Archive for November 12th, 2011

Najib’s magic trick for 13th GE

Mariam Mokhtar | November 11, 2011
Free Malaysia Today

The rakyat should support calls for the 13th general election to be postponed until after ALL the recommendations (on electoral reforms) have been implemented.


Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s flurry of reforms in the last couple of months, raises disturbing questions about his desire to make Malaysia the “best democracy in the world”.

Who stands to benefit most from his idea of the “best democracy” in the world? The rakyat or the Barisan Nasional (BN) political elite?

The naïve rakyat, who are lulled into a sense of security by Najib’s rash of reforms, may think it will be the main beneficiaries. On the other hand, BN’s political elite and their cronies hope to woo the electorate by appearing to accede to calls for political reforms and then undo the reforms, after they have secured a win.

Judging by the number of times BN has reneged on election promises in the last 54 years, it will be the latter group who will benefit. Read the rest of this entry »


Wrap-Up: Italy braces for new govt, IMF warns Asia on euro fallout

Fri Nov 11, 2011 11:16pm EST

By Barry Moody and George Georgiopoulos

Italy lower house set to vote on cuts, new govt seen by Sunday

ROME/ATHENS, Nov 12 (Reuters) – Italy’s parliament was set to approve austerity measures on Saturday, triggering the formation of an emergency government to replace that of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, and meeting European Union demands to avert a euro zone meltdown.

After months of dither and delay, Rome appears to have got the message as bond markets pushed it to the brink of needing a bailout that the euro zone cannot afford.

President Giorgio Napolitano and Italian lawmakers have put the process on a fast track: the Chamber of Deputies was due to start debating at 1130 GMT and final approval of the cuts by the lower house marks the Berlusconi government’s final act.

Berlusconi was expected to hold a last cabinet meeting and then hand his resignation to Napolitano at the Quirinale Palace.

A largely technocratic government headed by former European Commissioner Mario Monti was seen in place by Sunday night or Monday morning. Read the rest of this entry »


‘Rosmah, a thorn in Najib’s side’

Tarani Palani | November 11, 2011
Free Malaysia Today

Umno grassroots members wish BN would lose at the polls just so her antics and extravagant lifestyle can be toned down, says the author of ‘Kesilapan-kesilapan Najib’.

KUALA LUMPUR: The author of “Kesilapan-kesilapan Najib” (Najib’s Mistakes), Shahbudin Husin, said Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak should step down if he does not rectify his errors soon.

Shahbudin (picture below), a member of Umno’s Wangsa Maju branch, said: “It serves as a warning… he should correct his mistakes before the next general election.”

“If he fails to do so, then he should step down. We support our party but we cannot support a weak leader,” added the former deputy Youth chief of Wangsa Maju.

Shahbudin’s 267-page book touched on various issues, including Najib’s 1Malaysia concept, his use of international public relations firm Apco and the alleged influence of his wife Rosmah. Read the rest of this entry »


Now Italy – What’s Next

by Alex Lee
10th November 2011

After seeing his parliamentary majority decline further in a routine vote earlier today, Italian PM Berlusconi offered to resign once Parliament approves new austerity measures, possibly towards the end of next week. We see three possible outcomes at this delicate stage, with different implications for the BTP market and Italian risk premium more broadly:

*Most likely scenario: In the coming weeks, the current centre-right coalition of the Northern League and PdL moves to rally round another candidate who can gain wider acceptance domestically and internationally. In order to broaden its support, the new government may reach out to smaller centrist parties which can advance their own political agenda.

A centre-right executive backed by a broader coalition and committed to implementing the ‘troika’s’ economic platform could eventually stabilize markets. But the newly appointed Cabinet would need to prove itself first, and the protracted uncertainty would weigh on economic growth. Furthermore, reforming the pension system could meet resistance from the Northern League. Still, it would be hard for the ECB and Italy’s EMU peers not to stand by a new Italian government genuinely trying to pursue reforms. Under this scenario, thanks to the ECB’s interventions, we would expect BTPs to remain capped at around current levels (400-450bp) over the average of Germany, France and the Netherlands until measures are gradually approved. Read the rest of this entry »


First Greece, Now Italy, Who’s Next?: Analyzing The Sovereign Debt Default Chain

by: Nicholas Pardini
November 11, 2011

Starting in May of 2011, the extent of the global sovereign debt crisis began to hit the equity markets. Greece was first, then Portugal, then Ireland, and now Italy has become the focus of the financial markets and a source of macroeconomic weakness.

However, these countries are simply the first dominoes in a chain of fiscal crises that will either result in a series of defaults in the developed economies’ bond markets or high inflation generated by central bank intervention. The question now is who’s next? Countries with high debt/GDP ratios, high unemployment and lack high economic growth to sustain deficit spending are all about to face the consequences of reckless fiscal policies. Below I list the countries I believe to the most likely to enter sovereign debt crises of their own after Italy. Read the rest of this entry »


Has Italy passed the point of no return?

By Nick Thompson

(CNN) — Europe’s financial crisis claimed its second scalp in three days when Italy’s Silvio Berlusconi announced he will step down after parliament approves new austerity measures in an effort to stave off economic collapse.

The scandal-plagued prime minister will follow his Greek counterpart George Papandreou into early retirement as fears grow that Italy, the eurozone’s third largest economy, may default on its debt.

Italy has failed to implement austerity measures designed to reduce its mammoth €1.9 trillion debt load — nearly six times that of Greece — and the cost to the country of borrowing more money to pay off that debt is spiraling out of control.

While no one knows yet whether Italy will default, analysts say that the country is vastly too big to bail out — and that the consequences for the world economy of a default would be a disaster. Read the rest of this entry »


The RM250 million National Feedlot Centre (NFC) scandal – “shouldn’t someone go to jail”?

In his new book on the world’s latest financial crisis hotspots, “Boomerang: Travels In the New Third World”, journalist Michael Lewis wrote about how the then new Greek Minister of Finance George Papaconstantinou found out when he took office in October 2009 that his country had cooked its deficit figures with a budget deficit of 12.7% of GDP, four times more than the eurozone’s limit, and a public debt of US$410 billion. The projected Greek deficit of roughly 7 billion euros was actually more than 30 billion.

At his first monthly meeting with European Finance Ministers after he told his counterparts his shocking discovery, a European Finance Minister came up to him and said: “George, we know it’s not your fault, but shouldn’t someone go to jail?”

This is the same question many Malaysians are now asking about the RM250 million National Feedlot Centre (NFC) scandal, especially after the shocking claim by the UMNO Youth leader Khairy Jamaluddin that the purchase of an RM10 million condominium from funds meant for cattle production was a “strategic move”, so that the money would not lie idle.

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak or his Deputy Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who was Agriculture Minister when the NFC project was first mooted and approved, should answer this question in the minds of most Malaysians: “Shouldn’t someone go to jail?” Read the rest of this entry »