Thursday, February 22, 2007

But if the intention is to lock (migrant workers) up, it will not be acceptable."

Report: Malaysian leader says no curtailing migrant workers' freedom of movement

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia: Malaysia's prime minister said his government will not take steps to "lock up" foreign migrant laborers, news reports said Friday, following proposals by officials to curb workers' movements.

Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said concerns about crime involving foreign workers should be discussed further before any measures are implemented, The Star and the New Straits Times reported.

If any such step is "beneficial to all parties, including the workers, then there is nothing wrong in implementing it," Abdullah was quoted as telling Malaysian reporters during a visit to Indonesia on Thursday. "But if the intention is to lock (migrant workers) up, it will not be acceptable."

He said police efforts to regulate laborers' movements would violate the migrants' basic rights.

Abdullah's aides could not be immediately reached Friday for further details.

Relatively affluent Malaysia has long attracted migrant workers, many fleeing poverty, from countries including Indonesia, Myanmar, India, Bangladesh and China. Many do menial plantation or construction work spurned by most Malaysians.

Some Malaysians have blamed foreign workers, mostly Indonesians, for crime and social problems. The government has said about 1.8 million foreigners work legally in the country, while an estimated 700,000 others lack proper documents.

Home Minister Radzi Sheikh Ahamad said last week his ministry intended to propose a bill next month calling for the confinement of about 2.5 million foreign workers.

Malaysian police Chief Musa Hassan said the proposal was meant to curb crime by monitoring workers' activities and restricting their movements.

He said foreigners committed 5,000 of the 230,000 crimes recorded last year.

Under the proposed legislation, the workers would not be allowed to leave their living quarters — usually makeshift housing within construction sites, hostels near factories or houses in oil palm plantations — unless they register with their employers, who would be responsible for their movements.

Malaysian and international rights groups have condemned the idea, saying it could appear to be racial profiling and worsen migrant laborers' living conditions.

"Stop Spying"

PM: Stop Snooping

The man has spoken:

Click on image to read full article. [Source: theSun's frontpage today]

That goes for all of us out there...take it from da snooping, okay! ;)

PM says NO to snoop squad

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said NO to a move by the Terengganu state government to set up a “snoop squad” or “informers” who would be rewarded for snooping and reporting “immoral activities”.

Pak Lah said: “There is no need for that. There were many more beneficial activities for Muslims that state religious departments could carry out.

Monday, February 19, 2007

"I don't remember taking any (such US$50bil) loan. And I am the Minister of Finance."

PM denies Malaysia borrowing US$50bil

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia is not taking out a US$50bil (RM200bil) loan from overseas to finance the Ninth Malaysia Plan (9MP), Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said.

Tthe country had enough money to fund its national development projects, he added.

"I don't remember taking any (such US$50bil) loan. And I am the Minister of Finance.

"I know this question comes out because people are accusing us of not having enough money. We have enough money," he told reporters at a press conference on Friday after the 6th National Small and Medium Enterprise Development Council Meeting at Bank Negara.

Abdullah said that money had already been set aside for the 9MP.

To a question whether it will be funded internally, Abdullah said: "Yes, yes."

"Where do you hear such a tale from? Suka sangat dengar cerita ini. (People like listening to such tales)," he said.

Recently, a blogger claimed that "Malaysia was borrowing US$50bil without borrowing".

He said that the US$50bil purportedly procured from 25 prime banks was being channelled through a private limited company which would act as a front for the Malaysian government so that the country was not seen as borrowing US$50bil from overseas.

At yesterday's press conference, Abdullah also denied that the economy was experiencing a downturn.

"I am confident that the economy will be growing even more rapidly," he said in response to a question.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

"Our economy is getting stronger, be it in terms of foreign and domestic investments, or the share market."

PM Self-Spin using new Linguistic Philosophy

PM Self-Spinning the Economy

Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said yesterday that from what he read and the reports he received, the people were more confident that the economy would continue to grow.

"Our economy is getting stronger, be it in terms of foreign and domestic investments, or the share market. The share market remains active with the volume of shares traded reportedly high and the index, soaring. All this gives new hope to the people."

"In the past, they were worried about what would happen to our economy. From what I have read and reports received, they are more confident of the economic development [now]. Hopefully... work harder."

"For a country that is developing, definitely the people want success, progress, peace and stability. That is why it is important for us to understand our role and responsibility so that we continue to perform better."

Abdullah said every challenge comes with an opportunity. "If we want to grab the opportunity, then we must be ready to face the challenges. Face all obstacles with confidence because we are capable... we have the knowledge and skills to face all this."

