Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Malaysia far below ‘high income’ boundary

Very sad statement from NEAC, but if you were to ask the fellow from UMNO, Ibrahim katak Ali, and Mamak M they will say " no no no". We Malaysia are still the best in the world, dun believe? you can compare us with Zimbawe, Myanmar..........They never dare to compare with Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan , our MR. smart will always tell you they are not a countrylah.... 

KUALA LUMPUR, March 30 — Although Malaysia’s income trajectory continues to exhibit a gradual upward trend, it remains far below the “high income” boundary, says the National Economic Advisory Council (NEAC).

It says in the New Economic Model for Malaysia Part 1 Report released today that several countries, including Korea, Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic have been able to make the transition to the “high income” status.

The report says although absolute poverty has been reduced, 40 per cent of households continue to have very low income levels, particularly those in rural areas.

In the long run, this hampers social mobility, again inhibiting large numbers of Malaysians from fully realising and developing their potential to contribute to the economy.

The labour market in Malaysia does not function very well as high dismissal costs are required under the labour laws making investors unwilling to go into new areas of business which may involve shedding of labour.

In response, some investors have found it more profitable to take on foreign unskilled labour where labour laws are not as strictly enforced.

“This, in turn, holds down wage levels for all workers,” says the report, adding that market rigidities must be corrected to enable the country to attract investment in new sources of growth such as medical tourism, information and communication technology, and Islamic products and services.

Also, Malaysia suffers from an exodus of talent as the education system has failed to deliver the required talent, unable to retain local talent of all races nor attract foreign ones due to poor prospects and a lack of high-skilled jobs.

Lack of talent will hamper research and development (R&D), innovation in the areas of Malaysia’s strength such as electrical and electronic and palm oil.

The report says without a critical mass of local and expatriate talent, Malaysia will not be able to prevent the erosion of its traditional advantage in commodities and manufacturing.

And, to encourage the private sector to become more agile and to survive in a competitive global environment, the NEAC recommends that policy deficiencies be corrected to take a longer-term view of business prospects. — Bernama

Monday, March 29, 2010

Mirror Mirror on the wall tell me where the money gone?

ai yo yo sudah masuk pocket lah....


Where are RM52 billion Bumi shares, asks Guan Eng

By Shazwan Mustafa Kamal
KUALA LUMPUR, March 29 — DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng wants the government to investigate why RM52 billion worth of shares in public listed companies allocated for Bumiputeras under affirmative action policies were no longer in their hands.
He told reporters in Parliament today that the fact that the shares were no longer in the hands of Bumiputeras was an act of betrayal.
The Penang Chief Minister suggested a Royal Commission be set up to investigate such leakages.
He said that out of RM54 billion in shares allocated for Bumiputeras, only RM2 billion were still in their hands.
“According to a Bernama report, the Prime Minister had been quoted as saying that of the RM54 billion in shares allocated, only RM2 billion worth of shares were left in the hands of Bumiputeras,” said Lim.
“There is a leakage of RM52 billion which is not in the hands of the Bumiputeras. This is a betrayal. The government has to arrest and take action against the people who have hijacked the money,” he added.
When asked by a reporter whether Pakatan Rakyat had any ideas or leads as to who now held the shares, Lim smiled and claimed that PR knew who had control of them, and also why there was inaction from the part of the government.
“We in PR know who has the shares, it is held by the cronies of Barisan Nasional, that’s why the government have not taken any action. If the government really cares, they need to send a message to show their seriousness in taking action.”
“The government should set up a Royal Commission on the Bumi equity. This is an admission from the Prime Minister himself,” asserted the Penang CM.
Lim’s initial response was towards a newspaper report on which Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin had commented on the distribution of wealth among Malaysians.
“He is talking about the distribution of wealth among Malaysians, who has got what and who did not, the ones who have got nothing are the rakyat,” said Lim.
The total Bumiputera equity currently stands at 19.4 per cent from its targeted 30 per cent some 19 years ago.

Perkasa, GLCs and the New Economic Model

During the recent Perkasa meeting on March 27, Ibrahim Ali expressed his displeasure with the CEOs of government-linked companies (GLCs) for not attending his Malay rights group inaugural congress.

