Friday, December 24, 2010

THE ANTI-SEMITIC


1. The Simon Weisenthal Centre (Jewish) has published a list of people who are classified as anti-Semitic in 2010.

2. This classification is based on the “slurs” uttered by these people against the Jews or Israel in that year.

3. I am listed among the top 10. I suppose what I had said in 2010 are regarded by the Jewish Centre as slurs but I was merely exercising my right to free speech to speak up against what I considered as injustice.

4. I condemned Israel for breaking international laws, carrying out an illegal siege of Gaza, attacking and seizing the Mavi Marmara and the Rachel Corrie in international waters, killing nine Turkish aid workers, and continuing to deprive the suffering people of Gaza of medical supplies, construction material and food.

5. Israel together with the US are the only countries to use depleted uranium in their bombs and shells which have resulted in all kinds of radiation diseases, among the Palestinians, especially the new-born babies.

6. If for any or all these I am considered to be anti-Semitic then so be it. But Jews clearly cannot be condemned for anything because 60 years ago the Nazis of Germany committed atrocities against them.

7. Apparently their sufferings of 60 years ago entitle them to inflicting sufferings on the Palestinians whose land they had stolen. No matter how cruel or unjust they may be no one may criticise them.

8. It is not being Semitic that is wrong. What is wrong and what draws condemnation is the arrogance, the lack of respect for the lives and rights of others, the blatant seizure of other people’s land, the arbitrary imprisonment of people, the misinformation spread by the media they control etc – which are the subject of condemnation. Whoever commits them must be condemned. And it is obvious that it is the Israelis who commit them most. Israeli oppression and injustice towards the Palestinians cannot be disputed even by those who back Israel.

9. Yes, there were acts by those deprived of their land by the Zionists, which are no less wrong and worthy of condemnation.

10. But these people have no other means to fight back against the military weapons of their attackers. If they have the tanks, the war planes, the missiles etc they would fight “legitimate” wars. But they don’t and there is a sanction on weapons being supplied to them. They have therefore to resort to whatever means they have to retaliate.

11. Admittedly the victims of their attacks include innocent civilians. But when bombs are dropped or missiles fired from afar the victims are also mostly innocent civilians, the old, the sick, the women and the children.

12. Are unexpected deaths and woundings by suicide bombers any different from the deaths and woundings by bombs, missiles, guns, tanks and bull-dozers used by the militarily well-equipped and powerful? I don’t think they are.

13. Are the people waiting to be killed by bombs and missiles free from feelings of fear and terror at the prospect of sudden violent deaths and having their bodies painfully torn apart, as are those killed by suicide bombers or primitive rockets.

14. There is no difference in terms of violence between the acts of a suicide bomber and the killings by bombs dropped from the sky or missiles fired from a distance. Both cause fear and terror. Both acts are therefore acts of terror. Both qualify to be called terrorists. State terrorists are no different from irregular terrorists.

15. Historically the Jews may have lived in the land that is Palestine. But historically the original people of America were the misnamed Red Indians, as were the Aborigines and Maoris of Australia and New Zealand. If all lands must be returned to the first people to live there, then return the United States, Latin America, Australia and New Zealand to the indigenous natives. But you won’t would you?

16. I am not anti-Semitic bcause I am not against the Arabs and other Semitic people, or for that matter those Jews who reject Zionism.

17. I am simply against injustice, against oppression and unmitigated and illegal violence.

18. If that makes me anti-Semitic then I am proud to be anti-Semitic, even though the term anti-Semitic is wrong.

Friday, December 17, 2010

THE UNITED STATES

blogtunm.blogspot.com Tun M 
1. There was a time when I thought that peace had come to the world. The Cold War had ended with the forces of the righteous triumphant.

2. But alas, for the small countries of the world, there is now more fear. The great democracies of the world, headed by the United States have decided on a crusade to democratise the whole world, through violence and war where necessary.

3. I am reading Robert Fisk, a British journalist, on the great war for civilisation i.e. the war in the Middle East. In all these wars the US plays a dominant role, not as a peace maker to stop the violent conflicts between the fractious Middle Eastern and Central Asian countries but to start wars against them so as to spread democracy.

4. In Palestine, United States’ backing for Israel is unstinted, without regard for how many times and how blatant are Israel’s disregard for the international law or morality or how violent and lethal are its methods.

5. Israel built “settlements” on Palestinian land with impunity, ravaged Palestinian villages, seize their land and expelled the inhabitants, openly shot and kill children, destroying houses with their occupants still inside, jailed and tortured more than a thousand Palestinians without charges or fair trial, illegally blockaded Gaza, attacked foreign ships on mercy mission while in international waters, killing foreign personnel on board, refuses to allow the Palestinians to call their land Palestine but instead to refer to themselves only as the Palestinian Authority.

6. Robert Fisk describes the torture methods of the Israelis and this is confirmed by Amnesty International. These include sleep deprivation, squatting for hours, violent shaking, imprisonment in a cupboard, beatings, pressure on the genitals and exposure to heat and cold.

