Saturday, September 20, 2008

And Malaysia's No 1 socio-political blogger is ...

Chedet.com, the blog started by Dr Mahathir Mohamad only in May, is the country's top SoPo blog, if you go by the rankings provided by Alexa in its Movers and Shakers' Traffic Graph. A posting in The Wayang Party Club of Singapore includes Malaysia Today in Malaysia's Top 3 but admits that Malaysia Today, is "more a news aggregator than a blog".

So, the winner is ...
Click h e r e for
The TOP 3 SoPo bloggers in Malaysia and Singapore


p.s. Chedet the blogger launched "Blogging to Unblock" last Thurs. Story and pics at Jinggo.

56 comments:

J.K. Sundram said...

Just because he gets many million hits doesn't mean he is a high-quality writer on sociopolitical matters.

Mahathir uses his blog as a platform to hold up his opinions on issues such as Ketuanan Melayu and to rain attacks on people he doesn't like.

There is unfortunately no serious analysis or visionary ideas put forth for an intelligent, enlightened, unified Malaysia.

It is sad that "blog hits" matter more than quality or intention.

Sinatra_Z said...

DrM+Internet = Win+Awesomeness

CheDet>Porn

HA-HA!
Dr M Beat your Kit Siang at any given day!

MalaysiaToday = Porn for RPK rabid fans.

tickertape said...

Hmmm...why suddenly this blogger promoting such thing...

well...what to do?

they belong to the status quo and wants to remain in history

Anonymous said...

YBhg TDM, he writes from his heart, obviously people accepted it.

Anytime, its always one up for YBhg TDM.

Long live YBhg TDM.

- anak Malaysia

Anonymous said...

Say what you want JK Sundram. Dr. M was there before Merdeka. He had been there, seen that, done it. He's an old man who knows what it is like to be ruled by the british. He'll never allow Malaysia to fall to the others again. You on the other hand.. what have you done? What have you to offer? -AdaBudi AdaBahasa-

Chow Kit Cowboy said...

What's the use if he cannot achieve anything but only rant, rant, rant?

He's but a freak show. Most check his blog to carry his bolas, that's all.

Prefer TalkingCock.com any day.

Abdul said...

sour grape Sundram?

Anonymous said...

most of the hits in Mahathir's blog come from Malay civil servants and his die-hard supporters. His blog is good supplement to his views in Malay Dilemma.

No Big Deal

Anonymous said...

True enough, Prof J. Hits is about being popular. But then, there're other bloggers like TDM who "rain attacks on people they don't like", eh?

Being 'No. 1 blogger' doesn't mean that he's a high quality writer lah, Prof. Has anyone define 'to blog' = 'to write' (as in to write a superbly intelligent piece of literature)? From what I know, to blog is to express one's thoughts, feelings and ideas so, who knows, Stephen Hawking might just decide to write a piece of crap in his blog (not sure if he has one) just for the fun of it? After all it's 'freedom of expression', no?

There are no judges here to tell who's blog is the best so, what's the fuss?

-Erotomania -

A true Malaysian said...

Just read those comments in chedet.com and you know what I meant.

ewoon said...

i am disappointed that your blog is not even in the running, bro.

i am sure there has been a mistake. Can we audit the traffic to che.det's blog? ;-) It's success is far too phenomenal not to be tinged with doubt. Don't flame me guys, i am only joking.

Rocky's Bru rocks!

Tan Sri Syed Rafique said...

Gempak!

Dua blog terbesar di negara kita (tidak kira RPK) adalah:

ORANG BN iaitu Mahathir Mohamad
ORANG PAKATAN RAKYAT iaitu Lim Kit Siang

Tahniah kepada kedua-dua mereka :)

KongKor said...

So, who was the Minister who said that 'bloggers are a bunch of jobless women who has nothing better to do?"

telur dua said...

He only blogs racist crap and things that are obvious i.e. his failings while in charge and giving excuses. One must read his posts between the lines.

The title should rightfully go to MT.

Anonymous said...

Mahathir had to set up own blog coz mainstream media no longer gives enough coverage to him, the same thing that happened when he was in power and only his views were aired. He got a taste of his own medicines. No reason to complain laa!! che det.

frm: qualitative rather than quantitative

Dr.Sid said...

You are cool bro..

BTW, I wonder what Pak Lah will do now. As this matter becoming more complicated, I think its better for him to release all post he has in the party and the government, and pass it to Najib as soon as possible. Thinking of other alternative leaders such as Ku Li or Muhyiddin Yasin? this is not an appropriate time to discuss with. Let Najib select who he desires to become the No.2, as for now, its safe for us to have a smooth transition and that will be Najib as our next Prime Minister. We are on stake, we don’t want to fall apart and cause this country divided into more various form of instability.

