Archive for category Prices

‘O what fun’ Malaysians will have for the rest of 2014

by Elizabeth Zachariah
The Malaysian Insider
January 30, 2014

An email calendar – titled “The Rise of Malaysia” – circulating in cyberspace spells out what is in store for Malaysians for the rest of the year.

While the source of the creatively presented calendar is unknown, it proudly claims to be “produced by Malaysians, for Malaysians”.

It breaks down the rising cost of living into 12 months – and each month with its own “theme”.

“This calendar was produced to share in our sorrow and help deal with our 2-week memory problem (our leaders say we can only remember bad events for 2 weeks, after that we forgive and love them again). “It (2014) will be a bleak financial year for Malaysians as we face an increase in toll prices, electricity tariff rates, public transportation, possibly further fuel subsidy cuts, impending GST, etc, etc”, it stated.

The “inspiration” was the ordinary Malaysians who had “vented their frustrations” on Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s Facebook page.

“All facts quoted in the calendar are accurate and reported in the mainstream news.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Second Open Letter to Najib and Cabinet – Are BN leaders prepared to work with PR leaders to ensure that there could not be another repetition of May 13 riots in Malaysia?

For the second time this year, I am taking full advantage of the Age of Information Technology which enables the instant communication of information with information travelling at the speed of light to pen this Second Open Letter this year to the Prime Minister and all Cabinet Ministers just before their third Cabinet meeting of the New Year of 2014.

Members of the Cabinet who have not read or not informed of this Second Open Letter before the Ministers meet for their third Cabinet meeting later this morning clearly belong to the dinosaur epoch and are not fit to be in the Cabinet – and the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak would have a very strong reason to get rid of these dead-wood and half-past six Ministers in a Cabinet reshuffle.

In my first Open Letter to the Prime Minister and the Cabinet before their first Cabinet meeting on 8th January 2014, I urged the first Cabinet meeting to send our a clear and unmistakable message to end the national drift and loss of leadership and direction to create an united, harmonious, just, and competitive and great Malaysian nation.

I zeroed in on the nation’s quintuplet of crisis which warranted priority and immediate attention by the Cabinet, viz: Read the rest of this entry »

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Open Letter to PM and Cabinet – the first Cabinet meeting today should send out a clear and unmistakable message to end the drift and loss of leadership and direction to create an united, harmonious, just, competitive and great Malaysian nation

Open Letter to Prime Minister and Cabinet Ministers

I am taking full advantage of the Age of Information Technology which enables the instant communication of information with information travelling at the speed of light
to pen this Open Letter to the Prime Minister and all Cabinet Ministers just before they start this morning their first Cabinet meeting of the New Year of 2014.

I urge the Prime Minister and Ministers to send out a clear and unmistakable message in their first Cabinet meeting to end the drift and loss of leadership and direction to create an united, harmonious, just, competitive and great Malaysian nation.

The Cabinet cannot do better than start their first meeting by discussing and digesting the question eloquently posed yesterday by a Good Samaritan in Malaysia, Tan Sri Robert Phang who asked “Why are we quarrelling over God?”

Read the rest of this entry »

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Apakah Umno telah berubah daripada sebuah parti pembina negara menjadi parti pemusnah negara dengan sokongan Muhyiddin terhadap protes di luar gereja dan Noh Omar mempertahankan protes Umno Selangor terhadap Kristian?

Peristiwa-peristiwa yang berlaku pada beberapa hari pertama tahun baru 2014 membuatkan rakyat Malaysia berfikir tentang masa depan negara ini.

Salah satu persoalan meresahkan rakyat Malaysia ialah sama ada Umno telah berubah daripada sebuah parti pembina negara menjadi parti pemusnah negara dengan sokongan Muhyiddin terhadap protes di luar gereja dan Noh Omar mempertahankan protes Umno Selangor terhadap Kristian.

Pada hakikatnya, sokongan yang diberikan oleh Muhyiddin dan Noh Omar terhadap tindakan haram dan bertentangan dengan perlembagaan oleh Jabatan Agama Islam Selangor (Jais) yang menyerbu Persatuan Alkitab Malaysia (BSM) dengan bantuan penuh Polis membangkitkan persoalan serius tentang keikhlasan, keseriusan, dan komitmen para pemimpin Umno terhadap jaminan asas kebebasan beragama yang diberikan oleh perlembagaan untuk semua rakyat Malaysia, selain Penyelesaian 10 Perkara yang disahkan oleh Jemaah Menteri pada April 2011 untuk mengakhiri kontroversi Alkitab.
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Five national crisis scorching the country should top the agenda of a National Reconciliation Summit of BN and PR leaders

For ten days between the Christmas National Open House 2013 in Penang on December 25 and the 2014 New Year monthly morning assembly of civil servants in the Prime Minister’s Department this morning, the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak disappeared from the public view.

