I don’t know why Arul Kanda’s presence at the opening ceremony of the UMNO General Assembly is made a fuss. So did Khazanah Nasional Bhd managing director Azman Mokhtar, Permodalan Nasional Bhd (PNB) group chairperson Abdul Wahid Omar, CEO Abdul Rahman Ahmad and Lembaga Tabung Angkatan Tentera (LTAT) CEO Lodin Wok Kamaruddin.
It has always been a tradition for CEOs of Government-linked companies to be invited to the opening ceremony to listen to the UMNO President’s speech where it always touches socio-economic concerns. Even President of BN component parties are invited. In fact, among those who attended the final UMNO General Assembly with Mahathir as President were MCA’s then-President Ong Ka Ting and also PPP’s M Kayveas. So, what is the big deal?
Not too long ago, an archnemesis of the Opposition attended DAP’s Convention. There, those who swore to spit on his grave lined up to smile, bow and shake hands with the man they all had wanted to send to prison for being a corrupt dictator.
Behind Mahathir in the screen capture above is the very man who used to go around the country calling the former a PEROMPAK (robber).
Of course, now Mahathir is forgiven. All the RM100 billion according to both Lim Kit Siang and Barry Wain that Mahathir squandered have been forgotten, all in the name of politics. And in the name of politics, all those with past sins are forgiven the moment they work hand-in-hand with Pakatan.
Arul Kanda, President of BN component parties, all sat with the rest of the guests an delegations. Mahathir, however, was given a seat on the stage with DAP’s central executive committee members.
So, is Mahathir a DAP member? Maybe, Malaysiakini can answer this question.
His Royal Highness Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah Alhaj, the Sultan of Selangor from my observation is a calm and very private person. He rarely makes any statement or gives interviews to the media except during his birthday celebration. Only once in a blue moon would Sultan Sharafuddin voice out his concern, especially during the Kajang Move, because it was affecting the efficiency of His Royal Highness’s state government. The Sultan had also expressed his concern over the rudeness of the Opposition and its supporters towards the late Sultan Azlan Shah of Perak during the Perak constitutional crisis of 2009.
The latest episode involves the adverse reaction by DAP’s Zaid Ibrahim to the Sultan’s statement on Mahathir’s remark on the Bugis people. The statement was made as part of an interview with The Star for this year’s celebration of the Sultan’s birthday. In his Twitter postings, Zaid said that when some Rulers play politics, they must know the consequences. Do not think there is no price for partisanship.
What earned Zaid the wrath of many was when he also Tweeted a warning to Sultan Sharafuddin saying the Sultan should be careful with his words (as) no one is immune when (the) country burns.
That is typical of Zaid, when he displays the usual non compos mentis character. Often displaying his republican attitude, Zaid suits well in the DAP – a party known historically for its rash behaviour when it comes to respecting the Rulers Institution. It is also well that he is a Malay, from Kelantan, as it would appeal to the fence-sitting Malays in Kelantan who are politically torn after the departure of PAS from Pakatan Rakyat effectively ending the coalition.
The late Karpal Singh once petitioned to sue Sultan Sharafuddin’s late father, Almarhum Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah Alhaj, in 1987 over a speech by Sultan Salahuddin to the Selangor branch of the Ex-Servicemen’s Association saying that he would not pardon drug traffickers in Selangor. The petition was rejected on the grounds that there was no lis. In 2009, Karpal Singh had intended to sue Sultan Azlan Shah of Perak for appointing Datuk Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir as the new Menteri Besar, replacing DAP’s choice Nizar Jamaluddin. Karpal was found guilty of sedition in 2014.
Since gaining some grounds after the 2008 general elections, the DAP has time and again displayed its disrespect to the Rulers Institution by not abiding by the dress code at state assembly openings. One good example is of DAP’s Gwee Tong Hiang who was the Johor state assemblyman for Bentayan who did not wear a songkok at the state assembly opening. The late Sultan of Johor, Almarhum Sultan Iskandar Ismail was not amused.
“Two days ago someone here tried to be a hero by refusing to dress accordingly. If he wants (to differ), then get out of here now!” the late Sultan chastised. Tong Hiang, unfortunately, was not present then.