Anything For Malaysia.

http://writtenbyhim.wordpress.com/2008/09/19/teresa-released-paklah-should-reconsider-his-premiership/

Anonymous said...

dey sundram, you mana mari... do you him want to rain full praises for your pathetic hindraf movement... or do you want thim to talk about your goddess samy X-value.

anti-org tak ada akal

Zawi said...

Rocky,
They have released Sheih without even charging him. Thats the best news for today.

Anonymous said...

j.k sundram...boleh blah
- kluangman

Wira Perkasa said...

Sundram,

Can't you see the inference?

The fact that Mahathir's Ketuanan Melayu-driven philosophy generates by far the most number of hits among SoPo bloggers shows his APPEAL to the Silent Majority out there.

DO NOT test the patience of this majority.

every dog has his day said...

Mahathirism Is The Root Cause Of BN's Unravelling

Proarte | Sep 19, 08 5:20pm

I refer to the Malaysiakini article: "MCA, Gerakan told to work with Umno to kick PM out."

This article revealed Dr Mahathir's amazing hypocrisy. He lamented that race relations were deteriorating under Abdullah Ahmad Badawi without even considering that it is the inherent culture of Umno, which he himself engendered, that is responsible for Umno's racist and bigoted ideas and actions. Racial division in Malaysia today emanates from one primary source only - and that is Umno.

Surely it was the fact that people of different races and religions were willing to unite which resulted in the unprecedented gains for the Opposition in the Mar 8 elections. In fact, the races have never been more united as one in Malaysian history.

Yes, there is a long way to go, but there has been a palpable sea of change. Race relations only apparently 'deteriorate' when Umno instigates hatred and resentment using the media, religious authorities and the might of the police. The recent ISA arrests of 3 individuals under the pretext of national security and race relations were utterly disingenuous and could only be described as a sham and a charade.

When Dr Mahathir took over power, he emphasised Ketuanan Melayu. Racial division became the modus operandi of BN during his tenure. It was Dr Mahathir who in fact gloated that Umno could rule Malaysia without non-Malay support. So much for promoting racial harmony and Bangsa Malaysia.

Dr Mahathir inculcated the idea that non-Malays must accept the discrimination in the country if they wanted to prosper and live in peace. Peace comes at a price that is.

He rewrote Malaysian history, selectively applied the 1957 constitution and encouraged a racist agenda in the civil service reinforced by institutions such as Biro Tatanegara. Nevermind if the majority of the Umno bigwigs were not pure Malays but hybrids, as long as they claimed to be "more Malay" (than the real indigenous Malays) and were recognised as such, they could be leaders.

It explains why Dr Mahathir (a hybrid Mamak himself), whose Indian ancestors came to Malaysia little over 100 years ago, could volubly claim to be 'indigenous' but yet consider Baba Chinese in Melaka who have been here for almost 600 years as "orang asing."

This is 'Mahathirism' in short - a Machiavellian ploy to exploit race and religion for financial gain and power. Dr Mahathir is shameless in his duplicity and the only reason why he was able to succeed was because he was a leader of a feudally minded people who were economically and educationally backward. His Machiavellian psychological ploy was to engender a tongkat (or crutch) mentality in the Malay community to make them loyal and subservient to Umno and its racist leaders.

Fortunately for Dr Mahathir, he was able to bring about a semblance of unity and economic progress during his tenure due to his dictatorial grip on all institutions of governance at a time of economic growth that is not necessarily of his making. He was willing to share the wealth with the leaders of BN component parties as long as they acquiesced to his hegemonic Ketuanan Melayu criteria. It is no surprise that MCA and MIC leaders became immensely rich but had to sell out their communities as part of the deal.A bunch of spineless charlatans feeding from Mahathir's hands so to speak.

It was only a matter of time that we would see Mahathirism unravel because it was based on a lie and was becoming economically, socially and politically untenable. Anwar Ibrahim’s sacking was a symptom of this sham. This led to the haemorrhage of support from Umno to PAS and PKR.

In order to stem the loss and the tide of change, Dr Mahathir, the arch secularist in a cynical and unconstitutional manner, declared Malaysia an 'Islamic state' to steal the thunder, as it were, from PAS. This further divided Malaysian communities as there was now a rivalry between PAS and Umno for Islamic credentials- leaving the non-Malays and non-Muslims absolutely confounded and utterly alienated.

Badawi's team saw this as an opportunity to wrest power from Dr Mahathir and seduced the rakyat with promises to end Mahathrism i.e. crony politics, police corruption, judicial corruption and religious and racial polarisation. The gullible rakyat responded by giving BN and Umno an unprecedented level of support in the 2004 general elections. However, Abdullah squandered this opportunity to reform political governance in Malaysia - again by reneging on his promises.

