs worldwide.

My personal website received more than 50,000 hits. A Malaysian Government minister criticised the column publicly. And the Malaysian Opposition Leader issued a news release in its support.

The minister, Rafidah Aziz, Malaysia’s Minister for Trade and Industry, declared somewhat imperiously that she didn’t care what I said because I am a foreigner and I probably don’t know much about
Malaysia anyway.

Rafidah knows her trade brief like few others. Her knowledge of the complex rules of the international trading system, with its many trade barriers, is remarkable. In meetings with other trade ministers, she rarely needs assistance from minders. Hard working and tenacious, I once thought she might make a reasonable prime minister.

But her technical abilities are marred by her mishandling of other issues, most recently her ministry’s allocation of much coveted car import permits. Most went to a handful of well-connected businessmen, including her own relatives.

The issue exploded in Malaysia late last year and she was lucky to keep her job.

And then there are the corruption allegations. In 1995, in a report to the attorney-general, the public prosecutor said there was a prima facie basis for Rafidah’s arrest and prosecution on five counts of corruption. An opposition activist later acquired official documents that appeared to confirm this. He was jailed for two years under the Official Secrets Act simply for possessing them. Rafidah, on the other hand, was not even charged. Rafidah added to her remarks about my column that no Malaysian should say such things. It’s little wonder that she doesn’t welcome scrutiny from her own people. But then the idea that Malaysians cannot comment publicly about how their country is run but a non-Malaysian can, is disgraceful.Perhaps Rafidah needs to be reminded who pays her salary.

And as if to underscore my points about waste, on the day that my column was published, an assistant minister told the Malaysian Parliament that Malaysia’s first astronaut to be sent into space next year aboard a Russian space mission will be tasked to play batu seremban, a traditional Malay children’s game played with pebbles, will do some batik painting and will make teh tarik, a type of Malaysian milky tea, all to see how these things can be done without gravity.

The day before, the Government announced that a new RM400 million ($A142 million) palace will be built for
Malaysia’s king, a position that is almost entirely ceremonial.

And the week before a groundbreaking ceremony was held for a second bridge between
Penang and the Malaysian peninsular costing RM3 billion, a bridge that many consider unnecessary.

Where would the money be better spent?

Education is the obvious answer. But not on school buildings, for it matters less in what children are educated than how. And how children are educated in Malaysia is a national disaster.

Learning is largely by rote. In an email to me last week, one Malaysian recalled her schooling as being in a system “all about spoon-feeding, memory work and regurgitation. Students are not encouraged to think for themselves and they become adults who swallow everything they’re told.” Even the existing system fails many. It has just emerged that in Sabah state, only 46 per cent of the students who had sat the UPSR — the exam that students sit before going to secondary school — had passed. One small school actually had a 100 per cent failure rate.

But does the Malaysian Government want creative, critical thinkers? Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi said to the ruling party’s recent general assembly Malaysia needed to make students creative. But that means they must be questioning and thus critical; what hope is there of that when one of Abdullah’s own ministers tells Malaysians that they cannot say the things that I can and hundreds of them write to me to complain because they don’t feel that they can complain to their own Government?

Malaysia needs to do something. Its oil will run out soon and it has lost much of its appeal to foreign investors — recent UN figures show that from 2004 to 2005, foreign investment in Malaysia fell by 14 per cent, when the world economy was enjoying one of its longest periods of growth. One might wonder what the Trade and Industry Minister has actually been doing.

But, while politicians from the ruling party preach about Malay nationalism, there are at least some who quietly go about the business of trying to secure the country’s future. Not all of them are Chinese.

Two weeks ago, Malaysia’s MMC Corporation, together with a local partner, won a $US30 billion infrastructure deal in
Saudi Arabia. That’s a huge undertaking for any company, let alone a Malaysian one, and just as well too — someone has to pay the bills.