The DAP had wised up since then. Seen as a Chinese chauvinist party, such rude behaviour turned them into punching bags of the Malays, especially those from UMNO who had a feast turning the DAP into cheap meals. The DAP quickly recruited liberal Malays into its fold, including Zaid, to do their dirty jobs for them. This keeps the heat off the Chinese in DAP, but pit Malays against Malays.
What the authorities should realise is that such behaviour displayed most recently by Zaid Ibrahim sends the wrong signal that it is alright to reject Malay traditions including respect for the elders and the Rulers to the younger Malaysian who, at their age, would be mostly anti-establishment by nature. If this goes unchecked, it would certainly give birth to more Zaid Ibrahims.
The authorities should take cue from Sultan Sharafuddin.
“I am aware that Zaid had long been making false and incorrect accusations against me. He is a politician and a former minister whom I understand is against the royal institution. My advice to Zaid is simple, do not forget where you come from,” the Sultan said.
“There is currently no action against 1MDB. Only against properties thought to have been procured using money belonging to 1MDB,” said Thomas C Goldstein, Advocate Appellate, US Supreme Court said when asked about the civil forfeiture action against 1MDB.
Tom Goldstein was answering question raised during his talk on “Criminal Litigation in the United States of America” at the UiTM Faculty of Law today.
He said that based on the US Constitution, no one should be deprived of their assets without due process of the law, and all due processes of the law must have a hearing concluded before assets can be forfeited.
“The DoJ, based on the complaint, is just tracing the money and think it may be linked to 1MDB. Right now, there is no suggestionof any criminal target,” he added.
Tom Goldstein is one of the US’s most experienced Supreme Court practitioners and his representations span virtually all of the US Federal Law.
As arguing counsel in the Court, Tom has prevailed in cases involving arbitration, bankruptcy, civil procedure, disability law, employment discrimination, the Fourth Amendment, free speech, habeas corpus, immigration, labour, securities, and trademarks.
When asked to whom would the DoJ return the seized money to, Tom explained that the issue has put the DoJ in limbo as the 1MDB has said that the money is not theirs, whereas the case is based on money taken from 1MDB, made by complainants that do not represent 1MDB.
“The DoJ has recently to put on hold civil forfeiture lawsuits against assets acquired (by Malaysian financier Low Taek Jho, also known as Jho Low), because pursuing these may have “an adverse effect” on its ability to conduct the criminal investigation.What the DoJ is doing is it is trying to prevent the money from dissipating by starting a criminal action,” Tom explained. “But right now there is very little activity pertaining to the case and no one has been named as criminal targets.”
Asked if this (that 1MDB says the money is not theirs) is the reason it has taken the DoJ so long to actually initiate something, he answered with a simple, “Yes.”
“A huge amount of money made its way into the US, and the DoJ is interested to know where is the source of this money. It is not a criminal case and an escalation into one will only make life more difficult for them as there has been no precedent. No one has been named in the civil forfeiture suit. If a criminal case were to be developed then it would be a classical criminal case and the burden of proof falls on the DoJ that it has to prove beyond reasonable doubt that crime has been committed,” Tom added.
In addition to practicing law, Tom has taught Supreme Court Litigation at Harvard Law School since 2004, and previously taught the same subject at Stanford Law School for nearly a decade.
Tom is also the co-founder of SCOTUSblog – a website devoted to comprehensive coverage of the Court – which is the only weblog ever to receive the Peabody Award.
I simply do not comprehend the fuss that is being kicked up by Mahathir’s fanatics. On one hand they want the transparency that none of us got when Mahathir was the Prime Minister; on the other they are fuming because Mahathir, Nor Mohamed Yackop and Anwar have been implicated in the findings of the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) for the Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) foreign exchange scandal of the 1990s.
Mahathir’s long-time crony Daim Zainuddin, who served as finance minister from 14 July 1984 to 15 March 1991, for having aided and abetted Nor Mohamed by leaving BNM “to its own devices”.
