Friday, October 15, 2010

PM's residence gets RM65 million upgrade

PM's residence gets RM65 million upgrade


PM's residence gets RM65 million upgrade

Posted: 15 Oct 2010 01:58 PM PDT

The Prime Minister's official residence will go through a RM65 million spruce-up over the next two years, courtesy of premier Najib Abdul Razak's Budget 2011, revealed a DAP parliamentarian. Bukit Bendera MP Liew Chin Tong (left) said this is part of the RM16 billion budget set aside for the renovation plan, that will be spread out between 2011 and 2012. "This is not only the highest ever budget, but also the highest ever budget for the Prime Minister's Department," he said at a press conference in the parliament lobby after Najib unveiled his Budget 2011 today. Full story here: www.malaysiakini.com
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When Things Go Bang!

Posted: 15 Oct 2010 03:35 PM PDT

(The New Felda Towers at Platinum Park)


This is a frightening budget that is laced with potential asset bubble creation, the Najib's administration seems to be throwing caution to the winds with increased spending on the economy and on implementation of more mega-projects.

The mega-projects that is on stream in the country is frightening and we will name them as we go on, Najib is making Mahathir look small as compared to the numerous mega multi billion expenditure during his short administration, when other nation are being cautious in this time of global economic uncertainty, Malaysia is all go like in an F1 Race.

One thing you can take note of the Malaysian budget is that they will always for certainty, spend all of the budgeted expenditure. The budget will be fully draw on or many a times overspend the budget with objectives falling short. They will spend all the budgeted expenditure and will fall short of economic objectives and a example will be the NEP after more than 30 years and the objectives are still reportedly far behind but the monetary allocation budgeted for the objective have all been spent many times over and today the majority of the household are living in hardship, much worst of than before.

We are a nation consistently recording a budget deficit and is borrowing huge amount to finance this deficit, although they have announced a reduction in deficit slightly to 5.6 percent of GDP for 2011 but the borrowings will be the same if not more due to the growth of the GDP of 7% in 2010. This will add to the national debt which will surpass the RM400 billion in cumulative debts. And we will have to finance this debt and interest payment alone will easily be over RM 25 billion per annum.

Note that the national debts are for direct government borrowings and other indirect borrowings on federal government guarantees might not have been accounted for like the PKFZ as an example, that is to say that other borrowings from GLCs and other agency or private entity which might have financed their mega-projects through government guarantees might not be reflected in the government accounts and could be contingent liabilities and are not reflected in the books..

On top of this deficit the operational expenditure will yet again increase by 7 per cent or 10.6 billion ringgit from 152.2 to 162.8 billion ringgit, this is just administrative expenditure and does not contribute directly towards the development of the economy but instead shows a lack of prudence and operational inefficiency in the administration despite of projecting a slower economic growth of 5 to 6 per cent in 2011. Operating expenditures has more than doubled since 2004 when it was at about RM80 billion and now it is more than RM160 billion.

We will not go into details of the budget here as it is already written in by the various media and it is the intention to focus on the various multi billion mega-projects from the Najib government. And as usual they will not provide details like how the project is being funded until only when something goes wrong or when someone exposed some wrong doing.

As usual no details of any tender of the mega-projects are undertaken and are probably awarded on a friendly basis.

Let's look at some of the mega-projects as announced today as follows:
  • Mass Rapid Transit System: RM 43 billion transportation system for Kuala Lumpur and surrounding. Question: How is this project being funded and will the federal govt guarantee the funding?

  • Kuala Lumpur International Financial District: This is a RM26 billion 34 hectares development in the Jalan Davis bordering the Imbi area which was earlier mistaken for the old Sungei Besi airbase project. A 1Malaysia Development Berhad joint venture with the Abu Dhabi Mubadala group.

  • Warisan Merdeka: Another iconic landmark mega-development of RM 5 billion to be completed by 2015. Another project to be undertaken by Permodalan Nasional Berhad (PNB). This project covering an area of 15 hectares in the old Stadium Merdeka and Stadium Negara surrounding will include the 100 storey tallest building in Malaysia.

  • Sungei Buloh development: Land privatization development owned by the Rubber Research Institute (RRI) of an area of 1350 hectares to be develop by EPF Employees Provident Fund with a value of RM10 billion.

  • Nexus Karambunai, Sabah: An integrated eco-nature resort development at a cost of RM 3 billion. Question: RM3 billion to build a resort is a huge sum, is the federal govt providing the funds?

You can see that non of the above projects are private sector initiatives and all are government projects undertaken by government controlled entities like PNB, EPF, Khazanah and the new 1MDB or GLCs. And in the tradition of the Malaysian business culture, these projects are than handed out as usual to friendly parties with funds provided by or through the government. So where is the Private Sector as the engine of growth unless you deem PNB and EPF as private sector?

Some mega multi billion budget allocations are:
·        Education: For Restructuring and Strengthening RM 29.3 billion to the Education Ministry. RM 10.2 billion for the Higher Education Ministry and RM 627 million for the Human Resource Ministry.

