Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Malaysia Inc.'s Leaning Towards Corporatocracy

If we remember back then, the bulk of funds to run Najib's ETP program which costs more than a trillion ringgit will be largely, approximately between 70 to 80 percent are from private corporations, with the rest formed by GLCs and the small amount by government. If you notice the composition of parties involved, this of course forms collectively as part of the Corporatocracy. There is a notoriety of the saying from that concept "Too Big To Fail."

The term above is on, social economically speaking and focusing, refers to conflicting, opposing interests of the society. Big institutions and even government entities with private components dictate the direction and governance of the country. If you take the term, it simply goes against the 1Malaysia slogan of  "People First, Performance Priority". 

The anti-Lynas earth plant protest is the best case of illustrating the concept. The government is in a conflict of whether to lean on to people who requested the plant to be scrapped for health. On the other hand, government could see a potential annual revenue of RM 8 billion if they decide to follow what the lobby group and pro-Lynas supporters would want. If the IAEA panel finds no reason to have it scrapped, it means of violating the slogan above and succumbing to the dictates of the corporation.

In this case, corporations have the large say on what the government has to do or risk losing investment and pulling funds out of it. With the announcement of slew of projects and programs under the ETP, the government has to have an average annual GDP of no more than 6% in the next few years or risk failing the target and the Vision 2020 project, Dr. Mahathir's pet project. This realization alludes to another reason why Najib recently visited New York for an investment call and visit for American investors to inject more investment funds into Malaysia - to achieve the average while corruption and cronyism still runs rampant.

The subsidy bill that keeps ballooning to the point where the Najib administration simply has no other option but to cut the bill and increasing tariffs and fuel prices to market levels. This has many implications: first, being of doing what the economic hitmen would ask them to do. Secondly, this was one part of the solution to solve the debt reduction problem, aside from restructuring the debt. Restructuring the debt by renegotiating existing contracts with other parties involved was the best for national interest, a win-win, but refusing to disclose to public (as what Peter Chin's excuse today) is tantamount to withholding information that people are entitled to know of and reveals of not answering to the people but instead to corporations. 

In this time of the world, the Keynesian model, which Dr. Mahathir and a few world leaders are in favor might not be working anymore. Still mired in the economic crisis that we have yet to move out of it, using that model is equivalent to what David Karsbol said  to having a train keep accelerating disregarding that there train is about to reach the chasm and end of the line resulting in multiple train wrecks. This is very dangerous as this method of stimulus and so on will great much deficit to the GDP and could push Malaysia to the same fate as P.I.G.S. As the government in line, like in the western countries, if they are to balance the books, they need to adopt something like the Hicks model (a.k.a IS/LM) model where interest rates will have to be more than the inflation rate and incremental if the average income gets lower and lower. Other measures that had to be considered in would be to cut public sector wages (allowances), increment of retirement age (now at 58)

There have been criticism from those opposing saying that hikes without other things done is wrong and of course mentioned earlier, violating Najib's own 1Malaysia slogan. But in the end, the lower class people is going to suffer more than the middle and upper class. If there are professionals paying income taxes, everyone is paying for 6% government tax that Customs department is imposing on, with another 10% service charge on certain places as well. 

I have also taken a look into the PR's Buku Jingga thing and I have seen this book being criticized by many anti-PR people which points out that if PR runs the federal government, the national income will go bust for the first two years of its 5-year term. Spending almost RM 300 billion or almost all the national GDP for that is a very risky thing to be done. But what Anwar wants to do is the complete opposite of corporatocracy - dirigisme. As I have mentioned previously, Anwar and the Buku Jingga ideas mentioned implies of heavy state government monitoring, participation and intervention. If that is the case, it also involves rules to be imposed on private sector, measures here and forth.

Someone from Pakatan gave me the argument in rebutting the potential problem on going bankrupt in the first two years - which is that some points have been missed out already. What they said before was that in the process, they wanted to make a mandatory of "minimum wage" to be paid for those working in the sector since the amount of profits reap by corporations are high. To the tune of how much remains the question in my head.

Hong Kong has recently imposed a monthly minimum wage of between RM1700 and RM 2000, which is higher than the planned minimum amount to be introduced. Now what about Malaysia? If we look at the chart below - I picked that profession as example because of my field of work I am in, you would notice that if we are to add the minimum wage value into the present gross income of pay, you can either be part of the bracket range of supposed pay or it is an addition and one step closer towards what Najib called as High Income of $15000 GDP. 

Unfortunately, the problem lies in the employers objection towards this, demanding a market-determined wage. At this point of time, and while we have yet to fully go back to the period pre-Asian financial crisis, dirigisme can be taken but very very risky. One wrong move, and it can collapse. The only thing is whether if Pakatan Rakyat has those things ready as they claimed to be - i.e investors ready in hand, clear set of rules and scope of intervention, participation, etc?

