Thursday, January 17, 2019

Lynas and the third national car project

In this interview with FMT, Redzuan Yusof, the Minister in charge of the proposed Third National Car (TNC) project, sheds a little more light on the mysterious project.
"It will be a hybrid based on the internal combustion engine ..",  he said. 
For those of you who know nuts about the hybrid the minister was talking about, think Honda City Hybrid and Toyota Prius (pic above). Nice, kan? And I'm not being sarcastic; I will support any national project be it motorbike, bicycle or, as it happens in this case, car. 
But Proton will aways be the national car for me and Malaysians from the same era. I'm not sure which age zone he comes from but the Minister, quite apparently, does not know as much as he thinks about Proton, especially the history of its vendors, and should have kept mum on it and focus, instead, on the TNC. 
Like elaborate a little bit more on those investors who are said to be keen on the TNC project.
He said the ministry has attracted a lot of interest, with investors voicing their intent to come here because of existing infrastructure, talent and raw materials. He cited the rare earths processed for battery manufacturing at the Lynas Advanced Materials Plant in Kuantan, Pahang.
The bit on Lynas, though, makes me wonder.
Does Redzuan know that his own Cabinet colleague, the Environment Minister Yeo Bee Yin,  is so anti-Lynas?
So how?

The interview with FMT:
New car project different from Proton: no bailouts, says minister
PUTRAJAYA (16 Jan 2018): When Dr Mahathir Mohamad set out to establish Proton in 1983 in his first stint as prime minister, the goal was to boost the country’s automotive industry and create a national car.
Yet now, despite decades of government support and bailouts, the carmaker has never lived up to its full potential. So it is unsurprising that Putrajaya’s plans to develop a new national car have raised concerns that this will be the “next Proton.”
Entrepreneur Development Minister Redzuan Yusof has dismissed such pessimism, claiming that the thinking behind the new project is very different this time.
“Proton was conceptualised as a car first, and then the vendors were developed and brought on board. The new national car will be all about enhancing the existing vendor capacity that is already there thanks to Proton,” he told FMT.
“The vendors who have been supporting Proton, have gone beyond what they were expected to do. We have original equipment manufacturers, including major suppliers to top car makers. Some of our manufacturers are now operating in other countries. Several carry out research and development for foreign car manufacturers.”
Essentially, Redzuan said, the new national car project is not merely about creating an automobile but taking advantage of existing talent and resources to create a catalyst for the development of an ecosystem in which entrepreneurs, businesses and industries can grow.
The minister added that the national car project will be the ideal catalyst for this due to the sheer amount of engineering skills and components needed, including structural, mechanical, electrical and electronic, and robotics and automation.
He insisted that engineering is one of the vital keys to Malaysia becoming a producing nation. Excelling in the automotive sector would be a stepping stone to higher-level manufacturing and engineering sectors like the aerospace industry.
He said the ministry has attracted a lot of interest, with investors voicing their intent to come here because of existing infrastructure, talent and raw materials. He cited the rare earths processed for battery manufacturing at the Lynas Advanced Materials Plant in Kuantan, Pahang.
“There are even large overseas corporations making inquiries to invest here because of the spinoffs we envisage from the new national car project.”
As for manpower, Redzuan said Malaysia produces a lot of talent, but without an appropriate ecosystem in which our best can flourish, they will leave to seek opportunities abroad.
As examples of this he cited a number of Malaysians excelling in foreign countries, from an Australia-based man who is among the top drone operators in the world, to a US-based electronics engineer who works for NASA.
“If we do not create an ecosystem here for them to excel in, we cannot become a developed nation. We have the talent and resources, we just don’t have the ecosystem.”
Redzuan, the Alor Gajah MP, also gave his assurance that no public funds would be used in the development of the project as it will be driven by a strategic private sector partner. He stressed that the grant his ministry applied for was for research and development to determine the type of car to be built.
“The government has no intention of the project being a drain on any public funds,” he said, adding that should the project fail, the government will not resort to a bail out.
Redzuan said his ministry has very strict criteria for its selection of a strategic partner for this project. The partner must be an established car manufacturer producing components for its supply chain and after-sales market. It must also conduct its own research and development.
He also said that unlike in the past where political interference negatively affected the running of certain companies, this will not happen with the new national car project.
So what will the new national car look like?
The minister said they are looking at a car for the mass market with a smaller more efficient engine. “It will be a hybrid based on the internal combustion engine, this will reduce risks where supply and demand are concerned.
“As for the design, we are now at the stage of trying to finalise the shape and form of the prototype, which will be revealed later this year, and all without us having spent a single sen.” - FMT

Friday, January 04, 2019

All's well that ends well. Well, maybe ...

Read the Malaysian Insight story here

Jan 4: Good news? Well, the minister did well enough to respond immediately with his re-assurance to the 283 (now former) employees of SPAD that they will be offered jobs. How that will go, we'll have to wait and see next week. But to me this episode is yet another proof that ordinary Malaysians still need to go to the media for recourse, even in Malaysia Baharu. And we the Media still have that role to play in 2019.
Same old, same old but we're always at your service.

