Thursday, March 20, 2014

Kuasa Mutlak

1. Sebelum British menakluki negeri-negeri Melayu, sistem pemerintahan adalah Raja berkuasa penuh. Semua perolehan hasil dan cukai adalah milik Raja. Pembiayaan pemerintahan dan pembangunan diperuntukkan oleh Raja.

2. Banyaklah penipuan berlaku semasa cukai dikutip. Yang didapati oleh Raja biasanya sedikit sahaja.

3. Kekurangan kewangan menjadi masalah kepada Raja. Bagi mengatasinya Raja terpaksa jual atau pajak tanah. Dengan itu wilayah negeri-negeri Melayu merosot dan menjadi semakin kecil.

4. Apabila British mengambil alih pemerintahan negeri-negeri Melayu, cukai dipungut dengan lebih tersusun dan dimasukkan ke dalam Perbendaharaan negeri dan persekutuan.

5. Semua perbelanjaan pentadbiran termasuk political pension Raja, gaji dan elaun pegawai dan kakitangan sehingga ke budak pejabat diurus oleh Perbendaharaan. Keperluan untuk berhutang atau jualan tanah tidak lagi timbul.

6. Pegawai pentadbir Melayu yang mengetuai gerakan untuk Kemerdekaan kagum dengan sistem yang diperkenalkan oleh British. Oleh itu, apabila sistem pentadbiran Malaya merdeka dirancang, mereka memilih demokrasi dengan Raja berperlembagaan dan dewan perundangan (Parlimen) yang dipilih oleh rakyat. Pentadbiran di serah kepada sebuah Kabinet yang terdiri dari pemimpin parti yang menang. Raja tidak lagi berkuasa penuh. Namun tandatangan Raja yang memerintah diperlukan bagi mengesahkan undang-undang. Kuasa ini adalah formal kerana Raja dikehendaki terima nasihat daripada Perdana Menteri atau Menteri Besar. Hanya berkenaan perkara yang melibat diri Raja-Raja sahaja yang Raja berperlembagaan berkuasa.

7. Kepimpinan dalam Kerajaan diberi kuasa hanya untuk pentadbiran negara dan bukan untuk diri sendiri. Tetapi budaya Melayu adalah demikian mereka akan akur arahan ketua-ketua tertinggi tanpa mengambil kira samada arahan mengikuti undang-undang atau tidak. Oleh sebab ini, kuasa orang yang berkuasa menjadi mutlak dan ramailah yang mendekati diri dengan yang berkuasa untuk mengguna kuasa itu untuk kepentingan diri. Untuk tujuan ini biasanya orang-orang ini akan membodek dan menawar pemberian sebahagian dari pendapatan mereka dari perniagaan yang mereka dapat hasil pertolongan pihak berkuasa kepada yang berkuasa. Maka berlakulah rasuah oleh yang berkuasa.

8. Kuasa mutlak, sama ada dianugerah oleh undang-undang atau adat budaya keMelayuan amat merbahaya. Ia akan meningkat ke tahap yang tidak dapat diterima oleh rakyat. Sebelum sampai tahap ini, eloklah pihak berkenaan diberitahu. Janganlah orang yang berkuasa mutlak atau tidak melanggar perlembagaan, undang-undang atau dasar-dasar Negara.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

THE RAW HATRED FOR PROTON


1. The raw hatred for Proton by some members of the media is quite unprecedented. Nothing is right about Proton. It should really be bankrupted and closed down. That will reduce the price of cars so everyone in Malaysia can own a foreign made car.

2. Firstly car prices are high because taxes are high. But the detractors will say the taxes are high to protect Proton.

3. The protection for Proton is minimal. Most of the exemption from tax that Proton gets can also be obtained by foreign cars if they are prepared to have 90% local contents and are made locally which Proton has achieved.

4. But who cares whether the local contents are high or low. I think we should care because the local contents and local car production have created almost 250,000 high-income jobs directly and indirectly. Imported fully-built-up cars create jobs in their own countries. Do we want 250,000 people to lose their jobs so foreign workers will benefit!

5. Then there is the acquisition of technology and engineering knowhow. We were just assembling foreign cars at inflated cost due to very low deletion allowances in 1983 when Proton was launched. Today we have the capacity to design, build prototypes, test and produce our own cars. Acquiring this capacity carries some cost. But because of Proton’s needs we have produced highly qualified engineers and technicians. And we are not penalised by low deletion allowance for high cost parts.

6. Do we need this capacity? We have ambitions to become a developed country. Can a country of consumers of foreign products ever become a developed country? We see some very rich countries with no industrial capacity at all. They buy everything from foreign countries. Can we say they are developed? We need industrial capacities and sophistication if we aim to become a truly developed country. We need scientists, engineers, inventors, innovators, highly skilled workers etc. etc. We will not have them if we cannot create jobs for them. Proton create those jobs.

