Archive for October, 2010

“No Mega Tower” fb campaign – 157,264 @ 8.30 am 25/10/10

Latest score of “No Mega Tower” fb campaign – 157,264 @ 8.30 am today, 25/10/10.

Forty-eight hours ago, it was 113,205, an increase of 44,059 or about 1,000 addition per hour.

In contrast, the support Mega Tower fb campaign recorded 1,585 at 8.30 am 25/10/10, an increase of a miserable 960 in the past 48 hours or 20 per hour – as it was 625 previously.


Umno must avoid PAS’s old blinkered views, says Asri

By G. Manimaran (Bahasa Malaysia Editor)
The Malaysian Insider
October 24, 2010

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 24 — Umno must be practical in its approach and must shed its narrow views which were no longer relevant now, Islamic scholar Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin said.

The former Perlis Mufti described Umno’s tackling of issues now was similar to PAS’s approach in the 1980s, noting that the Islamist party has progressed by presenting itself as a moderate alternative.

In the past two years, PAS has been seen as becoming more progressive and this was highlighted by Umno delegates during the party’s recently concluded annual general assembly, which also tabled a motion on religion and education.

Asri stressed that Umno and other political parties must consider the country’s multi-racial composition when expressing their views on religion or risk Islam becoming politicised.

“In my opinion, it is sad to see that Umno has recently played up issues that made it look like PAS in the 1980s. When PAS is beginning to assert itself as a moderate party, Umno instead are trying to play up issues that are unnecessary. Read the rest of this entry »


PM Najib threatening speech at UMNO Assembly, a sign of desperation

By Dr Chen Man Hin

Najib’s opening speech at the UMNO Assembly has shocked bloggers, internet surfers and the public.

The main media has censored Najib’s opening speech before the UMNO Assembly, filled with threats of crushed bodies, lost lives and ethnic cleansing to avoid causing panic and loss of support among the people and investors.

The Altantuya murder and the trumped up sodomy charge against Anwar and now a speech laced with threats of ethnic cleansing reveal the dark side of Najib.

How do you reconcile this with the sweet talk of 1 Malaysia and Malaysia is for all races? Read the rest of this entry »


Two-generation home loans may bankrupt the next generation

Philip Ho
23 October 2010

Petaling Jaya, Oct 23 – Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Chor Chee Heung has urged house buyers to sign up two-generation housing loans so that more Malaysians can afford to own houses.

“The most important thing is for the individual to own a house for his family to live in. If loan repayment is extended to the second generation, that means the family will remain intact,” said Chor yesterday after launching the Malaysia Building Society Bhd’s Ultimate Mortgage programme on Friday (Oct 22).

Chor said that the newly announced 2011 Budget also encouraged the two-generation loan term while denying that the move would increase the financial burden of the next generation.

“I don’t think it is a burden for the next generation because the repayment will be spread over a long period and the younger generation are financially strong. They can even buy a second house,” he added.

Klik4Malaysia (K4M) contacted Selangor state government’s chief executive of economic advisory Rafizi Ramli for comments from an accountant’s perspective, regarding the implications on the younger generation’s financial burden. Read the rest of this entry »


Consensus on ‘social contract’ imperative

By Clive Kessler | Oct 22, 10 8:52am | Malaysiakini

The nature of the current disagreement about “the social contract” should be clearly identified.

Nobody is seriously suggesting that “the social contract” be repudiated, set aside, rejected. Nobody is arguing that it is fictive, a pure fantasy, an illusion. On all sides, everyone in their own way is arguing that it should be honoured, respected and upheld.

People just need to be clear, and find a way to agree, what its terms were, what “upholding the social contract” means and entails.

People are broadly agreed that in the years between 1955 and 1957 certain basic inter-ethnic or inter-communal understandings were reached. Through them a national “accord” was solemnly affirmed and politically “enshrined” that made the nation possible.

Known informally in earlier times as “the Merdeka agreements” or “Merdeka understandings”, these were subsequently, in the 1980s, relabelled, or as people now say “rebranded” with a new identity as “the social contract”.
Read the rest of this entry »


Umno and PM declaring war against the rakyat?

Richard Loh
Malaysia Chronicle
October 23, 2010

Is our country at war? Is our country being attacked by outsiders? It looks that way when we heard the Prime Minister declaring “Even if our bodies are crushed and our lives lost, brothers and sisters, whatever happens, we must defend Putrajaya.” I would be the first to stand by the PM and sacrifice my life to defend Putrajaya and the country if we are at war with outsiders. When an enemy attacked a country they will go for the capital city, trying to capture it, and if they succeed, the country will be theirs and they win the war.

This morning when I woke up, I hear no gun fire nor any bombing, just the normal sound of vehicles passing by and a beautiful sunny day.

