Archive for November 26th, 2016

Malaysian ringgit divides experts, with some seeing Trump, 1MDB risks

Leslie Shaffer
24 Nov 2016

Malaysia’s currency has tumbled in the wake of the market’s “Trump tantrum,” and analysts disagree on whether that’s just the beginning or near the end.

The ringgit has taken it on the chin since Donald Trump’s surprise win in the U.S. presidential election on Nov. 8.

By Thursday, dollar had climbed as much as 6.5 percent against the Malaysian currency for the month so far, with the greenback fetching as much as 4.4630 ringgit, its highest since September 2015, and is flirting with levels last seen during the Asian Financial Crisis in 1997. On Friday, the dollar was fetching 4.460 ringgit at 10:06 a.m. HK/SIN. Read the rest of this entry »


Trump Tantrum Puts Malaysia in Spotlight

November 24, 2016

It’s time the nation’s embattled leader looked in the mirror and examined his role in the ringgit’s recent plunge.

No country in Asia plays the blame game like Malaysia. When the economy crashed in 1997, it faulted speculators and Jews. When it stumbled in 2013, it fingered the Federal Reserve. When Prime Minister Najib Razak tried to explain away an ongoing corruption scandal, he talked of overseas conspirators. Malaysia’s latest scapegoat? Donald Trump.

Granted, this last deflection isn’t as fanciful as the others. Malaysia has as much, or more, to lose from the president-elect killing the Trans-Pacific Partnership as any nation engaged in the deal. And Trump’s shock victory on Nov. 8 has emerging markets running scared about the direction of American economic and foreign policy.

But blaming Trump for the ringgit’s dismal performance is just shameless. Valid reasons for the currency’s 5% plunge over the last 17 days include an outsized dependence on oil revenue, the failure by a succession of leaders over the last 20 years to restructure the economy and the scandals overwhelming Najib’s government and his party. Read the rest of this entry »


Why is Maria Chin held under Sosma for Bersih receiving puny funds from OSF while Najib goes scot-free for receiving astronomical RM4.2 billion from foreigners?

The Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar made a splash of a news earlier this evening, announcing that Bersih chairperson Maria Chin Abdullah is safe and in good health and that she had been provided with a mattress and pillow due to her feeling uncomfortable sleeping on the wooden floor in her cell.

It is sad that Khalid did not realise that the announcement did not reflect on his sensitivity but the opposite, that it has to take a week for the head of the Police to realise that it is cruel, heartless and insensitive for the IGP not to take all necessary steps to ensure that a defenceless 60-year-old woman should be treated with all the decency and humanity she deserved while under police incarceration, on top of the baseless charge of detaining her whether as a terrorist or a traitor when she should be treated as a patriot par excellence of Malaysia.

Khalid cannot stop Malaysians from asking, even though not in his presence, as to why Maria Chin is held under Sosma for Bersih receiving puny funds from Open Society Foundation (OSF) while the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak can go scot-free for receiving astronomical RM4.2 billion from foreigners?

Maria Chin and Bersih had always advocated peaceful, non-violent and democratic process to bring about public awareness and public pressures for change, yet she could be treated like a terrorist to be placed under Sosma allowing for up to 28 days of detention without trial.

What has the nation become 60 years after Merdeka and 53 years after Malaysia? Read the rest of this entry »


The battle lines in the 14GE is “democracy vs kleptocracy” and the political challenge is to create an united opposition coalition committed to constitutional and democratic reforms in Malaysia

Former PAS leader and Kelantan State Assemblyman for Salor Datuk Husam Musa has predicted that the 14th general elections is likely to be held in March or April, as he expects PAS President Datuk Seri Hadi Awang’s private members’ motion to amend the Syariah Courts (Criminal Juriseiction) Act 1965 or Act 355 to be debated only after the 14th general election.

Husam sees the move by Hadi to table and defer his private member’s bill motion for a second time on the last day of the 25-sitting budget meeting on Thursday as a ruse and “effective gambit” to create a “win-win” situation for both PAS and UMNO – where PAS can show that its “355” gambit was not a failure, and where UMNO can “milk” political capital from the issue not only in next week’s UMNO General Assembly but also in the 14GE.

Husam may be right, but there is another possible scenario – with Parliament meeting in March, but no debate on Hadi’s private member’s motion.

Instead, the UMNO/BN government will take over Hadi’s private member’s bill, which had not even reached the “first reading” stage in Parliament, and present it to Parliament as a government bill for first reading. An all-party Parliamentary Select Committee will then be formed in the March meeting of Parliament to study the UMNO/BN government’s “takeover” of Hadi’s private member’s bill for a report to be submitted to Parliament, whether in the July/August or October/November meetings of Parliament. Read the rest of this entry »

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