It sounds a little long winded but the point to emphasize is this that while  there have been increases on prices, and inflation, yet people's income have not increased to compensate that, so this implies of non compliance and not heeding to the 1Malaysia mantra that Najib's men have been talking about. Secondly, if this problem drags on, it means that they can't do the macroeconomic job well, and the governance has been determined by corporations. Third, the no will to reform the economy was partly due to the opposition by certain parties, because reforming could well affect their desired profit range at the expense of the people. In that case, it implies BN can't do the job and they might as well give the baton to the other parties to handle. Let the people judge to see who's doing better instead of behaving like school children who refuse to give even though they are found to do things badly.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Yes Minister!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Adnan's Nonsensical Statements

I can really laugh on the kind of nonsense that our Pahang MB Adnan Yaakob is talking about. This shows that he can't really do a real good job as a Chief Minister. Hah!

1. Handphones are riskier than Lynas rare earth ore (Read the rest of the entry at Malaysian Insider)

- You got to be kidding me. Handphone radiation is not that severe as with the Lynas earth. However, we can minimized it by talking on the left ear, using earphones, and talk less on the mobile and use more on the existing telephone set. As an MB, you should be digging around and do some Googling on phone radiation rather than spewing this bullshit. In fact, Adnan Yaakob got it the other way round.

- Does this imply that Adnan Yaakob says yes to Ali-Baba patronage? Earn money without doing nothing, not even a tiny bit from your side? Expecting people to pay money as if demand that they pay as tithes to you? There is a saying that you don't get if you don't sow. And I find this baffling really indeed.

I mean, what an utter disgrace!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

If They Don't Like Some Things Then Declare It Illegal!

“If in Egypt one million youths gathered in Tahrir Square to change that country’s leadership... in Malaysia, one million youths gathered to defend Putrajaya,” he said.

“Are you willing to defend Putrajaya?” he asked repeatedly, to cheers from the 8,000-strong crowd.

I still don't even understand Najib's logic behind calling the youths to "do the King Kong" thing, just because they believe that Putrajaya is Barisan Nasional and no one else's. They also see Pakatan as the Communist, which there is a thinking of the Cold War still going on, although it's already more than 20 years since it was ended already. Maybe, I might want to go back into watching those Red Alert period movies, like Dr. Strangelove or the fourth Indiana Jones movie just to review that period really.

This brings back the thing that Najib said in the UMNO assembly in October, of saying crushed bodies in defending Putrajaya. The statement mentioned in UMNO is also being relayed to youngsters there. UMNO is indirectly sending this kind of order and statement to do such thing. This could also implies of doing anything, even if it is also morally wrong just to accomplish one non-nonsensical objective.

I can't even put a finger and picture of youngsters doing King Kong just because they are told to do so. If this happens, then what is the purpose of having democracy in Malaysia? For some of us who doubt this thing and raise this issue, what will be the response of those yahoos who do really believe in things blindly? Many of us are still unaware that we've been asked to support things and those that are even immoral.

Two weeks ago, on 8 May from The Malaysian Insider, a similar kind of statement was brought out by Ghani Othman. It may not be exactly the same as what Najib is saying, but the statement implies that the opposition is the threat to Malays and so forth. An utter bullshit spoken by people who are following blindly on something, even doing things which are too stupid to follow.

Looking at that, these people talk and behave like school children. It's lending them a toy and they are not willing to return it back even if it's not rightfully theirs. We the people, who vote for them in the office are like those who lend toys to them - tax monies are one of those toys - and we have the right to ask it back when time comes.

This of course reminds me of the Queen of The Night's famous aria in Mozart's The Magic Flute.

If they don't really like some things, like the election process, to the point that there's extensive vote buying - then just things illegal outright. Why drag their own feet if they don't like it? Like in Germany, once the Nazi's came into power in 1933, all other parties are declared illegal. Partly one reason is because any opposition parties can be considered as a problem of shaping the nation's agenda to their defined ideals.

But of course such things can be very disastrous. In the aftermath of the Egypt uprising, Hosni Murbarak was given just deserts by the people. Mubarak was fined $34 million US for obstructing the Internet in Egypt, where people got very angry at oppression. And this course poses a question to our young here...should we have a strong independent mind, able to discern things and decide on our own will or rather become a mere meek person and just obeying the existing system, if it demands total obedience and doing things that are immoral?


Egypt: Hosni Mubarak fined for cutting internet

Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has been fined $34m (£20m) for cutting off communications services during the uprising that ousted him.

The fine of 200m Egyptian pounds is the first clear ruling against Mr Mubarak since he left office in February. Two other senior officials were also fined.

The 83-year-old is currently under arrest in hospital in Sharm el-Sheikh after being taken ill in detention.
He has been charged over the deaths of anti-government protesters.
Officials probed
Mr Mubarak is also being questioned over charges that he and his family made huge profits during the three decades he spent as Egyptian president.

