Archive for December, 2011

31
Dec
11

Will BN win the 13th GE?

It certainly has the edge but the big question is why is Najib running scared of calling for the polls.

LOOKING AHEAD 2012

Yes, Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak is too afraid of holding the 13th general election. He is afraid that BN will not win, and in reality he has no confidence of winning.

Otherwise, why would he not immediately call for the polls to be held the moment after he had presented the Budget on Oct 7, 2011?

After all, it is blindingly obvious that the civil service, the national institutions, the rural folk and those in the interiors of Sabah and Sarawak are supporting him. With this so-called overwhelming support, it is indeed amazing that he still lacks the courage to call for the general election.

In addition to that, he has also thrown in the RM500 aid as bait. However, the RM500 is no big deal as it is only a one-off. Even if he were to give this sum every five years, it only amounts to RM100 a year. And that is equivalent to RM8.45 a month – peanuts and pittance! Is Najib trying to make monkeys out of the rakyat?

Be that as it may, here is a brief guide highlighting the unique features on the scenario in all the states in Malaysia:

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Will BN win the 13th GE?
December 31, 2011 – FMT

31
Dec
11

Towards a bankrupt Malaysia?


(courtesy Aliran)

That the budget that was tabled in the Dewan Rakyat on 7 October 2011 was an election budget is very clear. There have been numerous detailed comments on the budget by politicians and analysts (since then). In this article, we are just going to focus on one of the long term issues from the budget. It concerns the increasing debt burden of the federal government.

How big is the government debt?

The accompanying chart shows the federal government’s outstanding debt at the end of the successive years. As can be seen, the debt has been increasing since 1970. From the detailed data available form Bank Negara’s website, in 1991, it reached a temporary peak of RM99bn and then decreased to RM90bn by 1997. From then, it has been virtually doubling every five years. By the end of 2011, we can expect the figure to reach RM450bn.

In other words, since the Asian crisis of 1998, we have been growing by borrowing heavily. In the 10 years since 1999, our debt has quadrupled. If we continue on this path, by 2020, our national debt will reach RM1.6 trillion. If our population is 40 million then, each Malaysian will have a debt burden of more than RM40000 and this does not include our own personal borrowing. Assuming an interest rate of 5 per cent, paying the interest alone will cost the taxpayers RM80bn per year!

The government has been reassuring us by saying that our debt is manageable. It argues that the debt at the end of 2012 will be only 54 per cent of our GDP, which is relatively low compared to the current crisis nations like Greece and Italy. (GDP is a measure of the total value of all the goods and services produced in a year in the country.) While it may not reach the levels of Greece by 2012, at our current rate of borrowing it won’t take long before we become another Greece. Just to put this in perspective, our giant neighbour, Indonesia has a debt of only 23 per cent of GDP! Singapore has no debts.

The federal government debt alone does not tell the full story. Many government-owned enterprises also have borrowings. If these figures are included, then the total debt would be much higher. It is difficult to get the complete data on these borrowings.

Why has the debt been growing so rapidly?

Since the 1998 Asian Financial Crisis, the government expenditure has consistently exceeded its revenue by a considerable margin. For example, in 2011 the spending is estimated to be RM229bn while the revenue will be only RM183bn. So the shortfall of RM46bn has to be met by borrowing.

Of course it is not expected that the government balances its books every year. Prudent economic management requires the government to balance its budget over an entire business cycle. So we can have deficits during bad years and budget surpluses during good years. Since 1998, we have had at least two business cycles; yet every year without fail we have had budget deficits!

This is evidence of fiscal irresponsibility. Here is a government which does not know the meaning of saving for a rainy day. A good example is the situation in the current year.

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Towards a bankrupt Malaysia? — Subramaniam Pillay
December 27, 2011 – Aliran

30
Dec
11

After NFC, navy vessels scandal next

How did the cost of six offshore patrol vessels increase by RM3 billion each and why were there no payment vouchers?

COMMENT

Over the last 10 years, we lost over RM1 trillion through illicit transfer.

To say that the Barisan Nasional government hides a monumental submerged portion of financial excesses and rip offs is an understatement.

In this context the current National Feedlot Corporation fiasco involving RM250 million is just a tip of the iceberg.

We are, in fact, readying ourselves now for the exposure of the next big financial scandal…and the next!

Immediately the next possible source of financial legerdemain, with all the necessary ingredients of manipulations and underhand moves, is certainly the cost of six offshore patrol vessels from Boustead Naval Shipyard Sdn Bhd at RM1 billion each.

The cost has now increased by an unexplainable RM3 billion. How does Boustead get into the vessel building business?

Now, the history of the Malaysian Navy’s purchase of weaponry is a dismal one.

So, let’s get into a little history lesson.

Contract cost ballooned

The original contractor chosen to build Malaysia’s first generation naval vessels was PSC-Naval Dockyard. It was controlled by Amin Shah Omar Shah and his brothers.