7. Why is Israel free to do all these dastardly things? It is because the US backs it all the way.

8. Even when the Israelis ran over an American woman with a tractor, killing her, the US did not protest.

9. Netanyahu, the Israeli PM ignored President Obama when the latter demanded that no more Israeli settlements be built. The US President had to eat humble pie and did nothing.

10. That is Palestine and the Palestine/Israeli conflict. Then when the New York World Trade Centre was destroyed apparently by Saudi Arabs, the United States invaded Afghanistan and Iraq. These two countries have been bombed and rocketed over and over again, their towns and villages razed to the ground. Innocent people were killed by the thousands.

11. There is no respect for borders. Towns and villages in Pakistan also experience missile attacks, strafing by aircrafts and bombing, again killing civilians.

12. In Iraq, the excuse for invasion is that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction. A “shock and awe” blitzkrieg has killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians. Iraq was occupied by US forces but no weapons of mass destruction were found. This excuse was a blatant lie and the US has belatedly admitted it. Now Wikileaks exposed that Israelis and pro-Israelis “fixed” the intelligence that induced the US to war with Iraq.

13. In Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan the killings and the destruction are still going on. But the US is not yet satisfied with the bloodbath it has initiated.

14. The next target is Iran. After their experience in Iraq there is seemingly less inclination by the US to invade Iran. Instead the method adopted is to starve the Iranians through a siege.

15. The United Nations Security Council has not approved the siege (sanctions) of Iran but the US has enough clout, influence over the countries of the world to get them to carry out its wishes.

16. Thus if the banks of any country has any dealings with Iran, the US will disallow the bank from doing business with the US. Many other arm twisting methods are used by the US to render its siege of Iran effective. The purpose of doing this is to impoverish and create difficulties for the people of Iran allegedly because of Iran’s nuclear programme but actually to punish the Iranians for the closure of the US Embassy and the detention of its staff during the civil war. Revenge is very much a part of US foreign policy.

17. Now it is the turn of North Korea. It is the US who planned and implemented military exercises in waters close to North Korea. The idea is to threaten that already poor country to submit to the US.

18. Provoked, the North Koreans fired at the South Korean island in the narrow strait between it and South Korea where the military exercise is being conducted. And then the Western media condemns North Korea for this when it was in fact America which provoked North Korea into firing their guns.

19. Presidents of countries are not safe from arrest by the US. President Noriega of Panama is now languishing in an American jail. Now President Omar Bashir is being sought by America after the International Criminal Court found him guilty in a trial in which he was not defended.

20. President Salvador Allende of Chile was assassinated through the machinations of the CIA because he was a Marxist, even though he was elected by the Chileans.

21. Nicaragua had its harbour mined by the US in 1984. The United States was found guilty by the International Court. The other countries of South America live in fear of the US.

22. In the Far East the US ensured the enmity between Japan and China is perpetuated and heightened. Rapprochement between Germany and France was possible but not between Japan and China. The US opposed the formation of the East Asia Economic Group.

23. A policy of containment of China is urged on all the countries of South East Asia. Lately the US wants to be involved in the dispute over the islands of the South China Sea. For the US the dispute provides an opportunity to involve South East Asian countries in the encirclement of China.

24. It is clear that the US is seeking to make war against the small nations of the world. The US is willing to kill hundreds of thousands of people in order to spread its influence and domination.

25. No country in the world dares to condemn the US for its bullying of small weak countries.

26. Everywhere in the world US Embassies have to be fenced and guarded. Everywhere there would be demonstrations against the US. The country is the most hated nation in the world.

27. The US should be the leading nation in the world, abiding by the decisions of the United Nations, helping the poor and the weak, enriching the world with its technology and generally creating a better world by upholding non-violent ways of settling disputes between nations.

28. It is sad that the US has chosen the ugly way just for the sake of Israel. It is sad that a country which preaches human rights, justice and freedom is the country which is most guilty of breaching all the high values that it preaches.

29. Obama, with all his promises of change has changed nothing about US warlike ways and disregard for international norms. Clearly changes of Presidents, of parties forming Governments of the US will change nothing concerning US creed and policies.

30. The capacity of the US to learn from its experiences is almost nil.

31. The world will have to be reconciled with having the most powerful country in the world remaining addicted to the gun which won it the West in the past. This great democracy is anything but democratic in its relationship with the world community.

Friday, December 10, 2010

RUBBISH

blogtunm.blogspot.com Tun M 
1. It is reported that Malaysia produces 94,000 tons of rubbish per day or 34,310,000 tons per year.

2. I suppose a substantial portion of this must be produced by Greater Kuala Lumpur (population of about 5.5 million).

3. Population wise Greater KL has about 20 per cent of Malaysia’s population. Therefore Greater KL’s production of rubbish is approximately seven million tons per year.

4. What can we do with 7 million tons of rubbish. Well, we can throw it on the road outside our houses, or in the drain and rivers. In no time all our drains and rivers will be clogged up and water will overflow and flood the land. The health of the people will be at risk.

5. We can collect the rubbish and bury in a designated area. With 7 million tons a year we will be needing more and more land, and land in Greater KL is expensive. To use the land again the rubbish has to be dug and removed to another place for burial.

6. Alternatively we can have a rubbish mountain and people can go there to scrounge for any useful item. Probably the mountain of rubbish will be burnt slowly and pollute the atmosphere.

