Friday, December 31, 2021

Annus Horribilis continued into 2021

Last year 2020 was the year the vision expected Malaysia to be a "developed nation". To say it did not turned out according to expectation, it is an understatement. The Covid 19 pandemic began that year. 

The year 2021 came with the hope life could return to normal. The new normal was still considered  abnormal. Unfortunately, it did not turned out to be any better. 

Currently a dark sky is hovering over Kuala Lumpur. The annual flood festival in the East Coast states of Peninsular Malaysia began. Even former Johor Baru MP, Tan Sri Shahrir is worried of river water level in Johor Baru. Selangor and Kuala Lumpur is not out of the wood yet, hydrology-wise. 

Its certainly made 2021 another and perhaps, worse annus horribilis than 2020. The hits may keep on coming. 

Monday, December 27, 2021

Tuan Ibrahim should answer for the flood devastation

As of Christmas Day, AFP reported death toll of 46 for the flood catastrophe hitting six states in Peninsular Malaysia, including unexpectedly Kuala Lumpur and Selangor. 

Three days earlier Al Jazeera reported death at 27 and affected victims an estimated 70,000. With Pahang and East Coast only begin to get submerged under water, the casualty can only be expected to get higher. 

However, the cost of the flood has not been announced, but estimates floating on social media ranged from RM10 to RM20 billion. If the economic impact and ESG fallout to the country's FDI considered, a 5 times multiplier could translate to at least RM100 billion. 

Being the most developed and centre point of the nation, the financial burden for Selangor and  Kuala Lumpur, which His Majesty Agong described as similar to the great flood of 1971, could likely be phenomenal. 

The weather is God's will. Federal and Selangor state government less than desirable preparedness and response have been extensively, openly and heavily criticised on social media. Grumbling on the government assistance to the largely B40 segment affected only began. If the cause is due to negligence of government department, it will grow louder.    

Few FBers raised the issue early, but media reported the poor dam management by  Department of Irrigation and Drainage (DID) only 2 days ago. 

The department falls under the Ministry for Environment and Water (Malay pseudonym KASA) and the Minister in-charge is Dato' Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Ripe for the picking 2: Choose US or China?

FB Salahuddin Hisham status this morning picked up on this blog's "Malaysia Day reflection: Ripe for the picking?" dated September 16, 2021. 

It relates to events unfolding together with the arrival of US Secretary of State, Antony J Bilken last night from Jakarta for a two day visit before moving on to Bangkok. Strangely, his arrival was not greeted by Malaysian Foreign Minister, Dato Saifuddin Abdullah. 

The visit seemed to cause quite a stir on the commodity market. Palm oil prices dropped from RM4,661 per tonne yesterday to RM4,466. Told by a player, it crashed by about 20% and news report claimed it could crash further!

A wrong move and China will cancel its palm oil order. Perhaps, traders remained haunted by palm oil price unexpected crash due to short selling by American commodity houses back in 2018.

It fell together with the ringgit currency, Bursa Malaysia, and ringgit bonds consequent to the return of Tun Dr Mahathir to power in 2018 with Pakatan Harapan coalition. 

Mahathir could find his way back to political relevence. He has expressed interest to run in the next GE15 using the excuse of popular demand by supporters.

Politics aside, palm oil decline was anticipated due to technical reason. However, geoglobal factor cannot be ignored. Blicken visit reminded market of the nightmare of PH in power, and Lim Guan Eng with Tony Pua destructive fiscal policy management.   

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Telco failed to deliver, but remained greedy on 5G

The 5G rollout was supposed to begin, but statements from the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia indicate Tun Dr Mahathir aligned telcos succeeded to pushback DNB-led 5G and government to waver.    

Minister Tan Sri Annuar Musa played the good cop role to consider all views, but revealed his intention from the next move. While, his Deputy Dato played bad cop with the awkward claim decision was made unilaterally by Minister of Finance. Tengku Zafrul Aziz and Dato Saifuddin Abdullah have since denied.

It came as a surprise that UMNO Deputy President, Dato Mohamed Hasan joined the fray and seemed indifferent to Mahathir's interest. Politics and partisan interest reared its ugly with a stern warning from Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin. Nevertheless, the hands of the greedy and self preserving telcos is obvioud.   

5G is needed to "power more sophisticated next-generation economic activities faster and better", boost existing sectors, and kick start economy. Compared to the experiences of South Korea, Taiwan and Singapore, the detour does not look Malaysia's catch-up will succeed 

Monday, December 06, 2021

Pejuang opposition to DNB for Mahathir's self serving interest

Of all the issues beseiging the country, it is certainly interesting to hear the youth wing of Tun Dr Mahathir's smaller start-up party, Pejuang to take up the issue of Digital Nasional Berhad (DNB). 

In a Malay Mail Online report dated Oct 12, Pejuang Youth’s Abu Hafiz Salleh Hudin and the party’s Treasury and Communications Bureau urged the government to call-off the DNB plan. 

DNB is a company incorporated under the Ministry of Finance and not under the auspices of more regulatory Ministry of Multimedia and Communication, in which MCMC is under. 

Since DNB made known the plan to undertake a Single Whole Network (SWN) approach, telcos have been sulking over it. 

Through Groupe Speciale Mobile Association (GSMA), the voices of telco have become louder and more aggressive in applying pressure and lobbying against DNB rolling out of SWN. 

Saturday, December 04, 2021

The next big thing 1MDB-related scandal, but where is Mahathir?

There has not been a whisper from the likes of DAP's Lim Kit Siang, Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim or former Bersih chief Datuk S. Ambiga. 

Most of all, where is Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad? He is the man who explained the 1MDB issue to the layman in one word – kleptocrats. 

Joceline Tan

FMT's report dated November 23rd entitled "'Anti-kleptocrats' silence on Zeti's husband 1MDB funds, says Shabery" accurately described the response from the parties raising ruckus against Dato Seri Najib some 6 years ago.

Though not sufficient to respond to the rapid fire of expose and rebutting questions raised to dominate public perception, the then BN government side made an effort to explain.

The rest is history. 

Thursday, December 02, 2021

Injustice revealed: Najib did not receive a fair trial

The conspirators

Malay Mail Online reported the following in mid-morning today: 

Just days before SRC appeal decision, Najib asks court to take new evidence from MACC chief, investigator

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 2 — Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has asked the Court of Appeal to allow new evidence to be included in his appeal against his conviction, fine and jail sentence for misappropriating RM42 million from former 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) subsidiary SRC International Sdn Bhd.

Najib’s application was filed yesterday, or just seven days before the Court of Appeal was scheduled to decide his appeal on December 8.

Based on court documents sighted by Malay Mail, Najib is applying for the Court of Appeal to allow and to direct for viva voce evidence to be taken from Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief Datuk Seri Azam Baki, or essentially for the anti-corruption chief to be asked to give oral evidence in relation to the SRC case.

Najib is also applying for further oral evidence to be taken from MACC investigating officer Rosli Hussein in the SRC case.

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