(Amin Shah, 53, was reportedly a high-profile tycoon known for his close ties to former Finance Minister Daim Zainuddin. This was during the era of former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

(Under the 1990s privatization programme advocated by Mahathir, Amin Shah was among the few bumiputera entrepreneurs who were able to secure government concessions and contracts. And one of these key contracts was the Naval Dockyard in Lumut.

(In 1995, the government privatised the Naval Dockyard to the then PSC Industries Bhd (PSCI), for RM300 million. Amin Shah had a substantial stake in this and the dockyard was renamed PSC-Naval Dockyard Sdn Bhd.

(In 1998, PSC-Naval Dockyard was awarded a mammoth RM24 billion contract to build 27 offshore patrol vessels for the Royal Malaysian Navy.)

By mid 2006, only two of the 27 offshore vessels (worth RM24 million) were delivered. But both failed to pass the pre-delivery trials.

There were 298 recorded complaints about the two boats, which were also found to have 100 and 383 uncompleted items aboard them respectively.

The original RM5.35 billion contract ballooned to RM6.75 billion by January 2007.

No payment vouchers or documents

The auditor also reported that the Defence Ministry had paid out RM4.26 billion to PSC up to December 2006 although only RM2.87 billion of work had been done, an overpayment of RM1.39 billion, or 48 percent.

In addition, Malaysia’s cabinet waived late penalties of RM214 million.

According to the Auditor General, 14 “progress payments” amounting to RM943 million were paid out to PSC from Dec 1999, but there were no payment vouchers or relevant documents dealing with the payments.

How did the government explain such blatant abuses of financial discipline?

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After NFC, navy vessels scandal next
December 23, 2011 – FMT

30
Dec
11

In GE-13, the choice of young Malaysians will be ABU


The 2008 setback for UMNO was unanticipated by many political observers but post-election analysis attributed the dent on UMNO and BN to the leadership factor of UMNO at that time. On the way to the next general election, UMNO is once again perceived by the masses as a weak party with a weak leadership.

Out of about 16 million eligible voters this time, there will be some 2.6 million newly young registered voters. The forecast is, the number of people who would actually vote could be about 10 million with about 1.5 million young voters – comprising 17 per cent of the electorate. Outwardly, according to studies, young voters and the new media will favour the Opposition more. Apparently the majority of these young voters have an anti-established tendency. They seem to have lost trust in the pro-government media. With many young voters becoming voters in the next general election will possibly tip the scale away from victory for UMNO and BN.

“The strategy is wrong. When the media go for the overkill it will backfire. Showing spliced pictures of personalities on television to tarnish the Opposition and fool the people has also backfired. The people don’t believe what they hear or see on television these days. They prefer the alternative media,” remarked a local university student.

More ripples within BN component parties

In the first six months of 2010, the voter registration drive saw Pakatan edging Barisan Nasional. DAP led with 32.5 percent, followed by UMNO 32.3 percent and PAS 22.7 percent. Voter registration for DAP and PAS combined was more than UMNO’s. This trend is continuing. If the trend and figures are taken to be a measure, it is a precursor that there is strong fervour among new voters to shore up the Opposition.

DAP has successfully recruited many Malay and non-Malay members, PKR has the advantage of attracting young members and PAS has also been a lure for young Muslim professionals. The road to victory will be too tough for UMNO. Dropping the present batch of aspiring candidates from becoming election candidates will cause more ripples within UMNO. Those dropped will have supporters who will sabotage the party like what had happened in the 2008 general election.

A young government servant had this to say: “The people – especially the young – are now aware of their rights to become registered voters, they want a two-party system and the sentiment on the ground is that the people want to see a change of government after being too long under the same old government.”

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In GE-13, the choice of young Malaysians will be ABU – Anything But Umno
27 December 2011 – Malaysia Chronicle

29
Dec
11

‘It’s really unbelievable; Taib’s family controls S’wak’

Swiss-based Bruno Manser Fund’s revelations of Sarawak Chief Minister Taib Mahmud’s billion dollar business empire is not going to let-up in 2012.


‘Dictator-ship like rule’

As well as land mapping and setting up a pre-school and healthcare facilities, BMF have also helped the Penan take several land right cases to local courts and raised awareness of the situation elsewhere in Europe.

But faced with Sarawak’s “dictatorship-like rule”, it hasn’t been enough to make a significant change, the organisation says.

“Our biggest concern today is that the same government is still in place in Sarawak, as it has been for the past three decades, and the same family rules that state of Malaysia and it’s a kleptocratic form of governance,” Straumann said.

The family in question is that of Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud, who Straumann says controls politics, the economy and the media. Taib is also the minister in charge of finance and planning.

The BMF website regularly reports on allegations of corruption in Sarawak. In February it launched an online campaign against Taib and 48 “blacklisted” companies.

The campaign stepped up a notch when BMF recently published a list of 332 companies in Malaysia with ties to Taib’s relatives, many of whom are directors or shareholders.

Another 101 such companies are located elsewhere in the world.

BMF gathered the information from company records and registers and tried to find patterns. Dissecting the data further they found that Taib’s four children were involved in 342 firms worldwide.

“It’s really unbelievable. They are basically controlling the whole state,” Straumann said.

