Pakatan Can Promise Sarawak The World

The question is, can it even deliver those promises?

In a recent article posted on Tian Chua’s Malaysia-Chronicle, Pakatan made a promise to Sarawakians – a promise that they claim the Barisan Nasional can never match.

If you have problems accessing the website, don’t worry. It has been spread via WhatsApp as usual and the content is as follows:

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A DEAL NAJIB CAN NEVER MATCH: SARAWAK TO KEEP 50% TAX REVENUE, 20% OIL & GAS ROYALTY, DECISION & EDUCATION RIGHTS TO BE RETURNED TO STATE GOVT – HARAPAN

Politics | January 20, 2018 by | 0 Comments

Pakatan Harapan’s Sarawak manifesto pledges that the state will retain 50 percent of all tax revenues collected in the state.

The state will also receive 20 percent from oil and gas royalties or its equivalent value from the federal government, according to the manifesto titled ‘New Deal for Sarawak Part Two’, which was released today.

“The government of Sarawak shall use these funds to shoulder the fiscal responsibility of the federal government in education and health,” the manifesto states.

Harapan also promised to set up a Petronas equivalent in the state, to be named Sarawak Petrogas, which would be wholly owned by the state government.

Sarawak Petrogas, which will be directly answerable to the Sarawak legislative assembly, will jointly manage oil and gas resources within the territorial borders and waters of Sarawak, together with Petronas, the manifesto says.

This is similar to Petroleum Sarawak, an oil and gas company started by the current Sarawak state government, which is meant to be an equal partner with Petronas for oil and gas activities in the state.

‘State can localise education syllabi’

With the decision rights returned to Sarawak in education and healthcare, the state can localise the education syllabi, review staffing and administrative policies, improve and upgrade the quality of all hospitals in the state and equip hospitals with cancer and heart centres, among others.

Harapan will also focus on speeding up the supply of clean water and electricity to all houses in Sarawak, both suburban and rural, as well as roads connecting rural native heartlands to stimulate economic growth in the interiors of Sarawak.

It will also ensure top priority is given to competent and eligible Sarawakians for employment and promotion in federal government departments and agencies in Sarawak.

World-class coaching facilities and a sports institute will be developed in Sarawak, the manifesto states, to equip and harness the potential of Sarawakian athletes.

Aside from its commitment to restore Sarawak to its original status within the context of the Malaysia Agreement 1963, Harapan said it would also form a Royal Commission to review various legislations that affect Sarawak’s rights to its natural resources.

These legislations include the Continental Shelf Act 1966, the Petroleum Development Act 1974 and the Territorial Sea Act 2012.

Harapan said Part Three of its New Deal for Sarawak would be released at a later date.

MKINI

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Hallelujah!

But before you even start to dance with joy, let me remind you that this is another one of those ad nauseam promises made, which can never be fulfilled, and will later be blamed on the Federal Constitution and the Federal Government.

Pakatan Harapan Sarawak cannot deliver fully on this promise because it is merely a state entity and cannot arrogate to the state what are Federal rights. As usual, Pakatan Harapan will refer to its non-existent utopian Federal Constitution when making such promises.

Even if it is a Pakatan Harapan Federal Government promise, it cannot fully deliver without the consent of the 11 Peninsular Malaysia states and Sabah because the Malaysia Agreement 1963 is an agreement inter se.

Any increase in the rights of one state vis a vis its position with the Federal Government diminishes the position of the other states vis a vis that one state as well as with the Federal Government . It will need the agreement of the other states in the Federation.

Therefore, Pakatan Harapan should stop making false promises and giving the people false hopes just because they (Pakatan Harapan) have false intelligence.

Mahathir’s Reformasi

It was a movement to topple the second most-hated dictator of the South East Asia. Tens of thousands would march on the streets of Kuala Lumpur chanting “Undur Mahathir, undur!” and the infamous “Reformasi!” after Anwar Ibrahim was summarily expelled from UMNO and denied a chance for the premiership over reasons Mahathir himself claims to have forgotten or something to that effect.

Leading this group of demonstrators was Anwar’s most loyal lieutenants, Azmin Ali, who was his Principal Private Secretary in the Deputy Prime Minister’s Office. With Anwar still in jail, Azmin is the most favourite choice for Pakatan’s Prime Minister-designate amongst the younger generation.