More than 20 Mubarak-era ministers and businessmen linked to the regime have been detained since his departure.

Last week, former Interior Minister Habib al-Adly was sentenced to 12 years in jail on charges of money-laundering and profiteering.

On Saturday, he was also fined over the disruption to telephone and internet services during the Egyptian revolution, along with Mr Mubarak and his former Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif.

Adly also faces separate charges of ordering troops to fire on demonstrators. He could face the death penalty if convicted.

Mr Mubarak and his sons Alaa and Gamal have been charged with "premeditated murder" of some participants in the protests, the country's state news agency reported. - BBC

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

America Has Gone Bust

Previously, America has set the bankruptcy line not to exceed 14.3 trillion dollars. However, on 16 May 2011, the figure debt has breached the mark. Currently at this time, the debt stands at 14.39 trillion, which you can see real-time at the U.S National Debt Clock.

America has been trying many ways to stay afloat. On breaching the debt cap, America has owed its citizens, investors, pension funds, etc.. the money. What was unprecedented is a rich nation like America starts asking financial aid from the IMF. Usually, it would be the poor countries otherwise. However, the actual news of recently resigned IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn was never revealed, except that Strauss-Kahn was in America in a round of talks with the US government on whether the IMF can help them on a financial bailout. 

Officially, last Monday, America has gone bust. They tried to get IMF to help as their last hope, but the IMF snubbed them. And then look at how things unfold:

"On the weekend (May 14 and 15, 2011) prior to this historic event the US government and the IMF chief were engaged in behind closed doors negotiations for an IMF financial bailout of the US government. IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn, a French citizen and political opponent of French president Nicolas Sarkozy for the French presidency, was in the US for this meeting. The Obama government failed to secure funds from the IMF chief. In retaliation the US government immediately launched a pre-planned smear campaign against the IMF – IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn."

Read more here.
Speaking of which, there have been people that parallels Strauss-Kahn's rape case with Anwar Ibrahim's sex case here. It may be similar at the first glance. Some have asked Anwar Ibrahim to do the same thing as D.S.K here by leaving, but there is more layer to be seen instead of the first. If you can read the story, then you can see the picture - more than what it seems.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Clothes Don't Really Maketh The Man

Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society. - Mark Twain

Apart from the movies I watched in the cinemas over the past few weeks, the only movie that I watched in many times over one seating at home in the last three weeks was The Day of The Jackal, which starred the Bond villain, Michael Lonsdale and of course the elder of the Fox brothers, Edward. (James has appeared more prominently in the last 15 years in movies (see Charlie and The Chocolate Factory / Sherlock Holmes) while Edward is more relegated to TV and stage productions). What caught my attention over the last few viewings was not about the plot or the story, but in particular the 15 minutes in the middle of the film. 

What happened was that after the first identity cover was blown, the Jackal then masquerades as a Danish school teacher, Pier Lundquist, with the identity stolen from the London airport - a secondary identity to be used in event things would go wrong while assuming the first identity of a dead person. 

One thing I can noticed from that is that even you assume that person's identity and clothing, you are not really him / her exactly. Hence at this point of time, I think that clothes don't really maketh the man, contrary to what Twain said. Note: If you can't find the video at a video shop, you might want to read the 40th anniversary reissue of the novel by Frederick Forsyth.

Pete has written some thoughts about observing people in Bali. Some of my relatives, including my brother who was there on a study trip, at the same time I was visiting Australia do affirm that similar statement. The last few paragraphs about pudding is in the eating reads:

After Bali we went over to Jakarta and suddenly it was another world altogether. Jakarta is predominantly Muslim but you did not feel safe in that city. You felt like you were constantly under siege.

“Why can’t the Muslims in Jakarta be like the Hindus of Bali?” I commented to my wife. I was so impressed with the Balinese Hindus and disgusted with the Jakarta Muslims. And it is the Muslims who cause all the commotion in Bali with the bombings and whatnot.
I would like to believe that Muslims have reduced Islam to a religion of rituals minus the commitment to the ideals of the religion. But then the Balinese are even more ritualistic than the Muslims. In fact, they appear to be constantly in prayer.
I am yet to put my finger on it. There is something about the Balinese version of Hinduism that makes them extremely honest and decent people. But what is it?
I think I am going to go back to Bali and spend some time studying the people there, in particular their religion. I need to find out what it is they are doing right and we are doing wrong.
The Balinese Hindus are a perfect example of good Muslims. That is what troubles me. The Balinese Hindus are what Muslims should be but are not. And I really need to find out why this is so even if it is the last thing I do.

Lately, Perkasa and even UMNO keep saying the same rhetorics and summary statement that the Malays must all be under one roof. What kind of roof? Whose roof is it? Political roof is it or is it that the roof of the same mindset and attitude that is based on the mould that is defined by the party that claims to represent Malays, the UMNO Baru? 

