Friday, August 31, 2012

BR1M may vindicate Najib Razak yet, says Singapore paper

BR1M not just a political tool after all? Or at least that's what Singapore Business Times' veteran journalist S. Jayasankaran seems to mean as he heaps praises on Najib Razak for the "astonishing" 2nd Q GDP growth. He's singled out the Malaysian PM's "giveaway" program (e.g. BR1M), which the Opposition charged was just a vote-buying ploy, for the huge boost in domestic demand. Jaya would understand how this works as Singapore has been doing the same for several years now, giving away money to its citizens in the name of "profit-sharing". A Malaysian citizen, Jaya thinks Najib should call for the general elections now rather than later. Perhaps Najib should ...

By S Jayasankaran

Domestic demand continues to be Malaysia’s growth story

Growth in the second quarter of 2012 surged by an astonishing 5.4 per cent from a year ago versus a revised 4.9 per cent in the previous quarter and beating all the street’s expectations of 4.3 per cent.

The Financial Times called it “gravity defying.” Such adjectives may not be misplaced as the whole world is struggling to adjust to difficult economic times. Indeed, Malaysia has outstripped its neighbours in the growth stakes, a rarity at any time.

What’s clear is that Prime Minister Najib Razak’s “giveaway” programme is working. Couple that to his Economic Transformation Programme and the results have been a revelation.  Granted that the former is an election kicker but the latter, which has been widely regarded with skepticism, may yet vindicate him.

The generous government hand-outs and stronger investment spending under the ETP has clearly helped to boost growth. Domestic demand increased by a whopping 13.8 per cent from 9.7 per cent in the previous quarter. Investment spending rose massively: 26.1 per cent from 16.1 per cent in the first quarter while government spending expanded by 9.4 per cent against 7.3 per cent in the previous quarter.

Unsurprisingly, exports were down, growing only 2.1 per cent from almost 3 per cent previously. But private spending more than made up for it.

Almost all sectors chipped in. Growth was led by construction (22.2 per cent versus15.5 per cent previously). Services grew by 6.3 per cent and, even, manufacturing expanded by 5.6 per cent.

Mining growth rebounded (2.3 per cent versus 0.3 per cent in the first quarter) on higher crude oil output, while only growth in the agriculture segment contracted ( minus 4.7 per cent) due to lower crude palm oil production.

Clearly, people were spending. That was supported by "firm labor market conditions, robust income growth and improved consumer sentiment", to quote the central bank.

Mr Najib has staked his electoral chances by spending and spending big. He’s given handouts to the poor and he’s raised civil service salaries while embarking on some of the most ambitious infrastructure programmes in the country’s history. It’s a risky bet as the rating agencies have been breathing down his neck. But it’s been so far so good with the deficit, and debt as a proportion to gross domestic product, declining as growth balloons.

Economists are raising Malaysia’s growth forecasts for the year. The Bank of America-Merrill Lynch raised its 2012 GDP forecast to 4.7 per cent (from 4.2 per cent) simply based on the country’s second quarter performance.

And the central bank seems quire sanguine about the whole thing. Bank Negara expects the strong support provided by domestic demand to be sustained going forward, "although downside risks emanating from external developments remain".

Inflation remains, at 1.4 per cent, the lowest in a long time. The trick for Mr Najib is to translate these “feel good” factors into realpolitik. That is, of course easier said than done, but there is talk that he may opt for a full term which means April next year.

But most people are tired of the incessant politicking. Perhaps the premier should wait no longer and call the general election sooner rather than later.


  1. Anonymous10:03 pm

    This is how economy works by creating demand.

    Same purpose also for the expansive mode of MRT, LRT extension and major building projects.

    This will drive up economy and many fold return is gained via taxes.

  2. Anonymous11:34 pm

    Najib still have big problem with UMNO warlord.Everybody thing they are winnerable candidate.Mikriz still having big problem to convince Kedah UMNO to accepted his as MB.Johari baharum openly declare Mukriz is not the right candidate.

    In Johore,Ghani still want ro continue as MB and he is still believe he is a winnable candidate.
    In Pahang and Terangganu they are facing the same prolblem.