7. We can if we like, burn the rubbish behind our houses. One house doing this would be okay. But when everyone does this in KL the smoke would not only cause a haze to hang over KL, but the smell would be quite unbearable.

8. Again we can collect the rubbish and burn it in an incinerator. But no community wants to have the incinerator located anywhere near them. We must find a place where no one is living there. Look around Greater KL and you cannot find a piece of land far enough from any community to site the incinerator.

9. If you do find it would be so far away that he cost of transporting the rubbish would be a drain on the finances of City Hall. Maybe the rubbish producers should pay a special fee for rubbish disposal. I don’t think anyone would agree to that. It’s not the Malaysian way to pay what we can get for free.

10. I am putting this dilemma of the authorities on my blog so that people can come up with solutions. Frankly I think the authorities are scared to apply any solution because we are a democracy and no one wants to lose votes.

11. For those who are interested, read about the rubbish collection problem in Italy here.

12. Your comments please.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

MiG and SUKHOI

blogtunm.blogspot.com Tun M 
1. Flight International reports that India may upgrade the Sukhoi-30MKI.

2. The MiG-21 would be retired but the MiG-29 would be upgraded.

3. Malaysia has been working with India on the modification to the Russian -built aircraft. Maybe we should find out what the upgrading of the Sukhoi Su-30 and the MiG-29 is all about.

4. There was talk before of replacing the MiG-29 with other aircraft. I wonder whether there is a threat of war currently. If there is none, then if necessary only we should upgrade what we have.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

MAHA

blogtunm.blogspot.com Tun M 
1. By the time I visited MAHA Show at Serdang Saturday morning, 1.8 million people had been ahead of me. The papers reported today that altogether 2.7 million people visited the show this year.

2. This year’s show is clearly bigger and better. The Ministry of Agriculture and its agencies like MARDI and FAMA must be congratulated.

3. I noted that the Ministry of Agriculture has made tremendous progress in upgrading Malaysian agriculture. The farmers and fishermen should not languish in poverty if they make use of the techniques developed by MARDI, FAMA and other ministry agencies and departments.

4. I was most impressed by the quality of the fruits and their packaging. They are world-class. The Government has also gone a long way in helping people in the rural areas to market even their casual products. To those keen on doing something for themselves a motorbike with a side-car is available at highly subsidised price to go into the villages to buy kampung produce and sell to the outlets set up by FAMA. I am told that this scheme can give an income of more than RM1000-00 a month.

5. All kinds of machines are exhibited which can help small businesses. Among them is a bread-making machine which makes bread from rice or wheat grains simply by putting in the necessary ingredients inside a rice cooker like apparatus, switching it on and in 3 hours fresh bread would be produced.

6. We love the labour of making dodol, a kind of social activity which brings friends and neighbours in the village together. Now you need only to switch on the huge pot or bowl and in four hours the dodol maker will deliver whatever amount of dodol you want for Raya. Literally no sweat.

7. I was particularly interested in the cattle. They are big and look like the huge European animals. I don’t think we can free ourselves from imported beef but really we can produce some of the beef ourselves. I had a lunch of steak produced by a Malaysian farmer and it was tender and delicious.

8. I read in the papers complaints on transportation. VIPs like my wife and I were well taken care off. But others had to walk or to queue for the special buses.

9. Yes, MAHA organisers should take note and improve transportation. But the show was free except for a RM3 parking fee for cars.

10. We are so used to getting things free and complaining about what we get as well. I know I will not be popular but I think paying something for a show like MAHA is not too great an imposition. Then maybe the transportation can be improved. I would suggest that transport be privatised. I am not thinking of more money for my cronies, but Government is notorious for not caring much especially when it gets a monopoly.

11. Of course children and OKU should be exempted from paying.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

SOUNDBITES – HOUSING

blogtunm.blogspot.com Tun M 
1. There have been many comments on my blog on Housing.

2. As usual some are for and some against.

3. I don’t have to reply because the comments cancel each other.

4. Nevertheless I think an audit of the occupancy of the buildings completed in the last three years would be useful to validate or disprove the comments on the blog.

5. The Government may find it useful to require returns on the sale and occupancy as well as the length of time premises unsold or bought remain empty.

6. This audit should be updated every three or six months. Not only will it be useful to the Government but developers will also benefit from the information.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

HOUSING

blogtunm.blogspot.com Tun M 
1. In the 1980’s and early 1990’s there was a great construction boom in Tokyo. Land was sold at USD 3,000 per sq foot. Everyone was rushing to buy expensive land because the market for apartments and office space seem to be forever.

2. Then suddenly the market dried up. The boom became bust. Since then Japan has not been able to really recover.

3. It was the same with Hong Kong. The economy collapsed because of overbuilding.

4. In a way the sub-prime crisis which triggered the financial and economic collapse also had to do with the building industry.
5. I once thought that the tower crane should be included in the coat-of-arms of KL City Council because they were all over the city. KL grew at a rapid pace and the skyline changed almost every day.
6. KL is still growing. New high-rise apartments, condominiums and office buildings are mushrooming everywhere. It is really amazing. We really look like a newly developed country.
7. Can this growth go on forever? True, KL’s population and that of Greater KL (including non-Wilayah areas) have been growing fast. At independence, the population was only 350,000. Today Klang Valley has a population of almost 6 million. Obviously the businesses and the workers at all levels need space to live and work.
8. But it is not impossible that the provision for these would not outstrip the rise in population and their spending power.

