Tuesday, November 29, 2005

TNB huge debt

Title: TNB huge debt and the increase electricity tariff.
TNB’s huge debt is not accumulated over a short period of time. TNB is buying most of its electricity from IPP, which enjoyed favourable rates whether the power generated is needed or not. At the same time it has to invest more capital for new clients and replace its aging assets. Everyone knows that the current electricity tariff has not increased for years and below its generation cost.
I believe that TNB should be allowed to increase tariff progressively as the power generation cost increases, so that it can continue to invest in power transmission infrastructure and keep a reasonable profit. Electricity consumer would benefit in the long run if power supply were reliable. Incidents of power failures and shortages would have a high cost to the economy and power consumers. Let TNB increase electricity tariff, so that it can set aside some money for the sorely needed maintenance and capital expenditure. Postponing the increase of electricity price would only increase Tenaga’s debt, and we consumers would still have to pay it later – at even higher price. We cannot ask Tenaga to cut cost by slashing capital expenditure, that would leave Tenaga’s capital stock in a sorry state and more expensive to maintain in the long run.
Remember California’s statewide power failures a few years ago? At that time, California state legislators did not let power companies increase power prices to consumers for some time, so there was no investment in new generating capacity nor transmission infrastructure for some time. Simply the return on investment of California’s power companies were to low, so no new investment was made. Meanwhile power demand by consumers continues to surge until there is no excess capacity left. The power failure happened on a hot summer day when almost everyone turned on his or her air conditioner to keep cool.
Its open secret that as the country’s economy grow, demand for electricity and other basic services also expected to grow at a faster rate. This growth in demand means more investments needed in electricity generation and power transmission infrastructure.
With that amount of outstanding loan, RM30 billion, a small rise in interest rate would negatively affect Tenaga’s profitability. One percent of RM30 billion is RM300 millions. If Tenaga currently makes RM1.2 billion profit, a 4 percent increase in interest rate would reverse this profit to a loss, ceteris paribus. Imagine the effect of this on Tenaga’s share price. If most GLC and publicly listed companies have high gearing like this, small wonder that BNM is reluctant to increase interest rate to keep inflation low.
However, I expect that the amount of tariff increase would be severely limited, whereby the projected revenue increase just cover the electricity cost and a bit of profit for the shareholders. Tenaga’s RM30 billion debt would have to be repaid by refinancing – either by issuing new shares or by rolling the debt papers. TNB could also convert some of its customers to shareholders by giving them warrants that can be converted into shares on payment of share premiums. This way TNB could increase its shareholders base and use the proceeds to pay off its borrowings.

Noor Yahaya Hamzah

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Raising Interest Rate to Tame Inflation

Raising Interest Rate to Tame Inflation
The economy has been humming along at fast clip, which is good. As people have more money, income higher, they have more disposable income to splash about. Some essential production; food, housing etc couldn’t meet demand because lacking investment to increase production in the previous few years. The result is inflation as demand outstrips supply. Below is BNM statement saying that OCR is going to increase.

Bank Negara seen raising interest rates
By izwan idris
BANK Negara may raise interest rates at the end of the month to keep inflation in check if Malaysia's economic growth picks up in the third quarter.
“We will have a clearer picture after we have the third-quarter performance on what the underlying potential and outlook will be,'' governor Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz told reporters on the sidelines of an economic conference in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
“If the slower growth risk diminishes while the rate of inflation remains high, there would be a monetary policy response,'' she said.
Zeti's comments are seen as a hint that interest rates may be on the verge of rising for the first time in seven years and economists expect the increase in the overnight policy rate (OPR), which is now at 2.7%, to be around 25 basis points.
Bank Negara has kept its policy rate unchanged at 2.7% since it was introduced in April 2004.

Within the power of BNM, this is the right move. Hopefully this will be enough to reduce borrowing appetite of Malaysians to buy big ticket items on credit, to cool down the inflation.

Malaysia's consumer price index (CPI), which measures inflation, rose to a six-year high of 3.7% in August but eased to 3.3% in October.
Inflation: any figure higher than 2% is too high. Above 3% is intolerable. People are losing their purchasing power due to high inflation.
While economists say the current inflation rate is tolerable, they note that the figure has more than double since 18 months ago.
Apart from reining in inflation, higher interest rates are also seen by economists as slowing down the outflow of foreign reserves, as it would narrow the “negative carry” in Malaysian and global interest rates. Much of the outflow of foreign exchange reserves has been attributed to hot money leaving the country following the ringgit's timid appreciation against the US dollar following the removal of the peg in July.

