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Saturday, 4 February 2017

A Malaysian perception: Cost of Living vs Standard of Living and affordability

The general perception is to blame BN for price increases in Malaysia and if you listen to Pakatan's promises, you would believe that prices will never increase.

It's a false hope and dream. It CANNOT BE DONE.

In fact, since 2008 Pakatan State Governments have raised prices of licenses, parking rates and business permits (Penang and Selangor), water charges in Penang 4 times.

On top of that Penang also increased assessment rates, doubled the rental rates of stalls and doubled the water extraction rates - all of which causes costs to individuals and businesses which also increases inflation.

But the reality is that prices have increased in every country in the world and all throughout thousands of years of history.

Show me one country that does not have any increase in house or food prices in the past 20 years. We move there together.

We should not confuse the cost of living with the standard of living. Just blindly reducing the cost of living is going against world-wide trends and going against history.

That is why DAP and Pakatan's promises are lies and they WOULD NOT BE ABLE TO DELIVER on this without inflicting massive damage and distortion to our economy.

For example, the price of goods in the 1960s and 70s were much lower than now but is the standard of living and people's livelihood any better than now?

The standard of living, among others, includes factors such as real income, quality of jobs, availability of jobs, a safer and greener environment, quality and affordability of housing, access to quality healthcare, quality and availability of education, better roads and better infrastructure.

Would you also want the house that you buy today at RM100,000 to still be valued at RM100,000 twenty years later?

If you were a FELDA settler, would you want your income to be RM2,000 per month now and still be RM2,000 twenty years later? If palm oil prices increase, cooking oil prices will also increase. But if palm oil prices do not increase then how will the FELDA settlers income increase too?

Since it impossible to contain the cost of living forever as it is a world-wide and a historical trend, BN's transformation policies and strategies is to minimize inflation - especially for the lower income groups - and increase the real income level of the Rakyat at a faster rate than inflation and increase our overall standard of living.

This is the real challenge and a challenge which BN can prove that they have substantially delivered on.

To ensure the B40 income group are not adversely impacted and helped, there are many govt policies that have helped - such as BR1M, minimum wage, school aid, KR1M, reducing prices of passports and other govt services, capping the price of electricity for the lowest income groups, exempting those with RM5,000 to no longer pay income tax, exempting thousands of items from GST, subsidies for certain items such as tong gas prices, cooking oil and many others.

The many development programs and job creation efforts by the govt coupled with a focus on increasing domestic and foreign investments have also helped dramatically increase the income levels of all Malaysians - particularly the Bumiputra segment which had lagged the overall population before.


Pakatan have once again taken advantage of the recent increases of food prices - particularly vegetables and seafood prices - due to the monsoon and festival season and the recent petrol prices increase in an attempt to incite the public.

It is human nature that people tend to look at the short-term variations without considering the true picture. We can easily get incited easily by those with personal agendas when prices of food goes up due to monsoon season reducing supply and due a major festival increasing demand.

But when the monsoon and festival seasons are over and the prices goes back down, those who incite us will keep quiet and pretend nothing happens.

However, there is no disputing that there will always be a long-term increase in food prices - something that has happened since thousands of years ago.

But what we do not easily see is the long-term increase in our standard of living and the increase in general affordability.


One way to see this is to use the famous The Economist's Big Mac index which has recorded the price of a Big Mac in each country since 30 years ago in 1986.

We can also look at the price of petrol - specifically RON95 since historical prices are widely recorded and is indisputable.

Some will say that we do not eat Big Macs everyday and it does not represent real life but due to so many differing factors - quality, location, the different food sources that goes into making a Big Mac, brands - among other foods, this is the closest that you can get to compare food prices and hence, food price inflation, whether locally or among countries.

In 1993, the price of a Big Mac in Malaysia was RM3.35 while RON92 (not even RON95) was RM1.06 per liter.

Data from the Department of Statistics shows that the Median household income for Malaysians during that year was RM1,077 per month for the median Malaysian family and RM887 for the median Bumiputra family.
The Median Malaysians household income has improved dramatically - especially since 2009.
This means that if you spent your entire monthly income on Big Macs, you can only afford to buy 321 Big Macs in the entire month - which is why a McDonalds visit was considered a luxury 24 years ago for many Malaysian families - particularly for the Bumiputra household whose income can only afford to buy 265 Big Macs.

Whereas the median Malaysian family could only buy 1016 litres of RON92 per month then (Bumiputra = 837 litres).

However, the Median monthly Household Income 16 years later in 2009 would have increased to RM2,830 for the median family and RM2,531 for Bumiputra families.

In 2009, the price of a Big Mac had increased to RM6.80 from RM3.35 while RON95 petrol (an upgrade from RON92, which is no longer available) would cost RM1.80 per litre.

Thus the median family at that time can now afford 416 Big Macs and 1.572 liters - 95 more Big Macs (29.45% increase) and 556 more liters (54.74% more) compared to 16 years ago.

The Bumiputra family however can now afford 372 Big Macs and 1,406 liters - which is 107 more burgers (40.6% increase) and 569 liters more petrol (68.04%) than 16 years ago - outperforming the general population.

This clearly proves three things:
1. Petrol and McDonalds are more affordable in 2009 to the median family compared to 1993
2. Although still below the average of Malaysia, the well-being of the Bumiputra families had increased at a faster pace than the general population.
3. The standard of living for Malaysians and Bumiputra have increased.

Fast-forward another 5 years from the year 2009 to the year 2014 (2015 and 2016 data not available yet but expected to have further improved) and you can see how the various transformation policies to assist the B40 segment and reduce income disparity mentioned above have helped the median Malaysian family.

In the year 2014, the Median monthly household income was measured at RM4,585 for Malaysian families and RM4,214 for Bumiputra families.

At this time, the price of a Big Mac is now at RM7.60 while RON95 petrol was RM2.30 per liter, the same as it is now in February 2017.

In 2014, the median Malaysian family can now afford 603 Big Macs (44.96% more than 2009) and 1,993 liters of RON95 (26.79% more) while the median Bumiputra family can buy 554 burgers (48.97% more) and 1,832 liters of petrol (30.30% more).

In fact, the increase in the number of Big Macs for the 5 years between 2014 and 2009 is much higher than for the 16 years period between 2009 and 1993.

Despite the currency changes and removal of fuel subsidies, this indicates a much faster improvement in the standard of living for all Malaysians while the bumiputra population continues to gain pace faster to narrow the gap with the general population.

Also, if you listen to the the opposition you may believe that inflation only happens in Malaysia or is worse in Malaysia.

Again, the Big Mac Index shows this is not true. In this table, Malaysia has experienced the second lowest food price inflation and only lags behind Japan which has been grappling with serious deflation for some time.

Pakatan's propaganda makes it seems they can stop prices from increasing but the reality is that they keep increasing prices too as explained earlier. And plus their false promise is really going against basic economics, against history and against worldwide trends.

Or perhaps Pakatan wants to make us into a communist country if they win, abandon the free market and control the price of everything in Malaysia?

If not, it is better for them to export their "expertise" to control prices to the other countries in the world on this table as they need Pakatan more than us when it comes to inflation.

