Isnin, 21 Oktober 2013

Anwar Ibrahim

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Anwar Ibrahim

Imperial Understretch and the Fall of Great Powers

Posted: 21 Oct 2013 06:33 AM PDT

Foreign Policy

The sad, dangerous lessons of America’s budget standoff.

I’ve been thinking in recent days about doctrines of national decline. The fact that at the eleventh hour the U.S. Senate managed to paddle the canoe of state away from the thunderous cataract of default is hardly a sign that the United States has preserved its global standing. For one thing, Americans will find themselves witnessing the same melodrama in three months unless Congress agrees on a long-term fiscal plan, which seems, to put it gently, damn unlikely. For another, Americans have been stumbling in a fog of their own devising for the last generation or so. The end is not nigh; but the decline is.

The United States is exhibiting extremely idiosyncratic symptoms of great-power decline. Take the classic account of the subject, Paul Kennedy’s The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers. Kennedy describes a syndrome, which afflicted the Roman Empire, imperial Spain, and Victorian England, among others, in which regional or global aspirations outstrip national capacities. Writing in 1987, Kennedy projected the United States as the latest victim of “imperial overstretch,” because “the sum total of the United States’ global interests and obligations is nowadays far larger than the country’s power to defend them simultaneously.”

That feels like the wrong diagnosis. First of all, unrestrained defense spending in the aftermath of 9/11 has not come close to bankrupting the United States, though it has certainly squandered precious resources. Second, Americans have contracted a severe case of indigestion from President George W. Bush’s vain attempt to swallow significant portions of the Middle East; they are now spitting out the remnants. Empire is an unnatural condition for the United States, and withdrawal to its continental fortress is an almost inevitable response to fears of overstretch. If anything, it is the new national suspicion of engagement, the mood of sullen disenchantment, that marks the country’s decline. Americans don’t want to shoulder the burdens of global leadership; they want the world, along with its demands, to go away.

We need a word more like “understretch” to describe the national condition. The problem does not lie with too-muchness abroad but with too-littleness at home. And the source of the problem is not an overambitious state but an implacable hostility to the operations of the state. Kennedy also writes that while America’s laissez-faire culture and economy make it better able to adjust to rapid change than are more dirigiste societies, doing so “depends upon the existence of a national leadership which can understand the larger processes at work in the world today.” The deliberations of Congress — not just in recent days but in recent years — vividly show the danger of wrongheaded leadership.

The near default, the shutdown of the government, the sequestration of budget funds — these are just the latest symptoms of a political, but also psychological, disease. The leadership of the Republican Party — and not just the Tea Party faction — believes that the federal government is bad. It has believed that at least since Newt Gingrich overthrew the party’s moderate leadership in 1994. In 2012, Mitt Romney, a Republican centrist, ran for president on a platform that would have reduced federal spending to 20 percent of GDP, 2 percentage points lower than it was during the time of small-government apostle Ronald Reagan — even though Medicare costs were a small fraction then of what they are today. (Matt Miller of the Washington Post has long been an eloquent voice on this madness, as for example here.) To accommodate deep tax cuts, Romney would have eliminated much of the federal government beyond the Pentagon. That is now the orthodoxy of one of America’s two political parties.

Meanwhile, the United States is falling behind in crucial areas where it led not long ago. The national store of human capital is diminishing as average rates of literacy and numerical understanding plummet in comparison with rates in other countries, as a recent OECD report demonstrated. A smaller percentage of Americans now both attend and graduate from college than in many Western countries. Crumbling infrastructure increases transaction costs; just compare the trip to JFKairport to the commute to almost any other global airport. The United States still leads the world in spending on research and development, but China has closed much of a formerly immense gap, and many countries now spend more as a percentage of GDP.

The United States is losing its position of global leadership because it is refusing to make investments that its competitors are making. In this regard, congressional Republicans may have lost the battle, but they’ve won the war. President Barack Obama agreed to accept the massive tax cuts his predecessor instituted in order to conclude a budget deal in 2011; since then, he has played on the Republican side of the field. Obama has never found, and perhaps will never find, the language needed to convince Americans that they cannot offer decent prospects to their children without a drastic change in priorities.