Or that was what we all thought would happen.

Suddenly, the 92-year old Mahathir manoeuvred his way into being accepted as the Prime Minister again if Pakatan wins the next general elections. DAP and the anti-Azmin camp inside PKR namely Wan Azizah’s camp accepted the nonagenarian but this was rejected by several opposition-friendly NGOs as well as Selangor’s PKR.

Several hints on social media platforms and insiders’ information of Anwar’s opposition to Mahathir being designated as Pakatan’s Prime Minister warranted an article by The Star’s Joceline Tan. The writing is all over the wall – REFORMASI is dead.

In a move seen to insult Mahathir, Azmin offered his Gombak parliamentary seat for Mahathir to contest in in the next general election, an offer rejected outright by the latter.

A leopard never changes its spots – and true to his character, Mahathir announced that he will deal with dissenters quietly – a reminder of his 22-year reign of terror.

Just like Anwar whose colour of underwear was made public for going against Mahathir, Azmin now finds tales of his sexual trysts being made public. We are reminded of the time Anina Saadudin’s steamy WhatsApp messages were made public after falling out with Mahathir’s inner circle.

Anything Azmin is now being attacked, therefore it’s going to be interesting to see how the champion of Reformasi will now go against the man he has been fighting against for the past 20 years.

If he fails, it would be Mahathir’s masterstroke – for killing off the Reformasi movement from inside and finally making it his own Reformasi where dissent can never be tolerated.

Welcome to Mahathir’s Reformasi – or Dictatorship 2.0 as we know it.

Reformasi Untuk Mahathir

Mahathir’s return to politics in 1973 was watched closely by other races, in particular the Chinese and Indians.  His meteoric rise to the Deputy Prime Minister’s post in 1976 was of grave concern by many.  His imminent Premiership caused a large number of migration by Malaysian Chinese.  Despite the economic growth in the late 1980s through 1997, some 42,000 Malaysian Chinese opted to work elsewhere.  This number includes some 14,000 Malaysian Chinese who were working illegally in Japan in 1993 (Shimada, 1994).

If citizenship is conferred on races other than the Malays, it is because the Malays consent to this,” wrote Mahathir in his book ‘The Malay Dilemma‘.

“The Chinese and Indians coming from countries with vast populations are less concerned about good behavior and manners. In their lives, nobility, which is always associated with breeding, was totally absent. Age and riches are the only things they defer to,” he added.

Calling for reforms such as the mandatory use of tamper-proof scales, Mahathir wrote of scales that can be used to shortchange customers and said, ”The small-time Chinese retailer is adept at this practice and unscrupulous enough to use it as a weapon in competition.”

Mahathir was the ultra-Malay to many including the Malays themselves.  Fears of race clashes haunted the voters during the run-up to the 1982 General Elections.  I remember being sent to Mimaland in Gombak with Datuk Latt Shariman (President, E-Sports Malaysia) on polling day in case something bad happens.  It was the first General Elections under Mahathir and it was called more than a year before the then-mandate ended.  Public rallies were banned citing ‘security’ reasons and only indoor gatherings and house-to-house canvassing were allowed (Lim Kit Siang, 22 March 1982).

Even though Malaysia’s economic growth peaked at 8 percent in the mid 1990s, it was mired in scandals involving the practice of cronyism and nepotism.  Lim Kit Siang wrote that Mirzan, Mokhzani and Mukhriz Mahathir – acted as companies’ directors, and that according to searches the DAP had made at the Registry of Companies at the end of 1994, Mirzan had interests in 98 companies, Mokhzani in 48 companies and Mukhriz in 67 companies (Lim Kit Siang, 16 June 1998).  Compared to the 213 companies his sons were directors in back in 1994, 488 is the number of companies Mahathir, daughter and sons are directors in as at end of 2016 (Wakeup Malaya, 6 January 2017).

The calls for Mahathir to resign in 1998 for practising nepotism and cronyism culminated in the sacking of Anwar Ibrahim as his deputy in September of the same year, accusing the latter not only of being a tool for George Soros’s attacks on the country’s financial system but also for leading a morally-corrupted life.  Lim Kit Siang and other Opposition leaders were quick to embrace Anwar, acccepting him into their fold when it was just a year earlier that the late Karpal Singh had made mention of allegations of sexual misconducts against Anwar in a Parliamentary sitting – a scene not much different to Lim Kit Siang’s immediate acceptance of Mahathir after decades of mudslinging the latter.