Another point to note that even though Malaysia had moved away from blanket subsidies which benefits the rich five times more than the poor to targeted aid, one reason why petrol was much less affordable in 1993 to Malaysians was due to the tax on fuel imposed by Mahathir

In Dec 1993, the global price of crude oil was just USD13.56 per barrel while the exchange rate was USD1 to RM2.40 - meaning crude oil was just RM32.54 per barrel but RON92 was RM1.06 per liter then.

Compare this to the price of Crude oil in 2009 of USD74.67 per barrel (or RM278.52) and the price in 2014 of USD111.88 (RM391.55) per barrel where petrol prices was between RM1.80 to RM2.30 per liter.

Despite the more than 10 times difference in the ringgit price of crude oil between 2014 and 1993, the price of petrol locally only doubled as Mahathir had taxed petrol at 58.62 sen per litre for decades. These taxes were abolished in the year 2004 after Mahathir retired.


Over the years, not only have food and petrol become more affordable to the Malaysians but other purchases too - for example, cars and houses.

According to Department of statistics household income data, the Median household monthly income in 1989 (27 years ago) was RM816 per month.

At that time, the cheapest car you can buy was the Proton Saga 1.3 at RM17,575.


This would mean that the cheapest car was 21.5 times of the average household's income.

Moving on to 2014 where the median household is now RM4,585 per month (it had jumped from RM2,830 in 2009).

The cheapest car you can buy now is the Perodua Axia at RM24,600.

Not only does this car have as much interior space as the 1989 Proton Saga, has more specifications, much more safer and also more fuel economical.

At this price, it would mean that the cheapest car would be 5.36 times of the average household's monthly income - a big difference compared to 21.5 times in 1989.

The increasing affordability of cars to Malaysians is proven by the ever increasing amount of cars on the road and car sales figures by the Malaysian Automobile Association (MAA).

In 1990, Malaysians bought 106,454 private cars. At that time our population was 18.21 million people.

By the year 2015, when our population was 30 million people, we bought 591,298 cars in that year. Out of these, 94,902 units were Honda cars which sells for RM70,000 and above - almost as many as all cars sold in 1990 where the majority were Proton and Perodua cars priced below RM30,000. This clearly shows that the middle class had improved their standard of living and cars are now more affordable to many more Malaysians.

This again proves cars are much more affordable to more Malaysians as our overall income and standard of living had increased despite an increase in price.

According to the agency that tracks property prices, National Property Information Center (NAPIC) figures, a RM100k house in 1990 would be equal to RM433.4k in 2014.

Therefore, in 1989 a RM100k house would cost 122.5 months of the median household income.

While in 2014, a RM433.4k house would cost 94.5 months of the median household income - again indicating a general increase in affordability for property purchases despite a big increase in price.


It is thus important that we do not fall into the trap and buy into the propaganda by the opposition and just look at price increase in absolute term but in RELATIVE increase when compared to our income levels and most important of all, the standard of living of Malaysians which have enjoyed dramatic improvements since 2009.

Still don't believe me? Go look at the airports to see how many more Malaysians are traveling nowadays or go to the suburbs and terrace houses and you will see that the number one problem of most suburbs is that there is not enough places to park their cars. Or look at the roofs of the houses with Astro TV dishes, which seems to grow wildly like mushrooms.

There is no doubt that Malaysians are much better off than ever before and more goods are more affordable to us when compared to before despite an inevitable increase in the Cost of Living - a historical and global trend.

Therefore the focus of any good government is to always increase income levels, relative affordability and the Standard of Living - as compared to just Cost of Living using policies that goes against basic economics theory that will badly distort the nation and cause long-term ruin like in the case of Venezuela and its unsustainable price controls  - a country which Pakatan used to ask BN to learn from in order to control prices.


Here is a video of a Sotong in 2014 - when petrol price also increased to RM2.30 per litre - telling Malaysia that we should be Venezuela too.

Since then Saudi Arabia had more than doubled their petrol prices while at one stage in Feb 2016, Malaysia's petrol price was even cheaper than Brunei when we tracked global oil prices down while Brunei did not. And plus, he did not tell his audience that Malaysia is now a net importer of oil (we still export a lot of gas) and that Malaysia is nowhere near as big an oil exporter as Saudi, Venezuela or Brunei.

To make matters worse from "when petrol increase 20sen, karipap will also increase 20sen" Rafizi, when petrol prices dropped back from RM2.30 to RM1.60 months later he could not explain why karipap did not reduce in price.

Despite huge amount of price controls and subsidies and what Rafizi told us about Venezuela, last year Venezuela had inflation of 800% and economic contraction of 19%, widespread shortage of everything, hunger and on the brink of total collapse.

Venezuela is a clear example that Pakatan's promised policies before would give short-term pleasure but will bring great disaster to Malaysia in the medium to long-term as it is against good economics governance and basic theory of supply and demand.

Due to good economic growths and policies to increase our income levels while providing aid to the poorer section of society, the overall Malaysian standard of living has increased despite the many misleading propaganda spread by the politicians who just wants to incite you, make you feel bad by lying to you so that they can grab power for themselves.

Do you really think that these people can fight against basic economics theory of supply and demand, against thousands of years of history or fight against global trends? Do you think they will succeed or are they just lying to you?

A good government or political party should never lie to the public that they can keep prices the same forever as it is just not possible. Instead, they should promise to keep increasing the income levels, economic growth and increase the standard of living of the people while continuing to provide aid and assistance to the segment of the population most in need of help.

Friday, 13 January 2017

JHO LOW, ERIC TAN and the Arabs

A piece of news that has escaped many people is that on September 1st, 2016,  The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) finally admitted that at least USD200 million into Najib's accounts came from Saudi Arabia sources and at least USD80 million can be directly traced to the Ministry of Finance of Saudi Arabia.

WSJ also said that USD20 million into Najib's account came from the USD24 million transferred to Prince Faisal bin Abdullah, governor of Riyadh and 7th son of King Abdullah.

I have no idea why the Governor of Riyadh and Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Finance would help Najib with this money.

WSJ also alleged that from Aabar BVI, about US$637 million went to a company called Blackstone Asia Real Estate Partners in the British Virgin Islands, where it was POOLED with other funds and then a total of USD$170 million to Mr. Najib’s bank accounts in multiple transactions during 2012, bank transfer documents show.

ABC had previously reported that these transfers from BlackStone were backed by a 2011 letter from one Prince Saud AbdulAziz Majid Al Saud from Saudi Arabia who appears to be the then Governor of Madinah Province.

These Aabar BVI funds allegedly came from USD1.4 billion collateral for the USD3.5 billion 1MDB bonds guaranteed by IPIC. This guarantee was never disputed but IPIC had recently denied receiving these collateral - meaning they had guaranteed the USD3.5 billion bonds for fun.

Khadem al Qubasi the shareholder of Aabar BVI's boss is also Sheikh Mansour and is also the chairman of IPIC's Chairman.

It is still not clear why IPIC, Sheikh Mansour and Saudi's Price Saud would help Najib with this USD170 million transfer though.

This revelation of Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Finance adds yet another level of intrigue and mystery as this means that the USA's DOJ and WSJ have now accused the governments and high officials and royalties for three different Muslim-majority nations of conspiring to help Najib with funds.

I suspect the real story is more interesting and more complicated than this. 

JHO LOW and the Arabs

A point also missed out by most people or deliberately not highlighted is that Jho Low graduated from the Harrow School in England and The Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania, in the United States.