·        Education: Another RM 6.4 billion to build and upgrade schools and etc.

·        Health: RM 15.2 billion for new hospitals and etc.

·        Defence: Allocated a total budget of RM 9.1 billion which is a reduction from RM 10.5 billion.

·        Corridor: RM 850 million for infrastructure support to the corridor and regional development.

·        1Malaysia Training Program: Allocation of RM 500 million. What's this?

·        RM 1 billion allocated for the launching of the Bumiputra Property Trust Foundation. (No details provided).

The Total Budget allocation for 2011 is at RM 212 billion which is an increase of 2.8 per cent from 2010.

BN has been churning out huge mega-projects and some are still in the incubation stage like the:
  • 160 hectares old Sungei Besi air base with an estimated value of RM 20 billion which has generated much stories of Jho Low, the bright young man seen as companion to Paris Hilton having had a hand in this much coveted mega multi billion project.

  • Another mega-project of the 150 hectares of Kampung Baru land within the city centre of Kuala Lumpur, and PNB is again undertaking the redevelopment of over RM 20 billion in value.

  • Riverside Garden City a 25 hectares redevelopment of the former Pekeliling Flats with the proposed futuristic revolving 60 storey skyscraper with a value of RM 12 billion.

  • 9 hectares of government land in the Cochrane and
    Peel Road
    area with an estimated value of RM 10 billion to be develop again by 1MDB and EPF.

More multi billion projects that have been approved and about to be started or in progress like:
  • MATRADE centre with 25 hectares of land in the Jalan Duta area to be undertaken by the Naza Group estimated at RM 15 billion value.

  • Platinum Park in KLCC also by Naza Group that will incorporate the new iconic Felda Towers and a new Naza Towers. This is a development of RM 5 billion now under construction.

  • Old Pudu Prison of 8.5 hectares with a value of RM 5 billion scheduled to start work by early 2011 to be developed by UDA Holdings Berhad.

  • Eco City with 10 hectares of DBKL land next to Mid Valley City with a value of RM 6 billion to be jointly developed by another GLC of SP Setia Bhd and DBKL.

  • On going KL Sentral of 30 hectares land with a value of RM 12 billion being developed by Malaysian Resources Corporation Berhad.

This are just some of the mega projects as listed above and there are many more in the Klang Valley that will be quite lengthy to list them all here.

Now the wonder of Malaysia is that most of these multi billion mega-projects will all come on stream at about the same time as though like they are in real hurry to get it off the ground, most of these projects are all in the Kuala Lumpur area and you be the judge whether all these projects are sustainable.

Anyway, the advice to any investor will be to wait patiently on the sideline, waiting to pick up on the cheap when things go Bang! So, hurry keep your cash safely er.. somewhere really safe that it won't be devalued…

Hark! the Herald Angels Sings.


RAIS vs ROCKY: Where is Rais's MACC report?

Posted: 15 Oct 2010 11:19 AM PDT

The spat between Info Minister Rais Yatim and doyen of bloggers, Datuk Rocky is causing considerable haemorrhaging of goodwill between BN/Umno and bloggers.

Rais apparently felt unforgiveable insult when blogger BigDog mentioned the minister's son in relations to contracts related to the National Broadband Project.

His unhappiness swelled further when Rocky mentioned BigDog's post-OK I can understand that Rais was less than happy with the Blog reports but one has to wonder if lodging a police report is the way forward.

More importantly than that, the minister said that he would lodge a report with the MACC to clear his name. He told this to the Malay Mail.

I like the idea of the MACC report because it means the minister is serious about clearing his name....the only problem is he hasn't lodged said report.

Hmmm...Rais had better lodge that report soon, otherwise people may think he is afraid to lodge a report. For whatever reason....

Battle lines have been drawn so now its up to both sides to make the next move..
Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device via Vodafone-Celcom Mobile.


Who Is She Lah? Shelah!

Posted: 15 Oct 2010 10:58 AM PDT

Very good interview...


Oct 18 - Bloggers and Felda

Posted: 15 Oct 2010 10:54 AM PDT

Remember when Anwar Ibrahim and his team bombarded Felda, accusing the corporation as having major problems and almost bankrupt? It took Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak and some of his officials, including Felda chairman Yusof Nor to come to its defense.

So, is Felda really in trouble?

I must commend this effort organised by Felda corporate team to clear the air. So, journalists and bloggers (including those of the Opposition) who wish to square off with the corporation, your better read this.

Felda is inviting you to a dinner on Monday, Oct 18 at 8pm at Felda D'Villa, Jalan Semarak. There will also be briefings on Felda and its subsidiaries and Q & A with Yusof Nor.

Let everybody gets a clear picture of what is actually happening at the corporation before making any posting. Get the fact right before agreeing to what Anwar had said.

Those attending would be CEOs of Felda Palm Industries, Felda Plantation, Felda's GM, FASSB and others. They will also answer your questions.

Ada berani ka?