The best nibble at the edges, while the worst play with fire. In This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly, economists Kenneth Rogoff and Carmen Reinhart catalog more than 70 cases of default on domestic debt over the last two centuries. On average, they note, in the year of default, inflation runs at 170 percent and the economy shrinks by 4 percent. In other words, default is so appalling a prospect that countries do it only when the economy is near collapse. And many of those countries, the authors note, are kleptocracies. The United States, by contrast, has a growing economy and no shortage of fiscal resources. No democratically unaccountable class was forcing the action. Washington came within a whisper of default on a whim: Political figures who do not believe in the government were delighted to throw a spanner in the works. Maybe they just wanted to see what would happen.

Great powers of the past have fallen behind when they failed to keep up with technological progress, as happened to 15th-century China; others have succumbed to invasion or disease. America faces none of these problems. The United States is a dynamic country that continues to attract immigrants and thus to grow and renew itself. It offers a unique scope to individual achievement. These great strengths certainly place a floor on any possible decline; perhaps they even argue that the United States can survive self-inflicted wounds that would doom a lesser nation. But another way of putting it is that America is posing a very dire test of its own powers of resilience.

If it’s not disease or invasion, then, what is it? Historian Edward Gibbon argued that Rome ultimately fell for moral reasons — because an ethos of patriotism and civic virtue gave way to selfishness and apathy (and lost out to the otherworldly focus of Christianity). Americans from the time of George Washington have worried that citizens would sink into a Roman torpor. That hasn’t quite happened either; Americans remain wedded to their republican virtues. Yet they don’t believe in the United States as an ongoing national project as they once did. Perhaps extreme inequality has loosened the strong stays of shared purpose so that we are predisposed to believe that virtue resides only in the individual, not in the community or collective. Thus, we redistribute resources to the individual, which of course only reinforces inequality. We respond to leaders who address us as separate, indissoluble atoms. Gibbon, who distrusted democracy, would probably say that Americans have become too individualistic.

I would say, instead, that there is a fine balance between the profound laissez-faire impulse that has made American the home of political and economic freedom, and the sense of shared citizenship that has fostered great collective efforts in the past — and that the country seems to have lost that balance. I would like to think that this latest brush with disaster will help right that balance — but I don’t believe it. Things will have to get worse before they get better.

Foto Sekitar Kunjungan Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim Ke Adelaide, Australia 18-19 Oktober 2013

Posted: 21 Oct 2013 04:55 AM PDT

20131018_064120 20131018_064414 AFOI 1 AFOI 3 AFOI 4 IMG_3832 IMG_3834 IMG_3853 IMG_3885 IMG_5957 IMG_5962 IMG_5967 IMG_5981 IMG_6011 IMG_6045 IMG_6109 IMG_6113 IMG_6118 IMG_6130 IMG_6177 IMG_6382 IMG_6385 IMG_6394 IMG_6487 IMG_6510 IMG_6515 IMG_6535 IMG_6550 IMG_6567 IMG_6568 IMG_6588 IMG_6653 IMG_6681 IMG_6685 IMG_6768 IMG_6842 IMG_6925 IMG_6962 IMG_7015 IMG_7016 IMG_7031 IMG_7041 IMG_7054 IMG_7064 IMG_7065 MeetAnwar Adelaide 1 MeetAnwar Adelaide 2

PR machine: when Anwar Ibrahim won over Adelaide

Posted: 21 Oct 2013 03:14 AM PDT


Anwar Ibrahim's visit to Adelaide last weekend was an expert exercise in campaign politics, and showed that Malaysians in Australia want political debate as much as they want education. Academic Dr Amrita Malhi was there.

Anwar Ibrahim

Since Malaysia's contested election result in May, much has been written on the machine-like character of the ruling National Front coalition.

Yet last weekend, a different Malaysian machine rolled through town?—?that of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, who spoke at the Adelaide Festival of Ideas.