Higher interest rates are also seen reducing the negative return on domestic interest rates.
Negative return on domestic rates is like robbing savers and giving the money to borrower. In Malaysian case, most savers are of low income group, workers, pensioners and people who are saving for the deposit of their first home. While the big borrowers are savvy higher income group buying their 2nd, 3rd or 4th homes for investment and corporations are increasing their portfolio of companies. This is akin to robbing the poor to give to the rich.

“The bond market is already pricing in a hike in interest rates and talk is rife around town that an announcement on higher rates could be made when the central releases the third-quarter GDP figures,'' said a fund manager.
Malaysia's gross domestic product (GDP) numbers, together with the quarterly monetary policy statement, are due for release on Nov 30.
One reason for the potential move on interest rates is that Malaysia's economy is expected to have grown faster in the third quarter compared with the 4.1% rise in the second quarter this year.
GDP expanded by 5.8% during the first three months of 2005.
Malaysia would arguably be the last country in the region to raise interest rates as China, Indonesia, South Korea, Thailand and Hong Kong have already done so. Most countries in the region have raised interest rates to keep in check inflation, which has risen dramatically over the past year as a result of skyrocketing crude oil prices.
The US Federal Reserve Board has raised borrowing rates seven times so far this year to curb inflation.

Hot money from overseas flowed to Malaysia expecting Malaysian ringgit to appreciate substantially, speculating to make profit. So far this hasn’t happened. By giving them negative return, this is like taking/robbing money off them. It’s no surprise that this hot money started to flow out. They are tired of waiting and being milked off.
We railed against them when they speculated on the ringgit back in 97/98 and make profit. Now we make profit off them. So it turn out that we are no different.

For Bank Negara statements click here

World Bank: Malaysia good place to invest
THE investment climate in Malaysia is good compared with other middle-income countries, a World Bank report says, but the shortage of skilled workers and regulatory issues need to be addressed quickly to ensure the country remains competitive.
Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, Datuk Mustapa Mohamed, said the World Bank's Investment Climate Assessment, the product of a survey of 1,151 Malaysian companies, offered valuable feedback to the Government on the effectiveness of its policies as well as areas that required refinement.
“The need to upgrade workforce quality and streamline regulatory framework deserves immediate response from the Government,'' Mustapa said in his keynote address at the regional conference on Investment Climate and Competitiveness in East Asia in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
Mustapa said the Government would continue to place strong emphasis on improving business environment and human capital development.

Here we are, having mismatch in skills base and skills requirement.
“We observed that countries are becoming increasingly aggressive and innovative in securing foreign direct investment (FDI) and in marketing their product and services,'' he said.
Worldwide FDI grew rapidly from the mid-1990s and peaked at US$1.4 trillion in 2000, fuelled by a strong global economy, technology boom and cross-border mergers and acquisitions.
Between 2001 and 2003, FDI eased sharply, but the trend reversed in 2004 when it increased marginally to US$612bil.

Mustapa said the outlook for this year was more optimistic.
“The emerging trends in FDI provide us with the guidance to realign our policies in order to ride this new wave and ensure that our nations remain attractive destinations for investments,'' he told participants at the two-day conference. “While we take measures to improve our respective investment climates, there is a lot we can do as a region.''
FDI in East Asia increased 46% last year, versus 2003, and accounted for 71% of total FDI in Asia.
China was the largest recipient, followed by Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, India and Malaysia.
“This conference is important because foreign direct investment will continue to remain as one of the factors determining future growth of income and employment in our respective countries,'' Mustapa said.
The other factor is savings and investment generated locally. Higher savings rate would make it possible for more investment.
The regional conference, jointly organised by the World Bank, Bank Negara and the Economic Planning Unit, provides a platform for discussion on how to design and implement policies aimed at addressing investment climate constraints. International experts, private sector representatives and policy makers from several Asian countries took part in the conference.

Title: Graduate unemployment; do they deserve better treatment than anyone else?

