Joining Formula 1 is glamorous but will not help to make Malaysia a high income developed country

By Dr Chen Man Hin, DAP life adviser

The other day PM Najib’s kitchen cabinet announced plans to make Malaysia a high income developed country. Two days later he announced Malaysia will become a F1 racing country to bring glory and prestige as a renowned automobile producer of world standards.

Proton is sucking up millions every year of taxpayers’ money to support the automobile industry, and now F1 will require spending a billion or more annually. It will increase the financial burden of the people.

Tun Mahathir supports the F1 initiative because it will bring publicity worth millions for Malaysia, as F1 races are splashed across the media. He forgets that it will also focus on the sorry state of the automobile industry headed by Proton.

Instead of sponsoring F1, PM Najib and former-PM Mahathir should pull up their sleeves and turn the automobile industry around to be as successful as the Thai automobile manufacturing. Thailand is now internationally known as the ‘Detroit of SE Asia’

Thailand is not chasing for F1 fame because it does not bring fortune.

The Thais do not have a national car to subsidise, like Malaysia. They take the road of liberalisation and invite international car makers to support their automobile programme.

PM Najib should take note that HONDA and BMW, world famous car makers have lost interest in F1 and have pulled out of the F1 racing grid.

He should also be aware that LOTUS F1 in its heydays in the nineties won 6 coveted F1 constructors title. But what good did Lotus bring to the British auto industry, which is in a sorry state? Its one time branded car makers had to be bailed out by US and European car makers.

It is doubtful that participation in F1 will help to develop the economy of the country and contribute to the making of a high income Malaysia.

We respectfully suggest that the two Prime Ministers should concentrate their energy to save the automobile industry liberalisation measures. Stop subsidising Proton and let there be free competition of all motor makers, which is the successful formula adopted by Thailand, the ‘Detroit of SE Asia’

  1. #1 by OrangRojak on Saturday, 19 September 2009 - 12:44 pm

    ‘Glamorous’ without the ‘O’ is like CSL without the … oh wait.

    [Error noted. Thanks – Admin]

  2. #2 by taiking on Saturday, 19 September 2009 - 1:01 pm

    Its alright if the F1 thing failed. Just dispose for US$1.

  3. #3 by boh-liao on Saturday, 19 September 2009 - 1:23 pm

    So, gomen got money
    Y can’t the gomen use the money
    To buy the NS highway so that rakyat can travel free
    To improve transport system in M’sia
    To provide basic amenities n healthcare to all M’sians

  4. #4 by k1980 on Saturday, 19 September 2009 - 1:26 pm

    //F1 will bring publicity worth millions for Malaysia, as F1 races are splashed across the media.//

    Altantuya who went ka-boomed and Nordin Top the ka-boom expert has already brought enough publicity for this country.

  5. #5 by Joshua on Saturday, 19 September 2009 - 1:36 pm

    Lotus can sound like Loot us…

    Proton saga sounds like simple fool…

    So more looting is on the way with F1 splashing out RM1 billion to bring back a few hundred ringgit in advert and a bad name for the nation with a rotten system now signified by the looting at PKFZ as exposed by 18 pages of secret document of the Ali Baba and the 40 thieves in Bolehland or Bohlien /kosong cash now.

    Is Bank Negara empty now?

    Is Petronas depleted?

    Who are going to bail out the bad times of the rotten system of 1Malaysia?

    The poor would become poorer still on Formula 1 that does not work to generate fair income except more profligacy of the drained wealth.

    pw: were faxhound

  6. #6 by Joshua on Saturday, 19 September 2009 - 1:37 pm

    F1 splashing out RM1 billion to bring back a few hundred ringgit Million in adverts

  7. #7 by Loh on Saturday, 19 September 2009 - 1:38 pm

    ///Two days later he (Najib) announced Malaysia will become a F1 racing country to bring glory and prestige as a renowned automobile producer of world standards.///– Dr. Chen

    The condition for bringing in glory and prestige is that Proton has to be a renowned automobile producer of world standards. How about making proton car acceptable and reliable to be as competitive as others before thinking about joining as a F1 racing country? Proton has been in operation for about 25 years, and its survival depends on tax differential compared to other makes. Tax differential does not count in determining whether Proton products attain world standards.

