Archive for February, 2009

February 26, 2009

Growing Unemployment – Scary!

Today’s article (read here) by The Malaysian Insider gives us a grim and terrifying view of the year 2009, especially the second half.  It reports Datuk Noraini Ahmad, the deputy human resources minister, telling Parliament that 100,000 will have lost or will be losing their jobs by the end of the year.

However, she was not forthcoming and honest about the entire situation and attempted yet to paint an overly optimistic picture.  Never mind the projections done by others regarding potential unemployment nor the possibility of an exodus from Singapore back to Malaysia due to a downturn of that economy.  Most people feel that the impending situation is more depressing than this.

The thing that begs an answer is not what is happening and will happen soon to the growing unemployment numbers because we all know even though our Government remains in denial.  We must know what the Government is planning to do with them.  Registering them is but the first step.  So quoting numbers only is rather a meaningless chatter by Noraini.

Will Malaysia be in a position to offer unemployment assistance to those who have been impacted for at least a few months?  The “dole” as they call it in US, has helped many cross tumultous times and similar programs are done in many western countries like Australia, UK, etc.  But can Malaysia do the same in a better way and yet check the abuse?

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February 18, 2009

Malaysia ranked low and pathetic for Budget openness

Today, Badawi told us Malaysians that he was unhappy that only 70% of the RM7 billion stimulus budget was disbursed (read here).  He feels that it is just too slow.

However, what is more interesting is the fact that nobody in the public of Malaysia knows where the RM4.9 billion went.  We heard the announcement of the RM7 billion stimulus plan and now we hear that 70% has already been disbursed.  We have not seen a change nor any impact of any kind to the Malaysian economy.

This specific oversight of details made public pertaining to such disbursement and other budget items is shocking.  The Government thinks that it is “acceptable” to keep the Malaysian public in total oblivion of where our money is disbursed.

The lack of openness by the Government is actually ranked in a worldwide study by Open Budget Index 2008 Rankings (read here).  In case you missed it, here is the index chart.

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February 17, 2009

Najib’s Admission of Economy Faltering A Turning Point?

Najib today admitted to the fact the Government stand on a 3.5% GDP growth will have to be reviewed reflecting concerns that it can be a negative growth instead (read here).

This is the first time we have actually heard our Government acknowledging the reality that we all have felt and admitted for a long time.  It is no longer possible for our Government to hide the reality and the attempts to talk our economy out of recession is an utter failure.

The first RM 7 billion stimulus went no where to be felt.  We only heard about it but nobody seems to know what it actually did.

[UPDATED] The Star reported today (18/Feb) that Badawi acknowledged that only 70% of the RM7 billion stimulus plan has been disbursed (read here).  Again, nobody seems to know where the RM4.9 billion went.

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February 15, 2009

More Disposable Income for Malaysians to Stimulate Our Economy – No Income Tax for 1 year

In the national effort to boost domestic demands, consumers must have the ability to spend.  The propensity to spend is derived from the income of individuals.  In layman’s terms, we need CASH, MONEY, RINGGIT MALAYSIA, in our own hands to spend.

In June 2008 when the Government raised prices at the pump, it immediately caused a spike in inflation and everything a consumer was buying, be it food or otherwise, started to rise.

Even now when the pump prices have been dramatically reduced below the June 2008 prices, the prices for food and other things have not returned back to their original at all.  In fact, they stayed firm.

In this shortsightedness and a blind stroke of a pen, all Malaysian consumers suddenly had less disposable income.  Mind you, the income tax remained the same, the amount of money left to spend can buy far less things because the prices have all gone up and stayed up.

Again, in layman’s terms, we now have the same money but buying far less things with it.  In short, we have less MONEY.

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February 9, 2009

First Perak, Now Kedah? Who is rescuing the economy?

After the despicable and questionable overthrow of the Pakatan Rakyat government in Perak and even before the issues are resolved there, we now read of V. Arumugam of PKR (Kedah) being harassed, threatened and blackmailed to leave the PKR.  He had earlier complained about threats to his life, his family and aides including an attempted kidnap attempt.  Now he is facing accusations of adultery.

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February 7, 2009

Wake Up, Malaysia!

If the BN Government can act in the same haste and fervor in the Perak “takeover” for the much needed action and support for the Malaysia economy, we the people of Malaysia will be much impressed.

For now, we are totally abhorred about the Perak situation and the total inaction of fixing our economy.  We have the BN Government on both sides of the continuum of reaction and for each end they are used wrongly.

It should have been inaction in the Perak situation to let the due process take place and to have total fervor and haste to rescue the economy.

Who is running the country?  What are the priorities of our voted government?  Who bothers about what the voters want?

We want a stable government to run a stable and growing economy.  What we are getting is just the opposite.  Their priorities are just set wrong!

Tengku Razaleigh is spot on in his comments on the Perak situation as well as our economy (read here).  He is showing great statesmanship and leadership of a renewed man.  His insights are sound and his advice is balanced.  There is a new sense of respect for this man whom Umno has written off.  He doesn’t shoot his mouth, he has respect for the Constitution, the law and the people.  He has displayed such wisdom that portrays hope to become the next PM of Malaysia.