Let us ask the very man whose perseverance has finally paid off:
Yes. The loss of RM31.5 billion through forex gambling was and still is a crime against the Malaysian people. And if it weren’t for Lim Kit Siang’s persistence and perseverance, we would not have gotten where we are now.
Three people have been found principally liable for the criminal breach of trust and should be probed further over their involvement and liability. They are the former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, his then-Finance Minister Anwar Ibrahim, and ex-BNM advisor Nor Mohamed Yackop.
The commission found in its 524-paged report that the Cabinet in the 1990s was not given the full picture by Anwar on the forex losses, adding that he had “deliberately concealed facts and information and made misleading statements“. It is also of the opinion that the then Prime Minister (Mahathir) had condoned the actions of the Finance Minister.
The RM31.5 billion losses, the report said, were hidden using “unconventional accounting treatments”, such as booking losses to reserves in the balance sheet and the absorption of the remaining losses by the transfer of shares from the Government to BNM as well as the creation of a “Deferred Expenditure” to be repaid in instalments over a decade.
The RCI noted that Anwar Ibrahim, the then Finance Minister, had been informed about the actual forex losses suffered by BNM. It also said that Mahathir was informed by Anwar together with then Treasury deputy secretary-general Tan Sri Clifford Francis Herbert in late 1993 that BNM had suffered estimated losses of RM30 billion on the forex dealings for 1992 and 1993.
However, in the extract of minutes from three Cabinet meetings on March 30, April 6 and 13 in 1994, Anwar had made “no mention of the actual losses of RM12.3 billion for 1992 and RM15.3 billion for 1993.”
Anwar had chaired the March 30 meeting as the deputy prime minister. The losses for 1993 were reported as RM 5.7 billion.
The RCI also noted that the prime minister, who chaired the meeting on April 6, did not correct or offer more information when the forex losses for 1993 were recorded as only RM5.7 billion.
The RCI report said as pointed out by Herbert, he had expected Mahathir to be outraged but his reaction was quite normal with him uttering “sometimes we make profit, sometimes we make losses”.
“His reaction to and acceptance of the huge forex losses suggest that he could have been aware of the forex dealings and its magnitude,” said the report.
Why Did It Take So Long?
Of course supporters of Mahathir got their knickers in a knot over the RCI findings, mostly harp on the duration it took to have a RCI formed, whether it was formed to time itself with the looming general elections so that the Pakatan Harapan would be epitome of broken hopes?
Lim Kit Siang may have harped on the matter, trying to get an RCI formed since 1994, if not earlier. Mahathir was the Prime Minister then until the end of 2003. No one during Pak Lah’s time took up the issue as Mahathir was then breathing down Pak Lah’s neck watching the latter’s every move. In the end, Mahathir got Pak Lah ousted for not playing his game his way.
When Najib Razak took over at the beginning of the second quarter of 2009, Malaysia’s economy had shrunk even though oil price was high. The GDP growth rate for Malaysia in 2009 was -2.5 percent because of the global financial crisis then, hence Najib Razak’s priority then was to safeguard the economy and take measures to improve on the GDP growth.
And ever since then Najib had been fighting on all fronts to make sure that Malaysia goes through a sustainable growth, and that there would be enough government money to still help the people, especially those from the B40 income group. Hence, we see various initiatives like the 1Malaysia Clinic, Kedai Rakyat 1Malaysia (which is now being revamped), BR1M, PR1MA and various other 1Malaysia initiatives.
And while all that was happening, Lim Kit Siang was still going around asking for an RCI to be formed for the BNM forex scandal. In the run up to the 13th General Elections, Lim Kit Siang wrote this on the BNM forex scandal:
“I had estimated in Parliament two decades ago that Bank Negara lost a colossal RM30 billion from the Bank Negara foreign exchange scandal under Mahathir’s premiership. But Bank Negara claimed RM10.1 billion loss in 1992 and RM5.7 billion in 1993 while former Bank Negara Deputy Governor Dr. Rosli Yaakop estimated last year at a public forum that Bank Negara lost between USD27 to USD33 billion, which was five times more than its foreign reserves and its entire assets of USD20.7 billion in 1992.”