He also criticised the GLC heads for being more concerned about their personal interests instead of the interests of the Malay community.
Introducing a note of intimidation, he warned that Perkasa will scrutinise the GLCs. “We are not only looking at their performance but also the role they play in helping Malay entrepreneurs.”
The GLC rebuff is indicative of a rejection of the Perkasa agenda by the Malay captains of industry who recognize the negative implications of the policies being espoused.
It is also salutary that apart from Deputy International Trade and Industry Minister Mukhriz Mahathir, no other significant member of the cabinet took part in the gathering of the ultras at the Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC).
The Malay and Malaysian public should look forward to hearing the outcome of Perkasa monitoring the GLCs and learning the truth about how these bodies are standing in the way of, or seriously implementing, their mission of fulfilling the Malay agenda.

The importance of GLCs to the Malay agenda can be ascertained from the following facts:
• GLCs are major shareholders of corporate equity. They comprise 36 per cent and 54 per cent of the market capitalization of Bursa Malaysia and the benchmark Kuala Lumpur Composite Index.
• Seven out of the top 10 listed companies are under majority ownership of the government.
• Senior GLC positions are largely determined along ethnic lines. GLC directors, management and staff are largely Bumiputeras.
• Non-Malay owners of listed and unlisted companies often have no choice but to work with influential Bumiputera and GLCs to help protect their interests through obtaining sub-contracts or becoming suppliers of goods and services.
• Non-Malays may own 40 per cent of corporate equity based on the government’s flawed calculations but GLCs are the major players and have control over the economy.

Because they have done very well for the Malays (including the likes of Ibrahim Ali and many of his supporters who have benefitted from GLC patronage and largesse), it is rather dumb of Ibrahim Ali to expect these GLC leaders to openly attend the meeting and to proclaim to Perkasa members and the world the various ways in which they are protecting and advancing the Malay socio-economic position.

In fact, Ibrahim Ali and many GLC Malay leaders may be on the same wavelength on the issue of enhancing the Malay socio-economic position. However, the main difference might only be that the Perkasa head is a politician using crude racist tactics whilst shouting from the top of his voice at the PWTC while the GLC chiefs are likely to pursue the Malay cause through more subtle means. As corporate figures, they recognize that growth is a prerequisite to fulfillment of long-term Malay and national goals.

Quite apart from this, many of these GLC leaders also recognize the realities and implications of policies that have contributed to capital flight, the virtual drying up of FDI flows, a sizable brain drain and a general loss of competitiveness. These negatives have been acknowledged by the Second Minister of Finance and are indeed implicit in the call by the Prime Minister to adopt a New Economic Model (NEM).

A New Economic Model devoid of a course correction —via adoption of more market friendly and less racially skewed policies —would be an exercise in futility. Ibrahim Ali’s formula constitutes an abandonment of much needed pro-growth strategies in favour of a discredited policy package that is centered round the distribution of existing wealth. No country in the world in this era of globalization and liberalization has chosen such an economic strategy.

Similarly with the refusal by Umno to respond to Ibrahim Ali’s unfounded charges that the Malays have been marginalized in the country.  All Umno leaders (except perhaps Mukhriz) are aware of the overwhelming dominance of Malay power in the country. Far from Malay constitutional rights being eroded or usurped by other communities, it is the other way round. This is acknowledged by many Malay leaders including Anwar Ibrahim and Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah.

If one is using a purely racial lens approach it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that Malay hegemony has never been so strong or firmly entrenched as it is today. Ibrahim Ali and his cohorts are opportunistically delusional and appear to be living in a cocoon of their own. They fail to factor in the fact that the political and economic model that they espouse will bring irreparable harm to the nation and future generations of Malaysians, including Malays.

Tackling Malay poverty

In the economic sphere whilst there is still much work to be done to uplift the lot of the poor Malays, the task is less formidable than official statistics may make it out to be.  This is because Malay poverty — as distinct from Bumiputera poverty — is likely to be considerably over-estimated by the present statistical practice whereby the Malay figures are lumped together with the figures of recent migrants from Indonesia who have obtained Bumiputera status as well as the other Bumiputera from East Malaysia.

The great majority of the former group — Javanese, Sumatrans, etc — who have now assimilated into the country’s population in very large numbers especially after the 1970s came with virtually nothing in terms of assets or income. Inclusion of these poor “pendatang”, despite their upward mobility after settlement, has had much impact in distorting the racial distribution of household income. Without them (and also Bumiputra communities in Sabah and Sarawak), the ‘native’ or ‘indigenous’ or ‘local’ Malay achievement, as distinct from Bumiputera achievement, will be much higher on all the social and economic indicators used by the Department of Statistics to measure inter-ethnic differences.

At the same time, Ibrahim Ali and his supporters are wholly mistaken in their view of poverty. The government’s own statistics indicate that poverty, however defined, has been drastically reduced. The stark issue is the unconscionable and widening income disparities that prevail within the Bumiputera community. Ibrahim Ali and his keris waving Umnoputra crowd are totally silent on this aspect of the Malay dilemma.

