Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Gain consumer confidence for new chicken pricing mechanism

Chicken prices will begin to be floated from tomorrow onward. There will no more price ceiling as determined by government. Market will be allowed to set its price based on supply and demand. 

It served the government purpose to remove subsidies. Agriculture Minister Datok Seri Mohamad Sabu said subsidies removal will end leakage, but for the time being the free float only applies to chicken and not yet for eggs

The Federation of Livestock Farmers' Association Malaysia finally got what they wanted all these years. They gave assurance there will be sufficient supply. In theory, market pricing allows stability in supply thus price ceiling is not a constraint to inhibit production and ensure availability. 

Approaching the November 1st deadline, there was incident of a short surge in prices following police raid seized RM20 million worth of smuggled non-halal chicken repackage as halal by illegal syndicate. Producers released frozen chicken stockpile to fill up the void. 

It gave Government the confidence to ensure there will be no sudden hike in prices. However, certain segment of the population is still sceptical and in fear of big chicken companies jacking up prices. Cynicals remarks can be heard all over social media. 

Past experience of chicken farmers burning day old chick to prop prices is still remembered. It is worsen by government officials stereotyping food producers as cartel and even Anwar as opposition leader called them leech. 

It will take time to gain their confidence. The public need be educated and farmers must be disciplined themselves. 

Friday, October 27, 2023

Weaker Yen to pit Japan against China

The public attention and concern in Malaysia is on the weakening Ringgit vis-a-vis US dollar. Deputy Minister of Finance, Dato Ahmad Maslan explained the reasons as external in Parliament. Except for this blog's geo-global political take, similar reasons given

Nevertheless, there is a more interesting development on Yen. US dollar rose against Yen to touch the 150.00 level briefly for the second time early this week. It is only the fear of intervention by the Bank of Japan (BOJ) that is holding it from breaking the key psychological level. 

The intervention to tame the volatility is making the short term Yen movement appear unnatural. Early October intervention failed to stem the fall and Yen is still hovering at sub-150.00 level. 

Underpinned by the interest rate differential favouring the US dollar, it is a matter of time for dollar Yen to pierce through.  

US interest rate is expected to move up while Japanese short-term interest rate remain at zero level. It seemed US condoned a weaker Yen and not mind a stronger Japanese export. It was the G7 policy in the 80s that strengthened Yen to address the American twin deficit in trade and current account. 

In view of the rise of China as a new economic power, is there a shift in the political economic policy on Japan?

Monday, October 23, 2023

PTD Mafia budget: Civil service bonus, No opex rationalisation

Back in March 2021, the parent blog Another Brick in the Wall wrote of the self serving PTD Mafia in the civil service. The link here need a VPN to access.

Since Annuar Musa left the Ministry, the blog remained blocked by MCMC under the block-happy Fahmi Fadzil and still serving the former Minister's self serving interest. Latest victims are  Nuclearbursaman and Corporate Secret blogs and portals. 

Does any critic of MCMC or civil service, especially the PTD, these days will mean online writers to suffer their wrath?

This issue is raised because the current budget 2024, which is going through debate in Parliament, came off below the pre-budget expectation and its neither here nor there economic management to reform and prepare the nation to face the current economic storm. 

Is this a "no change" budget dictated by the PTD Mafia upon the Prime Minister aka Minister of Finance? 

Sunday, October 08, 2023

Bernas’ role questioned amid country’s rice dilemma

By Esther Lee, Jose Barrock and Vasantha Ganesan / The Edge Malaysia

28 Sep 2023, 02:10 pm

This article first appeared in The Edge Malaysia Weekly on September 18, 2023 - September 24, 2023

THERE is a lot that is not known about the concession agreement the government signed with Padiberas Nasional Bhd (Bernas) when the latter took over the role of Lembaga Padi dan Beras Negara in January 1996 via a privatisation exercise.

For instance, a number of social obligations listed in the concession agreement seem very broad and general. News reports have it that some of these obligations have yet to be carried out, including the establishment of a disaster fund, the development of a paddy database and the supply of machinery.

In June this year, there was talk of Bernas sharing 30% of its profits from rice imports with local paddy farmers, said to be initiated by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim. This came about after Bernas agreed to import an additional 150,000 tonnes of rice to ensure no disruption to its supply in the country.

Bernas’ concession as the country’s sole importer of rice was extended another 10 years to January 2031 by the federal government towards the end of 2020. This came about after the late Datuk Seri Salahuddin Ayub, who was agriculture minister under the Pakatan Harapan administration that collapsed in February that year, had sought to end Bernas’ monopoly of rice imports.

In a press conference announcing an end to Bernas’ concession in June 2018, Salahuddin reportedly said, “In the effort to protect the interests of local paddy farmers, we have identified the models used by other countries [for importing the staple], among them Indonesia, which has been successful in its approach in opening up the monopoly on rice.”

My Say