Friday, November 28, 2014

'Malays the majority, will survive without Umno'

8:56AM Nov 28, 2014
By Susan Loone
The Malays would survive even if Umno is defeated, as they are the majority of this country, said opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim.

He was responding to the Prime Minister Najib Razak’s speech at the Umno general assembly where he said that if Umno is defeated the Malays are damned.

"For those who are young, you must appreciate the fact that you must not allow these leaders to dictate or determine our future.

“Don't let our future be in the hands of the corrupt few. You must have confidence and courage to change," said Anwar.

Anwar, also the Permatang Pauh MP, was speaking in Penang at the Konrad Adenauer School for Young Politicians Meeting on Integration, Good Governance and Democracy in Asia last evening.

He said some may be uncertain of change, thinking that BN or Umno can reform themselves or that Najib's transformation agenda may work.

However, the conduct of their leaders at this week's Umno assembly revealed that even the so-called liberals in the party has becomes "extremely racist", he added.

Anwar did not name the leaders but DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng had hit out at Ummo Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin for allegedly playing the race and religious card at the AGM when he raised the issue of Malays joining the party, describing it as "chauvinistic".

Lim had chided Khairy (right), who is also youth and sports minister, he was often regarded as more liberal compared to his comrades.

Until the AGM that is, when he reportedly warned the non-Malays not to question Malay special rights, reminding them of the "promise" made as part of the social contract when the country gained independence from British rule in 1957.

"To my mind this should give us enough courage, that we have a clear choice, to overcome fear," Anwar said.

"I am speaking here with confidence and a smile but in a matter of weeks, I can be a free man or I may be in jail," he added, referring to his second sodomy case, which is awaiting the Federal Court's decision.

"But our future can be determined by our common resolve."

Bastion of Malays are speaking up

Anwar said at times he felt disturbed when people ask why the Malays prefer not to change.

There are Malays who would not sit back and condone corruption or racism, he insisted.

"I can see in their tweets and Facebook comments. Young Malays even those from universities which are supposed to be the bastion of Malays are speaking up," he stressed.

He recalled the remarks of former American vice-president Al Gore (left), who said it was historical and a world record that Anwar managed to garner 52 percent of the popular vote in the last general elections.

He said he had never seen this happen anywhere in the world where there is semi-authoritarian rule, no access to the mainstream media for the opposition, where elections are allegedly fraudulent, where about 400,000 voted one week earlier and their votes are kept in police custody.

Anwar was then responding to a question by one of the participants of the session who asked how far would Najib go to allow right-wing groups - who often described themselves as defenders of Islam and the Malay race - dictate the country's future.

Anwar said jokingly, "It is like Limbo Rock, the song made popular by Chubby Checkers, how low can you go?"

But he told the 40-odd audience not to generalise because these so-called defenders of the Malays and Islam hardly talked about hardcore poverty or lack of opportunism for the poor.

"When talk of the National Economic Policy (which provides opportunities for poor Malays), they happen to be in the top financial brackets and are doing extremely well," said the former deputy prime minister.

He said such quarters are bigots who try to show how righteous they are but "there is nothing religious about their lifestyle".

"If you are so racist, you cannot represent Islam," Anwar quipped.

Umno failed the Malays

However, Anwar noted that in authoritarian rule, there is always a tendency to swing to the extreme when leaders are desperate.

"Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel.

"Racism is the only game they can cling on to. Can they talk about governance? Or about ridding the country of corruption?

"They play the race card because you challenge them. They will say do not question their rights. Who are they defending?"

Anwar said Malays have been in power since independence and that Malay political power is Umno's power.

"Yet, they failed miserably in protecting the Malays," he said.

After the two-hour meeting, Anwar met with the Penang chief minister at a ceremony to honour the Bukit Gedung Malay hawkers complex in Bayan Baru, which won a national award this year for cleanliness, safety and health.

Accompanying Lim were Deputy Chief Minister II Rashid Hasnon, PAS deputy president Mohammed Sabu, Batu Maung assemblyman Abdul Malik Kassim and former state assembly speaker Abdul Halim Hussein.
~ Malaysiakini

Najib making Umno less relevant, says columnist

Published: 28 November 2014
Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Razak is seen here with his deputy Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin (left) at the Umno general assembly. He is making the party less relevant with his new approaches. – The Malaysian Insider pic, November 28, 2014.

Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Razak is seen here with his deputy Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin (left) at the Umno general assembly. He is making the party less relevant with his new approaches. – The Malaysian Insider pic, November 28, 2014. 
Umno is losing its appeal among more Malaysians, and its president Datuk Seri Najib Razak has been the cause of this with new approaches that pushed the party out of the political spotlight, effectively making it less relevant to the people, The Edge Review columnist, Bridget Welsh, wrote.
Among these were the "outsourcing" of Umno's traditional role as defender of the Malays to right-wing groups like Perkasa, competing with PAS to be the defender of Islam, use of government resources and machinery to dispense patronage, and relegating the party to the sidelines in the making of government policy.
Writing in this week's edition of the digital magazine, Welsh, a political analyst, said Najib had changed Umno's role and in so doing, made the party "less politically relevant".
She noted that Umno has long relied on the "racial insecurity" of Malays to maintain power but outsourcing its role as defender of the Malays to other groups had "marked the start of Umno's slide to the sidelines".
Although these groups received government funding and were closely linked to Umno, holding memberships in both, they had come to take over Umno's position in spearheading calls to protect Malay interests.
The next approach, competing with PAS to "position Umno as the defender of Islam in Malaysia" effectively moved Umno further from its "moderate roots", causing it to be perceived by the public as becoming more zealous and hardline.
Najib, as prime minister, allowed increased funding for Islamic institutions, Islamic-based groups, religious schools and the state's religious apparatus, and while this impacted PAS negatively, it also strengthened the religious bureaucracy within the government service, making it even more powerful and autonomous, Welsh noted.
Equally damaging to Umno's ability to win new support was Najib's use of government handouts which "replaced the party as the vehicle for wooing voters".
Of such initiatives, the 1Malaysia People's Aid programme (BR1M) was the most visible and was used widely during elections.
This re-branding of the ruling coalition, Barisan Nasional, during election campaigns, served to take the focus off Umno and its baggage, but the party no longer became the "face of political patronage". While loyalty to Umno was still expected, it was "less direct", Welsh said.
Welsh used these approaches to illustrate how Umno's decline in the public eye had come from an unlikely cause – from "within the party leadership itself".
"In fact, one of the distinguishing features of Najib Razak’s tenure has been the displacement of Umno as a truly dominant political actor," she wrote.
The moves to outsource Umno's role as defender of the Malays, to appear more Islamic and to hide behind the face of government as benefactor was the party's way of dealing with the massive loss of support in the general election of 2008, she said.
Umno then was rejected for its racial politics and corruption, and went on to lose its customary two-thirds majority in Parliament.
Welsh said Umno was unable to transform itself in response to the public's new political awareness, and opted instead for different tactics, which only worsened its political capital.
Other approaches detrimental to the party have been in the area of party and election financing, and government engagement, Welsh added.
She said Najib had to tap from "new vehicles for election funding, including the scandal-ridden 1Malaysia Development Berhad fund, which was a departure from the past whereby Umno itself had a sufficient war chest.
"Today, other investment arms and entities have changed Umno’s dominant position. It has opened up alternative sources of funding for party leaders, but at the same time reduced the party’s role in setting the direction of financing," she wrote.
Yet another way Najib has diminished Umno's role was in reducing the party's engagement in policy-making, having brought in "hired consultants" to the government, Welsh said.
"The common feature of all of these changes has been to push Umno back from the political front line," Welsh concluded, and while this had made it "more obsessed" with clinging to power, it was ironically contributing to its own decline. – November 28, 2014.
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Court affirms rights of Orang Asli in customary land battle


A picture of an Orang Asli settlement. The Court of Appeal affirmed the rights of the Orang Asli over their ancestral land. – Wikimedia Commons pic, November 28, 2014.