Malay wealth

Umno leaders are also fully aware that much of the new wealth in the country is in Malay hands. These sources of wealth include the plantation sector which is dominated by Felda and PNB companies;  the smallholding agricultural sector where the Malays are the major group amongst the 112,635 Felda settlers; the hi-tech aerospace industry; the highly lucrative defense industry; the petroleum and gas industry where apart from Petronas and MMC, the Malays have substantial holdings in key MNCs such as Shell, Exxon, BP; the finance and banking sector where eight out of 10 banks are Bumiputera- owned and controlled; the automotive sector where Malay interests are dominant in Proton, Perodua, DRB Hicom, UMW and Naza, and where the system of APs ensures a steady stream of income for select Bumiputeras; as well as the energy and utilities sector where TNB and Malakoff are key players; and so on.

Perhaps the ace in the pack in Umno’s claim to have successfully stood up for Malay interests (besides its own) is that a key target of the NEP restructuring programme — the building of a strong Malay professional and technical elite class — was attained some years ago. From a very small base of professional and technical workers in 1970 (Bumiputera comprised 4.9 per cent of registered professionals at that time) the Malay component of the country’s professional and technical workers today is the biggest amongst the various racial groups. According to the Malaysian government’s Third Outline Perspective Plan (2001-2010), the Bumiputera community comprised 63.5 per cent of the ‘Professional and Technical’ category of employment in 2000.

This growth of a strong Malay professional class within a short period of 30 years is possibly the fastest recorded by any marginalized community anywhere in the world. That this information is not widely known or disseminated is not due to modesty but carefully controlled political spin aimed at under-reporting Malay achievement and emphasizing non-Malay dominance of the economy.

Meanwhile, the employment pattern in the public sector at all levels is overwhelmingly Malay because of discriminatory policies in hiring and in promotions. If there is any prong of the New Economic Policy that has not been fulfilled, it is the restructuring of the public sector.

The New Economic Model and the country’s future

In a few days’ time, the Prime Minister will unveil the New Economic Model which is intended to replace the New Economic Policy and its racially divisive policies. At that point, we will be able to see if Perkasa, Dr Mahathir Mohamad and other carpetbaggers have been able to successfully hijack the NEM and set the country up for another round of Malay preference policies that will destroy the promises contained in the Najib Razak vehicle ‘1 Malaysia’.

Were these fears to come to pass, Malaysia will take another step downwards to joining countries such as Burma and Zimbabwe which squandered their prospects for prosperity because of the greed of a small elite group that hijacked national wealth.

It is time for all Malaysians to firmly and clearly reject the strident siren calls of Mahathir and Ibrahim Ali to return to policies that hold no hope of serving the country’s needs. It is also important that the NEM reflects the aspirations of all Malaysians rather than the myopic views of yesterday’s men. Najib has a solemn duty to resist those that would derail moves to put right what has been wrong.( By Lim Teck Ghee)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Military procurement is more important?

Read this and let you judge how good is our government.......

MARCH 18 — During the era of Mao Zedong, there was a great saying “rather nukes than trousers”.
However, it has turned into a negative adjective later.
Of course Malaysia will not turn into such kind of country. But according to the annual report released by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), the total imports of weapons for Malaysia over the past five years has soared by 722 per cent compared to the previous five years.
Even the Defense Minister does not deny it.

Do we need to buy so many weapons? Would the country still have enough of resources to develop education and promote economic transformation after the budget has been spent on military equipment?
Malaysia has been running a budget deficit for 13 years and it is a record-breaking deficit this year, amounting over RM51.1 billion, or 7.4 percent  of gross domestic product (GDP). The central government debt has also made a record increase by 18.3 per cent, reaching RM362.5 billion.
It accounts for 52.4 per cent of gross national product (GNP). Averagely, each Malaysian is bearing RM13,426 of debt.

As the financial situation has been deteriorating, the government is trying everything possible to cut expenses, including reducing 20 per cent of school funding, reducing sugar subsidies and it is also planning to increase fuel prices.

Schools will now have to bear the cost of utilities and the burden of the poor has been increased. It is really hard to understand why the government still increases military spending.

Singapore’s military procurement grew by only 146per cent and Indonesia grew by 84 per cent, but why has Malaysia grown by 722 per cent, the highest among the three? Old weapons need to be replaced but does it need to surge by seven times?

There is no war in Southest Asia, and there is no sign showing an outburst of conflict.