9. Shopping complexes are being developed sometimes next to each other. Surely it will cause the shoppers to be divided between them. There will not be enough to support all the complexes. Some will survive, some will die.

10. Already we have seen a few hyper-market chains going out of business. Will this not happen to a few of the shopping complexes? Will this not happen to the other major development projects?

11. And we are told of new giant projects. The Sungai Buloh KL City Centre, the new KL Financial District and the 100-storey Merdeka Tower Project.

12. Some people say that even the Petronas Twin Towers are empty. Well they are not fully occupied. This is because of a policy to allow only prestigious corporations and institutions to have the Twin Towers as their address. In any case, Petronas has enough requests for space to decide to add extra space for the shopping complex and a forty-storey tower.

13. I should really be advising Petronas to abandon its current project. But here I am talking about overbuilding in KL. Really I shouldn’t. But I am really concerned over the possibility of the bubble bursting.

Friday, November 26, 2010

THE CURRENCY

blogtunm.blogspot.com Tun M 
1. The Malaysian Ringgit has appreciated after control was removed. It is now stronger against the US Dollar by approximately 20 per cent.

2. What does this mean to the people? It should result in imports becoming cheaper if not by 20 per cent at least by some percentage below that.

3. But I don’t think Malaysian imports paid for in US Dollars is noticeably cheaper in Ringgit. Why is this so?

4. When the currency appreciates through market forces, it is neither constant nor does it do so at specific rates. It may appreciate a little, then depreciates. Then it may appreciate again.

5. It takes a long time before the strengthening is substantial as to affect costs of imports or exports.

6. Under this circumstance the depreciation in price of imports cannot be monitored. Despite an appreciation of the Ringgit against the US Dollar by 20 per cent, there may not be any change in the price of imports in Ringgit. In some cases the price might increase.

7. It is only when Malaysians travel abroad that they may feel richer due to the appreciation of the Ringgit.

8. But if the rate of exchange is controlled, then it will be possible to monitor the prices of major imports and their retail prices. Sugar, flour, components for manufacturing industry, petroleum products and even manufactured goods should be cheaper in Malaysian Ringgit when it appreciates and dearer when it depreciates. If through control we strengthen the Ringgit by 20 per cent then we should be able to enjoy imports cheaper by about that percentage.

9. If the Ringgit is controlled, how should the Government determine the exchange rate of the Ringgit at a given time. In 1998 the Ringgit was fixed at RM3.80 to the US Dollar because that was roughly the rate of exchange of the currencies of our neighbours against the US Dollar. We did not want our Ringgit to be too strong compared to the currencies of our neighbours. We wanted to remain competitive.

10. An appreciation of 20 per cent to the 1998 exchange rate would be about equal that of the current appreciation of the Thai Baht.

11. When to fix the new rate is dependent on the behaviour of the currency of our competitors. We should avoid small increases or decreases but should wait until the gain or loss would be around 10 per cent. Prior to doing this we should monitor the prices of our imports and exports. When we announce the new rate we can determine the gain or loss by the importers, wholesalers and retailers. The prices can then be calculated and any gain passed on to the consumers.

12. That is the advantage of currency control over free float even when managed.

13. It is strange that at the time when many countries have decided on currency control Malaysia is thinking of freeing the Ringgit from any control.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

TUN DR LIM CHONG EU

blogtunm.blogspot.com Tun M 
1. We know that we must all leave this life one day. But knowing the inevitabilty of death cannot stop us from grieving over the passage of a great man, no matter how long he may have lived.

2. As a nationalist, as a friend, as a compatriot, I feel saddened by the passage from this life of Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu.

3. Except for Tun Razak, Tun Lim contributed most to the formation of the National Front, the coalition which succeeded the Alliance, ruled and developed Malaysia until today. He responded postively to the proposal by Tun Razak to rejoin the coalition for the good of Malaysia. He rose above many of the grievances which had led him to leave the MCA, to become a junior partner even though he had been victorious. He was content to be just a Chief Minister of Penang.

4.It was as a Chief Minister that he made Foreign Direct Investment a by-word in Malaysia and perhaps in the world. He brought the first foreign investments in electronics to Penang. It was the best thing for overcoming unemploymnet which had plagued Malaysia till then.

5. It was he who made the Penang the centre for the transformation of Malaysia into an industrial nation. Towards this end he was tireless, almost single-handedly contacting and persuading foreign industrialists to invest in the new electronics industry. So successfull was he that very quickly Penang was short of workers and other states benefitted from his effort at creating employment.

6. I worked closely with Tun Lim and always found him open to proposals on the development of Penang and Malaysia. When he lost in the 1990 elections, it came as a shock to me. I had thought that the people of Penang would remember his services and overcome partisan sentiments. But I suppose I was hoping for far too much.