Apart from the 2014 New Year Message on New Year’s Eve, which would have been drafted by his coterie of highly-paid consultants well in advance, there was not a word from the country’s Prime Minister although the country had never swirled and whirled with more disturbing developments and events which included:

• The deepening economic crisis caused by a series of price hikes and looming avalanche of more price hikes in the coming weeks and months culminating in the introduction of the GST at six per cent in April 2015;

• Crisis of deteriorating national educational standards for the past decade, with the country heading further south with the results of TIMSS 2011 and PISA 2012, and the Education Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin making himself “scarce” from public to avoid having to “square the circle” of how Malaysian students can perform several educational miracles under the Malaysian Education Blueprint 2013-2025 to catapult to top-third of TIMSS and PISA international educational assessments when Malaysian students have continued to plunge in international educational standards;

• Crisis on the corruption front, despite the biggest budgets in past few years for the anti-corruption agency, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission. In the last 19 years when Transparency International maintained its Corruption Perception Index, Malaysia achieved the dubious distinction as one of the countries which had been downgraded both in TI CPI ranking and score, as well as losing out to several countries which had lower CPI ranking and score in 1995.
Now, we are at the risk in the near future of being overtaken by countries including China and Indonesia which had been behind Malaysia and at the bottom of TI CPI in 1995. Read the rest of this entry »

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Politics and religion a tinderbox of tension

Anisah Shukry | January 3, 2014
Free Malaysia Today

Malaysia’s leaders and Islamic scholars are just using Islam to serve their own interests, says former Perlis mufti Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia would be better off separating religion from politics, rather than using matters of the faith as a tool to crackdown on political dissent, said former Perlis mufti Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin.

Weighing in on Harussani Zakaria’s statement that those who protested at the New Year’s Eve anti-hike rally were bughah (traitors), Mohd Asri said he was disgusted at the blatant misuse of religion by “so-called scholars”.

“Religion has been used as a political weapon to the point that an announcement was made permitting the bloodshed of the weak. I’m not asking for separation of religion from politics, because that is not a habit of Islam.

“But at the same time, if religion is merely used as a weapon to serve political interests, it is better for the two to be separated,” the Islamic scholar wrote on his blog drmaza.com yesterday.

Harussani, who is the mufti of Perak, reportedly said yesterday that it was haram (forbidden) for Muslims to participate in the mass protest against the rising cost of living.

“…all the protestors should be arrested for being traitors to the government and accordingly in Islam, bloodshed is permitted on the bughah,” Harussani was quoted by Malay daily Berita Harian. Read the rest of this entry »

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Tolls and hikes short-circuiting Malaysian future

S RAMAKRISHNAN | 12:47PM Jan 2, 2014
Malaysiakini

COMMENT The simultaneous increase in fuel and sugar prices, electricity tariff and toll hikes have got Malaysians worried and bewildered as to how they will manage their household expenses. Compounding matters will be the Goods and Services Tax (GST) that will kick in in 2015. The already weakened ringgit and the sudden withdrawal of subsidies on essential goods will hit hard where it hurts most – the pocket.

Not unlike Marie Antoinette, the prime minister is obstinately insisting that the people can afford these massive hikes. Talk about telling the masses to eat cake, he adds insult to injury by saying these increase are not a burden!

The entire cabinet and prime minister suddenly woke up from their slumber. It dawned on them that the budget deficit, huge public and household debt have to be narrowed. What is shocking is that for 16 continuous years, the deficit and the mounting debt did not raise any alarm bells.

In fact the pro-government economists and mainstream media stoically reminded the rakyat that economic fundamentals were positive and our country is on track to become a developed nation by 2020. But all that propaganda did not convince the world. Fitch Rating Agency, in a startling report, downgraded Malaysia from stable to negative. And the game was up.

The media propaganda failed and even more frightening, instead of being developed Malaysia, by 2020, may be a bankrupt nation!

The acrimonious Fitch report had a jolting effect that aroused the Malaysian government from its deep slumber and self-delusion. It suddenly dawned upon the cabinet that the lies they had believed to be the truth, were, in fact, lies. Read the rest of this entry »

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UmnoBN follies but blame it on PR and the States they rule?

Richard Loh
1.1.2014

What is wrong with this nation? Nothing wrong at all. The right question should be, “What is wrong with the 56 years old UmnoBN led government”? The answer would be, too many wrongs that we lost count.