    No doubt as a F1 racing country, people involved in the project would join the high income class, just like those involved in PKFZ. But that does not make Malaysia a high income nation.

  8. #8 by limkamput on Saturday, 19 September 2009 - 1:47 pm

    I just want to tell PM and all his half baked economic advisors that there is no such a thing as high income economic policy or high income economic model.

    High income is the consequence of sound macro economic policies applied patiently, prudently and consistently. There is no high income policy to create a high income economy other than creating more money and give it to the people free. High income economy is characterised by people EARNING high income (not get free money) from higher value-added activities, productivity gains and fairer distribution of income. Any other ways of obtaining high income is inflationary (manifested through higher prices) – yes, higher income and higher prices, so what is the difference?

  9. #9 by ktteokt on Saturday, 19 September 2009 - 2:26 pm

    Where is all these money coming from? Formula 1? Space program? The treasury is dry and Petronas is being drained, so the next best alternative place to get RM, RM and RM is from KWSP! For those who have qualified to withdraw their KWSP, I would advise them to draw out every single cent in their account. Do not leave anything for them to manipulate with!

  10. #10 by Onlooker Politics on Saturday, 19 September 2009 - 2:30 pm

    In this article, Dr Chen Man Hin tries to pinpoint the fact that the automobile industry in Malaysia is now struggling in a sorry state! Indeed, automobile industry is only one of several Malaysia’s declining industries which are directly or indirectly linked to personal hobbies the PM or former PMs. When the PM is still in power, his hobby will thrive and the industry which is directly or indirectly related to his hobby will prosper. However, after the PM has stepped down from the post of premiership of Malaysia, the hobby-related industry will tend to decline or show a financial collapse. This industry up-and-down cyclical pattern is largely caused by the irrational Malaysian culture which encourages the profiteering businessman to serve as an apple-polisher of the power-that-be, namely the PM, in Malaysia.

    The late Tun Abdul Razak encouraged “Rancangan Buku Hijau”. Therefore many hard-working young farmers during early 1970s were able to amass adequate hard-earned savings for purpose of spending for wedding banquets and dowry!

    Tun Dr Mahathir likes automobile, especially racing sport car. Therefore Proton thrived during TDM’s rule. TDM also likes snobbish high rise skyscrappers. Therefore the once-upon-a-time known to be the world tallest Petronas Twin Towers were built during TDM’s era. When TDM stepped down from the premiership, many car dealers and construction contractors also had to find that their business transaction volumes were quickly going down steeply due to bad market sentiment in car industry and construction industry.

    Pak Lah likes ruminant farming. Therefore, when Pak Lah was the PM, Muhyiddin Yassin’s cronies in Pagoh thrived with the huge amount of government grants for subsidising ruminant farming. After Pak Lah had resigned from the post of PM, the ruminant farming in Malaysia gradually showed sign of bankruptcy.

    Now PM Najib’s hobby is still an unknown to many.

    Perhaps the next thriving business will be the massage parlour which hires some pretty girls as the GRO!

  11. #11 by Onlooker Politics on Saturday, 19 September 2009 - 2:33 pm

    Indeed, automobile industry is only one of several Malaysia’s declining industries which are directly or indirectly linked to personal hobbies OF the PM or former PMs.

  12. #12 by illuminati on Saturday, 19 September 2009 - 2:44 pm

    F1 is just money for nothing, chicks for free for the privileged few. For the rest of us, F1 is just a golden mirage, nothing more. On top of that, there’s a whole lot of wheeler-dealing going on. Malaysia’s intention to go in that direction is like stepping into a pool of quicksand.

  13. #13 by Jaswant on Saturday, 19 September 2009 - 3:05 pm

    To this commentator everybody is ‘half-baked’ – even the moderator is ‘half-baked’ and YB Kit? Kit stole his ideas and claimed them as his.