    The peoblem with Najib because he have too many adviser and he trust none of them.

  3. Anonymous11:55 pm

    What Jayasankaran should know is that BN cooks numbers on everything, from crime to growth to FDI to illicit outflows. Lies, damned lies and statistics.


    1. Anonymous3:58 pm

      What is your problem?

    2. Anonymous10:42 am

      Those crooks are the fucking problems, assholes!

  4. Anonymous11:58 pm

    The Man has no balls to call for elections. Even if he wins by a whisker, he will be ousted by his No.2 - after all, Sleepyhead was ousted for poor performance at the polls.

  5. charleskiwi8:38 am

    Let us having the GE to morrow that would stop all parties from different claims. That would settle the issue once and for all.

  6. Anonymous9:35 am

    There you go najib.
    go najib go!!

    at least better than nik aziz with that "we are better in managing our economy than the federal government because we have TESCO"

  7. Anonymous12:44 pm

    Anon 1158,

    Actually your PM has balls the size of Sarawak.

    What he is doing is to give his opponent enough time and ropes to hang themselves by the time he calls for election next month.

  8. Anonymous12:58 pm

    Hi anon 11:58PM,

    The "other" guy has shown his balls as seen on youtube and blogs, but sadly has got no balls to own up to it.

    Come akhirat, he'll have to answer to his balls.


  9. Anonymous12:59 pm

    Maybe only the stupid, the idiots, the morons and the ignorant believe in cooked up data even as they choke on the morsels they enjoy regardless.

    Doubt the chaps in this report ever believe in recipied menus as the idiots claim:

    On another note BRIM, in my opinion had more impact in Q1 than in Q2 which I think accelerated on account of the Felda windfall payout, capital gains from the various IPOs driving up private consumption, contained inflationary pressures and temporary exchange rate advances fueling a mini-import boom in consumer products.

    In any case, 4.3Billion (2.6 BRIM + 1.7B Felda) is a large stimulus that is paying dividends, the same effect the Raya bonus will have on Q3 as well. He has done well on the economy though there is room for improvement still in terms of restructuring the fundamentals. Wish the same determination had been shown in the case for national security and more Pribumi political power....sigh....

    Warrior 231

  10. Anonymous1:05 pm

    Every thing also must cheat... Latest being the millions of tweets generated during Merdeka Day to Najib's account using spamming methods....shy lah, using public money to cheat the rakyat....

  11. Anonymous1:08 pm

    Anon 12.44 pm:

    Najib is waiting for a picture of him and Altantuya to surface before calling for elections. That's what you mean by having balls the size of Sarawak.

  12. Anonymous2:44 pm

    How to call elections sooner ? UMNO warlords are not ready. Go ask the people on the ground in Perlis, Kedah, Selangor, Negeri, Sabah.

  13. Dear Anons,

    What's this obsession about balls? :-)

    By the way, sorry to tell the Anon who mentioned the photograph iof Najib and Altamtuya, there is no such photograph other than the poorly doctored none by Tian Chua the PKR MP. In fact, the two never did meet. Remember, you read a lot of those allegations in Malaysia Today and RPK 's articles back then. Now even RPK has retracted his most fantastic allegations.

  14. Anonymous4:44 pm


    Cepatlah panggil Election,,!!

    Harap-harap BN Memerintah,,,another WORLD RECORD,,PARTI yang TERTUA memerintah di DUNIA,,selain NORTH KOREA,,,,CHINA and VIETNAM,,!!


  15. Anonymous6:09 pm

    You people stupid or what ? Singapore and Hong Kong gave money back to their citizens because they had fiscal surpluses i.e. their revenues esceed their expenditure. Bolehland has had fiscal deficits for so long, and had to cover these deficits with borrowings. So you borrow money to throw RM500 to the rakyat and you call that "smart" ?

    Rocky is no economist, he's just a paid BN crony to write this type of nonsense, so we are obligated to point out the stupidity.

  16. Anonymous7:01 pm

    Freddy Lee,the younger brother of Lee Kuan Yew,told my friend,Ronald Lim,in London that the Singapore interlligent had a picture of Najib and Atyantula when they visit the jelewery exhibition in Singapore.All the jelewery store had the security camera and when the check they foundvthe picture.
    No wonder Najib is so scare of LKY.

    rocky .I an give you Ronald contact in London and you go and see him.