Yesterday, The Mole reported:

KUALA LUMPUR – January 2, 2019: They were repeatedly assured that they will not be jobless after new year’s eve but today, the first working day of the year, some 283 staff of the now-defunct Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) woke up to everything but a job.
This is because the Transport Ministry had failed to relocate all 967 of them following the agency’s decommissioning last Monday, which means that minister Anthony Loke had failed to keep his promise.
Uncertainty over the employment of the staff began when the decommissioning was announced in May 2018, soon after Pakatan Harapan won the general elections to form the federal government.
“There were married couples with SPAD and now both husbands and wives are jobless. How are they going to cope with life? Why do we have to be the sacrificial lamb in a political move,” lamented a former staff.
“January is when our children start schooling and any parent will know how much money this requires. It is sad that our welfare is not considered…. it’s almost as though we are being punished.”
While the ministry recently stated that it will assist staff to find new jobs at government-linked companies, the majority said they are disillusioned with such an assurance.
Their distrust with the ministry MOT is understandable, given that it was only two weeks ago that it told them some will not be transferred to other departments.
Those lucky enough to be re-employed are also bemoaning the fact that they have to take quite a big pay-cut.
“You have a Masters (degree) but suddenly find yourself being given a post junior to the one you held previously and with a lower salary. Is this fair?” asked one.

Thursday, January 03, 2019

Latest US court decision on Jho Low's Equanimity - What it really means, according to 3 Malaysian ex-Judges

US Court's approval shows that Jho Low is innocent: Lawyers
It doesn't prove that Jho Low is innocent: Lawyers

Jan 3: As usual, the warring parties - or their lawyers, rather - claim that victory is theirs. I know of some angels dressed as lawyers but that doesn't mean I trust any of them absolutely. Certainly not with this particular case. So I asked three of Malaysia's former judges what the court ruling involving DoJ and the yacht called Equanimity really means.

The following are their comments (I'm not naming these contacts of mine, although I'm sure they won't really mind if I did. What I've done is to arrange their whatsapp comments by order of their seniority when they were in service as our Yang Ariffs):

Judge 1: Looks like the US court released because DoJ is no longer interested (in recovering Equanimity) because perhaps Malaysia has taken over the yacht. 
Judge 2: It means Jho Low is feeling high as he wins (this round). And that the DoJ agrees Malaysia should not have brazenly seized that sampan. This is a complicated case. They should get me to advise them but (the problem is)  they are too clever by half.
Judge 3: It means that DOJ will drop the claim that the offence included the procurement of Equanimity, which is now being disposed off by the Government of Malaysia. In other words, the DOJ will not pursue to recover Equanimity. (As for the claim of innocence) itu cerita sensasi fantasi Jho Low & peguam penipu dia.

Read also:
Jho Low: US court granted DoJ motion to dismiss forfeiture of Equanimity 

Wednesday, January 02, 2019

A non-smoking start to 2019

Updated Jan 3:
Told you our government wants to outdo the Singaporeans. Emboldened by its own courage, the Ministry of Health has vowed to widen the ban to include public laundrettes and hotels. The laundry owners are saying no need lah but like the eatery owners before them, the Ministry is expected to turn down their invitation to discuss the matter like grown-ups and implement the ban unilaterally. 

Original posting Jan 2

Can't help it, but the smoking ban at all restaurants including open-air eateries reminds me of Singapore's chewing gum ban. For you kiddies out there, the infamous gum ban was imposed by the government on its citizens in 1992 and lasted more than 10 years. I'm not sure if anyone was actually fined $100,000 or jailed two years, the maximum possible penalties for the offence, but an American and two Germans were sentenced to a number of strokes of the rotan by the Singapore court for vandalism in 1994 and 2015, respectively. For these and other kiasuness (try 16 Odd Things That Are Illegal in Singapore), we were able to poke fun at the Singaporeans, But the way our government's pushing for this latest and supposedly very crucial no-smoking rule, I feel that we are about to outdo our neighbours.

My quarrel with this new ruling is simple: smokers and non-smokers at Malaysian restaurants have co-existed peacefully for a long time. Everyone understood that air-con meant strictly no smoking. If you wanted to smoke, go sit outside under the kipas (if there is an "outside" because many restaurants are fully air-conditioned). I wrote in FB h e r e "if the minister really sincerely wants to make this country cigarette-free, BAN cigarettes (and vape, e-fags, Iqos, etc) and forsake the over RM1 billion the government collects yearly in smoking taxes"

Otherwise, this is just another exercise of hypocrisy at the expense of not just the smokers but also the eatery owners, who are mostly small business people.

I just don't think the latest ban is going to deter people from smoking by much, it at all.

Monday, December 17, 2018

Fireman Adib is dead; I hope they all hang


Alfatehah, Adib Bomba. Nowhere in the world has a fireman been beaten to death for doing his job, for trying to help. Only in Malaysia.
For you, adik Adib, I hope for Jannah.
I hope Waythamoorthy does the right thing and die. Everyone else involved in the murder should hang. Bastards. 
And they should close the temple, voluntarily. 

Related news and postings
Farewell, Adib: Fireman dies of injuries sustained in Nov 27 riot 
Rest In Peace, Adib - Annie
Segera dakwa pembunuh Adib: Selangor MB
Temple won't be demolished, says Waytha
Court dismisses bid to postpone takeover of temple
Tycoon Vincent Tan proposes fund to save temple
Fund reaches RM2 mil
Sgor MB: Temple should return land and RM1.5 mil compensation