Archive for category NEM

The politics and business of bank mergers

Terence Gomez
KiniBiz
22 July 2014

Malaysians were informed on July 10, 2014 that a major bank consolidation was in the pipeline, involving CIMB Group Holdings, RHB Capital and Malaysian Building Society. With this union, CIMB will emerge as Malaysia’s largest banking enterprise, in terms of assets, as RHB Capital owns RHB Bank, currently the country’s fourth largest bank.

According to media reports, the merger will enhance CIMB’s goal of becoming Southeast Asia’s leading Islamic finance institution with the capacity to expand its interests in this sector to other parts of the world. However, one core issue remains unmentioned in the press: this consolidation will tightly entwine the interests of political and business elites in the banking sector. Read the rest of this entry »

Print Friendly

No Comments

Racial extremism bad for economy, warns ex-diplomat

Lawrence Yong
Malaysiakini
Nov 7, 2013

Malaysia will lose its competitive economic edge if its politics continue to cater to racial and religious extremes, a former senior diplomat warned today.

Razali Ismail, who was a diplomat for 35 years before retiring in 1998, warned that although polemics – the practise of one-sided political arguments – was inescapable in multi-racial, multi-religious Malaysia, it must not translate into a welfare state.

“If you just want to be a backwater country somewhere, that’s a different story.

“But we are in a strategic position (for economic growth) …all the differences between us have to be worked out,” Razali said at the Prime Lecture on Culture 2013, where he was invited to speak on “polemical politics” by the Tourism and Culture Ministry.

To emphasise his point, Razali cited that Malaysia’s rivals, such as Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia, already woke up to global realities and are well on their way to fortifying their own economies to attract foreign investments.

During his years as a diplomat, including as ambasadors to several European counctries, he saw almost all countries he served in as seeing Malaysia as a stable country.

However, Razali added, his international friends have of late started to question the divisive goings-on in the country. Read the rest of this entry »

Print Friendly

7 Comments

Malaysia’s got talent, but they’re being driven away, mostly to Singapore – world economic report

The Malaysian Insider
October 10, 2013

The huge presence of foreign workers in Malaysia has led to static wages, according to the WEF report. – The Malaysian Insider pic, 10 October, 2013.The huge presence of foreign workers in Malaysia has led to static wages, according to the WEF report. – The Malaysian Insider pic, 10 October, 2013.Affirmative action policies and an overreliance on cheap foreign labour have led to Malaysia’s best and brightest leaving to find greener pastures, particularly in Singapore, according to a new report released by the World Economic Forum.

The Geneva-based body’s Human Capital Index evaluates such things as quality of healthcare, infrastructure and education, in order to gauge a country’s ability to develop a skilled workforce.

Its 2013 report ranks Malaysia at the 22nd spot in a list of 122 countries. Topping the list is Switzerland, followed by Finland, Singapore, the Netherlands and Sweden. Asean countries in the list include Thailand which is placed at number 44, Indonesia (53) and the Philippines (66).

The report notes that Putrajaya’s affirmative action policies as well as cheap migrant labour have kept Malaysia from achieving a skilled workforce to compete with its smaller and richer neighbour, Singapore. Read the rest of this entry »

Print Friendly

19 Comments

Beep beep here comes the roadrunner!

– Sakmongkol AK47
The Malaysian Insider
September 24, 2013

Najib has launched the Bumiputera economic empowerment Plan. BEEP. It has come to this now. Twittering, face booking, blogging, whats-apping and now beep-ing the country. Najib will be beep-ing the Malays so that they can take their rightful place in our country. After NEPing the country, Malay equity stands around 23%? Does ownership of this 23% mean anything to the ordinary Malays who have the face the daily grind of life?

Many of us know exactly what the BEEP means. It means a license to pillage and plunder in the name of king, religion and country. The Malay elite salivate at the prospects of carving out wealth earning resources.

23% is owned by GLCs, the Malay elite, the privileged and the Malay monied class. This BEEP is going to turn into another excuse to justify the rape and plunder. After raping the girl repeatedly, the rapist presents her with a bunch of flowers. This is exactly what the BEEP announced by Najib represents, the presentation of a bunch of flowers after the raping the Malay lady over and over again.