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Anti-Mahathir demonstrations were held almost daily and then held every Friday afternoon at the National Mosque.  These demonstrations were quelled using brute force.  The ‘Reformasi’ movement was born, and the likes of theatre-practitioners such as Jo Kukathas were seen on the streets and interviewed by Maria Ressa saying “Enough is Enough” to Mahathir.  Anwar and several other pro-Reformasi and UMNO leaders critical of Mahathir were arrested without trial under the ISA including current DPM Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

Parti Keadilan Rakyat, then known by its acronym ADIL, was born out of hatred towards Mahathir, with the aim of toppling him and installing Anwar Ibrahim.  The 1999 General Elections saw how Mahathir suffered a pyrrhic victory, losing grounds in Kelantan and his homestate of Kedah, while losing Terengganu to PAS.  Mahathir-loyalists such as Ramli Ngah Talib, Megat Junid Megat Ayub and Sanusi Junid lost their seats.  That was the beginning of the sounding of the death knell for Mahathir’s virtually unchallenged reign.  During the UMNO General Assembly of 2002, he announced his resignation from party posts as well as Malaysia’s Prime Minister.

Ever since then, with the more open administrations of Pak Lah and Najib Razak, Mahathir became one of the targets of the Opposition in their blog posts, press statements as well as ceramahs.

In June 2012, Mahathir’s newly-made best friend even suggested that Mahathir is tried for his part in the BNM Forex scandal, hinting Egyptian Hosni Mubarak’s imprisonment as a comparison (Lim Kit Siang, 3 June 2012).

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But all is forgotten and forgiven now, even when Mahathir admitted that his apology was only customary and not sincere.  Despite veiled objections from Anwar and Azmin Ali’s camp, Mahathir was named at a Pakatan convention as their Prime Minister of choice albeit interim.   This underscores the fact that the leadership of Pakatans parties do not trust the younger generation to lead the coalition as the position of the elders and powers that come with the position, may be undermined by the younger ones.

The signal of dissent is clear.  Azmin only attended the convention for a while, not waiting for the announcement to be made while Karpal Singh’s daughter, Sangeet Kaur Deo,  has hit out at Pakatan which probably is suffering from a dearth of capable young leaders.  Even Mahathir once quipped that Anwar, who is 22 years his junior, may be too old to become a Prime Minister.

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On Facebook, we are seeing people in their 40s and 50s voicing out their concern over Pakatan’s choice of Prime Minister, alarmed that the monster they have put behind them, could very well jump out from underneath the bed and into their lives again.

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But it does not stop Mahathir from wanting to become the Prime Minister.  He once hinted that he may have to consider becoming the PM again, underscoring the fact that he does not trust anyone else.

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“I may be 93 but at 71 Anwar is much older!”

Wan Azizah may be blind to the fact that Mahathir had once denied the Premiership to her husband and went as far as making sure Anwar went to jail to keep him out of the way, while Lim Kit Siang is only friends with Mahathir because he needs the Malay votes to ensure Pakatan’s seats are sustained after the departure of PAS from the now-defunct Pakatan Rakyat.

Will Mahathir be willing to step aside for Anwar Ibrahim or whoever else younger who would be more acceptable to the younger and middle-aged generation aware of his antics?  I doubt.  But as Sangeet mentioned above, it will be a return to Mahathirism, an era of abuse of power, cronyism and nepotism that the Reformasi movement was totally against.

Somehow, it seems that the Reformasi movement has become a tool for what it was totally against – ushering Mahathir into the premiership and welcoming again abuse of pwer, nepotism and cronyism.

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Anwar is NOT going to be MY PM

 

Drama Kera La (Versi BM)

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Seekor beruk bermain dengan sekuntum Bunga Raya (Gambar Hiasan)

Baru-baru ini ditularkan di dalam Facebook dan WhatsApp sebuah video mengenai cara negara China memperluaskan penguasaannya dengan menggunakan kekuatan ekonomi.  Video tersebut membandingkan usahasama China-Sri Lanka di pelabuhan laut dalam Hambantota dengan usahasama-usahasama yang dijalankan di Malaysia, membuktikan bahawa Malaysia juga boleh berakhir bukan sahaja menjadi sebuah negara yang dibelenggu masalah hutang yang besar, tetapi juga bakal hilang pegangan ke atas aset-aset tersebut.