ASEAN has already signed the Treaty on the Southeast Asia Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone with many countries and Malaysia has also been protected by the Five Power Defence Arrangements. Basically, we are not facing any safety problem.

But Malaysia has bought two submarines, six frigates and 26 fighter aircraft over the past five years.
Malaysia spent about RM3.4 billion to buy 18 Su fighters and RM4.6 billion to buy two submarines.
However, the military procurement is not transparent enough. When they bought the Scorpion submarine, there was a dispute in the Parliament over whether the RM530 million was paid for the commission or service charge.

At that time, the government pledged that the quality of the submarine was the best in the world. But our first submarine was unable to dive due to technical defect.

The Budget 2010 allocations totalled RM191.5 billion, of which RM138.3 billion is for operating expenditure and RM53.2 billion for development expenditure.

But a total of RM11 billion has been allocated for defence. How much money is left for development, education, welfare, medicine, as well as research and development (R&D)?

A total of RM30 billion allocated on education seems to be a great amount of money but it only accounts for 15.67 per cent of the total expenditure. In Singapore, education spending has always been accounted for 20per cent of its total government expenditure.

Meanwhile, the Malaysian R&D expenditure only accounts for 0.6per cent of GDP. It is relatively low compared to advanced countries.

How easy the economic transformation could be with such a serious imbalance in resources allocations? — mysinchew.com
* This is the personal opinion of the writer or the newspaper. The Malaysian Insider does not endorse the view unless specified.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Is Malaysia heading to an early election?



The government led by Datuk Seri Najib Razak has been receiving alot of heat on several U-turns in policies recently. - Picture by Choo Choy May
KUALA LUMPUR, March 15 — The country’s recent pullback on fiscal reforms has fuelled talk that the government of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak is gearing up for snap polls even though the next general election is not due until 2013.
Following are questions and answers on the possible timing and the political and economic implications of an early general election in the country.

Why are early polls likely?
The end of fuel subsidy reforms as well as a delay in tabling a Goods and Services Tax Bill in Parliament indicate a reluctance by the government to impose measures that would have an impact on poorer Malay voters, a critical vote bank for the Umno, backbone of the ruling coalition. This in turn signals a government that may be making preparations for early polls.
Should investors worry?
To some extent. The last elections turned unpredictable in 2008, when the opposition alliance, now led by former Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, scored the country’s biggest-ever election upset. It ended the government’s two-thirds parliamentary majority, and the opposition wound up controlling five of 13 states. That election result triggered a stock market sell-off.
Recent moves to halt fiscal consolidation imply the government thinks it can narrow its budget gap, which stood at a 20-year high of 7.4 per cent of GDP in 2009, purely on the back of increased economic activity and higher oil prices.
Longer term, failure to implement fiscal reform leaves the country, Asia’s third-most trade dependent economy, vulnerable to external economic and commodity price shocks. State oil company Petronas provides almost half of all government revenues.
When could the polls be held?
The most probable timing now seems to be during 2011, for several reasons:
  • The government normally calls for polls only when economic growth is in positive territory. Najib is aiming for GDP growth of at least five per cent this year after the economy contracted 1.7 per cent in 2009. The government would need at least until the first quarter of next year for the recovery to reach ordinary voters.
  • Many of the reform pledges that Najib has made, covering six core areas from fighting graft to improving urban transportation, have deadlines at the end of this year.
  • Elections in Sarawak. The state is Barisan Nasional’s (BN) stronghold that provides the government with 30 of its 137 Parliament seats. Sarawak is the sole state in the country that holds state elections separately from national polls. It must hold polls by June 2011.
  • If the government held the next Sarawak state election concurrently with federal polls it would stretch the opposition’s meagre campaign resources even more thinly.
  • Alternatively, the government could call for state elections in Sarawak either late this year or early next year, in the hope that a strong showing would bolster confidence ahead of national polls that would follow soon after.
  • But even if the government scores a landslide win in Sarawak, it may not be willing to take a risk in far more politicised mainland Malaysia where the PAS is making inroads into its Malay voter base.
  • Petrol price hikes in 2006 helped the opposition DAP to an unprecedented six state seats in Sarawak polls that year.
  • “I believe the Sarawak polls will be held separately before the next general election because Sarawak is usually taken as a rough barometer before the national polls are held,” said Shaharuddin Badaruddin, associate professor at Universiti Teknologi Mara.
  • Calling for an election later than next year also poses a risk for the government due to the possibility of a rise in religious and racial tensions. Ethnic Chinese and Indian voters have shown no sign of returning to BN since 2008.
What are the indications of imminent polls?
  • The following indicators will provide a rough early warning that polls are coming in the next three to six months. None have taken place so far:
  • BN component party leaders and state leaders from the Umno, the lynchpin of the 12-party ruling coalition, will be summoned by Najib to finalise their proposed list of election candidates.
  • The Election Commission will also indicate looming polls with a step up in its own logistical preparations and a finalising of the electoral rolls.
  • A run-up in the stock market. In the past, government-linked funds were asked to prop up the stock market several months ahead of elections to create a feel-good factor for the economy, though the extent of such rallies varies.
  • What would be the outcome of the polls?
  • While the Opposition has never been stronger in the wake of what locals dubbed the 2008 “political tsunami”, the odds are still loaded in favour of BN.
The Anwar-led opposition has won seven out of nine by-elections held since the 2008 elections and most of Umno’s partners in BN are either paralysed following the drubbing they received in 2008 or plagued by infighting.
Anwar is battling charges of sodomy in court, in what he says is a repeat of a political conspiracy that saw him jailed for six years after his sacking as deputy prime minister in 1998.
The government insists he will get a fair trial. One risk is that a guilty verdict could energise and embolden the opposition. Alternatively it could drive a wedge between the reformers, ethnic Chinese and Islamists that comprise his alliance.
Umno has 78 parliamentary seats. Adding in allied MPs from its stronghold states of Sabah and Sarawak, its total rises to 117 seats, enough for a simple majority in the 222-seat Parliament even if all the coalition’s ethnic Chinese and Indian parties fail to win anything.
Najib however needs a two-thirds majority if he is to legitimise his rule and avoid a leadership challenge, a fate that befell his predecessor Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who presided over the 2008 election losses. — Reuters