The overwhelming support seemed to make Umno even more arrogant and totalitarian to the extent that it actually put into practise the notion that it did not need other parties or communities to rule. This explains the arrogant and politically naive rhetoric by Khairy Jamaluddin about Penang needing a Malay chief minister, the brandishing of the keris by Hishamuddin Hussein at the Umno general assembly, the demolition of a Chinese temple in Penang and the escalation in Hindu temple demolitions.

We recall that at the Umno conference which was held on Deepavali day, a delegate had the audacity to say that the Hindu temple issue was a 'small trifling matter'. Khairy then went on to make his infamous speech about Indian news vendors “who controlled the business” not distributing his father-in-law's speech because they chose to go on holiday and thus an insult to Umno. This was just the tip of the iceberg of a cumulative set of events from 2004 till now which have left Malaysians feeling bitterly short-changed and cheated by Abdullah.

I personally believe that Umno is not capable of reform under Abdullah, a man who has never been known to stand for anything other than being a 'Mr Nice Guy' on the outside. His promises for reform were at best well intentioned. The landslide win in 2004 made Umno think that they already had a winning formula and so why rock the boat and change?

Well, Mar 8 saw the rakyat waking up and bringing about change which they had been yearning for. The multiracial opposition smashed the psychological two-thirds majority of BN without any violent racial conflagration as a consequence as wont to happen in May 13 1969, a day of infamy sparked by no other than the racist extremist elements withiun Umno itself. But the party chose to deny it to us. The truth as they say, hurts deeply for a nation in trauma.

March 8, 2008 was a cathartic event for all Malaysians. It demolished the self-serving Mahathir mantra that a two-thirds majority was required for political stability. In fact, people began for the first time to see BN majority rule as a liability.

Umno does not appear to have learnt anything at all.It is still mired in shameless denial. It still behaves like a ‘one-man show’ when it cannot afford to do so. MIC and MCA are gutless lame-duck parties which are increasingly seeing the wisdom of distancing themselves from Abdullah's Umno, which arrogantly pushed them aside when they won with a landslide in 2004. Not this time though.

Umno is now seriously riddled with hopeless division and a scramble for power within that it does not seem to realise that it is weak and needs to build up multi- racial goodwill and support. oIt is as good as dead in the long run.

The current irrational actions by Umno to arrest people under ISA under feeble and bogus excuses betrays a pathetic mindset which sees the Malays as tools to be manipulated for Umno's own feudal self-serving ends.

Malays know that it was an Umno warlord who uttered racist comments against the Chinese, yet the journalist who reported it was arrested while the bigot was merely given a slap on the wrist. Malays now know that Khir Toyo’s racist allegations to stoke religious hatred were the pretext for Teresa Kok’s ISA incarceration. The mosque in question has categorically said that Teresa was not involved in the azan petition and that the low volume of the azan was due to a technical fault in the mosque itself.

Malays know from reading Raja Petra Kamarudin’s blog that he has always stood for social justice and Islamic values. The arrests have further undermined Abdullah's weakening political power base. It would appear that Abdullah's administration is in complete disarray and this is in no small way due to his political ineptness and utter incompetence. A mediocre leader at best.

To be fair to Abdullah, he inherited the rot and decay that Dr Mahathir had set in motion for Umno and the country itself. I would go as far as to say that Dr Mahathir is solely to be blamed for all the nonsense we are witnessing now. Abdullah's fault lies in his inability to reform Mahathirism. His hands are tied by Umno's corruption at the top.

To involve Mahathir into the party may ultimately prove fatal fdor Umno at this juncture in time. Circumstances post March 8 2008 are entirely different now compared to twenty over years ago when Mahathir came to power then.

Anonymous said...

j.k sundram must be out of hi smind to say Dr M blogs lack of QUALITY.

it seems ur hatred overwhelmed ur thinking my dear bro....:)

drmuzi

Anonymous said...

Sundram,

*/Just because he gets many million hits doesn't mean he is a high-quality writer on sociopolitical matters.*/

Of course it does. People don't go to his blog to look at pictures. I had a SoPo blog that was high quality but unfortunately I only had two visitors - my kids.

*/Mahathir uses his blog as a platform to hold up his opinions...*/

As what you are doing? Putting up one's opinion is one legitimate use of a blog.

*/There is unfortunately no serious analysis*/

He was PM for two decades!! A politician who's thick and can't see beyond lunch or can't understand a simple shopping list won't last very long much less 20 odd years (and counting). And since we are using the medium, Malaysia's internet penetration is 59% of the population (MCMC). It's incredible, I know but not bad eh?. And who pushed IT when he was PM? That's right...Mahathir. Do you seriously think Mahathir came up with his IT policy (and thereby allowing us to have this discussion) by looking at tea leaves and without doing any serious analysis and deep thinking?