If you can’t dazzle people with your brilliance, confound them with your bullshit.

There are almost 10 million Malays living with a monthly income of RM1500. Why these people aren’t directly aided? Why do we arrogate ourselves the authority and omniscience to even claim we know what is best for the Malays? The ordinary Malay knows he wants to get out of poverty and destitution if only he has the means to. So why don’t we give them the means to? The problems of the present lot of 10 million people must be tackled immediately. Read the rest of this entry »

Print Friendly

12 Comments

First day back, Kit Siang targets new Bumi agenda, says only for Umnoputras

by Jennifer Gomez
The Malaysian Insider
September 23, 2013

DAP national adviser Lim Kit Siang fired the first salvo when Parliament’s new session began today, saying that the government transformation programmes had failed and that the new Bumiputera agenda went against the grain of the New Economic Model which hinged on merit and not based on race.

He said this after Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Razali Ibrahim responded to a question from Lenggong Member of Parliament Datuk Shamsul Anuar Nasarah to state the achievements of the transformation programmes.

Lim pointed out that the new Bumiputera agenda only benefitted a select few “Umnoputras” when there were many other Bumiputeras and non-Bumis who lived below the poverty line and needed government assistance.

“Isn’t this evidence that the government programmes have failed?” Lim, the Gelang Patah MP, asked.

He questioned whether Umno leaders were willing to pledge that they were Malaysian first and Malay second. Read the rest of this entry »

Print Friendly

6 Comments

10 ways to really help bumis

P Gunasegaram
Malaysiakini
Sep 20, 2013

QUESTION TIME The recent RM30 billion package (although I am not sure how it works out to that) for bumiputera economic empowerment is certainly not something that will help or have any kind of impact on the vast majority of bumiputeras who form 67 percent of the population.

Just think of that figure for a moment. Nearly seven out of ten people in the country are bumiputeras. Help everyone in the country who needs it and you help the bumiputera community the most. More on that later.

Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s plans to economically empower bumiputeras will not help the ordinary bumiputera because he is not the one who owns shares, or will become a major entrepreneur, or live off government contracts. That affects only the rich bumiputeras.

Realistically, the economic empowerment programme is a thinly disguised ruse to help those who continue to live off the government through patronage and corruption. And in this case this is the Umno elite and many of them are likely to be among the 150,000 delegates who will vote in Umno’s forthcoming general assembly.

It’s another form of vote buying.

So what will help ALL bumiputeras and especially those who are in the poor and middle classes and thereby help bridge the income gap between bumiputeras on the one side and Chinese and Indians on the other?

For that, you simply go back to the basics. Here are are 10 things we can identify immediately. If the government had been doing this without respite and full sincerity for the last 56 years from independence we would long ago have become a developed a country, even far surpassing that of our southern neighbour Singapore which has no natural resources to speak of.

1. Raise school education levels

In the haste to increase Malay usage and hire more Malay teachers into the education system after 1970, educational quality dropped in national schools. Until today this is a major problem because of poor quality of teachers (entry standards were foolishly dropped) and lowering examination standards to favour bumiputera students. Read the rest of this entry »

Print Friendly

9 Comments

Najib Has Set Us Back 40 Years

By Kee Thuan Chye
msn.com
16 Sept 2013

Najib Razak shows once again that his actions are often driven by his own paramount desire to stay in power. He’s about to be challenged for the position of Umno party president soon or returned unopposed, a situation that will also determine whether he retains the position of prime minister. Most likely, from the look of things, he won’t be challenged, but he still needs to consolidate the reason he should stay on as president. So last Saturday, he abandoned his 1Malaysia slogan to announce a Bumiputera economic empowerment plan that is obviously designed to win him support from the ethnic community that patronises his party. He exposed his own contradiction and reaffirmed what we have come to see as his real belief – that he doesn’t care what means he uses as long as he achieves his end.

By his action, Najib also shows yet again that he is a flip-flopper. He has apparently forsaken his New Economic Model, which was introduced in 2010 to phase out the outdated New Economic Policy (NEP) in favour of affirmative action based on needs rather than race, and make Malaysia more competitive and investor-friendly. But now with the new Bumiputera economic empowerment plan – to which he is dedicating a whopping RM31 billion, to be dished out in the form of loans, contracts and programmes – it looks like he is reinforcing rent-seeking, which will retard sustainable growth.

