Wednesday, February 24, 2016

The green, green grass of Kuala Lumpur

Puchong, 24 Feb
Always thought the grass was greener on the other side. When I was in Monaco a few years back, I was sure Monte Carlo had the most number of rich in the whole wide world. Everybody seemed to be driving a Porche or Lambo or Ferrari. Last week I was in Gohtong, once the ignored brother of Genting, and lo! It was a bit like Monaco: there were more Lotus and Maserattis than Protons and MyVis!

Curious, I came across this slightly dated article on how Kuala Lumpur tops global rich list with 13, 800 millionaires in the Malay Mail Online. Ah, no wonder lah. 

An interesting bit from the Wealthinsight research group that came up with the findings was the fact that there was a 45.5 per cent hike in our new millonaires minted between 2009 and 2013. I suppose you can say that this all happened under Najib Razak's watch so if you have a problem with it, you know who to blame!

“Malaysian wealth grew at the remarkable rate of 59.6 per cent between 2009 and 2013 and is expected to increase by a further 28% to reach US$206 billion in 2018,” said the group which claims to have a detailed database on the rich and an international-based team of over 500 economists, analysts and researchers. 
WealthInsight analyst Tom Carlisle cited the well-performing Malaysian economy during the financial crisis as the reason for the 45.5 per cent hike in new millionaires minted during the 2009 to 2013 period to the total pool of 26,105.
"Since becoming an Islamic banking hub, Malaysia has seen a large surge in investment to its shores, increasing by 52.6 per cent since 2008 to US$11.6 billion. Malaysia has also seen a large increase in HNWIs acquiring their wealth in finance as well as in real estate and construction, increasing by 64.8 per cent, 57.2 per cent and 55.1 per cent respectively”, says Carlisle.

It would be interesting to find out the 2015 data on our high net worth individuals, which might include Opposition wonderboy Rafizi Ramli, who's proven to be quite a shrewd investor despite all the political make-beliefs (check out this FB h e r e; not exactly dedicated to Rafizi but it offers some samples).  

Did he really say he didn't pull out from TH
because that could have inspired a run?

Our millionaires aside, there have been some good news about the economy lately, which is not good news for some people who are bent on running this country down with their negativity. Fitch, often a bitch when it comes to ratings for developing economies like us, affirms Malaysia's currency ratings with stable long-term outlooks. 

Main issues facing the Malaysian economy, according to Fitch? Not the currency: "... the currency and reserves have stabilised since September 2015, despite a further decline in oil prices." Not exteral liquidity: ".. weakened but remains in line with “A” range peers' medians for coverage of current external payments and the liquidity ratio. It expects the current account to remain in modest surplus out to 2017." Not growth, either:  "... the economy was slowing, but growth remains stronger than in “A” peers. Fitch predicted real GDP growth of about 4% in 2016 and 2017, below the five-year average of 5%"

Politics and Governance. Yes, herein lies much of our problems:

"Malaysian politics and governance standards have come under the spotlight due to a range of domestic and international investigations into the state-owned investment company 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB)."

But even then, Fitch notes that "the political heat generated by these issues has not so far had a discernible impact on policy-making. "For example, the government has pressed ahead with controversial structural fiscal reforms, including a goods and services tax and reduction in fuel subsidies." 

In other words, kudos! Fitch is basically giving credit to the Najib Administration lah.

The EPF also got us some good news, especially to wage earners who turn 55 this year (ehem). Despite it being the second highest ever dividends announced by EPF, some folks are not pleased. One of them is the Malaysian Trades Union Congress (acting) president Abdullah Sani Abdul Hamid, who called it "dissapointing"

Disappointing for MTUC or PKR? 

But then again, this Sani guy is not just representing MTUC, he represents the Opposition in his capacity as PKR Member of Parliament for Kuala Langat. Hence, Fitch's point on "Politics and Governance" ....

p.s. I thought we wanted to get rid of politicians in trade unions? 

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Like the 40,000 Bangladeshis, 1.5 million is about politcal mileage

Note: I still get a lot of comments by Anonymous. Which I had to delete, as promised. Dear Readers, if you wish to comment, please leave a nickname, pen name, moniker at least. Your real ID/handle preferred, of course.

