Archive for October 12th, 2008

Revised 2009 Budget tomorrow – Najib’s first test as Finance Minister

Tomorrow when Parliament reconvenes to start the 2009 Budget debate is the first parliamentary test of Datuk Seri Najib Razak as Finance Minister – whether he has a revised 2009 Budget to take corrective measures to shield the country from the world’s worst economic crisis in 80 years so as to enhance competitiveness, boost growth and tamp down inflation.

The first thing Malaysians want to hear from Najib are not platitudes like Malaysia enjoying strong economic fundamentals, financial markets and infrastructure and immunity from external shocks but how the country could be shielded from the worst fallouts of the looming world economic crisis.

Secondly, how Najib proposes to tamp down inflation which had hit a 27-year high largely because of the sharp and unconscionable 41% increase in petrol pump prices in early June.

The price of crude oil has now plunged by almost 50 per cent since striking record high levels above US$147 per barrel on July 11.

The price dropped US$5.61 to US$77.05 a barrel on London’s ICE Futures exchange on Friday.

Energy experts believe prices could go even lower, going down to the US$60 a barrel range.

As Najib has been Finance Minister for 25 days, there is no reason why he is unable to announce a revised 2009 Budget in Parliament tomorrow taking fully into account the sharpest drop of the price of oil in 13 months by lowering the pump prices of petrol. Read the rest of this entry »


Gerakan has not risen above its infantile subservience to Umno

The first post-March 8 Gerakan national delegates conference is supposed to send out one message – that Gerakan has finally come of age as a political party as it has heard loud and clear the message of the political tsunami in the March general election seven months ago.

I had looked forward to such a Gerakan “coming of age” as a healthy development of Malaysian politics in the post-tsunami era.

But it is not to be and I am disappointed. It was very clear from yesterday’s opening session of the Gerakan conference that it has not risen above its infantile political subservience to Umno despite all the Gerakan posturing, “thunder and lightning” in the past seven month.

When Gerakan President Tan Sri Dr. Koh Tsu Koon could call Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi the “Father of Democracy”, it was a most adverse reflection on the former Penang Chief Minister than on the Prime Minister. Read the rest of this entry »


Wake up – we are all Malaysians!

[The following piece was emailed to me. I do not know who is the writer. But it should be a wake-up call indeed for all Malaysians if Malaysia is to stand up and stop being overtaken and left behind by one nation after another. Kit]

This is our wake up call!!!

Indonesia is one of the world’s richest countries in terms of natural resources. God has blessed Indonesia with gold, uranium, copper, oil, timber, beaches, seas and other wealth. The land is fertile with abundant rain. Stick a twig into the ground and it grows into a tree. Yet Indonesians sleep in the streets. Food is expensive. The average Indonesian eats some rice, tempe,tauhu and may be some vegetables for breakfast, lunch and dinner everyday. An average Nasi Padang meal for four persons in a single star Indonesian restaurant can cost RM60.00 (160,000 Rupiah). This is way beyond the income of the average Joko or Ketut in Indonesia.

Why is this so? The answer is because the ruling elites in Indonesia do not care about the people. They have pillaged the country. They craft policies that only serve to keep the elites in power and the wealthly. The same thing is happening in Malaysia. There are also millions of Indonesians who go to school and university but do not learn skills that can help them survive in the real world. They are very poor in European languages like English or Dutch. All their education is in Indonesian. So they cannot keep up with the latest developments and technologies. They cannot compete. They remain poor.

The children of the elite are sent overseas for their education. An average Indonesian university graduate cannot bring world class skills to his employers. He or she therefore earns a pittance. This is happening in Malaysia. Bumiputra university graduates only strike it rich if they get Government jobs where they do not do much work but earn a good salary with a pension. In the private sector they may not get a job or earn only a pittance. That is why 100,000 graduates remain unemployed in Malaysia. Read the rest of this entry »