Here's a bet, Sundram. I bet that the US will use methods Mahathir used in '98 to overcome the economic crisis over there. I bet the US will tell the IMF to shove it in the unlikely event that the IMF suggest a "prescription" like they did in Asia in '98.

How serious an analysis do you want?

Bullfighter

PS. Rocky, I will understand if this response doesn't pass muster.

Anonymous said...

SoPo + silly woman in Cantonese!!!

hahahaha...


A sassy woman

Mat Cendana said...

@J.K. Sundram 3:23 PM
There is unfortunately no serious analysis or visionary ideas put forth for an intelligent, enlightened, unified Malaysia.

That may or may not be true (I haven't followed all his posts) However, some of his readers had provided that. No matter what one's personal opinion of Dr Mahathir is, he attracts a big crowd - people are interested in what he brings up and his opinions.

And then they move in with their own, with what they think. This is what I like the most over there; not so much Dr M's post, but the responses. You get a lot of new and interesting information and insights from some of these fellows. But you'll have to separate the wheat from the chaff...

skylite said...

Well, I still prefer RPK. There is simply no comparison between Mahathir and RPK. RPK has made many many daring exposes, inspired Malaysians to question, to discuss, to open their eyes, to strive for higher ideals. Mahathir on the other hand prefers Malaysians to leave it up to the elite to "discuss sensitive matters behind closed doors" and will never do any exposes on people like Daim or himself or his sons since he was once part of the system.

melayu-tertindas said...

Brader Rocky

Alhamdullillah.

Sheih Kickdefella is safe and sound with family.

http://www.thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2008/9/20/nation/20080920170533&sec=nation

Saturday September 20, 2008 MYT 5:08:45 PM
Blogger 'Sheih Kickdefella’ is free


KOTA BARU: Blogger Syed Azidi Syed Aziz - better known as Sheih Kickdefella - was released from custody at about 4.30pm on Saturday.

Syed Azidi, 38, an employee of Kelantan Mentri Besar Incorporated, was detained on Wednesday for posting alleged seditious statements on his blogsite.

It is believed that the investigations revolved around his posting calling for people to fly the national flag upside down as a sign that the nation was “in distress.”

Syed Azidi took up the state government’s offer to develop its Internet media production some years ago, having been a film director before.

He is regarded as among the pioneers of the Malaysian blogging scene.

Upon his release, he immediately posted at his blog with a message:

Hi folks, sorry for all the unreleased messages and comments. As you know, I have been away on holiday in Lokap Balai Polis Kota Bharu and Lokap Dang Wangi. I tried to check in at Pudu Prison but was turned away because not enough qualification.

I wished to thank all for the supports and prayers.

The police has treated me well and most of the time, beyond the call of duty. I made lots of friends too.

A PC is arrange for me at 5.30pm today for me to bare all. Hehehe if any.

Anonymous said...

Still blowing the old dictator's trumpet aren't you? You forget that all the trouble we're in today can be attributed to this old man who wants to come back to power to continue to destroy our country and reinstate his cronies.

lupo said...

sour grapes are rearing their ugly heads again..ha..ha

Anonymous said...

Rocky Bru is one of the best blog too !

jatt said...

I don't know about intentions or what so ever matter the blog is all about. But hey, it looks like politics blog makes one of the highest in Alexa ranks!That's good news!

http://malaysiangate.blogspot.com

Malim said...

JKSundram seems like to live in his own wonderland where people talk only what he likes to listen.

The truth is - Malaysia is a country full of opinions and divisions. And there are huge numbers with strong opinions contrarian to what people with the likes of JKSundram read, RPK and his ilk.

Malaysia-Today is not frequented by a lot of Malays. But All got attracted to Mahathir's blog, and one can clearly see the opinions that the viewers post are so contrary to MT viewers.

I have a few PAS friends who have no idea to what RPK is writing. Had they been reading, it would have repulsed them.

Mahathir has nailed all anti-Malay, DAP blogs fair and square, and has shaken the MT fellows who thought all this while they ruled the net, by having to see such different opinions and racism that hits the other MT racists.

But now slowly such blogs are rising, blogs that resonate Mahathir's views, anti-Anwar..
They were barely seen few months ago..

Things will unfold and keep changing, opposition soon will have to face equal numbers or more, in the WWW.

One such: anwaribrahimdotcom.blogspot.com (not mine- i dun blog yet)

monsterball said...