By his action, Najib has set us back 40 years – to 1971, when the NEP was introduced. He has fortified the idea that there are two classes of citizens in Malaysia – Bumiputeras and non-Bumiputeras – thereby totally subverting his 1Malaysia stance. But whereas one of the stated objectives of the NEP was to eradicate poverty, Najib’s Bumiputera economic empowerment plan is not aimed at helping the needy. It seems to be providing crutches even for those who don’t need them. Read the rest of this entry »

Print Friendly

13 Comments

Has Najib finally abandoned the New Economic Model (NEM)?

One question for the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak following his announcement of the Bumiputera Economic Empowerment Agenda on Saturday is whether he has finally abandoned the New Economic Model (NEM) which he announced three years ago on 30th March 2010.

The NEM admitted that “the excessive focus on ethnicity-based distribution of resources has contributed to growing separateness and dissension”.

NEM stated in Chapter 6 (p. 117):

“Existing affirmative action programme and institutions will continue in NEM but, in line with views of the main stakeholders, will be revamped to remove the rent seeking and market distorting features which have blemished the effectiveness of the programme. Affirmative action will consider all ethnic groups fairly and equally as long as they are in the low income 40% of the households. Affirmative action action programmes would be based on market-friendly and market-based criteria together taking into consideration the need and merits of the applicants. An Equal Opportunities Commission will be established to ensure fairness and address undue discrimination when occasional abuses by dominant groups are encountered.”

Because of opposition from racist and chauvinists, Najib had abandoned the idea of an Equal Opportunities Commission.

Has he now abandoned the entire NEM with regard to a needs-and-merit based transformation of the affirmative programme, to promote building of capacity and capability, focusing on the low income 40% of the households? Read the rest of this entry »

Print Friendly

16 Comments

Najib’s New NEP: Step Forwards or Backwards

by Koon Yew Yin

42 years after the New Economic Policy (NEP) was launched by his father, Tun Abduk Razak, Prime Minister Najib Razak has now followed in his father’s footsteps with a new national policy specially aimed at enhancing Malay participation and control of the economy and which is expected to run into the year 2020.

There are many reasons to fear the worst from this new national policy. Firstly unlike the NEP which was initiated following the racial riots of May 1969, this policy is clearly linked to Najib’s fear of losing his position as president of UMNO in the coming UMNO general assembly elections. Najib has also made references to the fact that the new policy is to reward the Malay voters who supported UMNO during the last elections but this appears less strong a reason than his own survival as UMNO leader.

Secondly, unlike the NEP which was at least endorsed by a larger multi-racial grouping in the form of the National Operations Council, the main catalyst for the so-called Bumiputra empowerment policy has come from Malay pressure groups such as the Malay Economic Action Council (MTEM), Perkasa, right wing Malay media and bloggers and their god father, Dr. Mahathir. In fact the MTEM has claimed the credit for the new policy. Completely side-lined even though the nation is not under emergency rule has been the cabinet as well as Parliament.

The apparent failure of the ruling BN coalition of parties to even be minimally consulted on the new policy speaks volumes of how much respect Najib has for his non-UMNO BN colleagues and for the principles of parliamentary democracy. It also shows that Najib – despite all the rhetoric of 1Malaysia and the inclusive scope of the New Economic Model – is prepared to sacrifice the interest of the non-Bumiputra component of the country’s population to secure his own and UMNO’s Malay interest. Read the rest of this entry »

Print Friendly

8 Comments

Malaysia edges toward change but comes up short

Peter Drysdale
Bangkok Post
10 May 2013

On Sunday, after a hotly contested general election, a record electoral turnout and over half a century of essentially one-party rule, the Malaysian people edged toward change _ but chose not to make the leap.

The campaign saw the ruling Barisan National (BN or National Front) emphasise stability, continuity and economic growth, and the opposition Pakatan Rakyat (PR or People’s Alliance) urge the end of corruption, the institution of minority rights and dealing with issues over the cost of living. In a contest that always seemed too close to call, Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak has held on to power, taking the prize from the indefatigable Anwar Ibrahim and his PR.