Secara kasar, berhutang keada China dengan sebegitu banyak untuk projek-projek tersebut adalah amat menakutkan, terutamanya untuk mereka yang tidak mendapat gambaran penuh.  Namun, membandingkan Malaysia dengan Sri Lanka bukanlah suatu perkara yang bijak.

Pelabuhan laut dalam Hambantota terletak di dalam kawasan bekas Presiden Sri Lanka iaitu Mahinda Rajapaksa dan kos pembinaannya adalah lebih dari $1 billion.  Sebuah lagi projek yang dibina di dalam kawasan Mahinda ialah Lapangan terbang Mattala Rajapaksa yang terletak 30 kilometer dari pelabuhan tersebut.  Sehingga kini, lapangan terbang tersebut digunakan oleh hanya beberapa ratus orang seminggu hinggakan ianya diberi gelaran “lapangan terbang paling sunyi di dunia.”

Hambantota ialah sebuah wilayah yang terpencil di Selatan Sri Lanka.  Jaraknya dengan bandar yang paing hampir iaitu Galle ialah 130 kilometer, manakala jaraknya dengan ibu negara Sri Lanka iaitu Colombo ialah 240 kilometer.  Jumlah penduduknya hanyalah sekitar 12,000 orang dan ianya merupakan sebuah wilayah yang tersisih dari sebarang pembangunan.  Masalah pelabuhan laut dalam Hambantota ialah kedalaman airnya yang tidak mencukupi untuk kapal-kapal dagang yang besar untuk masuk ke pelabuhan tersebut.  Maka, ianya tidak menjadi suatu destinasi bagi syarikat-syarikat perkapalan besar.  Tiada siapa yang ingin berpindah ke sana kerana ianya berada terlalu jauh dari pembangunan.  Ini menyebabkan kedua-dua pelabuhan dan lapangan terbang tidak dapat menjana pendapatan untuk menampung kos operasinya sendiri, apatah lagi untuk membayar pinjaman yang telah diterima daripada China.

Jumlah hutang yang ditanggung oleh Sri Lanka ialah hampir $65 billion.  Dari jumlah tersebut, $8 billion adalah hutang kepada China.  KDNKnya (Keluaran Dalam Negara Kasar) ialah sebanyak $81.32 billion.  Kadar hutang kepada KDNKnya pula ialah 75 peratus manakala rizab matawang asingnya ialah $7.2 billion.  Kerajaan Sri Lanka menggunakan 95.4 peratus pendapatannya untuk membayar hutang.  Inilah sebab-sebab Sri Lanka mengambil jalan untuk melangsaikan hutang-hutangnya untuk kedua-dua projek tersebut dengan cara menyerahkan pegangan kepada negara pemiutang (China).

Bandingkan apa yang terjadi dengan projek ECRL yang bernilai $13.1 billion (RM55 bilion).  Malaysia mengambil pinjaman sebanyak $11.14 billion (85 peratus dari kos keseluruhan projek atau RM46.75 billion) dari China manakala selebihnya dibiayai melalui program sukuk yang dikendalikan oleh institusi-institusi kewangan tempatan.

Projek Forest City di negeri Johor pula merupakan sebuah program pembangunan bernilai $100 billion selama 20 tahun.  Walaupun jumlah yang diperuntukkan bagi setiap fasa projek tersebut adalah merupakan maklumat sulit syarikat yang membangunkan projek tersebut, ianya dianggarkan sekitar $5 billion setahun.  Projek tersebut telah bermula pada tahun 2015 dan sehingga kini 11 peratus telah dilaksanakan.  Pada akhir bulan Disember 2016, Forest City berjaya membuat penjualan 17,000 unit apartmen bernilai $2.9 billion.  Tempoh pembangunan projek tersebut masih berbaki 17 tahun lagi.

