Saturday, December 30, 2023

Dream on Dubai Move, Political stability is royal agenda

His Majesty Agong returned from Dubai. Although there is talk that the Sheraton Move team attempted a Dubai Move in pursuit of his Majesty, that talk makes no sense.

Dorairaj Nadason column in the Star today entitled "With stability, 2024 has a promise" mentioned neither current nor upcoming Agong will tolerate another destabilising change of government.

Heard Agong was the stumbling block to Shafie Apdal and Bung-ok Mokhtar's Kinabalu Move to topple GRS. failed.

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Thursday, December 28, 2023

Trade recovery for Asia?

My Say: We can look forward to a recovery in Asian trade

By Manu Bhaskaran / The Edge Malaysia

17 Nov 2023, 11:30 am

East and Southeast Asia rely heavily on exports to generate growth, which is why the past year has been a miserable one for Asia’s major trading nations. Had it not been for the post-pandemic release of pent-up demand in their domestic services sectors, Asian economies would have probably entered a recession.

Global demand had softened as geopolitical troubles, the steepest interest rate hikes in decades, a downturn in the electronics cycle and China’s faltering economy all took their toll. The proliferation of shocks, several of which came out of the blue, has undermined business confidence around the world. As firms became more cautious and cut back on hiring and capital spending, demand suffered and inevitably the trade demand also faltered.

However, there are now signs that a recovery is already taking shape and next year could see a decent upturn in demand for Asian exports. That should give the region’s economic growth a much-needed boost. Of course, this is all contingent on there being no further political or financial shocks. Taking stock of these potential headwinds, our overall view is that the worst effects can be contained and that we should not be overly pessimistic.

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Monday, December 25, 2023

Mahathir's last Christmas ...

Tun Daim's Ilham Tower was seized by MACC for investigation into corruption and money laundering. The talk is Daim refused to declare fully his assets after being given fair time with several extensions.

Under Section 32 of  the MACC Act, the refusal to cooperate is tantamount to offenses and the undeclared properties, local and abroad, could be seized.

Apparently the social media is a buzz with claims that the bulk of the RM2.7 billion property was self funded by the owner. Media reported many properties and asset will eventually be seized.

Many years ago, Daim claimed he is unperturbed by any investigations. He had undergone it under three past Prime Ministers and came out clean.

Daim side have been sending people to hint threats that he will retaliate either causing market to depress or economic sabotage or escalate his planned coup d'etat in which he is unafraid to spend.

He holds cash and financial assets, but was never interested to have a grip on the economy by holding on a long term basis of any businesses. 

Over the decades, his unscruplous dealings has built a legion of haters and an army of corporate enemies. He is not fighting just Anwar and MACC.

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Thursday, December 21, 2023

Clare Rewcastle stop tailing when Lee Kim Yew in the picture?

Back in 2018 in the midst of the 1MDB debacle, Sarawak Report's Clare Rewcastle Brown kept highlighting an EPF Executive by the name of Ja'afar Bin Rihan in her pursuit of Dato Seri Najib Tun Abdul Razak. 

Clare found worldwide fame in her 1MDB expose from 2015. She faced many sceptics, trials and tribulation for her speculative investigation. By the time Najib was sentenced to prison for SRC, she feels vindicated. 

Perhaps, it is too soon.

The 1MDB-Tanore case is struggling in court with the key witnesses namely; the police IO and BNM analyst statement in court indicate it was an insufficiently investigated case. Prosecution lost the Audit case and indication AG should throw out the RM6.6 billion CBT against Najib and Irwan Serigar. 

The civil suit by 1MDB will be a non-issue with the integrity of Rosli Dahlan in doubt. If another SRC case for RM27 million this time, Zeti can be drag in and Najib has the oft chance of being vindicated. 

While Clare is not quite fully vindicated, she still need to raise money to pay the Sultanah of Terengganu. And her expose on Ja'afar cannot be another financial liability because he made police reports.

Meanwhile, Ja'afar has moved on from EPF to LOFSA. Talk in the market is that "bankrupt-ed" crony or an open secret he is proxy or fall guy for Dr Mahathir, Lee Kim Yew will be getting a Labuan banking license. 

Why is Clare silence on this development?  

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Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Cabinet reshuffle: Reaction comment to Joceline Tan

Been under the weather lately - rather weak and disoriented from abstaining a daily prescription. Quarantine to be over soon. With the irritating migraine began to clear, see a need to comment on last week's cabinet reshuffling. 

Since it involves politicians and political parties representation, naturally comments on the cabinet reshuffle tend towards deciphering the political manouvering. 

The other side find fault and in their motivation to do so, they lied. Views from the likes of Fadhli Shaari, Wan Saiful Wan "Jana Wibawa" and Khairy are irrelevent in the bigger scheme of things. 

Unfortunately the so-called independent views from journalists, columnists, and commentaries suffer from lack of appreciation of governance.

Whilst, those too academic and focus on governance refuse to appreciate the real politik. The art of political balancing is necessary, because for a Unity Government with large membership of political parties, representation cannot be ignored.

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Friday, December 8, 2023

For 22 years + 22 months, why Kubang Pasu's "Malay" padi farmers still earning RM600 per month?

Tun Dr Mahathir is visually and vocally active again advocating to topple yet another government not to his preference for reasons obvious to all and many. 

Mahathir met Isham Jalil few weeks ago and likely to have recruited him into his fold since Isham was caught in discussion publicly with his henchman Khairuddin Abu Hasan and admitted to have met him several times. His criticism of UMNO was in unison with Mahathir and certain PAS leader. However, the go-between man between him and Mahathir is someone else. 

