- M’sia Cabinet drops TPP timeline
- Anwar meets Turkish PM Erdogan, joint-call to Indonesia’s SBY to play bigger role
- ‘BN’ really means “Bankrupt Nation”
- Anwar laughs at Dr M’s Umno and MAS comments while Najib SHIVERS
- Apa lagi Mahathir mahu?
- PKR claims state gov’t punishing its supporters
Posted: 18 Aug 2013 11:19 PM PDT
Under pressure from the a larger coalition against the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, the Malaysian Cabinet has decided to stick to several "red lines" and to drop any timeline for the signing of the disputed trade deal, a senior government official said last week in Kuala Lumpur.
The campaign led by the Bantah TPPA coalition of nongovernment organisations and joined by the Malaysian Opposition's strong stance against what they call an attempt by the US to impose its brand of economic model of total free market in Malaysia has apparently paid-off.
Despite major issues, including state-owned enterprises, labour and internat iona l property rights remaining unresolved, the Cabinet, at a special cabinet meeting on the major trade deal, decided that it should not be bound by a fixed timeline on the agreement.
"The Cabinet has also agreed to two more cost-benefit analyses which will focus on the interests of small and medium enterprises, the Bumiputera business community as well as a comprehensive analysis of national interests," International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said last Friday.
Under the TPP, Malaysia will become an integral part of the greater economic integration with the Asia-Pacific region. Though there will be access to products and services as well as purported bigger markets, the country will also be at risk of several negative impacts that will influence the economic security of the nation.
On the other hand, Party Keadilaan Rakyat (PKR) said it feared the TPP was an attempt by the US to impose its brand of economic model of total free market, laissez-faire approach, deregulation and small government.
"The glaring absence of China, South Korea, Taiwan and Indonesia in the TPP lends credence to this belief. It promotes primarily US economic, business and geopolitical interests," said PKR defacto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim in a statement.
Bantah TPPA said, in a separate statement, it was satisfied the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak and his Cabinet's had unanimously given assurance last Friday that Malaysia's participation in the proposed TPP agreement in reinforcing Malaysia's position that the government will only agree to the TPP agreement, if its terms are most favourable to the country.
"It should also be noted that Bantah — as a coalition that enjoys the support of more than 60 groups and 10 coalitions of groupings from a variety of backgrounds, membership and advocating a plethora of issues — will also hold the Cabinet to account for the above promises and assurances — as well as the other statements made in the past by representatives of Government over the TPP agreement," according to a statement signed by Blindspot/Bantah TPPA deputy chairman Azlan Awang.
The coalition is concerned, moreover, that much of the promises and assurances remain just that — until it gets more information and sees that such "concerns" and "considerations" have been accepted by the other 11 member nations.
Apart from Malaysia, the negotiations also involve Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the US and Vietnam.
Posted: 18 Aug 2013 11:00 PM PDT
Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim returned to Malaysia on Sunday after a high-level meeting in Turkey, where both he and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan had urged Indonesia’s President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to take a bigger role in the Islamic world.
“Our focus was on the atrocities against the masses in Egypt and Syria,” Anwar said on Twitter.
“I proposed he called President SBY.”
The meeting was held over the weekend and comes as Muslim nations around the world condemn the latest eruption of violence in Egypt.
The Egyptian crisis is expected to escalate and the bloodbath to continue as chaos swept through the country last week, leaving nearly 900 dead in four days of unrest and threatening to stall a political transition.
Even as Anwar flew into the region, the central al-Fateh mosque became the new battleground for unrest as military forces tried to stop supporters of ousted president Mohammed Morsi as they marched to Ramses Square in a self-declared “Friday of Anger.”
The Arab Spring bogeyman in Malaysia
Malaysia’s own government led by Prime Minister Najib Razak appears hesitant to wade into the complex Middle East conundrum for fear of stepping onto US toes.
Additionally, the Najib administration has been politicizing the Arab Spring uprisings as a warning to the people here not to challenge the establishment, otherwise they claim chaos and anarchy would result in Malaysia as was being seen in Egypt.
“It is shameful to remain silent with atrocities in Syria, Egypt, Palestine,” Anwar said, in a swipe at the Najib administration for its deafening silence.
Malaysia, the next to break free from the shackles of a despotic regime?
The 66-year-old Anwar is also close to Indonesia’s Susilo and had met up with him in June to discuss Malaysia’s controversial and fraud-tainted general elections.
Malaysia has been ruled by Najib’s Umno-BN coalition since 1957 and there are unmistakable signs the people want change, although through peaceful means and not ala the Arab uprisings.