KDNK Malaysia kini berjumlah $320.25 billion (RM1.3 trillion) untuk tahun 2017.  Ini menjadikan kos projek ECRL pada kadar 4.1 peratus dari KDNK manakala projek Forest City pada kadar 1.6 peratus setahun.  Jumah hutang keseluruhan negara ialah sebanyak RM685.1 billion atau 50.9 peratus dari KDNK.  Dari jumlah ini, RM662.4 billion adalah hutang dalam negara manakala hanya RM22.7 billion merupakan hutang luar pesisir pantai.

Yang menariknya, setakat bulan Oktober 2017, hutang Amerika Syarikat kepada China berjumah $1.2 trillion, iaitu 19 peratus dari sejumlah $6.3 trillion dalam bentuk bil-bil Perbendaharaan, wang, dan bon-bon yang dipegang oleh negara-negara luar.  KDNK AS pada tahun 2016 adalah sebanyak $18.57 trillion dan ini menjadikan kadar hutang AS kepada China berbanding KDNKnya sebanyak 6.5 peratus.

Sudah tentu kita boleh membiayai projek-projek di atas tanpa mengambil sebarang pinjaman.  Rizab matawang asing kita berjumlah RM414.71 billion ($102.17 billion), lebih dari mencukupi untuk pembiayaan kedua-dua projek tersebut.Jika kita gunakan kaedah di zaman Tun Mahathir, Petronas mempunyai pegangan tunai sebanyak RM129 billion ($31.8 billion) manakala KWSP mempunyai aset-aset yang bernilai $771 billion ($189.9 billion).  Ini tidak termasuk pegangan tunai dan aset-aset kepunyaan Khazanah, Tabung Haji, KWAP, SOCSO, PNB dan lain-lain institusi kerajaan.

Sekiranya kadar hutang kepada KDNK sebanyak 50.9 peratus merisaukan anda, ianya pernah berada pada kadar 103.4 peratus semasa Mahathir merupakan Perdana Menteri pada tahun 1985.  Dan suatu jumlah bersamaan dengan 24 peratus KDNK juga telah hilang dalam skandal Forex BNM pada tahun 1991 iaitu semasa Mahathir masih lagi Perdana Menteri Malaysia.  24 peratus daripada KDNK sekiranya ia berlaku sekarang bersamaan dengan hilangnya RM315 billion dari RM1.3 trillion.  Sebagai perbandingan, kadar hutang kepada KDNK Singapura ialah 112 peratus dan negara tersebut berada di tangga ke-10 dari 17 negara yang mempunyai kadar hutang berbanding KDNK paling tinggi di dunia yang disenaraikan oleh Business Insider, UK.  Jepun menduduki tempat pertama dengan kadar 239.2 peratus!

Kita tidak jatuh bankrap semasa zaman Mahathir jadi mengapa perlu kita takutkan kadar hutang berbanding KDNK sebanyak 50.9 peratus bila asas ekonomi kita jauh lebih kukuh sekarang berbanding 103.4 peratus semasa asas kita lemah?  Jepun dan Singapura juga tidak jatuh bankrap.

Dan apa masalahnya dengan pemilikan tanah Forest City?  Tanah tersebut adalah merupakan tanah yang ditambak di tengah laut.  Ini bermakna tiada tanah yang “diberikan kepada China.”  Johor mempunyai hak ke atas tanah yang ditambak tersebut berdasarkan Kanun Tanah Negara, 1965 dan selagi ianya berada dalam lingkungan tiga batu nautika mengikut Seksyen 3(3) Akta Laut Wilayah, 2012.  Sama ada ianya merupakan pegangan bebas mahupun pegangan pajakan, Johor mempunyai hak untuk mengambil semula tanah tersebut di bawah Akta Pengambilan Tanah, 1960.  Mana-mana tanah sehingga 12 batu nautika dari sisir pantai adalah hak milik negara.

Namun Mahathir lebih suka memilih jalan dengan menggembar-gemburkan cerita untuk menakut-nakutkan rakyat.  Dalam ucapan beliau baru-baru ini, beliau berkata, “Habislah tanah kita akan dijual, tidak kiralah Forest City, saya harap Forest City akan betul-betul jadi ‘forest’ (hutan)…penduduknya akan terdiri daripada kera, monyet dan sebagainya.