7. How much has the Government paid to have Proton? Four hundred million Ringgit. Proton borrowed 800 million Ringgit which it had repaid. Compare this with what a Japanese company and the GM in the U.S. spent recently merely to develop and produce electric and hybrid cars – 5 billion US dollars each. They have still not got it right. To start an automotive company in Europe and America at the time we started would require billions of dollars. The Government spent only 120 million US Dollars.

8. The Malaysian Government promised to give 200 million Ringgit a year for Proton’s research in hybrids and electric cars. Hardly a fraction of this fund has been given to Proton. There is no record of 3 billion Ringgit being given to Proton by the Government. On the other hand Proton financed the construction of the Tanjung Malim Plant at 1.8 billion Ringgit using internal funds. Incidentally the Government has collected billions of Ringgit from Proton through various taxes, directly and indirectly. Of course the Government would collect the same or more from imports. But to import, the outflow of funds would be more than the taxes collected.

9. But let us close down Proton and buy foreign cars. The outflow of Malaysian money due to import of cars every year totals 20+ billion Ringgit. Automotive components and cars exported from Malaysia earn us four billion Ringgit. Net outflow is 16+ billion Ringgit. Close down Proton and the outflow would be 20 billion Ringgit or more.

10. Government is subsidising fuel amounting to almost 24 billion Ringgit a year. The tax on cars is high because the Government needs to recoup some of the subsidy money. With or without Proton the taxes are needed by Government. Outflow of funds will increase our trade deficits.

11. The sales of Proton cars has not been good lately. The new management and owners have to do a lot of cleaning up. Proton has now decided not to produce inferior cars for the Malaysian market and then upgrade them for the foreign markets. That was the original policy.

12. Proton now produces cars for domestic and the world market conforming to Euro 5 and other world standards. Go test the Prevé or Suprima S. They are superior to the old Proton cars. Proton intends to keep up with the sophistication of the imports. In fact in many respects they are superior to imports of the same class. Imports were given exemptions from conforming to Malaysian standards. Proton never seek to be exempted.

13. But superiority comes with a cost. Malaysians complain about the performance of Proton cars before but now that we produce better cars Malaysians must be prepared to pay a little bit more. Remember even the best brands have to recall hundreds of thousands because defect cause accidents and deaths.

14. If we look around we see many of the European and American brands have disappeared. But Proton is still around. That in itself is a minor miracle in the automotive world.

15. Proton is determined to not only survive but to do well as an industry and a business. The detractors can say what they like. That will not deter Proton. We in Proton look upon our work as a mission. We think we are contributing to the development of Malaysia as a really developed country. It will take a little time. But we are determined to make a success of this the only car from a developing country.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

The MCA

1. The MCA has decided practically unanimously to rejoin the Government as members of the cabinet. This should be welcomed by Malaysians; not all of course, but a majority.

2. Many have criticized the role played by the MCA in the Malaysian Government. It is obvious that UMNO dominated the Government. But then UMNO has always been and even now is by far the biggest party in the BN coalition. Malay dominance in the political field is due to their numerical strength as voters and as elected members. It is an accepted fact, as much as Chinese dominance in the economic field is a reality we must accept.

3. In Malaysia up till now there cannot be one race dominating both the economic field as well as the political field. The best that can happen is a sharing of political and economic power with one race dominant in one field and another in the other.

4. But what cannot be denied is that the partnership between particularly UMNO and MCA, the second biggest party, kept this country stable and able to develop for over half a century. Even the blind and the deaf must admit the good performance of the country lead by UMNO representing the Malays, MCA representing the Chinese and MIC representing the Indians and later together with the indigenous peoples of Sabah and Sarawak.

5. Of course no one is fully satisfied. But in a partnership you cannot get 100% of what you think you are entitled to. UMNO, MCA and MIC and the other ethnic parties must accept the need to sacrifice some in order to gain some. If no one wants to sacrifice anything, there cannot be a partnership. In the end no one gets anything. The bickering and animosity will cause the country to be unstable and unable to develop. It is the inability to make some concessions and sacrifices that has led to what is happening in the countries of the Middle East.

6. In the 13th General Election, the DAP dangled before the eyes of the Chinese that this time (kali ini) they can grab both political and economic dominance. They point to the Perak model where when Pakatan won the head of Government was a Malay but he was totally subservient to the DAP (Chinese). When the Pakatan Government with Nizar of PAS as the MB was brought down, the DAP told the Chinese that they had lost a Chinese Government. The Chinese in Perak have since become anti-BN.

7. Some Malay politicians are convinced that the Chinese being in the minority cannot ever rule Malaysia as Singapore is ruled by the Chinese. Physically holding office is not necessary. If the Prime Minister is totally under the control of the DAP then it would become a Chinese dominated Government.