You can read more on what Dr Rosli Yaakop had said on the BNM forex scandal HERE.
Lim Kit Siang also said that Malaysian voters should not only pass a verdict on Najib’s non-transformation in the past four years, but also pass judgment on Mahathir’s 22 years of authoritarian and corrupt policies when he was Prime Minister from 1981 – 2003. He said:
“I am on public record as saying that if Pakatan Rakyat is to capture Putrajaya in the 13GE, we should re-open investigation not only on the RM30 billion Bank Negara forex scandal of 1992, there should be a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the RM100 billion losses suffered by the country in the financial scandals of the 22-year Mahathir era.”
Kit Siang added that the voters should decide whether they endorse the proposal to have a wide-ranging public inquiry into Mahathir’s financial scandals in 22 years which have cost the country RM100 billion of losses and for which the present generation of Malaysians are still paying the price – although there is totally no accountability and transparency about these glaring instances of corruption, cronyism and abuses of power for more than three decades.
In June 2017, Lim Kit Siang even wanted the report recommending the RCI to be made public. Finally, on 8 August 2017, the RCI commenced, and Kit Siang’s 25 years of wait ended.
And one other Pakatan leader who had been lying very low beneath the BNM forex scandal radar is Anwar Ibrahim. If anyone was to ask why did the government not do anything between 2004 and 2017, the answer would be why hadn’t Anwar, since 2 September 1998, asked for an RCI on the matter? Was he afraid that he might get implicated?
You and I know the answer to that now.
And what about the 1MDB scandal? Well, unlike the BNM forex scandal, the 1MDB case was investigated by the Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee, the Royal Malaysian Police, Bank Negara Malaysia and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission. Police reports were also made against 1MDB. But not a single sen had gone missing!
For the BNM forex scandal, this is the first time that it has been investigated – by the RCI, and soon by the Royal Malaysian Police. And the first police report was made by a member of the RCI itself after the RCI findings report was published – 25 years after the whole thing happened.
So, we should all say our thank you to Lim Kit Siang for exposing this crime against ALL Malaysians. Thank you, Lim Kit Siang – for persistently asking for your good friends to be investigated.
For two decades DAP’s Supremo, Emperor Lim Kit Siang, fought to bring to justice those responsible for the loss of RM30 billion (RM45.25 billion in today’s terms) through foreign gambling exchange by the Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) back in the early 1990s. The greed of those responsible saw the BNM increase its trading volume to USD50 million lots (RM74.46 million or RM205.65 million today) compared to the market norm then of USD5 million (RM7.45 million or RM20.56 million today) to USD10 million (RM14.90 million or RM41.12 million today), amounting to billions of Dollars per day!
BNM’s maximum exposure in the foreign exchange markets then reached as high as RM270 billion – three times the country’s GDP and more than five times the country’s foreign reserves at the time!
Imagine what would have happened had we lost all that! But imagine what RM30 billion then could have done to arrest the massive fall of the Ringgit from RM2.4765 to the USD on 1 April 1997 to RM4.88 to the USD in early January 1998.
Now Lim Kit Siang plays innocent saying he has nothing to do with wanting a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the BNM Forex scandal. Is it because he and Mahathir are good friends now? Or is it because Mahathir’s involvement means that the DAP has lost one of its Malay political mules?
If I recall correctly, it was Lim Kit Siang who mentioned that Mahathir has to answer for the Forex loss, and that if Pakatan captures Putrajaya, he would re-open the BNM Forex scandal. He even asked if (former Egyptian President Hosni) Mubarak got life imprisonment, then why should Mahathir go scot-free?
Has Lim Kit Siang forgotten all the above? If he has, has he gone senile due to his age? If he has problems retaining his memory, then I don’t think he ought to contest in the next general elections.
Whatever it is, the biggest winner would be Anwar. Not only does he get to see his jailor jailed, but he won’t be lonely anymore.
I received this copied in a Veterans’ WhatsApp group. I omitted some parts of the message as it was just gibberish talk:
_Copied from write up by Mej **** ***** TUDM (Rtd)_
Good afternoon to all. The fight for a free Malaysia must go on!