The latest development surrounding Isham gives the impression Najib is cooperating with Mahathir, but that is affirmatively not true and in contradiction. 

It is also not true the Mahathir's claim that Najib was involved in the Sheraton Move to topple the Pakatan Harapan government he led and instilled Muhyiddin as Prime Minister. He made the claim in The Star interview last year October leading to GE15th in November. 

In the interview, he claimed Najib and Pakatan Harapan is uninterested to look into the affair of the Malays and since the interview, Mahathir moved away from his true capitalistic and liberal true self to unsheath and wave his past Malay ultra keris again. 

Many have fallen yet again to his deceitful intention. Before immersing further into his self serving rhetorics, lets not get complicated and extensive to analyse or come out with examples to come to his defense. 

Ask what has he done for the common Malays' wellbeing since participating in the general election of  1969 as indicated by the RM600 per month average earning of padi farmers in his constituency of Kubang Pasu at a time foreign workers are assured a minimum wage of RM1,500 per month?

That is 54 years and compare that with rubber tapper at privately owned estate that earned net net RM800 per month in the 70s! 

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Thursday, December 7, 2023

Moody's negative on China and it's implication

Moody's puts China on downgrade warning as growth, property pressures mount

Reuters December 6, 2023 5:15 AM GMT

Dec 5 (Reuters) - Ratings agency Moody's slapped a downgrade warning on China's credit rating on Tuesday, saying costs to bail out local governments and state firms and control its property crisis would weigh on the world's No. 2 economy.

Moody's lowered the 'outlook' on China's A1 debt rating to "negative" from "stable" less than a month after it had done the same to the United States' last remaining triple-A grade from a credit rating agency.

Historically, about one-third of issuers have been downgraded within 18 months of the assignment of a negative rating outlook.

Beijing likely needs to provide more support for debt-laden local governments and state firms which pose "broad downside risks to China's fiscal, economic and institutional strength," it added.

Moody's also cited "increased risks related to structurally and persistently lower medium-term economic growth and the ongoing downsizing of the property sector."

China's Finance Ministry called the decision disappointing, saying the economy would rebound and that the property crisis and local government debt worries were controllable.

"Moody's concerns about China's economic growth prospects, fiscal sustainability and other aspects are unnecessary," the ministry said.

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Monday, December 4, 2023

And, then the game changed?

The political excitement in November was PN MPs switching support to PMX. PN was taming the build-up in perception that PPBM is breaking apart, PAS imposing their will, and Muhyiddin on the way out. 

Suddenly Zahid Hamidi was reported to undergo surgery for a serious illness and Raja Petra stated a perception play that Hishamuddin will takeover leadership of UMNO to pullout of the Unity Government and switchover enbloc to PN.    

Then came Kemaman by-election and Dato Dr Samsuri's victory by more than 37,000. Suddenly, the conversation is of him as PAS candidate for PMXI to replace Anwar Ibrahim sooner than GE16.

How the game changed so fast. But has anyone asked if the realisation of the Green Wave dream be for the better?

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Friday, December 1, 2023

All not lost ... If Malaysia can get its act together

Malaysia might just surprise on the upside

By Manu Bhaskaran / The Edge Malaysia

28 Nov 2023, 11:30 am

As Prime Minister Datuk Seri ­Anwar Ibrahim celebrates his first year in office, it is a good time to take stock of the country’s prospects. Looking over the past year, what strikes us is how Malaysia has emerged from a period of extraordinary difficulties relatively intact and with reasonable hopes for doing better in the near term. This view does not underestimate the many difficult legacies from the past that need to be fixed, nor does it disregard the challenges that the current government faces in bringing about necessary changes.

For us, the question is not whether all the reforms that many hope to see can be achieved, given the real-life challenges of governing a complex country in a turbulent world. The question is whether enough good can be done to put Malaysia on a much better trajectory. The answer seems to us to be a clear “yes”.

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Monday, November 27, 2023

Declining productivity: Worrisome economics beyond politics

Perhaps, this blogger had not explained the rationale of our current political/partisan position. There are likely to be readers and political comrades (in which many gone different ways) are surprised. Some speculated or even conjure up unfounded allegations for this observed change to tolerate Anwar Ibrahim as Prime Minister.  

Do perish such thought, we plead you'll. At this stage of our life, the priority for rationale and sensible thinking, and the priority of rakyat, national and ummah interests far outweigh partisanship and ideologies. More so, we are faced with a chaotic and topsy turvy situation of the day.   

After BN lost the general election in 2018, Malaysia had three Prime Ministers under Pakatan Harapan and later two Perikatan Nasional governments. The so-called Selamatkan Malaysia campaign worsened the economic situation. 

Mahathir's half-bake and conveniently selective reforms over 22 months was followed by PN's politics-at-all-cost during the Covid pandemic crisis and put the national debt at RM1.5 trillion. It is a major indication of the economic mess and became a fiscal constraint that straitjacketed the country from getting out of the present rut. 

Anwar is not the best and ideal option, but the other options are not tenable, morally and ethically. Time to forget the past and attempt at moving forward. To those who have yet to realise, Malaysia is in a political and social mess with the state of the economy in a frightening decline. The reason politics should take a backseat! 

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Thursday, November 23, 2023

Thought Papagomo is unafraid to face Sajat in court

Gone viral is the news of Minister for Communication and Digital Economy, Fahmi Fadzil serving a substituted service notification in The Star on Tuesday to summon Wan Muhammad Azri Wan Deris, the blogger,  social media personality, and popularly known as Papagomo.  