In this article I will just highlight a couple of wrongs which I deem are prerequisite to the overall poor performances of the UmnoBN led government.

Admission of Guilt

No one has ever admitted the wrongs that were originated right from the heart of PutraJaya, starting from the Prime Minister, Ministers down to the civil servants. While it is acceptable to many that they don’t admit their guilt what is worst is that they can use all the highest authorities to defend their wrongs, from Bank Negara, PDRM, MACC and if necessary the judiciary. Cases such as the NFC, PKFZ, the billions of illegal capital flight, ‘Extravagant expenditures’ and the year in year out Auditor General Annual Reports, just to name a few.

It is fine if you do not admit guilt but to continue with the wrongs instead of correcting and putting a stop to it reflects how bad the government is performing. Read the rest of this entry »

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Barisan risks losing further urban support with 20% toll rebate removal, say critics

by Eileen Ng
The Malaysian Insider
January 02, 2014

The ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) government will continue to lose further support in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur by ending the 20% toll rebate for frequent users, even as most Malaysians tighten their belts to face the rising cost of living, say opposition lawmakers.

The Pakatan Rakyat (PR) lawmakers warned that the latest move, coming on the heels of an impending toll hike, will further burden Selangor and Kuala Lumpur residents who use privatised highways that criss-cross Malaysia’s wealthiest area in their daily commute.

BN has lost the majority of seats in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor in the last two general elections, apart from losing the popular vote in the 2013 elections. The next election is due by 2018 and BN is expected to continue relying on rural seats to keep power. Read the rest of this entry »

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10,000 defy warning, police give in to protesters

Malaysiakini
7:40PM Dec 31, 2013

In anticipation of a gloomy 2014, demonstrators took to the streets in Kuala Lumpur tonight to protest the rising cost of living as a result of the government’s austerity measures.

The New Year’s Eve protest, organised by a coalition of NGOs led by Gerakan Turun Kos Sara Hidup (Turun), saw participants gathering at three meeting points – Sogo Shopping Complex at Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, Pasar Seni and Masjid Jamek

They then marched to Dataran DBKL before proceeding to the adjacent Dataran Merdeka where the Kuala Lumpur City Hall is organising a New Year’s concert.

The authorities have accused protest organisers of planning to overthrow the government and police have branded the rally “illegal”.

Police claim to have intelligence that dangerous weapons and bombs will be present at the demonstration but protest organisers have vehemently denied this.

Turun chief Mohd Azan Safar said the government was attempting to distract attention from the cost of living issues, which is the focus of the protest.

LIVE REPORTS

Videos
Photo Gallery

1.00am – This conclude our LIVE coverage of the rally. And no, the federal government has not been toppled. Happy New Year.

12.15am, Dataran Merdeka – Addressing the crowd, Turun chief Azan Safar leads the protesters to pledge for a corruption free 2014, while Solidarity Anak Muda Malaysia (SAMM) chief Badrul Hisham Shaharin later takes over the microphone and asked: “Was there any violence? Was there any bombings?”

He then leads the protesters in a comedic song which contains the lyrics “We love the police and the police loves us… We are only just upset that BN cheated us because they said toll will go down, but instead it went up”.
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Stop harassing Rafizi – Malaysian Police should conduct itself as a mature, efficient, professional and world-class police force fully mindful of its primary task of “democratic policing” and liberated from the obsession of “upholding the regime” to oppose democratic change at all costs

The Malaysian Police force has presented a sorry spectacle of itself recently, undermining its professional image as an independent, efficient and world-class police force, but what is worse, tarnishing the international image of Malaysia by trumpeting to the world as if Malaysia has become a “basket case country” on the verge of political and economic collapse.

And the person who led the charge to undermine the professional image of the police and the international image of the country is none other than the country’s No. 1 policeman, the Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar, who shocked the country and the world with the wild and reckless “fairy tale” two weeks ago of a plot to “topple the government” on New Year’s eve.

Neither the IGP nor the police force have been be able to produce any evidence of a “topple government” plot on New Year’s eve, as Khalid was only acting on a “hunch” or brainwave (planted or inspired by Umno conspirators), and I cannot think of a more “anti-national” act than this to end 2013.

Yesterday, the Kuala Lumpur deputy police chief Datuk Amar Singh Ishar Singh said that the police had received 588 reports nationwide in protest against the New Year’s eve rally to “bring down the government”, alleging that four NGOs were out to “create chaos” in Dataran Merdeka and would be bringing various weapons, including grenades and gas mark to stir up a commotion.

