The China Mahathir So Loved

stock-photo-lawatan-rasmi-perdana-menteri-datuk-seri-mahathir-mohamad-ke-china-158640
Mahathir visiting China in 1985 (courtesy of Penerangan Malaysia)

The ‘Ping Pong Diplomacy’ between Malaysia and China that happened in 1971 was a marked departure from the policy on China set by Tunku Abdul Rahman.  While Tunku blamed China for its support for the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM), Tun Abdul Razak saw it necessary to engage China to end its support for the CPM.

When Mahathir took over the premiership in 1981, he placed importance on economic development and not so much foreign policy.  Three years earlier, Deng Xiao Ping had also placed China under a process of economic modernisation.  However, although there was an increase in bilateral economic and trade exchanges with China, the percentage of that compared to the overall trade declined.  In the 10 years since the beginning of formal diplomatic relations, economic and trade exchanges between the two countries was at 3.5 percent of Malaysia’s total trade.  This number fell to just 1.5 percent in 1984 (Stephen Leong, “Malaysia and the People’s Republic of China in the 1980s: Political Vigilance and Economic Pragmatism”, Asian Survey, Vol. 27, No. 10, October 1987, p.1114).

In a speech at Qing Hua University, Beijing in November 1985, an alarmed Mahathir said: “My own country`s bilateral trade with China has in fact declined since 1980 and this is despite the widely held view that China`s modernisation would increase the opportunities for trade and economic links.”

Mahathir saw China as a very important partner that could help the modernisation of Malaysia’s economy so much so that the delegation that he brought with him on that first visit in 1985 was huge. In a speech given during that visit he said:

I have brought with me a large delegation of leading Malaysian entrepreneurs and businessmen. It is my hope that with your cooperation they would be able to fully explore further opportunities for trade and economic cooperation.

Mahathir made six other visits to China between 1993 and 2001, a display of the importance of China in his economic policies.  A year after he began his administration, trade with China stood at USD307 million.  This jumped to USD1.4 billion ten years later.  A year before he stepped down, it was at USD14 billion.

Mahathir led another large trade delegation to China in 1993 and 1994 with China returning the favour towards the end of 1994.  Of China’s communist ideology, Mahathir in his speech during the 2nd Malaysia-China Forum in Beijing in August 1996 said:

China has come in for special attention. For years it had been condemned for being Communist and isolationist, practising a close centrally planned economy. Now it has opened up and has adopted a version of the universally acclaimed market system. Instead of being welcomed to the fold, it is looked upon with fear and suspicion. The World Bank has sounded the alarm by predicting that China will emerge in the 21st Century as the greatest world economic power. And fear of China has mounted.”

stock-photo-lawatan-rasmi-perdana-menteri-datuk-seri-mahathir-mohamad-ke-china-332796
Mahathir’s visit to China (courtesy of Penerangan Malaysia)

Hence, we can see that it has never bothered Mahathir that China is a communist country, and working with China does not turn a country into a communist one.  China was so important to Mahathir that he wanted to see his proposal for a regional consultative group, namely the East Asia Economic Group (EAEG) take flight with US and US-leaning countries accepting China.  This, however, was not to be.  To his dismay, Japan refused as it was closely linked to the USA which had formed APEC; South Korea refused as the EAEC proposed by Mahathir would have placed Japan at the centre of the organisation.

During the Asian Financial Crisis of 1997-98, the Chinese Government assumed a highly responsible attitude. It provided assistance to all the affected countries including Malaysia within the framework of the IMF arrangements and through bilateral channels.  The decision of not devaluating the Renminbi, for which China paid a high price, assisted ASEAN countries affected by the crisis to pull through.

During his visit to China in August 1999, Mahathir thanked China in his speech:

China`s concern for the well-being of East Asia in the financial crisis has been most laudable. The regional economies and the global community at large greatly appreciate China`s decision — despite strong pressures — not to devalue the Yuan. Beijing`s cooperation and high sense of responsibility has spared the region of a much worse consequence. Renminbi devaluation would almost certainly result in a new round of currency devaluation by the affected economies.”

The crisis had brought both Malaysia and China closer together, both Mahathir and China promised better cooperation.  In June 1999, Malaysia and China agreed to invest around USD2.5 billion to develop a Trans-Asia Railway from Singapore to Kunming passing, without doubt, through Malaysia.  Mahathir welcomed China to play an active role in the railroad construction.

When Premier Zhu Rongji visited Malaysia in November 1999, an overwhelmed Mahathir said in his speech:

We appreciate the decision of the PRC to participate in the pulp and paper projects in Sabah. I understand that this project is valued at RM4.3 billion is the PRC’s largest investment in the region. We hope as many PRC companies will try to explore the investment opportunities available in Malaysia.”

