Archive for August 11th, 2015

Why is the newly-minted Director of Strategic Communications breathing panic and fear – is he afraid that the Najib government where he had swiftly ascended in power and influence may suddenly collapse like a house of cards?

The Housing and Local Government Minister, Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan, said today that Sabah and Sarawak, as the backbone of Barisan Nasional, must be consulted before the Prime Minister is changed.

Nothing exceptional in such a statement, although it had not earlier occurred to the newly-minted Barisan Nasional Director of Strategic Communications who hails from Sabah, or he would have demanded that before Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin was sacked as Deputy Prime Minister and removed as the next-in-line to be Prime Minister if Datuk Seri Najib Razak has to step down or before Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi appointed as new Deputy Prime Minister, Sabah and Sarawak should be consulted first.

But Abdul Rahman would have been the first to dismiss any such suggestion at the time to consult Sabah or Sarawak before the Cabinet reshuffle on July 28 whether for the sacking of Muhyiddin as DPM or the appointment of Zahid as the new DPM, considering his “strategic” role in Najib’s “1MDB war cabinet”.

Why now, then, for the surfacing of the question of consulting Sabah and Sarawak on the appointment of Prime Minister of Malaysia? Read the rest of this entry »


Penolong pengarang Utusan cabar menteri, pengarah Jasa debat isu derma RM2.6 bilion Najib

The Malaysian Insider
11 August 2015

Menteri Komunikasi dan Multimedia Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Said Keruak dan Pengarah Jasa Datuk Dr Puad Zarkashi perlu bersedia berdebat dalam isu RM2.6 dimasukkan ke dalam akaun peribadi Datuk Seri Najib Razak bagi membuktikan mereka pembela perdana menteri, kata Ku Seman Ku Hussain.

Penolong pengarang akhbar milik Umno edisi Ahad, Mingguan Malaysia itu berkata Salleh dan Puad memutar belit kenyataannya yang sama sekali tidak mempersoalkan dana RM2.6 bilion itu datang daripada sumber rasuah.

“Kedua-dua panglima ini sama sekali tidak menyentuh isu yang saya bangkitkan iaitu derma RM2.6 bilion itu bukan milik Umno. Hujah saya seluruh kepimpinan tertinggi termasuk bekas timbalan perdana menteri Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin tidak tahu tentang kewujudan derma itu. Read the rest of this entry »

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New Pakatan Rakyat to be formed must not repeat the mistakes of Pakatan Rakyat which died an early death because of the lack of trustworthiness of one of its component parties

Recently, the PAS Deputy President Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man called for the revival of a united opposition amid the twin scandals of 1MDB and RM2.6 billion deposited into Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s oersonal bank accounts in AmBank just before the 13th General Election.

He said this was the “crucial hour for all opposition parties to unite” and sit together to find common ground and minimise their differences.

I admit to great wariness of such a call after the early death of Pakatan Rakyat despite the high hopes and trust placed on it by Malaysians regardless of race, religion or region rooting for the first political change on the national landscape, vesting it with 52% of the popular vote in the 13th General Election. Read the rest of this entry »


Malaysia suffers today because it didn’t in 1990s

― William Pesek
Malay Mail Online
August 11, 2015

AUGUST 11 ― Malaysia’s ongoing currency crash has many causes: a worsening global outlook, plunging commodity prices and, of course, the political scandal enveloping Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak. But the real culprit is the year 1997.

The conventional wisdom is that Malaysia’s then-leader Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad saved the country from the worst ravages of the Asian financial crisis when he imposed capital controls, pegged the ringgit and waged verbal war against speculators. It’s true that Malaysia avoided much of the chaos that toppled economies in Indonesia, South Korea and Thailand. But events today show why, 18 years later, Malaysia may wind up the biggest loser in the region.

Malaysia’s neighbours recovered by improving transparency, strengthening their financial systems, and limiting collusion between public and private sectors. Such urgency never swept Malaysia, where the ruling coalition has held power for almost six decades.

Improvements in Malaysian corporate governance have been slow and uneven. Hopes for an end to 46 years of affirmative action ― which benefits the Malay majority while sapping productivity and repelling foreign investors ― have been for naught. Efforts to weed out corruption and ween the economy off energy exports have been tepid. Read the rest of this entry »


Singapore celebrates 50 years of statehood

Financial Times
August 9, 2015 5:35 am
Jennifer Hughes in Hong Kong and Andrew Whiffin in London

Happy 50th birthday Singapore.