If you keep on reading the twisted....half truths of Mahathir's reasonings...and believe in him....you are NUTS!!
His latest post...sayings Malaysians cannot copy USA type of government...because the race issues..are extreme and sensitive.
This is the classic half truths.
First 25 years...I agree.
Then his 22 years....did he ever once try to unite all Malaysians?
He is so damn smart...and everyone were treating him with great love and respect for his first 10 years....what did he do?
And to top all of that....he is talking about corruptions more daringly...against Dollah.
What a smart man he is!!
He know Dollah now..have his hand's full..and in infact...proving Mahathir is right...about him..due so clearly to his low IQ and selfish character.
All can read and judge.
Mahathir will be talking about corruptions..the most important subject..after 5 long years on avoiding the issue.
Dollah haws done himself up!!
The end is near... for him.

Anonymous said...

He's the best ,,, what more can i say ?

- ATAN

amir said...

Hey, themalaymale here. Just testing out my blackberry. Hehehehe.

Anonymous said...

well j.k sundram..it's just your opinion...MAJORITY think otherwise...so do the math and accept reality

j.k.rollin

shemeq said...

dear mr sundram,

i dont agree with all chedet's policy.

i still think, wholeheartedly, chedet.com deserves it especially now.

even if he did it for selfish reasons (which I highly doubt), at least dr. m can eloquently present or analyze issues from his perspectives, including visions for a unified Malaysia.

Please read properly. When Dr. M talk about Ketuanan Melayu, he didn't just simply talk rubbish with emotions waving a keris at the same time. He justified his arguments with strong foundation based on history, social contracts and the constitutions and experience.

I learned a lot, tho I wonder why he didn't say much about the recent use of ISA (or did I miss the posting?) against bloggers, journalist and a member of parliament.

I recommend you to read all such blogs with open mind from different sides of the story, and analyze yourself. Things are NOT as straight forward as they might seem.

Anonymous said...

The only reason Mahathirs' blog is popular is because the man was unapproachable and feared during his time as PM. Now people feel he's slightly more accessible. Either way, he's not someone many of us have respect for. Just my two cents....

Anonymous said...

J.K Sundram being typical .........
tak sedar diri .You should be thankful that you are here in this country .
Sundram u r nothing but a loser .
You r nothing but a moron

Thanks to TUN , Malaysia did become a respectable country once..
(I can say the same now )

Hidup TUN . He is a GOD's gift to Malaysia .

Yang Tahu Berterima Kasih .
June

Anonymous said...

Lantak lah apa korang nak ckp pun..

Aku tetap sokong paklah..tiada hari tanpa paklah..kalu paklah takdak tak syioklah aku baca blog2 korang..takdak org lah korang nak kutuk2 pak lah dengan KJ..

Hidup Pak lah!!!

Peace!!

rocky said...

Dr.M blog blocks comments that are against him. so what kind of blog is that...well like usual Dr.M only hears what he wants to hear thus Malaysia is in the situation we are cos if his leadership style.

Raja Nazir said...

Please read this Malaysiakini article to understand what Mahathir is about.

http://www.malaysiakini.com/letters/90068

Whilst during his administration some good things happened to Malaysia, there are not so nice things about Mahathir we should not ignore. We must understand that too.

Happy reading.

Anonymous said...

it's annoying how the non-malays are so biased in their judgment towards anything Mahathir did. JK Sundram is one example. and I am sure he believes every single word that is in the Hindraf memo. What bull.

The non-malays should also point at themselves for the state of race relations in msia today. They simply wouldnt dare listen to other people's opinions and believe hook line and sinker what is written on Malaysia Today.

For all that it's worth, TDM was the best there is. It's the non-malays who are the real racists nowadays for their inability to look past race in their everyday judgment.


sundram oh sundram

Anonymous said...

I take much offense in JK sundram's analysis or lack of it, of TDM's reign. A person like Sundram dismisses TDM's great contributions to Malaysia just because of a small mention of ketuanan melayu in chedet.com, of which Sundram has no inkling of an idea what it's about.

Nevermind, to educate these ungrateful citizens, may I post here a very important piece about the 1997-98 crisis. Do read sundram:

THE FINANCIAL CRISIS OF 1997 - 1998
By Nor Mohamed Yakcop

A moment comes, which rarely comes in a lifetime, when a particular event redefines a person’s life and changes the course permanently. For me, the meeting with Dr. Mahathir Mohamad in Buenos Aires (Argentina) on the evening of October 3, 1997 was such an event. It enabled me to devote the next 6 years of my life working for Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, meeting him almost daily. In the process, it enabled me to see, at very close range, the abilities of this great man.