A person who is fluent in Arabic, he tells of how at these schools he met and befriended Arab royalty, describing the relationship as being important since how they became friends at such a young age created a great amount of trust between them. He even started a US$25 million investment fund at school with investments from his Arab friends.

So, two things about Jho Low are:
1) His job was always a fund manager
2) He was closer to the Arabs at a much younger age than he is close to PM Najib or his family.

In fact, even before Najib became the Prime Minister or even the Finance Minister in late 2008, Jho Low had been dealing on behalf of the Arabs - a fact that Jho Low had stressed multiple times before on his links while in school.

For example, The Edge reported that in  late 2006, the then 26-year-old Jho Low approached Khazanah Nasional seeking support for Kuwait Finance House’s bid for RHB Bank Bhd. Khazanah had a 30% stake in RHB Bank at the time and how he then made RM400 million in 2007 in flipping Iskandar, Johor land by bringing in the Abu Dhabi state-owned Mubadala Development Co.

Later on in May 2008, Jho Low would be successful in facilitating the purchase of a 25% stake in RHB from EPF by Abu Dhabi's Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank for for RM3.876bn (USD1.23bn then).

The price of MYR7.20 a share represents a 36 percent premium (3.1 times book value) to the bank's current price. Based on the purchase price, the deal is the 'largest investment to date of a Middle East investor into the Malaysian financial sector,' said Employees Provident Fund (EPF), 

This RM3.876b sales allowed EPF to make RM2.16b profits in less than two years or more than double the RM1.715b it effectively paid for the 25% stake or a 126% profit in two years. EPF had bought a 32.8% stake in EPF a little less than a year ago for RM2.25 billion.
Therefore, Jho Low was acting on behalf of the Arabs and doing fund management/deal-making even before Najib became Finance Minister or Prime Minister.

In a sense twist of irony, based on correspondences they had found in the Justo files, Saraawak Report confirmed the close ties of Jho Low with the Saudi Arabians in their report dated 2nd January 2016 titled "How Najib Used PetroSaudi To Wage Black Propaganda Against Anwar -EXCLUSIVE" where he detailed how Jho Low was the man who bridged the Saudi royalty with Najib.

Since Jho Low was the one with the Arab royalty relationships, I do not find it surprising that he is used as a go-between to convey political funds, support and donations from the Middle East to Najib.

The fact that Wall Street Journal had reported that a substantial amount of money had even come direct from the Saudi Ministry of Finance's account means that the Saudis had certainly supported or assisted Najib to fight against the Colour revolution during the crucial Arab Spring period (Read Arab money and the Malaysian Spring?)
The controversial transfer alleged by WSJ into Najib's account was the USD681 million (the famous RM2.6 billion) from Tanore just before GE13 - where USD620 million was returned - the balance remaining works out to be only RM50 million after exchange rates differences and was supposedly spent on party matters and various charitable causes and programmes .

This money came from funds guaranteed by Aabar BVI from the USD3 billion 1MDB bonds raised in 2013 after the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi HRH Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan came to Malaysia to sign a JV with 1MDB.

Recall that our AG had said all the transfers including the USD681 million were backed by a letter from various Saudi royalty and that MACC had interviewed all the witnesses.

For the last transfer, it is also not clear why Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed and Khadem's Aabar BVI would assist Najib with this transfer.

Eric Tan

As for Tanore's Eric Tan, he was previously described as a proxy. Now there are allegations that Eric Tan is a Jho Low's proxy.  However, it is not clear who he is a proxy for. It could very well be a medium for the Arabs who wishes anonymity while Jho Low's role is to make sure that money reaches the PM's accounts. 

But for sure, Jho Low is NOT Eric Tan. Would you think that Singapore would allow a fake or non-existent person to open a bank account? 

A point to note is that these transfers would not have been possible without the assistance of Khadem Al-Qubasi, the former Managing Director of IPIC and Chairman of Aabar Investments PJS.
H.E Khadem Abdulla Kadem Butti Al-Qubaisi served as Managing Director, Chief Executive, and Director at International Petroleum Investment Company PJSC, since May 2007.
He is a close confidante of IPIC Chairman Sheikh Mansour, who is the deputy prime minister of the United Arab Emirates, minister of presidential affairs and member of the ruling family of Abu Dhabi. He is the half brother of the current President of UAE, Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
Khadem was named at number 14th spot in Gulf Magazine’s 2014 list of the Top 100 World’s Most Influential Arabs, and included in the Oil & Gas Power Middle East top 50 in 2011.
He received the Arabian Businessman of the Year for 2009 in the UAE, and also received the coveted #1 Award as the ICIS Power Player of the Year 2009.
He served as the Managing Director of IPIC from 2007 to 2015 and served as the Chairman of Aabar Investments PJSC from 2012 to 2015..
H.E. Al-Qubaisi served as Managing Director at National Central Cooling Company PJSC since May 2011.
He serves as Chairman of Compania Espanola de Petroleos S.A. and Aabar Properties LLC. H.E. Al-Qubaisi serves as Co-Chairman of First Energy Bank. He serves as the Chairman of First Gulf Bank PJSC.
He has been the Chairman of Supervisory Board of NOVA Chemicals Corporation since January 1, 2011. He served as the Chairman of Supervisory Board of Arabtec Holding P.J.S.C., since May 2012.
He served as the Chairman of First Energy Bank B.S.C.(c) until March 2016. He served as the Chairman of Arabtec Holding P.J.S.C. from May 08, 2012 to May 2015. He served as the Chairman of the Board at NOVA Chemicals Inc.
He served as the Chairman of the Board at NOVA Chemicals Corporation since January 01, 2011 and served as its Director from January 01, 2011 to April 22, 2015.
He served as the Chairman of Hakkasan Limited until April 14, 2016. He served as the Chairman of Supervisory Board at Borealis AG from March 5, 2010 to April 2015.
He served as the Chairman of National Central Cooling Company PJSC and Falcon Private Bank Ltd. He served as Chairman of Abu Dhabi National Takaful Company P.S.C. until August 5, 2014.
He served as the Chairman of Gulf Energy Maritime PJSC until June 2008. He has been a Deputy Chairman of Supervisory Board at OMV Bulgaria OOD since May 2010. He has been a Vice Chairman of Duqm Refinery and Petrochemical Industries LLC since July 2012.
He served as Deputy Chairman of the Board of Supervisory Board of OMV Aktiengesellschaft from May 26, 2010 to May 10, 2012 and served as its Member of Supervisory Board. He served as Vice Chairman of Supervisory Board at Borealis AG.
He served as Vice Chairman of UniCredit S.p.A. from May 2012 to October 2012 and served as its Director until October 2012. He served as a Member of Supervisory Board at Borealis AG from March 5, 2010 to April 2015.
He served as a Member of Supervisory Board of AMI Agrolinz Melamine International GmbH and Borealis Agrolinz Melamine GmbH. H.E. Al-Qubaisi serves as a Director of ChemaWEyaat and Board Member of Emirates Investment Authority.
He serves as a Director of Abu Dhabi National Chemicals Company. He served as a Director of Arabtec Holding P.J.S.C., from April 28, 2012 to May 2015. H.E. Al-Qubaisi served as a Director of First Gulf Bank PJSC, National Central Cooling Company PJSC and Hyundai Oilbank Co., Ltd.
It is almost unthinkable that a person such as this would assist our PM to misappropriate money - especially since he was holding a couple of billion of UK Pounds of Barclay Banks shares in his own name in 2008 (before 1MDB even existed or had any money).