Whatever is said about the Lion City — its nanny state tendencies, a seeming obsession with finicky rules, the challenges it faces sustaining its position — its economic achievements of the past 50 years are substantial.

The death of Lee Kuan Yew in March this year gave an outlet for a raft of reviews of Singapore’s performance.

Here we present a few charts to put the city state in a global context.

Gross domestic product per capita has risen at a 10 per cent compound annual growth rate for the past five decades in one of the world’s best performances, according to economists at Morgan Stanley.
Read the rest of this entry »


Mahathir exaggerating when he said “democracy is dead” but there is no doubt that Najib would shed no tears to kill democracy and even launch a bigger “Operation Lalang 2015” than Mahathir’s 1987 Operation to save his political life

Former Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad said yesterday that democracy in the country is dead.

Mahathir is exaggerating though there is no doubt that the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak would shed no tears to kill democracy and even launch a bigger “Operation Lalang 2015” than Mahathir’s 1987 Operation to save his political life.

Mahathir’s Operation Lalang in 1987, which unleashed a multi-faceted assault on democracy, human rights and the independence, impartiality and professionalism of key national institutions involving the Press, Parliament, Judiciary, key agencies like the Police, the anti-corruption agency, the election commission, the universities, entire civil service, brought the fragile plant of Malaysian democracy to the brink of ruin and disaster.

But Malaysian resilience, the spirit and love for freedom, justice and the nation, did not wilt or capitulate to Mahathir’s iron-fisted policies, but sprang back not only to recover lost ground during the Mahathir decades, but to achieve new democratic breakthroughs as in the 13th General Election when 52% of popular vote sought the first change of national government with new Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, but the people were denied the fruits of democratic victory because of undemocratic gerrymandering of parliamentary constituencies.

Democracy in Malaysia is facing another crisis, and undoubtedly an even bigger one than under Mahathir’s premiership. Read the rest of this entry »

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From a Shenzhen factory job to world’s richest self-made woman

by David Barboza
New York Times
July 30, 2015

How a Chinese Billionaire Built Her Fortune

Zhou Qunfei started out making watch lenses for $1 a day, but honed her hands-on knowledge into a world-class, multibillion-dollar operation at the vanguard of China’s push into high-end manufacturing.

Zhou Qunfei is the world’s richest self-made woman. Zhou, the founder of Lens Technology, owns a $27 million estate in Hong Kong. She jets off to Silicon Valley and Seoul to court executives at Apple and Samsung, her two biggest customers. She has played host to President Xi Jinping of China, when he visited her company’s headquarters.

But she seems most at home pacing the floor of her state-of-the-art factory, tinkering.

She’ll dip her hands into a tray of water, to determine whether the temperature is just right. She can explain the intricacies of heating glass in an ion potassium salt bath. When she passes a grinding machine, she is apt to ask technicians to step aside so she can take their place for a while.

Zhou knows the drill. For years, she labored in a factory, the best job she could get having grown up in an impoverished village in central China.

“She’ll sometimes sit down and work as an operator to see if there’s anything wrong with the process,” said James Zhao, a general manager at Lens Technology. “That will put me in a very awkward position. If there’s a problem, she’d say, ‘Why didn’t you see that?’ ” Read the rest of this entry »

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The contrasting fates of Singapore and Malaysia

— Devadas Krishnadas
Malay Mail Online
August 10, 2015

AUGUST 10 — Fifty years ago, Singapore was ejected from the Malaysian Federation. The two countries have since travelled very divergent paths while sharing some common characteristics. Both countries were colonised by the British, both were occupied by the Japanese during the World War II, both are multi-racial and multi-religious, and both have experienced considerable economic improvement since independence.

They also have significant differences. These differences should have been telling in favour of Malaysia. It was the hinterland for the Singapore economy. It had land, a multi-source commodity economy and a sizeable population. Singapore found itself suddenly distinct from its major market, dependent on Malaysia for water and faced with the hurdles of setting up shop as a newly sovereign state.

However, today, Singapore has celebrated its 50th year of independence in the best possible shape — politically stable, economically promising and socially affluent.

Malaysia, in contrast, lags behind Singapore on these counts. Putrajaya’s credibility has been undermined by its handling of the controversy over 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

The political landscape is poisoned by suspicion and distrust among the races.

The Malaysian economy is running on fumes. The ringgit is at a 17-year low as investor confidence bleeds away.

Malaysia has for decades suffered a brain drain of its most talented, with Singapore a major beneficiary.

What lessons can be learnt from this dichotomy that seemed so unlikely 50 years ago? Read the rest of this entry »

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