Thursday, January 29, 2015

Our own George Soros?

Updated, Sat 31/1/2015
Najib Razak was asked yesterday about cyber talk of an attempt to undermine the Malaysian economy and currency by our own citizens. The PM said his government will act against the saboteurs, if the claims are true. "We have to obtain the evidence first ...".

The full story:
Najib: Govt to act against economic saboteurs (The Star)

Then you hear Ahmad Maslan, Najib's Deputy at the Finance Ministry, asking the Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commission and the central bank to launch a probe into the claims. Why the MCMC? Because, apparently, Ahmad Maslan said h e r e, the "saboteurs had been speculating on the currency unit through the social media to keep it weak." 

I am speculating that the authorities already have the evidence and are just waiting to strike ...

Original article, Fri:

The allegations leveled against Tong, who shot to corporate prominence when Anwar Ibrahim was Finance Minister, are fantastic. I didn't know whether to laugh or to cry. But then I remembered that that was how we reacted back in 1997 when we were told about George Soros. We didn't know any better then; do we, now?
Some people are taking the "expose" by the new blog seriously. I have no idea if Bank Negara is actually monitoring Tong's movements closely, as suggested in the, but they should not take the issue lightly. Not because I think Tong is actually capable of doing what George Soros had allegedly done during the 1997 financial crisis (and to the sterling before that), but because it had been attempted before and the results, as we all know, could be devastating. 
Ex-money trader A Brick in the Wall pens his thoughts on the expose in his latest posting Economic Sabatogeurs Rising up to the Occasion), in which he mentions some familiar names including Rashid Hussain.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Sabah Umno man sees no evil between Dr Mahathir and Najib (and 3 evil portals against Umno)

Dr M and Najib not at "war", just having differing views - Rahman Dahlan

Dr M and Najib not at "war", just having differing views - Rahman Dahlan
RAHMAN: "I think if the criticism is apt and has a basis, the government is always prepared to listen to it and improve on what needs to be improved. -Filepix
PUTRAJAYA: The views and criticism expressed by former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad against the current administration under Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak should not be seen as the two leaders being at "war", said Umno supreme council member Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan.

The Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Minister said Dr Mahathir's criticisms were always constructive although hard-hitting and sometimes disagreed upon, but the government under the leadership of Prime
Minister Najib was open to criticism.

"I think if the criticism is apt and has a basis, the government is always prepared to listen to it and improve on what needs to be improved.

"To say there's an awful 'war' going on (between Dr Mahathir and Najib) is incorrect," Abdul Rahman said after launching the renaming of the Solid Waste and Urban Cleansing Management Corporation to SW Corp, here, today.

The minister was earlier asked to comment on the reported offer by Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim to be the peacemaker between Dr Mahathir and Najib.

To show the two leaders are not at war, Abdul Rahman cited instances where Dr Mahathir and Najib were seen seated together, talking and discussing at various functions.

"I don’t think there is any big issue. Perhaps there are differences of opinion (between the two)," he said. - Bernama via Awani

Rahman Dahlan's simple observation puts in proper perspective the relationship between Dr Mahathir and Najib. This to me is important at this time as some people are going all out to make Malaysians think that the Statesman, who was instrumental in cutting short his successor Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's premiership in 2009, is going to repeat the feat this time on the current PM because he could not agree with some of Najib's policies. 
I don't see, therefore, any need for Shahidan Kassim to offer himself as a peacemaker to "mediate between Dr Mahathir and Najib".

By the way, the New Straits Times got the Rahman Dahlan story too but theirs was buried so deep in the single-column "3 portals targeting Umno"  that even Google missed.

p.s Three portals, Puad Zarkashi says? Let me guess: Malaysiakini, The Malaysian Insider, and the Malay Mail Online ...?


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

While Umno leaders/ex-leaders and their generals feud ...

