Tuesday, March 06, 2018

State of the economy, personal opinion and playing god

The luxury yatch allegedly belonging to Jho Loh and allegedly bought from ill-gotten gain from the IPIC deal was seized off the Indonesian shore by authorities at request of FBI.

Good that there is finally a development.

Indonesian claimed the seizure does not involved Malaysians. It means the Malaysian authority including 1MDB is not pursuing the allegedly stolen asset. From their official position, their money is accounted for and nothing was stolen.

Suddenly, social media revealed that the yatch is owned by a China fashion billionaire, Do Won Chang. So what will happen? Will there be embarassed red-faced officials, whose been covorting with international media, particularly WSJ as DOJ unofficial spokesman, with these allegations on Jho Loh?

Make no bone that since 2015, this blog is still blaming Jho Loh for the 1MDB debacle or whatever wrongdoings will eventually be proven. But we are still grasping to put our finger on what Jho Loh actually did wrong and where is the right place to deal with his wrongdoing?

The point here is about getting the facts, evidence and then come to a truthful conclusive ending. Otherwise, it is sheer wasteful rhetoric.

After blogging for quite few years and undergone interesting phases of experience, it has come to the point the personal opinions, judgements and conclusions of others remain respectfully that of the persons.

With friends from both sides or perhaps now three sides of the political divide, most of the views, opinions and style of debating are quite familiar. When we sit together for drinks, we forget about trying to out debate and convince each other. Actually, there is more honesty in our private conversation.

To move and change our standpoint and position, it takes lengthy and convincing facts, and evidences void of their personal opinion and preferences.

In other word, your personal viewpoint is not enough to convince us. It is your facts that must be convincing enough for us to form an indepwndent opinion of our own that hopefully is in-sync with yours.

Same like the economic situation in the country. There is no economic situation where all indicators are perfectly aligned.

It all depend on priority and emphasis. There will always be compromises in certain area to achieve a certain target. Achieving growth may mean causing inflation and rising debt due to lower interest and availability of credit.

There is also a change in economic and business model in which certain indicators that used to be  deemed as detrimental and socially unacceptable may not be so any more.

On this score, Malaysians are still caught in the old model thinking mindset at this juncture where the country has no choice but to open up the economy and internationalise.

This brings to the article in FMT recently:
Is the economy really that bad?

March 5, 2018

Claims that Malaysia is heading towards bankruptcy have been around for a long time, but the retail sector is evolving, not necessarily failing.

By Jason Chin

For many years now, we have heard certain quarters alleging that Malaysia is heading towards bankruptcy, and that the economy is at an all-time low. Some have gone as far as to label Malaysia as the next Greece.

It is baffling to witness how shallow and ill-informed some people are, more so when erroneous statements are made by politicians who are supposed to be “informed” leaders.

Dyana Sofea's social media posting that was being viralled 

The social media post by DAP’s Dyana Sofya on the state of financial affairs in Malaysia has made her a laughing stock among internet users. Amateurish at best, we are fortunate that she did not make it as a parliamentarian. We have enough jokers from both sides of the political divide already; we do not need another.

We often come across retailers complaining of poor business and frequently see others winding up. Although irresponsible individuals claim the poor sales are because the public has no money to spend, this is an utterly illogical conclusion. This phenomenon is occurring on a global scale and there is a reason for it.

Numerous articles have been written on this occurrence, which the Western world terms the “retail apocalypse”. Even developed nations like the US are facing a tough time. Big brands like Guess, Bebe, Macy, Michael Kors, Toys R Us and Payless are shutting down stores across the country, citing poor sales.

Quite frankly, the sky is not falling. Instead, the sector is evolving. A combination of factors including the rise of e-commerce, over-supply of malls and the surprising effects of a restaurant renaissance are contributing in one way or another to the meltdown of retail stores.

Online merchant Lazada raked in RM1 billion in gross merchandise value during its month-long online revolution sale in December last year.

The Lazada Malaysia CEO said the pool of online shoppers was growing annually at an exponential rate across all geographical locations.

Lazada is only one of the merchants out there. There are so many online shopping portals – Amazon, Wish, Shopee, Alibaba, 11Street to name a few. The number of merchants is increasing, which tells us that demand is huge and it is a lucrative and profitable venture.

AirAsia X’s revenue in the last quarter of 2017 was its highest ever. The number of flights to various destinations increases by the day. How are these numbers obtained if people have no money to spend?

The truth is, people’s needs have become extravagant. Everyone wants to own the latest mobile phone model even if the previous one was purchased just six months ago. The majority want to be trendy with the most recent seasonal fashions.

As recently as one generation ago, money was spent purchasing items that were truly needed. People today splash cash on the “nice to have”, hence financial burdens are on the rise. No amount of income can quench the spending thirst of people nowadays.

Such occurrences are the sequelae of modernisation, as Malaysia is rapidly growing into a developed nation. The government cannot lay claim on the growth of e-commerce purchases, nor can the opposition spin facts and say that the economy is terrible.

Malaysia is not heading towards bankruptcy. In fact, this notion has been recycled for decades. During the late 1970s, Lim Kit Siang claimed that Malaysia was going bankrupt and would be a failed state soon in a book titled “Time bombs in Malaysia”.

Over time, the retail apocalypse is expected to grow. Charles Darwin’s theory that only the fittest survive applies to the retail world as well. It is best that we don’t be naive and listen to every word spewed by politicians as we head towards the election.

Jason Chin is an FMT reader. The views expressed are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.
At this juncture, with some level of access to various information source and some ability to find out unstated reasons behind events, must say it is tiring to hear one liner arguments summarised in simplistic conclusions and observations based on personal opinions and preference.

All we want to hear is the facts.

Unless it is convincing and verifiable, it is just your opinion against another. More so the social science of economics generally have no right or wrong answer but relative to the term of reference.

The worse one could do is argue using god and trying to play on conscience. If you have conscience, you should not block yourself from hearing both sides of the argument and sincerely seek truth even if it is painful to admit you could end up being wrong.

In the affair of mortals, lets deal it among mortals. God will only be the final judgement on that day.

As far as we are concern, our conscience is clear, the pro and cons are weighed and the alternative taken into account. We are right and you are likely to be wrong and hasty.

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