Abdullah said research showed that the level of family comfort and convenience in the country stood at 8.2 out of a total of 10 while on matters relating to courtesy, Malaysians scored 7.2.

"NEP Is Only To Assist"

NEP Not Permanent?

NEP Is Not Permanent?

[Source] have forgotten to care about your SIL's feelings....


And your deputy? He said that there will be no time limit!


Friday, February 16, 2007

Lmabyrinth of Corridors

labyrinth of Corridors

Another Corridor in the pipeline and this time, it's for Sabah.

Since the first corridor of development was conceptualized in 1996 by Mahathir with little success, his successor, Pak Lah had mooted many more corridors.

Since the day when he came into power (1st November 2003), Pak Lah had began his premiership by restructuring the development plan for the nation and to re-aligned the economic development activities.

The newly appointed Prime Minister began his first mission by scrapping the RM14bil Double-track Railway project awarded by Dr Mahathir to MMC- Gamuda on the second-last day of his tenure (30th October 2003).

Many more projects were scrapped or postponed such as Putrajaya Monorail, Dedicated Highway from KL-Putrajaya (which was later resumed), Bakun dam, Crooked-Bridge, etc.

Pak Lah defended his actions by stating that he wanted to reduce foreign borrowings and free-up the tight cashflow the government was facing.

He was accused for being tight with money of which he denied vehemently. In an interview with CNN Lorraine Hann, He said he was only being frugal, that is, careful with money that belongs to the government of the people.

Ever since Mahathir launch his tirade on his successor, Pak Lah had been a changed person, in particular, with the economic management.

The acting prime minister had since then launched many super-corridors; only the Multi-Media Super Corridor is associated with Mahathir.

We now have, the Southern Corridor, which was initially named South-Johore Economic Region and have now been renamed as Iskandar Development Region of Johor which the government paraded would involved RM382bil development expenditure.

The Mentri Besar of Johor said that an initial RM60bil projects would be launched within the next few years.

Pak Lah had also launched the Northern Region Corridor encompassing Penang and Kedah.

The 2nd Penang Bridge which was initially scrapped (not approved) was launched under the 9th Malaysia Plan. The bridge project would cost about RM3bil to complete.

Apart from the bridge project, a monorail project worth about RM2bil was also on the pipeline and expected to be awarded soon.

There is also the Eastern Corridor that encompasses Pahang and Trengganu.

Pahang had slated a Multi-media Super Corridor that is analogous with the one in Cyberjaya. It was a great ambition but nobody dare to bet the timing of the initialization of the project as it would require multi-national corporations to invests multi-billions to ensure its success. Observing the progress of Cyberjaya, many investors are suffering from paranoia.

If that was enormous enough, the government continue to parade avalanche more of projects to motivate the people, in particular, UMNO leaders and detractors who were either siding with Mahathir or sitting on the fence.

The Nilai Vaccine facilities costing RM350mil was launched.

So far, nothing had happen on the ground, and we could only presumed that the investors may still be sourcing for funds or that the bureaucracy is holding them up.

Not enough? Many more mega news to roll.

The World Biggest Court Complex was paraded. It was situated in Jalan Duta, Kuala Lumpur. It cost the government RM300 million.

Work on the project started in March 2004 and was scheduled to be completed in February 2006.

There is also a plan to set up a police station in the complex.

On 3rd Nov 2006, the government announced that RM100bil worth of projects would be rolled out soon.

10-high impact projects worth at least RM100bil are expected to be rolled out to boost the economy. These projects would involve fundings by private financing initiatives (PFIs). Minister in the PM’s department Effendi Norwawi said the government will seek the best source of fundings and the government would also consider foreign-currency dominated bonds as a source of financing.

So far, nobody heard about the funders and none of the projects had taken off. It probably was a premature announcement or it could be projects that were proposed by the private sectors, particularly from some multi-nationals corporation. I think the government should not try to include private companies' investment in their announcements as if it was an initiatives from the government. This had caused much confusions to the public and tend to feed us with illusionary hope and expectations that had so far being conjectural and illusory.

On 28th November 2006, there were far greater announcements.

The newspaper spinned: The Worlds Biggest Palm Oil Company merger was formulated.

Three of the country’s largest plantation companies are to merge to create the world’s largest plantation company. The three – Sime Darby Bhd, Golden Hope Plantations Bhd and Kumpulan Guthrie Bhd – along with six other public listed companies, either owned by these three companies or involved in plantations, will undertake a merger exercise worth RM31.4bil that would likely create the country’s fourth biggest company.