However, it is so wrong now for China to help Malaysia build the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL).  Every single investment by China in Malaysia is seen as ‘selling away our rights and sovereignty’ but it was not the case back then.

I often wonder if Mahathir is jealous that Najib Razak is doing better, or if he (or his agents) is not getting a slice of the cake?  He seems to be the only one making noise about China’s investments in Malaysia although, at less than three percent of the total FDI, is at the 10th place of the largest Foreign Direct Investments in Malaysia – the largest being Singapore.  Why is China being made the scapegoat?

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Mahathir, Siti Hasmah, and a very young Marina visit the Great Wall of China. We wonder what post Marina held that she tagged along on an official trip and if she had travelled by normal flights herself as Najib’s family did. If not, who foot her bill for her? (courtesy of Penerangan Malaysia)

Which is why DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang has been silent on the issue of Forest City for the longest time – as he can see how it benefits his parliamentary constituency, very much unlike Mahathir whose hatred for Najib surpasses the needs of his political partners and voters.

During a conference on Assessing ASEAN’s Readiness by Country at the Napalai Ballroom, Dusit Thani hotel in Bangkok on 17 September 2013, the nonagenarian said:

We have been trading with China for almost 2,000 years. China was very big, most developed nation in the past, they could have conquered us but they didn’t. They came and lived in Malaysia but they didn’t conquer us. And I don’t want to be in any confrontation with China. China is a good trading nation with 1.4 billion people.

And suddenly after 2,000 years of peaceful co-existence, just because Najib Razak is now the Prime Minister of Malaysia, the China that Mahathir so loved wants to invade us?

That, to me, sounds blatant hypocrisy.

(This posting was first published by The Mole)

BNM Forex: Congratulations, Lim Kit Siang

The Singapore Times report on the BNM FOREX issue

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.

But despite pressing for someone to be accountable, Kit Siang is far from happy.  In September of this year he Tweeted this:

Has Lim Kit Siang accepted the loss of the RM30 billion he’s been screaming about?

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?

Best friends forever

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?

Lim Kit Siang’s demands re the BNM Forex Scandal

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.

Let’s hope they get to share the same cell.

Bedmates

Tanggang Bin Ali Buat Hal Lagi

Siapa ingat kisah di atas? Baru lebih empat tahun dulu Azmin di anggap seperti Si Tanggang oleh ibu kandungnya sendiri.

Namun, kesemuanya kelihatan baik dan sempurna setelah Azmin menjadi Menteri Besar setelah Abdul Khalid Ibrahim digulingkan oleh rakan-rakan separtinya sendiri melalui Kajang Move.

Sejak itu, Azmin dilihat menjadi semakin lantang bersuara terutamanya dalam usaha memburukkan kerajaan pusat.


Azmin sebenarnya ingin mengukuhkan kedudukannya untuk menghadapi serangan dari dalam parti terutamanya dari kem Wan Azizah. Oleh sebab itu beliau perlu menunjukkan betapa beliau lebih layak menjadi presiden partinya berbanding Wan Azizah yang tiada sebarang pengalaman selain menjadi tempat Anwar Ibrahim meletakkan kakinya semasa duduk berehat.

Mungkin Azmin telah mendapat restu ibunya dan telah berbaik semula dengan adik-beradiknya.

Malang sekali bagi Che Tom Yahaya yang berumur 82 tahun dan kini sakit teruk, kejatuhan matawang Ringgit yang dibuat bising oleh Azmin bermakna beliau wajib bercuti di London untuk Boxing Day sales kerana ianya lebih penting dari kesihatan ibu kandungnya itu.

Lihat sahajalah luahan adiknya Ummi Hafilda.


Patutlah negeri Selangor ni semakin parah keadaannya. Menteri Besar hanya pentingkan dirinya sendiri.

And What If The Malays Unite?

The photo many feared most
The photo many feared most

Three years ago yesterday, I wrote about how more than a hundred Malays were slaughtered in just one night in the small village of Bekor.  Interesting to note is that the effort to kill the Malays was supported by a number of Malays:

” Shamsiah Pakih pakai baju kebaya putih datang kerumah mengajak Tok masuk komunis Tok tak mahu. Pada masa itu siapa yang tidak mahu masuk kominis akan di bunuh. Orang Bekor banyak terlibat dan berdosa kerana bersubahat dengan kominis dan membunuh orang melayu yang tidak mahu masuk kominis. ”

The above is an excerpt from this blog that I had quoted when writing about Bekor.

When Malaya gained independence in 1957, the Malays made up only 49 percent of the population of 6.835 million, a marginalised minority in their own land since the 1930s [Department of Statistics, Federation of Malaya 1957 – Population Census of the Federation of Malaya Report, No.14 by H.Fell].