蔡細歷允籌20萬助Start Society

Posted: 15 Oct 2010 10:26 AM PDT

(八打靈再也15日訊)馬華總會長拿督斯里蔡細歷醫生承諾,為慈善藝術學習中心Start Society籌款20萬令吉,補助需要幫助的兒童的藝術學習課程經費。

他週四在中心創辦人兼大馬廣告代理協會主席拿督李福龍、節目策劃總監李仁和迎接下,探望該中心和藝術班,瞭解該中心的運作。

蔡細歷說,該中心擁有很好的概念,因為他們為多家兒童慈善機構提供免費的音樂、舞蹈和戲劇等課程,注重他們的身心發展和教導他們獨立。

"我會尋求私人界資助,籌20萬令吉用作兒童課程經費。"

該中心是全亞洲第一間以教導需要幫助兒童藝術課程為概念的慈善機構,自2008年創立以來,已收錄了超過250名各族學生,受惠單位包括慈愛福利中心、Rumah Ozanam等。

《中国报》15-10-2010


Oleander: Halo

Posted: 15 Oct 2010 09:49 AM PDT




And it's always little things
That to the surface brings
The comfort in the pain
The fear behind the smile
We lose along the way
The things we leave behind
Along the precipice
Of things we should not climb
And I'm the first in line
There's an anchor around my heart
Dragging me down
Beneath the waves in silence I fall
There's a halo above my head
Spinning me 'round
'Cause I don't know if I'm alive or dead
A dagger in my hand
Bleeding me dry

And it's always little things
That to the surface brings
The space you need to breathe
Before the curtain call
The light that leads the way
Before you hit the wall
The mountain that you climb
Just to take a fall
For blind among the blind

There's an anchor around my heart
Dragging me down
Beneath the waves in silence I fall
There's a halo above my head
Spinning me 'round
'Cause I don't know if I'm alive or dead

There's a dagger in my hand
Bleeding me dry

And all we have to lose is time
And what we lose we leave behind
Stay around and we will shine


CAN WE AFFORD TO RETIRE?

Posted: 15 Oct 2010 08:54 AM PDT

The world is ageing. This shouldn't come as a surprise, with birth rates falling and life span increasing in countries across the globe. By 2018, there will be more 65-year-olds than those under 5. Think for a minute the profound changes an ageing population will have on the economy, for example. With the exception of a few, most countries don't seem terribly alarmed by the global ageing phenomenon. That is cause for serious concern.

Governments need to be spurred into action. They need to put in place policies that will sustain the needs of a rapidly growing older population without over-taxing the contributions of the young people. It's a delicate balancing act.

Baby boomers are probably the last generation to have it good. It's the Generation X, Y and Z that will end up with the heavy burden of supporting not only their children but their parents on both sides and two sets of grandparents as well.

Do the maths:
  • 2 children (minimum)
  • 2 (the married couple)
  • 2 + 2 (the couple's parents on both sides)
  • 2 + 2 (the couple's grandparents on both sides)
That makes a grand total of 12 family members to support! This should scare the living daylights out of young people today, and get them started on retirement planning right away.

The alarm bells have sounded. The message is loud and clear. It's not only our adult children who will have to start planning early for their retirement, but we too. It's never too late. We can no longer take it for granted that our children will look after us in our old age. They may not be able to. We must be prepared to fend for ourselves.

Work as long as we can, and save as much as we can. Have enough put aside to see us through the next 20-30 years. And how much is enough? A retired couple living in KL or PJ would require an average of RM2000+ a month to live decently. And pray for good health too. Medical expenses will kill us faster than old age. 

The French should be rejoicing, not protesting against their government's decision to raise the retirement age from 60 to 62. In Malaysia it's still 55 for the private sector, and 58 for the public sector.

The Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) launched the Global Aging Preparedness (GAP) Index yesterday. You can download a copy of the report here.


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WHEN AZMIN ALI SPOKE HIS MIND IN PENANG

Posted: 15 Oct 2010 07:41 AM PDT

By the Administrator

Last night, when Mohamed Azmin Ali launched his election manifesto at Jawi Inn in Penang, he spoke with emotion and compassion, especially when he touched on how he and his family members were slandered in his political life.

Azmin is standing for the Parti Keadilan's Deputy President's post. Also present were candidate for the Vice-President's post Dato Mansor Othman, and many candiates for the Central Committee Members' posts, they include Khalid Jaafar, Kael Yassin, Suhaimi, Siti Aisah, Dato Mustafa Kamal, Dato Halim and Abdul Malik.

Azmin stated that he has not got a list of candidates of his own, and he urged members to choose the candidates based on their records.

He promised to reform Putrajaya, after letting the Pakatan Rakyat win the 13th General Election.

He hit out at members who used Utusan Malaysia to openly 'exchange' views with other leaders, as if there was no other better alternative media.

His impressive manifesto contains 3 noble objectives, to re-energize idealisma, to buttress loyalty to the party, and to solidify party organisation.

Parti Keadilan is the first political party in Malaysia that provides mass democratic election of its central leadership based on the model of the general election, and it will take place on 13th November this year.

Azmin said he was proud to be a Keadilan member, as none of the complaints during the recent party divisional elections involved money politics.