8. Today the Malays are divided into three parties. For any party to win, Chinese support is essential. The Malay parties have become dependent on Chinese votes to win.

9. The DAP sees this as an opportunity to choose which Malay party should win. Their choice is PAS and Keadilan which are totally subservient to them. They believed that their Pakatan would win enough seats to form the Government. It would be a DAP subservient Government because if it leaves the Pakatan it will fall. Of course if any of the two Malay-based parties leave Pakatan, the Government would also fall. So none of the Malay-based parties would dare to leave the Pakatan. PAS actually said that it will work with the DAP even if the DAP rejects PAS’s Islamic State.

10. The DAP dangled this possibility of a Chinese dominated Government to the Chinese voters. Supporters of the MCA flocked to the opposition parties so that a Chinese DAP dominated Government would rule Malaysia. There were of course other things about the Government that the Chinese did not like.

11. But the 13th General Election saw PAS and Keadilan, despite DAP support failing to win the required number of seats to form a Pakatan Federal Government together with DAP. PAS did very badly indeed and will play second fiddle in the Pakatan as the opposition.

12. But the DAP is not about to give up. There will be another opportunity in the 14th General Election. If the trend toward declining support for BN continues, it may result in the DAP vision of Chinese dominance in politics as well as the economy being realised. Malaysia will be like Singapore.

13. The MCA leaders will have a tough time persuading the Chinese to once again reject the idea of Chinese dominance and go back to sharing Malaysia fairly between the three major racial groups and the indigenous peoples of Sabah and Sarawak.

14. We are seeing today instability and economic regression in many countries in the Middle East and in Asia. We have not suffered the same fate simply because the founding fathers laid down the basis for racial cooperation in this country. And the basis is that of sharing political and economic dominance. The Malays dominate politics but accept that a substantial share should go to the Chinese and Indians while the Chinese dominate in the economic field but accept the need to share some of it with the Malays and the others.

15. If greed and ego influence us into discarding the sharing formula and go instead for grabbing everything for ourselves, we will lose stability, we may not grow economically, we may regress in terms of development. In the end the race that grabs everything will find little in their grasp. Nor will the other deprived races.

16. This is a truly multiracial country. We retain our racial identities and we object strongly to beng fully Malaysian. We are all racists even as we call others racists. If we want to live together in a prosperous country we must accept making some concessions and sacrifices.

17. The MCA opting to rejoin the Government is a step in the right direction. The Chinese must support the MCA because they cannot deny the benefits they gained during the partnership between the MCA and UMNO. A bird in hand is worth two in the bush.

18. I will not comment on the current status of race relations. If you think it is good then call me a racist because I speak frankly. But if you think that tensions between the races are worse today than before, then accept the multiracialism of our country and be prepared to concede and make some minimal sacrifices. Be prepared to share political power and economic wealth for the sake of stability and growth. In the end your share of both will be far greater than your lot if you gain total control over the country.

19. This applies not just to the Chinese. This is also what will happen to the Malays, Indians, Kadazans, Ibans, Melanaus, Orang Ulu and all others should any of them try to grab everything for themselves.

20. Forget the idea of dominating all fields, of dominating both politics and economics. Go back to the idea of sharing. It will not be forever. It will be only for the duration when the Malays through their numbers dominate politics and the Chinese through their business acumen and money dominate the economy. Once the Malays and other indigenous people gain a fair share of the economic wealth of this country, they will lose their fear of Chinese domination. At that stage the Chinese share of political power would be enhanced.

21. It may take years but that is as much as we can expect for as long as we insist on being identified by our racial origins.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

BRIM


1. I am amused by the remarks of a Minister that the refusal by 17,000 people in Ipoh to accept the BRIM handout is a mark of their maturity.

2. Actually quite a few people said to me that BRIM is bribe especially when given just before elections. It is the same as giving people placards to raise when you pass. It does not really reflect their feelings or sentiments. Those feelings are better expressed through the votes they cast. Their voting is what reflects their maturity. Of course their feelings may be expressed more crudely.

3. Failure to understand public sentiments would be disastrous for politicians. Self-delusion is even worse.

4. BRIM is costly for a Government facing deficits and shouldering huge debts. At RM500/- per person for 7 million people it would cost the Government 3.5 billion Ringgit. Increase that to RM1,200/- the cost would be 8.4 billion Ringgit. That is a lot of money. Yet there is still a lot of very poor people in the country. Do we really need BRIM. Even without BRIM there was good support by the people. If they do not support it must be because they are not happy with something, maybe even with BRIM. Find out what they are not happy with and you will know what you should do.

5. I am a supporter of the Government. I worked hard to help the party in the last election. But I must admit that I disagree with quite a few things the government is doing.

6. I will not say more.

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