Let us get one thing clear – the country and the government are separate entities. Governments come and go, the country is eternal.
We owe our allegiance to the country, not to the government. Therefore, saying bad things about a bad government is not being anti-national. Most important of all, voting against a bad government is not being anti-national. A bad government does not deserve loyalty. Disloyalty to the government is not disloyalty to the country; in fact, voting out a bad government is being loyal to the country.
Right to dissent
Save our economy
Fine words they are, but for someone with some legal training to write as such shows how much understanding the author has of the Federal Constitution.
Let us address this “call”:
“Good afternoon to all. The fight for a free Malaysia must go on!
Let us get one thing clear – the country and the government are separate entities. Governments come and go, the country is eternal.
We owe our allegiance to the country, not to the government. Therefore, saying bad things about a bad government is not being anti-national. Most important of all, voting against a bad government is not being anti-national. A bad government does not deserve loyalty. Disloyalty to the government is not disloyalty to the country; in fact, voting out a bad government is being loyal to the country.”
The country and the government cannot be separated, neither can a state be separated from its state government. Yes, governments come and go, but a government is still a government. Officers and men of the civil service, the Armed Forces, the Police owe their allegiance to the King and Country. The King rules the Country, as do the Sultans their respective state, through a government that was picked by the people. Be they the Federal Government or the State Government, they administer the country and the states on behalf of the King and Sultans, as well as the Governors. This is prescribed by Article 39 of the Federal Constitution where the Executive Authority of the Federation is vested in the Yang DiPertuan Agong by him, or by the Cabinet, or by any Minister authorised by the Cabinet.
In the case of the Armed Forces, the King exercises his power through the Minister of Defence. Which is why the officers and men of the Armed Forces are required to salute the Minister of Defence who represents the King’s executive power over the Armed Forces, and the Prime Minister who is the King’s Chief Executive, representing the King.
Article 41 states that the King is the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces and therefore those representing the King as prescribed by Article 39 are performing their duties on behalf of the King.
Therefore, it is imperative that the Armed Forces, as well as the civil service and the Police, remain loyal to the government of the day as the government of the day represents the King – be it bad or otherwise. Whether or nor a member of the Armed Forces, or the civil service, or the Police subscribes to the government of the day politically is a secondary matter. The oath that was taken was to be loyal to the King and Country; therefore loyalty shall be given to the government of the day.
The Minister who represents the King in matters of defence is also made the Chairman of the Armed Forces Council which is responsible for the command, the discipline and the administration of the Armed Forces, except for matters relating to their operational use. This is prescribed in Article 137 of the Federal Constitution.
And it is the Parliament that passed an Act to amend and consolidate the law relating to the establishment, government and discipline of the Armed Forces is made which is called the Armed Forces Act, 1972.
It is also the Armed Forces Act, 1972 that gave the powers to the Armed Forces Council to enable Brigadier-General Datuk Fadzlette Othman Merican Idris Merican be promoted to Major-General while she is being seconded to a Federal Government Department. Section 5C of the Armed Forces Act, 1972 determines that she remains a member of the regular forces but her remuneration shall be paid by that Federal Government Department.
By the same token, even the ordinary people who are citiens of Malaysia must realise that the Federal Government represents the King, the state governments represent the resective state’s Ruler. These are governments chosen by the people but was appointed by the Rulers to administer the country and states on their behalf. The only way to change these governments is by a democratic process called ELECTIONS (unless you have not heard of that word before).
Since 1955, Pulau Pinang, Perak, Kedah, Kelantan, Terengganu, Selangor and Sabah have all seen a change in government. If the elections were not clean, would it have been possible for the Opposition to have won cash cows such as Pulau Pinang and Selangor?
I must admit there are bad hats in the government, be it the Federal government or the states government. This is why we have seen people like Harun Idris, Mokhtar Hashim, Khir Toyo, Lim Guan Eng charged in court for corruption. All but Lim Guan Eng have served jail time. Guan Eng, who said that he is not afraid to go to prison, has been delaying his corruption trial using technical issues.