TTDI, Feb 18 
We remember the tale of the 40,000 Bangladeshis who supposedly voted during the last Malaysian General Election, don't we? Admit it, a lot of you actually believed the kelentong by our friends in the Opposition that these foreign workers had been granted citizenship just so that the ruling BN could get extra votes at the polls.  Luckily that overzealous new chap from DAP, in his haste to impress, blundered big time ["Colour blind" is the last thing the DAP is - Helen Ang, 20 May 13]. That put an end to the deceit and political ploy. You haven't forgotten but, of course, you don't wish to remember! 
Now they're saying that 1.5 million Bangladeshis are being brought in to take over your jobs, eventually your women, and ultimately your country! Bah! Lol!  
Malaysia's dependence on foreign workers has been an issue for more than three decades. When I became a journalist in the mid 80s, there were already 500,000 legal foreign workers bugging us. But as Haresh Deol sums up in his column h e r e, Malaysians have themselves to blame. "These foreigners are willing to be part of the dirty, dangerous and difficult industries – dubbed as the 3D. Ironically, Malaysians do not mind washing dishes or cleaning houses in a foreign land as the money, as they say, is good."
This short video clip tells you why the 1.5 million Bangladeshis, like the 40,000 Bangladeshis in 2013, are about some people trying to win the next General Election at all cost.

Read also: Most Bangladeshis are good Muslims, by Life of Annie.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Aw, shucks, Bakke didn't say that!

Puchong, Feb 16
Bakke Salleh, reputedly straight as an arrow, the man hailed by the DAP as a hero because he quit as 1MDB chairman pruportedly under protest, was supposed to be the one to send 1MDB and PM Najib Razak to hell when it was time for him to speak out. Bakke was destined to be a legend. 
That's what the anti-Najib folks have also been telling us, anyway.
Well, the PAC interviewed Bakke on Feb 11 as part of an-going investigation into the `1MDB. Bakke, who has been the Sime Darby big boss since 2010, was one of the last ones called to give his testimony to the PAC. While we are not privy to what transpired during the interview, we now know what certainly did not:

Before poor Bakke's strong denial, the anti-1MDB/Najib folks had been happily lapping this up like fools:

Gotta like the hashtags

Prominent pro-Umno bloggers Bujai and Dr Novandri think the Red Bean Army, a gang of cybertroopers on the DAP's payroll, are behind the fake news that's obviously aimed at influencing public perception towards 1MDB and the Najib Administration. 
Maybe, maybe not. 
And we'll never know if the authorities concerned continue to fail miserably to combat this kind of cyber corruption. If you ask me, I say the MCMC has got to step up its game and go after the unscrupulous and cowardly people who have been creating and spreadling such lies on our social media. If the current crop of people at MCMC can't do it, easy, change the whole lot!

Who's Bakke?

Important Reminder:
If you wish to comment, Dear Readers,
Better still, leave your own real name when leaving comments. What are we afraid of?

Monday, February 15, 2016

US-Asean Summit: Remembering JJ's creatiivity, energy and vision

Some Malaysians have been watching too much politcal porn on the likes of Sarawak Report and Malaysian Chronicle, They actually believed that the FBI would detain PM Najib Razak once he set foot on American soil for this week's US-Asean Summit! Last I checked, Najib was detained in SoCal but by FB (not FBI) friends ... for photographs and selfies. 

KL, 15 Feb 2016
Nobody had expected the Asean bloc (led by Malaysia), once an afterthought in American policy, to become a top priority for President Barack Obama. The US-Asean Summit taking place for the first time ever in American soil this week is proof of this. But it's not just about the TPPA or the China factor, it is also about good personal and diplomatic ties, not least between Obama and PM Najib Razak, who was the Asean Chair last year. 

