Archive for August 8th, 2015

How Low Can Malaysia’s Ringgit Go?

Wall Street Journal
Aug. 7, 2015

Malaysia’s ringgit is plumbing new lows and foreign-exchange reserves are dwindling

Malaysia’s tumbling ringgit, heading toward its weakest level in two decades, is highlighting the mounting pressure its central bank faces to stem the slide.

The currency has reset its 17-year trough for five consecutive days this week, losing 2.8% of its value in that period. It last traded at 3.9280 against the U.S. dollar Friday.

After weeks of pouring foreign-exchange reserves into currency markets to prop up the currency, the central bank’s pool of resources is dwindling. Foreign exchange reserves have fallen by almost $15 billion over the last six months and a half months, with the ringgit down 12.2% for the year so far. The pace of deterioration of Malaysia’s foreign reserves is unsustainable, analysts say.

Foreign-exchange reserves data for the two weeks ended July 31, due later Friday, likely will show the degree of the central bank’s worries. Read the rest of this entry »


Amid political crisis, Malaysia sees Asia’s fastest foreign exodus as stocks sink

The Malay Mal Online
August 7, 2015

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 7 ― International investors are selling Malaysian stocks at the quickest pace in Asia as Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak struggles to contain a political scandal and doubts grow over the outlook for the economy.

Foreign funds have pulled a net RM11.7 billion of the nation’s shares this year as the benchmark FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI Index retreated 4.1 per cent. The ringgit has slumped to its lowest level since 1998 after tumbling 11 per cent against the dollar, the biggest decline among Asian currencies.

Overseas money managers are paring holdings amid concern the crisis will distract Najib as a commodities rout and the prospect of higher US interest rates threaten economic growth. The prime minister is fighting off a scandal linked to 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), a debt-ridden state investment company. A probe into about RM2.6 billion that was deposited into Najib’s personal accounts found that the funds were legal donations from the Middle East.

“Already shaky trust of foreign investors is being eroded,” said Mixo Das, a strategist at Nomura Holdings Inc. in Singapore. “Further outflows are possible.”

Net foreign sales in Malaysian stocks this year are almost double the RM6.9 billion for the whole of 2014, exchange data show. Overseas investors have been net sellers for 14 straight weeks through the week ended July 31, the longest selloff since 2008, according to MIDF Amanah Investment Bank Bhd. Read the rest of this entry »

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Political Scandal Consumes Malaysia at Time of Flight 370 Inquiry

by Michael Forsythe
New York Times
AUG. 7, 2015

HONG KONG — It was a breakthrough in one of the biggest mysteries in aviation history. When a wing part belonging to a Boeing 777 was found last week on the remote Indian Ocean island of Réunion, the world took notice, echoing the intense news media coverage that followed the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 on March 8, 2014.

But in the nation where the ill-fated flight originated, where its crew members were from and whose government owned the plane, the people’s attention was focused elsewhere: on a huge political scandal involving almost $700 million in funds that mysteriously appeared in bank accounts belonging to Malaysia’s prime minister, Najib Razak.

Even Mr. Najib’s solemn announcement in the early hours of Thursday claiming that the wing part, called a flaperon, was “conclusively confirmed” to have been from Flight 370 “looks to have been aimed at bolstering his standing in Malaysia,” said Clive Kessler, an emeritus professor at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, who has studied Malaysia since the mid-1960s. Read the rest of this entry »

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All Malaysians must be incensed and outraged by Zahid’s contemptible justification for the immediate and punitive transfer of two MACC directors to PM’s Office

All Malaysians must be incensed and outraged by the Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister, Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi’s contemptuous and contemptible justification for the immediate and punitive transfer of two Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) directors to the Prime Minister’s Office.

Zahid claimed that the transfers of the two MACC directors, special operations division director Datuk Bahri Mohamad Zin and strategic communications director Datuk Rohaizad Yaakob were not linked to a police investigation against them, and that it was ordinary for public servants to be transferred at any time and to any other agency.

He said: “It has completely nothing to do with the action by the Royal Malaysia Police against the two senior officers; in fact, I think it is only an administrative matter conducted by the Public Services Department.

“Every government officer is subject to circulars and general orders, and there is even an oath signed during their appointment.

“As such, I don’t think this issue should be politicised.” Read the rest of this entry »


First thing Najib should do this morning is to countermand the transfer orders to two MACC directors Bahri and Rohaizad to PM’s Dept with immediate effect

The first thing the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak should do this morning is to countermand yesterday’s transfer orders to two Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) directors, Datuk Bahri Mohamad Zin (special operations division) and Datuk Rohaizad Yaakob (strategic communications division) to the Prime Minister’s Department with immediate effect, for the duo to report to the PM’s Office on Monday.

The biggest financial scandal in the country, the RM42 billion 1MDB scandal which Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said may have exceeded RM50 billion by now because of the turmoils of exchange and interest rates in his last speech to UMNO Cheras Division before he was sacked as Deputy Prime Minister on July 28, 2015, continues to wreak destruction in its wake, and Bahri and Rohaizad are the two latest victims of the 1MDB (1Malaysia Disaster Bhd) catastrophe.

The outrageous, vindictive and vengeful transfer of Bahri and Rohaizad to the PM’s Department cannot stand unless Najib wants to see the total destruction of his entire six-year National Transformation Programmes – which had listed the war against corruption as one of the seven NKRAs (National Key Result Areas) of his Government Transformation Programme (GTP).

For the past six years, the Najib had been boasting about “big results” of its GTP on its anti-corruption front, and undoubtedly the two unchallenged “big results” on the anti-corruption NKRA are the two issues of 1MDB scandal and the RM2.6 billion deposited into the Prime Minister’s personal banking accounts before the 13th General Election.

A multi-agency Special Task Force comprising Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), the Royal Malaysian Police and the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) had been formed to spearhead investigations into these twin issues, but these two issues are so toxic they have already subverted and gravely damaged three of these four agencies – BNM, MACC and ABC. Read the rest of this entry »