The election confronted Malaysia with big choices. While the Najib government led a tactical retreat on some elements of the old order, Mr Anwar called for its sweeping rejection.

Malaysia struggles with breaking through the “middle-income trap”. Wages have climbed to the point where the country can no longer compete internationally in labour-intensive manufacturing yet skills and systems haven’t improved so that Malaysia can compete effectively in the same product lines as more advanced countries.

Without further reforms, it is difficult to see how Malaysia can escape from this middle-income trap. Much of the struggle to find a way through has to do with escaping the legacy from the old order _ a “New Economic Policy” framed over 40 years ago that entrenched discrimination against minorities (including the significant entrepreneurial classes) and affirmative action through government-linked corporations (and systemic entrenchment of political patronage and corruption). Read the rest of this entry »

Print Friendly

No Comments

Malaysian government-linked corporations crowd out private investment

by Jayant Menon, ADB and ANU, and Thiam Hee Ng, ADB
East Asia Forum
April 25th, 2013

Private investment in Malaysia never fully recovered from the impact of the Asian financial crisis.

Foreigners have continued to shun Malaysia, but it now seems that even domestic investors are fleeing, with Malaysia becoming a net exporter of capital since 2005. One explanation for the sluggish performance of domestic private investment relates to the crowding-out effect of the growing dominance of government-linked corporations (GLCs) in many sectors. The influence of GLCs, however measured, is both widespread and pervasive.

The GLC share of operating revenue is approximately one-third in the aggregate, and they control more than half the industry share in utilities, transportation, warehousing, agriculture, banking, information communications and retail trade. GLCs employ around 5 per cent of the national workforce and account for approximately 36 per cent and 54 per cent, respectively, of the market capitalisation of Bursa Malaysia and the benchmark Kuala Lumpur Composite Index. Read the rest of this entry »

Print Friendly

5 Comments

Looking forward to a gentleman’s fight in Johor

Pauline Wong
The Sun Daily
Posted on 21 April 2013

JOHOR BARU (April 21, 2013): The state of Johor is without a doubt, the state where all eyes are drawn – whether from the Barisan Nasional side, or from the Pakatan Rakyat.

Big names from the opposition have been parachuted to this southern state of Malaysia, where they hope that the 1.5 million voters here will cast ballots in their favour.

For the Barisan Nasional, the pressure is on to retain power in this birthplace of Umno, and they are more determined than ever to keep Johor in their grasp.

Even with so much at stake, the battle for Johor has taken off in a gentlemanly fashion, with fierce rivals going so far as to praise each other. Read the rest of this entry »

Print Friendly

6 Comments

Hopes for Malaysia to be a high-income economy are not bright because Najib’s NEM does not dump the NEP policy

by Dr. Chen Man Hin
DAP life advisor
2nd March 2013

Look at the FDIs inflow to Malaysia compared to other Asean countries for 2012.

According to UNCTAD Malaysia FDI for first half of 2012 was US4 billion, and for the full year would be around US 8 billion.

Whereas it was Singapore US 27.4 billion, Indonesia 8.2 billion, Thailand 5.6 billion.

World bank figures for PER CAPITA INCOME for 2011 are:

Malaysia US$ 9500 ( US$ 7440 in 2008)

Singapore 46241

Thailand 4972

HONG KONG 36012

South Korea 22424

But Malaysia’s PCI of US9500 is far way from the required high income level of US$ 16,000 Read the rest of this entry »

Print Friendly

13 Comments

Najib practices a two faced NEP cum NEM economic policy

By Dr Chen Man Hin, DAP Life advisor
23 Feb 2013

Events have shown that the NEP is still enforced in the economic development of the economy – two faced NEP and NEM economic policy.

Soon after being Prime Minister, Najib launched his New Economic Model to stimulate development with the aim of achieving a high economy like that of the Asian Tigers of Singapore, S Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan

To do this he had to get rid of the economic handicaps wrought by the New Economic Policy. It is on record that Najib announced on May 2nd 2009 that he would replace NEP with his New Economic Model (NEM).