Kill both: Bumi policies AND vernacular schools. While Dr Mahathir/Daim's team and the PM's men beat their war drums, allegedly, and an Umno VP's people led by an ex-cop, ex-convict, ex-Anonymous blogger try to push a more senior party VP into a corner ... the Malay Mail Online has this story about a Malay boy, whose parents probably benefitted from the New Economic Policy, demanding that these leaders abolish pro-Bumi policies and Chinese/Tamil schools as well. 
The beauty and innocence of youth, I suppose. Don't get me wrong. I am in agreement with adik Fahmi Zainol, the president of so-called student group Anak Muda Harapan Malaysia, that "all Malaysians are equal; Muslim or non-Muslim, Malay or non-Malay". But I just don't think he and friends are going to get much support from the politicians, feuding or not-feuding. 
Perhaps they should take politicians on the other side  ...
p.s. For Mahathir vs Najib: Shahidan to media, please read h e r e. For the VP vs VP juices, read Another Brick in the Wall's Hishamuddin disagrees with submarine purchase(?)

The Malay Mail Online's article:

Friday, January 23, 2015

"Mahathir's Not My Friend" Zam says no conspiracy against Najib

Jan 23: The Mole, the news portal that I advice, has the story H E R E.

In an interview with The Mole after announcing his decision to stop discussing local politics on his blog, Zam blames Najib Razak's "media troopers and media advisers" for the Prime Minister's worsening ties with Dr Mahathir and Daim.

Excerpts from the interview:

Q: You have been blogging on politics since 2012 and had your followers. Why did you decide to stop when people are actively discussing political issues and turning to blogs?

A: I don’t think I can continue to present a clear picture.. I feel there is always an end in politics. And, I have been receiving hints and signals that are quite disturbing, so I decided it was better for me to quit. I felt that they were quite threatening. I just want to have a peaceful life.

Q: Who is threatening you? And what kind of intimidation did you get?

A: Hints here and there. I don’t like being labelled as anyone’s ally. I wish to be free because I belong to no one. There were allegations that I was involved in a conspiracy just because I had breakfast with a few people.

Q: There is a photo circulating in social media of you with people seen as anti-Najib. Rumours are that the meeting was to plan on a plot to topple Najib. Don’t you think that has put you in the spotlight?

A: The morning that (former finance minister) Tun Daim Zainuddin invited me for breakfast I didn’t know that other bloggers would be there. Daim is someone I respect, someone I never hate, even though he was involved in removing me from Utusan. I accepted it and I have no hard feelings because I’m a professional.

But as I said, I thought only Daim, (blogger) Syed Akbar Ali, (former NST editor-in-chief) Datuk Abdul Kadir Jasin and I would be having breakfast. If I knew everybody else was there, I would not have attended.

Q:  What was discussed?

A: It was just a catch-up session between old friends. We talked about the economy, national issues and other petty stuff. But never did we discuss or plan anything to bring down Najib.

Q: Some people think you are sulking and afraid of the intimidation. How do you really feel?

A: I am not sulking or scared. There are people who told me to keep on fighting. I’ve been through so much.... yes these things are exciting but in the end, you will be alone.

Q: So no one can convince you to write on politics again?

A: Maybe... this is a silent protest. But now I know who my friends are and I really appreciate them.

Q: Is it true there is a conspiracy between (former prime minister) Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Daim to bring down Najib?

A: No, they are just worried about Najib's leadership. There are a lot of things that Najib has done that are damaging. For example, he made a unilateral decision to abolish the Internal Security Act. He almost abolished the Sedition Act too but decided to keep it after some intervention.

Another example is how could you (Najib) let a man whom you despise, discredit, (whose political career) you want to kill, and you want to put in jail, but you brought him back on national TV just to strengthen your integrity? So now (opposition leader Datuk Seri) Anwar Ibrahim suddenly has credibility? Maybe next time Anwar can also campaign for BN in the election.......

Q: Do you think this is the work of the prime minister, as alleged?