He also hit out at certain leaders who attacked the party president Dato Seri Wan Azizah as being a puppet. He said, Azizah is a soft spoken but strongly-willed party leader, and based on the divisional nominations she has garnished, she is the most popular of all and even out-beating Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim. This, to him, is a reflection of the general wish of party members to see her to continue to hold on to the helm.


Imam Muda di pulau kerna ayah mertuanya pengasas Pondok Geting kerap tegur Nik Aziz!

Posted: 15 Oct 2010 06:28 AM PDT



Bayangkan kekecewaan Imam Muda Rosli Abdul Latif, 31 tahun bilamana ia dipulaukan para jamaah Masjid As-Somadi Mukim Geting, 16200, Tumpat, Kelantan Darul Naim, Malaysia hanya kerna ayah mertuanya, Tuan Guru Abdullah Sa'amah, pengasas Pondok Geting, Tumpat, Kelantan kerap menegur Tuan Guru Nik Aziz didalam ceramah ceramahnya?


Nampaknya penyakit pantang ditegur ni sudah jadi satu wabak sejak kebelakangan ini?


Sindrom 'Daun Semalu' atau ' Mimosa Pudica' ini mudah terjadi pada mereka yang menganggap diri masing masing maksum dan suci dari sebarang kesilapan diri.


Makanya barangsiapa yang berani menegur orang orang yang terkena sindrom ini akan merasalah natijah dari perbuatan menegur diri yang berkenaan walaupun yang menegur itu bukannya tuanpunya diri sendiri?


Ayah mertua Imam Muda Rosli Abdul Latif ini, iaitu Tuan Guru Haji Abdullah Sa'amah, pengasas Pondok Geting, Tumpat, Kelantan yang kerap menegur akan diri Dato Nik Aziz Nik Mat didalam ceramah ceramahnya tetapi yang kena getah adalah anak menantunya pula, yakni Tuan Imam Muda ni.


Dengarlah luahan hati seorang Imam yang serbasalah menjadi mangsa dipulau jamaah di Masjid As Somadi kerna sentimen politik di Kelantan dimana masyarakatnya dididik sedemikian rupa ~ 'pantang di tegur'.


Memang berbeza lah suasana desa di sana dengan sepak terajang politik kepartian di ibu negara Kuala Lumpur ni.


Nasib lah wahai Tuan Imam Muda Rosli...lain padang, lain belalang.


Tahap pemikiran dan penerimaan masyarakat desa dan kota tentang sebarang perubahan kelaziman didalam menangani soal soal siasah dan perjuangan duniawi dan akhirat berbeza beza.


Samada anda menerima keadaan atau berhijrah mencari kedamaian?


Susah nak ubah paradigma mereka yang taksub terhadap seseorang manusia didalam suasana yang tidak terbuka kepada perubahan atau perbezaan fikrah seperti ditempat tuan.


Saya hanya mampu mendoakan saudara berjaya meneruskan usaha saudara didalam membimbing mereka yang mahu dipimpin ke jalan Allah?


Semoga Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala mempermudahkan bagi tuan.


Amin. Ya Rabbal Alamin.


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PRACTICAL BUDGET, GOOD NEWS FOR THE HAVES-NOT AND ENLIGHTENS THE KAMPUNG FOLKS...

Posted: 15 Oct 2010 06:22 AM PDT


I followed the 2011 Budget in the car on my way to the Parliament House today, partly in the car and the other part in the lobby of the august chamber.

Some may say its an election budget but for a layman like me and my Pak Long in Jenun, Kedah who is a chairman of the village security and development committee its a practical budget by a prihatin Government to help some kampung folks, well may not be all of them, to brace for the hard times.

These village security and development committee chairmen including my uncle have their monthly allowance which is paltry in today's economy and hardly a 5-man buffet dinner in some 5-star hotel, increased 100 percent.

One of the hallmarks of the announcement was that the poor and hardcore poor, most of them are away and outside the mainstream of development have their well-being at the top of the mind of Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak, himself a Dewan Rakyat representative of a rural constituency.

There are many other good news to some us across the board. Cheers!!

For the more than a million Government servants, an RM500 assistance will be in our bank account by end of the year, fell short of what what was expected of a month's bonus. Perhaps a bonus is a bane to the Putrajaya Administration but then again, half of a K is good enough and I shall "Terima Kasih Boss!" and "Alhamdulillah, Syukur Nikmat Allah SWBT".

And the many thousands pensioners will also get their share of the financial assistance. That means my sister and her husband who have left the armed forces years ago.

So, is this a good government or a good government or what? I say this is a pragmatic government with good intention and the Rakyat in its mind.

Thank You Prime Minister Najib, Sir!


Government's financial indiscipline worsening

Posted: 14 Oct 2010 08:33 PM PDT

By Tony Pua

COMMENT The Prime Minister in his speech announced that the government will be on track to meet the projected budget deficit of 5.6% for the fiscal year 2010 giving the appearance that the government was able to meet its financial commitment and targets.

However, the meeting of the deficit target masks the fact that the government had in fact substantially overspent its allocated budgets, and was "saved" only by a higher than expected collection of tax revenues.