Of course there was the Penang Hartal of November 1967 and subsequently the 13 May 1969 racial clashes. But by then, the Malays were more united than they were in the late 1940s.  Sadly, the Malays are no longer united and not only are they being attacked on anything that is Malay or Muslim by the other races but they are also being undermined by the likes of Rafizi Ramli, and Mahathir Mohamad.

And then came the opposition to the amendments of the Syariah Court (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act, 1965 dubber the ‘Hudud’ Bill, subsequently ‘Hadi’ Bill.  I wrote about how non-Muslims especially the President of MCA who, I assume being ill-advised by his ignorant adviser and MCA’s Religious Harmony Bureau Chairman Ti Lian Ker, decided to oppose the Bill for the sake of opposing, even after the clarification made by the UMNO President, Najib Razak, in a recent speech at the UMNO General  Assembly.

This resulted in UMNO delegates calling for the unity of Muslims to support the Bill, also known as the RUU355.  While Liow Tiong Lai calls the amendments ‘unconstitutional’ little does he realise that by interfering in the Muslims’ right to manage their own affairs, he is being unconstitutional.

I have seen little or no effort taken by MCA to understand the Bill, or to even explain the current government policies and efforts to assist the rakyat in times of need.  There may have been such efforts but they somehow have escaped my radar. If you go to the MCA’s Twitter account, between 21 October 2016 until its last post it has not made any effort to convey the correct message to its audience. Rather, topics on RUU355 are all negative.

Every single day be it on Facebook, Twitter or in comments to online news articles, you will see more often than not the non-Malays taking a swipe at every single effort by the government to make lives better.

The most aired ‘grouse’ is of the rising cost of living.  In his closing speech yesterday, Najib Razak stressed that in the seven years as the Prime Minister, he has never approved any application to have the price of 21 essential items like rice, flour, sugar and cooking gas to be increased.

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As a matter of fact you can see for yourselves the items which are zero-rated under the GST scheme.  If you find any increase in any of the prices of the listed goods, it is your duty to report it to the relevant agencies, especially the Ministry of Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism.  You can download its Apps in Google Play or Apps Store and use the Apps instead of using the Internet to spread lies or complain to the general public where you will only make things worse instead of solving the problem!

Najib Razak also pointed out that to date 185 Kedai Rakyat 1Malaysia have been established to bring low-priced goods to the people.  So, don’t blame the government if you prefer to shop at Jaya Grocers, Cold Storage, Mercato or B.I.G. That is the choice that you have made, not the government’s.

The problem lies with the retailers.  And they will continue to fleece you for as long as you don’t report them.

The same also goes to medical treatments. There are 195 Klinik 1Malaysia established nationwide to date, 2,836 government clinics, 139 goverment hospitals, where you can seek treatment for as low as RM1.00!  I cannot understand why would anyone, especially kampung folks, seek treatment at private hospitals when they cannot afford it, then make pleas for donations from the public?

And you blame the government saying it does not provide affordable healthcare?

The most terrible whiners are those who go on saying the Ringgit is the worst performing currency that it is no longer accepted anywhere outside Malaysia.

On 31 October 2016, it was the British Pound that was the worst performing currency in the world.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/pound-sterling-worst-performing-currency-world-brexit-a7388821.html
October 2016’s worst performing currency was the GBP – source: Bloomberg

It is no secret that the Ringgit has lost a percentage of its value against the Greenback since Trump’s victory over Hillary Clinton.  But are we really the worst in Asia?  Take a look at the performance of several Asian currencies versus the Greenback as on the 2nd December 2016:

https://www.bloomberg.com/markets/currencies/asia-pacific
Asian Pacific Currencies Performance – 2nd December 2016

While the Ringgit has dropped by 0.23% against the Greenback in the last two days, Singapore Dollar has dropped by 0.46% while the Japanese Yen dropped by 0.52%!

Do we see the JPY or SGD not being accepted in other countries?  Of course not. But the zombies refuse to believe this. Among this year’s worst performers (year-to-date) in East Asia are actually the Philipine Peso and China Yuan.

According to Twitter’s @econsmalaysia, since Trump’s victory the Japanese Yen has lost 9.1% of its value against the Greenback compared to 5.6% for the Ringgit. So pray tell how is the Ringgit the worst performing currency in Asia?

There seems to be nothing good to come out of anything a Malay would say or do, and any move made to strengthen Islam in this country is regarded by the non-Muslims, as unconstitutional or done not in consultation with the non-Muslims.  Since when does Article 11 of the Federal Constitution requires the management of affairs of one’s religion needs the accord of others?   Why are the other races not respecting the position of Islam as the Federation’s religion? Does this not reflect what was done to the Malays back in 1947 when the religion of the land was not respected by other races?