A picture of an Orang Asli settlement. The Court of Appeal affirmed the rights of the Orang Asli over their ancestral land. – Wikimedia Commons pic, November 28, 2014.
The Court of Appeal today has affirmed that Orang Asli in the peninsula have rights under the common law over their ancestral land.
A three-man bench ruled unanimously today to set aside the findings of a high court which dismissed the rights of 82 Orang Asli over their ancestral land, spanning 7,000 acres between Maran and Kuantan.
Judge Datuk Dr Prasad Abraham, who delivered the judgment, said the bench was of the opinion that two previous court of appeal rulings were correct in stating the legal principles on the rights of the Orang Asli.
Prasad, however, said the present case of Yebet Saman and 81 others from the Semaq Beri tribe will be reheard before a new judge as evidence on the status of the land was unclear.
He said Yebet Saman and the rest of the tribe members would have to prove that they were aborigines; that they had continuously occupied the land; and had maintained the traditional connection with the property in order to be accorded customary rights.
"The high court has to take oral evidence from the plaintiffs to establish this facts," said Abraham who sat with Datuk Abdul Aziz Abdul Rahim and Datuk Mah Weng Kwai.
In the first case, an Orang Asli, Adong Kuwau brought an action against the Johor government for encroaching on ancestral land and the Court of Appeal for the first time established the concept of native title in Malaysian law.
The Federal Court in 1998 upheld Adong’s right to the land although he did not possess any land title.  However, no written grounds was made available by the apex court.
In the second, Sagong Tasi and 26 other families from the Temuan tribe mounted a legal challenge in 2002 after their ancestral land in Kampung Tampoi in Sepang, Selangor, was marked out to build the Nilai-KLIA expressway.
In 2005, the appellate court affirmed a high court ruling that the families had native titles to the land based on common law and the Federal Constitution.
Lawyer Yogeswaran Subramaniam, who appeared for the Orang Asli, told reporters that the appellate court ruling was a victory for the community as the judiciary had once again recognised their rights to their ancestral land.
"We had to battle it out of court because the executive and the legislature are not recognising their rights."
Yogeswaran said the court agreed with their submission and added that the common law superseded what was provided in the Aborigines People's Act 1954.
"The court has also looked into legal rights of natives in other Commonwealth countries like Australia, New Zealand and Canada in arriving at its decision."

Yebet and the rest took their appeal to Putrajaya after what high court judge Datuk Marina Yahya did was found to be against the principles established by the court of appeal.
The judge ruled that the Pahang government had power over land maters and did not recognise the rights sought by the Orang Asli.
The Semaq Beri tribe is seeking a declaration that 7,000 acres be declared as customary land.
The tribe filed their suit in 2012 against Putrajaya, the Pahang government, director-general of Orang Asli Development Department, a developer and a sub-contractor.
They said they had occupied the customary land since time immemorial, but like many other Orang Asli groups, they were temporarily relocated by the government during the Emergency (1948 to 1960) for security reasons.
But, they had continuously returned to their customary land to tend their orchards, forage for jungle products and visit sacred sites during this period.
In 1970 a number of them returned permanently to Kampung Mengkapur.
Despite acknowledging the tribe's presence, occupation and use of the customary land, the Pahang government failed to gazette the areas as Orange Asli settlements.
In 2010, the 82 Orang Asli found a notice detailing logging activities over part of the forests on their land and about 1,000 acres had been alienated for oil palm plantation.

Yebet, 64, who was present, said the struggle to exert their right over the land would continue even if they had to wait.
"I believe justice will be served so that we can exercise our right over the land. We have to be patient."  – November 28, 2014.
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Thursday, November 27, 2014

Najib’s U-turn on sedition law proves he is no reformer, says pressure group

Published: 27 November 2014
Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Razak has gone back on his word and will retain the Sedition Act in a move condemned by an anti-sedition law group.– The Malaysian Insider pic by Najjua Zulkefli, November 27, 2014.

Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Razak has gone back on his word and will retain the Sedition Act in a move condemned by an anti-sedition law group.– The Malaysian Insider pic by Najjua Zulkefli, November 27, 2014. 
The increase in sedition charges and investigations against individuals over the past two years confirms that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak is not a reformist, an anti-sedition law group said.
Gerakan Hapus Akta Hasutan (GHAH) said Najib's administration still relied on the antiquated law to control and suppress democratic norms and legitimate dissent.
"GHAH is disturbed and outraged by the prime minister's cowardly decision to renege on his promise to abolish the Sedition Act and to fortify and strengthen the legislation instead,” it said in a statement today.
The statement was endorsed by Suaram executive director Yap Swee Seng, Lawyers for Liberty executive director Eric Paulsen and chairman of Civil Rights Committee of Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall, Liau Kok Fah.
The group said this in response to Najib's announcement at the Umno general assembly earlier today that the colonial-era law enacted to fight the communist threat would be maintained.
The Umno president said further changes would be made to the act.
"This act will not only be maintained, but strengthened. At least two items: there will be a special provision to protect the sanctity of Islam, while other religions also cannot be insulted.
"Second, we will insert a provision so that action is taken against anyone who calls for the secession of Sabah and Sarawak," Najib in his policy speech.
Najib said he decided to keep the law after obtaining feedback from Umno deputy president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Wanita Umno, Pemuda Umno, Puteri Umno, the grassroots, as well as non-governmental organisations.
GHAH reminded Najib that he had repeatedly promised to abolish the Sedition Act and that he must be held accountable for his promises made to Malaysians.
"The decision to retain the Sedition Act reeks of malice and bad faith, as the law has been rampantly abused to charge politicians, activists and dissidents," the group said.
It said the decision tightened the noose around freedom of speech and expression and made clear that the nation would have a bleak and undemocratic future under Najib's administration.
"GHAH, therefore, calls on the prime minister to respect democratic norms, the rule of law and to be accountable to the Malaysian people for promises made to abolish the Sedition Act."
The group said there was no room for the Sedition Act in a democratic and modern Malaysia.
In a separate statement, Human Rights Watch Asia Division deputy director, Phil Robertson, said by endorsing the Sedition Act, Najib was “doubling down on his bet that a rights abusing strategy is the best way to maintain power - even if it requires gagging the Malaysian people by ending free expression on important social and political issues”.
Robertson  said since the Sedition Act gave the government the discretion to declare almost anything seditious, social activists and opposition figures were likely to face a renewed crackdown that would be discriminatory and politically motivated.
“This is a major reversal on human rights that will seriously degrade Malaysia's already shaky reputation in the international community." – November 27, 2014.
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Survival of Dayaks in rainforests worries the EU

12:25PM Nov 27, 2014
By Joseph Tawie

The survival of the indigenous people in the rainforests of Sarawak, collectively known as the Dayak, is of grave concern to the European Union (EU).

The head of the European Union delegation to Malaysia, Luc Vandebon, said yesterday the Dayak have suffered irreversible impacts due to large scale development, including the loss of their food diversity, sources of basic needs such as clothing and medicine and sources of their livelihood.                          

“Ultimately all these will affect the very survival and culture of the Dayak, who form about 60 percent of Sarawak’s 2.2 million,” Vandebon said at a forum organised by Sarawak Dayak Iban Association (Sadia) at a hotel in Kuching.

Twelve EU ambassadors were in Kuching on a fact-finding mission and at the forum they heard the grouses, abuses of human rights and plight of the indigenous people as a result of large scale development, such as the mega dams and logging activities.

Vandebon said Sadia has documented more than 300 cases of violation of native customary rights and some of these rights have been taken to court.

“In this regard the EU hopes that some of the cases that have been solved in favour of the natives by the court should be fully implemented,” he said.

Congratulating Malaysia as a member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), Vandebon expressed hope that as a member of the UNSC, Malaysia should protect the human rights of the people, and support the work of the United Nations and its conventions.

“Malaysia should not practise discrimination of any kind,” he warned.

'Act according to UN declarations...'

He said that as a close friend, the EU wants Malaysia to act according to the UN declarations on the rights of the indigenous people, particularly on legal access to their land, the provision of basic healthcare and proper education to these people.

The EU also wants the Malaysian government to continue engaging with the indigenous people.

Vandebon (left) pointed out that indigenous people all over the world face serious problems, a series of violence and brutality, continuing with the assimilation policy, dispossessing them of their land, marginalisation, denial of their land rights and a host of other abuses.

In many cases, the indigenous people have lost control of the situation affecting them and therefore they are especially in a vulnerable position.

“The EU considers that racial and ethnic discrimination is incompatible with the basic principles of the EU and therefore the indigenous  issues are an integral part of the EU human rights policy,” he said.

Earlier in welcoming the delegation, Sadia president Sidi Munan told them that the indigenous people of Sarawak belong to the ‘endangered species’ as there is no legislation to protect them.