According to MMO here, he is to appear in court on December 6th for making allegation Fahmi made political speech in a mosque prior to the six state elections against the directive of his Highness the Sultan of Selangor. 

However, Fahmi's lawyer have not been able to serve the summon at his known home. Though Papagomo cannot resist from landing himself in endless stream of trouble, the 6-year suspended former Member of UMNO Youth exco and now serving Tun Dr Mahathir is not one to run from the law. 

It is nothing new for the accused or defendant to evade being served the summon to tire out the plaintiff or buy time. Apparently, his co-conspirator Chegubard too is evading from being served a certain summon at his family home in Seremban and registered address in Penang for criminal defamation.

But not Papagomo.

In his episode with Sajat, the transvestite that ran from the law to migrate to Australia, Papagomo was unperturbed by the threat of a lawsuit and be taken to court. 

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Monday, November 20, 2023

Is Hamzah behind "support crossover" to topple Muhyiddin?

Why was the last posting given the title "More to leave PN, but Hamzah refused to negotiate MP allocation?"

If readers couldn't pick up from the info-loaded previous posting, then the title for this posting is more straight forward. Usually the serious political watchers prefer info over simple narrative and storyline.  

Hamzah could intentionally refuse to negotiate the MP allocation and is the hand behind the four MPs offering support to Anwar Ibrahim in order to pressure Muhyiddin to quit.

It is to make way for himself to takeover the Presidency of PPBM @ PM-in-waiting for PN as raised by Raja Petra. And RPK believe or more accurately, wants to believe Anwar will not last his term. 

Although Anwar has 151 MPs support and the number 168 by year end has been thrown in, it is not merely a hunch to sense Hamzah is preparing for the four MPs to repeat of the 2009 Nasaruddin Hashim reverse in his home state of Perak.  

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Friday, November 17, 2023

More to leave PN, but Hamzah refused to negotiate MP allocation?

The High Court dismissed application from BERSATU to seek judicial review to force Parliament Speaker Tan Sri Johari Abdul to proclaim the seats of four BERSATU MPs giving support to Prime Minister, Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim as vacant.

The MPs are still member and claiming loyalty to their party so it is not valid. It was a loophole in the Anti-Hopping Law enacted by the Muhyiddin-led PN government. Wan Junaidi said Muhyiddin refused to plug it as though he appears inconsistent. He was preparing for something

The ensuing drama on MPs' "crossover of support" seemed to be an attempt to divert attention from the issue of MP allocation. Opposition MPs have been harping on it in Parliament. A three men team to negotiate was formed by PN in May, but Hamzah refused to negotiate.

When they finally do, Takiyudin triggered the dealbreaker by refusing government side request to write in their term, but insisted government side put their proposal first. It was obviously an excuse. Why and what is PN up to?  

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Tuesday, November 14, 2023

If GST's rebate inflationary, SST has tax-on-tax effect. What solution now?

Before the tabling of Budget for 2024, there were talk that government is considering to reintroduce the GST that was abolished by the Pakatan Harapan government in 2018. Rafizi was reported by the press of government not rejecting the possibility of bringing it back. 

The hope was towards doing away with income tax and GST will replace. Corporate tax to be competitive as other countries in the region. The government need the tax revenue from GST to address the declining revenue and worsening fiscal position.

Though it is the most efficient tax system and adoped by more 90% of the countries in the world, the workload from changing the system again made civil servants reluctance. This is also speculating and that is GST system leaves little room for intervention and negotiation.     

After Budget was presented in Parliament, the KSP Dato Johan Merican said in an interview that there were not even any effort to pass out any law on GST yet to expect it to be reintroduce. After Anwar announced an increase in SST by 2% and gave the final blow to GST. 

The belief is the PH-led Unity Government dare not take the political suicide to do a U-turn and upset their main support from the Chinese business community. Prior to the budget, official said the failure of GST then was the rebate system. However, during GE14, this was not impressed on but the PH argument then was the compounding effect on prices. 

Edge Weekly in their November 6-12th issue highlighted the invisible tax-on-tax effect of SST. With the government in dire needs for revenue, in which only 19% of the population contribute to the national coffer as tax but almost 80% benefited immensely by subsidy burden shouldered by the government, is there an alternative?   

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Sunday, November 12, 2023

MOA's high handed DG, Rice shortage ahead

This blog warned on Thursday that rice shortage problem is far from over and this time it is due to shortage of seedlings. It was explicitly touched in the October 27th posting here.

The problem should have been anticipated at the time millers complained on the high cost of padi. That resulted in Kedah millers unable to sustain operation and lowered seedling production.

Again, MOA's Director General for Padi and Rice Regulatory Division, Dato Azman bin Mahmood is back in his dictatorial mode of solving problems. Done in silo manner, he ignored the impact on the rice supply chain and lay the blame on a bogeyman.

When Azman raised price of imported rice and subsequently put a price ceiling on padi, it disrupted supply and production. Expect the same with his high-handed ways on padi seedlings.

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Friday, November 10, 2023

The derogatory history of Kafir, Kaffir and Caffer

The MP for Kinabatangan, Bung Mokhtar is not a politician one is comfortable to praise, but his advise in Parliament on October 17th, 2023 is commendable. 

It was directed to Ahmad Murzak, the PN government's former Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department in charge of Islamic Affair and MP for Pengkalan Chepa, Kelantan for his snide remark to call DAP kafir.

Bung appropriately quoted a verse from the Surah Kafirun (Disbeliever) of the Quran. 