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Beware of Double Face Politician.......

There is one party in Malaysia very famous in producing half past six politicians who always acted in their own interest . The bestv things they can contribute to this country is to create hatred or huru hara among rakyat without thinking the consequences.........
One day they can talk " Kalau ornag China di Pulau Pinang  buli kita , kita lawan balik orang China " on the next day they can talk about unity...the worst thing is that they have license to bad mouth and they always immuned .......surely you know what I meant ......

One Malaysia my footlah....




Husni talks up unity, mum about ‘racial’ remark

By Lee Wei Lian
KUALA LUMPUR, March 9 — Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah reaffirmed the 1 Malaysia concept and spoke about unity today while ignoring opposition claims that he uttered “racially-laden” remarks in Penang last week.
DAP advisor Lim Kit Siang expressed yesterday that Husni (picture), whom he had perceived to be rational and reasonable, was reported to have said: “Kalau orang Cina di Pulau Pinang buli kita, kita lawan balik orang Cina (If Penang Chinese bully us, we fight back the Chinese)” at Penang Malay Chamber of Commerce dinner last Friday.
In his speech at a GST conference today, Husni touched on the importance of national unity and shared personal experiences in the US and of his son.
He said that when he went to the US, he saw the US national anthem "The Star Spangled Banner" being played at nearly all functions and Americans of all races would stand up in a show of American solidarity.
“No matter what their race, they stand tall and stand together,” he said. “This is what our prime minister wants.”
He also said that he was very happy that his son shares his ice-cream with his friends of different races at school.
“I see how my son would eat some of his ice-cream and then pass the ice-cream to his Chinese and Indian friends,” said Husni. “He likes to mix and does not sit with only Malay friends. My son celebrates the different races and he will stand tall.”
“I went to a biotech conference once and was told this is the most suitable country to conduct clinical trials for drugs as we can test the drugs on different races and not just one race,” he added.
“Malays, Chinese and Indians constitute 40 per cent of the global population. You can see the potential of what God has given us. The prime minister says that we must not just tolerate each other but celebrate each other.”
The second finance minister did not give a press conference after his speech but sources close to the minister said that his remarks in Penang were likely to have been taken out of context.
Sources say that Husni, known to be a proponent of meritocracy and economic competitiveness from his previous speeches, was responding impatiently to complaints by the Penang Malay Chamber of Commerce that Malays were “being bullied” by DAP in Penang and he was telling them to respond by working harder and being more competitive.
They also say that the minister was not referring to the Chinese in general but to DAP.
Husni also touched on the need for Malaysians to embrace change due to the more competitive global environment and added that positions should be obtained based on merit and capabilities.
“We used to get batik from Malaysia and Indonesia but now we are getting silk batik from China for a low price,” he said. “We have to move up the economic value chain.”