Sidi said crocodiles in the state fared better than the Dayaks as the crocodiles were protected by the Wildlife Act 1989.

The Orang Utan were protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of wild fauna and flora, which is also known as Washington Convention.

“Where is the legislation to protect the Dayaks? Therefore, the Dayaks are real endangered species,” Munan said.
~ Malaysiakini

'I saw coffins floating in Bakun dam'

8:36AM Nov 27, 2014
By Joseph Tawie

Baram’s residents have turned to the European Union to ask for help that what happened to those affected by Bakun dam does not happen to them, when the Baram dam is completed.

Baram People Protection committee (BPPC) Philip Jau said that he had seen coffins containing the remains of the forefathers of the Orang Ulu floating down river from their original graveyards due to the intervention in Bakun dam.

Jau (left) told this to the European Union Ambassadors yesterday at the forum which was organised by the Sarawak Dayak Iban Association (SADIA).

“I was in Bakun two weeks ago and saw several coffins floating down river from their original graveyards as a result of waters from the Bakun dam,” said Jau.

“It is very sad to see that our forefathers being washed away by the waters of Bakun dam,” he added, pointing out that the Baram people do not want this to happen to the coffins of their forefathers when the Baram dam project is completed.

Looking at some of the heads of departments in the forum, Jau said: “Tell the authorities and the Sarawak Energy Berhad to do something about the floating coffins.

“The sight is not only scary, but also out of respect for the spirits of the dead,” he said.

This was one of the reasons why the people strongly objected to the construction of the Baram dam.

Blockade until gov't stops

Other reasons included the destruction of their villages, churches, schools and their ancestral lands as well as the disruption of their lives and their livelihood, he said.

Jau said that they had seen how miserable were the lives of those who had been affected by the dams at Bakun, Murum and the Batang Ai.

The BPPC chairperson said that the indigenous people who are going to be affected by the Baram dam have been managing blockades for the past 398 days continuously.

He said that they would continue to do so until the government listened to them and stopped the construction of the dam.

He urged the EU countries to help the indigenous people in Sarawak where the state government proposed to build between 12 and 52 mega dams.

“Please save us,” Jau pleaded.

The Ambassadors were in Kuching on a fact finding mission into the human rights abuse of the state government.

They have heard the government’s version, and now they want to meet all the non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and to hear from them directly of their complaints and grouses.
~ Malaysiakini

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

With zero savings, majority of Malaysians face dire straits in emergencies


The majority of Malaysians will likely struggle in the event of income emergencies as they have no financial assets and no banking or financial account of any kind, the Malaysia Human Development Report 2013 revealed.
More than half or 53% of Malaysian households have no financial assets, while one in three Malaysians do not have an account, the report commissioned by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) said.
Rural households have the highest number of those without any financial assets (63%), compared to 45% of urban households, and by ethnic group, Bumiputera and Malays chalked up the highest figures as those without such assets.
“Among ethnic groups, about 57% of non-Malay Bumiputera and 55% of Malays have no financial assets, with the figure for the Chinese and Indians at 45% and 44% respectively,” read the report which was released in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
“In other words, roughly one out of two Malays, non-Malay Bumiputera, Chinese and Indians have no immediate liquid financial assets, making them vulnerable in the event of an income or employment shock.”
One in three Malaysians also had no banking or financial account, while among the bottom 40%, the figure was much higher, at 50%, said the report.
“In other words, one out of two low-income Malaysians do not have any financial accounts. Access to formal credit (or lack thereof) may also be the reason for the absence of financial assets,” it said.
The report stated that while Malaysia recorded a relatively high gross national savings rate, the bulk of the savings came from the corporate sector.
Citing figures from the Household Income Survey (HIS), the report also noted that nearly 90% and 86% of the rural and urban households, respectively, had no savings, while the majority of households at 88% had zero earnings from their savings.
Meanwhile, 57% of Malaysian households reported zero earnings from investments, with the figure for urban households at 50% and rural households at 66%, according to figures derived from dividend income earned.
The report did not take into account forced savings, such as the Employees Provident Fund (EPF), as households do not have access to such savings in the event of immediate income or employment shock.
But a breakdown of data from EPF savings as at 2013 showed equally worrying information: 90% of Malaysians nearing retirement age did not have enough funds to sustain a basic lifestyle for more than five years.
“Data from EPF shows that as at end of 2013, about one-fifth of Malaysians who are nearing retirement age (between the ages of 51 and 55) have less than RM20,000 in savings, while nearly 70% of those at the age of 54 have savings less than RM50,000.
“In other words, assuming a monthly expenditure of RM900 per month, the savings of the former could sustain their basic lifestyle for 1.8 years, while for the latter, the figure stands at 4.6 years.”
Though alarming, neither the low amount of financial assets or EPF savings were surprising, the report noted.
It also explained that the low EPF savings were due to the fact that the majority of Malaysians earned low wages.
“The monthly wage distribution from EPF shows that in 2013, one-third, or 2.1 million, active members earn less than RM1,000, slightly more than three-quarters (76.8%) earn less than RM3,000, and about 90% earn less than RM5,000 a month.
“As expected, the inequality in compulsory savings is rather extreme, where the top 1.7% of depositors in EPF has more savings than the savings of the entire bottom 57% combined,” added the report.
The authors said that the lack of financial assets, especially for the bottom 40%, severely limited their ability to borrow, invest, save and improve their economic opportunities.
The report was written by Tan Sri Datuk Dr Kamal Salih, an adjunct professor of Economics and Development Studies at Universiti Malaya (UM); Dr Lee Hwok Aun, from the UM Department of Development Studies, and Dr Muhammad Khalid of the Khazanah Research Institute.
The report was published for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and was sponsored by both the UNDP and the Economic Planning Unit which is under the Prime Minister's Department. – November 26, 2014.
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Why rich Malaysians are very rich and the poor, very poor