A Newco, Synergy Drive had proposed a material corporate exercise that would involve a change of business direction by the respective companies. Synergy Drive was registered on Nov 7, 2006, The rationale behind the move was esoteric. The three major companies in the exercise have a combined net profit of RM1.7bil and a land bank of slightly more than 600,000ha. These companies on its own merit had been successful and profitable. Nobody can understand why there's a need to merge such successful and profitable outfits. Someone must have a great dream to exorcised the billions in profit.

Big news and bigger news are now the spin of the day. Spinning the headlines again: Malaysia to built the World's Longest Undersea Power Link Project.

One of the country’s most ambitious projects — to lay undersea power cables from Sarawak to Peninsular Malaysia — may be revived. Costing RM9 billion, the cables will transport up to 5,000 kilowatts of electricity from the Bakun hydroelectric dam and two other new proposed plants in Sarawak from 2014.

The 670km-long network of cables would be the longest in the world, longer than the 580km line between Norway and the Netherlands. Dr Lim Keng Yaik said: "Coming so far from Sarawak, that means we have to invest in big cables. It is all economics, so we have to work out whether it is worthwhile but most certainly it would be after 2014 and beyond." "The cables will have to travel almost 700km from Bakun to the tip of Sarawak and another 670km under sea crossing Indonesian territory to Ulu Sedili before it is channeled to Yong Peng, Johor, where the national grid is located," he said.

Billions worth, everything now is billions, no more millions? Another RM15bil projects being paraded to the public.

Well, Pak Lah proved that he has the ability to outdo Mahathir. In Mahathir's heydays, the foreign press labeled him mega-project king-makers. Petronas Twin-tower was RM2bil, KLIA was RM9bil and Putrajaya was to be RM20bil.

The frugal man decides not to be frugal anymore. He too wants to leave a legacy - mega legacy - such that the people could celebrate his tenure (I hope that we are not celebrating a nation to be bankrupted).

Billions after billions of projects were announced. It keeps coming and it keeps spinning.

Nobody dares to predict when this spins would slow down.

That wasn't enough, we have another RM6bil agro sector goldmine.

Not enough to cause bulimia? Another RM10bil public transport project for Klang Valley. It keeps coming and gets scary, oh sorry, excited and sexcited.

Businessmen were getting sexcited by the behemoth and amorphous opportunities that will avail with these avalanche of billions. It seems the billions will continue to rain and won't stop.

Another RM40bil projects fast tracked!

The government keeps announcing the billions and each and every one of them are meant to be fast tracked.

Raindrops (of projects) keep falling on our heads...

Have you ever seen these rains?

It was unprecedented in the history of Malaysia's economy and even Mahathir was awed. Soros must have caught up with this news and probably that's the reason he visit Malaysia, not so much of his intend to pay a courtesy call to Mahathir, but maybe, to ask Mahathir to introduce him to Pak Lah. Sadly, Soros then discovered that Mahathir has no more influence over his successor. Soros would have got it better if he had visited Khairy.

Was that enough?

Well, I wanted to stop the billions here but there's still a few more interesting projects for the avarices.

RM600mil was allocated for Class F contractors. Nobody knows how many of these projects had been awarded nor is there a monitoring and tracking system for the public to view and kept informed. The system is transparent - cannot be seen!

Another RM800mil worth of contracts for 270 Penang Malay contractors?

The ministers had so much to announce and many wondered when did Malaysia had so much money to fund all these projects.

We can't stop this fun...I love billions. RM1bil shopping funds for Education Minister.

During Mahathir's time, we knew he borrowed extensively to fund the projects. In Pak Lah's tenure, nobody knows and the monies must have been pouring in from some guys...I wonder it's Bill Gates or Warren Buffett or LTCM. Probably I am could be from Suharto's family or Marcos or Mugabe.

Another RM5bil project for Johor.MB for Johor said it was Raya Gift. I wonder anyone had received the Raya gift, if at all.

The RM5 billion South Johor Economic Region was unveiled by Pak Lah on Nov 4, 2006. Ghani said the people of Johor were blessed to receive such good fortune.

Another RM600mil highway for Selangor.

A new RM600mil highway project under the 9th Malaysia Plan to link the Kesas Kota Kemuning Interchange with the Federal Highway is set to roll out by next year. Works Minister Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu, witnessed the signing ceremony between the Government and concessionaire Projek Lintasan Shah Alam Sdn Bhd (PLSA) .