Although Khadem and his ex-CEO Mohamed Ahmed Badawy Al-Husseiny is also named as a subject of the US Department of Justice civil suit along with Jho Low and despite multiple media reports saying that the UAE govt had arrested Khadem, it is strange that neither of them has ever been charged for any crime by UAE - even until now.

Don't you find it strange that these two people who allegedly faked a state-owned company's name in the BVI and supposedly misappropriated billions are also not charged by UAE?

Another  point to note that at the point of transfers, the money does not legally belong to 1MDB anymore but to various entities related to the foreign governments and officials.

It is still not clear to most people why would Najib want to allegedly steal money that is borrowed. Money that is borrowed would eventually have to be repaid. If someone really wanted to make money, it would have been easier to do lop-sided Independent Power Plant deals at the expense of the rakyat like a past Prime Minister where you could be guaranteed at least RM1 billion per year.

Further to this, it is also not clear why would anyone want to transfer "stolen money" that is already safely and anonymously overseas and then bother to transfer it back locally to an account in his own name where dozens of people from Ambank to Bank Negara would know about this.

Even stranger is that this money allegedly stolen is also not spent on himself but given to various NGOs and for political purposes.

Muhyiddin has never commented what he meant by what he said in this September 2015 UMNO supreme council meeting - right after news broke of Najib's RM2.6 billion in his personal accounts.

Wall Street Journal in their report titled "1MDB Probe Shows Malaysian Leader Najib Spent Millions on Luxury Goods" where they reported that Accounts of prime minister paid out US$15 million for clothes, jewelry and a car.
"Of the apparent personal spending, one of the most regular recipients of funds from Mr. Najib’s accounts was Jakel Trading Bhd., a Malaysian luxury clothing retailer. Between 2011 and 2014, Mr. Najib transferred over US$14 million to Jakel, according to the documents. 
There was a recorded expenditure on June 28, 2011, at Signature Exotic Cars, a car dealership in Kuala Lumpur, for US$56,000. Signature’s managing director, Daniel Lim, didn’t respond to a request for comment." reported WSJ.
I think most Malaysians would know that Jakel Trading is nowhere near to being a luxury clothing retailer. They are famous for cloth, for prayer mats and for Islamic clothing. It is well-recorded that various NGOs and UMNO itself had regularly contributed prayer mats and clothing to various mosques around the country during that period. 

To claim that Najib spent US$15 million for luxury clothing for himself or even his family from Jakel is laughable - not to mention downright malicious by WSJ.

As for the "luxury car" that Najib bought for US$56,000, perhaps WSJ is not aware of car prices in Malaysia. On June 2011, US$56,000 is equivalent to RM3,003 or RM169,680 - perhaps enough to get a second-hand Toyota Alphard or a new Honda Accord. Not quite sure if this qualifies as a luxury car.

A more plausible explanation is that the car is for a gift to a charity or for use to transport goods.

Given the above, WSJ's accusations does not make sense and that PM Najib's continued assertion that he did not personally benefit from the RM2.6 billion seems likely.

Given such relentless and lop-sided reporting by WSJ  and Sarawak Report, the revelation that the Ministry of Finance of Saudi had transferred huge sums of money directly into Najib's accounts, the fact that so many royal families and VIPs in the Middle East are involved in dealing with Najib over the 1MDB and RM2.6 billion issue added by the fact that the reason expose that Soros and his Open Society Foundation was principally involved in the "Malaysian Program" with Soros himself having a personal interest, I can't help feeling that there is more than meets the eye when it comes to 1MDB and the Najib's RM2.6 billion issue.

In fact, an even more ominous clue is from the Wikileaks exposed document from Soros to the USA Government.

This document as part of the "Podesta emails" Wikileaks expose that got Hillary Clinton investigated by the FBI and which contributed to her loss in the presidential elections.

These 3 pages are excerpts from that document.

This is on the last page (pg 14) of the secret document that George Soros used in March 2016 where he personally lobbied the US govt to disassociate themselves from Najib.

Four months later, the DOJ took civil action related to 1MDB.

Other than saying that Najib is corrupt, a Islamic extremist and too close to China, they also suggested that Najib murdered Kevin Morais and dump his body in a cement drum.

There were 3 major demands by Soros to the USA government.

1) Make the TIP Report independent of political designs
2) Dissociate from Najib…soon
3) Demand Anwar’s release

Under point 3, Soros clearly said that Anwar would be instrumental as the new leader of Malaysia if Najib falls.  (So, who says that Soros and the OSF "Malaysia Program" is not political? )

And if Najib doesn't fall, Anwar can provide the USA Govt with "insight and strategic leverage" on Malaysia.

Which basically means that Anwar can advise the USA Govt how to deal with Malaysia for the USA Govt's benefit.

I don't know about you but for Soros to outright say something like this smacks of treachery to me.

Soros also claims that Najib has perverted Islam, wants to implement Hudud nationwide and is a supporter of the IS militants and extremism!

Obviously Soros is telling lies to the USA Govt to pressure them to act against Najib.
Najib is known widely as a moderate and is an assassination target for IS. Our govt had also arrested more than a hundred people suspected of IS activities or planning to go overseas to fight.

Soros also says that Najib will not be too loyal to the USA since Malaysia adopts a neutral policy and that Najib is getting too close to China now.

This document was part of the "Podesta emails" Wikileaks expose that got Hillary Clinton investigated by the FBI and which contributed to her loss in the presidential elections.

On top of this, it must be noted that it is Mahathir's men in Khairuddin Abu Hassan and also Matthias Chang who were the ones who made all those reports in the Swiss, Singapore, Hong Kong and USA government that made these investigators look into the 1MDB issue.

So far, Singapore has been active in their investigations but between the USA and China, we know who Singapore is more loyal too.

Certainly the political intrigue and power struggle is not just local anymore but has taken on a geo-political dimension.

Time will tell who the real thieves or traitors of Malaysia are.

In the meantime, 1MDB is well on its way to recovery and may prove to be a success soon after its restructuring and transfer of its various operating units to the Ministry of Finance.

On top of the various CSR efforts, one thing that local media seldom (Sarawak Report or MalaysiaKini has never mentioned this) is the 8 military bases that 1MDB is paying for and developing. These are now all close to completion.

Monday, 2 January 2017

A short note on FELDA

Last week, Rafizi Ramli released the financial statements for Lembaga Kemajuan Tanah Persekutuan (FELDA) for just two years 2013 and 2014 and shouted that FELDA made a big loss of RM1.9 billion in 2013 and another RM1 billion loss in 2014 - which he then suggested is evidence that FELDA will soon go bankrupt.

What about the years 2012 and 2011? Why only 2013 and 2014.

Here it is:

Unsurprisingly, Rafiz did not reveal the statements for 2011 and 2012 - where FELDA made a small profit in 2011 but a massive RM5.7 billion profit in 2012.  

Very sneaky of Rafizi. Big losses he reports but even bigger profits, he keeps quiet.

This big profit is due to the listing of FGV, where FELDA received quite a lot of cash and also recognized the Land Lease Agreement (LLA) of RM5 billion.