Last updated on 24/11/2014 - 09:07
23/11/2014 - 09:30     

OUTSPOKEN: The Umno-led BN government continues to paint Malaysia as a thriving socio-economic nation despite the statistical reality that points to a "not all-is-dandy" outlook.
How can the economic and financial outlook be all dandy when the global economy is faltering and struggling?
Furthermore, Malaysia's economic and fiscal policies have only widened the gap of the rich and poor since Merdeka in 1957.
Officially, the country’s federal debt is at RM568.9 billion or 52.8 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) as of June. 
However, economists believe the figures and statistics had not included other hidden debts.
Former International Trade and Industry Deputy Minister Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir had “accidentally” revealed in 2012 that the federal debt stood at RM800 billion or more than 70 per cent of GDP, way above the 55 per cent federal debt ceiling.
Anas Alam Faizli, who blogs at Blindspot, has recently taken pains to compile damning statistics that should awaken those blinded by BN's propaganda that all is well for Malaysians.
Anas' two questions, backed by statistics:
•    How does it feel to be in a high income nation that Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Idris Jala is talking about? In 2008, two states in Malaysia surpassed the World Bank Threshold to become “High Income” states – Kuala Lumpur and Sarawak. High Income nation through GNI/capita? In numbers and papers only or a holistic high income nation that prospers?
•    Malaysia’s Gini Index did not move at all in 20 years.
Malaysia is the third most unequal nation in Asia! We have the third biggest gap between the rich and poor. We are worse off than the Philippines, Thailand and even Indonesia. Our rich are very rich and our poor, very poor! Income inequality is bad and has to be addressed. Are we talking and thinking about this enough? Do you understand this as an issue or not? Please discuss. For 40 years, the gap between rich and poor did not change much! What happened?
In short, this has exposed how Malaysians have fallen prey to a skewered economic policies that will only result in misery when a global financial and economic crisis makes a comeback.
The question is, when will the bubble economies start bursting globally?
To quote Anas: “That's high income nation but low income population. To paraphrase, Rich Malaysia, poor Malaysians and why is that so?”
Malaysians already know the answer because they can clearly see who the rich and super rich are and who the poor and very poor are.
The rich and super rich are those with the right political connections and the poor and very poor are those who have to work day and night to put food on the table for their family and loved ones.
The recent case of the six major banks fined a record total US$4.3 billion (RM14 billion) for foreign exchange rate-rigging tells all.
When banks, such as HSBC, Royal Bank of Scotland, Swiss bank UBS and US banks JP Morgan Chase, Citibank and Bank of America had to resort to cheating, common sense tells that all is not well in the global economy.
It's certainly difficult for banks to continue to meet profit targets without resorting to exploitation when the majority of the people are getting poorer.
Even commercial banks in Malaysia have tightened their regulations in approving loans, especially for housing.
The recent depressing news on the economic and financial uncertainties in the US, Germany and China must be taken seriously. The economies of the big three are sneezing and the rest of the world are expected to also catch the cold from them.
Reuters reported from Washington on Nov 13 that policymakers scrambling to keep the world economy from settling into the "new mediocre" of sluggish growth can no longer rely on global trade to do the heavy lifting.
International trade helped the global economy tide over rough spots over two decades before the financial crisis, when it grew nearly twice as fast as economic output, but this engine is running out of fuel.
That is bad news for officials taking part in discussions at the International Monetary Fund and World Bank meetings this week, focused on preventing what International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde warns could be a long spell of sub-par performance for the global economy.
The impetus from China and Russia opening their doors and the emergence of global supply chains, linking factories in emerging markets with rich consumers in the developed world, has largely run its course, economists say.
"It's that particular engine which seems to have exhausted its propulsive energy for now," World Bank trade specialist Aaditya Mattoo said.
The McKinsey Global Institute calculates trade and cross-border financial flows contribute up to a quarter of global growth, leaving policymakers with a gaping hole to fill if trade shifts into a lower gear.
As the IMF cut its global growth outlook, it also forecast annual trade growth to average just 4.2 per cent in the 10 years starting in 2016, compared to 6.7 per cent in the decade leading up to the 2008-2009 financial crisis.
One reason for that downgrade is obvious enough; it is hard to replicate the effect of an economy of China's size tearing down trade barriers.
Malaysians must be reminded again to be prepared for the hard times and misery of a national and world financial and economic crisis.
Ng Kee Seng believes that God helps those who help themselves. In a healthy democracy, every Malaysian has a role in politics and nation-building.