So, what is the PM declaration all about? After reading it more closely I realized that it was umno and it’s president that is declaring war against the rakyat. They have taken control of Putrajaya and that Putrajaya belongs to umno, no one else has the right to it and they will protect it at all cost. Read the rest of this entry »


We all grieve for a Malaysia that could be!

by Romerz
October 22, 2010

In his presidential address to the 61st UMNO general assembly, a lot of things said by PM Najib could be argued against simply on the basis of logic, history, proper understanding of Malaysia’s federal constitution, democracy and a host of other things. But I will not argue against Najib’s fallacious arguments because I’m tired of warped views and I believe my readers are of a higher mentality than those he was addressing.

Instead I will focus on only one thing he mentioned in the speech. Najib said “the Malays were hurt when the social contract agreed upon by the forefathers of various races who had agreed to make sacrifices to gain the independence, was now being questioned.”

In the first place I know of no such social contract as after 53 years of independence, no one can show me a written copy of this contract nor explain to me what was it that was agreed upon specifically by our forefathers. Even assuming that such an agreement exists (possibly and perhaps reached privately by the leaders of UMNO, MCA and MIC then, which may explain why we know so little of this often touted social contract), hadn’t this preceding social contract been documented and articulated in the Constitution of Malaya 1957? Read the rest of this entry »


“No Mega Tower” fb campaign reached 113,205 at 8.30 am – 625 in support

(Opposition to the RM50 billion 100-storey Najib Tower in the “No Mega Tower” facebook campaign reached 113,205 people at 8.30 am this morning after breaching the 100,000 mark at 9.20pm last night.

In contrast, the facebook campaign in support of the Najib Tower, “Kami Sokong Menara Warisan”, has collected a miserable
625 supporters.)

Anti-Warisan Merdeka Facebook campaign hits 100,000 mark
By Shazwan Mustafa Kamal
The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 22 — As at 9.20pm tonight, more than 100,000 in a week have signed on to a Facebook campaign opposing the Najib administration’s Warisan Merdeka skyscraper.

The proposed 100-storey building in the city, has stirred up spontaneous grassroots opposition, moving the issue to the front and centre of current Malaysian politics.

More so impressive is the pace of recruitment — that only seven days ago Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced the plan, during his budget speech. It is clear the groundswell opposing it is considerable and now has shaped into a major political minefield for the Barisan Nasional(BN) government. Read the rest of this entry »


Malays competitive and competent – need for New Pro-Poor Economic Policy/Reform

Malaysia’s Development Strategy Revisited (5)
by Dr. Mohamed Ariff*

A New Pro-Poor Economic Policy and Reform

There is certainly a need for a clear focus on the needs of the poor and marginalized regardless of race, colour or religion. In other words, Malaysia needs a ‘new’ New Economic Policy that is explicitly pro-poor. The main beneficiary of such a policy would still be Malay households, as they account for roughly three-quarters of the bottom 40 per cent of households in terms of income distribution. Read the rest of this entry »


NEM stillborn?

Malaysia’s Development Strategy Revisited (4)
by Dr. Mohamed Ariff*

New Economic Model Up Against Formidable Challenges

The structural change agenda presents formidable challenges. The kinds of skills that the new paradigm demands cannot be provided by Malaysia’s archaic education system, which needs a complete overhaul. At the same time, the country is suffering from a serious brain drain caused by both push and pull factors. The importance of a truly independent judiciary cannot be exaggerated: anecdotal evidence suggests that Malaysia’s tarnished judiciary and gutter politics are among the push factors. Seen in these terms, the brain drain is largely a manifestation of frustration that has led some people to vote with their feet.

All this calls for bold structural changes, including institutional reforms encompassing everything from education to the judiciary, backed by governance reforms to strengthen fiscal discipline, transparency and accountability. Nothing short of a holistic approach will set the Malaysian economy far enough or fast enough on a true development path. The politics of policy making, however, may hobble the reform process. Read the rest of this entry »


NEP “outlived its usefulness” – does not make sense to keep an obsolete policy ticking along on life support

Malaysia’s Development Strategy Revisited (3)
by Dr. Mohamed Ariff*

The New Economic Policy: Pervasive Poverty in the Malay Community

Multi-racial Malaysia’s major structural problems are largely attributable to the New Economic Policy initiated in 1970 in the aftermath of the May 1969 racial riots. With its emphasis on ‘positive’ discrimination in favour of the then backward Bumiputeras (literally ‘sons of the soil’), the objectives of the policy were laudable, serious misgivings about its implementation notwithstanding. The New Economic Policy continued to exist after reincarnating itself in various forms beyond the original 1990 deadline. While it has undeniably helped narrow interethnic income differences, all is not well judging by the outcomes. While interethnic income disparity has narrowed considerably, intraethnic income disparity, especially within the Bumiputera community, has widened. Read the rest of this entry »


Middle income-trap – Malaysia has shot itself in the foot!