7. Malaysia, and I dare say Penang, has lost a great leader with the passing away of Tun Dr Lim Ching Eu.

8. I offer my condolences to Toh Puan Goh Sing Yeng and all the members of Tun Lim’s family.

Monday, November 22, 2010

SOUNDBITES

blogtunm.blogspot.com Tun M 
MULTICULTURAL SOCIETY

The Nation newspaper reported on October 18th that the Chancellor of Germany, Angela Markel, said “Multikulti (Multicultural) in Germany has not worked” (read here).

Her remarks were prompted by the unwillingness of Germany’s non-German population of 16 million, including Turks and Jews to “integrate” with the natives of Germany i.e. the ethnic Germans.

For the Muslim Turks integration means curbs on their religion. Whether the Jews also should have their religion curbed is not mentioned.

I think Malaysia can be regarded as being more successful with multi-culturalism. We are more tolerant of the differences between our racial origins, our religions, our languages and our cultures.

I think Germany and Chancellor Merkel can learn something from Malaysia about multi-culturalism.

Friday, November 19, 2010

THE STOCK MARKET

blogtunm.blogspot.com Tun M 
1. Lately we have been seeing rather rapid increases in the Kuala Lumpur Composite Index. Those who play the stock market must be feeling very happy. Much money must be made by investors from capital gains.

2. Some people believe that the rise of the KLCI is an indicator of the healthy state of the Malaysian economy. This may be true but let me throw some cold water in the belief that the index indicates that the economy is doing very well.

3. It is doing fairly well, no doubt, but that is not enough to push the KLCI to record highs. What is happening is that a lot of foreign money is coming in to buy Malaysian stocks.

4.In itself it is not bad. It is also a kind of foreign direct investment (FDI). But this kind of FDI is not about setting up industries to produce goods for export. The latter will not be easily liquidated to take the invested capital out. The plants which are set up cannot be easily sold. The Investors will have to manage them through good and bad times to get a return on their investments.

5. But FDI in stocks and shares can be sold any time and the proceeds taken out.

6. Just as increases in investments push up share prices and the KLCI, rapid or massive divestments will push down the share prices and index.

7. We read in the papers that the Federal Reserve Bank of the United States is pumping US600 billion Dollars into the US economy. A part of this money will no doubt be used to invest in stock and shares of the developing economies. The result of this FDI-financed purchases will be a rise in the share prices and the KLCI.

8. In 1997-1998 the foreign investors pulled out their investments and the KLCI dropped from 1,300 to 262. Naturally a lot of local investors lost money. They could not meet margin calls nor raise money to augment collaterals for their bank loans.

9. The banks found themselves burdened with large numbers of non-performing loans and had to face the threat of bankruptcy.

10. Should the banks collapse the economy of the country will go into a tailspin. It did in 1997-1998. It will happen again should the foreign investors dump their Malaysian shares to take profits from capital gains.

11. Foreign funds, especially from the US coming in to invest in Malaysia’s stock market at this time must be considered as hot money. I would not be suprised when the KLCI peaks the foreign investors will dump their shares and collect capital gains. The share prices will fall rapidly and Malaysians who had chased the shares on their way up will be asked to meet margin calls. If they fail they will lose a lot of money.

12. I hope I am wrong. But sometimes my predictions about money and markets have proven to be right. In any case I only own 200 Malayan Tobacco shares bought before I became Education Minister. I have nothing to gain or to lose, but the country and the stock market investors will lose.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

THE CURRENCY WAR 2

blogtunm.blogspot.com Tun M 
1. Malaysians, including Malaysian monetary authorities seem quite happy over the appreciation of the Ringgit against the US Dollar. We think that when our currency strengthens it must be because our economy is strong, Therefore we are doing well.

2. But are we doing well? Is it the Ringgit which is appreciating or is it the US Dollar which is devaluing?

3. Actually it is the US Dollar which is devaluing. It is devaluing against most other currencies, especially against China’s currency.

4. Why is the dollar devaluing? Could it be due to the currency traders selling dollars? Could it be because the balance of payment is not in US favour?

5. Martin Wolf of the Financial Times, an expert on money have this to say. There is a global currency battle going on. “To put it crudely,” he says, “the US wants to inflate the rest of the world, while the latter is trying to deflate the US. The US must win, since it has infinite ammunition; there is no limit to the dollars the Federal Reserve can create. What needs to be discussed is the terms of the world’s surrender; the needed changes in nominal exchange rates and domestic policies around the world.

6. Our reserves are represented by the US Dollar, gold and other currencies which we keep in order to back the value of our Ringgit, The US clearly does not have to hold foreign currencies to back the Dollar. All the US has to is to create (print) money.

7. When we buy US Dollar bonds, we are in fact lending US Dollars to the US. When we redeem the bonds all the US has to do is to print more US Dollars to pay us.

8. How nice it would be if we can pay all our debts by just printing money.

9. There is something fishy going on and the fishy smell is very strong in the US. “Poor” China with 2.5 trillion devalued dollars in its reserve. Wonder how much Bank Negara has?