Taman Perindustrian Malaysia-China Kuantan (MCKIP) dibangunkan oleh MCKIP Sdn Bhd (MCKIPSB) yang merupakan sebuah syarikat usahasama 51:49 di antara sebuah konsortium Malaysia dan sebuah konsortium China.  Pegangan dalam Konsortium Malaysia pula terdiri dari IJM (40 peratus), Sime Darby Property (30 peratus) dan Kerajaan Negeri Pahang (30 peratus).  Taman perindustrian kembarnya iaitu Taman Perindustrian China-Malaysia Qinzhou (CMQIP) di negera China pula dipegang oleh sebuah konsortium Malaysia (SP Setia Berhad dan Rimbunan Hijau Group) sebanyak 49 peratus.

Mengikut logik Mahathir, bukankah China telah memberi peluang kepada Malaysia untuk menjajah negaranya?  Sebelum ini China juga telah membenarkan Singapura menjajahnya di dua kawasan iaitu di Taman Perindustrian China-Singapore Suzhou dan juga di Bandaraya Eko China-Singapore Tianjin.

Walaupun keadaan di Sri Lanka nampak suram, Jepun, Singapura dan India telah menyatakan hasrat untuk membina infrastruktur dan mendirikan perniagaan di Sri Lanka.  Walaupun Sri Lanka mempunyai asas ekonomi yang lemah, Lolitha Abeysinghe dari Opportunity Sri Lanka kekal optimistik.

Pergantungan berlebihan terhadap mana-mana negara untuk pelaburan, teknologi dan pasaran boleh memberi kesan buruk terhadap kepentingan negara dalam jangka panjang, tetapi sekiranya diurus dengan betul dan dengan wawasan yang jauh, Sri Lanka boleh mengurangkan masalah tersebut dan mendapat manfaat terbaik untuk ekonomi luar bandar domestik di dalam sebuah dari wilayah-wilayah terpinggir di Sri Lanka,” katanya.

Malaysia mempunyai wawasan tersebut tetapi malangnya sesetengah orang lebih gemar sekiranya Malaysia gagal hanya kerana kepentingan politik. Politik cara kera dan monyet.

Drama Kera La

ST photo -SAF-PLA joint military exercise
Singapore Army invading China?

Recently, a video clip of how China is fulfilling its hegemonic ambitions using economic means was spread around especially in Facebook and WhatsApp groups.  The video compares the Sino-Sri Lankan joint-venture at the Hambantota Deep Water Port with the ones in Malaysia, proving that Malaysia, like Sri Lanka, could end up not only with a huge debt owing to China, but also lose its ownership of those assets.

On the surface, it sounds scary to have so much money owed to China for these projects especially so for the ill-informed.  But comparing Malaysia to Sri Lanka hardly does any justice.

The Hambantota Deep Water Port lies within the constituency of the former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and costs more than $1 billion to construct.  Another project that was constructed in this constituency is the Mattala Rajapaksa Airport, located 30 kilometres away from the port, which until now flies only a few hundred passengers in and out weekly and has been dubbed “the world’s loneliest airport.”

Hambantota is a remote region in the South, 240 kilometres from Colombo and the nearest city, Galle, is 130 kilometres away.  The population of Hambantota is around 12,000 people and is very underdeveloped.  The problem with Hambantota’s deep-water port is that its waters are not deep enough for large vessels with deep draught, so large shipping companies shy away from it.  It is far from any development that hardly anyone wants to move there.  Both the port and the airport cannot generate enough income to sustain operations let alone pay back loans to the Chinese.

Sri Lanka owes its financiers close to $65 billion and of this, $8 billion alone is owed to the Chinese.  Its GDP stands at $81.32 billion, debt-to-GDP ratio stands at roughly 75 percent while its foreign currency reserves is at $7.2 billion.  The Sri Lankan government uses 95.4 percent of its revenue to repay debts.  These are the reasons for Sri Lanka to opt for a debt-for-equity solution for both projects.

Compare this with Malaysia’s $13.1 billion East Coast Rail Link, or RM55 billion in Malaysian terms.  Malaysia took a $11.14 billion loan (85 percent or RM46.75 billion) from China to finance the project while the balance is in the form of a sukuk programme managed by local financial institutions.