Many more state excos have also been arraigned in a court for corruption. This is not possible without agencies such as the Auditor-General’s Office and the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission which act as checks and balances to ensure that the Federal as well as states governments are run efficiently and cleanly.
Of course there are those who have yet to face the music. For example those responsible for the Maminco scandal in 1985 that saw a loss of RM1.6 billion (about RM2.56 billion in today’s terms); the Perwaja scandal in 1982 that saw a loss of about RM10 billion (RM18.73 billion in today’s terms); the BMF scandal of 1983 that had caused a loss of RM2.5 billion (RM4.5 billion today); the 1986 Deposit-Taking Cooperative Scandal that caused a loss of RM1.5 billion (about RM2.58 billion today); the RM30 billion loss by Bank Negara Malaysis through foreign exchange gambling in 1994 (RM45.25 billion today); the Malaysia Airlines scandal of 1994 with the loss of RM9.4 billion (RM14.18 billion today); the PKFZ scandal of 1999 with a loss of RM12.5 billion (RM13.5 billion in today’s terms).
The above all happened during the tenure of a certain former Prime Minister. The grand total of losses is RM67.5 billion (or RM101.3 billion in today’s terms). The amount shown does not include the bailouts reported in various books, Opposition leaders’ blogs and so on.
I do hope that the cry for a clean government will also call for the arraignment for the Prime Minister during whose tenure the financial scandals happened. Had the RM101.3 billion been put to good use during those 22 years, Sabah and Sarawak would have had SIX toll-free Pan Borneo Highways, or 1,013 80-bedded Government hospitals all over the country!
Instead, it enriched the few and killed one person.
“Right to Dissent”
I have not seen any Opposition-leaning media being taken off print or air, unlike during a certain 22-year period of my life. Malaysiakini et al are still spinning their version of what they call “balanced news” (read: news the way we want you to see it). The way these media operate reminds me of a character in Netflix’s limited series called “Godless” called A.T Grigg, a newspaper owner-editor who writes news the way he sees it, not how it truly happens.
The ISA was repealed six years ago by this present administration. Although replaced with SOSMA and POTA, it doesn’t give powers to the authorities to hold anyone without trial as the ISA did. And the ISA was being used a lot against political dissenters especially in the late 1990s during the tenure of a certain former Prime Minister.
This administration also introduced the Peaceful Assembly Act, 2012 that has allowed more freedom to assemble peacefully, unlike during those days of a certain former Prime Minister where at the slightest hint of a political dissent, you get whisked away to the University of Kamunting.
Has the author of the message been arrested yet? Of course not. Even when he actually committed sedition against Malaysia by encouraging Sarawak to secede from Malaysia.
Now, how is that seditious? If you look at Section 2 of the Sedition Act, 1948 it tells you the following:
This former Armed Forces officer also committed a crime of sedition under Section 3 (1) (b) of the same Act for encouraging Sarawak to leave Malaysia:
And you thought that the Federal Constitution protects freedom of speech? Yes, it does. But as with all other liberties, they are subjected to restrictions. Article 10(1) guarantees that every citizen has the right to freedom of speech and expression, but at the beginning of the Article it also says the following:
To dissent is okay. To dissent seditiously, or criminally, or dangerously, or incitingly, is not okay.
Any legal-trained person ought to know this, right? What more a former officer of the Armed Forces!
“Save Our Economy”
In April 2017, the World Bank forecasted that Malaysia’s GDP would be at 4.3 percent. This was revised in June 2017 to 4.9 percent due to an acceleration in domestic economic activities (people in Malaysia are actually spending more) by 5.7 percent year-on-year. The GDP growth was revised again in October 2017 to 5.2 percent.
Let me quote several reports here by the World Bank.
World Bank Group lead economist Richard Record said at a media briefing on the update that Malaysia’s robust GDP growth in the first half of 2017 was largely underpinned by strong private-sector expenditure, with additional impetus from an improvement in external demand.
“Private consumption expanded firmly this year, supported by favourable income growth amid stable labour market conditions, and improved consumer confidence. Private investment also sustained rapid growth rates during the period, reflecting mainly continued capital spending in the manufacturing and services sectors,” said Richard Record.
