Archive for December 3rd, 2014

Six reasons oil’s price plunge has shaken the markets

Malcolm Maiden
The Age
December 2, 2014

Oil is a key economic input and its price has fallen sharply. All things being equal, that’s a plus for global growth, but the markets are in turmoil. Here are six key reasons why oil’s price plunge has the markets gyrating.


In 2011, 2012 and last year oil averaged $US95.13 a barrel, $US94.15 a barrel and $US98.05 a barrel respectively, a spread of just $US3.90. It averaged $US100 a barrel in the first six months of this year and got to $107.26 a barrel on June 20. Monetary policy was still loose and the consensus was that the oil price would not move sharply in either direction.

Instead, it tipped into an accelerating price slide, to about $US75 a barrel ahead of last week’s meeting of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). It hit $US66.15 a barrel on Monday, after the world’s biggest producer, Saudi Arabia, failed to back OPEC production cuts, and was still below $US70 a barrel on Tuesday despite a 3 per cent-plus bounce. Investors didn’t see the price slide coming, and haven’t worked out what it means. Read the rest of this entry »


Sarawak and Sabah State Assemblies should meet first to take a stand on the issue before a bill is presented to Parliament on amendment to the Sedition Act to categorise calls for secession of Sarawak and Sabah from Malaysia as sedition offences

Last Friday, I had pointed out the gross injustice of the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak in buckling under pressure to the rightists and extremists in UMNO and UMNO-sponsored NGOs to renege on his promise in 2012 to repeal the repressive colonial law of Sedition Act and to announce its strengthening by roping in calls for secession of Sarawak and Sabah from Malaysia as offences under the Sedition Act without consulting the two states.

DAP does not support any call for secession of Sarawak and Sabah from Malaysia but we also do not support the retention and amendment of Sedition Act by adding new offences as calling for secession of Sarawak and Sabah from Malaysia as sedition crimes under the Act.

Nobody is surprised at the cavalier and contemptuous treatment meted out by UMNO to MCA, Gerakan and MIC leaders (PPP President had cogently spelt out the rules of the game for these Barisan Nasional component parties – “There are only two rules in the game: the boss is always right. If the boss is wrong, refer back to Rule 1.” ) but it violates a fundamental principle of the Malaysia Agreement when legislation directly affecting Sarawak and Sabah are not made in consultation with the two states.

Do the people, governments and legislatures of Sarawak and Sabah agree that the Sedition Act should be “strengthened” by the amendment to make calls for secession of Sarawak and Sabah from Malaysia as sedition offences? Read the rest of this entry »


Advice for Umno

– Aslam Abd Jalil
The Malaysian Insider
1 December 2014

The United Malays National Organisation (Umno) General Assembly 2014 kicked off last week. It was a grand event as always with a total of 2,752 delegates from around the country attending. Let’s put aside how biased the mainstream media was in covering the event, using government machinery like Radio Televisyen Malaysia (RTM) or even private media companies. Thanks to the extensive media coverage though, I had the opportunity to watch live during the speeches delivered by important figures in Umno including the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak as well as Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

On the opening night, Muhyiddin was straightforward in pointing out the problems in Umno. According to him, there are five reasons why youth reject Umno. This includes the fact that the party was facing a trust deficit, a feudal party, practising a “yes-man” culture, being controlled by warlords and a culture of threatening by intimidation. In fact, he pointed out that youth who had great ideas were silenced from speaking out because they did not want to contradict their elders in the party. Due to that, one of the main focuses in this year’s Umno general assembly was how to engage with the youth in a way that Umno still became relevant, to paraphrase Najib’s words.

To be frank, I was initially quite happy to hear all this because the Umno leaders were bold enough to admit that these problems existed. I was interested in their focus on youth engagement. Clearly, Umno is trying hard to get more support from the youth as the voting demographics change. Yes, it is true that theoretically, Umno is not the Malaysian government and the Malaysian government is not Umno. But in reality, Umno dominates the current federal government of Malaysia. Therefore, whatever is in the agenda of Umno is most likely to be in the Malaysian government’s agenda. That is why, being a youth myself, I would like to voice my opinion regarding the youth engagement by Umno. Read the rest of this entry »


A Malaysia without Umno

Azrul Mohd Khalib
The Malay Mail Online
December 2, 2014

DECEMBER 2 — No, the reality of the political landscape in Malaysia is such that it is just not possible at the moment, to not have the United Malay National Organisation (should translate this into Bahasa Malaysia, no?).

Actually, when I really think about it, we have much to thank Umno for and we should be grateful. Indeed we have to bersyukur to them. Their continued presence and actions remind us of the work to be done.

For far too long we have been complacent and comfortable in enjoying the fruits of economic prosperity and have been placid in our engagement with the democratic process. We conveniently outsourced our civic duty and responsibilities to elected representatives and others.

Only when it hits our interests and our periuk nasi, do we wake up to discover the existence of laws passed decades ago which infringe on fundamental human rights and are unconstitutional, the diminished stature of the Federal Constitution due to the hundreds of amendments made to this bedrock document, and the erosion of institutions meant to ensure transparency, governance and accountability.

If anybody was sleeping before, this year’s Umno General Assembly was a rude wake up call. Read the rest of this entry »


Can Oil Prices Drop to $40 a Barrel? Some Say It’s Possible

NBC News

Remember way back in June, when oil was $115 a barrel? Now it’s trading at around $67.90 a barrel for Brent crude and some analysts are predicting, given the right conditions, it could tumble to as low as $40 a barrel.