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'Is PBB defending interest only of rich towkays?'

4:19PM Nov 25, 2014
By Joseph Tawie
Lawyer-cum-social activist Abun Sui Anyit today questioned Parti Pesaka  Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) whether it is defending  the rights  and the interests of Bumiputera or the interest of the already super rich towkays who own big logging companies.

“If PBB is defending the interest of  the big towkays then it confirms that PBB is a party of ‘pagar makan padi’ and all this while it was only cheating and misleading Bumiputeras abusing and misusing Bumiputera’s name,” he said, when replying to Assistant Minister and PBB Assemblyperson of Asajaya Abdul Karim Hamzah.

Abdul Karim (left) who slammed Abun Sui for leading a protest against the proposed Baram dam project last week described his move as a ‘political gimmick’.

He asked Abun Sui whether he really knew what he was objecting against or whether he really understood what the government was planning to do.

In a statement given to Malaysiakini, Abun Sui, who is the president of Gerakan anak Sarawak (GASAK) hit back at the PBB leader saying that as one of the victims of the dam project, he understood the suffering for losing their huge size of native customary rights (NCR) land.

“The affected people in Bakun are losing everything – their NCR land, cultural heritage and their way of life and so are the people in Batang Ai and Murum due to the dams.

“How are these dams benefiting them?” he asked, pointing out that only ministers like Abdul Karim and his bosses and a few big companies are allegedly  profiting from  mega dam projects.

Abun Sui who is a lawyer defending NCR landowners against the government, called on PBB to stop the dams and revoke the timber licences issued to the super rich companies especially over NCR land of Kampung Long Kesseh and Kampung Long Na’ah.

He believed PBB as the backbone of the Sarawak government is the one which issued licences to the timber companies in the Baram dam area and it is also the one which can revoke the licences.

“Please heed the cries of suffering from the Baram people,” he said.

Failure to heed the cries of the people has prompted him to ask whether PBB is only defending the interest of the super rich towkays who own big timber companies only.

He said that Abdul Karim and PBB ministers and leaders know the answer.

On November 15, 2014 GASAK members and some 60 Baram villagers led by Abun Sui demonstrated peacefully in front of the Forestry Department at Pelita Tunku in Miri protesting against the construction of the Baram dam project.

After the demonstration, they handed over a memorandum to the forest and police departments demanding the government to immediately stop the dam project.
~ Malaysiakini