Monday, January 30, 2012

ETP.....Solving the Mystery of Malaysia's Economic Transformation

The PM's the grandiose plan for Malaysia to achieve "developed nation" status by 2020 with the masterplans drawn up by a minister who was recruited from a multinational company(SHELL) who had been put in charge of MAS(Mana Ada Sistem), the national airline that was going to crash financially.
So Idris Jala and his team at PEMANDU(in Malaysia the word means driver not pilot) and the team came up with a whole alphabet of acronyms for the various programs.....even today the government is still coming up with goodies to develop the 1Malaysia brand image.
I guess the idea is that if one throws enough mud at the wall, some of it will stick. The latest acronyms are BR1M(the RM200 vote-buying ang-pow) and AS1M(the Invest-Rich Scheme, where RM5000 will get a guaranteed return of RM8000 after 5 years).
All these schemes do benefit the poorer Malaysians and it certainly looks like the Elections are coming soon. Otherwise why are all the Ministers ranting against the Opposition every day and in every speech?
I thought there is no official word on when the Elections are going to be held?
But back to the ETP...the Economic Transformation Plan. It appears they should have kept that file highly confidential.
You see it is not meant for the ordinary folks like you and I.
malaysiakini has this report on the Generous Highway Project that has been awarded for a record period of 60 years.
In Johor, plans are afoot to collect tolls at the CIQ for all motorists; even those who do not use the new EDL highway, a 8km project that cost RM1billion. Why are projects in Johor more expensive than elsewhere?
I have created an online protest No Extra Tolls at CIQ for Motorists who Do NOT Use EDL Highway and if you sign the online petition, it will help a lot. If you have not signed such a petition, it's easy to do so and takes about one minute.
All these crony deals will certainly cause an Economic Transformation but it ain't for you and me.
How long more can we tolerate such crony deals?

Saturday, January 21, 2012

BR1M....Caring for POOR Malaysians or Treating Them like BEGGARS?

The Malaysian government recently announced a financial assistance package whereby poor families were given RM500 in cash assistance.
Those who applied had to fill in a form at the Income tax office and the qualified Malaysians had to come back for the collection of cheques.
So they had to go twice in order to complete a simple transaction of collecting RM500. It seems that the government's intention was not so much helping the poor citizens but to milk the public relations angle for the General Elections campaign. At all the payment counters, some Minister proudly proclaims this is the way forward.
For me, dishing out RM500 to some poor Malaysians is going to wish away all the corrupt practices like mega-projects without proper tenders and paying through our noses for unsophisticated weapons of no destruction.
If they really cared about these poor folks who are easily manipulated, they can bank in directly into the bank accounts.
Oh I forget-no chance then for a publicity shoot!

Photo: thanks to Fung Lee Jean

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Now Everyone Can Invest! The 1Malaysia Investment Scheme....

Move over JP Morgan and other investment gurus like Warren Buffet.....this Malaysian scheme will leave you for dead.
According to the malaysiakini article 1M'sia investment scheme: Old wine in new bottle?, the Malaysian government has devised a scheme that will pay an investor back an investor RM13,000 if he invests RM5,000 in the fund for 5 years.
That is a pretty good scheme if the returns are guaranteed; quite unlke unit trusts where the manager can never guarantee the return and even your capital can decline.
So why is the government only doing this now?
Well the General Elections are due soon and the BN regme is touting this scheme as proof they are transforming the nation.
But for me, this is a blatant form of vote buying!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Anwar Ibrahim Acquitted Verdict....Was JUSTICE Served?

When a government loses credibility, even when the judge decides on "acquitted" as a verdict, many Malaysians still doubt the independence of the Judiciary.
After all, this case has dragged on for about two years and most Malaysians worry about other things like the rising cost of living and many believe it was definitely a case of executive abuse of power; with the PDRM and the AG's office pandering to the whims of the Executive to hammer down any threat to their political power.
Now if that is true, we should really investigate if indeed the PDRM and the AG have become simply tools of political leaders.
In fact, in a thriving democracy, MPs will severely question their leaders for improper conduct but so far no BN MP has voiced out about abuse of power.
But getting back to economics, the Malaysian Insider has this chilling article about National Debt Equals GDP by 2019 if Putrajaya Remains Spendthrift.
What is the meaning of "spendthrift"?
One meaning is someone who spends money wastefully or recklessly.
Do you think the PM is the nation's chief spendthrift?
What justifiable reasons did he have to fly 1Malaysia all the way to South Africa for just 2 days on taxpayers' account?
Looking at the TV footage of his appearance there, it looked like he and his wife were mere spectators at some ceremony or parade. Was it worth the RM30k bill?

Sunday, January 8, 2012

malaysiakini and the Right to Peaceful Assembly....

The planned peaceful assembly for Monday to show support for Anwar Ibrahim appears to be a recipe for a draconian crackdown if this malaysiakini report IGP: Car park can only accommodate 5,000 people is correct.
One wonders how the police gave the approval and then came up with the major restrictions that will hamper any peaceful assembly and most likely result in the usual carnage of tear gas, water cannon and broken bones.
During my recent holidays in South America, I saw peaceful demonstrations in Buenos Aires, Santiago and Lima and not once was there any violence done by the police against the demonstrators. Maybe they have had their fill of violent confrontations and during a demo in Lima, I saw cops all around the financial area; with the crowd gathering in the plaza.
Then at about noon, the march began with about 50 to 100 people and the cops merely provided a kind of security alongside the marchers and keeping a distance of a few metres.

The photo shows a demo in Buenos Aires, right in front of the Presidential palace....this has been going on for months.
We walked past the protesters and even got a free ride on the Subte as they were trying to get people away from the area.