"I do not worship what you worship, nor are you worshipper of what I worship, nor will I be worshipper of what you worship, nor will you be worshipper of what I worship." With that laid out, the surah ended as, "For you is your religion, for me is my religion". 

In the nutshell, it means mutual respect for each other's belief. One should be mindful that each person's belief is predetermined from the parent's religion and the environment they grew up. [Read here] The difference is fated thus it should be accepted, respected and celebrated. Each should be left with their way to live their life and adhere to the true spirit of their faith for peace and harmony.  

The Muslim-Kafir description or antonym should be harmless. However, it has been inappropriately expressed in derogatory manner in the past that it became an insult and divisive. Similar undertone can lead into a violent Gentile vs Goyim narrative explicitly expressed by the Israeli Zionist Rabbi below:

The genocide in Gaza is the manifestation of the deep-rooted hatred arising from extreme us vs them narrative. Similar to Kafir, "Goyim", which is non-believer in Hebrew, is offensive to Jews too

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Thursday, November 9, 2023

Too soon to claim rice supply crisis over

Malaysia's price controls keep rice production low, exacerbating shortages

Reuters / Updated: Nov 8, 2023, 13:38 IST

The rice industry in Malaysia is facing a crisis due to the government's price control measures, which have eroded profit margins and prevented expansion. The shortage of white rice has worsened after India restricted rice shipments, causing global prices to soar. However, industry players cannot increase production due to rising costs and low prices. The government acknowledges the issue but has no immediate plans to raise the price cap, citing the need to protect consumers. The industry is calling for a review of the price cap to encourage higher output and ensure food security.

Malaysia's rice mill operator and wholesaler Allen Lim started receiving calls from supermarkets asking for additional supplies. But he had to turn them down (Representative photo: BCCL)

KUALA LUMPUR: In September, amid a shortage of white rice in Malaysia, rice mill operator and wholesaler Allen Lim started receiving calls from supermarkets asking for additional supplies. But he had to turn them down.

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Wednesday, November 8, 2023

Did Tun M help or steal from a Malay entrepreneur?

The Halim Saad Story (Part 1)

By Abd Rahman Sidek

IF YOU ask Tan Sri Halim Saad the above question, he would probably yell at the top of his voice, “Dr Mahathir stole from me big time!!!”

Any reasonable bystander would feel very sorry for Halim after checking out PLUS Malaysia Bhd’s financial report after it was snatched off from him.

For example, PLUS’ total assets were at RM33.22 bil as of Dec 31, 2016. For its financial year ended end-December 2016, the group registered a profit after tax of RM288.2 mil and RM4.07 bil in revenue.

To recap, the tycoon filed a suit at the Kuala Lumpur High Court on Aug 2 in relation to the government’s takeover of United Engineers Malaysia Bhd (UEM) and Renong Bhd by naming twice former premier Dr Mahathir, then finance minister II Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop and the government as defendants.

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Monday, November 6, 2023

Mas Ermieyati cover-up Muhyiddin, Ismail Sabri for Covid 19 procurement

On October 30th, PAC Chairperson, Mas Ermieyati from Bersatu tabled a report on the management of the Covid 19 procurement of unusable Ventilators, RM505 million expired vaccine, and over purchase PPE. 

She exonerated Khairy for the ventilators purchase to pass the blame to Adham Baba. 

The early political frog that jump from UMNO to Bersatu in fear of being charged for allegedly receiving 1MDB money conveniently held back the names of the Ministry's top officials. 

Names such as the then KSU Dato Seri Dr Chen Chew Min, and Procurement SUB, Dato Wan Hashim Wan Rahim were the the talk within the close circle of Chinese businessmen for dictating the short-listing of suppliers and procurement. 

Had it not for the expose by The Corporate Secret portal on Saturday, they would remain hidden from public eye. 

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Thursday, November 2, 2023

Podcast reply raises more questions for KJ

Khairy Jamaluddin immediately responded to PAC Chairman, Mas Ermieyati's press conference on PAC findings with regard to the irregular purchases of ventilators and over purchase of vaccine.

He responded to deflect the purchases of defective ventilators to the then Minister of Health, Dr Adham Baba. He said it was not purchased during his tenure as Minister of Health. 

As far as vaccine, it is fair to seek answers from him as he was in charge as Minister of Science, Technology and Innovations and later as Minister of Health.  

A pro-PKR You Tuber, Iswardy Morni questioned why as Minster of Health, he did not mitigate the problem of the dysfunctional ventilators. 

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Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Still lot to answer for, too premature for KJ's return

The Tengku Mahkota Johor praised Khairy Jamaluddin last night on Keluar Sekejap podcast and suggested he return back to UMNO. Unfortunately for Khairy, his charm exercise was short-lived and  feel good factor immediately doused.  

It was yesterday that the PAC announced their findings on the over purchase of Sinovac vaccines worth more than half a billion. This was the transaction that resulted in profitable listed company controlled by the armed Forces Retirement Fund, Phamaniaga to turn PN17. 

Already saddled with the losses and debt accumulated by Boustead, LTAT had to be restructured. In August. LTAT annoounced disposing of 33% plus 1 share in Boustead Plantation to KL Kepong Berhad. Early this month, Anwar got cold feet and cancelled it. Government offer a letter of comfort to bridge till relisting of the restructured and new public listed entity.  

Fingers are pointing at Khairy to explain how Phamaniaga could have committed to such huge and undocumented purchases. There must have been an instruction or oral commitment from a high government official. 

He was specifically appointed by Muhyiddin to attend to the vaccine purchases at MOSTI and later at MOH. Was he entrusted for his past "track records" in procurements and ability to protect Muhyiddin's interest?  