Malaysia’s Development Strategy Revisited (2)
by Dr. Mohamed Ariff*

Input-Driven Growth unsustainable

It goes without saying that Malaysia must grow at a faster pace if it is serious about joining the club of developed countries by 2020 – hence the need to reinvent itself through reforms that can help restore the lost growth potential. Malaysia has learned the hard way that input-driven growth is unsustainable. It is instructive to note that the economy was growing at a rate of over 8.0 per cent in the early 1990s despite declining total factor productivity. To stay competitive, the growth strategy then was to keep wages low with the aid of a large migrant workforce. Obviously there was a dismal failure to understand that there were limits to economic expansion through input increases.

Migrant Workers depress wages

It was a major policy blunder to let migrant workers depress wages in the country, thereby throttling productivity improvements. Malaysia locked itself into low value-added manufacturing by allowing foreign workers to work in the sector for low wages, thus removing the incentive for manufacturers to automate. The size of the problem is huge: the country reportedly has 1.9 million registered migrant workers and another 600,000 unregistered ones (probably an underestimate), accounting for nearly one-fifth of the working population. These workers are not confined to the so-called 3D jobs – the difficult, dirty and dangerous jobs that the locals shun – but compete with Malaysians in the wider labour market. Read the rest of this entry »


Solution to the problems of economic openness is not less openness but more openness

Malaysia’s Development Strategy Revisited (1)
by Dr. Mohamed Ariff*

Malaysia has turned 180 degrees since Independence in 1957, transforming itself into a thriving modern economy and leapfrogging from a low-income to a middle-income trajectory. The country owes its prosperity to its economic openness, with trade as the lifeblood and foreign direct investment (FDI) as the backbone of the economy.

Economic Openness and Vulnerability to External Shocks

The price Malaysia has had to pay for this success is greater vulnerability to external shocks, but it has learned to cope with cyclical ups and downs with remarkable dexterity. This does not mean, however, that all of the crises in the Malaysian economy were caused entirely by external forces, as if domestic policy missteps had nothing to do with them. The Malaysian experience shows that crises tend to be blessings in disguise, as they force the authorities to step back, take a hard look at their policies, learn lessons and move on. Read the rest of this entry »


Sanitary Pads and their relevance to intelligence

By Dina Zaman

I like giving our politicians a break. Doesn’t matter which side they swing. Like many Malaysians, I too laugh at some of the pearls that dance out of their mouths. When this happens, it makes for a sunnier day, and then we all get on with our lives.

However, today’s gem which came out from Johor delegate Azura Mohd Afandi, who wanted the Information Ministry to curb television shows and commercials that could lead people astray from the right religious paths, really made me think that time around, (1) nothing can ever beat this statement and (2) that’s it. The people who are involved in politics have four screws loose.

“For example, commercials on sanitary pads are openly shown on TV and this could influence the young to get involved in social ills,” said Johor Bahru Puteri Umno member, urging the ministry to increase shows that teach good values and religious practices.

As a still menstruating woman, I have yet to witness how sanitary pads and their ads could lead one to sin. I have always thought that sanitary pads are a bane to women and frighten the hell out of men, especially bloody and wet ones.
Read the rest of this entry »


PAS picks Dr Zulkefli for Galas

PAS picks Dr Zulkefli for Galas
The Malaysian Insider
October 22, 2010

GUA MUSANG, Oct 22 — PAS picked Gua Musang acting chief Dr Zulkefli Mohamad as Pakatan Rakyat candidate for the November 4 Galas vote.

Dr Zulkefli was the Gua Musang parliamentary seat candidate in Election 2008, losing to Tengku Razaleigh, who has been appointed as the election director for this highly anticipated by-election, the 13th since the general election.

The announcement was made by Kelantan mentri besar Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat last night. Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was also present. Read the rest of this entry »


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.
Read the rest of this entry »


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.
Read the rest of this entry »


Malaysia’s press freedom index on free fall


Malaysia has plunged 10 notches to 141 in the 2010 World Press Freedom Index – the lowest in nine years – putting it firmly in the bottom quarter of 178 countries.

The country failed to capitalise on last year’s improvement where it move up one notch from 132 to 131.

Interestingly, Singapore (136) outranked Malaysia for the first time since Paris-based press watchdog group Reporters Without Borders (RSF) began releasing its ranking in 2002.

ASEAN - RSF ranking

Among the 10 Asean countries, Malaysia is ranked higher than two countries which deemed to have freer press – Thailand (153) and Philippines (156).
Read the rest of this entry »


Ipoh born, Cambridge educated, Malaysia’s loss, Singapore’s gain

By Mariam Mokhtar

He did his parents proud, his teachers are equally elated, his birthplace is euphoric to claim he is one of them, and his country would have been ecstatic.

His name is Tan Zhongshan and he was born in Ipoh. He chose to read law at university because he said, “Being in the legal line gives you a chance to make changes that have a far-reaching effect.”

In June, Tan received a first–class honours in Bachelor of Arts (Law) at Queen’s College, Cambridge, one of the world’s topmost universities. Cambridge, England’s second oldest university, usually contends with Oxford for first place in the UK university league tables.

Tan excelled as the top student in his final-year law examinations, but he also won the “Slaughter and May” prize, awarded by the Law Faculty for the student with the best overall performance.
Read the rest of this entry »