UMNO Baru is not 65 as it believes to be, but instead it is actually 23, as the original was declared illegal in 1988, just before Salleh Abbas' sacking. Do you notice the similarity to what I pointed here? 

The first identity that the Jackal assumed was the identity of a dead person, Paul Oliver Duggan (in the novel was Alexander James Duggan) , and carries a passport that was applied in the legal manner. This is very identical to how UMNO came back after the reregistration in 1988. This factually speaking, not in some bullshit manner, although there is a claim that they use the name because of the same traditions carried over.

I suppose the famous saying by Mark Twain is being used, unaware by many people. 

Both these entities keep playing the same tune from the lute, which is claiming that Utusan represents all the Malays, like what UMNO would always claim to be. But they have never understood that this is also equivalent to forcing their opinion onto every other person. In this case, when applied the idea above, even if you are a person of a Malay race, you do not have to say yes to what UMNO and Perkasa said. 

The clothing only illustrates your appearance to others. But the inner self of each person is unique. Who are you are and how you choose to be is your own discretion. You are your own person. You have the right to decide and think, that's what the brain is for. Political bodies or other entities, except God and your own self can decide on your fate. 

Perkasa and UMNO said "Over our dead bodies" on those who whack Utusan. I am wondering whether if they themselves are not aware of some inaccuracies that they have seen in news reports, or they refuse to spot the difference and merely accept blindly what is written. Does that also mean that they also take in face value of things that call for them to do things even if the contents written inside a news piece is factually wrong or inaccurate?

A man who truly believes in the religion doesn't do such thing just because you are this race and you are this religion that you are entitled to do such things that others are not entitled into. This is entirely wrong. The most important thing is that you have the reason to do it when you are asked to explain when facing God in the afterlife. 

And to point out to the unity issue that UMNO has constantly brought out to PAS, the idea can't work and last forever. History simply reveals it themselves - you can see the example of the many school of thoughts of the Islamic and Christianity religion. If in doubt, you can see how PKR people clash with those in Eskay's "Quran swearing ceremony" - as case in point.

You cannot really force your opinion onto others. It is the substance that is more important than the shell. Or as most people say, a book is judge not by the cover. Likewise, this also goes out to even the opposition party. What you do is more important than just screaming rhetorics. Even Anwar himself should know what he is really doing, even amidst the allegations and accusations that he makes wildly.

Uniquely July 2011

Calendar for July 2011



Money bags

This year, July has 5 Fridays, 5 Saturdays and 5 Sundays. This happens
once every 823 years. This is called money bags. So, forward this to
your friends and money will arrive within 4 days. Based on Chinese
Feng Shui.

This year we're going to experience four unusual dates.

1/1/11, 1/11/11, 11/1/11, 11/11/11 and that's not all...

Take the last two digits of the year in which you were born - now add
the age you will be this year,

The results will be 111 for everyone in whole world. This is the year of
the Money!!! 

Editor's Note: Could this be the reason for GE13 on 11.11.11?

Love Is All Around, Dance Intepreted

Lynas Protest: Another Test Case For The 1Malaysia Creed

Six bus loads of people from Kuantan and others braved the afternoon rain to show up at the Australian High Commission, as to make the point to Canberra, and the Gillard administration: "No way Lynas". The venue and timing is all part of the effort and factors included to get Australia's attention. 

And it happened about 6 hours ago, when ABC posted their coverage of today's event. (see appendix below).

I am not surprised to see how the police responded to the protest, though they are to be complemented for having done a decent and proper job in crowd control. It's largely to my thinking that there are international observers and press people involved in this matter and I infer that if the police acted in the high-handed manner, they could be well embarrassed on international news. I have documented this in my morning posting on "Eyes on Police" previously.

Kuantan residents have made their point loud and clear to Putrajaya and Canberra. If we go back to Murphy's Law, that anything could happen, taking what happened in Fukushima had been the main reason and motiviating factor of many who are against the rare earth plant in Kuantan.

Now, it's another case of testing the 1Malaysia creed that Najib has been talking and bragging all around. I keep seeing those propaganda advertisements everywhere, in the bus or driving past the UMNO headquarters building (a distraction to motorists driving along Jalan Mahameru). At the end of each ad, there always show the "Rakyat Didahulukan, Pencapaian Diutamakan". In this point of the protest, this is where the slogan is being tested.

Is it going to be real or just merely part of the public relations exercise of the Najib administration?