This 99-year LLA gives FGV to lease Felda land from FELDA starting from 2012 when FGV listed.

Under the LLA, a hefty payment of about RM250mil per year has to be paid to Felda, which FGV has been paying on a quarterly basis.

In addition, FGV is required to pay 15% profit sharing out of its plantation profits to Felda.

This means that whether FGV makes profit or losses OVERALL, FELDA gets paid a lot of money every year - at least RM250mil per year plus 15% of operational profits.

You would also notice that FELDA's revenues have gone up from RM106 million in 2012 to RM420 million in 2014 - this is due to those LLA payments.

The LLA is a strange arrangement that penalizes FGV and benefits FELDA when palm oil prices increases or production increases as FGV has to increase this LLA liability when this happens - which drags down earnings.

FGV must be the only business in Malaysia that gets penalized when the selling price of their product increases or when their production increases.

To be sure, FGV has been operationally profitable every single quarter. It is only after taking into account this LLA and other one-off write that FGV has reported a loss for some quarters.

The LLA liability is an accounting charge that moves up and down and can significantly affect FGV's reported results.

For example, in FGV's Q4 2014 result, “, without the LLA effect, FGV’s plantation profits would have been doubled for the third quarter under review,”

This gives a misleading view of FGV's yearly results - hence FGV wants to re-structure and re-negotiate this LLA:

The LLA is an unique agreement that goes up and down depending on various factors including price of Crude Palm Oil (CPO).

Here is a short video which explains how the LLA works:

When CPO prices goes down, FGV reduces the LLA liability to FELDA which means FGV owes FELDA less money.

Since 2013 and 2014 were years when the CPO price dropped, the liability from FGV to FELDA was reduced these two years - hence causing FELDA to also recognize substantial losses in 2013 and 2014.

The other thing you would notice is that FELDA's losses in 2013 and 2014 was also due to big payments for replanting and also for settlers welfare - including housing.

FELDA, being a govt statuary body uses a modified cash basis accounting standard - as opposed to a pure accrual accounting as most private or listed company practices.

This means that FELDA's accounts treat replanting payments as an expense for the year - and hence a loss.

A private company would treat this replanting payments as an investment instead of expense (or loss) which increases the "Biological Asset" in their balance sheet. 

A legacy problem that needed urgent correction  

Historical statistics released by the USA indicate that Malaysian palm oil yields have typically appreciated over time, with the strongest period of growth occurring between 1998-2008 when yields increased by approximately 4%annually. 

Malaysian Palm Oil yield started to drop 

As you see in the graph, in 2009 an unexpected break in the long-term national growth pattern occurred where palm oil yields started dropping.

Oil palm is a perennial crop, with trees potentially producing economically viable volumes of fresh fruit bunches (FFB) over a lifespan of 30 years or so. Peak crop yields are achieved from the age of 9-18, and gradually decline thereafter.

In 2009, it was estimated that 65% of Malaysia’s total oil palm area was between the ages of 9-28+, while 26% was at least 20-28+ years old.

Due to neglect from a past prime minister more interested in monolith monuments and building cars, FELDA's problem was worse than the industry - with more than 50% of their palm oil trees then older than 21 years old. 
Age profile of FGV's palm oil trees.

This means that more than 50% of trees would no longer be economically viable 9 years later by the year 2018 - potentially affecting the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of people.

So, if you were a responsible Prime Minister and the price of palm oil was high then, what would you do?

You would raise as much money as you can - by listing a part of the company to raise funds or borrow when the price of palm oil is highest.

This would be used to fund a massive and costly re-planting exercise and also acquire younger plantations for Felda in order to reduce the overall age profile of your plantations.

You will also use new high yielding planting materials to boost oil yields which are capable of doubling oil yields.

Just like harm was done due to neglect of replanting by a previous Prime Minister that will be known a decade later when the trees die, good that is done by a current Prime Minister will only be known later when the new plants start producing fruit bunches in year 9.

You suffer a bit now so your future is secure rather than have no future if the previous trend persisted.

Facts , figures and history don't lie.

See for yourself how fast the age profile of trees for FGV has come down since 2012.
I had also previously shared that due to past neglect, a big percentage of FELDA's trees were old and would soon be no longer economical as they would produce less oil.

Certainly due to legacy issued and history, FELDA's problems are big and management could be better but FELDA is making positive steps to resolve this.

However, I am confident that the government knows what they are doing and will address these problems - which will place FELDA and its settlers on an even stronger footing for the future.

Thursday, 22 December 2016

Mahathir: "It’s almost like free money. If you didn’t borrow, then you are stupid. So, I borrowed."

There was an interesting article yesterday where Mahathir tried to rewrite history when trying to defend himself. As usual, Mahathir's replies were full of self-delusion and outright lies.

Mahathir: Economic woes not from my time

Dr Mahathir Mohamad denies the state of the Malaysian economy today is due to the lack of economic reforms when he was in power, iMoney reported. 
He was responding to an opinion piece written by the University of Chicago’s Dan Slater, who had said that the road toward Malaysia’s economic ruin started when he was prime minister and not with current Prime Minister Najib Razak. 
Slater had also accused Mahathir of not making the adjustments needed to pull the country out of its crisis, but instead burdening the state with more borrowing and spending. 
“That is not true. If the crisis was caused by me, I would have, during my 22 years, faced the problem of debt payments, recession and all that.
No recession problem?  Hello, there were multiple recessions and slow-downs during your 22 years - the 1985 recession, the 1998 recession, the 2001 slowdown all happened. 

How is it even possible for Mahathir to deny this and say that with a straight face?

If he is still forgetful, all he needs to do to is to go visit Plaza Rakyat, Lembah Beringin, Duta Grand Hyatt and Bandar Wawasan (Vision City), which were among dozens of developments abandoned due to the 1998 crisis.

The still abandoned Plaza Rakyat - otherwise known as Kuala Lumpur's largest inner-city fish-pond -cum-Aedes mosquito breeding project
After almost two decades of being abandoned during Mahathir's time, Plaza Rakyat is only now being rescued and revived.

This would be similar to the rescue of Bandar Wawasan, which has now become Quill City Mall in 2012 after DBKL had ordered that all abandoned eye-sores in Kuala Lumpur be rescued..

Mahathir left Vision City like this.

Revived in 2012 during Najib's time to become like this. Open's today.

From abandoned developments, neglected development of Sabah, Sarawak and the east coast of peninsular, tolls, capital controls to IPP power plants, public transportation and economic rebalancing, the current Najib government has to continue correcting all of Mahathir's mistakes and wrongs.

Mahathir continues defending himself and said this:
On the issue of borrowing, Mahathir denied having made extensive borrowings during his 22 years as prime minister. 
Mahathir admitted he had even tried to borrow when the country faced the currency crisis in the late 1990s but failed to get the funds needed. 
“Otherwise, everyone can see my record of borrowing. Very little. Even during the currency crisis, we did try to borrow but failed
Did not borrow much? 

How about a 235% jump of our debt-to-GDP ratio within the first 5 years of taking over?

Yup.. In 1985, thanks to Mahathir our Debt-to-GDP ratio more than doubled to 103.4% from just 44%. Worse was that, unlike today, much of those borrowings were in foreign currency.

