Thursday, March 31, 2011

PROTECTIONISM


1. Recently someone complained that Malaysians have to pay high prices for cars because the Government is protecting Proton.

2. Actually the high price for imported cars was fixed before Proton to reduce gas-guzzling cars from being imported. Thus cars with big engines are taxed (import duty) by 300%. Other cars are also heavily taxed to reduce import of petrol.

3. When Proton was introduced the price fixed was lower due to lower tax being charged. The buyers profited from the lower price so that those who could not buy a car before could now buy a Proton car.

4. Still the tax on Proton yielded 18 billion Ringgit in government revenue over a 10-year period. This is simply because more people bought Protons who before could not afford to own a car. The rapid growth in the ownership of cars is due to the cheapness of the Proton.

5. Today Proton’s share of the market is less than 30%. A lot of foreign cars are being imported because Malaysians are richer now. Despite Mercedes and BMW costing three times more in Malaysia than in Europe, Malaysia is one of the best markets for these huge luxury cars. They buy these cars because they just like them and do not mind the high price. It has nothing to do with protecting Proton.

6. Is the Government doing something that other Governments are not doing? I list below the measures taken by other countries to protect their economy.

7. Singapore : Buyers have to pay a high price for a certificate to import cars.

8. In America US$74 billion in Government funds were used to bail out automotive companies. (Without this bailout General Motors would close down. Americans would have to buy foreign-made cars).

9. France: Government doled out billions to automakers to keep the automotive industries alive.

10. Spain : Interest free loans were made available by the Government to support local industries.

11. UK : Millions of pounds were given to businesses and banks to prevent them from closing down. Still all British car companies have closed down.

12. Germany : Financial incentives were given to scrap older cars so that people can buy new cars.

13. Italy : Subsidies are given for purchase of “green scooter”.

14. Russia : Direct subsidies are given to auto companies and tariffs imposed on used cars to protect industry.

15. China, South Korea : Policies and subsidies are used to protect local automakers.

16. Russia, India and Turkey use import tariffs to protect local industries.

17. China, India, Russia, Vietnam, Ecuador, Argentina, Brazil all have tariff barriers. The United States imposed 35% tariff on China-made tyres.

18. The G20 resolved against protectionism but all of them provide protection in various forms for their businesses, contracts and products.

19. So, is it wrong for Malaysia to protect local industries? Actually our protection is minimal.

20. We believe in competition but we are up against countries which protect their industries against foreign products. In Europe standards are raised every year to keep foreign cars out of their markets. The cars and other products we import are cheap because of subsidies and protection by their countries.

21. In America, if there is a slight defect in the product, selling the product in the US market would be stopped. Because one person got rashes from wearing gloves made of Malaysian rubber, all Malaysian gloves were banned.

22. Millions of Toyota’s hybrid cars were recalled because one car had defective brakes.

23. We can close down Proton and buy only foreign-made cars. Roughly 50,000 people would be thrown out of work. Their families would be deprived of a bread-winner. Many other industries including component suppliers, transport companies etc will suffer. Economic growth would be effected.

24. If we think that without the need to protect Proton, foreign cars would be cheaper, we are wrong. Without the tax on foreign cars and on Proton cars, Government revenue would be smaller. There would be little money to finance infrastructure, universities, scholarships etc. Generally standards of living could decline. So the Government will have to continue with high taxes for imported cars. It is not Proton which is causing foreign cars to sell at high prices.

Monday, March 28, 2011

UNIVERSITY TOWNS


1. I had often wondered why university towns like Cambridge and Oxford do not develop in Malaysia after we build universities in places far from the towns.

2. After much study and thinking things over I have concluded that it is because universities, particularly Government universities, build all the shops within the campus and probably operate them as well. The residences for the students and staff are all built by the University.

3. Developers find no opportunity for developing the surrounding land through building shops and residences for staff and students. There will only be university campuses and no university towns.