This is not the very first case of testing the 1Malaysia creed. The minimum wage call that has been pushed by worker unions and I considered it failed against the creed for it was not done in a swift manner. What both have in common is that they face opposition, a.k.a stumbling blocks particularly from the economic / nuclear-lobbyists and I do think that they are starting to caving to their pressure.
On Thursday, Leonardo DiCaprio twitted something similar to this matter:

Friday, May 20, 2011

Eyes on Cops' Handling on Anti-Lynas Protest

I am aware that later in the afternoon is the Anti-Lynas protest heading from KLCC towards the Australian High Commission. And true, people even from Australia and Malaysia have been protesting over the start of operations of the Gebeng plant, 25km from Kuantan over the concern of health. We have been reminded of the Bukit Merah disaster that happened before that people do not want it to repeat again.

The Gillard and Najib administration respectively were under fire from many quarters over this matter.

But we all know what's the summary about. It's about the protest today.

Because today's protest involves international eyes and observers, the eye now turns to how the police will be there to handle the situation. If the same case happens where unnecessary action could be taken, it will be police that will be flayed on that day. I could see possible footage from there could hit international news channels by nightfall.

In the past experience, there are mainly two to three main police heads in the vicinity of KL that would be responsible.

One of them is the Dang Wangi police chief, OCPD Zulkarnain Abdul Rahman, and the other one, replacing Datuk Wira Sabtu Osman was Zulkifli Abdullah, formerly the Perak state police chief. Remember that Zulkifli was responsible for the not so professional handling of the state assembly protests back in Ipoh in May 2009. As for Zulkarnain, I recalled that he was one of those that refused the issue of permit for the Bersih 2007 rally.

I recalled this was written by the Kuantan Environmental Watch Group:


The heads will have to take the responsibility there. Period.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Wikileaks - Is Pak Lah Actually Still Holding The Smoking Gun?

From The Asian Sentinel:

Cables show the US embassy in KL feared "prosecutorial misconduct" during the sensational 2009 trial

The US Embassy in Kuala Lumpur closely followed the trial of the accused killers of Mongolian interpreter Altantuya Shaariibuu and frequently discussed whether current Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak was involved in the killing, according to diplomatic cables supplied to Asia Sentinel by the WikiLeaks website.

The diplomats, like much of the public, also speculated that the trial was being deliberately delayed and feared what one cable calls "prosecutorial misconduct" that was being politically manipulated. The embassy officials based their concerns on sources within the prosecution, government and the political opposition.

The cables also draw attention to an intriguing allegation that then Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi may have attempted to use the proceedings to implicate Najib, a claim that was quickly hushed up in the Malaysian press.

Altantuya was murdered in October 2006 by two of Najib's bodyguards, Chief Inspector Azilah Hadri, 30 and Corporal Sirul Azhar Umar, 35. who stood trial and were pronounced guilty in April 2009.  Abdul Razak Baginda, one of Najib's best friends and Altantuya's lover, was accused of participating in the murder but was freed without having to put on a defense.

The murder has been tied closely to the US$1 billion acquisition of French submarines by the Malaysian ministry of defense, which Najib headed as defense minister during the acquisitions. Altantuya reportedly acted as a translator on the transaction, which netted Razak Baginda's company a €114 million "commission" on the purchase.  Reportedly she had been offered US$500,000 for her part in translating.  After she was jilted, she vainly demanded payment. A letter she had written was made public after her death saying she regretted attempting to "blackmail" Razak Baginda.

French lawyers are investigating whether some of the €114 million was kicked back to French or Malaysian politicians. Despite the scandal, the US government has not publicly backed away from Najib. In April 2010, Najib visited the White House and was praised by President Barack Obama for the parliament's passage of an act allowing Malaysian authorities to take action against individuals and entities engaged in proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

The cables are replete with accounts of a long series of meetings with opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, who repeatedly told the Americans that Najib was connected to corrupt practices in the acquisition of the submarines as well as the purchase of Sukhoi Su-MCM-30 Flanker fighter jets from Russia.  Anwar also called attention to Najib's connection to the Altantuya case.

A Jan. 24, 2007 cable, marked "secret," wrote that "Perceived irregularities on the part of prosecutors and the court, and the alleged destruction of some evidence, suggested to many that the case was subject to strong political pressure intended to protect Najib."

In a Feb. 1, 2008 cable, the embassy's Political Section Chief, Mark D. Clark, wrote that a deputy prosecutor had told him "there was almost no chance of winning guilty verdicts in the on-going trial of defendants Razak Baginda, a close advisor to Deputy Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak, and two police officers.  She described the trial as interminably long." (That, of course, turned out to be wrong. Sirul and Azilah were ultimately convicted and have appealed their sentence) 

Clark called the trial a "a prosecutorial embarrassment from its inception, leading many to speculate that the ineptitude was by design.  On the eve of the trial,Malaysia's Attorney General Abdul Gani Patail dropped his lead prosecutors and replaced them with less experienced attorneys.  Similarly, a lead counsel for one of the defendants abruptly resigned before the trial 'because of (political) attempts to interfere with a defense he had proposed, in particular to protect an unnamed third party.'"