If Malaysia can vote a leader to be PM, will it be Pak Lah, Najib, Anwar or Razaleigh?  At this time, all bets will be on Razaleigh for his round of objectivity and statesmanship.  We look forward to Umno to rally around such a leader than can bring hope based on the law and the Constitution.  He has remained as the people’s leader all this while and that is probably why he was rejected by Umno’s leadership.

Wake up, Malaysia!  We need leaders like Razaleigh.  Let the rest of the elected leadership take note.  Malaysia is a country for the people, not the leaders!


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February 7, 2009

Perak Unchartered Waters

Everybody in Malaysia is talking about the Perak situation.  It has become the melting pot of discussion, rumors and commentaries for all Malaysians.  After 51 years of independence and the results of last March General Election results, you can be sure that Malaysians are more mature and attentive to politics and how it affects us all.  It has become national and personal.

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February 5, 2009

Perak in Crisis or is it really?

Today, Najib brought his 27 Umno, 1 MCA and 3 Independent (2 ex-PKR, 1 ex-DAP) assemblymen to show to the Sultan of Perak that BN has the majority support of the State Parliament.  Thereafter, the Ruler gave his consent to the BN to form the new State Government and instructed Nizar to resign as the MB.

If YAB Datuk Seri Ir. Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin does not resign from his post as Perak Menteri Besar together with the state executive council members, then the posts of Menteri Besar and state executive councillors are regarded as vacant.

This statement is issued with the consent of Duli Yang Maha Mulia Paduka Seri Sultan of Perak Darul Ridzuan (read here).

To the BN, the takeover is a success (read here).

To the Ruler, he has satisfied himself with the proof Najib gave as having majority support of the Perak State Assembly by meeting the 28+3 assemblymen.

To Tun M, questionable assemblymen will taint Umno (read here).

To Tengku Razaleigh, Pakatan Rakyat remains the constitutional state government until they are defeated by a vote of no confidence by the BN and Independent assemblymen (read here).

To other legal authorities, they feel that the Ruler has made a mistake (read here).

To the Pakatan Rakyat, this is not over yet.  Nizar is refusing to resign and requests the Ruler to let the due process completes itself.  The court must decide if the 3 ex-PKR and DAP assemblymen’s resignations are valid or not.  Thereafter, a vote of confidence be carried out in the State Assembly sitting.

To the Police, the Pakatan Rakyat government is history.  They have locked down the State Secretariat Building (read here).  Such support for the Pakatan Rakyat elected state governments is unheard of.

Is there a real constitutional crisis brewing here or is it a figment of our imagination?

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February 4, 2009

The Beginning of an End?

The inevitable has happened.  Najib made a press conference with the presence of Nasarudin Hashim, Jamaluddin Mat Radzi, Mohd Osman Jailu and Hee Yit Foong proudly declaring that BN is ready to form the next government in Perak.

(These four assembly men and woman will go down into history and be remembered as the cause of turmoil in Perak).

Earlier, Perak MB Nizar went to inform the Sultan of the dissolution of the Perak Assembly and sought his consent for fresh elections.  It appeared that the Ruler wanted to have more time to think about his decision and perhaps meet with Najib before coming to any decision.

The Perak crisis is now at boiling point.  What is going to happen next?

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February 3, 2009

Pakatan in turmoil?

After a brief celebration of the defection of Bota Assemblyman from Umno, Nasarudin Hashim, to PKR last month, we now have 2 PKR Assemblymen from Behrang and Changkat Jering (Jamaluddin Mat Radzi and Mohd Osman Jailu) go “missing in action” and supposedly “bought” over by Umno, according to the rife rumors circulating.

In a pre-emptive strike, these 2 assemblymen “resigned” from their seats through a fax to the Perak State Assembly Speaker.  Then they purported no to have resigned but the letters were “undated” letter of resignations signed by them last year after the March General Election.

Today, after the Perak State Assembly Speaker referred to the Election Commission on the “resignations” of these two assemblymen, the EC decided that the “resignations” were not valid and hence, there will be no by-elections (read here).  The reason given was that the 2 assemblymen had written to the Perak State Assembly Speaker claiming that their resignations were invalid.  This EC decision may have gone beyond their jurisdiction and overturned the State Assembly Speaker’s decision.  Tian Chua claims that “in the absence of any court decision or injunction, the duty of the EC is merely to set the dates and hold the by-elections, and not decide on the validity of any resignations.” (read here).  Tommy Thomas has an excellent dissertation on this matter and very readable for the layman (read here).  If you signed a blank cheque, you are liable!

In an immediate reaction, Pakatan Rakyat gave the EC 48-hours to reverse this decision (read here) failing which the Perak State Government will take necessary actions.

As the 2 PKR assemblymen had announced they were not leaving the party and they did not submit any resignations from the party, there is no change in the balance of power in Perak (although it was purported that Jamaluddin has quit the party – read here).  However, in reality,

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