Anwar's coalition is the People's Alliance and his visit revealed that the Malaysian scene has changed, both thoroughly and permanently.

This change was amply demonstrated by Anwar's relationship with Malaysians living here and his expert use of three forums closed to him at home. These were the media, the campus, and the mosque.

Anwar spoke to an audience of around 1000 at the main festival event, with many more turned away at the door. Perhaps half the diverse crowd were Malaysian students and graduates. Around 50 students protested outside, defying a Malaysian government email directing its scholarship holders not to attend.

The email was quickly spun into a public relations coup for Anwar, of the kind money could never buy. Its circulation drove up audiences at his events, and handed him a platform for critiquing the National Front. It also gave him a chance to hint that the Australian government has failed to sufficiently hedge its bets away from the Malaysian government and towards the People's Alliance.

Indeed, it was Anwar's repeated contention that the People's Alliance actually won the election, as it won 52% of the popular vote. This result, however, did not translate into sufficient seats to form a federal government, informing Anwar's assertion that the election was stolen.

Anwar's other activities held up for display just how many Australian interests cluster around Malaysia and Malaysians living here. Anwar's machine ensured it devoted attention to all.

"Anwar's various talks were examples of how the crafting of political messages has become an increasingly professional enterprise in Malaysia."

The most obvious of these interests is that of Australian universities, their twinning-program supply chains, and their symbiotic businesses and organisations. These include providers of student accommodation, food services, and clubs and societies.

Malaysia is the third largest source of international students in SA. In an export industry valued at over $14 billion nationally in 2012 (ABS), Malaysian students are important. So are the Malaysian graduates who stay here after completing their courses.

Two side events that Anwar aimed at this constituency hosted crowds of 200-300 people. Polite, urbane and smart, these Malaysians in Australia are helping lead Malaysia's political transformation.

Their questions and comments revealed their acute interest in ending the politics of racial and religious division, if and when they return. Even pro-government students talked about a paradigm shift: from a focus on racial and religious boundary-marking, to cooperating to deliver results (within systems of effective checks and balances).

Anwar also took his message to the Islamic Society of South Australia's Abu Bakr Assiddiq Mosque where he spoke to at least 750 worshippers.

Everywhere he went, he advanced his overarching campaign message: that racial and religious reconciliation can help end intolerance, corruption, and low standards of governance. Having honed a versatile political stance against Malay Muslim chauvinism at home and Islamophobia in the West, Anwar was sure to support it with both Western political theory and Koranic exegesis.

Anwar's various talks were examples of how the crafting of political messages has become an increasingly professional enterprise in Malaysia. This is an outcome of genuine electoral competition since 2008. Malaysian election results can no longer be predicted well in advance.

Doubtless for this reason, Australian politicians, too, clustered around Anwar's visit. Senator Nick Xenophon hosted a joint press conference with Anwar the moment he landed at Adelaide airport, and later promised to defend Malaysian students' right to free assembly in Australia. South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill also met with Anwar, and with Elizabeth Wong, the Selangor State Assembly and Executive Council Member for Tourism. The People's Alliance currently holds Selangor, along with the Penang and Kelantan state governments.

Malaysian political realities aside, at least 2000 Adelaide residents attended one or more Anwar events last weekend. The attention South Australian politicians paid to Anwar made sense.

It may now be clearer to anyone with an interest in the Malaysian-Australian community that its appetite for political debate is every bit as keen as its need for education, accommodation, and food.

The biggest winner from the weekend was clearly Anwar Ibrahim, but everyone won who travelled in his wake.

[KENYATAAN MEDIA] Ringkasan Bajet Pakatan Rakyat 2014

Posted: 20 Oct 2013 09:39 PM PDT

21 OKTOBER 2013

Ringkasan Bajet Pakatan Rakyat 2014: Fokus Dato' Seri Anwar Ibrahim
Parlimen, 21/10/2013

A. Ramalan Ekonomi Global
1. Ekonomi global pada 2014 diramalkan akan meningkat berbanding 2013. Ramalan IMF (4.0% vs 3.3%), World Bank (3.0% vs 2.2%) dan OECD (4.0% vs 3.1%).