  17. Anonymous8:23 pm

    Rocky how do you know they never met? Because jibby said so?

  18. Anonymous9:41 pm

    Rocky... the photo of Najib and Altantuya 'hugging each other' will surface at the right time, soon everyone get to see it !!

  19. atuk ko10:11 pm

    rpk was paid to retract it. the same goes for u, how sure r u that the photo never existed in the first place?

  20. Anonymous7:50 am

    With due respect to rocky and umno lackeys here-I agree Najib is popular but his umno is not.I have been a BN supporter for many elections but I like many others would like to see a change. That's what everybody talks about. And what's wrong with that? other countries get to change their govt why not us? BN is the longest serving political party in the world in countries where there are elections. Its time for a change. Nothing stays forever-all empires fall.Many times its for the greater good.Well if we don't like it BN will always be around for us to vote back in.

  21. Anonymous9:52 am

    Thats the way.
    Just give out the fish.
    Do not teach fishing!
    Not sure how many fish Jayasankaran caught, or was just fed to the BR1M.


  22. Anonymous10:17 am

    It's basic economy 101, if you have more money, in excess than normal, you will spend more.Big spending is not always a bad thing, especially during crisis.
    During these difficult times, we need to stimulate the economic activities by spending big.
    For example, when the government dished out billions of ringgit on infrastructure projects, there are lots of cash streaming down right from its coffers to companies, main contractors, and then to sub-cons and then to engineers, consultants, architects, hard labour workers and so on. And those people in turn, will spend their cash by purchasing products and services. If they have more cash they will spend more and this will increase the profit margin to people in business and enterprises as the result of brisk business they have made. The government too will get the benefit from the taxes they pay. More profit means more money to government coffers and this circle will continue if the government goes on spending free. There's a lot people who will get benefit when the money moves; changing from one hand to another.
    The problem arise when we don't spend them. We keep them in vault. Nobody will get the benefit. If the money we have just enough to get by, there's no way we could spend more. And the value of the money too will go down if we don't spend them immediately. If you have a million in your account this month, your 1 million money will not worth the same by next month when other prices of goods skyrocketed and suddenly you find things are so expensive.

    1. Jasper Bloodstone2:16 pm

      Anon 10:17 AM

      That's wacky economic theory, any which way you look at it.

      Here's another concept for your contemplation - that of living within one's means. Works for households as well as nations.

      At some point in time, the party has to stop. Who, then, is going to pay the piper?

  23. mazlan1:03 pm

    The issue Najib faces is that his personal polling trend may be above 50 per cent but it is still polling below that of Pak Lah before the 2008 election. And we know what happened there. If he doesn't win or even do better than Pak Lah then he is toast.
    I'm sure he knows that although the numbers look good on paper - the Rakyat are in a pretty pissed off mood as they in general not feeling the economic benefits...
    From my feeling there is a mood of change in the air and Najib knows that...

  24. Anonymous1:15 pm

    anon 1:05

    you think everyone else is a cheat and a liar.

  25. Anonymous2:16 pm

    For some people it is a win-lose game. That's why even the data for economy, crime, etc have even been claimed as doctored. Tweets claimed as spam. Rakyat's/public money is always negatively used. Everything is painted harsh as though they would revel if everything is "rosak". Even flags and photos are not sacred. This is how good their puppermaster is in lips to brain washing and back to back spawning.
    But majority of rakyat would want to have a win win arrangement don't we?
    Choose Malaysia
    choose stability

  26. Anonymous2:21 pm

    wan to give, give back to those paying taxes... not to lazy bums & assholes.

  27. Anonymous6:31 pm

    Everything also must cheat....crime stats cheat....tweets cheat....growth numbers cheat....FDI numbers cheat....polls wonder your boss is called "Ah Cheat Kor" in Chinese blogs....