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Monday, October 30, 2023

Umech-PDC called off collaboration, but will Koon Yeow survive?

After months of controversy surrounding the collaboration between Umech Construction Sdn Bhd and Penang Development Corporation involving a piece of land in Batu Kawan, CM Chow Koon Yeow called off the deal to develop Batu Kawan Industrial Park 2 last week. 

Penang Chinese Chamber of Commerce President, Dato Seri Hong Yeam Wah questioned the  undervalued sales of 558.96 acres of the said land to Umech in early October. Life Honorary President of the PCCC, Tan Sri Tan Kok Ping raised issue with the financial capability of Umech and revealed the deal to flip it to Sunway.  

Talk is Kok Ping had also put up a bid at a higher price but lost out. Koon Yeow should have taken the criticism constructively, said his former Deputy, P Ramasamy, but he chose to respond with a threat to sue Kok Ping

As President of PCCC, it was the influence of Kok Ping that led to the fall of Gerakan-led BN government for DAP to takeover. Since suffering from cancer, he has been reclusive for quite sometime. This issue brought out the fighter in him. 

Kok Ping was heard to have said if he falls, Koon Yeow will fall together. That explains the derogatory remark towards Koon Yeow. Its October 30th, 11 days after he issued the threat, will Koon Yeow dare proceed with it?  

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Friday, October 27, 2023

Supply-focus food security over price-focus subsidy

Letter to Editor from Ahmad Ibrahim to FMT dated October 23rd 2023 blamed price control policy for compromising food security. It emphasised a point this blogger had against the Jihad Inflasi measures by then Prime Minister, Ismail Sabri and executed by Annuar Musa.

Recently in the budget 2024 debate in Parliament, former Agriculture Minister, Dr Ronald Kiandee urged the government not to oppress food producers as done by Annuar Musa. [His speech at 2:33:20 in the video below or the snippet in his FB here.]   

In one sweep, Annuar prejudicially labeled food producers as cartel without understanding the operational issues and taken actions detrimental to the industry and food supply chain.

Malaysians, including Ronald's own party member indirectly, tend to do so and are ever too reliant on subsidy to control prices. Price control made food production not financially viable, the mechanism resulted in supply shortage, and overdependent on import. 

Malaysia's globally competitive chicken industry was killed by the export restriction imposed by populist seeking Ismail and control freak Annuar. They were naive and arrogantly in-denial to acknowledge the larger margin from export provided the financial buffer to sustain the competitive margin of the local market.

The same happened for importer monopolised rice, in which government policy contributed to further shortage of padi, import dependency, and perpetually prolong the high rice price.

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Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Weaker Yen to pit Japan against China

The public attention and concern in Malaysia is on the weakening Ringgit vis-a-vis US dollar. Deputy Minister of Finance, Dato Ahmad Maslan explained the reasons as external in Parliament. Except for this blog's geo-global political take, similar reasons given

Nevertheless, there is a more interesting development on Yen. US dollar rose against Yen to touch the 150.00 level briefly for the second time early this week. It is only the fear of intervention by the Bank of Japan (BOJ) that is holding it from breaking the key psychological level. 

The intervention to tame the volatility is making the short term Yen movement appear unnatural. Early October intervention failed to stem the fall and Yen is still hovering at sub-150.00 level. 

Underpinned by the interest rate differential favouring the US dollar, it is a matter of time for dollar Yen to pierce through.  

US interest rate is expected to move up while Japanese short-term interest rate remain at zero level. It seemed US condoned a weaker Yen and not mind a stronger Japanese export. It was the G7 policy in the 80s that strengthened Yen to address the American twin deficit in trade and current account. 

In view of the rise of China as a new economic power, is there a shift in the political economic policy on Japan?

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Monday, October 23, 2023

The geopolitics of the weakening ringgit

Ringgit level is 4.78 today, the highest level for the past 22 years. The climbing dollar and weakening ringgit have been the conversation in both the financial market and political circle for the past two weeks.  

The opposition narrative will be to use a shallow political argument to blame the Unity Government Prime Minister, Anwar Ibrahim as incompetence or surprising to come from PN, accusation of corruption. 

The counter argument is the legacy left by the previous administrations of Mahathir, Muhyiddin and Ismail Sabri which saw debt surpassing RM1.0 trillion from the RM688 billion left by Najib.    

Be it inherited or self imposed, there is no denying there are economic issues faced by the Unity Government. And, it is not only Ringgit that is weakening against the US. However, the Ringgit not only weakened against dollar but also against other currencies such as Singapore dollar, Thai Baht, and Japanese Yen. 

The hunch is the bigger impact on Ringgit is geo-global politics in nature. There could be a retaliation  against Malaysia for its strong position on Palestine. 

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Thursday, October 19, 2023

PTD Mafia budget?

Back in March 2021, the parent blog Another Brick in the Wall wrote of the self serving PTD Mafia in the civil service. The link here need a VPN to access.

Since Annuar Musa left the Ministry, the blog remained blocked by MCMC under the block-happy Fahmi Fadzil and still serving the former Minister's self serving interest. Latest victims are  Nuclearbursaman and Corporate Secret blogs and portals. 

Does any critic of MCMC or civil service, especially the PTD, these days will mean online writers to suffer their wrath?

This issue is raised because the current budget 2024, which is going through debate in Parliament, came off below the pre-budget expectation and its neither here nor there economic management to reform and prepare the nation to face the current economic storm. 