The protracted nature of the case, Clark continued, led "at least one regional newspaper to speculate that 'the case is being deliberately delayed to drive it from public view. Malaysia's daily newspapers rarely mention the case's latest developments, and it is unprecedented in Malaysian judicial history that a murder trial could drag on for seven months and still not give the defense an opportunity to present its case.  Such an environment has led many to conclude that the case was too politically sensitive to yield a verdict before the anticipated general elections."

A January 2007 cable called attention to Razak Baginda's affidavit confirming that he sought the help of Musa Safri, later identified by reporters as Najib's aide-de-camp, in ridding him of the jilted woman, and in other cables pointed out that Musa had never been called for questioning.

In another cable, dated May 16, 2007, Wan Ahmad Farid Wan Salleh, a deputy home affairs minister in former Prime Minister Ahmad Abdullah Badawi's cabinet told US Embassy officials that he was "certain that government prosecutors would limit their trial activities to the murder itself and the three defendants; prosecutors would not follow up on allegations of related corruption or other suspects."

In a Jan. 27, 2007 cable, marked "Secret," embassy officials wrote that "In December we heard from one of (Anwar's) lawyers that Razak Baginda's wife was in contact with Anwar and Wan Azizah, suggesting one possible source for Anwar's information." 

Razak Baginda's wife, during one of his first appearances in court, screamed that her husband "doesn't want to be prime minister." That was taken by observers as a reference to the fact that Najib reportedly had been having an affair with Altantuya but passed her on to Razak Baginda because it would be unseemly to have a mistress when he succeeded Abdullah Badawi as premier.  Najib has offered to swear on the Koran that he had never met the woman.

However, in July 2008, P Balasubramaniam, a former policeman and private detective who had been hired by Razak Baginda to protect him from Altantuya, filed a sworn statement saying he had been told by the accused man that Najib not only knew the murdered woman but had an affair with her and introduced her to him, passing her on because he did not want the onus of having a mistress in the event that he would become prime minister.

In a telephone interview on May 9, Anwar, however, told Asia Sentinel that Razak Baginda's wife was not the source of his knowledge of Najib's connection and that instead he had been told of the connection by Setev Shaariibuu, Altantuya's father, who said he had wished to present evidence of Najib's involvement, but was not allowed to do so.  Multiple attempts to contact Setev by Asia Sentinel have been unsuccessful.

Almost immediately after he made the statement, Balasubramaniam was picked up and driven to a police station, where he was forced to withdraw the statement and write a new one saying Razak Baginda had told him nothing of the sort. Balasubramaniam fled Malaysia for India.  He later said Najib's brother, Nizam,  and wife, Rosmah Mansor, had met with him and that he was offered RM5 million (US$1.48 million) to forget his statement connecting Najib to Altantuya. Balasubramaniam displayed a flock of checks drawn on the account of an associate of Najib's wife.  The former private detective has made a a series of statements from outside the country about Najib's involvement.

A February 2008 cable from Political Section Chief Clark gives a hint that Abdullah Badawi himself may have been trying to get rid of Najib by forcing Razak Baginda to implicate him in the murder.

"In the latest turn of the ongoing Altantuya murder trial (reftels), accused political insider Abdul Razak Baginda, who has remained calm and composed through most of the proceedings, unleashed an emotional tirade shortly after the February 20 noon recess on the trial's 90th day," Clark wrote. "Referring to the Prime Minister by his nick-name 'Pak Lah,' Razak reportedly exclaimed:  'You can die, Pak Lah! (in Malaysian - Matilah kau, Pak Lah!) I'm innocent!' according to unpublished journalist accounts. 

"Local  newspapers and the government news service Bernama reported the fact of the outburst, but did not print Razak's  statements.  The short-lived exception was the English language newspaper The Sun, which included the quotations from Razak in its early morning February 21 edition.  Sources at newspaper confirmed to us in confidence that the Ministry of Internal Security compelled The Sun to withdraw and recall thousands of copies of their first run paper in which the original quote was included.  Prime Minister Abdullah serves concurrently as Minister of Internal Security."

During the trial, Clark wrote, Razak Baginda, "appeared uneasy throughout the morning session of court on February 20.  Razak's father, Abdullah Malim Baginda had whispered something to him shortly before the trial had begun for the morning and apparently upset the accused.  Razak had remained quiet throughout the morning hearings, but just after the noon recess was called and as he was leaving the courtroom he kicked and banged the door and yelled "You can die, Pak Lah! Die, Pak Lah!  I am innocent.  I am innocent."  He was later seen crying before his lawyer while his mother attempted to comfort him."

"Speculation is rife in Malaysia's on-line community concerning what it was that set off Razak Baginda  outburst, including conspiracy theories alleging the Prime Minister's office had urged Razak to implicate Deputy Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak …in return for  sparing Razak a guilty verdict and its mandatory death sentence," officials wrote.  