10. In the face of Governments devaluing their currencies in a currency war, what should Malaysia do? Keep the float or control? When we controlled our currency in 1998 we were called pariahs whose knowledge about finance could be wriiten on the back of a postage stamp. Now it seems many nations are using their magnifying glasses to read what is written on the back of the postage stamps.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

LABUAN

blogtunm.blogspot.com Tun M 
1. The last time I was in Labuan was in 1998 to officiate the opening of the new building of the Labuan Offshore Financial Centre. So when I was invited to speak on Islamic Finance by the Centre, now known as the Labuan Offshore Financial Services Authority, I accepted it with alacrity. I wanted to see the progress made since I was there the last time.

2. I am glad to see obvious development everywhere. The old wood and zinc sheds have been largely replaced by new brick and mortar houses of pleasing designs. The roads are well paved. The kampung roads have been concretised. New buildings and shop houses are going up everywhere.

3. YB Dato Yusof Haji Mahal (MP for Labuan) rode with me around the island pointing out proudly to the concrete walkways in the water villages, the Direct Reduction Iron plant, the oil supply base and the big Petronas Methanol plants.

4. Somehow I felt once again the happiness and the nostalgia at seeing the greenness of the island and the landscaping. All the roads of Labuan are lighted as Labuan has a big gas powered plant. It exports electricity to the mainland.

5. There is a big new international airport but only MAS and Air Asia flies into Labuan. Although there is an open-sky policy, attempts to get foreign airlines to fly to Labuan has failed. As a result tourist arrivals is very small.

6. When I was PM I had suggested we make Labuan into a garden island. In Victoria Island in Vancouver, an old quarry was developed into a beautiful garden – the Butchart Gardens. Annually it receives 2 million visitors.

7. We once invited the developers of Butchart Gardens to build a smaller garden in Tanjung Malim near a hot spring whose hot water flows into a nearby river. Money was allocated for it but when I stepped down the project was dumped because the Government has no money.

8. If we want tourists to come we must have something to show them. Labuan has a few natural things to offer but not enough to attract foreign tourist. Converting the island into a garden, building bicycle tracts for mountain bikes and holding bicycle races, a regatta for sailing boats, fishing, diving to see shipwrecks would add to Labuan’s attraction as a free port and shopping centre for visitors from Asean neighbours and other countries.

9. The cost to the Government for providing all these would be quite small but for the Government and the country the returns can be quite considerable.

10. Labuan is a Barisan Nasional stronghold. It was once won by an independent. I think enticing the 80,000 Labuanese would be good for BN politics.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

WATER AGREEMENTS

blogtunm.blogspot.com Tun M 
1. Next year, 2011, one of the agreements to supply up to 86 million gallons of water per day (mgd) from Johore to Singapore at 3 sen per 1,000 gallons will end.

2. I understand Johore is still buying treated water from Singapore for 50 sen per 1,000 gallons. The amount purchased should not exceed 12 per cent of the raw water bought by Singapore.

3. The agreement also stipulates that the price of raw water and treated water can be renegotiated and changed if both parties agree. Should the raw water price be revised upwards Singapore would be entitled to revise the price of treated water.

4. If, for example, under the current agreement the water price is increased to 6 sen per 1,000 gallons, i.e. 100 per cent, Singapore can insist on the same percentage price increase by 100 per cent i.e. from 50 sen per 1,000 gallons to one Ringgit per thousand gallons.

5. If both sides agree on this quantum of price increase, Singapore would actually earn more from selling treated water to Johor than Malaysia would earn from selling raw water to Singapore.

6. Almost 10 years ago Johor was allocated sufficient money to build its own treatment plant so as not to buy treated water from Singapore. I am told that for reasons unknown, despite building its own treatment plant Johore is still buying treated water from Singapore.

7. Johore sells raw water to Melaka at 30 sen per 1,000 gallons. It seems that Johore is less generous towards Melaka than it is towards a foreign country. The wisdom of this escapes me.

8. Whatever, in 2011, a new agreement to supply Singapore with raw water from Johore may have to be made, I think that despite Singapore’s desalination plant, despite Newater, and new reservoirs, Singapore would still need raw water from Johore. We should be willing to supply the people of Singapore with raw water.

9. The question is whether we should sell at 3 sen per 1,000 gallons and buy at 50 sen per 1,000 gallons of treated water as before or we should extract better terms.

10. Malaysian negotiators are unduly generous and we often provide ourselves with no exit clause. I will not cite the cases.

11. The public, the Johore people in particular, should be assured that we don’t make agreements which are indefensible this time.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

PROTON DALAM ERA TEKNOLOJI HIJAU

blogtunm.blogspot.com Tun M 
1. Pada 6hb November kereta Proton Exora telah menang pertandingan kereta zaman akan datang yang dianjurkan oleh RAC (Royal Automobile Club – United Kingdom). Pertandingan ini melibatkan hanya kereta-kereta otomobil yang tidak terlalu mencemar udara dengan pengeluaran asap, karbon dioksida dan monoksida.

2. Hampir semua syarikat-syarikat otomobil di dunia telah mengambil bahagian dalam pertandingan ini dengan kereta elektrik dan hybrid ciptaan mereka untuk masa depan (future). Kereta-kereta ini dikehendaki berjalan dari Brighton ke London, perjalanan sejauh lebih kurang 60 batu (miles).