Last year when the budget for 2010 was announced, the government promised a commitment to trim operating expenditure to reduce wastage and to generate greater value for money returns with the tax-payers' money.

We had in fact applauded the government's decision to reduce operating expenditure by a significant 13.7% from RM160.2 billion in 2009 to a budgeted RM138.3 billion.

The government's operating expenditure includes salaries and pensions for the civil service, purchase of government assets, supplies and services, rentals, various subsidies, debt repayments, toll compensations and "other" expenditures. A government's "operating expenditure" is not expected to generate high economic multiplier effects, as opposed to "development expenditure".

However, in the budget announcement today, it has been announced that the government's operating expenditure is expected to hit RM152.2 billion, or a massive RM13.9 billion (10.1%) over budget.

This clearly demonstrates the government's inability to impose financial discipline on its expenditure to ensure that the country's financial objectives are met. It is also not the first year the government has overspent its budget.

In fact, the government has consistently overspent its budget by at least 5% as far back as 2000, with the worst year being in 2008 when the budget was exceeded by 17.2%.

Worsening financial indiscipline

Comparatively, the government's development expenditure only exceeded it's budget RM51.2 billion by RM2.9 billion, which is acceptable on the basis that the economy had required additional stimulus spending.

Therefore, Najib Tun Razak, who is both the Finance and Prime Minister must explain the cause of the continuing and possibly worsening financial indiscipline. The increasingly endemic financial ill-discipline in government departments must be halted to ensure that every cent of the rakyat's money is properly expended in accordance to approved and budgeted limits.

Otherwise, the complete lack of regard to the annual approved budget in parliament over the past 10 years have rendered the budget debate nearly meaningless as whatever allocations approved by the Parliament gets completely ignored, and the actual expenditures are significantly different from the one approved.

Najib must also at the same time announce specific steps to be taken which will rein in the reckless disregard by the government departments to ensure that the targets and objectives of the budget are met, instead of just relying on the age-old rhetoric like "unlocking the real value of government assets" and ""value for money" in its spending without any follow up concrete actions.

Hence, we are fortunate that in 2010, our actual revenues to be collected, RM162.1 billion is significantly higher than the expected RM148.4 billion, or our deficit would have worsened substantially than the projected 5.6%.

Same old formula

Prior to the announcement of the Budget 2011, the Prime Minister has announced a whole series of measures and projects under the Government (GTP) and Economic Transformation Programmes (ETP) which are designed to take Malaysia to meet our high-income nation objectives by 2020.

It is hence a surprise that in the Budget 2011, the government has once again fallen back to the same budget formula employed by the former premier Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi which had resulted in a budget crisis in 2009/2010 where the deficit hit a high of 7.4% which had required the government to impose a series of belt-tightening measures to reduce expenditure.

Instead of increasing the allocation for "development expenditure" to invest in the various critical projects under the National Key Result Areas (NKRA), GTP and ETP, it has been reduced by approximately RM5 billion (9.0%) from RM54.0 billion in 2010 to RM49.2 billion for 2011.

On the other hand, the "operating expenditure" of the government is budgeted to increase by a massive RM10.6 billion or 7% from RM152.2 billion in 2010 to RM162.8 billion. This has yet to take into account the fact that the original operating expenditure for 2010 was only RM138.3 billion. If this original budget figure is used as the benchmark, the 2011 budget for operating expenditure will increase by massive 17.7% or RM24.5 billion.

The question arises as to why does the government need to increase its operating expenditure by such a large amount when just not too long ago in 2004, the government's operating budget was only RM80 billion or less than half the budgeted amount for 2011?

When the expenditure for operating expenditure is analysed further, the category of expenditure which is budgeted to increase the most is for "supplies and services".

This will increase from the budgeted RM20.8 billion for 2010 to RM28.2 billion for 2011 or a 35.6%. This "supplies and services" expenditure is also the 2nd largest category at 17.3% of the total operating expenditure.

Explain the worrying trend


At the same time, the budget for emoluments remain the largest component of operating expenditure at 28.0% or RM45.6 billion. This figure is also a RM3.4 billion increase from RM42.2 billion budgeted for 2010.

More worryingly, the ratio of operating expenditure to development has continued to increase despite the fact that the budget for 2011 is our highest ever at RM211.9 billion which signals the fact that we are not allocating our resources to the most productive use.

Instead of declining, the proportion of budget used for operating expenditure has increased from a low of 68.5% in 2003 to a record high of 76.8% budget for next year, despite a total increase in total expenditure from RM104.7 billion to RM211.9 billion.

Hence, we call upon the Prime Minister to explain why these worrying trends have not been addressed in the upcoming budget debate.

In order to ensure that government expenditure is effectively utilised and is best able to generate the high economic multiplier impact for the country, the government must ensure that its operating expenditure is restrained while the focus must be on development expenditure on projects which will bring high economic benefit for Malaysians throughout the country.

Tony Pua is DAP's national publicity secretary and the MP for Petaling Jaya Utara.

