Archive for October 17th, 2015

The Merdeka Centre poll that Najib for the first time lost the approval of majority of Malay voters must have tilted his decision not to seek a confidence motion in Parliament on Monday

The Merdeka Centre poll that the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak has for the first time lost the approval of the majority of Malay voters must have tilted his decision not to seek a confidence motion when Parliament reconvenes on Monday.

Members of Parliament were only informed yesterday about the order of business for the 25-day budget Parliament beginning on Monday, which is most unusual as Members of Parliament would normally have been given the order of business a week before the start of a new parliamentary meeting.

This is the first time in my years in Parliament since 1969 that Parliament failed to give about a week’s notice of the parliamentary business to be transacted in a new meeting of Parliament – and this could be because Najib was agonising over whether to seek a confidence motion at the beginning of the parliamentary meeting on Monday instead of allowing the issue of whether there would be a no-confidence motion in him as Prime Minister whether moved by Pakatan Harapan or even by a MP from UMNO/BN hanging over Parliament for the next two months.

However, the latest Merdeka centre poll has changed the whole picture. Read the rest of this entry »


Political myths in Malaysia that must be debunked if Malaysia is to move forward to fulfill our destiny to be a world model of an united, harmonious, moderate and successful plural society

There are several political myths in Malaysia that must be debunked if Malaysia is to move forward to fulfill our destiny to be a world model of an united, harmonious, moderate and successful plural society instead of becoming basket-case of a failed, or even worse, rogue state.

Some of these political myths are:

1. Umno is Malay and Malay is UMNO.

Nothing can be further from the truth as right from the first general election in 1959, UMNO was not the only political party representing the Malays in the country.

Arising from this myth, other myths have been born – the myth that Malay rights and interests are under threat because UMNO is fighting a battle of political survival and that Malay rights and interests will be the first casualty if UMNO is ousted from Putrajaya in the next general election.

Whether Najib is ousted as Prime Minister or UMNO replaced as the leading political party in the government coalition, Malay political power is not threatened as a new Prime Minister will be a Malay and new coalition will be Malay-dominated reflecting Malaysia’s demography. Read the rest of this entry »


A Case of Brazil Blight? Scandal-Hit Malaysia Risks Lost Decade

Shamim Adam
October 16, 2015

Meet Malaysia, the new Brazil.

Nearly felled by the Asian financial crisis in the late 1990s, the Southeast Asian nation recovered to become a global commodities juggernaut, known for its stable government and investor-friendly policies. Now, with its premier enveloped by a multi million dollar funding scandal, Malaysia risks being infected with the kind of economic malaise that has struck its emerging market counterpart in South America.

Prime Minister Najib Razak, 62, has denied any wrongdoing. But as investigations continue and opponents like previous premier Mahathir Mohamad call for his resignation, the danger is the leadership stays in fire-fighting mode. The economy is already hit by a slowdown in prices for oil and natural gas, and Najib is expected to make bigger handouts to the poor in the budget on Oct. 23. Could Malaysia slide into a “lost decade”?

“Malaysia risks not just being left behind, but falling off the radar all together, especially with foreign investors,” said Jim Walker, managing director at Hong Kong-based Asianomics Ltd. and former chief economist at CLSA Asia-Pacific Markets. “People are definitely shying away from Malaysia,” he said, and the politics of Malaysia is “by far the biggest threat”. Read the rest of this entry »

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BNP Paribas Holds Nerve in Shorting Malaysia as Ringgit Surges

Lilian Karunungan
October 16, 2015

A rebound in Malaysia’s ringgit will prove short-lived as the factors that made it Asia’s worst performer this year show few signs of going away, according to an investment arm of France’s largest bank.

“We’re in a situation where nothing’s changed, so therefore the only conclusion we have is that Malaysia remains a market to be short,” said Mark Capstick, a London-based fund manager at BNP Paribas Investment Partners, which oversees 532 billion euros ($605 billion). “We’re short right across the board,” he said, adding that assets being bet against include the ringgit as well as the nation’s local-currency and global bonds.

While the ringgit has appreciated more than 6 percent in October to rank among the top five in emerging markets, it’s been dogged by a persistent drop in oil prices, slowing Chinese growth and a probe of fund transfers into Prime Minister Najib Razak’s bank accounts. Malaysia’s currency is rebounding from a 17-year low reached in September as the receding prospect of a U.S. interest-rate increase in 2015 revives demand for higher-yielding assets worldwide.

Like BNP Paribas, Pacific Investment Management Co. is also sticking to its guns and maintaining bets that the ringgit’s slide will resume. Pimco, which oversees $1.52 trillion, reported Oct. 1 it had short positions on emerging-market currencies including the ringgit, Thai baht and South Korea’s won. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysia’s Najib Razak Played Key Role at Troubled 1MDB Investment Fund

By Tom Wright And Bradley Hope
Wall Street Journal
Oct. 15, 2015

Prime minister ordered removal of auditors, authorized controversial investment, Malaysian investigation shows

In early 2013 at the glitzy World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Malaysia’s prime minister approached the country’s longtime financial adviser Goldman Sachs with an urgent assignment.

A government investment fund the prime minister oversaw wanted Goldman to help it raise $3 billion quickly and quietly, according to people close to the bank.

The fund, 1Malaysia Development Bhd., or 1MDB, was Prime Minister Najib Razak’s signature initiative, envisioned as helping transform Malaysia into a modern Muslim democracy fueled by new industries. It burnished his credentials as a new type of liberal, Western-friendly leader, embraced by the U.S. as a counterbalance to China.

Its projects also stood to polish Mr. Najib’s standing with Malaysians who would soon be voting in an election. Goldman was told the fund wanted the money quickly so it could hold a public unveiling of a major investment in a planned high-profile financial center in Kuala Lumpur.

That development stalled, though the money was raised. Today, 1MDB has come to represent a different side of Malaysia—and of Mr. Najib. Even as he was courting Goldman officials in the Alps, opposition politicians were raising questions about 1MDB and how the billions it was raising were being used. Read the rest of this entry »

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