3. Diantara jenama yang terkenal yang mengambil bahagian ialah Toyota (Jepun), Volkswagen (Jerman) dan General Motors (Amerika Syarikat). Ada yang mengambil bahagian dengan kereta yang sudah dipasarkan dan ada yang belum dipasarkan.

4. Proton menyertai dengan sebuah kereta Exora untuk pertandingan ini yang menggunakan sistem yang, selain daripada amat kurang mencemarkan udara tetapi juga menggunakan bahan bakar petrol yang amat sedikit.

5. Exora mendapat tempat pertama dalam kategori Extended Range Electric Vehicle (kereta elektrik yang ditingkatkan jarak perjalanannya) serta juga memenangi dalam semua kategori termasuk kereta elektrik (EV – Electric Vehicle), kereta yang ditingkatkan jarak perjalanan (extended range EV), hybrid (menggunakan enjin petroleum dan elektrik bersama) dan minyak disel.

6. Exora mencatat ekonomi penggunaan petrol sebanyak 136 batu (miles) bagi satu gelen. Tempat kedua hanya mampu mencatat jarak 62 batu (miles) bagi satu gelen – iaitu kurang separuh daripada kebolehan Proton Exora.

7. Keputusan pertandingan ini jelas menunjukkan yang teknologi Proton jauh lebih baik daripada teknologi lain-lain jenama.

8. Sementara itu Proton Saga elektrik juga mendapat kemenangan tetapi syarikat-syarikat lain membuat protes. Pihak Proton telah membantah terhadap protes ini.

9. Selain daripada kurang mencemar udara dan jarak perjalanan bagi satu gelen petrol kereta Exora dan Saga mampu memuatkan jumlah penumpang sepenuhnya dan bootnya (tempat simpanan barang) juga mempunyai kapasiti biasa. Hampir semua kereta lain terpaksa menggunakan boot dan tempat duduk belakang untuk bateri.

10. Kejayaan Proton dalam pertandingan ini membuktikan kemampuannya bersaing dengan syarikat-syarikat gergasi dunia dalam teknologi elektrik, extended range electric dan hybrid.

11. Proton sedang bersiap sedia untuk mengeluarkan Saga Elektrik dan Exora Extended Range untuk pasaran dunia. Buat kali pertama Proton mempunyai harapan untuk bersaing dalam pasaran kereta bermotor di seluruh dunia.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

PERKASA

blogtunm.blogspot.com Tun M 
1. Saya ucap terimakasih kerana ramai yang melawat blog saya dan membuat komen menyokong atau menolak. Ramai juga yang bercakap berkenaan bahagian-bahagian Perlembagaan yang tidak boleh dipinda (entrenched). Tetapi ramai yang tidak ambil kira tentang peruntukan-peruntukan dalam Perlembagaan yang begitu adil. Tiada perlindungan bagi hak sesuatu kaum yang tidak diimbangi dengan hak kaum-kaum lain.

2. Demikian apabila agama Islam dijadikan agama rasmi negara Malaysia, susulan daripada itu perlembagaan memperuntukkan bahawa agama-agama lain boleh dianuti dan dipraktik oleh penganut-penganut agama berkenaan tanpa gangguan.

3. Apabila bahasa Melayu diterima sebagai bahasa rasmi negara, tetapi bahasa-bahasa lain boleh digunakan sebagai bahasa ibunda dan bahasa pengantar di sekolah-sekolah.

4. Apabila sekolah kebangsaan ialah sekolah yang mengguna bahasa kebangsaan sebagai bahasa pengantar, sekolah-sekolah jenis nasional boleh mengguna bahasa Cina (bahasa kebangsaan China) dan bahasa Tamil (bahasa suku kaum Tamil).

5. Perlembagaan juga melindungi hak memiliki hartanah semua kaum supaya pengambilan tanah oleh Kerajaan tidak boleh dibuat tanpa pampasan.

6. Yang jelas ialah Perlembagaan Malaysia adil bagi semua kaum. Apabila keistimewaan diberi kepada satu kaum, kaum lain juga diberi keistimewaan dan dilindungi. Perkara yang harus diingati oleh semua ialah hak istimewa bukan bagi Melayu atau Bumiputera sahaja.

7. Perlembagaan boleh dipinda tetapi ianya hendaklah dengan persetujuan sekurang-kurangnya dua pertiga daripada ahli-ahli Dewan Rakyat. Demikianlah keahlian dewan dari segi agihan antara kaum, tidak mungkin mana-mana kaum dengan sendirinya meminda perlembagaan untuk menghapuskan hak istimewa Bumiputera atau bukan Bumiputera.

8. Berkenaan dengan Dasar Ekonomi Baru pula, agihan kepada Bumiputera hanyalah daripada bahagian ekonomi yang tumbuh dan tidak dengan merampas apa yang telah dimiliki bukan Bumiputera untuk diberi kepada Bumiputera.

9. Dalam pada itu raja-raja juga perlu memberi persetujuan jika kedudukan negeri-negeri mereka tersentuh.

10. Benarlah seperti kata Dato Seri Najib dalam mesyuarat Perhimpunan Agong UMNO bahawa tuntutan untuk meminda perlembagaan untuk melucutkan keistimewaan mana-mana kaum tidak mungkin dilakukan dan berjaya. Tuntutan ini hanya akan memburukkan hubungan antara kaum tanpa memberi manfaat kepada sesiapa.