Also read:

Budget 2011: Pump-priming initiatives to boost economy




Najib's Budget 2011 proposed to total RM214billion under scrutiny...

Posted: 15 Oct 2010 05:02 AM PDT

From malaysia-chronicle.com -- please go there for fuller report! -- YL


Friday, October 15, 2010
Mega-projects, high expenses, silence on deficit slammed

Wong Choon Mei, Malaysia Chronicle

FINAL UPDATE Prime Minister Najib Razak has unveiled a slightly higher budget for 2011 of RM214 billion, raising public concerns about his administration's push for a higher operating expenditure and casting the spotlight on several mega-projects, namely a RM3bil leisure project in Sabah that could include a casino, an MRT network and another world's-tallest-type of building in Kuala Lumpur.

At RM214billion, the 2011 budget compares against this year's RM206.2 billion, and is split into RM162.8 billion for operating expenditure, RM49.2 billion for development and RM2 billion for contingencies.

The breakdown immediately raised eyebrows as it meant a 7 percent rise in the operating expenditure to RM162.8 billion although development expenses was trimmed to 9 percent.

"We are shocked at some of mega projects announced such as the 100-story tallest building in the world. Are such icons necessary? Don't we have other social programs that are more deserving of funds," PKR strategic director Tian Chua rold Malaysia Chronicle.

"We are also not happy with the rise in operating expenditure. We should not be going for big government especially when a huge portion of the operating allocation goes directly into the PM's department and there is no disclosure on how he spends this amount. We hope he will not channel this amount into the BN's war chest for the coming General Election."

Using public funds as a war chest for the BN in GE-13

At the previous parliamentary session, following questions raised by Taiping MP Nga Kor Ming, it came to light that a whopping RM12 billion had been channeled to Najib's office for 2010.

162-floor Burj Khalifa - contributed to the Dubai bankruptcy
His department justified the huge amount on various factors, including having to set up offices for former premier Abdullah Badawi and his entourage.

But it is also believed that a big portion of the money was spent on 'shadow elected representatives' or BN co-ordinators, paid and given funds to maintain service centers in constituencies lost to the Pakatan Rakyat during the 2008 general election.

"The total budgetary outlay for the PMD in 2010 is RM12.1 billion, as revealed by the Federal Budget Estimates. The huge increases in the PMD's budget in 2009 and 2010 have never been seen before. The combined operating and development expenditure for 2009 was RM14 billion; nearly double the RM7.1 billion allocated for 2008. The total for 2005 was a mere RM4.1 billion in comparison," Bukit Bendera MP Liew Chin Tong had warned last month.

Mega projects- casino involved?

Mega-projects unveiled that sparked concern were the RM3 billion eco-nature resort Nexus Karambunai in Sabah and the Greater KL Mass Rapid Transit system, both due to be implemented in 2011.

The government will also proceed with a RM5 billion 100-floor tower - the RM5 billion Warisan Merdeka - the tallest in the country to be built in Kuala Lumpur, which is to be completed in 2015. It will be higher than the 88-floor Petronas Twin Towers but lower than the 162-floor Burj Khalifa or Dubai Tower, which led to the Dubai bonds crisis.

Najib's mega-projects ETP - a disaster to be?
"Is there going to be a casino to be built here. Najib has yet to confirm or deny and he has never asked Sabahans how we feel about bringing gambling to our state. We demand an instant reply from the federal government," Sabah PKR communications director Ronnie Klassen told Malaysia Chronicle.

Najib, who is also Finance minister, did not give details about the financing for KL MRT project but research reports have put the final bill at above RM40 billion. When completed by 2020, public transport utilisation rate is expected to rise to at least 40%, was all that Najib revealed.

"We are not dreamers," he said in his budget speech on Friday. "We are realists. Our success is not mere coincidence but the result of clear and careful planning as well as firm."

He then reeled off a few more projects such as the RM26 billion KL International Financial district, the construction of multiple new highways and the development of the 1,084-ha Malaysian Rubber Board land in Sungai Buloh.

"Obviously, funding will have to be allocated stage by stage and year to year. For the MRT, no doubt KL does need better public transport but the main question is again - where are the open tenders? Look at the current LRT systems, are they satisfactory? Couldn't they have been better planned and in terms of value for money, it is clear huge portions went to the usual middle-men and elite politicians. Are we going to have a repeat of that in the KL MRT," asked Tian.

No mention of deficit control

Najib said the government would be launching a private pension fund in 2011. Income per capita will increase 6.1% to RM28,000 while income in terms of purchasing power parity to USD16,000 (RM49,440), he added.

An eco-leisure resort in Sabah but will it contain a casino?
He also projected economic growth of 7 percent for the whole of 2010, higher than the previous official estimate of 6 percent. In 2011, Najib is forecasting 6 percent GDP growth supported by higher private investments which it expects to expand by 10.2 percent, a 6.3 percent rise in private consumption and a 6.7 percent jump in exports.