2. Namun begitu, realiti ekonomi global yang agak rapuh dan tidak menentu pada ketika ini (seperti yang akan dinyatakan di bawah) boleh mem cvchbawa cew3e4yrisiko untuk ramalan di atas diubah kepada kadar yang lebih rendah;

i. Ketidaktentuan dalam penyelesaian permasalahan hutang Negara Amerika Syarikat (debt ceiling, quantitative easing)

ii. Kemelesetan ekonomi dan kadar pengangguran yang tinggi di Eropah yang berterusan disebabkan oleh langkah-langkah penjimatan (austerity measures)

iii. Prestasi ekonomi China yang kurang memberangsangkan serta kelembapan pemulihan ekonomi India

3. Pakatan Rakyat meramalkan pertumbuhan ekonomi Malaysia untuk tahun 2014 pada kadar 5.2% (berbanding 2013 pada kadar 4.5% hingga 5%), berdasarkan kepada ramalan peningkatan ekonomi global.

B. Anggaran Defisit
1. Pakatan Rakyat menganggarkan defisit Negara untuk 2014 pada RM 34 billion bersamaan kadar 3.2% GDP (Keluaran Dalam Negara Kasar). Aggaran ini dibuat berdasarkan:

i. Anggaran pendapatan Negara sebanyak RM 228 billion

ii. Anggaran perbelanjaan Negara sebanyak RM 262 billion dimana pengurangan sebanyak 10% pada perbelanjaan operasi (OPEX) tidak termasuk emolumen

iii. Anggaran KDNK sebanyak RM 1,055 billion berdasarkan unjuran pertumbuhan sebanyak 5.2% untuk 2014

2. Sejak Pakatan Rakyat menyediakan Belanjawan alternatif, anggaran defisit PR adalah selalunya lebih rendah daripada BN.Defisit sebenar kerajaan BN adalah dianggarkan lebih tinggi dari 3.2% (dianggarkan sebanyak 3.8% hingga 4%) disebabkan kegagalan mereka menangani rasuah dan ketirisan

C. Teras Belanjawan Pakatan Rakyat (PR)
Belanjawan PR kali ini dirangka berdasarkan kepada 3 teras utama:
1. Pengukuhan Kedudukan Fiskal Negara dan Pemerkasaan Kewangan Awam

2. Pembangunan Ekonomi yang Seimbang, Inklusif dan Mampan

3. Peningkatan Kesejahteraan dan Kualiti Hidup Rakyat

C1. Teras 1: Pengukuhan Kedudukan Fiskal Negara dan Pemerkasaan Kewangan Awam
Pengukuhan kedudukan fiskal Negara adalah amat penting dalam memastikan kesinambungan kedudukan kredit Negara yang kini dihadapi kemungkinan penurunan taraf (sovereign downgrade) akibat penambahan defisit dan hutang negara yang membarah semenjak 2009.
Bajet alternatif 2014 PR adalah suatu usaha untuk memperkenalkan reformasi fiskal yang akan memastikan pencapaian defisit bajet pada kadar 3% GDP pada 2015 dan seterusnya mencapai lebihan bajet (budget surplus) selewat 2018. Reformasi fiskal ini dijangka akan membolehkan Malaysia:
1. Keluar dari kemelut hutang yang kini melebihi RM 500 billion dan kos pembayaran hutang yang melebihi RM 20 billion setahun

2. Menjamin ekonomi yang berdaya tahan dan anjal dalam menghadapi persekitaran ekonomi global yang semakin mencabar dan tidak menentu

3. Beralih dari pertumbuhan ekonomi yang berasaskan pinjaman kepada pertumbuhan ekonomi yang dijanakan oleh aktiviti perbelanjaan kerajaan