11. Jika Perkasa dianggap rasis (dan saya juga rasis kerana bersekongkol dengannya) kerana mempertahankan hak keistimewaan orang Melayu, mereka yang bercadang untuk melucutkan hak orang Melayu tetapi tidak hak istimewa mereka sendiri tentulah bersifat rasis juga.

12. Hanya mereka yang bercadang melucutkan hak istimewa semua kaum sahaja yang tidak rasis.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

PERKASA and ME

blogtunm.blogspot.com Tun M 
1. When the 5th PM took over, it became obvious he was incompetent and unable to govern the country and grow its economy. He was seen as weak by the Malays as well as by the Chinese and Indians. He flipped-flopped, making decisions and policies and reversing them, arresting opposition members under the ISA and then releasing them shortly after, claiming that he wanted to protect them.

2. Extremists among the Chinese and Indians felt they could safely challenge the Government, particularly over racial issues. They demanded that provisions in the Constitution favouring the Malays and the NEP quotas be removed. Even Barisan Nasional partners took up the call.

3. Normally UMNO leaders and UMNO generally would take up the defence of the Malays. But Abdullah as UMNO President and PM was silent (elegant silence) causing the other leaders and members of UMNO to become silent also.

4. As the attack against the Malays escalated and UMNO remained silent, the Malay public felt they were being let down by UMNO. Losing faith in UMNO, they began to set up NGOs to take up the challenges by the Chinese and Indian activists.

5. Perkasa as an NGO gained the most support because the founder was more vocal and willing to take risk and to rebut the views of the Chinese and Indian extremists.

6. Meanwhile Malay support for UMNO was silently eroding. In the 2008 elections the loss of Malay support for UMNO became evident. Many either abstained or voted for PAS.

7. Demands were then made for Abdullah to step down. Najib took over and he tried to regain Chinese support by apparently giving in to Chinese demands on several issues. The new UMNO leadership also opted to remain silent and failed to defend the Malay position. Instead of going back to support UMNO, Malays including UMNO members continue to flocked to Perkasa.

8. In the 2008 elections, many UMNO and BN candidates won only by small margins even in their strongholds. If in the next election defections by even a small number of supporters in some constituencies can result in a reduction of the Barisan Nasional majority or even cause the BN to lose altogether.

9. Because of the poor handling of the Perak crisis, the Chinese who considered the Pakatan Government of Perak as a Chinese Government, swore not to support BN anymore.

10. The situation of UMNO and BN looked bleak. They have not regained the Malay support lost in the 2008 elections and they face the prospect of the Chinese not supporting the Barisan Nasional in the 13th General Elections. Striving to regain Chinese support is not enough. They must also regain Malay support.

11. UMNO may think that all the Malays are supportive of the party. But UMNO cannot be sure of that. Their silence before the 2008 Election was deceptive. We now know that many supported the opposition. Can UMNO disregard or antagonise any Malay group? I think it would be dangerous to do so.

12. Perkasa has not indicated that it is against BN and UMNO. In fact it has hinted that it is for UMNO. Looking at the strength of Malay support for Perkasa antagonising them would not be to the benefit of the Barisan Nasional or UMNO.

13. Perkasa is accused of being racist and should be rejected on that ground. Is Perkasa racist? If anyone cares to study the statement by Perkasa he will not fail to note that it has confined itself to rebutting allegations that the non-Malays have been discriminated against, that the Malays need to retain their present position. If it is really racist then it would be demanding the abolition of the special treatment of the Chinese and Indians in Malaysia. This it has not done except when defending the Malay position.

14. It is illogical to expect that when the Chinese and Indian activists demand for the removal of policies and schemes to help the Malays, they, the Malays should remain silent or to agree. Surely the natural thing for them to do is to defend themselves. If their anointed protector, UMNO, refuses for whatever reason to voice disagreement against the demands of the Chinese and Indians, then the beleaguered Malays will have to find a champion elsewhere.

15. They could form a political party and undermine UMNO. But they did not. The Malays are already fragmented. And so they formed NGOs instead which leaves them with the option to support or not to support UMNO and the Barisan Nasional.

16. True there are a few Malays in Pakatan who seem to agree and support demands to do away with the affirmative action in favour of the Malays. But they are doing this simply to fish for Chinese support for their parties.

17. Whatever may be the feelings of UMNO, I have decided that the NGOs have a big enough following which could do damage to UMNO and the BN in the next election if they want to. Accordingly I have decided to stay close with Perkasa especially and to ensure that it does not swing over to the opposition. I would like to ensure that Perkasa supports the Barisan Nasional in the next election.

18. Does this make me a racist? I had at one time the opportunity and power to be a real Malay racist. But I won elections with strong non-Malay support. In fact in1999 it was Chinese support which gave me my 2/3 majority.

19. I was obviously not regarded as a racist then (except of course by the DAP). So why am I regarded as a racist now when all I want to do is to ensure Malay support for Barisan Nasional parties, especially UMNO.
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