A: It is his media troopers, his media advisors. And it does not matter if the PM agrees or disagrees because it has caused a large damage to BN. The people cannot separate the power that controls TV3, NST, Utusan, and we cannot say that Najib is not involved. He (Najib) doesn’t have the sensitivity. He should put a stop to this.

Q: What do you think of the coverage given by the Media Prima Group to the opposition to discredit Daim?

A: It is distasteful and ugly.

Q: Personally, do you think Daim is a corrupt?

A: In politics, no one is clean.

Q: Do you agree with Kadir’s criticisms of Najib?

A: I agree when he said Najib’s media team is not effective. For example, when (former South African president) Nelson Mandela died, Najib could not attend his funeral because he was away in Japan. But his media team did not immediately produce any reason to his absence until a few days later. Only Mahathir went. It was offensive to the Africans because we were close to Mandela.

Also, during the elections we could see people holding placards saying “I love PM”. That is just not acceptable. And the worst is the picture in NST (on Wednesday) showing non-Malaysians deeply watching Najib’s announcement on the revised budget. What do these people know about the economy? They don’t even understand proper Malay or English.

Najib also was pictured taking a ride on the LRT last Friday but that was cheap publicity. It looked staged.

Q: What do you think of Najib's leadership?

A: Weak. I’m not saying that I don’t support him but after the ISA was abolished, I felt disappointed. A lot of people disagree with his decisions. He also likes to let issues die down instead of rectifying them.

Q: What are your thoughts on blogs and social media, as well as local news portals?

A: What’s bugging me is that they have discarded the 5Ws and 1H of journalism.

Q: What would you do if you are the information and communications minister?

A: I am like (former Singapore prime minister) Lee Kuan Yew. I believe in controlling. If Singapore can control the media, why can’t we? These so-called news portals like Malaysiakini and Malaysian Insider have gone overboard and depend on rumours instead of facts. Journalists are supposed to find the right information but now that we have allowed these portals to exist, it is hard to turn back. The damage has been done.

Q: Now that you have stopped writing politics, what is your next move?

A: I have written a book “Saya Bukan Menteri”(I am not a minister) and waiting for them to be circulated in a university. I’m also writing a book called “Mahathir Bukan Kawan Saya” (Mahathir is not my friend) which will be ready in March. I will continue blogging on national issues and history, and perhaps a little bit on international politics. I also spend five hours a day in my cafĂ©. I will autograph my books people buy next door.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

The "Allah" issue" In God's name ...

No Allah for Herald 
Puchong, Jan 22: If the Federal Court had ruled otherwise, the Muslims in this country will do two things in quick succession: 
1. Hold angry but peaceful protests against Prime Minister Najib Razak's government (not against the Catholics or their publication The Herald) for losing the case
2. Go back to their old routines. Some will fortify their faith in their religion while may even forget Allah in their daily undertaking ... 
My hope is that the people behind The Christian Herald, the publication that took the government to court (in the name of Press or religious freedom, I'm not quite certain) because the Home Ministry banned it from using the word "Allah" in their editorials (a lot of people made the mistake of thinking that the Christians took the government to court), can learn to respect the decision of the highest court in this country. 
Those God-fearing Yang Ariffs were put there to help make sure that justice that Herald was seeking is done. And justice has been done. Alhamdulillah. 
Please respect the Muslims and the Christians who want to continue to live peacefully, side by side, in this country.
Don't forget one important thing: the Federal Court's decision doesn't take away anything from Catholics in Malaysia. In Sabah and Sarawak, Christians continue to be free to use "Allah" for God as had been the practice for decades. 
If the editors at The Herald feel so strongly about the issue, in God's name please move to Sabah or Sarawak. Beautiful states (it's Malaysia). Even more beautiful people. 
The thing is, I don't think you guys would be welcomed there. 