A. Bagi menjamin PERBELANJAAN kerajaan yang lebih efisyen dan teratur, PR akan:
1. Melancarkan program rasionalisasi kos untuk setiap kementerian dan jabatan kerajaan untuk mencapai pengurangan perbelanjaan operasi sebanyak 10%. Ini akan dicapai melalui;

i. Penangguhan sementara kenaikan elaun menteri kabinet dan ketua-ketua jabatan kerajaan

ii. Pengkajian semula polisi perbelanjaan kerajaan terutama sekali dalam pemberian kontrak dan prokumen peralatan

iii. Memperkemaskan mekanisma subsidi sasaran (targetted subsidy) dan juga pengawalan barangan subsidi seperti diesel, petrol, gula dan tepung bagi mengelakkan salahguna subsidi

2. Mengkaji semula keutamaan perbelanjaan (spending priority) dengan mengurangkan atau menghapuskan perbelanjaan program-program yang tidak berkesan dan kurang kepentingan sebagai contoh;

i. Program Khidmat Negara yang dilihat gagal mencapai objektif memupuk kesatuan kaum dan jatidiri di kalangan pelatih-pelatih. Program ini menelan belanja tahunan RM 800 juta yang lebih besar dari perbelanjaan Kementerian Belia dan Sukan (~RM 700 juta) yang juga mempunyai matlamat yang sama. Program ini juga telah menyebabkan sebanyak 22 kematian semenjak penubuhannya dan sebilangan kes pelatih hamil yang bersalin sewaktu di dalam progam, disebabkan perancangan dan perlaksanaan program yang tidak baik. Program ini patut ditangguhkan sehingga satu kajian menyeluruh dibuat oleh Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC)

3. Mengambil tindakan tegas terhadap kesemua kementerian yang terlibat dengan sebarang salahlaku dan pembaziran seperti yang dilaporkan dalam Laporan Tahunan Ketua Audit Negara. PR menganggarkan sekurang-kurangnya RM 20 hingga 30 billion boleh dijimatkan sekiranya kesemua pembaziran dan penyelewengan yang dilaporkan dihentikan. Antara contoh pembaziran besar yang dilaporkan adalah;

i. RM 2.051 bilion dibelanjakan dari 2010 ke 2012 dari jumlah RM 3.689 bilion peruntukan kepada Kementerian Pelajaran Malaysia untuk membayar pengawal tidak bersenjata bagi mengawal sekolah-sekolah dan institusi-institusi pengajian. Walaupun ia berniat baik, namun ketiadaan sistem pemantauan telah mengakibatkan pengawal yang berumur dan tidak disahkan latar belakang, dan juga CCTV yang tidak berfungsi untuk diguna bagi memastikan keselamatan anak-anak kita di sekolah. Pembaziran dianggarkan sebanyak RM 1.6illion

ii. Pengurusan projek Mansuh oleh Kementerian Kerja Raya. Dari 2010 hingga 2012, projek mansuh sebanyak 83 projek dianggarkan berjumlah RM 2.2 billion. Kerugian dianggarkan sebanyak RM 1.1 billion atau 50% daripada nilai asal disebabkan oleh kelemahan pemantauan projek dan kegagalan menuntut balik bayaran daripada kontraktor

iii. Kementerian Pengangkutan telah membelanjakan hampir RM 1.42 bilion dari jumlah peruntukan RM 1.47 bilion untuk menambahbaik Lapangan Terbang Antarabangsa Kota Kinabalu. Walaupun lebih 96% peruntukan telah digunapakai, namun projek yang dimulakan pada tahun 1996 ini masih belum siap: balai ketibaan dan bilik air-bilik air didapati tidak memuaskan, dan 599 lubang telah dijumpai di landasan kapal terbang yang belum dibaiki sejak 2010. Anggaran kerugian yang dilaporkan setakat ini adalah sekitar RM 120 juta. Kemungkinan besar projek ini akan menelan belanja yang lebih besar untuk disiapkan.

