Archive for August 26th, 2011

Malaysia’s Slowing Performance

by Greg Lopez
Asia Sentinel
25 August 2011

There are strong institutional reasons for the lagging performance against its regional neighbors

In the 70 years since World War II ended, East Asian economies, including Malaysia, appear to have largely got performance right. Malaysia was also one of 13 countries identified by the Commission on Growth and Development in its 2008 Growth Report to have recorded average growth of more than 7 percent per year for 25 years or more. Malaysia achieved this spectacular performance from 1967 to 1997.

However, since the Asian Financial Crisis of 1997 and1998, Malaysia’s economic performance when compared to previous decades has been lackluster and most macroeconomic indicators are trending downwards. This was confirmed by Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak himself in the publication on March 30, 2010 of the New Economic Model – Part 1. This was a very brave move but a necessary one by the premier as he acknowledged publicly the failures of Malaysia’s current economic model in order to demonstrate urgency for reforms. Read the rest of this entry »


MRT Jalan Sultan land acquisition – who is telling the truth: Chua Soi Lek, Hamid Albar or Idris Jala?

“Flip flop in a matter of days” has become the byword for the present Najib government, whether on its mishandling of the Bersih 2.0 peacefull rally for free and fair elections on July 9 or the parliamentary select committee on electoral reforms.

There is now the latest addition to the Najib government’s “Flip Flop List” – the controversy over the Klang Valley Mass Rapid Transit (KVMRT) land acquisition of Jalan Sultan properties.

Only three days ago, the MCA President Datuk Seri Chua Soi Lek had announced that the government had backtracked from its decision to acquire the land and 31 buildings around Jalan Sultan in Kuala Lumpur to make way for the MRT mega project.

Chua said that after discussion with Land Public Transport Commission (SPAN) chairperson Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar, “an understanding and agreement” had been reached whereby as a “compromise”, the government will only acquire the strata title for the property 100 feet below ground required for the MRT tunnel, while the buildings, many of which are nearly a hundred years old, and land above ground will remain in the current owners’ hands.
Read the rest of this entry »


Pemandu admits land acquisition only way to recoup MRT cost

By Yow Hong Chieh
The Malaysian Insider
Aug 26, 2011

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 26 — Putrajaya’s powerful efficiency unit has admitted that the Najib administration needs to acquire and develop land along the Klang Valley Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) route as it cannot afford the multi-billion ringgit project otherwise.

In a letter sighted by The Malaysian Insider, Performance Management and Delivery Unit (Pemandu) chief executive Datuk Seri Idris Jala told Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry Malaysia (ACCCIM) president Tan Sri William Cheng that the government was pursuing a “rail-and-property” model as it would not be able to recover the cost of the first line between Sungai Buloh and Kajang through fares alone.

“For the government to manage the project efficiently and sustainably, fare box revenue will not be sufficient to finance the high capex and opex for the MRT network,” Idris said in the letter dated August 23, written in response to Cheng’s queries about the acquisition of Jalan Sultan land.

“Increasing the fares is not an option as the government wants to act responsibly by providing the rakyat with an affordable means of transport. Instead, the government is adopting a prudent approach towards a sustainable financial model for the MRT through a modified rail-plus-property model.” Read the rest of this entry »


Not rising to the bait

by Zeffri Yusof
The Malaysian Insider
Aug 25, 2011

AUG 25 — Every time religious issues come up in public discourse for a sustained period of time, I can’t help but feel it’s all just misdirection.

No, not in any conspiracy theory-sense; more of an escapist break from the hard truths that have to be dealt with in the here and now. Not in an afterlife.

Truths like our quite severe brain-drain situation. Truths like how our lower- and middle-income families are dealing with unprecedented inflation. Truths like the US and EU economies’ impact on ours.

Too bad for us Malaysians, race and religion still hold sway and continue to polarise the majority of us. More sinisterly, it makes us take our eyes off the ball. Read the rest of this entry »