Conspicuously absent in his budget speech was mention of the budget deficit which hit a record high of 7 percent of GDP in 2009. However, according to a government report released ahead of his budget speech, the Najib administration expects the deficit to settle at 5.4 percent of GDP in 2010, better than the 5.6 percent forecast previously. No mention at all was made of the expectations for 2011.

"I didn't hear the PM say anything about the deficit in his speech and it is disappointing. He went on and on about the projects because you do need to pump-prime in times of slower growth but there must also be some fiscal responsibility to creditors and investors or we really might become Dubai and Greece," PHS Lim, president of the Malaysian Investors Association, told Malaysia Chronicle..


Bloggers VS Boss Media Perdana

Posted: 15 Oct 2010 06:00 AM PDT

Isu yang terpanas sekali yang kita sedang lihat dan dengar pada ketika ini ialah isu Rais Yatim dengan blogger kenalan ramai Dato Ahiruddin Atan @ Rocky Bru. Reaksi dari bloggers tanah air nampaknya sangat panas dan ianya mendapat perhatian dari pimpinan negara. Rais yang dikenali sebagai juara silat politik kali ini nampaknya tersalah langkah dan tersilap silat kerana menyanggah ketempat yang tidak betul.

Nampaknya Rais sudah hilang pencaknya dan beliau nampaknya tidak tertepis pukulan pencak dari Rocky Bru. Rais seolah-olah seperti anak muda julung berkeris: batang pisang pun beliau sanggah. Menyanggah Rocky itu sendiri adalah salah caranya. Rocky bukannya mengajak beliau berpencak tetapi semata-mata menulis untuk memberitahu apa yang beliau dengar tentang isu pemberian kontrak computer riba untuk memberi 'jerk' kepada penggunaannya oleh rakyat Malaysia.

Orang ramai jelas terkejut apabila beliau membuat lapuran polis terhadap Rocky dan dalam tempuh 2 jam sahaja pegawai MCMC telah pantas membuat penyisasatan terhadap Rocky. Tetapi anehnya tidak ada pula pihak seperti MACC bertindak cepat untuk menyiasat Rais apabila berita yang kita dengar dihujung-hujung telinga itu benar atau sebaleknya.

Reaksi masyarakat blogger terhadap Rais jelas menjerat Menteri Kanan negara ini dan dalam sudut politiknya Rais sedang mula menghadapi zaman suram beliau. Rais yang mahir bersilat dan berpencak kini sudah terpaku oleh kerana tari dan lonjaknya yang sumbang. "Dek lonjak posok kotayap kek kopalo" kata orang-orang tuo dikampong dio dan kampong sayo.

Mungkin oleh kerana faktor usia dan terlalu lama dalam kerajaan membuatkan beliau sudah hilang 'reflect actions'nya; tidak seperti zaman beliau muda-muda dahulu dimana beliau begitu pantas membuka langkah serta pencak silatnya dalam politik. Beliau sentiasa menang dan orang lain akan terdampar dengan permainan silat beliau yang begitu penuh dengan seni itu.

Besar juga berita yang tersebar yang ada pihak yang sedang berusaha untuk kedua-dua orang yang bersilang pendapat ini berjabat tangan dan tentunya ini adalah usaha yang baik. Membaikkan perhubungan diantara dua orang yang sedang bersilang kata ini merupakan usaha baik, baik dari segi agama dan adapt kita orang Melayu.

Jika Rais bersedia untuk berjabat tangan itu merupakan sikap yang baik bagi dirinya sendiri. Oleh kerana tindakkan nya membuat lapuran polis terhadap blogger popular ini maka perhatian rakyat ramai sudah mula tertumpu kepada projek pemberian computer yang bernilai 1 billion ini.

Apabila semua rakyat memberikan perhatian maka Rais mesti berhati-hati kerana manalah tahu apa yang didengar oleh Rocky dan juga orang ramai termasuk saya itu akan timbul kebenrannya. Justru jika benar Rais bersedia untuk duduk dan berjabat tangan dengan pihak yang dimintanya untuk disiasat itu maka kemungkinan orang ramai menumpukan kepada isu yang timbul ini boleh dilupakan oleh mereka secara beransur-ansur. Rais boleh terus bermusuhan jika tidak ada sedikit pun kebenaran dari apa yang kami orang ramai dengar sekarang ini.

Kalau nak berjabat tangan elok berjabat sekarang; jangan tunggu lama-lama.


Amaran: Jangan Menipu Sijil Halal

Posted: 15 Oct 2010 03:37 AM PDT

PAROI, 15 Okt – Menteri Besar N.Sembilan YAB Dato' Seri Utama Hj Mohamad Hj Hasan hari ini memberi amaran kepada semua pengusaha dan pengeluar produk industri halal agar mematuhi segala syarat dan undang-undang yang ditentukan selain sentiasa memastikan tahap kesucian dan keselamatan makanan halal dan diyakini.

Beliau memberitahu kepada pemberita ketika sesi sidang media berlangsung sejurus merasmikan Pelancaran Kempen 1 Malaysia 1 Halal Peringkat N.Sembilan di Kompleks Belia dan Sukan Paroi, dekat sini.