Another KL-Kuantan rail was approved by the cabinet on DEc 18, 2006.

If Pak Lah continues as PM for the next 19 years (so that he will match Mahathir's record of 22 years PMship), Malaysia would have the World largest network of railways.

There is already a rail project linking Malaysia-Kumming and another in Borneo, linking Brunei and Sarawak. The total worth will exceed RM200bil.

Of course there will be the Double-track railway which was terminated and will be revived.

Syed Mokhtar is seen smiling... his luck and good fortune had shine again.

Railway is transportation and lacks fun?

Well, don't worry. Effendi Norwawi is going to get Disneyland to come to Malaysia.

If Japan and HongKong can have Disneyland, why not Malaysia?

Disneyland owners must be damn excited about this prospect.

Malaysians would be, what Ghani called, Blessed to receive such great fortune. By the way, Johor was slated to have this project and it must have satisfied the MB.

There is also the West Coast Highway which would be another RM2bil project on the way.

Chan Ah Chai is waiting anxiously for the cabinet's approval and if he can have few rounds of golf with Pak Lah and a few teh-tarik sessions with EPU and Nor Mohamad Yakcob, then it would be a celebration for Talam who is now technically insolvent. IJM and Syed Mokhtar will be more willing to buy over Talam if this project is secured definitely.

Of course, we can't stop the celebration.

What more with Maya and the Maju.

This is the new RM400 million Palace Complex which was deemed necessary as the current Istana Negara is old and the place is too small for the King and his entourage.

But the King had to wait a little while as it will take another 3 years, god willing, to get the place ready. It probably won't be ready in 3 years as the contractor is an unknown and we have a historical record of projects delay. Matrade building was delayed for 7 years. It would be considered a success if this project can also be ready by 7 years delay.

Tanjung Tokong, a super fast track project!

UDA Holding Bhd will spent RM750mil for the redevelopment of Tanjung Tokong project and 2nd Finance Minister Nor Mohamad Yakcop had promised that it will be super fast tracked to complete within 6 years.

Constuction work was suppose to begin in October 2006 and the project is slated to compete by 2012.

So far, we have heard of nothing concrete.

In order to get all these projects off the ground, the nation may need funds to the tune of trillions.

An initial US$56bil (RM200bil) will be necessary. I am not sure how Pak Lah will get this RM200bil... Petronas may have to contribute probably half of it and Khazanah will need to contribute a quarter of it by way of foreign loans via bonds. The balance could be from taxation and duties. Customs department and IRB will be able to generate RM60bil and if that's not enough, the police could ship in by way of increasing the issue of summonses, and the local authorities could help raise funds from increasing the quit rents, assessment taxes, licensing and fees.

There is a sense of hope...Malaysia had achieved a trillion mark in trade and, of course, if the trade is up, taxes and duties will increase in tandem.

Again, observing the scenario, if Pak Lah is given another 19 years as PM, the trade may even increase to hundreds of trillions. I hope it will not be denominated in Rupiah.

I don't know whether we should cheers and sing a song, but I am anxiously waiting for informations on the progress of all these projects. The waiting game had been on since last year and till now, the signs are blur. Will we be kept blur-blur for another few years?

Well, why can't we be positive and have high expectations? My darling said: Sleep and don't bother as Chinese New Year is just 48 hours away and the many bosses I work with are still having problems in their collections. BTW, I received a bonus from my good boss...little but enough to buy myself a drink. Cheers!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Malaysian court frees PM’s friend in graft case

Malaysian court frees PM’s friend in graft case

10 February 2007

KUALA LUMPUR - The first politician sent to jail under Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s anti-corruption campaign has been freed by a court following an appeal, the politician’s lawyer said on Saturday.

A judge in the northern city of Ipoh on Friday quashed the conviction of Azman Mahalan, one of Abdullah’s old friends, because of severe flaws in the case, Shafee Abdullah said.

“There were severe defects because some of the most beneficial things for this man were not considered,” Shafee, one of the country’s top criminal lawyers, told Reuters.

The New Straits Times daily said the judge also ticked off anti-corruption officials for sitting on the case for too long.

“Cases should be handled promptly so that the guilty will be punished and the innocent acquitted,” Judge V.T. Singham said.

A lower court had in 2005 sentenced Azman, 64, to two years’ jail and fined him 35,000 ringgit ($10,000) for corruption, but stayed the sentence pending the appeal.