It is now 2013, and the signs of a high economy are not encouraging. For Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) of 2012 Malaysia scored 9 billion US dollars compared to Indonesia’s US$19 billion and Singapore US$130 billion. (World Bank figures)

Per capita income for Malaysia in 2012 was US$9500 million, compared to Hong Kong US$30 million, Singapore US$50 million and South Korea US$25 million. Can Malaysia reach a high income status of US$20million by 2020.
Read the rest of this entry »

Print Friendly

12 Comments

It’s the system that turns good leaders bad

Mohd Ariff Sabri Aziz | November 28, 2012
Free Malaysia Today

Malaysians think that by changing the present set of bad people with good ones everything will be all right, but nothing is farther from the truth.

COMMENT

People do not want to believe that if you have an intrinsically bad system, you are good at the beginning, but you are eventually going to degenerate.

But people don’t want to accept this.

Let’s assume Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak is a good person (he probably is) but the system which sustains him is bad. It will eventually cause him to turn bad.

So it isn’t enough to transform society by changing the people leading it, but the system that structures our society must be changed too.

That is our (Pakatan Rakyat’s ) agenda now. Not just changing of guards, but changing the system that structures our society. Read the rest of this entry »

Print Friendly

13 Comments

Playing a risky waiting game

Free Malaysia Today
September 17, 2012

The prime minister is holding back on the election date to shore up flagging support and give his reforms more time to work.

KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak could call national elections anytime between now and April 2013, but he may wait to announce a generous budget on Sept 28 as he plays a risky waiting game.

The ruling Barisan Nasional coalition is widely expected to win the election but further gains by the opposition after its strong performance in 2008 could undermine Najib’s standing.

Holding back until after September would give Najib more time to shore up flagging support among ethnic Chinese voters, and to convince Malaysians that his reform efforts are working as he tries to reverse the ruling coalition’s worst election showing in 2008.

It would also make him vulnerable to any worsening of the global economy or the emergence of fresh corruption scandals that could push swing voters over to the three-party opposition. Read the rest of this entry »

Print Friendly

6 Comments

Growth without private investment

— Jayant Menon
The Malaysian Insider
Sep 12, 2012

SEPT 12 — It was not long ago that the Malaysian development story was hailed as a model of FDI-driven, export-led industrialisation worthy of emulation by aspirants in the developing world.

Malaysia remains an outstanding model of how openness to trade and FDI can transform a poor, agrarian economy into a thriving, manufacturing-based, middle-income one in a generation. During this time, Malaysia also successfully preserved social harmony in its multiracial society, relying on economic openness to sustain growth under an expensive affirmative action programme that skewed incentives, the New Economic Policy (NEP). In this sense, the NEP performed an important signalling role and played its part in delivering the peace and stability that enabled Malaysia to sustain high growth. This growth, combined with revenues from large oil reserves, facilitated a massive tax-transfer scheme that favoured the majority, without significantly eroding macroeconomic stability.

But all that changed after the Asian financial crisis. FDI flows fell sharply and continued to remain low even after recovery. While foreigners continue to shun Malaysia, even domestic investors seem to have fled, with Malaysia becoming a net exporter of capital since 2005. Malaysia continues to grow, but without private investment it is unlikely to break out of the middle-income trap. Indeed, these days Malaysia is often discussed as a classic case of the middle-income trap. Growth without private investment is also unsustainable and Malaysia risks sliding back. Read the rest of this entry »

Print Friendly

6 Comments

Contest of credibility before Malaysia’s elections

by Shankaran Nambiar
East Asia Forum
June 8th, 2012

Credibility is a prized asset for any government, and with general elections fast approaching in Malaysia, Prime Minister Najib Razak is no exception to this rule.

Najib has an onerous task ahead of him because the Barisan Nasional coalition, which he heads, won only 140 out of 222 lower house seats in the last election in 2008. This simple majority of 63.5 per cent was the coalition’s worst performance since Malaysian independence in 1957.

Najib’s leadership qualities will be severely tested this time around, but he is well aware of the daunting challenge ahead. In fact, his awareness of the problems on the ground might be his strongest suit. So far, it has enabled him to take the first steps toward repairing the damage the Barisan Nasional suffered over the years since the 2008 debacle.