The Arab uprising were people’s movements that began peacefully, fueled by a sense of gross injustice, but spun wildly out of control due to the refusal of the then existing regimes to give up power peacefully.
Many international observers regard Malaysia as being among the next in line in the Muslim world to cast off the shackles of a despotic and corrupt regime, especially as an economic bubble created by unprecedented pump-priming threatens to burst due to sky-rocketing national debt, runaway property prices and unaffordable costs of living.
In the May 5 general election, Awnar’s Pakatan Rakyat coalition won 51% of the popular vote (or the total votes cast) but lost control of the seats in Parliament due to massive gerrymandering and alleged vote-rigging.
Another Indonesian leader, ex-Vice President Jusuf Kalla, was also recently approached by parties close to Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak to suss out a possible unity government with Anwar’s Pakatan Rakyat coalition. But that has fizzled out.
Biggest Muslim population
Indonesia, which has the largest population and economy in Southeast Asia, is finally emerging from devastating poverty after overthrowing the regime led by ex-president Suharto.
The country, which also has the largest Muslim population in the world, prides itself for having fought for its democratic space.
Despite a sometimes prickly relationship with the Malaysian government over issues such as the export of maids, Indonesia is nevertheless looked up to by many Malays in Malaysia as being more advanced especially in its democratic development and in its institutions, such as a free press.
Meanwhile, Susilo has asked the Security Council of the United Nations to step up roles in addressing the deadly conflicts in Syria and Egypt.
"The world may not do nothing and let the humanitarian crisis continues," Yudhoyono had said on his annual speech ahead of the anniversary of Indonesia’s Independent Day on Aug 17.
Posted: 18 Aug 2013 10:58 PM PDT
The writing is already on the wall and easily evident in daily life in Malaysia with every progressing day that the economy is beginning to spew and sputter and it should really be a matter of time before it begins to stall and go in a downward spiral.
What Malaysians suspected and feared all along prior to the 13th GE became a stark reality when Fitch Rating's revision of the country's outlook was downgraded from "stable" to "negative" in late July 2013 that gave the clearest indication that international investors have run out of patience.
In response to Fitch's downgrading, a visibly shaken Najib Tun Razak said early this month that the forthcoming Budget 2014 on Oct 25 will contain strategies to reduce Malaysia's fiscal deficit which currently stands at 53.9 per cent of GDP as at the First Quarter of this year.
This is just a fraction below the 55 per cent level that is deemed prudent compared with 39.8 per cent just five years ago or in 2008. As a result, Najib has announced the setting up of a fiscal policy committee in a move to cut Malaysia's budget deficit to 3 per cent by 2015 for which the prime minister's advisers want details worked out in the coming months.
But analysts contend that Malaysia's mounting debt burden is worrisome and difficult to reduce owing to much off-balance sheet nonsense and bad procurement practices by the government as often highlighted in the Auditor-General's report.
A burgeoning debt burden
In all levels of the strata of Malaysian society from households to corporates, the state and federal government, there is to be found and discovered much debt and the figures are escalating as spending is more than earnings due to the easy availability of credit and a great lack of financial discipline.
But at the end of the day what happens is that debt has to be repaid, one way or another, and the higher the amount of your monthly pay cheque goes towards servicing debt, the less money people will have remaining to spend and save for the future.
This is what that has led to the government introducing pump priming measures as a large number of households are finding it difficult to deal with the rising cost of living forcing the government to continue with its multi-billion ringgit subsidies and other handouts thus causing the debt of the federal government to soar even higher.
In reality, it really is a vicious cycle. But the actual reason for this debt phenomenon is due to the fact that the BN government's corrupt ways in the mismanagement of public funds and projects have created a ripple effect of creating waves of debt to rise.
This certainly doesn't augur well for the future of the nation. What is envisaged is an impending collapse of the financial system that will cause Malaysia to regress and degrade the Quality-of-Life unless serious bids and measures are made to eradicate corruption, mismanagement of funds and projects and the use of austerity drives.
These are measures the BN government are loathe to use as it goes against the grain of their governance and will cause much hurt and suffering among the people whom the government envisages will cause them to lose further the popular vote.
The debt crisis is set to deepen
It doesn't take a genius to figure out simple math. For example Agensi Kaunselling Dan Pengurusan Kredit's (AKPK) records show that the number of cases of financially distressed individuals is on the rise lending credence to the fact of the mounting debt burden Malaysians bear.
Household debt has been on the rise at a worrying pace since 2009. Since that year it was 70 per cent of GDP. But four years later it has risen to 83 per cent. According to Bank Negara Malaysia, household debt grew at an average annual rate of 12 per cent over the last five years.