“The violation of the sanctity of Islam also became a factor in the bloody Sino-Malay conflict (WO 172/9773. No.30: 478) when the Bintang Tiga/CPM disrupted religious activities in Muslims places of worship.  This started in Batu Pahat, Johor, just before the surrender of the Japanese occupiers, during the Muslim month of Ramadhan.  Muslims were forbidden from congregating at mosques or suraus to perform the Terawih prayers (Hairi Abdullah, 1974/5: 8-9).

The same occurred in Perak and some parts of Batu Pahat where Muslims were gunned down and burnt together with the mosque they were in during Friday prayers.

Mosques and suraus were often used as places of meeting for the Chinese community (WO 172/9773, No.30: 478) and were tainted by incidents such as slaughtering of pigs, and mosques’ compound was used to cook pork, where Malays were forced to join the larger Chinese groups.

Pages were torn from the Quran to be used by the Chinese using these mosques as toilet paper.”

And you want to blame the Malays for wanting to unite?

The Zombie Apocalypse 

I’m sharing the item below because it is very relevant to those who fear the decline of the Ringgit versus the Greenback. This fear is further underscored by zombies who think the world is going to end tomorrow.

Malay Mail Online) – Today, the Ringgit breached RM4.00 for a dollar.
When I logged in to my Facebook and Twitter accounts, 9 out of 10 posts that appeared on my timeline were slamming the Government on the Ringgit.
To sum them up, youths who dominate social media today were posting comments as though tomorrow spells the end for Malaysia.
And in just the past month, I saw how Malaysians transform from being constitutional experts, to aviation analysts and now economics.
Some even went as far as pushing the blame on Umno and Najib. There’s this group called Suara Rakyat who likes to say “other countries are doing better because Umno is not there in their country”.
Of course, when you have a narrow, myopic view, you will tend to miss out the fact that over the 5 year period,
• Russian Roubles lost 114per cent against USD
• Indonesian Rupiah lost 51per cent against USD
• Indian Rupees lost 38per cent against USD
• Norwegian Krone lost 37per cent against USD
• Australian Dollars lost 24per cent against USD
• Euro lost 20per cent against USD
• Thai Baht lost 10per cent against USD
Do I need to go on?
One of the contributing factors faced by these countries is the drop in oil prices. Crude oil was trading at US$70-80/bbl few years ago and today it has fallen below US$ 50 per bbl. 
Also, US is not our only trading partner and the performance of our Ringgit is not measured against US dollars alone.
When we look at the Ringgit, 
• we strengthened against Canadian Dollars (2per cent)
• we strengthened against Indian Rupees (10 per cent)
• we strengthened against Japanese Yen (14 per cent)
• we strengthened against Indonesian Rupiah (18 per cent) 
I don’t need to name more currencies, do I?
Do you know that the value of our trade with India, Japan and Indonesia is close to 20per cent?
Understandably, we are quick to feed on negative news and quick to comment like an expert on our Facebook and Twitter. That’s how things work these days.
Of course, none of you made reference to 1998. 
No one remembered the time when the Ringgit crashed to as low as RM4.725 for a dollar on 7 January 1998 (BNM selling rate, over the counter was more than RM4.80).
All of you, who were quick to comment about the state of our economy on your Facebook, were still in school.
So none of you knew, none of you remembered, none of you experienced what happened in 1998 when Anwar Ibrahim was Finance Minister.
Back then
a) People were losing jobs or had difficulty in getting jobs
b) Households were squeezed
b) average lending rate was 12.16 per cent
c) Inflation was close to 3 per cent without subsidy removals. 
If any of you doubt the 2-3 per cent inflation numbers today and felt it is way higher, apply the same thought to 1998-1999.
And yes, average lending rate was over 12 per cent. Those were the days.
You may say it is history and you may continue to slam the Prime Minister, the Central Bank and the Government for today’s numbers.
But the next time before you give you get upset and share your anger on Facebook or Twitter, ask yourself whether or not the Ringgit — Dollar exchange rate affects you, and how.
1. Do you shop online from US websites? 
2. Are you planning to fly over to US for a holiday?
3. Are you a Malaysian studying in the US?
4. Do you import goods to be resold in Malaysia?
5. Do you buy necessities and food from the US to use here?
6. Do you at all use the US dollar in your daily life?
Because my dear, only if you answer yes to the above, you are affected. Otherwise, what are you shouting and so worried about?
Your salary is still denominated in Ringgit and you don’t buy necessities with US dollars. 
Sure, no one can deny that it has some impact to some segments especially imports and our plans to travel to US, UK etc. I am also of the opinion that there are many things Najib can do (which he isn’t at all now) and I will share more soon.
And guys, the international ratings agencies — Fitch, Moody’s and S&P — have all maintained Malaysia’s outlook as stable.
There are no economists out there who are saying that Malaysia’s economy will collapse, only politicians are saying this.