Is this a "no change" budget dictated by the PTD Mafia upon the Prime Minister aka Minister of Finance? 

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Thursday, October 12, 2023

Budget 2024: Correcting subsidy misallocation, Staying true to reform agenda?

According to BNM, the top 20% is enjoying 42% of the subsidy and bottom 20% merely benefitting 4%. 

On that score, it justifies for rationalisation of subsidies. In his latest statement, Anwar said the total subsidy bill is expected to surpass RM81 billion

Seldom rationalisation of subsidies is misused to cloud the real intention to merely cut subsidies. Thus Anwar Ibrahim must be true to his words to prioritise correcting the misallocation of subsidies over indiscriminate subsidy cut.

Nevertheless, cutting subsidy remain necessary. The Auditor General reported the Federal debt for late 2022 has reached RM1,079.591 billion. It is an increase of RM99.777 billion or 10.2% increase to the 2021 figure of 979.14 billion. 

It does not leave much room for borrowing to buy time till the economic condition is more stable. At the current juncture, the business of running the country cannot be as usual. 

Malaysia has reached the crossroad to make a decision on the financial burden of subsidies, high opex, and large bureaucracies before it becomes a runaway train. 

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Monday, October 9, 2023

Can Malaysia still afford petrol and diesel subsidy?

This October 13rd, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim will be presenting the budget for 2024. 

Politically explosive issue will be the rising cost of food and the shortage of certain food items. However, the bigger challenge for Malaysia and the opposition will likely evade or detour the issue is the current fiscal situation and inherited RM1.2 trillion debt from the previous PN governments. 

It limits Anwar's spending options and raise the urgent need to cut current subsidy spending of RM81 billion. That is equivalent to almost 20% of the RM388.1 billion revised government expenditure for 2023 budget and 28% of the operating expenditure

If the subsidy allocated could ideally be reallocated for development, it means the expenditure to expand existing facilities, infrastructure and new initiatives could be raised by more than 80%. 

Some 60% of the subsidy is for energy

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Friday, October 6, 2023

BERNAS role being questioned

The rest of the country was stunned by the announced increase in imported rice but yet local grown rice was kept at the pre-crisis price of RM26 per 10 kg bag.

However, Fahmi Fadzil was elated after the event at the art exhibition in which Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar kissed Anwar's hand and addressed him as "abang".

According to statistics, the average earning of local padi farmer per season is RM2,000 and it comes out to average monthly income of RM500 per month. 

It made no sense that monopolist sole rice importer could raise price by more than 60% and the international price increase hardly benefit farmers or smaller players in the rice supply chain. 

The reasons for the increase is long known to be attributed to drought, missed local planting season during pandemic, Russia-Ukraine war etc. 

However, the price increase was anticipated early in the year. In fact, rice experts had predicted reduced export volume by certain exporting countries 7-8 years ago. 

It is not believable for BERNAS to not be aware and prepared with the stockpile to weather the price increase by the export ban by India and some 16 countries around the world. 

BERNAS is obligated under the agreement to maintain and finance rice stockpile of 3 months for Semenanjong and 6 months for East Malaysia states.  

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Monday, October 2, 2023

Navigating realpolitik


Sunday, 01 Oct 2023

MALAYSIA, a country renowned for its cultural diversity and economic potential, has undergone significant political shifts over the years. As an Opposition leader, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim had long advocated for reforms in Malaysia’s political and socioeconomic landscape. As Prime Minister now, Anwar’s vision for a better Malaysia has captured many hearts but the path to achieving these reforms is full of challenges. While many are impatient to see his reform agenda implemented, Anwar has to grapple with the realpolitik in the country.

As Prime Minster, Anwar’s vision for reform in Malaysia encompasses a wide range of issues, ranging from political and economic to social reforms. He envisions a more inclusive and accountable political system, a fairer distribution of economic benefits, and improved social services for all Malaysians. 

However, translating this vision into reality is a complex and time-consuming process. The full impact of his reform, if implemented, will touch the fundamentals of Malaysian society. Hence, decades entrenched bad habits will be his major opponents.

Unfortunately, every issue in our country has become insanely political because for decades we allowed our politicians to behave like warlords over us. 

Real issues concerning the rakyat have been deflected from deliberation by politicians playing up racial and religious drama.

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Friday, September 29, 2023

Rafizi needs UMNO support to push targeted subsidy

Government is facing a fiscal crunch thus need to implement GST and a previous plan of Dato Najib for targeted subsidy. The timing could not be any better with current shortage of rice, rising sugar and bread prices, planned electricity tariff increase on the card, chicken and egg going up, etc.  

Economic Minister Rafizi is being picked on for past campaign remarks against Najib's administration on weakening ringgit, GST, China FDI, rising food prices and any present economic problem besieging the present government. More so, he explicitly expressed resistance to Najib's pardon and most likely will oppose in cabinet an RCI on Tommy Thomas. 

But he need a full Unity Government support for his budgetary reform. Putting the politics aside, the budget could only be put together from available resources and if it is not permissable, drastic action need be made. 

Timing is bad to introduce GST as a mean to raise revenue. It is left to adjust the expenditure side. Targeted subsidy would likely be in the card. The hint in that direction is obvious when a member of Anwar Ibrahim's team of economic adviser, contributed an article to The Star on the subject.  

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Monday, September 25, 2023

Could local rice shortage be exploited to topple the government?

There is a rumour being circulated on social media claiming Prime Minister Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim has taken over the importation of rice. 

The modus operandi of the takeover and a logical distribution mechanism is not mentioned. Yet the slander goes on to accuse Anwar intentionally making local rice (SST) unavailable to enable him to profiteer from the high retail price of imported rice (SSI). 