The combination of many noble qualities in one person is rare, and it is this unique combination that has enabled Dr. Mahathir Mohamad to transform Malaysia from an otherwise typical third world country into a thriving and vibrant nation, well on the way to become a developed nation. It is also this combination of qualities that enabled Dr. Mahathir Mohamad to save Malaysia from becoming another IMF nation during the financial crisis of 1997 - 1998.

I am often asked about my involvement in the recovery plan implemented on September 1, 1998. It began on September 29, 1997, when I received a telephone call from the office of Dr Mahathir Mohamad informing me that the Prime Minister wanted to see me. The PM was in Cuba at that time, and I asked (in jest) if I was to meet the Prime Minister in Cuba !
I was told (not in jest) that he will be arriving in Buenos Aires on October 3, 1997 and I was to make sure I was in Buenos Aires at least a day before he arrived. I packed my bags and left for Buenos Aires, and arrived in Buenos Aires on October 2.

The PM arrived the following day at 5 pm and we met immediately at his suite. He informed me that he had asked many people to explain to him what was causing the financial crisis but no one was able to give him a satisfactory reply. He asked me whether I could explain to him what exactly was happening.

I asked him how much time he had, and he said two hours. I explained to him how the forex market works, about short positions and long positions, about hedging and how currencies are borrowed and sold, the difference between “bid” and “offer” and how funds can be transferred from one country to another at the click of a button. I also explained how the equity market works and the relationship between the forex market and the equity market. Dr. Mahathir hardly said anything, asked one or two questions, and listened intently.

After two hours, he had to end the meeting to get ready to go for an official dinner. He asked me about my plans for the night and I said I had been invited for the same dinner. Dr. Mahathir said to me: You go back to your room and write down all that you have been telling me for the last two hours, and see me at 7 am tomorrow. I went back to my room, skipped dinner, and wrote it all down, finishing at about 6 am.

I saw him the next morning at 7 am and gave him the report. He asked me to take a rest and come back again at 2 pm. When I returned, he told me that he had read the report and that he now understands what was happening in the financial markets. We started discussing various methods of overcoming the crisis, and our discussions continued when we returned to Malaysia. I met him almost daily for discussion, sometimes at his house and sometimes at his office. We tried a few mechanisms to overcome the crisis, some of which worked initially, but the hedge funds were so strong that it was difficult to proceed successfully with these mechanisms.

In early 1998, Dr. Mahathir Mohamad asked me to explore the idea of imposing an exchange control regime to overcome the crisis. I remember preparing voluminous notes on this subject. Dr. Mahathir went through the notes carefully, and kept asking for more and more details. We went through many rounds of discussion, until he was finally convinced both with the concept as well as the proposed mechanism. The rest, I guess, is history.

Dr. Mahathir also asked me to prepare a paper on how to put an end to Malaysian shares traded in CLOB (Central Limit Order Book) in Singapore. Dr. Mahathir was of the view that an important reason for the falling stock market was the short-selling of Malaysian stocks in CLOB. I prepared the report and Dr. Mahathir understood, for the first time, how exactly CLOB operates. The report, which was also implemented on September 1, 1998, put to an end the trading of Malaysian shares in CLOB.

I should add that the exchange control measures were crafted in such a way as to minimize the control aspects and maximize the outcome. The Prime Minister went through the proposed mechanism many times to make sure that the control elements were as few as possible, but adequate enough to ensure a positive outcome. There were no bureaucratic elements in these measures, such as requiring importers to obtain Bank Negara’s permission to import. The Ringgit was also pegged at a level where it was not overvalued. In almost every other country, which imposes exchange control measures and pegs its currency, there would, almost by definition, be numerous bureaucratic controls, and the currency would also be pegged at an overvalued rate.

It is often assumed that the system of exchange control (including fixed exchange rate) that we implemented on September 1, 1998 saved the country. The measures of September 1, 1998 were undoubtedly a necessary condition, but it was not a sufficient condition to overcome the crisis. Malaysia was saved, not by exchange control measures per se, but by Dr. Mahathir Mohamad.

Let me explain. Any other developing country, facing a similar crisis, if it had introduced the measures that we introduced in September 1998, the measures would probably have failed. The fact that in Malaysia these measures succeeded is due to the ability and character of Dr. Mahathir Mohamad. The economy and the financial system, under Dr. Mahathir’s leadership, was in a very healthy state–healthy enough for the exchange control measures to be implemented without negative consequences. Moreover, the Prime Minister’s hands-on management style enabled quick and timely decisions to be made, which was vital under the new exchange control regime.

