Archive for November 5th, 2013

A critique of the 2014 Budget Speech

by Budget analyst

A careful analysis of the 2014 Budget Speech by the Prime Minister-cum-Finance Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak is most revealing and disappointing as there is little by way of an exposition of the challenges the economy faces.

The customary presentation of data on the performance, in the current year and prospects in the year ahead, are matters that are dismissed in a few perfunctory sentences.

The speech gives little information on basic macro-economic assumptions used in basing the revenue and expenditure forecasts that make up the Budget.

The speech gives no hint of how the Government proposes to deal with the less than robust external environment in which the key Malaysian export markets – China, US, the EURO zone – will continue to record sluggish demand.

The price for Malaysian oil and gas are likely to be weaker because of increasing supply from US shale oil and the re-entry of Iranian oil into global markets. With greater supply and lower demand, prices are likely to be lower. Malaysian oil and gas exports will undoubtedly feel the impact. Read the rest of this entry »


Sungai Limau: Winners and losers

by Zulkifli Sulong, Features and Analysis Editor
The Malaysian Insider
November 05, 2013

Datuk Mahfuz Omar must have been the happiest man in Kedah last night. Yesterday’s by-election which saw PAS retaining the Sungai Limau state seat was Mahfuz’s first since being appointed the Kedah PAS commissioner. On the other hand, Kedah Menteri Besar Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir is a man in grief. He led the Barisan Nasional charge and lost, the second blow for him after losing the Umno vice-presidential race weeks earlier.

The following are the winners and losers of the Sungai Limau by-election.


1. PAS

PAS leaders and supporters in the country are certainly delighted with the win. It goes without saying that numerous parties and functions will be held to celebrate the win. The win may have helped alleviate tensions within the PAS leadership ahead of the upcoming PAS Muktamar from November 22 to 24, 2013.

2. Datuk Mahfuz Omar

The newly-minted state commissioner is a big winner. He had just taken over the position after the 13th general election when the late Tan Sri Azizan Razak was undergoing treatment in Penang.

The win will cement his role in Kedah and also boost his chances at the PAS Muktamar as he defends his vice-presidency. Despite earlier talks that Mahfuz was in danger of losing, Mahfuz’s win at the party polls looks like a sure bet. Read the rest of this entry »


Sungai Limau by-election results: Is this the end of Mahathirism?

by Sheridan Mahavera
The Malaysian Insider
November 05, 2013

Analysts say he might have played a role in swaying voters who were still undecided on voting day. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Najjua Zulkefli, November 5, 2013.

When Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad descended on Sungai Limau during the last hours of campaigning on November 3, one longtime PAS activist from Alor Star described it as a “relief”.

“Many people in Sungai Limau come from a religious education background,” said the activist, referring to the community of teachers, students and parents involved in the area’s clutch of private and public Islamic schools, which are nationally renowned.

“They still remember how Mahathir used to run down PAS and our Islamic state concept,” said the activist of the former prime minister’s endless tirades against PAS in the few years before he resigned in 2003.

PAS and its Islamist credentials were a regular target of Dr Mahathir’s biting criticism especially after the party gained control of the Terengganu government and made major inroads into Kedah in the 1999 general election.

So it was almost like poetic justice when Dr Mahathir came down to canvass votes for Barisan Nasional from the people he had once slighted. Read the rest of this entry »


BN loss in Sungai Limau signals Dr M’s waning influence, says DAP

By Opalyn Mok
The Malay Mail Online
November 5, 2013

YAN, Nov 5 — PAS’s reduced majority in yesterday’s Sungai Limau by-election took no skin off the Islamist party but spells a setback for the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) that had been banking on Kedah-born Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s name and his scion to sail through the polls, DAP leaders have said.

DAP Kedah interim chief Zairil Khir Johari and the opposition party’s adviser Lim Kit Siang insisted that PAS’s success in keeping the Kedah state seat was a major blow to the BN’s mighty machinery under the leadership of its Mentri Besar Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir, son of Malaysia’s longest-serving former prime minister, whom they claimed had followed his father’s style and pulled out all the stops in his bid to wrest Sungai Limau.

“It is clear that Mahathir’s influence has receded with this win,” Zairil, the son of a former Umno minister, told The Malay Mail Online last night after the official results announced a PAS victory by a lowered 1,084-vote margin. Read the rest of this entry »