Archive for February 10th, 2012

A Critique of the ETP: Part 3 (iii) – Execution (iii)- Doubtful EPPs; doubtful achievements and due diligence

By Dr. Ong Kian Ming BSc (LSE), MPhil (Cantab), PhD (Duke)
Teh Chi-Chang, CFA, BSc (Warwick), MBA (Cantab)


Some PEMANDU ‘achievements’ are doubtful. The Karambunai Integrated Resort and Tanjong Agas Oil and Gas Park do not appear viable and their private sector developers are financially weak. These two EPPs alone account for 7% of the total investments trumpeted by PEMANDU during the first year of the ETP. Their inclusion weakens the credibility of the headline investments, national income and job accretion that PEMANDU claims to have achieved.

Karambunai IR – expensive and crowded? The investment cost for this project in rural Sabah soared from RM3 billion to nearly RM10 billion in the six short months from its first mention before the ETP was launched to its final incarnation as an EPP. At this price, we estimate it needs 2.8 million visitors per year to break-even – more than all the passengers arriving at Kota Kinabalu airport!

Aghast at Tanjong Agas. The massive investment and construction work in this fishing village will result in infrastructure that duplicates the thriving towns of Kertih and Gebeng, which are the stated focus areas for oil and gas activities in the Eastern Corridor Economic Region. PEMANDU will no doubt deny that the infrastructure is redundant, and maintain that the transformation of this village is unrelated to its location in Pekan, the parliamentary constituency of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib.
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Say ‘no’ to Ibrahim Ali-style politics, Chua

— Francis Loh
The Malaysian Insider
Feb 10, 2012

FEB 10 — Since he is MCA chief, it is expected that Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek would criticise and exchange barbs with his political opponents in the DAP and the other Pakatan Rakyat parties. Nothing wrong with that, even welcomed. But he should not patronise us the rakyat with the usual simplistic and ethnicised arguments, like Ibrahim Ali is prone to do.

For instance, it was reported (The Star, February 3, 2012) that he had resorted to that age-old boring refrain: that the DAP has been misleading the Chinese into believing that a vote for the party would help realise their hopes of getting fair treatment and a top Chinese leader. In fact, for Chua, “Chinese voters did not understand that a vote for the DAP would only help PAS realise its objective of forming an Islamic state and implementing its brand of hudud”.

Chua made these remarks even when the PAS leadership had just sacked the extremist Dr Hasan Ali from the party and got him removed from the Selangor state exco for expressing views and acting in opposition to PR policies and positions that had been agreed upon and adopted. Read the rest of this entry »


Pemimpin-pemimpin dan rakyat wajar melalui kursus sivik kenegaraan

— Aspan Alias
The Malaysian Insider
Feb 10, 2012

10 FEB — Kita nampaknya mesti kembali kepada “basic” penubuhan negara kita. Itu sahaja caranya bagi kita untuk melihat negara kita kembali kepada asas penubuhannya dan cara pengendalian negara yang sebaik-baiknya. Sejak beberapa lama kita telah melihat negara kita dikendalikan dengan cara yang sudah asing dari apa yang sepatutnya kita lihat.

Kerajaan atau pada siapa yang bertanggungjawab, elok kembali kepada asas dan diadakan peruntukan khas bagi memberi rakyat kursus-kursus sivik semula. Kita wajar memberitahu yang negara kita ini adalah sebuah negara Persekutuan (Federation). Perjanjian Persekutuan ini dibuat pada bulan Februari 1948 dan pada masa itu ada sembilan negeri-negeri Bersekutu dan tidak Bersekutu telah menandatangani Perjanjian Persekutuan itu.

Selain dari itu dua buah negeri, iaitu Melaka dan Pulau Pinang, juga turut menyertai perjanjian itu untuk mewujudkan sebuah negara yang dinamakan Persekutuan Tanah Melayu. Rakyat harus diberitahu yang Persekutuan Tanah Melayu itu merupakan gantian kepada Malayan Union, anjuran Britain, yang cuba untuk menubuhkan sebuah kerajaan “unitary” yang tidak mempunyai kerajaan-kerajaan negeri dan menjadikan Kuala Lumpur sebagai Pusat Pentadbirannya dan kerajaan itu dinamakan Kerajaan Pusat.