This has led to bankruptcy cases to go on the rise. In 2012, the number of insolvency cases rose 2.1 per cent to 19,575. The 2012 annual report by the legal affairs division of the Prime Minister's Department highlights that the majority of bankruptcy cases were due to car and home purchases at 27 per cent each while 17 per cent were due to personal loans.
While AKPK contends that the younger generation is getting wiser in avoiding the pitfall of falling into debt, the numbers that are already bankrupt are a real cause of worry and concern and have already caused great misery for Malaysians.
What about the future?
With all that has been stated, it is really a matter of time the BN initials becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy of "Bankrupt Nation." Malaysians should go on guard and be vigilant of any attempt at trying to hoodwink them of their hard earned wages.
The reason for Malaysia's mounting debt burden is due to the inept and corrupt governance of BN. While BN hopes to be able to turn around the situation such a possibility is difficult to realize as the nation has gone too deeply into debt.
The only cause of hope is to dismantle and remove the BN government through the use of a snap poll and for this the people of Malaysia must become wiser and learn to opt for the opposition coalition of Pakatan Rakyat to save the nation from chaos and confusion.
There is really no other way. The mounting debts of people has caused the rise in crime and made Malaysia an unsafe nation where there now exists a law and order situation. The only way to remedy the situation is to cause a change of government as the corrupt ways of BN has gone beyond control.
While BN contends that corruption is really a "perception" from which Malaysians suffer and that all is fine and dandy, the hard, harsh realities of everyday life now to which Malaysians are waking up to with much regret for electing BN to federal power is beginning to hurt and cause much suffering and pain all round.
This is not a time for BN to spew rhetoric and semantics on governance but really high time for Malaysians to rally around an alternative government that can heal the wounds of the nation and ease the great burden of debt that the people carry.
The sooner Malaysians oust the BN government the faster can the people sigh with relieve and be set free of the tyranny and oppression of BN leaders who have failed to play by the rules of democracy and have instead created the governing elite in this country to hold sway over the rakyat.
Malaysia's debt burden is not going to go away like a bad dream and only the doses of reality which PR can give can overcome the foolhardy ploys of BN that has led the nation into a debt crisis and set to sink the nation further into despair.
Only a change of government can cause Malaysia to be saved from bedlam and anarchy now. If Malaysians do not pay heed to the warning signs they and their descendants will have to pay a heavy price to be stuck with BN.
Posted: 18 Aug 2013 10:54 PM PDT
Two controversial comments from former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad have raised eyebrows, one pertaining to the privatization of national flag carrier MAS and the other, a scathing criticism of the leaders now running Malaysia’s ruling party – Umno.
“Since when? Haha,” tweeted Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim, soon after touching down in Malaysia after arriving from Istanbul where he had met up with Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan.
Anwar was having a laugh at Mahathir’s expense as the latter had been the Umno president from 1981 to 2003. By convention, whoever is elected Umno president also gets appointed to be Malaysia’s prime minister, hence the enormous interest in the high-stakes topmost Umno post.
Although, the Umno presidency has changed hands twice since Mahathir retired, it is clear the veteran leader was referring to current Umno president, Prime Minister Najib Razak. The 88-year-old Mahathir is also at odd with his immediate successor Abdullah Badawi, who took over in 2003 and was in turn succeeded by Najib in 2009
“The party itself is not the problem, the problem is the people who run it,” The Malaysian Insider had reported Mahathir as saying at his Hari Raya open house on Sunday.
“If you do not know how to run something, then the best organised organisation will not help."
Mahathir’s comments are being seen as a signal that he would not oppose any challenge to Najib’s position at the Umno election due to be held in October.
A powerful influence in the Umno party, his remarks are bound to make Najib and his supporters even more worried.
On Friday, Najib was forced to deny sending out feelers to Anwar for the purpose of forming a unity government with the Opposition.
However, he has failed to convince and the rumor is now an even ‘hotter’ topic of conversation than before in the coffee-shops that dot the nation, and especially in Umno.
“Najib made what we call a political denial on Friday but within his circle, we know that he is still interested in the plan. As for Mahathir, we no longer place much importance or political value on what he says,” an Umno source close to the Najib camp told Malaysia Chronicle.
‘Fascist’ Dr M longs for the ‘good old days’
Anwar has already rejected Najib’s overtures on the grounds that the offer did not include bringing DAP and PAS into the government. DAP and PAS are the other 2 partners in the Opposition coalition apart from Anwar’s PKR or People’s Justice Party.
“Mahathir’s comments are consistent. He and his supporters are defending the Establishment, they never see any wrong in the existing infrastructure but always in the people who run it,” PKR vice president told Malaysia Chronicle.