Dr. Mahathir, as Prime Minister, had ensured that the Malaysian economy was fundamentally strong. Ringgit was strong and stable. On the back of the currency stability (at RM2.50 against the US dollar) Malaysia was doing very well. At the end of 1996, real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew at almost 8.5 per cent and the growth was expected to continue for many more years. The government was enjoying a fiscal surplus. The external debt was low, at 40 per cent of the Gross National Product (GNP). The current account of the balance of payments had narrowed from a deficit of 10 per cent to 5 per cent of GNP, and was expected to improve further. Inflation was at its lowest at 2.1 percent. We had steady growth of over 8 per cent for a major part of that period. And this fundamental strength of Malaysia was a critical factor that enabled the exchange control measures to succeed.

For a period of more than a year after the measures of September 1, 1998 were implemented, the Prime Minister met with a small group of us everyday - 6 days a week - for at least 2 hours to go through various economic data, including data on loan growth, exports, imports, property overhang etc. This enabled the Prime Minister to take quick actions, whenever required. I remember one morning when we were going through the property figures, he looked at me and directed that I should organize a property fair to clear the overhang of properties. I did, and property worth more than RM 3 billion was sold. Even after the crisis was over, Dr. Mahathir continued to meet with the group regularly, though no longer on a daily basis. And Dr. Mahathir continued to go through all the economic data with a sharp pencil.

No other Prime Minister in the world, either in developed or developing countries, employs such a hands-on approach in managing the economy. We can see, therefore, that it was not the exchange control measures per se that saved the country but the man — Dr. Mahathir Mohamad — himself.

The period 1997 - 1998 was, to paraphrase Charles Dickens, the worst of times, but it was also the best of times. The worst conditions brought out the best in Dr. Mahathir Mohamad. There is a saying that a good leader is like good tea - you only know the true quality when he is in hot water !

Throughout the crisis, the Prime Minister was focussed on resolving the crisis. Day and night, he thought of nothing else but the crisis. He read all he could on finance; he kept asking me to prepare notes on various technical issues. Sometimes he was sick with bad flu and cough, but he did not take time off to rest. He was convinced that he had to understand the issues before he could work out the solutions. His native intelligence and ability to focus on core issues were there throughout the crisis. He did not show any sign of fear even at the worst of time, only concern at the fast deteriorating state of the economy. He was, at all times, confident that he would prevail in the end.

I would like to add two additional points related to the financial crisis. The first is that, in implementing the measures of September 1, 1998, Dr. Mahathir not only saved Malaysia but the neighbouring countries as well. Let me explain. When Malaysia imposed its exchange control measures on September 1, 1998, the currency speculators realised that the other affected countries (Thailand, Indonesia and South Korea) could also impose similar controls, and they, therefore, stopped their activities in its track. The speculators backed off. They bought back the currencies that they had sold. This is resulted in the regional currencies appreciating. Moreover, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) was not happy with what Malaysia had done, particularly since, after implementing the measures, we did exactly the opposite of what the IMF wanted us to do, i.e. we lowered our interest rates and injected liquidity into the system. The IMF, therefore, started relaxing conditions in other countries and allowed them to lower their interest rates and allowed them to inject liquidity to stimulate their economies so that Malaysia would not outperform the IMF countries. Therefore, it is no exaggeration to say that Dr. Mahathir Mohamad not only saved Malaysia, but the other affected countries in the region as well - Thailand, Indonesia and South Korea.

My second point is regarding what would have happened if the exchange control measures were not implemented. If the measures were not implemented, many of corporations in Malaysia would have gone under, due to the high interest rates. When the corporations fall like dominos, banks would have faced severe liquidity and solvency problems due to the ballooning NPLs. The problems of the banks would have resulted in a credit squeeze, which would have led to another round of corporate failures. The Government’s revenue would have fallen drastically as fewer firms would be paying corporate taxes, thereby reducing the Government’s ability to stimulate the economy through fiscal policy measures. As a result of the problems faced by corporations and banks, unemployment would have increased substantially, leading to a second round of problems. This is the classic vicious cycle, which could have, in the end, destroyed the social and political stability of the country. This was a scenario that was waiting to happen. It did not happen because of the decisiveness and guts of Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, who decided to take the path less travelled.

We owe Dr. Mahathir much gratitude for what he has done for Malaysia over the last 22 years. Solving the financial crisis of 1997 - 1998 was just one, albeit perhaps the most important, of Dr. Mahathir Mohamad’s many contributions to the nation.

On a personal note, over the last 6 years, I have come to admire this great man for his abilities, his high moral values and, most of all, for his sincerity. Certainly, a man like Dr. Mahathir Mohamad is not born everyday.


anti-hindraf

Anonymous said...

Dear Rocky,
RPK is the reincarnation of Marat, the cursed journal writer/agitator during the era of French Revolution. Marat died bloody in his bathtub. His killing is justified after so many head of the innocents sheared off. The innocents were executed based on the accusation made from his hearsay writings.