The Forest City project in Johor is a development programme that runs over 20 years.  How much is being allocated per project is a company confidential information but if we go by average, it would be at $5 billion per annum, with a total of $100 billion over 20 years.  The project commenced in 2015 and to date has completed about 11 percent.  At the end of December 2016, Forest City saw concluded contracted sales of $2.9 billion for 17,000 apartment units.  It still has another 17 years of development to go.

Our GDP now stands at around $320.25 billion (RM1.3 trillion) for 2017 which puts the cost of the ECRL project at 4.1 percent of the GDP while Forest City accounts to approximately 1.6 percent of the GDP per annum.  The total Government debt as at end of June 2017 was reported to be at RM685.1 billion or 50.9 percent of the GDP.  Of this total, RM662.4 billion was domestic debt while RM22.7 billion was offshore loans.

Interestingly, as of October 2017, the US debt to China is at $1.2 trillion, which is 19 percent of the $6.3 trillion in US Treasury bills, notes and bonds held by foreign countries.  The US GDP in 2016 was $18.57 trillion which makes its China-debt-to-GDP alone at 6.5 percent.

Of course, we could undertake to pay for all the above projects.  Our foreign currency exchange reserves are at RM414.71 billion ($102.17 billion) which is more than enough to pay for both projects.  If we use the Mahathir-era method, then Petronas has RM129 billion in cash ($31.8 billion) while the EPF has RM771 billion ($189.9 billion) worth of assets.  This does not include sources from other funds such as Khazanah, Tabung Haji, KWAP, SOCSO, PNB and others.

If our debt-to-GDP ratio of 50.9 percent is still a scary number to you, it was at 103.4 percent when Mahathir was the Prime Minister in 1985!  And an equivalent to 24 percent of the GDP went missing as a resut of the BNM Forex scandal also during his tenure as the PM in 1991!  That is RM315 billion if our GDP is RM1.3 trillion!  In contrast, Singapore’s debt-to-GDP ratio is 112 percent at tenth place out of 17 nations with the highest debt-to-GDP rate listed by Business Insider, UK.  Japan is first at 239.2 percent.

Still, we did not go bankrupt back then. So why should we fear a 50.9 percent debt-to-GDP ratio with much stronger economic fundamentals when we have reached 103.4 percent with a much weaker economy? And neither Singapore nor Japan has gone bankrupt.

And what is with the ownership of the land where Forest City is situated?  It is a reclaimed land; therefore, no part of mainland Johor was carved out to be “given to the Chinese.”  Johor has rights over the reclaimed land as accorded by the National Land Code, 1965 up to three nautical miles as given by Section 3(3) of the Territorial Sea Act, 2012.  Whether it is a freehold land or a leasehold land, Johor can always take it back, with provisions, under the Land Acquisition Act, 1960. Up to 12 nautical miles from the foreshore, the Malaysian flag flies no matter who holds the grant.

Mahathir recently said “I hope Forest City will truly become a forest… Its residents will consist of baboons (kera), monkeys (monyet) and so on”, fuelling unjustified fears among the people of Malaysia.

The Malaysia-China Kuantan Industrial Park (MCKIP) has MCKIP Sdn Bhd (MCKIPSB) as its Master Developer.  MCKIPSB is a 51:49 joint-venture between a Malaysian consortium and a China consortium.  In the Malaysian portion of the shareholding, IJM land holds 40 percent, Sime Darby Property 30 percent and the Pahang State Government holds the remaining 30 percent. Its twin sister, the China-Malaysia Qinzhou Industrial Park (CMQIP) in China is 49 percent owned by a Malaysian consortium (SP Setia Berhad and Rimbunan Hijau Group).

Going by Tun Dr Mahathir’s logic, has China just allowed Malaysia to colonise its land too?  Prior to this it allowed Singapore to colonise in two other areas, namely the China-Singapore Suzhou Industrial Park and the China-Singapore Tianjin Eco City.

As bleak as Sri Lanka may sound, Japan, Singapore and India have expressed interest in building infrastructure and setting up shop in Sri Lanka.  Even with much weaker economic fundamentals compared to Malaysia, Lolitha Abeysinghe of Opportunity Sri Lanka remains optimistic.