The cable goes on to write, "Regardless, the Internal Security Ministry would want to limit any possibly inflammatory reference to the Prime Minister at the trial, and particularly at this juncture due to the proximity of Malaysia's general election to be held on March 8.  Any connection between the Prime Minister and the murder trial would be scandalous.  The GOM (government of Malaysia) reportedly has worked hard to 'drive (the case) from public view' … and is not about to allow the case to influence the coming elections." 

This is what Asia Sentinel wrote when they have received Wikileaks cables involving Najib and Altantuya. I don't really know if this really coincides with the MoU that was signed between Raja Petra and Julian Assange, but given that the murder has occurred more than 4.5 years ago, with no proper conclusion, and the trial riddled with inconsistencies, it is one step closer to finding out the real truth really.

The Altantuya murder happened mid-October 2006, when Pak Lah was the PM. His premiership was from 1 November 2003 to 1 April 2009. What attracted me to question is the referencing between the cables and the Statutory Declaration that Pete wrote in June 2008. 

Remember that Pak Lah was still the PM as of that time of the SD was first released.

In the SD, two of the paragraphs written was as follows: 

4. I have been reliably informed that Prime Minister, Dato' Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has received a written report from the Military Intelligence confirming what I have revealed above and subsequently handed over to his son-in-law Khairy for safekeeping.

5. I have also been reliably informed that one of the Rulers has been briefed about this matter and His Highness is fully aware of what I have revealed above

On 25 June 2008, Pak Lah released a press statement denying that he had in possession of the so-called dossier above. Khairy later then followed Pak Lah's statement above. Later on 4 July 2008, the Intelligence division director of the Military also denies this.

As far as I recalled later on, Pete once said that the particular dossier (MI) no longer exists.

Now on cross-referencing, if the cables revealed that Pak Lah has been trying to implicate Najib and Rosmah (also mentioned by some people) in the murder of the Mongolian woman, one possible implication  and theory would be that a copy of the dossier actually exists but Pak Lah denies having it because if revealed it could bring more complications to him at that time. Pak Lah would try to remove Najib but bidding for the right time.  But he could not do so in time because of the dismal results in the 2008 GE. Now that he is no longer PM and Khairy doesn't have a ministerial post, both have nothing to lose but if they are to go all out, Najib's faction would try to block all efforts to do so.

Apart from that, there is still skepticism over possible theories surrounding the murder which I will not comment at this time. But the cross-referencing above could pose a question and second thoughts of whether Pak Lah still holds the smoking gun?

The Gorgon Gas Project

I once remembered that oil and gas industry has started to become another booming industry where more jobs are getting created. In fact I was told that Australia and Canada would become two countries with further job prospects in this field. Brazil is another location but for mining industry.

From Wikipedia: 

The Gorgon gas project is a natural gas project in Western Australia, involving the development of the Greater Gorgon gas fields, subsea gas-gathering infrastructure, and a liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant on Barrow Island. The project also includes a domestic gas component. It is currently under construction and once completed, will become Australia's fourth LNG export development.

The project scope:
  • 300 ha of land has been acquired on Barrow Island
  • 3x5 MTPA LNG Trains
  • 15 million tonnes of LNG per year
  • 300 terajoules per day domestic gas plant
  • Ground breaking occurred on December 1, 2009
  • First LNG in 2014
  • Production ends between 2054–2074
There's plenty of untapped resources located 85 kilometers of coast from Northwest Australia. This of course reminds me of the problem Kelantan is facing. Kelantan can go tap in petroleum and gas off shore, but they ran into the trouble with the Federal government over oil royalties because of the 3-nautical mile boundary. That's because the emergency laws have yet to be officially declared over. 
If the Federal government is unable to rescind that emergency declarations because of paranoia, even though the period of Emergency was over for more than 22 years, then there is something wrong with their brain or so. Chance of tapping more income to the country is gone awaste because of the political obsession. 

I think this was one of those things that Ku Li mentioned sometime back about vast resources off shore Australia, this could be one of it. 

This video from Chevron explains it mostly:

Sunday, May 15, 2011

One Month..One Month To Go!

I am waiting for this thing!

When Will People Learn and Wake Up?

I am no fan of the man but what he says below is exactly what Hishamuddin Rais have been saying all along.

Summary: The Malay society is influenced by the Malay media to fear others. “As if we’re poor because of the Chinese, our house is dirty because of the Chinese, the roads are not fixed, Chinese, no money, prices of goods going up, the Chinese and the Christians,”

Read the rest here.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Is Moderation of Profiteering The Answer?

KUALA LUMPUR, May 12 — The National House Buyers Association (HBA) says greedy developers are behind rising property prices that put housing out of the reach of many, dismissing a host of reasons given by industry to justify pricing levels.