The rumour could be laughed off as naive and outright dumb. BERNAS is the sole authorised importer and "manager" of government allocated subsidy for rice. No organisation can be established on short notice to replicate them.

However, in the light of the expressed intention of PAS and PN leaders to "tebuk atap" (hack the rooftop) and topple the unity government, it cannot be simply brushed off.  

It may not be a long shot to assume Tun Mahathir and Tun Daim will exploit the DNAA of Zahid's money laundering case and current shortage of local rice to spark a public unrest. 

A hungry stomach is the tipping point to a  revolution.   

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Thursday, September 21, 2023

Rafizi not wrong on eating out

Economic Minister, Rafizi is getting lots of brickbat for saying Malaysians' habit and addiction of eating out is taking a bite out of their income. He is not wrong in his assessment. In fact, this blogger have taken the same position for quite a long time. 

Its just his bad luck for sharing an unpopular view in the midst of social media getting back at "Minister Formula" for his GST statement to reintroduce the cancelled tax regime. Indirectly, he admitted wrong for his past criticism of Dato Najib for implementing the GST.  

To be fair, eating out is a different issue and its indicative of  Malaysians negative habit to complain and in-denial of reality. 

To Malaysians, particularly urbanites, spending quality family time is equated with eating out. This compares with middle American preference for family cookout. 

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Monday, September 18, 2023

The plight of ehailing gig workers

Changing times: ehailing drivers and food delivery riders are finding it hard to make ends meet in the current situation. — FAIHAN GHANI/The Star

The good times are over

As earnings dry up, gig workers have to consider other options


The Star Monday, 18 Sep 2023

GEORGE TOWN: The dream of making thousands of ringgit a month as a gig driver or food delivery rider is over.

Higher competition, the end of Covid-19 pandemic movement restrictions as well as changes in fee structures mean that gig drivers and riders are now earning less than what they used to make during the pandemic.

“The time for that is over, especially for delivery riders who used to make thousands of ringgit a month just because eating out was not allowed then during the pandemic (lockdowns),” said sociologist Prof Chin Yee Whah of Universiti Sains Malaysia.

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Thursday, September 14, 2023

Malicious prosecution happens

Ganesan of GK TV gave 13 reasons of his own in his attempt to rebut the 11 Attorney General's explanation for deciding to not proceed with Zahid Hamidi's Yayasan Akal Budi case with the 47 charges. It is the fourth in his four part series of rebuttal.     

Though this blogger is no lawyer, one can't help but noticed weaknesses in his well-prosed in the most immaculate English arguments. 

Ganesan seemed to be either under hallucination or lost in a utopian dream that all is well and honourable with the professionals and institutions handling judiciary, prosecution, and investigation in Malaysia. 

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Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Barbie world Malaysia view and Zahid's DNAA decision

Interesting take by Prof Dr Mohd Tajuddin on Zahid's DNAA decision in his column, "Bangsa Johor triumphs over PN's Bangsa Melayu rhetoric and civil society outbursts", in The Star Sunday. 

It could partly be due to Zahid being more palatable to the Professor cum DAP politician since UMNO is in bed with DAP via the cooperation between BN and PH. 

However, his narrative is more refreshing  than the widepread prejudicial presumption and prejudgement of Zahid. One can read it here or the excerpt at the end of this posting. 

The presumption and prejudgement may have derived from the unrealistic expectation of the public and perhaps, politicians and civil society of this imperfect world. 

Dr Tajuddin rebutted it to basically tell 'em it ain't no Barbie world, below:

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Tuesday, September 5, 2023

Any update on July arrest of Saravanan's moneyman, Dato Malik?

The socmed is focussed on DPP's decision to not proceed with the 47 charges against Zahid. Controversy arise why after Prima Facie was established. There is also pre-emptive moves speculation.

Will deal with the issue later. Its a subject for RCI on Mahathir, Tommy Thomas and Latheefa Koya. 

More interesting, the news on gambling-linked corruption to politician, which Sabahkini2 had a scoop here, suddenly disappeared from English and Chinese media portal. 

Only reports available are of RGB Director out on bail, and denied of any arrest. Strange indeed because the MACC round-up held up 13 people including 4 Tan Sri in which one is a Muslim Melayu and Hamzah Zainuddin touted to be the recipient. Did someone pay off the MSM to pull down their reports?    

It reminded of Abdul Malik Dasthigeer or known as Dato Malik, who is widely believed to be the proxy and bag carrier for M Saravanan cum a man of various business exploits and wealth. 

He was arrested and investigated for money laundering and reported on July 23rd to have been released on bail. Other media also gave wide coverage to his release similar to RGB. Similar isn't it? So what happen to his case?

Anti-MACC and PDRM whistleblower and PN sympathiser, Edisi Siasat accused it is also hushed hushed.

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Thursday, August 31, 2023

Merdeka! Or Merdeka?

The never ending search for Jiwa Merdeka.

Independence Day (Malay: Hari Merdeka), also known as National Day (Hari Kebangsaan), is the independence day of the Federation of Malaya from Britain. 

It commemorates the Malayan Declaration of Independence on 31 August 1957, and is defined in article 160 of the Constitution of Malaysia.

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Friday, August 25, 2023

Noor Hisham's deception led to the death of tens of thousands?

Throughout the pandemic, Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham was adamant that his assessment and prescription  of Corona Covid 19 was the only one acceptable. 