“Like all conservatives and Fascists, they mourn the loss of the ‘good’ old days when the leaders’ words are a command and despotism a signature trait to be admired.”
Umno election and the season of madness
Another comment that prompted rather rude replies that indeed Mahathir ’mudah lupa’ or forgets easily is his recommendation for national airline MAS to be privatized.
“In the past, he privatized too and lost billions of ringgit,” Anwar slammed on Twitter.
In 1994, Mahathir had agreed to sell a controlling stake in MAS allowing a crony of former finance minister Daim Zainuddin to buy a 32% stake from the central Bank Negara for RM1.8 billion.
But the crony, Tajudin Ramli, ran MAS to the ground with enormous debt. Even so, he managed to persuade Mahathir and Daim to buy back the stake from him at twice the price then prevailing in the market.
That deal created deep public anger especially within Umno ranks for Mahathir and Daim. That Tajudin could sell back his stake at RM8 per share in 2001 when the market value was only RM3.68 apiece stirred calls for reforms within Umno.
Team Wawasan and the ‘New Malay’
It also bolstered the reform and anti-corruption platform used by Anwar and several other young Turks in Umno, who had called themselves the Team Wawasan, to gain power in their party.
The charismatic Anwar was seen as a challenge to Mahathir, who sacked and threw him into jail in 1998 on manifestly trumped-up sodomy and corruption charges.
Najib had been a strong ally of Anwar’s in 1994 but turned against him in 1998.
It is interesting that the MAS deal has re-surfaced at the current time when Mahathir is believed to be again thinking of deposing the Umno president and replacing him with someone from his own camp.
“This is the season of madness in Umno where everything goes. Those in power and those seeking power will go all out to get what they want and if they don’t, dirty linen is washed in public, poison-pen letters are circulated and all sorts of shenanigans and blackmail take place,” PKR vice president Chua Jui Meng, a former Cabinet minister told Malaysia Chronicle.
Posted: 18 Aug 2013 10:52 PM PDT
If the third prime minister of Malaysia, Hussein Onn, had not nominated Mahathir Mohamad as his successor in 1981, the course of Malaysian history would have been very different.
Mahathir may have left office after 22 years in power, but today, he pops up like those annoying advertisements which appear, without warning, on your computer screen. Mahathir's messages act in a similar way to some of those adverts; they can harm your computer with malware or other unwanted files, when they are "opened". Perhaps, we need a spam-blocker that will work on Mahathir.
How will we ever learn from history, if we are prevented from examining what has gone badly wrong for this nation? Mahathir's policies continue to divide the nation, but many Malays are under the illusion that he is their saviour. Sadly, after 56 years of independence, it is mostly non-Malays who are more Malaysian than the Malays.
Until we get a change in government, only one man can stop Mahathir's deleterious effects on the nation – Najib Abdul Razak – but he either won't or can't bring himself to perform this saintly task. Such is the hold that Mahathir has over Najib.
Yesterday, Mahathir urged that MAS be privatised. His penchant for privatisation enables profitable companies to be annexed by his cronies or Umno Baru nominees. This practice has all but bankrupted the nation.
It is ironic that the man who once said that "Melayu mudah lupa", should forget his role in handing the national airline carrier, on a golden platter to Tajudin Ramli. Few MAS employees will ever forget how the company's performance plummeted with Tajudin at its helm.
Mahathir observed that Umno Baru had failed to tap into young, smart Malay professionals. He claimed that Umno Baru, unlike PAS, did not like, and possibly feared people who were smarter than its leaders. Again, Mahathir mudah lupa. He once isolated younger men in his cabinet, like Anwar Ibrahim and Musa Hitam, in an attempt to contain their political aspirations.
When Mahathir was the education minister in the early 70s, he quelled student unrest with an iron fist. Did he forget that the Universities and University Colleges Act (UUCA), which many associate with Umno Baru, stops young adults from their right to full political expression?
Younger people find the opposition coalition more appealing and Umno Baru is aware of this. In GE13, voters at polling centres were separated into one queue for elderly people and another for young adults.
EC officials ensured that the queues for the elderly moved relatively fast, whereas queues for the young moved with laborious slowness. In many instances, young voters, simply gave up and left despite staying in line for hours. Umno Baru reasoned that young people were more impatient and impetuous, and welcomed their absence.
We are told that Najib is known as Bapak Transformasi (Father of Transformation). History will be the judge of his success at transforming both the nation, and his party, Umno Baru.
Fears of greatest treachery
Najib realises that the nation is ripe for change but he is tortured by the recalcitrance of his party members. Like them, he has only his own interests at heart, and not the interests of the rakyat who elected them to office. He has only himself to blame for the bad example he set, which strengthened the Umno Baru delegates' resolve against reform.