    #28 by limkamput on September 13th, 2009 16:27

    “Never mind, you don’t have to moderate me, i quit despite the fact that i love this blog and have been contributing probably when you were still sucking milk. It is not just the qualities of bloggers have gone down, even the moderator is also a phua tang sai (half baked in case you don’t understand)”??

  14. #14 by boh-liao on Saturday, 19 September 2009 - 3:20 pm

    Forget about F1 making M’sia famous
    Y planning to waste billions to do so
    M’sia is alredi famous, because of
    Ka boom, Altantuya, C4, Razak, n Rose
    Anwar Ibrahim’s black-eye n sodomy trial
    Correct, correct, correct Lingam
    MACC n Teoh Beng Hock’s death
    Keris-cow Hishap-moo-dim heroics
    Whipping of Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno
    Nicol David, our squash queen
    All free, sensational publicity for M’sia
    M’sia dah famous lah

    Forget about Proton
    Really, how many Umnoputras and BNputras bought Proton
    Mana they want no-class Proton
    They want SUVs n 4-wheel drives from Honda, BMW, Lexus, Toyota

  15. #15 by Onlooker Politics on Saturday, 19 September 2009 - 3:22 pm

    F1 may be another huge money siphoning project in the cooking, in view of BN leaders slowly losing confidence in BN’s chance of winning the next General Election nation-wide!

  16. #16 by monsterball on Saturday, 19 September 2009 - 7:01 pm

    Tax payers can loose RM1 billion a year….not important long as few UMNO guys get few millions more.
    Somehow..UMNO is so used to earn commission by the millions..and Malaysia has not gone bankcrupt….the method and system of stealing money…is all OK.
    The are so drunk with the end results..benefiting UMNO crooks…forget about being practical and logical.
    Just listen to how Mahathir give such wonderful good news…and all can go to hell with him…sooner later.
    Fortunately…the forces of right thinking Malaysians are far more than those devils.
    We can actually put all in our pockets…provided the play fair.
    When have anyone ever hear UMNO succeeds in any business venture?
    Formula One RM 1 billion will make 100 times more….Mahathir said.
    Now trace back his 22 years…how many billions did he make for Malaysia.
    Spending billions…he is famous for. How many billions made back?

  17. #17 by newchief on Saturday, 19 September 2009 - 7:03 pm

    another brilliant way for umno to leech away our precious hard earned money into their pockets just like the STILL ON-GOING NASIONAL TRAINING !!!

    just imagine how much kilos of rice, fish , meat , etc will be SAVED if nt is postponed. cost of food will be reduced because there will still be abundance of food then.

    the rakyat fears that when the government wants to get involved in f1 which is a very very expensive affair, they will very soon come out to say that cost of fuel will BE INCREASED AGAIN and hence, everything will go SKY-HIGH!!!

  18. #18 by oldman99 on Saturday, 19 September 2009 - 7:04 pm

    F1 requires Billions of funds each year. Everyone knows that. All these goes to the drivers contract, agents, managers, directors, expenses, advertisements, etc. Yes, there will be some source of income from sponsors…but who are they? How much will they contribute? Will it be enough?

    The country’s micro economy hardly picked up & the last thing we want is to watse billions into a over-rated race car sports (it’s more glamour than sports) that everyone wants to pull out of.

    The billions could be used for more better things to benefit the people rather than selected people only. The selected people don’t need it in the 1st place. Like someone said, no money to buy back PLUS so that people can have free highway but got money to waste for F1.

  19. #19 by oldman99 on Saturday, 19 September 2009 - 7:10 pm

    Also everyone knows that Lotus = Proton now. Even the Brits don’t want it back. Will it be 60s technology driving the Lotus cars or purchase from somewhere (via agent) & then claim it’s Lotus engine? Even Kia & Hyundai, who are more successful in Europe, North America, Australia – compared to Proton – are not wasting their funds on such sport ie. burning fuel & rubber. Mind you, Kia & Hyundai are not much older than Proton. The presence / branding of Kia & Hyundai is remarkably different to Proton.