The court heard that Azman, a leader in Abdullah’s ruling party, had paid 7,000 ringgit in bribes to a creditor of another party official not to settle the official’s debt. That allegedly kept the official in bankruptcy and ineligible to challenge Azman for a party post.

Abdullah, vowing to fight graft after assuming power in late 2003, had referred to the case obliquely when—accused of moving too slowly against corruption—said he would show neither fear nor favour.

The government has said it is making more arrests for corruption, with a total of 485 in 2004, up 43 percent from the previous prime minister’s last year in office.

But there has been only one major catch—a former land minister who was arrested in 2004 -- and his full court hearing has just started after a three-year delay.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Record Trillion Trade


Tarikh/Date : 08/02/2007

Pejabat Perdana Menteri

Dagangan Malaysia mencapai satu catatan sejarah apabila jumlah perdagangan negara berjaya melepasi paras RM1 trilion. Untuk tahun 2006, Malaysia telah mencatatkan jumlah dagangan sebanyak RM1.069 trilion, iaitu satu kenaikan sebanyak 10.5 peratus daripada tahun 2005.

Sesungguhnya, ini merupakan satu pencapaian yang memberangsangkan dan mencerminkan peningkatan aliran perdagangan negara, terutamanya untuk nilai eksport. Eksport negara kini bernilai RM588.949 bilion sementara nilai import adalah RM480.493 bilion.

Biarpun negara terpaksa melalui pelbagai cabaran ekonomi terutama krisis kewangan pada tahun 1997, serta kegawatan ekonomi global pada tahun 2001 dan 2002, Malaysia telah menghadapinya dengan baik dan menunjukkan prestasi perdagangan negara yang terus meningkat.

Ini dapat dilihat daripada jumlah perdagangan negara yang telah meningkat dengan kadar purata 10.8 peratus antara tahun 1997 dan 2006.

Di samping itu, profil eksport negara turut mengalami perubahan penting. Pada tahun 1987, 53.5 peratus dari jumlah perdagangan merupakan komoditi utama seperti petroleum mentah, kayu balak, kayu gergaji, minyak sawit dan getah. Hasil pembuatan hanya merupakan 14 peratus dari jumlah eksport.

Sedekad kemudian, yakni pada tahun 1996, profil eksport negara menunjukkan perubahan yang besar di mana sumbangan komoditi utama telah menurun kepada 17 peratus manakala sumbangan dari sektor pembuatan telah berkembang kepada 78.5 peratus. Ini jelas menunjukkan tahap pembangunan industri yang telah dialami, dan hasil sumbangan sektor pembuatan terhadap jumlah eksport.

Selain itu, terdapat beberapa perubahan pada rakan dagang Malaysia. Dua puluh tahun lalu, rakan dagangan negara tertumpu kepada ekonomi yang maju, seperti Jepun, Amerika Syarikat dan Eropah. Sepanjang sepuluh tahun lepas, walaupun pasaran ekonomi maju kekal penting, Malaysia telah meningkatkan dagangannya dengan negara-negara di ASEAN, serta Asia Barat, dan China. Sumbangan daripada kemunculan ekonomi serantau yang berkembang di Latin Amerika, Asia Selatan dan Eropah Timur juga terus berkembang.

Pencapaian bersejarah bagi jumlah perdagangan sebanyak RM1.069 trilion pada tahun 2006, telah disusuli dengan beberapa faktor penting iaitu.

i) perkembangan 10.5 peratus bagi sektor perdagangan di mana ianya adalah lebih tinggi daripada jangkaan perkembangan 7 peratus yang dirangka oleh Pertubuhan Dagangan Dunia (WTO) untuk perdagangan dunia pada 2006;

ii) perkembangan sebanyak 10.3 peratus bagi eksport, yang bernilai sebanyak RM588.949 bilion, daripada semua sektor utama, perkilangan, pertanian dan mineral serta bahan api;

iii) lebihan dagangan selama 110 bulan berturut-turut;

iv) lebihan dagangan tahunan yang tertinggi tercatat pada RM108.456 bilion; dan

v) sektor pengilangan yang kukuh di mana menghasilkan permintaan bagi barangan pengantara dan modal, telah melonjakkan perkembangan import sebanyak 10.7 peratus kepada RM480.493 bilion.

Dikeluarkan oleh:
Pejabat Perdana Menteri,
Bangunan Perdana Putra,
8 Februari 2007

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

"Task Force to cut red tape"

Cut Red Tape, Walk The Talk, Work With Me...Haven't We Had Enough of These Already?

He wants to cut...

Cut, cut, cut...