Real Estate and Housing Developers Association (Rehda) president Datuk Michael Yam had denied developers were to blame for increasingly unaffordable property, attributing it to high land prices, social responsibility obligations and “indirect taxes”.

But HBA secretary-general Chang Kim Loong said the social responsibilities such as building low-cost houses and reserving Bumiputera quotas that Yam mentioned have been in existence for years and were nothing new.

“Our argument is about the current phenomena of unbridled escalation of house prices that bears serious adverse repercussions to the rakyat,” he said, responding to Yam’s remarks. “To justify the mad escalation of house prices by bringing in arguments about these decades-old social responsibilities is to be out of sync.”

Chang also cast doubt on the low profitability of developers as claimed by Yam, saying that developers were free to exit the industry if it was so difficult.

Yam had cited the example of property giant SP Setia which reported full financial year 2010 net profit of RM251.8 million, representing about 14 per cent of its revenue of RM1.7 billion, which he said was not a very attractive margin.

“We are in no position to comment on the accounting principles of SP Setia but taking Yam’s words, a net profit of 14 per cent is still a very attractive profit!” said Chang. “But then again, if the profit margin is low, they are at liberty to venture into greener pastures.”

He also tackled the issue of high land cost, saying that it was a question of chicken and egg.

“Landowners, of course, look at the prevailing prices of properties before they demand what they think should be the market price,” he said. “Property valuers’ role also comes into play, hence our statement about the unholy alliance. If existing property prices have not been pushed up so much, then landowners would similarly not demand such high prices for their land.”

Yam had told The Malaysian Insider that the issue of high property prices needed to be looked at holistically but Chang insisted that some “wayward” industry players acting within an “unholy alliance” were responsible for the situation due to the urge to lock in as much profit as possible.

“Whichever way one looks at it, holistically or otherwise, in a situation of a seller’s market, it is always the industry players who set the market mood,” he said. “This applies across the board of all trading activities. In the case of the property market, the main players are the ones mentioned in the article.

Each party has the common objective of cashing in on the prevailing situation to reap as much profit as possible within legal boundaries, and sometimes even beyond, if the likelihood of getting away with it is good.”

The HBA secretary-general said the border between greed and profit was often hazy and profitability often overlaps with greed in hot market situations.

“Again, we would put it that developers are more interested in huge profits rather than social responsibilities. Thus they stack upwards and build pigeon holes rather than conducive housing,” he said.

He admitted, however, that there were also some developers and bankers who were acting responsibly.

On Yam’s assertion that a re-introduction of the full real property gains tax (RPGT) after it was suspended would deter foreign investors and be taken as more government policy inconsistency, Chang said: “We like to see it as the prompt reaction of a responsible and caring government.”

He said, however, he sympathised with Rehda over “indirect taxation” which came in the form of developers having to build public utility infrastructure which added to the cost of residential property.

“We too have lobbied for such infrastructures to be carried by the respective public-listed utility companies because they are business ventures,” he said. “But having said that we are also apprehensive as to whether such savings would be passed to house buyers or simply go towards padding up developers’ profits!”

Property prices in urban areas such as Penang and Kuala Lumpur rose by up to 40 per cent last year fuelled by low interest rates and a surge in speculative buying.

The average price of a KL residential property is now about RM485,000, or roughly nine times the average urban household annual income of about RM54,000.

The Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey rates markets, whose property prices are 5.1 times median income or more, as “severely unaffordable”.

Chang said the rapid inflation of assets risks putting house ownership beyond the reach of a whole generation of young adults. - The Malaysian Insider - 12 May

The house buying row goes one more step further when the House Buyers Association continues to blame developers and banks for being "greedy"

Greed is of course the side effect as part of the capitalism system. In that system, a healthy margin of profit is targeted by each people who does business. With no cap and control over how much is permitted, the higher the margin the profit can be gained if the production cost is low, and the selling price is at the premium grade.

Hell, if there are many middle-income people who can't even get to buy houses, then the sales volume would solely rely on foreign-people buying or even speculators buying.
The one problem that people were never thought in school is about the economics and finances. We were used to be told of saving for the rainy day, planning expenses, that's it, but never beyond of wealth-making. And look where people are now. The middle-income span gap is getting bigger and bigger each day. 

Therefore, I was wondering whether if moderation of profiteering would be the answer? I was wondering if moderation profit should be imposed on corporations, while the balanced can be used to reduce the cost of buying a house. What's more it can be considered as a corporate social responsibility. 

If I am to cut down the gap of affordability, I would definitely go for the goal of increasing household income. To do that means of making mandatory of a minimum wage. However, at this present issue, the human resource ministry is very reluctant or is going slow on this issue largely of the big obstacle: opposition from the employers federation and those who demanded that wages are based on market rate. Of course this is opposite the 1Malaysia creed - of people first, right? Or is it now revealed to be more of a public relations exercise that was assisted by APCO?


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