Von Ali

Anonymous said...

raja nazir,
the malaysiakini article you posted was merely a slander. no quantifiable evidence is available. Simply accuse accuse accuse. I guess that is how well-researched you PR supporters are. Well, what to do, you are merely a moron supporting morons.

anti anwar

Soba said...

Anonymous who dare not reveal himself. You take offense at JK Sundram opinion. I take offense at yours. Balls polishing gets you nowhere. That old mamak can just drop dead and we will all celebrate. Enough of his nonsense and damage done to the country. Curses on him

eddy said...

JK Sundram, so tell me Mr Self appointed intelligent analyst on sociopolitical matters what is your great idea besides dismissing Tun Mahathir's blog as unintelligent and unelighthened for a unified Malaysia. I am dying to know as I am resigned to the fact there will be no unified Malaysia as long as vernacular schools exist and teaching our young in their own mother tongue rather than the official national Language of this country.

By the way I think Tun Mahathir did great trying to explain his thoughts and opinions in his blog so that it could be understood by the majority of visitors to his blog and he deserved to be at the top and so does Saudara Rockybru too.

Anonymous said...

I read Malaysia Today, Che Det, Anwar blog & Lim Kit Siang and I dare say that Dr. M blog have points that you can ponder and come more insightful. The worst in my opinion is MT, just read the comments and articles full of hatred, arrogant and highly emotional. Anwar blog is ok, Lim Kit Siang, ... same as MT but more professional but as comment goes, still a bunch of Chinese who thought that they are the most rightious being. Dr. M & Anwar blog can be use as pro/contra analysis.

- The M

Soba said...

"Anonymous who dare not reveal himself. You take offense at JK Sundram opinion. I take offense at yours. Balls polishing gets you nowhere. That old mamak can just drop dead and we will all celebrate. Enough of his nonsense and damage done to the country. Curses on him"

I would like to retract the above posting which was done without thought and out of anger. I am sorry if I have offended anyone and whatever I said was just to justify what I thought is right. I have no doubts about Dr. Mahathir being a great person and there wont be another like him and the great achievements and progress the country had attained during his term as the PM. What I commented was triggered by some comments I read elsewhere which made me act foolishly. I am sorry once again and that stupid comment that i made can be retracted.

Omanjedi said...

I agree with a certain comments - when hatred is an excuse for denial. I believe RPK's contents are good, but the comments tads to be too emotional. Emotional does clouds rationality.

Although we all want changes in the country, we have to analyse and appreciate of all the previous leaders contribution.

In term of commitment & intelligence - Dr Mahathir is a great leader. He take care of the people by promoting safe and affordable living condition - through low inflation, low interest rate. agree with me or not, I believe the conditions back in 1998 still better that the currently 'stable' economy. The cost of living now is worse.

Maybe he got some weaknesses here & there - ISA implementation for eg...but majority of Malaysian still can enjoy a relatively good life.

hope there will be more 'analytical leaders' & understanding the low & medium income group in our future politics.

And one more, when there is no arguments in opinions at any blogs - there must be something really wrong.

Southener said...

He's a FREAK.
People are just curious about his freaky behavior. Of course he has his following, so did Hitler.

AdaBudi AdaBahasa said...

Thank you anti hindraf for posting Nor Yakcop's article. I could almost hear him speak whilst reading it.

To the anonymous who wrote .. "The only reason Mahathirs' blog is popular is because the man was unapproachable and feared during his time as PM. Now people feel he's slightly more accessible. Either way, he's not someone many of us have respect for. Just my two cents...."

That's really a two cent piece because you base your comment on hearsay. You have no idea how approachable Tun Dr. M is.

Contrary to his the-then-deputy, DSAI.. Tun Dr. M was and is the people's man.

You obviously don't have a clue what it's like to be amongst Anwar Ibrahim's men.

And you forgot to count your blessings too.

timothy said...

Subject Line : Beat Long Poll Lines with Absentee Ballots from StateDemocracy.org


Many state and local election officials are encouraging voters to use Absentee Ballots to avoid the long lines and delays expected at the polls on November 4th due to the record-breaking surge in newly registered voters.

Voters in most states still have time to obtain an Absentee Ballot by simply downloading an official application form available through www.StateDemocracy.org, a completely FREE public service from the nonprofit StateDemocracy Foundation.


Read More: http://us-2008-election.blogspot.com/2008/10/beat-long-poll-lines-with-absentee.html

Eric Spears said...

That may well be the top Malaysian blog. But the top U.S. blog is http://www.daisybrain.wordpress.com.

I say this not only because it's my blog, but also because I agree with everything in it. It's uncanny how my blog matches my own opinions so precisely. Check it out for yourself, I'm sure that you will agree, especially if you are me.

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