That year, if our country's income was RM100, we owed RM103.40 - the so-called technically bankrupt then. 

How did Mahathir forget this?

Compare this with our Debt-to-GDP ratio today of 53.6% - meaning if our income is RM100, we comfortably owe RM53.60.

Also, remember earlier when Mahathir said "no recession"?

Well, if no recession then why did you have to go beg Singapore, Japan and others to borrow?

And of course Singapore rejected your request since for decades you had been whacking them.

Mahathir then goes on to say this:
On the issue of borrowing, Mahathir denied having made extensive borrowings during his 22 years as prime minister. 
“Please show when did I borrow money. I only borrowed money from the Japanese because their offer was at the low interest rate of 0.7%, and it was repayable over 40 years. 
“It’s almost like free money. If you didn’t borrow, then you are stupid. So, I borrowed,” he told iMoney.
On June 1, 1981, 100 Japanese Yen was equal to RM1.06.

By the time Mahathir left on 31 Oct 2003, 100 Japanese Yen had shot up almost 3 1/2 fold to RM3.49

Since ALL of the borrowings that Mahathir borrowed on behalf of Malaysia from the Japanese (and he borrowed a lot) were all denominated in Japanese Yen, the 3 1/2 fold appreciation of the Yen during his time made the borrowings super expensive since Mahathir neglected to hedge or manage this currency rate.

For example, a RM50 billion borrowings in yen would end up costing RM150 billion. 

Rahman claimed that Mahathir had borrowed substantially from Japan, with loans denominated in yen. However, the subsequent appreciation of the yen’s value had caused significant losses to the country. 
“The current government is determined not to repeat this mistake. That is why the government’s debt is denominated in ringgit and is only marginally affected by foreign currency exchange movements.”
Yes. We learned - thanks to Mahathir. Malaysia now have very small amounts of foreign-currency denominated loans.

Mahathir even admitted this :
The yen's ascent to record levels is straining the finances of East Asian governments that have borrowed heavily from Japan and now must pay Tokyo back in a now more expensive currency. 
"We tried to renegotiate the loan in order to reduce slightly our debt burden to Japan," Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohammad of Malaysia said in a recent speech in Japan. But, he added, "We were not given even one yen reduction."
It’s almost like free money. If you didn’t borrow, then you are stupid. So, I borrowed,” said Mahathir.

And Mahathir said the above only yesterday - not many many years ago.

Now that history has shown otherwise, who the stupid now?

The only stupid ones are those who still believe in your never-ending lies and denials.

An equally insane statement was this in Lim Guan Eng's closing speech on Dec 4th 2016 at the DAP annual conference which Mahathir attended
Umno resorting to racial games is a sign of desperation, says DAP Secretary-General Lim Guan Eng. 
He said unlike Umno’s current president Najib Razak, Dr Mahathir Mohamad had never resorted to such a “dirty tactic” in all his 22 years leading the party. 
“Mahathir, at the Umno general assemblies in his time, never painted DAP as his number one enemy. 
“He didn’t have to do this as he was able to manage the country and its economy well.
Oh wow!

It is as if we were all in coma for 22 years or we all completely forgot what DAP had been saying about Malaysia - the time-bombs, the failed states, the mega-scandals, the economic crisis of 1985 and 1998. No RM30b Forex scandal, no crony IPP, no Bumi policy "stunting" our economy, no PKFZ mega scandal approved by Mahathir. Nothing.

And also Mahathir never called Lim Kit Siang or DAP as racist. Never before.

Suddenly, just because Mahathir is now on their side, Lim Guan Eng now says Mahathir was never racist and had managed the country and economy well for 22 years.

How much more unprincipled can you be?

I pity those DAP supporters forced to listen to his blatant lying.

LGE and DAP are devoid of principles.

That means whatever you all have been saying for 22 years in the TENS OF THOUSANDS of ceramahs, statements, interviews were total lies, right?

So, why should anyone want to trust DAP anymore?

DAP also assumes we are stupid?

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Why Malaysia does not want to peg the Ringgit like it did in 1998

Malaysia was one of the only countries to impose capital controls during the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis by fixing the exchange rate and requiring the currency be held at least a year after the sale of Malaysian securities or assets in the country. It was widely viewed as a major contributing factor to its subsequent economic recovery.

At that time, Malaysia suddenly pegged the ringgit but it did not use the traditional route of a peg by using our Foreign Reserves to buy or sell foreign exchange to support the Ringgit at that level.  This was because our FOREX levels were very low then since Mahathir gambled and lost RM30 billion of our reserves by speculating in the FOREX markets.

So, what Malaysia did was to impose capital controls - meaning controlling the inflows and outflows of Ringgit and making it internationally non-tradeable. This essentially means it is easy for foreigners to bring money into Malaysia but once the money is in, it is very hard to bring back out.

However, although it had helped stablize our economy for the short-term then, the long-term damage of capital controls was immense and long-lasting - after all, who would want to invest in your country but once the money is in, I can'; bring it back out?

On Nov 18 2016, Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) assistant governor Adnan Zaylani Mohamad Zahid said it has no intention of imposing capital controls and is merely clamping down hard on speculative activities on the ringgit,
Adnan assures that Malaysia remains an open economy and conditions do not warrant measures as drastic as capital controls, dismissing its one week old action against NDF trades, as merely tighter enforcement of existing rules.

"The situation and conditions are vastly different [from 1998 Asian financial crisis]. Now we have a very open economy. Investors come and go in our market... Even if we contemplate [capital controls], it is far too damaging and too risky for the economy... I just can't see that. So definitely no capital controls. There is no discussion of moving in that direction, but what we're trying to do is have a targeted measure to try and contain the offshore NDF market," he said.

"The ringgit being non-internationalised is one protection that we have and that would already prevent the kind of destabilising forex market that we had in 1998," he added, assuring there remains ample liquidity in the onshore market.
In fact, one of the reasons why the Ringgit spiked so much and so steeply after it passed RM3.80 was because foreign investors are afraid that we will take the easy way out and re-impose capital controls again.

Many investors would be suspicious of us since we had a track-record of doing this - hence they would rather sell their investments in Malaysia first and then bring it back out - which weakens the Ringgit - just in case we impose capital controls again and their money is stuck.

Local investors and wealthy individuals will also do the same and will quickly transfer their money overseas too. Who wants their money to be stuck?

That is why you see our country's leaders and BNM keep on making numerous repeated denials ever so often to deny we would implement capital controls.

This suspicion by investors that we will implement capital controls again is one of the long-term effect of what Mahathir did and it is still hurting us today.

If you look at the foreign investment inflows into Malaysia chart, you will see that foreign inflows suddenly spiked after 2005. Why is that?

That was because in May 2006, Pak Lah unpegged the Ringgit and relaxed the capital controls on our currency.

And because investments were weak - especially portfolio investments, Mahathir had to run high budget deficit rates to pump-prime the economy using government money to replace private and foreidn investments to keep Malaysia growing.

You can see that the budget deficit was above 5% of GDP, which is considered high for a sustained period of time until Mahathir retired in 2003.

Despite this, the economy also went into a serious slow-down in 2001 and was lack-luster for much of this period.

Malaysia would not have been able to survive if we continue to run high budget deficits of above 5% for a sustained period of time - as it would mean our govt debt spiking.