Malaysia can thank the late Jamaluddin Jarjis for that. During his brief tenure as the Malaysian Ambassador to the US (2009-2012), JJ worked at a furious pace to try and improve bilateral relationship not just between the two countries but also between Obama and Najib. For years, ties between Washington and Putrajaya have been lukewarm at best. After Lyndon B. Johnson's visit to Malaysia in Oct 1966, no American President had visited Malaysia until Obama's historic visit last November. The Americans were seen to be more sympathetic towards the Malaysian Opposition, especially after the sacking of Deputy PM Anwar Ibrahim, whose closeness with some American leaders were viewed suspiciously by the Mahahir Administration then. JJ was aggressive and creative as Ambassador - he even took Opposition politicians with him to the US as part of his plans to bring the two nations closer and to draw Washington's attention to the Asean bloc. 

I hear that some progams initiated by JJ when he was our Special Envoy to the US may be discontinued and that some that he had planned for have never been implemented. That would be a real shame. Especially now that some of the American media are rediscovering Malaysia as a convenient punching bag. When JJ was killed in the helicopter crash in April last year, the US Embassy in KL lowered the American flag to half mast as homage to the man. We should be more appreciative of our own man.

Read before you comment
Better still, leave your own real name when leaving comments. What are you afraid of?

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Post-CNY thoughts on Monkeys with Keyboards

Bukit Kiara, 10 Feb 
I must confess that at times I try to drift away from the cyber world. Blogging has always been toxic from the start but lately it has become really unhealthy! Bicycling provides a good means to help me escape and that's what I have been doing quite religiously with some friends these past couple of weeks, as some of you on my FB and Instagram would have noticed. 
But over the Chinese New Year, as I was riding the Kiara Hills among the monkeys, I bumped into cyber "friends and followers" who were also sweating it out in pursuit of a healthier lifestyle, who also happened to not share some of my views on politics. One elderly chap said he could not stomach the fact that I was actually defending the Prime Minister on my blog! His idea of consistency and integrity (on my part) was for me to attack Najib Razak the same way I had attacked Pak Lah when he was PM! I tried explaining but of course he - like others like him - wouldn't listen. At least the young walking mom, even though she held different views and beliefs, thanked me for the couple of times I had taken the trouble to respond to her comments!  
Thankfully, in real life we tend to be more agreeable to disagree ... 
Because in real life, you have to be yourself and you deal with real people. In social media and the cyber world, anonymity is providing unscrupulous people a perfect cover to behave like the proverbial monkey. Some of us have long forbidden visitors to our blogs from commenting as Anonymous. A. Kadir Jasin, for example, requires his commenters to use a moniker. Of course, a nickname doesn't give away the real identity of the person who is leaving the comment but at least the blog handler doesn't have to deal with scores of Anons at the same time! 
Me, I've allowed people to comment on my blog as Anons because I understood that there were some people who just could not afford their real identities to be blown. These people would leave intelligent and useful information, too. But in this cybertrooper and RedBeanArmy era, we have too many monkeys with fancy keyboards making use of the cover provided by Anonymous to spam your space. 
So, what I will do is I will stop publishing comments by Anonymous. I don't need to. In the space of a week (my last posting was Feb 2) my comment box has been inundated by hundreds - yes, hundreds! - of "Anons". I don't think that's being fair to me so I'm doing a Kadir Jasin on you Anons and I will tell you: Leave a nickname, a moniker, a pen name ... or don't leave a comment! 
Better still, leave your own real name when leaving comments. 
What are you afraid of?

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Najib not a suspect in Swiss, Najib not involved in Altantuya. So how now?

KL Feb 2
So nice of the Swiss Attorney-General to make himself understood more clearly. It would have been nice if he had the foresight and had come out with a less ambiguous press statement earlier. Obviously, he did not realize that there are quite many Malaysians with low IQ, despite their high education and cushy professions. That was why when the Swiss issued his original statement, these people were jumped with joy. They believed the Swiss authorities were zeroing in on Najib Razak, our Prime Minister.

Because that's what they wanted to believe in. Pity.

Read Switzerland says Najib not a suspect

And so good also of Sirul to come out and say that Najib Razak had nothing to do with the murder of Altantuya. Of course we already knew that. The Courts had established that a long time ago. Only some people, because they wanted so badly to bring down Najib, the same people who wanted you to believe that the Swiss AG was coming for Najib, they wanted people to think that Najib was behind the murder.


Najb Tidak Terlibat, sumpah Sirul