Archive for November 13th, 2011

Writing on the wall and the perils of procrastination

Nawawi Mohamad
The Malaysian Insider
Nov 13, 2011

NOV 13 — Silvio Berlusconi, the flamboyant, scandalous media billionaire who practically jumped into Italian politics by organising the People of Freedom party, reigned for seventeen years. He has now resigned. He left Italy with about €1.9 trillion in national debt.

After being so preoccupied with his scandals, both creating them and defending himself from the repercussions, he had procrastinated in dealing with Italy’s troubled economy and serious financial problems.

Berlusconi only agreed to the proposal to reduce the deficit in June, when in March his advisers had already literally shouted at him to start taking action.

His government managed to get everything in order only by September this year and got the vote of final approval in the Italian Senate by a margin of 156 to 12 just before his resignation; too little too late.

The final straw is not his scandalous life but the neglected state of the economy and finance in Italy.

With our own version of scandals, mismanagement, complacency, wastage, extravagance and callous spending by the Umno/BN government, Malaysia is not much different from Italy.

Unfortunately the Umno/BN government seems to be oblivious to the so many writings on the wall pertaining to our economy, financial status, deficits, national debts and the road that Malaysia is now on. Read the rest of this entry »


Najib should intervene in the RM10 million “condominium for cattle” scandal by recalling RM181 million loan to NFC not used for purpose of cattle production

As shocking as the revelation about the RM10 million “cattle for condominium” scandal is the self-righteous statement by the Minister for Agriculture and Agro-based Industries Datuk Noh Omar aiding and abetting a gross misappropriation of public funds.

Claiming that the National Feedlot Corporation (NFC) had not used government funds for the purchase of the RM9.8 million Bangsar luxury condominium, Noh said that once NFC received money from the government, it was thereafter considered the company’s private funds and the government had no say as to how it would be used.

Noh said the government had loaned NFC RM250 million made into a special loan account (SLA) in Maybank that was controlled by the Finance Ministry.

Noh said RM181 million from that account had been disbursed to NFC based on the latter’s claims.

The government only had control of funds that were in the SLA, but had none over how the company spends the money once it has been disbursed, said the minister.

“If the money has been paid to NFC after fulfilling set conditions, the government cannot control what NFC does with it, including purchasing the said condominium, because it is then considered the company’s money. Read the rest of this entry »


Should we settle for this nonsense?

Ali Kadir
The Malaysian Insider
Nov 13, 2011

NOV 13 — It is left to us, ordinary Malaysians, to show outrage at the thievery, corruption, mismanagement and subterfuge that is happening in our country.

Let us just ponder at what has happened since the Auditor-General noted that the National Feedlot project was a failure or on the verge of being a failure. First, you have the deputy prime minister downwards trying to convince Malaysians that the project was a success, with arguments that defy logic.

Then you had Noh Omar and Khairy Jamaluddin speaking up and defending the track record of the project and the main beneficiaries of the RM250 million soft loan: Shahrizat Jalil’s family.

Their defence of the incredible — the squandering of public funds — indicated that the old and new of Umno are joined at the hip by ignorance, stupidity and a seemingly endless acceptance of bad practices. Read the rest of this entry »


Obama Says Europe Making Progress as APEC Nations Fear Worst

By Shamim Adam and Michael Forsythe
Bloombert Businessweek
November 12, 2011

Nov. 12 (Bloomberg) — U.S. President Barack Obama said formation of new governments in Greece and Italy may help calm world markets roiled by the European debt crisis, which is having a “dampening effect” on the global economy.

“We’re not going to see massive growth out of Europe until the problem’s resolved,” Obama told corporate chief executive officers gathered in Honolulu today as part of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum. The president said he was “cautiously optimistic” of getting through the current crisis.

Europe’s sovereign-debt crisis was a frequent topic at the summit aimed at improving economic ties in the Asia-Pacific region as officials said they are bracing for a worsening of the situation in Europe that may push the global economy into a recession and increase volatility in financial markets. Investors this week pushed Italian bond yields passed the 7 percent level that drove Greece, Ireland and Portugal to seek bailouts, ahead of the resignation today of Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

“You can’t talk about Asia without talking about Europe right now,” Jerry Webman, chief economist at OppenheimerFunds Inc. in New York, told Bloomberg News in Honolulu yesterday. “Having a prolonged economic slump in Europe is really threatening to the export-oriented Asian economies.” Read the rest of this entry »


Malaysians getting ripped off

by Mimi Chih

When Tunku Abdul Rahman decided to expel Singapore from the Federation of Malaya leading to the Independence of Singapore on August 9, 1965, the world did not expect this tiny island Republic with a population of 1.8 million then to stand tall as one of the original Four Asian Tigers, along with Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan 46 years later. Well, this Lion City has certainly ventured forth roaring all the way with a lion heart.

How does one measure the success of a country? To the people, it is reflected in their overall standard of living. Not every country is lucky enough to have a team of intelligent people whose passionate objectives drive them to make their country a better place to live – for everyone. Singapore is one such country. Today this island republic has one of the highest standard of living in South East Asia.

Which Malaysian could imagine that some 46 years after the split, Singapore’s exchange rate to the ringgit would hit a dizzying rate of RM2.41 (Nov 11, 2011)? August 1972 was the last time that the SGD (Singapore Dollar) was almost on par with the (RM) ringgit at SGD100:RM100.10. For an average wage earner in the Lion City making SGD2500 a month, going for a 10 days holiday to the US or Australia or Europe once a year is a relatively small matter.

What happened to Malaysia? In 1965 when Singapore was expelled, Malaysia had everything that the island republic glaringly lacked – ample land, a plethora of natural resources, an operating government, and 9.3 million people. Read the rest of this entry »