My first reaction to the 588 police reports (probably the 600 mark would be crossed by now) is the amount of wasted national energies provoked by the IGP’s “fairy tale” plot to topple the government – or was this the whole intention of the IGP in the first place?

Are there no better, more useful and productive things for Malaysians to do than to lodge 588, or over 600, police reports on a “fairy tale” plot? No wonder Malaysia is losing her competitiveness in the global marketplace. Read the rest of this entry »

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Power tariff – the last straw that broke the camel’s back?

Liew Chin Tong
Malaysiakini
Dec 6, 2013

MP SPEAKS

The spate of new taxes and price hikes, the latest being the electricity tariff hike, have caused me to doubt whether the government under Najib Abdul Razak has any idea about the macroeconomic risks that Malaysia faces.

Against the backdrop of an uncertain global economy and the likeliness of the quantitative easing tapering, domestic demand is crucial in sustaining the Malaysian economy. Yet the spate of new taxes and price hikes will produce an opposite result: the further decline of domestic demand.

Will the electricity tariff increase become the last straw on the camel’s back that will see the Malaysian economy collapsing due to the confluence of several domestic and global factors?

The electricity tariff will be increased by an average of about 14.89 percent for Peninsular Malaysia, and by about 17 percent for Sabah and Labuan from next year.

The average electricity tariff in Peninsular Malaysia will be up 4.99 sen per kWh or 14.89 percent from the current average rate of 33.54 sen/kWh to 38.53 sen/kWh.

For Sabah and Labuan, the average tariff will be up 5 sen per kWh or 16.9 percent from current average rate of 29.52 sen per kWh to 34.52 sen per kWh. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysians being ripped off (2) – with photos

By Mimi Chih

Thank you for putting my article online.

The reason I enclosed those photos was to drive home the point how much more expensive those same items are in Malaysia. If you go back to Sarawak, they are even more expensive. e.g. even after conversion to RM, it is still more expensive in Malaysia e.g. Yoplait yogurt is SGD7.05 while in KL it is at least RM22, Farmhouse milk is 2 litres for SGD4.85…in KL it is RM10 per litre. Did you see how much the US imported cereals are selling for in Malaysia?

As for simple foods, look at how cheap it is, especially when you are earning SGD. You can still get kopi si peng is still SGD90 cents.

That is the reason why my niece sent out her resumes so many times since last year. She finally got a job in Oct, 2011 as an auditor (2 years experience). Her salary is gross SGD2600. When she earned RM2850 at Ernst & Young, she would never eat at Starbuck, didn’t even dare to look at Farmhouse milk or SPAM luncheon meat, and definitely, would never indulge in Yoplait yogurt. She is now able to enjoy all of those and more and she can send home SGD300. Her parents had to subsidize her when she was in KL even though she lived frugally.
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Malaysians getting ripped off

by Mimi Chih

When Tunku Abdul Rahman decided to expel Singapore from the Federation of Malaya leading to the Independence of Singapore on August 9, 1965, the world did not expect this tiny island Republic with a population of 1.8 million then to stand tall as one of the original Four Asian Tigers, along with Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan 46 years later. Well, this Lion City has certainly ventured forth roaring all the way with a lion heart.

How does one measure the success of a country? To the people, it is reflected in their overall standard of living. Not every country is lucky enough to have a team of intelligent people whose passionate objectives drive them to make their country a better place to live – for everyone. Singapore is one such country. Today this island republic has one of the highest standard of living in South East Asia.

Which Malaysian could imagine that some 46 years after the split, Singapore’s exchange rate to the ringgit would hit a dizzying rate of RM2.41 (Nov 11, 2011)? August 1972 was the last time that the SGD (Singapore Dollar) was almost on par with the (RM) ringgit at SGD100:RM100.10. For an average wage earner in the Lion City making SGD2500 a month, going for a 10 days holiday to the US or Australia or Europe once a year is a relatively small matter.

What happened to Malaysia? In 1965 when Singapore was expelled, Malaysia had everything that the island republic glaringly lacked – ample land, a plethora of natural resources, an operating government, and 9.3 million people. Read the rest of this entry »

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Subsidies masking IPP ‘inefficiencies’, says think tank

By Lee Wei Lian
The Malaysian Insider
Jun 13, 2011

KUALA LUMPUR, June 13 — Independent Power Producers (IPPs) would have to charge much more than their Singapore counterparts if natural gas were sold to them at market rates, due to their bloated and inefficient cost structures, claimed Research for Social Advancement (Refsa) today.