  20. #20 by albert308 on Saturday, 19 September 2009 - 7:25 pm

    The announcement by PM for 1Malaysia F1 team seem to make Toon Mamak happy, never mind spending over RM1 billion a year to pleased Grand Old Man. Malaysians has many more other priorities than Toon Mamak wish. Who are the financing this Grand Old Man mega hobby?
    Toon Mamak said Samy Vellu is a liability to BN. The fact is Toon Mamak a liability to Malaysians.

  21. #21 by Ken G on Saturday, 19 September 2009 - 8:22 pm

    F1 is only glamourous if you can finish among the top 5. If you an even qualify or always finish close to the bottom, you’ll become a laughing stock after spending all the huge sums. Proton has no world market so what the hell does it want the worldwide exposure for? Does it think it can con people into thinking that consumer cars are similar to F1 cars?

  22. #22 by Taxidriver on Saturday, 19 September 2009 - 8:47 pm

    Proton should be grateful to taxi drivers and civil servants throughout the country, Taxi drivers are required to change their proton taxis every seven years while civil servants are entitled to 100% car loans with the condition that they must buy Proton cars. This is how Proton is the bestseller every year!! It is the cheapest in the market, but the cost of proton spare-parts is exorbitant; some parts cost twice that of some imported cars. Proton boleh! Malaysia lagi boleh!

  23. #23 by negarawan on Saturday, 19 September 2009 - 9:11 pm

    Is the F1 part of Najib’s KPI? What kind of PM is this that does not know what are the real priorities of the nation. Wasteful and extravagant expenditures like this, in the range of a few hundred USD per year, could better be used to the benefit of the underpriveleged in Malaysia. It’s only some UMNO cronies that will stand to gain in this stupid project.

    “Rakyat Didahulukan” My foot!

  24. #24 by sheriff singh on Saturday, 19 September 2009 - 10:30 pm

    Its another scam, I tell you. Its a scam.

    We will ultimately end up in the red and public funds will be used to patch up the shortfall.

    Anybody still remember the 1998 KL Commonwealth Games Scandal?

    Has the accounts been finalised? Whats the latest status? Did we make money?

  25. #25 by GreenBug on Saturday, 19 September 2009 - 11:15 pm

    One of the most stupid ideas to have come out from Purajaya and I know there will be more to come… this country is going to the dogs!

  26. #26 by ENDANGERED HORNBILL on Saturday, 19 September 2009 - 11:30 pm

    The problem is simply this: Najib has his head in the clouds, is racy and suffers from blurred vision.

    The problem is not with the !Malaysia slogan or F1. It is quite useless, I think, telling Najib he keeps barking up the wrong tree. As an F1 driver, his ears are all cocked up…he can’t hear!

  27. #27 by trublumsian on Sunday, 20 September 2009 - 12:31 am

    there can only be a few ways this will turn out:

    1. “after hearing concerns from the public, we the government, who listens to our rakyat mind you, decided to shelve it till further discussions happens”. stupid umno never fails in jumping the gun and putting their foot in the mouth.

    2. forever in preparation mode, never taking off, loses tons of money, and pretends it never happened.

    3. launch a half-baked effort, chest-thump with pompous fanfare, “we have arrived!”, can’t sustain it, “THUD”, falls flat in the face. and pretends it never happened.

    4. least likely but most fortuitous outcome – gets to race, but never winning one. “gee, we need to import a racer, o and the crew too, for that matter we need to outsource the whole darn thing to be viable. good idea, i volunteer to be the middleman with $500 million commission.”

    5. add to the laundry list of scandals. launch a dozen committees to investigate. call in pricewaterhouse, they are only allowed to investigate the bony models.

  28. #28 by ktteokt on Sunday, 20 September 2009 - 8:58 am

    One good evidence of failure of the BN government is PLAZA RAKYAT in the middle of the city of Kuala Lumpur. This building (yet to be completed) stood around since CG98. Things were rushed up just to complete the LRT station and the rest of the building remains as it was, with just the pillars sticking out and cranes high up which have all become rusty! This is a total disgrace. They should have put up a big signboard or hung up a huge banner with the words “SATU LAGI PROJEK BARISAN NASIONAL” on one of the pillars to show their sincerity in taking responsibility.