As a comparison, here is the budget deficit since 2008 after Najib took over.

As you can see, other than having a big deficit in 2009 and 2010 to save us from the Great Global Recession,  Najib has been able to maintain decent GDP growth since then while still reducing the budget deficit. In 2016, the budget deficit would be 3.1% and for 2017, it is budgeted for a deficit of 3%.

Let;s have a look at the effects on the government debt based on the information in the table given by the Economic Planning Unit.

It is clear from the graph above that such sustained big increases of government debt during the Mahathir last 7 years after he pegged the currency and imposed capital controls is a certain path to disaster.

Given the large deficits, poor growth and sustained high percentage growth in government debt during that period, we can easily say that those 7 years were "lost years" for Malaysia. Mahathir at that time probably did not understand or didn't care for the long-term damage at that time as he would be retiring anyway.

It must be noted that countries such as Korea, Thailand and Indonesia were affected worse than Malaysia but did not impose capital controls or pegged their currencies then. Only Malaysia did it.

These countries also subsequently recovered at the same time as Malaysia. And because confidence is intact, investment flows to those countries accelerated leaving Malaysia behind.

This is why Najib continues to resist pegging the currency by imposing capital controls and why BNM said the previous capital controls were "far too damaging" and risky to our economy.

After all, our govt knows that it is the USD that is at a 14 year strongest against most currencies and that our largest trading partner's currency, China, is at an 8 year low too.

Thus, pegging our currency at a strong position while our largest customers currencies and competing economies are weak is a certain recipe for disaster for Malaysia. And of course there is the long-term damage

The opposition leaders led by Mahathir keep attacking Najib's government using the Ringgit weakness as "proof" that Malaysia is going bankrupt.

But the easiest thing for Najib to do is to follow exactly what Mahathir did and re-impose capital controls and peg the ringgit. Problem solved.

Cannot be that Mahathir can do it but Najib cannot, right?

However, Najib and the current government knows how damaging for our long-term and he does not choose the easy cowardly way out - like what Mahathir did.

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

10 Petunjuk: Malaysia dalam KRISIS?

Sedap mulut para pemimpin pembangkang seperti Dr Mahathir, Muhyiddin, Kit Siang dan sebagainya sering menuduh Malaysia sekarang dalam krisis dan oleh itu, perlu "diselamatkan".

KLCC hancur diserang alien. Pakatan Harapan akan lawan alien demi"selamatkan Malaysia"

Setiap pemimpin pembangkang dan blogger2 yang sewaktu dengan mereka sering keluarkan kenyataan-kenyataan begini. Malaysia dalam krisis ekonomi, bankrap, pengemis di negara sendiri, negara gagal dan sebagainya.

Propaganda-propaganda media sosial yang sama berbunyi dari entah siapa juga melambak dan viral.

Mahathir mudah lupa, Muhyiddin lupa mudah, Melayu mudah lupa dan rakyat Malaysia mudah lupa.

Mari kita menyelidik sepuluh petunjuk samada Malaysia dalam krisis atau tidak.

1. Indeks saham Bursa Malaysia.

Indeks saham ialah petunjuk yang baik bahawa Malaysia bukan dalam krisis. Kalau benar-benar krisis, indeks saham akan menjunam seperti di tahun 1998 zaman Mahathir dan Anwar bila indeks saham menjunam lebih dari 80% dalam masa yang singkat.

Kalau Malaysia dalam krisis, siapa lagi akan melabur dan membeli saham? Tentu kalau krisis, semua akan jual saham-saham yang dipegang dan belah.

Sebaliknya, indeks saham hari ini masih lebih dua kali ganda dari indeks tahun 2009 bila Najib Razak mula mentadbir.

2. Pendaftaran Kenderaan Baru.

Kalau Malaysia dalam krisis, maksudnya jualan dan pendaftaran kereta baru akan menjunam - seperti pada tahun 1998 yang jatuh lebih dari 59% dalam jangka masa satu tahun.

Sebaliknya, penjualaan kereta di Malaysia masih kukuh di paras yang tinggi berbanding tahun sebelumnya - walaupun mengalami kejatuhan 13% kerana perintah Bank Negara untuk mengurangkan pinjaman bank untuk pembeli kenderaan dan rumah.

3. Matawang Ringgit ke USD

Sebenarnya, Ringgit hanya jatuh 16% berbanding dengan kadar pada tahun 2009. Kadar FOREX sememangnya ada naik dan turun. Kenaikkan Ringgit tahun 2009 to 2013 kepada tahap setinggi USD1 = RM 2.93 ialah kerana faktor harga minyak dunia yang tinggi dan aliran wang asing masuk ke Malaysia kerana kemelut ekonomi Amerika Syarikat.

Pada tahun 2014 pula, harga minyak dunia mula turun dan aliran wang asing sudah mula mengalir balik kepada Amerika Syarikat kerana ekonomi mereka pulih.

Tetapi dalam tahun 1998, kejatuhan Ringgit sebanyak 45% berlaku pada masa yang sangat singkat - tanpa pengaruh faktor-faktor lain seperti harga komoditi dunia ataupun kemelut di ekonomi Amerika. Ini benar-benar krisis dan tidak sama dengan keadaan sekarang.

Ini ialah sebab Ringgit terpaksa ditambat ke paras USD1=RM3.80 pada masa itu.

Situasi sekarang tahun 2016 tidak memerlukan kerajaan tambat matawang kerana kestabilan matawang masih terkawal. Lebih-lebih lagi, matawang-matawang negara pelanggan dan yang besaing dengan Malaysia juga turun berbanding dengan USD.

Kalau setakat nak guna kadar matawang untuk menyerang Najib, perlulah ditanya mengapa Mahathir boleh tambatkan Ringgit dan Najib tak boleh pulak

Tentu boleh jika sangat diperlukan tetapi Najib tidak akan gunakan jalan mudah dan penakut macam Mahathir.

4. Kadar Faedah Pinjaman Bank

Pada tahun 1998, kadar faedah pinjaman bank naik setinggi 13.5% kerana bank-bank Malaysia kekurangan wang dan keperluan Bank Negara pada masa itu untuk mempertahankan nilai Ringgit. Bila kadar pinjaman naik, pelabur asing akan tertarik untuk melabur di Malaysia untuk menikmati pulangan yang simpanan bank yang tinggi. 

Kadar pinjaman yang tinggi pada masa itu menyeksa banyak peminjam individu mahupun korporat - mengakibatkan banyak yang muflis dan mengakibatkan ratusan projek-projek yang gagal.

Tahun 2016 pula, kadar pinjaman bank rendah pada tahap 4.5% - malah, sudah dua kali diturunkan tahun ini.

5. Projek-projek terbengkalai

Tahun 1998, banyak syarikat - besar mahupun kecil - yang gagal kerana terdesak kadar faedah pinjaman naik mendadak. Akibatnya, banyak projek-projek pembangunan sudah terbengkalai.

Ada yang masih dalam keadaan ini sampai hari ini - termasuk taman perumahan di Lembah Beringin, Selangor, projek Plaza Rakyat yang terkenal sebagai "kolam ikan dan jejentik" terbesar  di Kuala Lumpur dan hotel 5 bintang Duta Grand Hyatt di persimpangan Jalan Ampang dan Jalan Sultan Ismail.

