Archive for October 8th, 2009

Malaysia’s loss of face past two years in being totally excluded from Top World 200 Universities retrieved somewhat with University of Malaya ranked No. 180 but still a long way to go

Congrats to University of Malaya (UM) for making a come-back in the THES-QS World Universities Rankings 2009 to be among the world’s top 200 universities – climbing 50 places from last year (No. 230) to rank No. 180 this year.

Malaysia’s loss of face in the past two years in being totally excluded from the Top World 200 Universities ranking has been retrieved somewhat with UM’s return to the Top World 200 Universities bracket but there is still a long way to go for Malaysian universities to establish their excellence and international competitiveness for at least six reasons:

  1. This is still a far cry from UM’s previous rankings in the THES-QS Top World 200 Universities – 89th in 2004 and 169 in 2005, before falling to 192 in 2006 and out of the Top 200 bracket in the following two years (ranked 246 in 2007 and 230 in 2008).

  2. In June 2005, at UM’s centennial celebrations, then Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak challenged UM to raise its then 89th position among the world’s top 100 universities in the THES-QS ranking to 50 by the year 2020. After four years, UM had fallen 91 rankings although this is not as bad as falling 157 rankings in 2007. Is Najib’s challenge for UM to be among the world’s Top 50 universities “an impossible dream”?

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Before 1MALAYSIA can be extended to 1World …

By Dr Chen Man Hin, DAP Life Adviser

The announcement by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak recommending his concept of 1Malaysia to other countries to adopt a similar concept and his call for the creation of 1WORLD dream are both astounding and confusing.

Najib must be commended for his inspiration but unfortunately he is quite premature to do so, as back home in Malaysia, the concept of 1Malaysia is not a done thing yet.

In the first instance, his definition of 1Malaysia is unclear. The people want to know whether 1Malaysia means all citizens are equal, that all citizens have the same status of first-class Malaysians.

If it is so, then why is Umno propagating a policy of MALAY SUPREMACY. Umno claims that Malays are ketuanan Melayu (malay supremacy) while the others the Chinese, Indians and indigenous communities are second class.
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Malaysian Economic Democratisation – Extract 6

(Extracts from DAP Alternative Budget 2010 launched on 7th October 2009)

9. Thrust II: Rakyat First – Restructuring and Reallocation

9.3 Unfair Public Contracts
The Malaysian economic landscape is littered with many one-sided contracts and concessions under which private entrepreneurs reap supernormal profits while the government or government-linked companies continue to bear considerable business risk. Major privatisation exercises were conducted and concessions granted in manners that were not open, accountable and transparent through public tenders.

An Unfair Public Contracts Act will be enacted and an independent public commission to be known as the Public Contracts Commission will be formed to review such lopsided concessions that are deemed to be against the public interest.

Constitutional and corporate lawyer Tommy Thomas if of the view that such an act will be constitutional as it will be similar in nature to the Land Acquisition Act 1960 which allows the government to take over any private land for public purpose, provided adequate compensation is paid.

Such legislation is not unique to Malaysia. Eminent domain (United of States of America), compulsory purchase (United Kingdom, New Zealand, Ireland), resumption/compulsory acquisition (Australia) and expropriation (South Africa and Canada’s common law system) are examples of the inherent power of the state to seize or expropriate private property without the owners’s consent provided, of course, Read the rest of this entry »


Malaysian Economic Democratisation – Extract 5

(Extracts from DAP Alternative Budget 2010 launched on 7th October 2009)

9. Thrust II: Rakyat First – Restructuring and Reallocation

9.2 Managing Oil Wealth

Over-reliance on Oil and Gas

Malaysia is blessed with abundant natural resources. In particular, we are thankful that the country is rich in oil and gas, which created Malaysia’s sole representative in the Fortune 500, Petroliam Nasional Berhad (PETRONAS). Since the incorporation of PETRONAS Group 35 years ago, the Group has paid RM471 billion to the Government, in addition to bearing a cumulative gas subsidy of RM97 billion.

In the most recent financial year ending March 2009, PETRONAS achieved profit before tax of RM89.1 billion amidst the challenging economic backdrop. Of greatest importance was the fact that PETRONAS contributed RM61.6 billion to our national coffers in taxes, royalties, dividends and export duties last year. Contribution from PETRONAS Group alone was budgeted to make up some 46% of the Federal Government revenue for 2008. This represents a steep increase from approximately 20% in 2004. The heavier reliance on oil and gas industry for Malaysia over the years signals an alarming trend.