4. Universities can be catalysts for new growth areas. That was how Cambridge and Oxford towns were founded. With clever planning these university towns can be very attractive and can attract visitors, especially relatives of the students coming to visit them.

5. Maybe those in charge of university funding and development should think about this.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

MELAYU OH MELAYU


1. Saya sedih. Saya amat sedih apabila mendengar seorang orang Melayu yang mendakwa dia kecewa kerana dianya dilahir berbangsa Melayu.

2. Kekecewaannya disebabkan dia tidak dilahir hanya sebagai orang Islam.

3. Sesungguhnya tidak ada manusia yang dilahir tidak berbangsa. Mungkin ada yang tidak bernegara (stateless) tetapi mereka juga mempunyai bangsa, walaupun tidak diiktiraf oleh negara mereka sendiri. Jika dianya daripada kaum pendatang maka dianya akan menjadi bangsa kaum pendatang.

4. Jika dianya dilahir dalam masyarakat Orang Asli sekalipun dia tidak dapat lari daripada menjadi anggota suku kaum berkenaan.

5. Sesuatu bangsa itu dikenali dengan tempat tinggalnya, atau tempat dan negara asalnya, bahasanya dan budayanya. Anutan agama tidak selalunya dikaitkan dengan bangsa.

6. Demikian ada orang Arab yang beragama Kristian, walaupun majoriti beragama Islam. Demikian juga orang Cina ada yang beragama Islam walaupun majoriti beragama Buddha.

7. Justeru itu kelahiran seseorang tetap berbangsa walaupun tidak tetap agamanya. Sebaliknya orang yang dilahirkan kepada keluarga Islam tidak semestinya berbangsa tertentu. Majoriti daripada mereka berbangsa yang berlainan.

8. Walaupun demikian dalam dunia ini terdapat dua bangsa yang bangsanya ditentukan oleh agama Islamnya. Bangsa-bangsa ini ialah bangsa Maldives dan Melayu. Seseorang yang dilahir dalam keluarga Melayu tetap Islam kerana keluarga itu tidak akan berbangsa Melayu jika mereka tidak Islam.

9. Justeru itu berbahagialah seseorang yang dilahir dalam keluarga Melayu kerana dia tetap menjadi penganut agama Islam. Jika dia dilahir kepada keluarga Arab, atau Indonesia, atau Pakistan, belum tentu dia beragama Islam.

10. Sebab itulah seorang Melayu harus bersyukur kerana dilahir berbangsa Melayu. Apabila orang Melayu berasa dia kecewa kerana berbangsa Melayu, maka ini bermakna dia tidak menghargai nasibnya yang baik kerana dia dilahir sebagai orang Islam. Jika tidak kemungkinan besar dia tidak akan terima agama Islam.

11. Kenapakah kita berbangsa-bangsa? Al-Quran menyebut yang kita manusia terdiri daripada berbagai-bagai bangsa. Jika bangsa adalah sesuatu yang bertentangan dengan ajaran Islam, tentu sekali Tuhan tidak akan menjadikan manusia berbagai bangsa.

12. Yang terbaik daripada manusia bukankah kerana bangsanya tetapi kerana dia bertakwa kepada Allah s.w.t. Yang terbaik atau yang terburuk dikalangan orang Melayu bukanlah kerana bangsanya tetapi kerana dia bertakwa dan mengikuti ajaran Islam atau tidak mengamalkan ajaran Islam. Tidak disebut bahawa yang terbaik ialah orang Islam yang tidak daripada apa-apa bangsa.

13. Justeru itu berbangsa apa pun, Arab atau Ajam, tidak menidak ke-Islamannya. Yang menidak ke-Islaman ialah perbuatan yang bercanggah dengan ajaran Islam.

14. Ini yang harus disoal oleh seorang orang Islam dan bukan menidakkan bangsanya. Lagipun kalau dianya beragama Islam kebaikannya tidak terjamin. Ramai benar orang Islam yang melanggar ajaran Islam dan membuat dosa. Sebaliknya yang berbangsa Melayu dan beragama Islam, ramai yang menurut ajaran Islam dan mengelak daripada berbuat dosa.