Oleh kerana negara kita ini adalah sebuah Negara Persekutuan, pusat pentadbiran di Putrajaya itu adalah pusat pentadbiran Kerajaan Persekutuan, bukannya pusat pentadbiran Kerajaan Pusat. Diantara Kuala Lumpur dan Bangkok serta Jakarta ada perbezaannya. Kedua-dua Bangkok dan Jakarta misalnya, kedua-dua bandaraya itu menempatkan kerajaan Pusat kerana Thailand dan Indonesia itu adalah negara “unitary” yang tidak mempunyai negeri-negeri yang berdaulat didalamnya. Malaysia adalah seperti Amerika Syarikat dan Australia; iaitu berkerajaan Persekutuan dalam mana ada kerajaan-kerajaan negeri didalamnya. Read the rest of this entry »

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Azmi should step down as PAC Chairman if he is not prepared to convene emergency PAC meeting to investigate into propriety of RM250 million government loan to NFCorp so as to be able to report to Parliament next month

My statement on January 24 calling on Datuk Seri Azmi Khalid to resign as Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Chairman if he is not prepared to convene an emergency PAC meeting to investigate into the RM330 million National Feedlot Centre/National Feedlot Corporation (NFC/NFCorp) “cattle condo” scandal so as to be able to report to Parliament next month has been vindcated by none other than the NFCorp chief executive officer Wan Shahinur Izmir Salleh.

Wan Shahinur Izran came out with a most shocking assertion yesterday when he said in a statement:

“The issue of NFC managing its loan monies amounting to RM250 million is the company’s responsibility to administer and utilise. NFC retains the prerogative to invest the funds in the best interests of the company.”

Can this shocking claim be true, that NFCorp has been given a completely blank cheque to do what it likes with the RM250 million loan from the Finance Ministry although completely unrelated to the “high impact” NFC economic project to promote beef self-sufficiency in the country?

If true, then the “political masters” responsible for this decision at the relevant time, whether Tun Abdullah, who was the Prime Minister when the project and loan was approved, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, the Chairman of the Cabinet Committee on “High Impact Projects” or Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yasin the Minister for Agriculture and Agro-Based Industries should be hauled up before the PAC for the whole truth to be told.

If untrue, it is the responsibility of PAC to get to the bottom of the matter and report to Parliament when it reconvenes on March 12.
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A tale of two classes: Inequalities in Malaysia

— S.M. Mohamed Idris
The Malaysian Insider
Feb 10, 2012

FEB 10 — The government’s aim is to achieve a high-income economy by 2020 must equally benefit all Malaysians. We cannot have a society where one small elite group is living in luxury, while one big part of the society is struggling to survive.

The income inequality gap

According to Dr Muhammed Abdul Khalid, a research fellow with University Kebangsaan Malaysia, although Malaysia has made great strides in reducing poverty and inequality (especially between ethnic groups) from 1970 to 1990, the inequality remains high post-1990.

It has remained almost at the same level for the past 20 years; in fact, the inequality in Malaysia is among the highest in the region. Read the rest of this entry »


Malaysian health reform socio-economics: Part 4

— David KL Quek
The Malaysian Insider
Feb 10, 2012

FEB 10 — Out-of-Pocket and Catastrophic Payments

So what is so terrible about out-of-pocket (OOP) payments for healthcare? Why are health economists and policymakers so enamoured with this unsavoury OOP payment that this healthcare financing mechanism has been universally targeted to be eradicated, or at least reduced?

Many health authorities from the WHO and World Bank have analysed this in great detail, taking into account especially poor countries around the world, including those in Asia, Africa, Central and South America. Malaysia too has been included in many multi-country analyses to ascertain if common themes and determinants are shared within the disparate health systems in the regions.

When one looks at poverty levels and unequal economic systems, the health determinant as a function of economic underdevelopment and social aberration unfortunately looms large in some really poor nations. While poverty per se cannot all be attributed to just ill health or the lack of access to proper health care, impoverishment as a result of quests for healthcare has been a classic example of what poor countries are doing wrong. Read the rest of this entry »