In the West, when countries publish its unemployment figure, they don’t break it down to qualification level. Everyone is treated equal, whatever skill or qualification he/she possesses. So I was rather perplexed when reading Malaysia media highlighting the sixty thousand odd unemployed graduates and the steps taken to upgrade their communication skills to get jobs. Wouldn’t other unemployed Malaysians deserve some help to get jobs as well? Western countries churned out millions of tertiary level graduates every year, and they compete for jobs like everyone else. It’s not uncommon if the waiter at a restaurant holds a degree, and gets just the average wage.
Western governments normally give out funding to education providers to set up and provide courses in communications, computing and basic skills like forklift driving and interview skills. These courses are open to all, whether graduate or not. Giving extra help to graduates while leaving the non-graduate on their own is smack of discrimination. Not only they tied up country’s resources in educating them at universities, now they demand to be given cushy jobs as well. Sound like cradle to grave preferential treatment to me.
Employers look for people who have to tenacity to work hard, good team worker as well as creative. They also look for people who are prepared to roll their sleeves and volunteer to do dirty jobs. When looking at a number of candidates, those who are currently working in menial jobs to get money for their upkeep instead of bludging off their parents will be the first priority.
So those of you graduates who are still unemployed, get out there and do whatever job is available (waiter, cleaner and labouring jobs) it will look good on your CV.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

The Girl fron the Coast

Title: The Girl from the Coast
Sorry Bapak Pramoedya Anantha Toer, this is just the title, as you wrote about your grandmother. I also want to write stories told by my late maternal grandmother Mariam, and yes I don’t even remember my great grandfather’s name.
She didn’t know how old she was, maybe about 6 year old, maybe older. She couldn’t tell me much about her family, only that she and my paternal grandmother, Rosni binti Mustapha are cousins. She told me that she came from town called Kalengan, by the coast of Jawa Tengah. (Later talking to Indonesian friends, they said its Pekalongan, a town on the northern coast of Jawa Tengah, I cross checked with her Ponorogo dialect, spoken by people in the vicinity).
Her village was about 7 miles from town, in her own words, “from here (Batu 7) to Parit Tiga (Batu 12)”. In those days, probably circa 1925, there was weekly market in town, so her parents used to bring village produce to town. She used to tag along her parents on foot to town, starting at 1am; her parents sold village produce like tapioca etc. to buy rice and other stuff. Poverty was rife in those times, parents married off their young daughters, simply because they couldn’t afford to feed them.
That year my paternal grandmother was about 16, she was married off to my paternal grandfather Kusni. (I do not know my great grandfather’s name). Another one of her cousins, Suci was married off as well. Mariam was given off to her cousin Rosni, to be taken care off by her two cousins who just got married. The bridegrooms and their young brides sailed to Port Klang on a kapal layar, sailing ship maybe about 20metres. During the voyage the two cousins, my grandmothers resign to the fact that they were leaving their homeland for good. Suci cried day and night, ruing the fact that she will never see her parents, family or her homeland ever again.
It took about a week to arrive in Singapore, where they stopped for a day or so for provisions before continuing to Port Klang. From Port Klang to Tanjong Karang might have taken 2 days on kereta lembu.
In those times, the government opened tracts of land in Tanjong Karang for padi and coconut.
When Mariam was old enough, about 13, she was married off to my maternal grandfather, Daud bin Marhakim.
Life couldn’t be better in Selangor, padi land to grow rice and coconut land for cash crop of coconut and bananas. The river also teemed with freshwater fish like sepat, keli, puyu, haruan and udang galah in those days, replenished with annual monsoon floods. According to Auntie Mariah, my grandfather used to grow tapioca and keladi on road reserve land near their house. There were a few fruit trees around their house, jambu, breadfruit and ciku among them, some of them survived until my childhood in the seventies.
My paternal grandfather Kusni died when my father was 2 years old, leaving grandmother Rosni with two young children to feed, my father and Auntie Mariah, relying on the goodwill of her fellow immigrant neighbours. Presumably they were just 5 years in Selangor back then.
If I could turn back time, I could have taken my grand mother Mariam on a tour back to her homeland.

Kholid says:
Satu masa dahulu embah pernah cerita padaku, kampungnya di tepi pantai. Ramai orang menyindai kain batik yang siap dicelup warna. kain-kain panjang tidak dipotong lagi dengan warna sumba...