  28. Anonymous10:06 pm

    now, that's encouraging. perhaps, ways should be paved both by the govt and the people to calibrate our economics, ain't it good news for our 'bad' nation.......:)

  29. Jayasankaran is parroting what Bank Negara and MITI released statistics.
    His wife is the Sec General of MITI.
    He dare not differ ! He has compiled no figures to dispute with the official numbers.

  30. Mustapha Ong9:48 am

    This article is not published with a purpose and I offer my congratulations to Singapore paper that had carried the positive news on what's happening in Malaysia under the current leadership of PM Najib.

    However, being a fellow Malaysian I can't help but to be extremely proud of my country when some foreign leaders say nice things about Malaysia. These are the genuine friends of Malaysia as they will always speak the truth, both positive and negative.It is indeed another healthy development in our bilateral relations between Malaysia and Singapore, as compared to Malaysia and some other ASEAN neighbors.

    In this context and on the contrary, I also can't help but to condemn my fellow politician and friend Anwar Ibrahim, who has been too critical about our leadership, UMNO/BN which he had the privilege of serving the nation and country under the Mahathir administration from the mid 70s until he was sacked by the prime minister in late 1998.

    There are others including the notable Tengku Razaliegh who left UMNO and formed Semangat 46 when KULI lost a marginal vote to Mahathir. KULI didn't showed his vengeance and today he is still the respected UMNO leader in his constituency of Gua Musang, Kelantan.KULI always speaks the truth from his heart and has never been a threat to this nation and country.

    Anwar unfortunately due to his personal greed for power and dubious character, I considered him to be a national traitor and should be charged for treason, if evidence could be filed against him for what he had started and done to destroy this country.Anwar over the years had been cruising around the country and also the region and the world, selling the bad things about our leaders and the country in order to get political funding and sympathy for his political agenda.

    Does Malaysia belong to Anwar Ibrahim and does Najib as our prime minister belong to the Malays only? Why is Anwar and his cronies doing acts of treason to Malaysia? Why is Anwar being the Opposition Leader in parliament, not being given the seniority next to the prime minister as in the western parliamentary democracy? The answer is simple and Anwar does not deserve to be given that high honour as our opposition leader.

    Anwar should not blame UMNO/BN leaders but he should blame himself for his political antics and felonies, which will only destry this nation and country.Fortunately we have Najib as the prime minister after Tun Mahathir, otherwise Malaysia will be going to the dock retrospectively.

  31. Anonymous1:00 am

    Jika belajo ekon, beri duit setakat rm500 bukan utk tolong rakyat, tapi nak rangsang ekonomi melalui gomen monetary intervention or monetary policy, yaakni nak tolong peniaga2, retailers dan manufacturers. Most of them are non-bumis. Go figure. itu sbb mat singapore komen najib ni bijak.
    Jika betul2 nak tolong rakyat, min. wage Rm2000, harga kereta nasional ceiling rm30k, turunkan harga2 runcit, turunkan harga petrol dan gas, turunkan harga pengangkutan dan rumah. Juga kurangkan ketirisan perbelanjaan gomen .kita orang tau berapa profitability manufacturer dan peniaga2 besar ni. tak caya pegi audit pengeluar2 simen dan developer2 rumah.
    projec tambahan mrt/lrt skrg tak diperlukan, yang lebih penting tambah general hospital di setiap daerah.sbg contoh, segerakan pembinaan hospital klang.juga klinik kesihatan dan sekolah2 dan university. nak buat angioplasty kat serdang hospital diberitau waiting list 800 orang, nak buat kat ampang puteri kurang rm20-30k.kat mana nak korek duit.mati

  32. Anonymous4:43 pm

    Please read inbetween the lines and not just the line because it is in your favour.We should be teachibg people how to fish instead of giving them fish because if you give him a fish he will have fish only on that day. But if you teach him how to fish he will have fish every day. Oh my God what is our education system coming to.

  33. Chong Chee Ming4:05 am

    The public could not bothered about Altantunya at this stage. Doesn't make
    any difference, true or not. She, and the
    story, is long dead and gone.

    Everybody now is just happy and concerned about getting their BR1M.

    $500 a year is enough for to say "Good riddance !" to that woman, and look forward to the next year's handout.

    Nothing talks bigger than money. A fact of life.

    Najib will be relected for sure.