The think tank estimated that local IPPs would need to raise their average prices from 25 sen/kWh to 74 sen/kWh if subsidies were removed and gas prices were allowed to rise from RM10.70/mmBTU to the present market price of RM47.42/mmBTU.

In comparison, Singapore power producers charge 41 sen/kWh.

“Put simply, if the gas subsidy in Malaysia is completely removed, the IPPs generation cost would be 80 per cent higher than that of power generators in Singapore,” said Refsa executive director Teh Chi Chang, noting that in Singapore fuel prices are market based. Read the rest of this entry »

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IPPs, where’s your social responsibility?

MalaysiaKini
June 13, 2011

‘Why are IPPs hiding behind the non-disclosure clauses? Their position however is comprehensible – they are only protecting their own self-interests.’

IPPs do not benefit from gas subsidy

DannyLoH: What the Association of Independent Power Producers (Penjanabebas) need to explain is why, despite the gas subsidies, our electricity tariff is higher than Thailand, whose producers are purchasing gas at market price?

Paul Warren Penjanabebas, by this letter, you surely have succeeded in ensuring that people only look at the subsidies on the fuel consumed by you. But you did say that your compensation is in two components – fuel and capacity.

And just in case you wish to feign ignorance or lack of understanding, let me put it this way – if one of your members’ capacity is 1,200 megawatts, he gets paid for that 1,200 megawatts.
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Guan Eng wants bipartisan review of IPPs

By Yow Hong Chieh
June 13, 2011
The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, June 13 — The government must convene a panel comprising both Barisan Nasional (BN) and opposition lawmakers to ensure there is no cover-up of “lopsided” independent power producers (IPPs) deals, Lim Guan Eng has said.

The DAP secretary-general said only a bipartisan committee or royal commission of inquiry (RCI) into the hot-button purchasing power agreements (PPAs) would assure the public they will not lose out if the deals are eventually renegotiated.
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Guan Eng: royal commission on IPPs, PPAs

Malaysiakini
Jun 12, 11

DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng has challenged the BN-led foreign government to set up a royal commission of inquiry into the issue of independent power producers and the related matter of power purchase agreements (PPA).

In this way, all PPAs and other PPAs would be disclosed and it could be determined once and for all whether the government has been equitable in its energy subsidy cuts for end consumers while maintaining lopsided arrangements with the IPPs that supply power to utility firm TNB, said Lim.

Lim, who is also Penang chief minister, was echoing an earlier statement by Umno stalwart Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah that an RCI should be set up to review TNB’s contracts with the 26 IPPs currently producing about 60 percent of the TNB’s energy supply.

“The RCI would determine how severely the lopsided deals are burdening consumers with the rise in electricity tariffs and introduce measures to either reduce or remove this huge financial burden on the people,” said Lim in a statement today. Read the rest of this entry »

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Cabinet forms panel to study power deals

The Malaysian Insider
Jun 12, 2011

KUALA LUMPUR, June 12 — Following growing calls for power purchasing agreements to be reviewed, Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah today announced that a Cabinet committee has been formed to evaluate the matter.

“The committee will study various aspects (of power supply) and not just the [independent power producers] problem… among them (production) costs and (requirements for) the future because there are IPPs whose concession is due to end in 2014 and 2015,” Ahmad Husni was quoted by Bernama Online today.

The second finance minister also stressed that the committee will take a birds-eye view of subsidies and not be focussed primarily with the power deals or the producers.

“We have not been given any deadline for submitting the report, but what must be stressed here is that it will give priority to the interests of the people,” he said.

It remains to be seen if the committee will be enough to assuage lawmakers calling for a royal commission of inquiry (RCI) to probe the lopsided power deals between Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) and the IPPs. Read the rest of this entry »

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Asia leads the world’s recovery, but high food and fuel prices threaten gains

By Noeleen Heyzer and Nagesh Kumar
June 07, 2011 | The Malaysian Insider

JUNE 7 — Asia and the Pacific, more than any other region in the world, will experience greater transformation and change in the coming years, as the region’s economic strength plays a greater role in the global economy and as its population centers struggle to overcome the burdens of poverty, hunger, natural disasters and social inequalities.

The region’s economic growth figures, recently released in the UN ESCAP Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific 2011, indicate just how powerful Asia’s economy is for the world already.

The Asia-Pacific region recovered strongly in 2010 from the global financial crisis and recession of 2008-09 with the region’s developing economies growing at 8.8 per cent. In 2011, growth in developing economies of the region is forecast to be 7.3 per cent — lower than 2010’s high growth which represented a recovery from the low base of the 2009 recession. Read the rest of this entry »

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