Weak demand, a strong U.S. dollar and booming U.S. oil production are the three main reasons behind the fall, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA), which warned of a “new chapter” for oil markets, which could even affect the social stability of some countries. Russia is already feeling some pain: the ruble tumbled about 4 percent on Monday, on course for its biggest daily drop since the 1998 financial crisis.

Saudi Arabia sparked talk of an oil price war as it has cut its official selling prices for some customers for four consecutive months through November. Part of oil’s drop has to do with supply conditions. Increased U.S. oil production has added to a glut in the world oil market. The U.S. now produces about 8.9 million barrels a day, while Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest producer, pumps about 9.6 million barrels a day. Read the rest of this entry »

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What you need to know about falling oil prices

by Tom Huddleston, Jr.
December 2, 2014

Prices have been cut by one-third since mid-summer due to oversupply.

It’s looking like Monday’s spike in oil prices was little more than a blip.

The price of oil fell again on Tuesday after experiencing a brief rebound to start the post-holiday week. Crude oil prices gained as much as roughly 4% yesterday, rebounding from five-year lows, before falling again today. Prices for Brent crude oil are recently down about 2.3%, to $70.83, while West Texas Intermediate (WTI) is down 1.8%, to $67.26.

Oil prices are down sharply this year, losing over 30% of their value since hitting a summer peak. Read the rest of this entry »

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As oil tumbles, drillers seek to idle more rigs, Petronas cuts capex

2 December 2014

SINGAPORE: Offshore drillers globally are increasingly considering “warm stacking” their rigs to take them temporarily off the market, as they gear up for a slowdown in the hunt for oil with crude prices sliding to five-year lows.

Rigs in warm stack maintain basic operations and most of the crew, and can be put to use once the owner gets a contract. Drillers put rigs in warm stacks to lower operational costs and also to keep them sufficiently ready for quick deployment, meaning they are hopeful a downturn won’t be a prolonged one.

Rigs can also be “cold stacked”, or shut down, which typically happens when an owner does not expect to find work for an extended period of time.

Oil prices have fallen about 40 percent in the past six months, with international benchmark Brent dropping below $68 to a five-year trough and nearing the marginal production cost of the most expensive offshore projects.

“Six months ago, no one talked about stacking rigs,” said Thomas Tan, chief executive officer at Kim Heng Offshore & Marine Holdings Ltd, a Singapore-based oilfield service firm, “In the last few weeks, things have become scarier and the talk of stacking started.” Read the rest of this entry »

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After oil price slump, worries as Petronas slashes dividends, capital expenditure

Malay Mail Online
DECEMBER 2, 2014

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 2 — The recent global oil price slump has affected both Putrajaya and domestic oil and gas (O&G) industry which depend heavily on Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas), after the local giant decided to slash its dividends and capital expenditure.

In the aftermath of the slump, media reports revealed declines in the ringgit, local stock market, and net worth of industry players including billionaires Tan Sri Robert Kuok and T. Ananda Krishnan, and even Tan Sri Mokhzani Mahathir.

With the US crude oil prices at a five-year low, Petronas Chief Executive Tan Sri Shamsul Azhar Abbas told reporters on Friday after the that payments to the government in the form of dividends, tax and royalties could be 37 per cent lower from the previous year to about RM43 billion in 2015 if oil stays around US$75 (RM275) a barrel.

As a result, Malaysia’s ringgit headed for its biggest two-day decline since the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis yesterday. Read the rest of this entry »

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World’s most corrupt industries

By Ivana Kottasova
December 2, 2014

LONDON – Drilling for oil and digging for minerals can be dirty, in more ways than one.

Known as the extractive sector, oil and mining tops a new list of the world’s most corrupt industries. Construction and transportation make up the top three, according to a report by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

The OECD analyzed 427 cases of bribery in international business.Two-thirds of the cases occurred in just four industries: extractive (19%); construction (15%); transportation and storage (15%); and information and communication (10%).Senior executives were involved in more than half the cases, with chief executives playing an active role in 12%. They either paid the bribes themselves, or authorized them, the OECD found.

Public sector employees and those working for state-owned companies were most likely to be the target of corruption. They were promised, offered or given bribes in 80% of the cases. Read the rest of this entry »

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Call on Najib to give assurance that there will be no further “merry-go-round” procrastination manoeuvre to the 40-year problem and that the implementation of the Report of the RCIIIS will begin on 1.1.2015

The long-delayed Report of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Illegal Immigrants in Sabah (RCIIIS) to deal with the 40-year problem of illegal immigrants in Sabah which has changed the political demography and caused unprecedented socio-economic crisis to the state is to be made public in Kota Kinabalu later today.

The RCIIIS has been the longest in gestation, as there had been calls for the establishment of the Royal Commission of Inquiry as far back as the past few decades but the problem was allowed to mushroom from some 100,000 some 40 years ago into a humongous and runaway figure ranging from 1.5 million to 1.9 million out of 3.3 million state population today.

As a result of persistent and growing pressures, the Cabinet took a policy decision to set up the RCIIIS on February 8, 2012, but it took another six months to finalise its terms of reference and its membership, another month before the RCIIIS started work, a year for public hearings and preparation of its Report and recommendations, and although the Report of the RCIIIS was officially handed over to the Federal Government on May 14, 2014, it was cold-storaged for six months until its publication later today.

The question uppermost in everyone’s mind apart from the contents and recommendations of the RCIIIS Report is whether we have come to the end-game of the 40-year problem of illegal immigrant problems in Sabah, or whether we are only seeing the latest “merry-go-round” procrastination manoeuvre which will kick the problem for the next few years with no real solution in sight until 2020, when the problem would have snowballed to some three million illegal immigrants in Sabah, reducing native Sabahans into a minority in their own land! Read the rest of this entry »

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