Archive for the 'Economy' Category

Bridge over troubled land

When a RM20.43 million bridge was built leading to nowhere, when top secret vaults were used to store furniture, and when goat and cattle semen worth nearly half a million ringgit that was imported from South Africa and Australia was left unused, among other horrendous things, something must be amiss in this beloved land of ours.

And yet sections of the mainstream press in Malaysia seemed to have looked the other way. For instance, “reality bites” for The Star when a sexually active couple made public their private romps on the Internet. The photo of the girl concerned “graced” the front cover of today’s Star, suggesting that this is too important a story to be buried in the inside pages. The rule of thumb, one would assume, is that only stories and pictures of national import seize the front page of any paper worth its salt.

Does anyone know where a good waste site is?

In the wake of the massive anti-Lynas protests nationwide and the consequent assurance from no less than the prime minister himself, four ministries, i.e. Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry, Health Ministry, International Trade and Industry Ministry, and Natural Resources and Environment Ministry, are now looking high and low for a suitable site to dump that infamous waste from the Lynas Corp rare earth refinery.

So much for proper planning for a highly radioactive material!

But alas! Mindful of the prime minister’s assurance that the Lynas project is “scientifically and factually safe”, ordinary Malaysians already have a few proposals, namely Pekan, Putrajaya, Sri Perdana and Koh Tsu Koon’s backyard!

Rich accomplishment

In his keynote address at today’s “Malaysian Chinese at the Political Crossroads” conference in Kuala Lumpur, the prime minister took pride in what he saw as BN’s achievement in helping to create billionaires.

What was left unsaid here (at least from what was reported) is that these super-rich people emerge out of a social context where social inequalities have spiked over the years, an indictment of the failure of the federal government’s policies to improve the welfare of the not-so-fortunate fellow Malaysians across the country. As we know, such inequalities exist within and between ethnic groups in urban and rural areas.

Shouldn’t the BN folks instead be proud of policies that would uplift the socio-economic status of thousands of needy Malaysians, including ethnic Chinese? Shouldn’t the stark contrast between the poor and these super-rich be considered vulgar and embarrassing?

Malaysiakini reports:

Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak said that the country’s billionaires are where they are today because of of the BN government’s concessions.

“The list of Malaysian billionaires, I studied each and everyone of them, there are some in this room today.

“Everyone of them became rich because of our policies, either directly or indirectly,” Najib said in his keynote speech at the “Malaysian Chinese at the Political Crossroads” conference.

Will the cows come home?

Looks like those who have been pressing for a royal commission of inquiry (RCI) on the now well-known cow-controversy will have to wait until the cows come home.

DPM Muhyiddin Yassin said that there’s no need for such a RCI because the current investigations into the National Feedlot Corporation (NFC) were “sufficient“.

With a lil’ help from my friends

This number, sung by Joe Cocker, reminds us of what a certain Malaysian businessman revealed in court recently about how government contracts are secured through access to certain senior officials and influential ministers. Isn’t this what is called, in Malaysia’s political parlance, cronyism?

Who wants to be a millionaire?

Samy Vellu’s successor, G. Palanivel, seems to have found the solution to what ails the Indian community in Malaysia: millionaires! Yeah, create a pool of ethnic Indian millionaires.

I suppose this so-called panacea can be applied to other communities that require similar help. There you go.

See here for context.

Putting some sens to 1Malaysia

Students of UUM profess a common sens of purpose in uniting themselves under the slogan of 1Malaysia.

The Star today reports:

SINTOK: The Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM) Economic Stu­dents Association entered the Malaysia Book of Records by creating a 1Malaysia logo using 622,187 pieces of 10 sen coins.

A total of 1,920 students took three days to build the 25m-long and 13m-wide structure at the university’s Army Reserve Training Centre at the campus here.

The first coin had been ceremoniously placed by UUM deputy vice-chancellor (Student Af­­fairs and Alumni) Datuk Dr Ahmad Faiz Hamid on Friday.

Meanwhile, the last coin was placed yesterday by Infor­mation, Commu­nication and Culture Deputy Minister Datuk Joseph Salang Gandum to complete the 1Malaysia logo.

Project manager Mohd Hafizi Ahmad said they managed to break the previous record for a similar structure which was 19.8m-long and 12m-wide.

“We managed to collect 670,000 coins for the project, but we didn’t use them all.

“The coins will be donated to several charities and also the association’s fund,” he added.

Salang, who presented the Malaysia Book of Records certificate to Mohd Hafizi, said the project managed to unite the university students of different races in the 1Malaysia concept.

He said the project was also a good way to raise funds for charities.

Leaving on a jet plane

This 60’s number that was made popular by famous trio, Peter, Paul and Mary, is about human relationship.

But listening to it right now in Malaysia somehow gives a different feel to it. It goes beyond the sense of a possible loss of love between two individuals.

The song now evokes a sense of a colossal loss experienced by Malaysians as a group of taxpayers and concerned citizens.

What’s even worse, this heavy loss makes it impossible for most Malaysians to even take a flight of fancy to any corner of the known world.

In fact, Malaysians can’t possibly leave for 2010 without still feeling very much stuck and also insecure in 2009, which isn’t good at all. Besides, there are too many baggages for them to carry along.

Put another way, Malaysians may not be able to propel themselves to greater heights of achievement for as long as they’re deprived of the very engine that can spur economic growth and hasten moral vigour.

A sign of the times

(Photo credit: The Malaysian Insider)

You’d be easily alerted to the fact that you are nearing Ipoh by the giant sign that says ‘IPOH’.

And while you’re at it, you should also be alerted to the fact that each of the alphabets in ‘IPOH’ costs RM100,000 — and there are two of those huge signs welcoming visitors to the city.

So go figure. For full story, see here.

Where local broadband is ‘nuisance’ and costly

Malaysia’s costly and slow broadband has become a prickly problem for foreign investors — as well as Malaysian Internet users who feel they’ve been short-changed.

And this cyber problem prevails despite the much touted Multimedia Super Corridor.

An extract from The Malaysian Insider:

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 26 — Consumers in Malaysia pay some of the highest prices for broadband in the region, one major reason being the monopoly which state-owned Telekom Malaysia (TM) holds on submarine cable landing rights, a senior executive at a multinational company has asserted.

There is no shortage of gateway service providers seeking landing rights because of the pent-up demand for quality bandwidth, but the government must deregulate or liberalise gateways in order to improve competitiveness by providing larger broadband at lower costs, said Ryaz Patel, Intel Electronics country manager for Malaysia and Brunei.

Patel’s comments that the lacklustre quality and high cost of broadband is hurting the country’s knowledge aspirations come on the heels of warnings by Australian businesses that slow Internet speeds were putting them off investing in Malaysia.

Malaysia Australia Business Council vice-chairman Michael Halpin said large technical documents from Australia had difficulty getting sent over because of the poor quality broadband.

“Australian and American investors see this as a nuisance and an impediment to them to do business successfully here,” he said.

In a press briefing on Intel’s roadmap for 2010, Patel observed Malaysian consumers pay significantly more for broadband, but even to buy broadband wholesale as a service provider was ‘“frighteningly expensive” compared to its neighbours.

Read the rest here.

August 2020

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