Archive for October 24th, 2015

Budget 2016: Subsidy cuts and other things Najib didn’t tell you

Nigel Aw
Oct. 24, 2015

Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak offered a list of good news under Budget 2016 which included a hike in civil servants’ pay, increase in BR1M cash handouts, and Goods and Services Tax rebate for mobile phone purchase.

But where is all the money coming from when the country is facing falling revenue from a slump in commodity prices?

Malaysiakini uncovers the ‘bad news’, by breaking down Budget 2016 for you based on ministries which have suffered the worst cuts.

What the premier failed to mention in his budget speech include the likelihood of pricier cooking oil, more expensive train and flight tickets on ‘uneconomical’ routes, the poor having to pay for their electricity bills, and other subsidy cuts. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysia’s 1MDB scandal: Australian connection in Malaysia scandal

Ben Butler
The Australian
October 24, 2015

Sitting on the canals behind the glitzy towers that line Broadbeach, on Queensland’s Gold Coast, the low-rise Icon Corporate Park doesn’t look much like the kind of place you’d find a funds management company looking after billions of dollars caught up in a financial scandal that is rocking Malaysia.

But this modest address, at a modern low-rise located at 2 Miami Key, has emerged as host to Australian key players, some with colourful histories, caught up in the controversy engulfing Malaysia’s debt-ridden sovereign wealth fund, 1MDB.

In Malaysia, the scandal involving hundreds of millions of dollars allegedly paid into the bank account of the country’s Prime Minister, Najib Razak, has left behind a trail of arrests, accusations and alleged murder.

In August, police arrested three senior officials at the ­Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission, which has been investigating 1MDB, over alleged leaks to London-based website Sarawak Report.

The controversy has also touched Australia’s ANZ Bank: it owns a quarter of Malaysia’s AmBank, which loaned 2 billion ringgit ($660 million) to 1MDB and where Mr Najib kept the account in question. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Speaker, the Deputy Speaker, the BN MPs – are they fools?

P. Ramakrishnan
23rd Oct 2015

The Speaker, the Deputy Speaker and the BN MPs took exception to Lim Kit Siang’s remarks which rightly criticised the lack of seriousness shown in the investigation of the 1MDB scandal.

Consequently, Kit Siang was unfairly suspended without the benefit of defending himself – which went against natural justice.

In all fairness, he should have been referred to the Rights and Privileges Committee under Standing Order 80 for it to probe and establish whether Kit Siang had indeed insulted the Speaker and Parliament. The manner that he was suspended reminded one of Shakespeare’s play, The Merchant of Venice, where a pound of flesh was insisted upon, come what may!

On 22 October 2015, Parliament was, as it were, baying for blood and it succeeded in its effort. As a result, Parliament has lost a voice that had always spoken with conviction and conscience, without fear or favour, to raise issues that reflect the concerns of the people. Much input into the budget debate has been denied – which is a pity. Read the rest of this entry »

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Aussie authorities looking into businesses associated with 1MDB, says report

The Malaysian Insider
24 October 2015

Australian authorities are investigating key players connected to controversial state-owned investment firm 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), The Australian reported today.

The daily said the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (Asic) had in December launched investigations into Avestra Asset Management, located at 2 Miami Key, Icon Corporate Park, which has become the centre of a full-scale probe.

Avestra, along with another company known as Bridge Global Securities, was linked to a Cayman Islands entity called Bridge Global Absolute Return SPC Fund (BGARF), which according to the report was used to cover up a US$2.23 billion hole in debt-ridden 1MDB. Read the rest of this entry »

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What happened to high-income agenda, economists ask of Budget 2016

by Anisah Shukry
The Malaysian Insider
24 October 2015

Economists said they had expected far more from Budget 2016 that is supposed to propel Malaysia towards high-income nation status in five years’ time.

Economic analyst Dr Muhammad Abdul Khalid said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had inadvertently revealed in his speech yesterday that the country was not entirely on track to becoming a high-income nation in five years.

“According to the Performance Management Delivery Unit (Pemandu), the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) should grow by 6% each year for Malaysia to achieve high-income status yet Najib said GDP will only grow between 4% and 5% in 2016.

“Even this year, GDP is expected to expand between 4.5% and 5.5% only, not 6%,” Muhammad told The Malaysian Insider.
He said Najib, who is also finance minister, had also not addressed the fact that the ringgit’s depreciation against the US dollar would make it more difficult for the country to achieve high-income status.

He explained that a high income nation requires the country to have USD$15,000 GDP per capita, but with the weakened ringgit, Malaysia was off target by 17% “just by doing nothing”. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysia’s Broken Biotech Dreams

By Wan Izzuddin Sulaiman
Asia Sentinel
October 22, 2015

Aspirations to make the country a major biotech player are mostly a failure

A decade ago, then-Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi ushered Malaysia into the biotech era with the opening of the BioMalaysia 2005 conference, aimed at making the country a global player by building a conducive environment for R&D through leveraging existing strengths, particularly in biodiversity and bio-resources.

But that policy lies in a shambles, having eaten up huge amounts of money and having produced almost nothing of value. The 15-year master plan (2005-2020) crafted by the late Jamaluddin Jarjis, then the Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI), who unfortunately was killed on April 4, 2015 in a helicopter crash, has almost been abandoned.

Among the main biological processes that catapulted the biotechnology revolution worldwide are the genetic manipulation of microorganisms for the production of new drugs, the cloning and manipulation of selected genes in animals and crops to introduce improved varieties, the sequencing of the entire genome including the human one to better understand diseases, and the use of stem-cells in curing chronic diseases. These technologies were mainly originated in laboratories operated by leading universities and research institutions, mostly in the developed countries. Read the rest of this entry »

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Najib had turned Parliament into a circus with a 90-minute 2016 budget without a single reference to the two mega-scandals in the country’s history – the RM50 billion 1MDB and RM2.6 billion “donation” in Najib’s personal banking accounts

Communications and Multimedia Minister Senator Salleh Said Keruak hit the nail on the head when he said yesterday that Parliament should not be turned into a circus.

However, Salleh would not have the guts and gumption to tell it to the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak who is most guilty of turning Parliament into a circus when he delivered a 90-minute 2016 budget without a single reference to the two mega-scandals in the country’s history – the RM50 billion 1MDB and RM2.6 billion “donation” in Najib personal banking accounts in March 2013.

Salleh would not have the guts and gumption to tell Najib not to turn Parliament into a circus or he would have lost his passport of backdoor entry into Parliament!

The placard “Mana RM2.6 billion” (Where is the RM2.6 billion) which opposition MPs displayed in Dewan Rakyat after Najib’s budget speech resonates in the hearts and minds of 30 million Malaysians, even the three million UMNO members, and a few UMNO/BN Members of Parliament as this the topmost question they want answer from Najib’s 2016 Budget speech.

This was the huge elephant in the Dewan Rakyat Chamber which the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister, his Cabinet and most of the UMNO/Barisan Nasional MPs refused to see or acknowledge, although the Opposition MPs, the 30 million Malaysians (including the three million UMNO members), and a few UMNO/BN MPs could see clearly before their eyes. Read the rest of this entry »

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