Archive for October 21st, 2010

The 100-storey Najib Tower

This is extract of speech by Lim Kit Siang at the first of two consecutive 2,000-plus-people Wisma Penang DAP fund-raising dinners held at PISA on Monday, 18th October 2010. Read the rest of this entry »


A Malaysian Lunch

By Zairil Khir Johari

While everyone spent the last weekend mulling over the recently announced Budget 2011, I spent mine immersed in chocolates and experiencing a brief moment of notoriety on Lim Kit Siang’s blog.

It was back to business on Monday as I met up with two old friends over lunch. In true Malaysian fashion, our conversation flirted with everything from the erection, oops, election budget to matters of national (un)importance and just generally anything that came into mind. All this over banana leaf and lots of (burp) curry. The following is a parable of our discussion:

Friend A (special officer to a certain executive in a certain GLC): Service is so slow. Why does it take so long to make one iced Milo?

Friend B (self-employed IT entrepreneur): Nothing new about that…

Me (chocoholic): Yeah, what do you expect? We don’t get first class service on private jets like you.
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Malaysia in the Era of Globalization #37

By M. Bakri Musa

Chapter 5: Understanding Globalization (Cont’d)

Trading in Money

Malaysia cannot modernize its financial sector and capital markets in part because its leaders are stuck in the pre-globalization mindset, especially in their attitude towards money and capital. While to consumers everywhere money is now simply a convenient medium of commercial transaction, to Mahathir and other Third World nationalists it assumes a more important symbolic function. Currency represents the nation’s sovereignty. It is instructive that one of the first orders of business for many newly independent nations is to declare a new currency or to rename its old one. Malaysia has the ringgit, and to symbolize its new beginning, prints a portrait of its king on the paper notes. Money is no longer simply money, rather a powerful symbol of the nation’s sovereignty.

It is this symbolic attachment to the currency that irrationally dictates many economic policies. Governments often go to extreme lengths to defend the value of their currency when market conditions dictate otherwise, as happened in Thailand and Malaysia during the 1997 crisis. They forget that the value of a currency is a reflection of consumers’ and investors’ confidence in the underlying economy. A weak economy will have a weak currency, regardless of the nationalistic frenzy used to whip support for it. Malaysia lost billions and nearly exhausted its foreign exchange reserves in the early part of the 1997 economic crisis trying to defend the value of the ringgit, only to admit finally that the market was correct.
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