B. Bagi menjana PENDAPATAN kerajaan yang lebih saksama dan adil, PR akan:
1. Menangguhkan implementasi GST (yang dilihat akan lebih membebankan golongan berpendapatan rendah dan sederhana) sehingga:

i. Pendapatan minima isirumah mencapai suatu tahap yang dikira sesuai untuk menyerap sebarang kesan terhadap kuasa beli akibat GS

ii. Pelebaran 'band' cukai pendapatan terutamanya golongan menengah untuk mengelakkan kemasukan mereka ke 'band' cukai yang lebih tinggi dalam tempoh yang singkat. Lebih banyak perelepasan cukai juga harus diberikan kepada golongan menengah

iii. Kajian menyeluruh mengenai trade-off cukai korporat/peribadi dengan GST dilakukan dan diperjelaskan kepada rakyat untuk mengelakkan rakyat dibebani dengan pertambahan cukai akibat GST sekiranya cukai korporat/peribadi dikekalkan pada kadar yang sama

2. Memperkenalkan sistem cukai yang lebih saksama;

i. Mengembalikan cukai RPGT (real property gains tax) pada tahap sebelum 2007, iaitu cukai berperingkat pada kadar 30% bagi tahun pertama, sehingga cukai terendah 5% bagi perjualan pada tahun kelima. Ini bertujuan untuk mengekang kegiatan spekulasi hartanah yang berlebihan

D. Aspek-aspek lain bajet PR 2014
1. PR percaya bahawa peningkatan penyambungan (connectivity) samada dari segi perhubungan seperti Internet, mahupun perhubungan fisikal seperti lebuhraya adalah amat perlu untuk memastikan pertumbuhan ekonomi yang lebih seimbang, mampan dan inklusif. Untuk mencapai keseimbangan dari segi pembangunan rakyat luar bandar/bandar, Sabah & Sarawak;
i. Lebuhraya Pan-Borneo yang menyambungkan bandar-bandar di Sabah & Sarawak akan di naiktaraf dan pembinaannya akan disegerakan seawal 2014. Lokasi-lokasi kemalangan akan dikenalpasti untuk diperbaiki dan penyelengaraan yang berkala juga akan dilakukan.

ii. Pengkajian semula polisi kabotaj untuk Sabah dan Sarawak. Polisi yang lebih baik akan berupaya untuk menurunkan harga kargo dan barang-barang yang masuk/ keluar dari Sabah dan Sarawak, seterusnya menyumbang pada pertumbuhan ekonomi

iii. Penjurusan kepada perbekalan air dan elektrik 100% untuk kawasan luar bandar & bandar terutamanya Sabah & Sarawak. Ini akan memastikan bekalan air bersih dan elektrik menerusi penggunaan teknoloji solar, windfarms dan microhydro

2. PR amat menghargai sumbangan wanita untuk pembangunan Negara. Kaum wanita akan diberikan insentif berikut untuk menggalakkan mereka untuk terus menyumbang kepada ekonomi Negara:


i. Peruntukan sebanyak RM 1,200 setahun bagi setiap ibu bekerja untuk membiayai caj perkhidmatan penjagaan kanak-kanak di bawah 12 tahun

ii. Peruntukan sebanyak RM 3 billion setahun kepada Skim Caruman Wanita Nasional (SCWN), iaitu suatu bentuk jaringan keselamatan sosial komprehensif bagi isteri terutamanya suri-suri rumah. Kerajaan PR akan menyumbang RM600 setahun tanpa mengira tahap sumbangan suami (suami mencarum bagi pihak isteri pada kadar minimum RM 120 hingga RM1,200 setahun) dan SCWN ini boleh dikeluarkan apabila berlaku kematian pasangan, perceraian, hilang upaya kekal dan hilang kekal pendapatan

iii. Mengekalkan polisi untuk meningkatkan pimpinan wanita hingga pada tahap sekurang-kurangnya 30% pada tahun 2017. Pimpinan wanita di Parlimen, pengurusan korporat dan kepimpinan nasional dalam sektor awam dan swasta akan menjadi tumpuan utama.

Dato' Seri Anwar Ibrahim
Ketua Pembangkang Parlimen Malaysia
Ketua Umum Parti Keadilan Rakyat
21 Oktober 2013

Friday Khutbah At Abu Bakar Mosque, Adelaide Australia

Posted: 20 Oct 2013 08:57 PM PDT


Angkatan Muda