The BMF also alleged that the Taib family is hiding assets abroad. Probes into alleged illegally gained assets are being carried out in Switzerland and Britain.

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‘It’s really unbelievable; Taib’s family controls S’wak’
December 28, 2011 – FMT

29
Dec
11

Spouse of ex-Iskandar top exec charged with graft

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 27 — The husband of a former senior official in Iskandar Investment Berhad (IIB) was charged with corruption today in Johor Baru for allegedly soliciting RM1.6 million as inducement to obtain a project.

Mohd Amin Suhaimi, 52, claimed trial at the Sessions Court in Johor Baru to three counts of soliciting and receiving bribes from construction company Detect Engineering Sdn Bhd to secure the tender for the construction of a boarding school in Pulai.

It is believed the project, sited at Lot PTD Mukim Pulai, is worth some RM40.8 million.

According to Star Online, Mohd Amin was alleged to have solicited RM816,900 in cash from Detect Engineering Sdn Bhd director Mohd Hassan Madon, 48, through middleman Mohd Iskandar Fahmi Abdullah, 52. He was accused of committing the act at a hotel on Jalan Harimau in Taman Century, Johor Baru, at about 5pm on April 22 last year.

Under the second charge, Mohd Amin allegedly received RM500,000 from Hassan through Mohd Iskandar at a parking lot inside a shopping mall on Jalan Wong Ah Fook at 4pm on June 4 last year.

Under the third charge, he was accused of receiving RM316,900 in cash for helping the company obtain the project from IIB, at a parking lot in a shopping complex along Jalan Trus between 2pm and 3pm on June 9 last year.

He was accused of committing the offences under Section 16(a)(A) and charged under Section 24 of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act (MACC) 2009.

The charge carries a jail term of up to 20 years and a fine of not less than five times the amount of bribe or RM10,000, whichever is higher.

Bail was set at RM100,000 and the Sessions Court judge fixed January 27 for mention.

According to previous reports, it is believed Mohd Amin is the husband of Arlida Ariff, formerly IIB’s chief executive officer who was removed late last year amid speculation of alleged irregularities in the awarding of infrastructure contracts.

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Spouse of ex-Iskandar top exec charged with graft
December 27, 2011 – MI

28
Dec
11

The tragedy that is Umno

Mariam Mokhtar

Umno is not for the Malays. Umno exists only so that its leaders will thrive to the detriment of the normal, ordinary Malay.

Umno is full of Malays who are afraid to say “No”. “No” to corruption. “No” to power abuse. “No” to seeking as well as giving patronage.

Perhaps one can add, “No” to Mahathir, “No” to Najib.

Umno has been in power for over 54 years. Not all Malays wish to be in Umno, but Umno does need all of the Malays for it to be a potent force. Today, Umno refuses to accept that Malays are abandoning Umno.

Around the time of independence, Umno may have had people of quality within its ranks. Today, it is alleged that loyalty is determined by money. Is that what Umno think the Malays are proud of? That their allegiance is easily bought? Umno strips Malays of self-worth and self-respect.

Instead of using intelligent discourse and logic to dissect any issue, Umno uses sexual allegations or character assassinations, to blacken the reputation of members of the opposition. Opposition leaders had their characters or their children’s character tarnished with untrue allegations in pro-Umno blogs.

Gutter politics are prevalent in Umno and was witnessed during the last Umno general assembly. Name calling and snide insinuations seemed to be the order of the day. These men and women, who are supposed to be leaders and pillars of Malay society, are a disgrace to themselves and the nation.

In Umno, men who were guilty of sexual acts, against their hired help or against minors, talk about the sexual behaviour of other people, as if they led blameless lives. Those who are guilty of money politics tried to distract attention by calling on opposition members to resign. What happened to accountability and responsibility?

These men and women, talk about religion as if they were themselves, free of sin. These same people use any opportunity to say that the failure of the Malays is because of the dominance of the non-Malays.

In education, for instance, the Malays are given the best chances for obtaining a higher education. Things are made deliberately easy for them. The undesirable side-effect is that they and their children grow up lacking aspiration and ambition.

Malays who wanted to improve themselves by learning English are now considered traitors. Many Malays who study overseas have a poor grasp of English. Many who were not allowed to mix with other races at home, found great difficulty adapting to life with non-Malays.

Is this what Umno leaders want of the Malay? For them to be cocooned and their minds closed to what is happening in the global arena?

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The tragedy that is Umno
December 24, 2011 – Hornbill Unleashed




Nuclear lessons for Malaysia (Part 1) (Part 2)
BN govt is directing attention to distant past and distant future, in order to distract people from present misdeeds and poor governance
Felda - A picture is worth a thousand words
How the 1MDB Scandal Spread Across the World (WSJ)
We cannot afford ridiculously expensive RM55 Billion ECRL!
All that is necessary
for the triumph of evil
is for good men
to do nothing.

- Edmund Burke
When the people
fears their government,
there is TYRANNY;
when the government
fears the people,
there is LIBERTY.

- Thomas Jefferson
Do you hear the people sing?

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