Zaman Najib tahun 2015-2016, tiada sebarang projek-projek yang terbengkalai. 

Sebaliknya, usaha untuk memulihkan projek Plaza Rakyat dan projek hotel Duta Grand Hyatt sudah bermula.

6. Nisbah Pinjaman bank yang bermasalah

Kadar faedah pinjaman bank tahun 1998 telah menyebabkan banyak syarikat dan individu untuk tidak lagi mampu membayar pinjaman-pinjaman bank. Ini telah menyebabkan banyak pinjaman bank yang bermasalah dan menimbulkan kerugian kepada bank-bank di Malaysia.

Nisbah hutang yang tak dibayar (Non-performing loan ataupun NPL industri bank pada tahun 1998 naik sehingga 14.9%. Ini bermaksud, setiap RM100 yang dipinjam keluar oleh bank ada RM14.90 tidak dapat dibayar balik.

Tahun 2016 amat berbeza. Nisbah ini hanya tahap 1.6% - suatu kadar yang sangat selamat.

7. Prestasi bank-bank di Malaysia 

Tahun 1998, banyak bank-bank yang terancam akibat hutang-hutang yang tidak dapat dikutip semula. Keadaan ini sudah tahap kritikal sehingga perlunya karajaan untuk menubuhkan DanaHarta dan DanaModal untuk menyelamatkan bank-bank dan syarikat-syarikat yang bankrap.

Tahun 2016 sangat berbeza. Nisbah hutang tak berbayar rendah dan keuntungan bank-bank Malaysia adalah baik dan meningkat. Tiada sebarang keperluan untuk dana-dana penyelamat seperti DanaHarta dan DanaModal.

8. Menarik pelaburan projek berbanding meminta pertolongan pinjaman cemas

Menarik pelaburan dan pinjaman dari Negara Cina untuk projek pembangunan bermanfaat di Malaysia berbandingkan permintaan secara terbuka untuk meminjam wang secara segera dari Singapura dan Jepun untuk mengatasi krisis ekonomi. Amat nyata perbezaannya.

Tak percaya Mahathir pernah menjatuhkan air muka beliau dan negara untuk meminta Singapura dan Jepun untuk bantuan kewangan cemas untuk menyelamatkan negara?

Boleh tengok video Mahathir sendiri mengakui ini kepada dunia di sini dan baca dari arkib perpustakaan Perdana di sini.

Inilah maksud negara dalam krisis. Bukan sekarang. Mahathir mudah lupa.

9. Pertumbuhan KDNK (GDP)

Takkan negatif dan positif tidak dapat dibezakan? Pertumbuhan ekonomi tahun 2015 dan 2016 masih kukuh - terutama kalau dibandingkan dengan negara-negara jiran kita.

Takkan pihak pembangkang tak tahu ada "slow-down" ekonomi dunia sedang berlaku sekarang? Kalau pemimpin-pemimpin pembangkang erti baca Bahasa Inggeris, bolehlah baca berita-berita bulan November 2016 yang bertajuk 'Technical recession looms' for Singapore" ataupun "Australia’s Economy Posts Worst Decline Since 2008"

Berbanding negara-negara dunia termasuk negara jiran kita, ekonomi Malaysia masih baik lagi.

Walaupun ada kelembapan akibat keadaan ekonomi dunia yang tidak stabil, namun pertumbuhan ekonomi Malaysia antara 20 yang terbaik di dunia. Malah pada suku ketiga 2016, pertumbuhan KDNK sudah mula meningkat semula.

Pertumbuhan GDP Malaysia 2017 juga dijangka lebih baik berbanding 2016.

10. Nisbah hutang negara kepada Keluaran Dalam Negara Kasar (KDNK) ataupun Debt-to-GDP ratio

Pada lima tahun pertama Mahathir memerintah, dia telah menaikkan nisbah ini dari 44% tahun 1981 sehingga 103.4% tahun 1986.

Jika kita tidak muflis ketika kadar 103.4% pada tahun 1985, bagaimana mungkin kita boleh menjadi bankrap pada kadar 53.4% sekarang?

Ada logik tak?

Malahan nisbah 53.4% ini adalah selamat. Boleh lihat disini siapakah negara-negara yang ada nisbah yang lebih tinggi dari kita.

Kalau Malaysia dianggap sudah bankrap pada nisbah 53.4%, maka 70 lagi negara lain yang juga sudah bankrap termasuk kebanyakkan negara-negara yang maju.

Hutang negara, walaupun nilai (bukan nisbah) meningkat, tidak sepatutnya dilihat secara mutlak - tetapi dibanding dengan kemampuan untuk membayar balik.

Takkan dikatakan kerani yang ada hutang RM10,000 kad kredit dikatakan 5 ganda lebih selamat dari seorang pengurus besar syarikat bersenarai yang ada hutang kad kredit sebanyak RM50,000?


Jelas dari perbandingan diatas bahawa Dr. Mahathir, Kit Siang, Muhyiddin dan para pemimpin pembangkang amat mudah lupa. Senang-senang melaungkan "Krisis" walaupun jelas bukan krisis.
Ini semata-mata permainan politik mereka sahaja.

Takkan nak percaya mereka yang tentunya ad agenda peribadi dan tak percaya para analis-analis antarabangsa dan pakar ekonomik yang tiada kepentingan politik di Malaysia seperti dari IMF yang memberi pendapat mereka hari ini (Dec 14, 2016) juga:
"The Malaysian economy continues to perform well, despite significant headwinds.

Malaysia’s diversified economy, along with exchange rate flexibility, has buffered the real economy from the commodity price shock, while deep financial markets have helped absorb global financial market volatility. Inflation has been subdued and the current account remains in surplus. 
“Malaysia has made significant progress toward achieving high-income status. A range of structural reforms has been undertaken to boost longer-term economic growth. "
Maksudnya, kerajaan sudah mengendali ekonomi dengan baik walaupun harga komoditi lemah. IMF juga puji kerajaan Malaysia membuat transformasi negara untuk kukuhkan lagi pertumbuhan ekonomi jangkamasa panjang. IMF berpendapat bahawa prestasi kerajaan baik dan semakin maju untuk mencapai matlamat negara berpendapatan tinggi.

Tetapi, iya. mengikut pembangkang, Malaysia perlu "diselamatkan". Dan siapa yang akan selamatkan Malaysia?

Tidak lain dan tidak bukan, mereka yang akan "menyelamatkan Malaysia".

Matlamat mereka hanya satu sahaja. Menakutkan orang ramai dan merendahkan pencapaian ekonomi negara demi hasrat mereka untuk merebut kuasa kerajaan.

Itu sahaja.

Tetapi, permainan politik macam ini sangat berbahaya kerana akan menakutkan dan menurunkan keyakinan pengguna dan pelabur untuk terus memajukan negara. Kalau pengguna sering ditakutkan dengan propaganda tipu, mereka akan henti ataupun mengurangkan perbelanjaan. Bila perbelajaan turun, maka jualan kedai2 pun turun. Jualan kedai2 turun maksudnya mereka tidak akan melabur untuk membuka kedai yang baru ataupun akan mengurangkan pekerja dan menghapuskan peluang pekerjaan.

Jangan tertipu dengan para penjahat-penjahat yang busuk hati ini.

EDIT: Someone did a video summary of the above 10 points.