Najib knows his enemies from outside the party, but he fears that the greatest treachery to befall him will come from within his own party. He knows that many within his own cabinet would not hesitate to stick a knife into his back.
The new Home Minister Zahid Hamidi is openly defying Najib's authority and also that of his cousin, Hishamuddin Hussein, the former home minister. Recently, Zahid unearthed 260,000 hard-core criminals, whereas Hishammuddin had found none and even had the audacity to tell the rakyat that the increase in crime was just a perception.
Zahid recently found 250,000 Shiite Muslims, when Hishammuddin did not even allude to them during his tenure as home minister. These are attempts to discredit Hishammuddin, and Najib, the cousin who put him there.
These machinations are possibly designed to unseat Najib at the crux of his political career, the Umno Baru general assembly which will be held later this year.
Earlier this month, Zahid warned that if the Sedition Act 1948 was abolished, four aspects of the federal constitution, namely the special rights of the Malays, the status of Malay rulers, the status of Islam as the federal religion and the status of Malay as the national language would be affected. Putting on a defiant tone, he advocated for the Act to be retained and said that he was unwilling to compromise on this issue.
When Najib promised to repeal the Sedition Act, last year, was he using this as a carrot to trick the public into voting for Umno Baru in GE13? Did Najib have any intention of keeping this promise or was it just a ploy to get the voters to think that he was a reformist?
Perhaps, Najib will use Zahid's interjection as a convenient excuse not to repeal the Sedition Act and so win back the support of the hardliners in Umno Baru.
Unlike Zahid, Najib is facing the most important battle in his political life. Is Zahid's opposition to the abolition of the Act a means to present himself as the true defender of the Malays and of Islam in Malaysia?
All roads lead to Mahathir
Zahid is not acting on his own and it is glaringly evident, that all roads lead to Mahathir. The former PM has been very vocal in the past few weeks and will continue until the Umno party conference.
Mahahir will continue to instigate and foment dissent. His divisive policies are symbolic of his rule. When he left office in 2003, few outside of Umno Baru were moved when he wept as he made his resignation speech. His successor, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi gave us hope, but even he failed the rakyat miserably.
Mahathir claims that Umno Baru is the only party that can save the Malays. This is another of his damned lies. In truth, Umno Baru has caused the downfall of the Malays; ordinary Malays have become beggars in their own land because of his policies, and the Umno Baru elite are just pimps living off everyone else.
Today, time is running out for Malaysia, and if Najib does not act to defuse the racial and religious time-bomb set by Mahathir, it will cause untold damage to the country. Mahathir cares for nothing but the continuation of his legacy, through his son, Mukhriz. A leader who does not give a damn for the peace, prosperity and economic stability of the country, might as well be called the Father of Corruption. Apa lagi Mahathir mahu?
Posted: 18 Aug 2013 10:49 PM PDT
Several supporters of Sarawak PKR in Baram have been "punished" for allegedly voting for the opposition in the general election, the party claims.
State PKR chairperson Baru Bian said their applications for the planting of high-yielding rubber through the Rubber Industry Smallholders’ Development Authority (Risda) had been withdrawn.
“We received reports and complaints from several people in Baram that their applications for rubber were withdrawn on the basis that they are supporters of PKR,” he said.
“This is contrary to the promise made by Deputy Chief Minister Alfred Jabu, who is also the minister for the modernisation of agriculture.
“He wants to see those in rural areas earning RM2,000 or more in four years’ time if they take part now in the planting of this high-yielding rubber.
“We met Jabu during the last sitting of the state legislature and he promised us that he would help the rural people with regard to the eradication of poverty via this scheme,” Baru Bian said.
He said Jabu must fulfil his promise to the people that rubber clones would be made available to the rural people in an effort to eradicate poverty.
“This is a very serious matter, and we will not take it lightly,” he said.
The PKR leader also expressed concern over the ruling made by Risda that it would only approve applications to plant rubber in NCR land after such land had been verified by the Land and Survey Department.
“We are concerned as the Land and Survey Department is known to have a different definition from the decision of the Federal Court on what constitutes NCR land.
“Such applications are certain to be rejected,” Baru Bian said, suggesting that Risda, if it was serious, should ask the Tuai Rumah (longhouse chiefs) or community leaders to endorse that such land was NCR land and belonged to the applicant.
Baru Bian has also heard complaints from rural people that their applications to plant oil palm had also met with obstacles as the Land and Survey Department did not want them to plant oil palm in NCR land, which it claimed is state land.
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