Over-dependence on any country for investments, technology, and markets could result in some adverse impacts on national interest in the long-run, but if managed properly with a futuristic vision, Sri Lanka can mitigate such adversity and reap the best benefits for the rural domestic economy in one of the least developed districts in Sri Lanka,” he said.

Malaysia has that vision but sadly some of its people would rather see everything fail in the name of politics.  The politics of baboons and monkeys.

 

 

 

DAP Benefitted From Military Camps

Screen Shot 2017-12-25 at 23.48.38

Recently Kluang Member of Parliament Liew Chin Tong slammed Minister of Defence Hishammuddin Hussein for denying that an army camp was being built in Paloh, a state seat in the latter’s constituency of Sembrong.  Liew Chin Tong implied that the army camp is being built for political purposes.

“This proves that Barisan Nasional (BN) is using these army camps to increase voters in constituencies that it won with thin majorities in the 13th general election,” Liew told a press conference last week.

He said the inclusion of the army personnel in Paloh would increase the electorate by over 1,000 voters.

“In Paloh, DAP lost only by a few hundred votes and these new voters will result in another BN win,” he added.

The fact is that while members of the Malaysian Armed Forces swears its allegiance to the Yang DiPertuan Agong, His Majesty’s Government (the Government-of-the-Day), and the Country, each member of the Malaysian Armed Forces are free to vote for whom they are politically-inclined to support.  Therefore, having a military camp/base does not guarantee you any solid support for votes.  I had written at length on this issue of allegiance in a recent blog post.

Perhaps it would be good for Liew Chin Tong to admit that he won Kluang against the Barisan Nasional in 2013 because of the presence of a huge army camp, namely Kem Mahkota, that houses the 61st Royal Artillery Regiment as well as the 881st Regiment, Malaysian Army Aviation.

Come to think of it, out of the 89 Parliamentary seats won by the then-Pakatan Rakyat during the 13th General Elections four years ago, at least 18 parliamentary constituencies have major military camps/bases in them.  That is 20 percent of the total of parliamentary consituencies held by the Pakatan candidates. Here is the list that I have compiled:

Senarai Kem Tentera Bawah PH 2013

Let us take for example the Lumut Naval Base which is under PKR.  That base alone had 14,231 registered voters while PKR’s Mohamad Imran Abd Hamid won 40,308 votes.  Why didn’t Barisan Nasional win there?

Perhaps Liew Chin Tong should also inform all Malaysians that out of the 18 constituencies with major military camps/bases that was won by the Pakatan back in 2013, eight seats were won by the DAP. That is 44 percent!  Despite being the other “Malay” party within the Pakatan, PKR managed only seven seats or 38 percent. PAS could only get three then but one of those seats, Shah Alam, is now firmly under Khalid Samad of Amanah after he betrayed his oath to remain in PAS if nominated as a candidate and would divorce his wife if he jumps ship.  Shah Alam is the home of a major Royal Malaysian Air Force base – Subang.

Pakatan and its supporters should just stop politicising the Malaysian Armed Forces.  As towns and cities are developed, old camps and bases are no longer strategic nor conducive to be inhabited.  How could Pakatan, advertising that it is all for rights and stuff, allow military personnel to live and work in deplorable and antiquated conditions?  And as development creep into their surrounding areas, military bases are no longer of any strategic value.  I have addressed this issue in a posting of mine and so has my friend Danny Liew in his recent posting.

So, wouldn’t DAP now like to offer a piece of land in constituencies held by it for Hishammuddin to build military bases or camps?

A Royal Poser

The above Facebook account has been posting stuff which raised many eyebrows, and as usual many gullible Malaysians fall for it.

If it was true that His Majesty The Sultan of Brunei did indeed post especially the one above, he needs to employ someone with better command of the English language and maturity to post on his behalf. It sounds like an elementary school student wanting to sound intelligent.

In a previous post I wrote on how gullible Malaysians can be, often taking “news” at face value without verifying for truth. So, I checked the above account with my niece. She is a Brunei government servant married to a member of the Brunei royal family who is also a diplomat serving at one of Brunei’s embassies in Europe.

She confirmed that the account does not belong to His Majesty and that he does not post his own self. She also pointed me to the official Facebook of His Majesty.

It is very sad to see that we are moving towards getting a developed nation status but Malaysians remain as cultured as the Neanderthals.