“On the external front, gross exports rebounded strongly from the subdued growth experienced in 2016, supported by double-digit growth in commodity and manufactured exports,” he added.
Economic watchdogs are generally bullish on the Malaysian economy’s performance, buttressed by strong expansion in private consumption and private investment. In the latest update on its World Economic Outlook, the International Monetary Fund has upped its GDP growth projection for Malaysia in 2017 to 4.8 percent from 4.5 percent previously.
Apart from that, the Asian Development Bank has also upgraded its 2017 growth outlook for Malaysia to 4.7% from 4.4%, and indicated that the two-year slowdown in economic growth is likely to have bottomed out last year.
Richard Record also predicted Malaysia’s economy for 2018 and 2019.
“We are forecasting Malaysia’s GDP to grow by 5 percent next year (2018) and 4.8 percent in 2019. Our prediction reflects how we are seeing the country’s macroeconomic fundamentals’ performance and the baseline scenario,” he said.
Online economics portal ‘Focus Economics’ also said the following:
“Economic momentum remained robust in Q3 as confirmed by more complete data. Export growth expanded by a double-digit pace in September, underscoring thriving external demand for Malaysian goods. Household spending was buoyed by a low unemployment rate in September and by higher wages, which were propped up by a thriving manufacturing sector, the key driver of industrial production growth in the quarter. The 2018 budget passed on 27 October is focused on fiscal consolidation and is expected to narrow the fiscal deficit from 3.0 percent in 2017 to 2.8 percent in 2018. Despite the tightening, the budget has consumer-friendly components that will increase disposable income. These include lower income tax rates, especially for middle-income earners; higher public wages; and increased assistance spending.”
Of course, with the oil prices continue to stay below the USD70 per barrel level, Malaysia as well as other countries will continue to experience some sluggishness in the economy. However, good fiscal policies have allowed us to grow unlike a neighbour of ours that is often quoted as being a model economy. That country’s growth have been at 2 percent in 2016, and 2.5 percent this year.
The outlook for the construction sector has taken a sharp turn for the worse, with poll respondents tipping a contraction of 4.2 per cent. The previous survey, released in June, had respondents forecasting 0.2 per cent growth in the sector.
The outlook for the accommodation and food services sector in this model country has also worsened – it is now expected to shrink 1.5 per cent, from previous estimates of a 1 per cent expansion.
Economists polled expect overall economic growth of 2.5 per cent next year for this model country, the same pace as this year.
Perhaps the author of the message we are discussing here should go down South and help revive the economy of that model country.
So, there have you. I really do not know what the fuss is about. All I can deduce is that the author of the message is all hot air – you can feel it blowing on your face, but there is no real substance there. This is the same as BERSIH, and the recycling of petty but stale issues by the Opposition just so that they can remain relevant, and justify for the allowances they receive from the pockets of the rakyat.
You can express your dissatisfaction, but always do so constructively. Especially if you are a member of the Malaysian Armed Forces and Malaysian Armed Forces Veterans.
Forest City was under a considerable amount of pressure when it first started due to the knee-jerk reactions of some environmentalists and half-baked as well as over-ripe politicians seeking quick publicity to remain relevant. While the environmental concerns have been addressed and continues to be addressed as the project progresses, it is notable that the political concerns seem to originate only from the Malay politicians. It seems that the Chinese politicians realise the potential this development brings.
In the meantime, Forest City continues to develop and progress, in very notable ways.
A UN Global Model
On the 31st October 2017, Forest City won the Global Model of Green Building Industrial Park for the second consecutive year. The award was part of the Sustainable Cities and Human Settlements Award (SCAHSA) ceremony held in New York.
The SCAHSA award established by the Global Forum on Human Settlement (GFHS), a non-profit organisation with Special Consultative Status within the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). It is a trend setter for urban construction everywhere that respects sustainable development.
Forest City, China’s Wuyi County and Indonesia’s Surabaya City were among the winning entries submitted from 23 countries and regions worldwide. Forest City won the SCAHSA Global Human Settlements Award on Planning and Design at the 11th Global Forum on Human Settlements (GFHS – XI).