Two notable efforts in this direction were the launching of the New Economic Model and the 1Malaysia concept, both in 2010. These campaigns show that Najib understands that addressing issues relating to inclusiveness and governance are key to winning the upcoming 13th general elections by a convincing margin. Read the rest of this entry »

Print Friendly

6 Comments

Government losing Chinese support, putting reforms at risk

Reuters/The Malaysian Insider
Jun 03, 2012

KUALA LUMPUR, June 3 — Ethnic Chinese voters, upset over policies that favour majority Malays, have become increasingly alienated from Malaysia’s ruling coalition, raising the risk of racial polarisation and a slowdown in the pace of reforms.

Support for Prime Minister Najib Razak among Chinese voters plunged to 37 per cent in May from 56 per cent in February, a survey by the independent Merdeka Center showed on Friday. It found 56 per cent of Chinese were dissatisfied with the government, compared to 30 per cent of Indians and 23 per cent of Malays.

Recent state and by-elections underline the trend. The main Chinese party allied with the ruling National Front coalition in eastern Sarawak state lost 13 of 19 seats it contested in local elections last year and the opposition won a by-election in the same state in 2010 largely thanks to Chinese backing.

The Southeast Asian nation’s 6.5 million ethnic Chinese turned heavily to the opposition in 2008 polls, handing the National Front, which has ruled uninterrupted since independence from Britain in 1957, its worst election showing.

Malaysia has seen ethnic Chinese voting with their feet, leaving the country for better prospects aboard including to neighbour and rival Singapore, in a troubling brain drain of talent and capital. “Malaysia needs talent to meet its goal of becoming a high-income country,” the World Bank noted in a report last year. “But the problem is that talent is leaving.”

With elections likely later this year, the government has failed to reverse the tide with voters such as Jack Gan, who complains he had to study much harder than his ethnic Malay peers to get into one of the country’s top universities. Read the rest of this entry »

Print Friendly

13 Comments

Malaysia after regime change

– Greg Felker
New Mandala
May 26th, 2012

Credibility and the search for a new developmental model

In comparative politics the word “regime” refers to the formal and informal institutions by which political power is acquired and exercised. In political economy, a regime refers to an enduring combination of “socio-economic alliances, political-economic institutions, and a public-policy profile” (Pempel 1998: 20). In the case of Malaysia, the Barisan Nasional (BN) regime’s durability in the former, political sense has been closely associated with a particular sort political economy, or regime in the second sense. Despite significant changes over the years, Malaysia’s hegemonic-party political system, centered on United Malays National Organisaion’s (UMNO) dominance, has since the early 1970s practiced a form of developmentalism that has shaped Malaysian society in profound ways. As the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) understands, its challenge to the BN’s national political monopoly is inescapably a contest about Malaysia’s economic development model, as well. To what extent, and in what ways, does the prospect of change in Malaysia’s political regime imply a change in the country’s pattern of development?

Contemporary debates make clear the close connection between political contestation and economic policy choices. Indeed, one of the UMNO-led government’s vulnerabilities is a sense, growing in recent years, that the Malaysian development miracle has wavered and, for large segments of the population, inadequately fulfilled its promise of a steadily improving quality of life. The notion of the “middle-income trap”, first popularised in a global context by Geoffrey Garret in 2004, quickly became a frame for discussions of possible policy reform within Malaysia and among foreign observers. Two themes have been prominent in these discussions. One is the issue of the quality of governance as this affects broader economic efficiency and productivity. Second is the mooted necessity of a broad liberalisation of restrictions and regulations to enable greater flexibility and entrepreneurial dynamism. In both areas, the opposition and pro-reform civil society organisations have made telling critiques of the incumbent leadership. For its part, Najib Razak’s administration has launched a series of reform initiatives under the New Economic Model (NEM) that speak to the same concerns about governance and the structural challenges to Malaysia’s continued economic development. This dimension of the new competitiveness in Malaysia’s politics adds programmatic substance to a political tableau in which mass protest, scandal, and cultural controversies have comprised much of the drama. Read the rest of this entry »

Print Friendly

2 Comments