15. Mentaati dan bersetia kepada bangsa Melayu, iaitu bangsa yang hanya Melayu jika dianya Islam, tidak bermakna menolak agama Islam. Sebaliknya kesetiaan dan ketaatan orang Melayu kepada agama Islam lebih terjamin. Walaupun biasa terdengar ada orang Melayu yang tinggalkan agama Islam, tetapi tidak ada bukti yang jelas berkenaan dengan adanya orang ini. Lagipun jika dia meninggalkan agama Islam dia tidak Melayu lagi.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

IRON ORE


1. I read an advertisement in a Malaysian paper by a Malaysian Steel mill wanting to buy iron ore. I also know of another steel mill importing iron ore.

2. I think this is very strange. It is known that iron ore is being mined in Terengganu and Pahang right now. I understand that the iron ore is being exported. Without being processed in any order to add value.

3. Why cannot the people mining for iron ore in Malaysia sell the ore to Malaysian mills. The ore they have to buy comes from Australia or even Latin America. The price must be higher because of transportation cost. If Malaysian ore is sold to Malaysian mills, the profit would be higher for the miners as the transportation cost would be lower.

4. If the Malaysian mills are given mining concessions, the price would certainly be lower. It would enable Malaysian mills to compete with imports. If we must export , there should be some added value by conversion to pellets or billets or even construction steel. Malaysia would gain much by so doing.

5. I hope the government authorities concerned will look into this. There is something wrong when we chose to export the raw material needed for our own industry!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

SEMENANJUNG TANAH MELAYU 2


1. Someone asked what about the “Orang Asli” literally the “Original People”. Weren’t they in the peninsular before the Malays?

2. They could be. So are the Red Indians, the Maoris, the aborigines of Australia, the many tribal people in many countries of the world.

3. If we consider that the Orang Asli have more rights to claim Malaysia as their own then we should acknowledge and respect the rights of the Red Indians, the Maoris, the Australian aborigines and all the other aborigines to be given back the land we now call America, Australia, New Zealand etc.

4. Perhaps in recognition of their rights, they are now not so ill-treated and killed as they were when the Europeans seized their lands. But this is not the same as declaring that the countries belong to the people originally found there.

5. In Latin America there were native, indigenous or Orang Asli governments when the Europeans arrived. The Aztecs, the Mayas, the Incas had recognisable states. But the Spaniards and the Portuguese conquered their lands and set up new States and Governments. The world have recognised these states.

6. In Malaysia the Orang Asli are as much citizens of the country as are the people of other races. They had never set up their own states and governments.

7. When the Europeans came, the governments and the states they had to deal with were Malay. All treaties were made with the Malay Governments. Even the Japanese recognised the existence of these Malay States when they drove the British out of the peninsular.

8. Of course when the British came back, they had to gain the assent of the Malay rulers in order to set up the Malayan Union. All subsequent agreements were with Malay rulers and Malay political leaders.

9. It is important to note that the Malay rulers only recognised Malays as their natural “rakyat”. They also recognised “Orang Asli” and non-Malays who had been assimilated as “rakyat”. However, non-Malays who continued to identify themselves with their countries of origin were not regarded as rakyat.

10. It was only after the Malayan Union was formed that the concept of citizenship was created. Still those recognised as rakyat of the rulers were acknowledged through what came to be regarded as special positions.

11. This was enshrined in the constitution. But the constitution also made it clear that the non-Malay citizens also have special position. Thus they may retain their original identity, use their own home language (mother tongue?) and perpetuate their own culture. They also have the right to teach in their own languages in Government supported primary schools and can set up their own private secondary schools.

12. The setting up of schools which teach in their own languages is not to be confused with schools for teaching other languages.