Forest City, by taking full advantage of its technical resources, is creating a 1.7-square-kilometer construction-focused industrial park, to promote the development of a green building industry and improve building precision and quality, said Dr. Wang Jiying, vice general manager for overseas business at Country Garden.
Forest City will include several support facilities and a powerful water transportation system, all of which are expected to be operational in 2019, with the aim of creating a truly industrialised manufacturing base for the construction industry over the next three to five years.
Creating Potential Future Workforce
A month and a half ago when I was at Forest City, I was brought to visit one of five schools adopted by Forest City where children are given free Mandarin lessons for three months. This is one of the ways by Forest City to ensure that the local community, especially those in the Tanjung Kupang area, have roles to play in the development.
The result is excellent:
The student above is from the first batch of students who started their Mandarin language course in August 2017 and has graduated. Forest City is not stopping there. Forest City’s master developer, Country Garden Pacificview Sdn Bhd (CGPV), aims to give back to the community by offering three-month basic Mandarin language courses to some 100 school children there.
CGPV plans to continue to offer the Mandarin courses in the future as part of its corporate social responsibility effort for the community here.
“The second intake will be conducted from January until March next year,” Country Garden Pacificview Sdn Bhd corporate communications head Aeron Munajat told reporters when met at SK Tanjong Adang here today where she handed over certificates to the participants.
Aeron said that apart from learning Mandarin as a third language, the three-month language course will also help the students develop self-confidence which will further enhance their competitiveness in the job market in the future.
She said the course involved students and teachers from five schools, namely SK Morni Pok, SK Tanjong Adang, SK Tiram Duku, SK Tanjung Kupang and SK Pendas Laut.
“The classes are conducted every Friday and Saturday from 10am to 12 noon, at the community centre in Kampung Pok,” she added.
Forest City Does Not Pawn Johor Land
The continued but futile attacks on Forest City by Malaysia’s Mugabe and his followers have again earned the ire of His Majesty The Sultan of Johor.
“Has Johor ever pawned its land? What is the meaning of pawning? With Forest City, the state of Johor has increased in size. It is not about seizing land to be pawned. In Johor, there are international lots and Malay reserve land. Anyone can buy at the international zone, be it the Mat Salleh from England or people from India, Japan, China. All of them can purchase it. They can buy (property), but it does not mean they purchase the land to bring it back to their respective home country,” chided the Sultan.
“In Johor, we have an international zone, which means that foreigners could buy. It has international status. In Forest City, we do not sell the land, we sell the strata (titles) and these strata (titles) are for permanent ownership in Johor,” he remarked.
The Sultan added that 40 percent of the investors in Forest City are Malaysians and that even the government has shares in the project, and that the project gave a lot of revenue for the state government, including quit rent and assessment, which the state of Johor benefits.
“How much revenue will the Johor government get? When Forest City is completed, the assessment, quit rent will go to who? Who will get the jobs? There are transportation (initiatives), businesses and job opportunities. Don’t be narrow minded about this,” said the Sultan.
The Sultan also said that the most visible benefit of the Forest City project was the boost it has given to the value of real estate in its surrounding areas, particularly in Pontian district, which is now developing at a rapid pace.
He gave an example of how in the past, the people of Pontian were only picking buah duku (lanzones), but now people in Pontian own Mercedes Benz cars.
“It means that Pontian has become a district that will see rapid development,” the Sultan stressed. “In the past, an acre (0.4 hectares) of land used to cost RM100,000, but now, it is valued up to RM3 million.”
It is no doubt that Forest City will boost the Iskandar region’s marketability. With consumer prices 100 percent higher than in Malaysia, rent prices 500 percent higher than in Malaysia, many companies in Singapore were driven to relocate to Iskandar, while Johor Bahru’s shopping malls, food outlets and amusement parks have become a favourite for Singaporeans. Bangkok’s recent wish for Malaysia to extend its High Speed Rail into Thailand will soon make the Iskandar Econmic Region attractive to the millionaires and billionaires of Indochina. And the green, affordable buildings of Forest City will definitely be a hit.
While they all win, the real winners will be the people of Johor and Malaysia.