Zam takes Media Prima to task for editorial onslaught on veteran Umno leader

"Maybe they (Media Prima) will allow Anwar to campaign for BN in the next general election ..."
Thurs, Jan 22: Zainudin Maidin has kept his word about not blogging anymore on Malaysian politics but he didn't say anything about NOT talking about it. In a no-holds-barred interview with The Mole yesteterday, the former Utusan Malaysia editor and ex-Information Minister blasted Media Prima, whch owns pro-government TV3 and New Straits Times, for employing Opposition leaders to attack one of Umno/BN's, Daim Zainuddin.  
He describes Media Prima's attacks on the former Finance Minister "ugly and distasteful".  
Johan Jaafar, who succeeded Zam at Utusan Malaysia back in 1992 (Anwar Ibrahim had just replaced Daim back then as the Umno leader in charge of the mass media), is chairman of Media Prima.  
But Zam's wrath is unleashed not necessarily at Johan ... 
Read the full story h e r e. 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Revised Bajet 2015: We won't see twin deficits, says Wahid Omar:

AWO's 1-2-3 on the revised 2015 National Budget/What you can do to help the nation 
Jan 21: If the PM's looking for a Finance Minister, he need not see beyond Abdul Wahid Omar: the dude is straight (as in frank and honest), bijak bistari (which is more than pandai or mere clever) and incorruptible (just ask your corporate player friend). His take on the Bajet revision and consequent economic outlook for the year is cautious but confidence. Reassuring, Sure.
We need that, I'm sure you'd agree.
I quote the Minister in the Prime Minister's Department verbatim:

Assalamualaikum ... here's my '1-2-3' take on PM's announcement on the state of the economy : 

1) The drop in oil price from USD100/barrel to USD55 (expected average for 2015) will result in net reduction in Govt revenue of RM8.3b . 
This means without new measures, our fiscal deficit will widen to 3.9% from the 3.0% budgeted in 2015. 
With new measures, we expect revised fiscal deficit of 3.2% which is still credible as it is lower than the 3.5% deficit for 2014 and in line with our Fiscal Reform & Consolidation strategy.

2) Lower oil price is generally good for the global economy with The World Bank suggesting a positive impact of 0.5% improvement to global GDP growth. 
However, for net oil & gas exporting countries like Malaysia, the impact will be negative despite taking into account the favourable impact on increased demand for Malaysia's manufactured goods & services, improved tourism proceeds & lower cost of production. 
Accordingly we have revised our 2015 GDP growth forecast downwards by from 5%-6% to 4.5%-5.5% . 
Such growth rate is still credible considering it is still much higher than The World Bank's global GDP growth forecast of 3.0% . 

3) Another aspect of the economy closely tracked by analysts is whether Malaysia will experience a current account deficit in our Balance of Payments. 
In 2013, Malaysia recorded current account surplus of RM37b (3.9% of GDP). 
This is expected to improve to some RM50b (5% of GDP) in 2014. 
The drop in oil price will be partially mitigated by, among others, higher exports of manufactured goods. 
Therefore we are still expected to record a current account surplus in 2015 albeit lower at 2-3% of GDP. 
We are therefore not expected to experience a twin deficit situation as feared by some analysts. 

So overall, Malaysia has taken the right steps to review our economic & fiscal position and outlined the necessary strategies & proactive measures to keep the economy growing in 2015 at a respectable rate of 4.5-5.5%, continue with fiscal reform & consolidation with an acceptable fiscal deficit of 3.2%, sustain a current account surplus position and maintain development expenditure budget of RM48.5b for benefit the people. 

What can you do to help this beloved country of ours? 

1) Live within your means. Optimise your expenditure. Keep spending if you can afford it.  Dont borrow if you dont have the capacity to repay. 

2) Invest domestically. With the strong dollar, defer your overseas investments. In fact, this is probably a good time to bring back your monies from abroad to realise some gains. 

3) Think positive. These are challenging times. But we are clear on what we need to do to ride through this period of market volatility. Just follow through & do the right things. InsyaAllah, God willing, we will succeed.