13. We would like to see the end of all special privileges so that we can all be together. We should all be just Malaysians speaking and teaching in one national language, practitioners of one national culture, and owing loyalty only to this beloved country, Malaysia.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

SEMENANJUNG TANAH MELAYU

1. Was I rewriting history when I said that Peninsular Malaysia is historically Semenanjung Tanah Melayu? If Mr Gan Ping Sieu 
(MCA Vice President) cares to read the history of this peninsular, he would know that officially the Malayan Union was replaced by Persekutuan Tanah Melayu. The English name "Federation of Malaya" was not official. I ought to know because I lived through this period.

2. But when the federation was enlarged to include Singapore, Sabah and Sarawak, the Malays, led by the Tunku agreed to the name "Malaysia" for the enlarged federation. Historically therefore the Malays agreed to the renaming of Persekutuan Tanah Melayu. But historically the peninsular was Tanah Melayu, made up of Malay States ruled by their rulers, the Malay Sultans. All agreements with the British were made by the Malay Sultans of the Malay States of the Peninsular. Malaya or Malaysia never entered into agreements with the British simply because they did not exist as sovereign states.

3. These are the facts of history. I was speaking about the origins of Malaysia. Can we say the origin of Malaysia was Malaysia. Historically there was no Malaysia.

4. I talked about this in response to certain people who claim that the Malays are as much immigrants as the Chinese and Indians.

5. Some Malays are obviously descended from people who came to the Malay Peninsular from the Indonesian islands, India and the Arabian Peninsular.

6. Having come here they were assimilated after they identified themselves completely with the Malays by adopting the Malay language, their customs and traditions and by being Muslims.

7. This is a common phenomenon. In America, Australia, Latin America, the later immigrants accepted the languages of their adopted country as their mother tongue as well as the culture.

8. After doing this they no longer think of themselves as being of their original country. They are Americans, Australians and Argentinians period. We don't hear them claiming to be German Americans, Portuguese Australians or Italian Argentinians, even though they or their ancestors came from these countries.

9. Malays are Malays and it is mischievous to suggest that when asked about their race they would say they are Bugis or Javanese. It is only if they are asked where their ancestors came from that they would say Celebes or Java. Otherwise they are just Malays.

10. If you ask me I would reply that I am a Malay. I would not say I am a Malay or Malaysian of ethnic Indian origin. My mother tongue and home language is Malay, my culture and tradition is Malay and I am a Muslim. The constitution defines a Malay as a person who habitually speaks Malay, practices Malay custom and tradition and is a Muslim.

11. However I am told that IC cards in Singapore ignore Malays and state that the person is Bugis or Javanese. The intention is clear; to kill the Malay identity and create the impression that they are foreign immigrants.

12. Malays are caught in a dilemma. When challenged by the opposition on any racial issue, they are unable to respond because if they do then they would be accused of being racist even by members of the Barisan Nasional. When they do not reply then UMNO in particular would lose Malay support for not defending them. This will lead to UMNO being rejected by them. The Chinese have openly declared that they will not support Barisan Nasional. (read here)

13. Without Malay support and deprived of Chinese support UMNO would lose. Barisan Nasional would also lose.

14. Preventing Malays from defending themselves is not much different from supporting the opposition. When I rebut the anti-Malay racism of the opposition I am only trying to ensure that at least the Malays would support Barisan Nasional. I am no racist. Those who support racist statements by the opposition are the real racists.

15. For almost 52 years the Alliance and Barisan Nasional coalitions had worked well together. The prosperity that we enjoy during those years is the result of inter-racial cooperation through the Barisan Nasional.

16. In multiracial Malaysia no one can have everything that they consider they are entitled to - neither the Malays, nor the Chinese nor the Indians nor the different tribal groups in Sabah and Sarawak. The moment anyone demands that he be given everything that he thinks he is entitled to then there can be no inter-racial cooperation. Without inter-racial cooperation this country would go to the dogs.

17. We have read the fable of the thief who shouted "thief"! The racists are the same. They shout racist at others to distract from their own racism.
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