Menurut beliau, sikap ambil lewa sesetengah pengusaha makanan dengan mengabaikan tahap kebersihan bahkan ada segelintirnya yang menipu sijil halal yang dikeluarkan demi mengaut keuntungan tanpa mengira sensitivity masyarakat islam di negera ini.

"Di Port Dickson, pihak penguatkuasaan telah menutup 15 buah premis kerana melanggar syarat dan undang-undang,

"Ingin saya tekankan di sini, sijil halal yang dikeluarkan tidak bermakna produk makanan itu halal sepanjang masa selagi penguasaha terbabit tidak mengekalkan tahap halal sepanjag masa," tegas beliau.

Beliau juga turut menyeru kepada semua agensi yang terlibat agar sentiasa memantau tahap halal dan kesucian produk makanan itu dari masa ke masa selain mengawasi kesahihan sijil halal yang dipamerkan oleh mana-mana premis makanan di negeri ini.


'Mister Professor Doctor' revisited

Posted: 15 Oct 2010 03:24 AM PDT


The Malaysian Insider's trivia for today tells us that "In Malaysia, surgeons use the title Mr, not Dr."

Well, it is not really such an astounding revelation because many Malaysians are aware of that. Furthermore, it's not something unique to Malaysia. In fact the practice originated from Britain, where our surgeons who trained and graduated from there adopted, continue and spread that practice locally.

A surgeon friend explained that the rather common title of Mister remembers their history when the original surgeons were barbers – for more, read my June 2006 post Mister Professor Doctor.


If the Nobel Peace Prize cap fits

Posted: 15 Oct 2010 03:07 AM PDT

Josh Hong' new article for his Malaysiakini column, China's Nobel prize dilemma, discussed the Chinese authorities' concerns over the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to Liu Xiaobo, a dissident currently under detention.

The best passage in Josh's article is:

... the outrage over Liu's Nobel honour only betrays the Chinese government's façade of confidence eagerly presented in the past decade. For all its pretence of stability and a peaceful rise, the communist regime is psychologically more fragile than it would have the world believe ...

How true, how true – and you know what, all we need to do is to transpose the same description to someone local and gosh, golly gee, they fit him wakakakakakakakaka!


JB Crime 2010 A Quarter Lower Than 2010

Posted: 14 Oct 2010 08:09 PM PDT

Good news from The Star 15 Oct 2010:

Crime rate in JB down from last year

JOHOR BARU: The crime rate in the state is down by 24.17% from January until Oct 11 compared to the same period last year.

Johor police chief Deputy Comm Datuk Mohd Mokhtar Mohd Shariff said the police also reduced street crime by 36% while the success rate for solving crimes was 44%.

"The police force will work round-the-clock to ensure public safety.

"The success in lowering the crime rate in the state is due to our hard work as well as public cooperation," he said in his speech before launching the Johor Baru North temporary headquarters in Taman Impian Emas here yesterday.

DCP Mohd Mokhtar added that the increased police presence had also contributed to less crime in Johor. He also said the public's complaints and reports would ensure that the police improve their services.

"We will also be setting up community police posts and police beat bases in 23 locations in the Iskandar Malaysia economic region," he said.



Empat pemimpin JMM ditahan polis

Posted: 15 Oct 2010 02:32 AM PDT

Empat pemimpin Jaringan Melayu Malaysia (JMM), termasuk yang dipertuanya, Azwandin Hamzah ditahan polis di hadapan Masjid Saidina Abu Bakar As Siddiq Bangsar selepas solat Jumaat hari ini. Mereka dijadual untuk mengadakan perhimpunan anti sebuah portal berita - Malaysian Insider. Tiga lagi pemimpin JMM yang ditahan ialah naib yang dipertuanya, Omar Salleh; setiausahanya, Tengku Sani Tengku Amalluddin dan bendaharinya, Yusof Mahmud. www.malaysiakini.com
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Intipati Bajet 2011

Posted: 15 Oct 2010 02:07 AM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR 15 Okt. – Berikut ialah intipati Bajet 2011 yang dibentangkan oleh Perdana Menteri Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, yang juga Menteri Kewangan, di Dewan Rakyat hari ini:

* Pembinaan projek pembangunan bercampur termasuk kediaman mampu milik bernilai RM10 bilion di Sungai Buloh yang dijangka siap pada 2025.

* Pembinaan projek bersepadu "Warisan Merdeka" dengan menara 100 tingkat tertinggi di Malaysia bernilai RM5 bilion yang dijangka siap pada 2015.

* Pembangunan Zon Akuakultur Bersepadu di Pitas, Sungai Telaga dan SungaiPadas di Sabah serta di Batang Ai dan Tanjung Manis di Sarawak  dengan peruntukan RM252 juta.

* Peruntukan RM135 juta bagi persediaan prasarana asas menggalakkan petani
menceburi bidang bernilai tinggi seperti industri sarang burung walit.

* Melanjutkan galakan potongan cukai pendapatan bagi pelabur dan
pengecualian cukai pendapatan bagi syarikat dalam aktiviti pengeluaran bahan makanan sehingga 2015.


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