Despite the fact that the total Malaysia hydrocarbon reserves has increased marginally from 20.13 billion barrels of oil equivalent (boe) at January 2008 to 20.18 billion boe at January 2009, and the reserves replacement ratio (RRR) has improved from 0.9 times to 1.1 times during the same period, our reserves will inevitably run dry at some point. During an interview with Bernama in June 2008, the president and chief executive officer of PETRONAS Group, Tan Sri Hassan Marican said that “we will continue to produce for another 20 years or so.” In more immediate terms, “Malaysia will become a net importer when its domestic consumption, growing at six percent per annum, is expected to overtake national production in 2011.”
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Malaysian Economic Democratisation – Extract 4

(Extracts from DAP Alternative Budget 2010 launched on 7th October 2009)

8. Thrust I: Economic Democratisation – Fiscal Decentralisation

8.2 Fiscal decentralisation policies

Other countries, such as Canada, Spain, and the UK have been moving in the opposite direction recently compared to Malaysia, by increasing decentralisation. Nearer to home, China and Indonesia have also successfully decentralised much of their financial and economic decision-making process. Even smaller countries such as Switzerland and Belgium have developed forms of fiscal federalism. To ensure that Malaysia is able to tap into the sizeable latent potential benefits arising from the political accountability, economic efficiency and economic growth, DAP proposes that states are granted greater control over their finances.

8.2.1 Tax revenue sharing agreements
It is proposed that the federal government enter into tax revenue sharing agreements with states so that there is a stronger link between a state’s performance and its revenue share. 20% of individual and corporate income taxes collected in a state, as determined by the residence of the taxpayer and location of the establishment, will become the state’s entitlement. Income taxes will continue to be collected by the federal government using the existing infrastructure, but the states’ portion will be distributed back to the states for each financial year. This is the system which has been adopted by Germany.
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Malaysian Economic Democratisation – Extract 3

(Extracts from DAP Alternative Budget 2010 launched on 7th October 2009)

8. Thrust I: Economic Democratisation – Fiscal Decentralisation

8.1 Greater economic efficiency and political accountability

Many countries have pursued fiscal federalism and have devolved or are devolving more power to state and local governments. China and Indonesia’s recent economic success has also been linked with the decentralisation of economic decision-making. In the UK, the Calman Commission has recommended that Scotland be given greater tax-varying powers in order to further improve their devolution process. This is largely because of the economic efficiency and accountability arguments.

Certain areas of expenditure responsibilities should be decentralised because states and local governments are better placed to tailor their programmes to local needs. For example, state governments are more likely than the central government to know their region’s comparative advantage and hence promote investment initiatives accordingly. In order to decentralise expenditure, revenue must also be shared with states. Instead of being dependent on the federal government spending directly in the states, states would be able to implement their own programmes encouraging tourism, SMEs and industry. In this case, when the 13 states are unshackled in their courting of investment projects with their tailored policies, it is very likely that more and better investments will be attracted and made.
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Malaysian Economic Democratisation – Extract 2

(Extracts from DAP Alternative Budget 2010 launched on 7th October 2009)

5. Key Policy Highlights

Based on the 3 key thrusts outlined above to achieve greater economic democratisation via fiscal decentralisation, to place rakyat first with restructuring and reallocation, and to empower Malaysians through economic capacity building, the key policy measures proposed include:

  1. Tax revenue sharing agreements where 20% of individual and corporate income taxes collected in a state will become the state’s entitlement. For Selangor and Penang, this revenue sharing agreement would entitle them to approximately RM 3.2 billion and RM 500 million respectively. An equalisation and development grants formula based on a function of population, poverty, area development, cost, human development and gross revenue per capita indices will also be given to ensure that poorer states do not lose out.

  2. States will be given the rights to borrow up to a maximum of 50% of their annual ownsource revenue, which is revenue raised directly by the state governments.

  3. We will set up a fund of RM 400 million to provide grants to state governments to reinstate local council elections, conduct delineation studies, hold trainings and promote awareness via publicity and education campaigns after amending the Housing & Local Government Act.

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