    And just because Plaza Rakyat was not completed, Pudu Raya next door suffers from continuous overcrowding of buses and traffic congestion. So just wondering why this SATU LAGI PROJEK BARISAN NASIONAL stood the way it was since 1998?

  29. #29 by Onlooker Politics on Sunday, 20 September 2009 - 11:24 am

    To know more about the status of Plaza Rakyat project, please surf the wikipedia website:

    In fact, both Tun Dr. Mahathir and Pak Lah had been given opportunities to prove to the whole world about the true resilience of Malaysia’s economy if they really cared enough to spend some money and some administrative efforts to revive the Plaza Rakyat project, which had long since become the eye sore of Kuala Lumpur’s city view after 1997-1998 Asian Currency Crisis. However, the two former PMs’ inaction and indecision in so doing had only showed to the whole world that Malaysia’s economy has been and is being embedded with a lot of debt-ridden problems, which may take another few more years to get full recovery from financial predicament!

    And now PM Najib is trying to spend RM10 billion a year for each and every year on the proposed F1 project. What a snobbish person he can be!

  30. #30 by caseyee on Sunday, 20 September 2009 - 11:40 am

    It appears to me that no members of the kitchen cabinet has the mindfulness of majority of the respondents here to oppose the proposal, as it is clearly an unnecessary and money-wasting project that even 11-years old can comprehend. This shows that all members of the cabinet are either lowly educated or/and they are too timid to go against Najib’s proposal – polishing shoe and only interested to collect their salaries at the end of the month. They are not putting the interests of the people first – in total about turn of the 1Malaysia concept.

  31. #31 by ktteokt on Sunday, 20 September 2009 - 5:24 pm

    If there are insufficient funds to even revive abandoned projects on the ground, where is all the money used to send our space tourist out to outer space coming from?

  32. #32 by Make A Difference on Sunday, 20 September 2009 - 5:36 pm

    Malaysia has lately been very high profile with all the stupid events that have taken place lately. We don’t need to spend a cent to achieve a high profile. Our stupidity will do that for us.

    If the investment in F1 Malaysia is going to give a return investment of 100 times, then spending a Billion $ / yr makes alot of sense and we should spend more. If that is the case why do we need to have private investors. Let the tax payers enjoy the benefits of this fantastic investment. It makes no sense that we need to have private investors unless this is another way of milking the tax payer’s money for the benefit of a few individuals. We can afford to lose $12bn in the PKFZ scandal, what is $1bm per year to earn 100bn / year. It is a no brainer if every thing is true.

  33. #33 by katdog on Sunday, 20 September 2009 - 8:30 pm

    F1, another sad relic or the wasteful Dr. M regime.

    Some fools tries to defend the ‘benefits’ of the F1 circuit in Sepang citing that even Singapore has got into the F1 game. However, the problem is that Singapore isn’t banking solely on F1. F1 is merely one part of its long term plan to transform itself into a tourist center for the rich. On top of the F1, Singapore i sbuilding SEA’s first Universal Studios as well as casinos and integrated resorts.

    My guess is, this could be a move to try and counter competition from Singapore’s F1. If you think about it logically, why would FIA want to hold 2 F1 races at the roughly the same region?

    It is probably a matter of time before the FIA deems that it is probably not that profitable to hold 2 races in the same region. Not to mention, regions that don’t have a large audience.

  34. #34 by pgsilai on Sunday, 20 September 2009 - 11:46 pm

    F1 is another opportunity for them to dig and suck more money, knowing very well BN has no hope come next election!

  35. #35 by Indran01 on Monday, 21 September 2009 - 1:35 pm

    After more than 20 years at it, Proton is still chugging ahead because of the high economic rent it managed to obtain at the expense of the Malaysian consumers.
    Proton is still relevant because of the appauling state of our transport system. We have no choice but to get a car!!
    Just imagine throwing another billion dollars a year… This is the classic case of throwing good money after bad money.
    According to the Federal Govt Development Expenditure, the govt intends to spend about RM 7.6 billion to develop our transportation sector. Imagine spending just RM 1 billion to benefit a handful of people.
    The argument that it will bring in tourist dollars is moot. No one can give definite investment returns of hosting F1 in Malaysia, let alone, investing in a F1 team.