He refuted any incident of AEFI side effect from the Pfizer vaccine. Despite it is part of an established treatment protocol and no proven medicine available, Ivermectin was brushed aside as hoax. MRNA vaccine was forcibly imposed.

In June, Noor Hisham finally admitted "wrong" during a cross examination in the trial of Dr Roland Victor charged under the Multimedia and Communication Act. 

Few days ago Murray Hunter revealed deceptive and oppressive methods were applied to deny the public access to other professional medical options, public discussion supressed, freedom of information and free speech denied covertly, and the truth hidden. 

The power accorded to the DG of MOH under various health laws gave him unfettered power to tower over Ministers and KSUs. The monster created under Tan Sri Muhyiddin's emergency rule became dictatorially arrogant, and negligent

Noor Hisham should be made responsible for the death of tens of thousands of Malaysians. We lost a dear cousin. Our nephews and niece lost the family breadwinner. 

He deserved to be charged as a criminal or the least, sued out of his pension or any possible ill-gotten gains claimed the rumours then. 

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Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Similar to sex scandals, are voters also indifferent to corruption issues?

Troubling questions about politics and corruption

Are voters taking a softer stance against instances of corruption in politics?

A. Kathirasen - 17 Aug 2023, 7:00am


Perikatan Nasional (PN) performed very well in the Aug 12 state elections in Penang, Kedah, Selangor, Negeri Sembilan, Terengganu and Kelantan, winning 146 of the 245 seats contested.

It proved stronger than the Pakatan Harapan-Barisan Nasional combination despite a concerted attack by PH-BN against its leaders over corruption allegations.

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Thursday, August 17, 2023

Pestech: Told you so, MAHB

Pursuant to articles on mother blog, Another Brick in the Wall dated May 26 2021, June 14 2021, July 1 2021, and Aug 1st 2021, our reaction to the latest development on MAHB is "told you so".  

MAHB was long overdue for a new aerotrain. They are not wrong to put out the tender. And the delay by Pestech caused a major embarassment to the country. Foreign passengers were forced to walk when it finally broke down on the way to the terminal.  

MAHB may have comforted themselves with the assurance from Pestech that the problem faced by contractor will be resolved in due time when MACC moved in back in March 2022 in relation to the Aerotrain tender. They never did. 

Efforts to save MAHB from the embarassment of a wrong decision were made, including by this blog and more by The Edge. The tip-off from informer then were quite revealing and right, but was held back from publication to save MAHB the embarassment. 

The then tender committee chairman Tan Sri Dato Zainon Ali was persistent to not allow further delay and proceed with a decision. It was overwhelming that the then Chairman Dato Dr Zambery Kadeer conceded.      

Two years down the road, this happened. For God and Country, we done our part ...

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Friday, August 11, 2023

Two "bombs", and TSMY, family and PN is gone

Sinar Harian highlighted the potential result for tomorrow's 6 state elections at 3-3. It is similar to this blog's prediction for status quo. The Star was non-committal in tandem with the non-Malay media pushing for non-Malay voters to not take things for granted.  

A PAS-dominated PN win spells disaster for the economy. Bursa could plunge to 1,200, Ringgit to 5.00 and FDI plans cancel. The offensive campaign against PAS in Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu have serious impact on market confidence in the event PN come out dominantly victorious.  

Coming close to polling day, one can expect last minute "bombs" released. Other than the illegal rare earth mining, which is suspected to be state condoned smuggling activity, two "election bombs" were released on PN few days ago. A draw is likely, but a surprise in favour of Unity Government is not out of the question. 

A wave is developing from the urban campaign and two "bombs". One was the lawsuit by Tan Sri Halim Saad on Tun Dr Mahathir and Tan Sri Nor Mohammed Yakcop. 

The second being the announcement by Tn Sri Azam Baki of Tan Sri Muhyiddin's son-in-law running from the law. 

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Thursday, July 27, 2023

Madani is "Ekonomi Rakyat", not Madanon

The nomination date for the unnecessary six state election will be this Saturday, July 29th and polling will be on August 12th. 

Contrary to the claim by political soothsayers linked to Tun Dr Mahathir, Tun Daim, Perikatan Nasional and sympathisers, the election result is unlikely to change the  federal government. 

More so, should the outcome is a status quo 3-3 for Unity Government and Perikatan Nasional. Thus it is high time to bury the confusion created by PN to question the legitimacy of the Unity Government and refer it as Madani government. 

Since there were no clear winner for GE15, the multi-coalition government had to forego their 2022 election manifesto. Madani plan was concocted and the joint effort is more reflective of the peoples' hope than drastic cut in petrol prices. 

Today, Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim unveiled the country's economic direction as the theme "Madani Economy: Empowering the people". 

It presented Madani as a serious effort to change for the better than the meaningless Madanon labeling on social media which is a pun on Anwar's nicname.  

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Monday, July 10, 2023

Is 97-year old Mahathir relevant?

July 7th 2023

Happy Birthday Sir, but ALL truths do matter!

Dear TDM,

You will be 97 years old next week. My Dad, and your personal friend, lived to be 96 and eleven months; and, moved on to meet his maker! You must have lived healthier! 

Sir, I speak from my heart, as would my Dad in any conversation with me about you! I have always admired you for most of my life while in Public Services, but truthfully for the first time in my life I am having sincere doubts about what your real AGENDA is. I think I hinted this to you when we last met in your Albukhary Office! 

My fear however is you are trying to finally become a ‘Malay Warrior,’ now, almost by default and by the end of your life. But with your rich Malabari heritage you will always be an Indian Muslim, and never a Malay, in a very popular sense! Regardless of all the many manipulations!

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