    My recommendations:
    1. Cut our losses in Proton & Lotus. With nearly 200 different car manufacturers in China alone, we will be wiped out just like the Detroit dinosaurs when they catch up with the Japanese and Koreans.
    2. Use the 1 billion ringgit to invest in Green technology. Our competitive advantage lies in biofuels and that is an area for us to capitalize on.

  36. #36 by Taxidriver on Monday, 21 September 2009 - 2:37 pm

    The last thing Najib wants is to offend Mah Ah Tee. Badawi did not possess the cunning of Najib; put all M. H. Tee’s projects ‘on hold’ ( the most famous is the Crooked Bridge ). M.H.Tee showed Badawi he is not one to be triffled with by successfully plotting the later’s downfall.

    With the 13th GE drawing nearer with every passing day, Najib more than ever needs his ‘godfather’ to help plan to ensure he retains power. Joining the F1 is the best way to please M.H.Tee as he can be actively involved in the project because his son is the chief executive inside.

    PKFZ will be ‘forgotten’ soon. They now use fast cars to carry away the peoples’ money. VRrroooooom………..they disappear again!

  37. #37 by Taxidriver on Monday, 21 September 2009 - 2:58 pm

    We need not be unduly concerned about our Racing Circuit being under-utilised. They can hold a Mat Rempit Motorcycle Championship race annually or National Taxidrivers Racing Championship……….You can bet I will take part. Vrrooooom……

  38. #38 by katdog on Monday, 21 September 2009 - 8:32 pm

    Indran01, good ideas. Unfortunately don’t expect the BN government to do anything.

    Look at the stupid proposal by BN to build NUCLEAR power plants for Malaysia. Singapore is investing in research in developing Tidal Wave generators. If this succeeds Singapore will have a supply of clean constantly renewable energy source on top of possibly selling the technology to other countries.

    Malaysia with Nuclear energy would have to purchase expensive uranium fuel rods from uranium producing countries. Then Malaysia would have to either pay another country to store the highly radioactive spent fuel rods or store it in Malaysia itself. The radioactive materials will have to be stored carefully for hundreds of years. Any leak would be extremely dangerous.

    BN government is totally incompetent and has absolutely no idea how to manage the country’s future.

  39. #39 by IdealWorld on Wednesday, 23 September 2009 - 7:18 pm

    One should learn to walk before one attempts to run!

    The government has and is spending loads of money to initiate glamorous projects with the pretext that the outcome would benefit the country. What has the space program delivered to Malaysians to justify its cost? Proton could have been a better company producing much better products in view of the support it received from the government. The people are slogging away to pay for the fancies of the government and this is utterly unfair. There are countless white elephants in Malaysia and everytime, someone is reaping the benefits, not the rakyat.

    It is easy to build a place for house the F1 team but much more difficult to build a good F1 technical team comprising Malaysians. Just look at the composition of the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra – most are foreigners! We do not have the expertise in F1 and we should not pretend to have. It is much better if we market ourselves as the best producer of palm oil or rubber than to proclaim we know anything about F1. We can be a good host, but seldom an authority in the field.

    The common Malaysian may not feel the immediate pinch due to these wasteful endeavors, but if we know we have missed out on a lot (such as a better standard of living, better transport system, better healthcare, higher income per capita, better education system etc.) just because money has been wasted on these useless projects, we ought to be upset.

    There is much injustice in Malaysia and these are often not highlighted by the mainstream media, perhaps due to the fear of retaliation. The public deserves to know the truth and to choose their leaders accordingly.

  40. #40 by Voter on Thursday, 24 September 2009 - 9:18 pm

    thrown 1 billions each year into F1 equavalent killed 10 millions of rakyat life. because many of rakyat not even can sAVE rm100 000 for their wholelife

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