Hj Basiron says:
i,m sorry. i don't know much. sure it is a great project. it seem you have more info then me.kholid kata ayah kusni bernama man musa.it was one day masa dulu dulu, kholid nak cari nama syarikat keluarga. so timbul nama tu.our mistake we don't get closer to our grand parent when they are alive.one thing came across to me one day. if we get gleanology soft ware will be usefull. we can trace back our close relative.there are so many second cousin of us around but unfortunately we do not know.
Hj. Basiron says:
i balik kg semalam kerana nak bagi duit kat orang tua dan kerana pakmin mantu anak nombor dua last. nombor sembilan.u tau ke sanak saudara kita yang ni semunya anak ramai. anak kesembilan namanya ariyani dan kahwin dengn orang johor. tktau sebelah mana.dia sebaya dengan fauziah.

maka dapat le i jumpa pak gendu.u tau nama sebenar pakgendu? i bet u taktau.

sambil tu i bawa satu buku besar konon nak tulis nama salsilah.keluarga. pak gendu yang bagi sikit sebanyak dan juga kakak dan mak /bapak.

kata mak, embah mariem di ambil adik angkat olih tiga beradik embah esti. embah suchi dan embah rosni. dia kecik lagi, telah ditinggal mati olih ibunya. bapaknya kawin lain. sebab itu dia merantau ikut embah esti tiga beradik. kata pakgendu bapaknya bernama joyowarso.

emak kata, embah mariem tak tau nama bapaknya sendiri sebab tu masa nak buat kad pengenalan di ambil nama mustafa sebagai nama bapanya.

kata pakmin embah daud bapanya matkarmin , ibunya taktau sebab neneknya mati dia masih kecil.
embah daud ada empat beradik. abangnya bernama samsi. duduk di batu 9. kahwin dengan mbah esti. embah mariem tolong jaga anak embah esti. lepas tu dijodohkan dengan embah daud.lepas tu emak dan bapak dijodohkan sebab embah rosni tu adik embah esti. embah daud adik embah samsi.

adik embah daud namanya embah sarmi. dulu duduk dekat rumah arbangi/ sidek/rahman.

sekarang baru jelas mengapa masa kecik kecik dulu pada hari raya mesti pergi rumah rumah tersebut. baru nampak kepentingan nya.tapi bila perasan dah dua tiga pupu ni dah renggang le. tak penting lagi.

lupa pula mana datang nama man musa. rasanga kholid yang dapat.bapak taktau mana datang nama tu. embah kusni yang dia tau dua beradik aja. nama nya misran. dia taktau bin nya.mungkin kena tanya wak mariah.

kakak ada bagi tahu kang jalal sebelah rumah tu bapa nya bernama juid. ada kaitan tapi taktau bagaimana. sebab tu wak supinah arwah dulu taksuka betul dengan kita.makan buah jambu dia pun dia maki hamun.tapi kita curi juga.

i rasa kita kena interview wak mariah sebab dia lebih tua dan tau lebih banyak salsilah bapak.tapi i taktau dia duduk kat mana. pucung. alamat takde.

Kholid says:
Nama betul Pak Gendu - Sukardi

Hj. Basiron says:
just two days, i aready forgot what are mbah daud's siblings name. tak tenguk buku masa sebelum kemari. daud bin matkarmin . emak di bela sementara olih mak saudaranya. kakak mbah daud pasal dia kembar. duduk dengan adik beradik mbok sirop.kata nya dulu dia selalu kena dera.olih adik beradik tu. yang paling anti usup ketuk yang duduk sebelah rumah embah. suka bela burung merbuk. empat beradik tu datang dari jawa.

bolih jadi kalau di korek siapa joyowarso tu bolih dapat info dari sana. juga matkarmin, mustafa . bolih jadi kampung dia orang berdekatan di pekalongan. kalau ada tugu kerana ternama di pekalongan , maka bolih di selidik. tapi kalau cuma rakyat biasa . susah le. dulu pernah terdengar cerita, embah daud yang pengkor kena gigit ular tu , dan abangnya, katanya lari ke tanah melayu setelah membunuh penyamun yangmenceroboh rumah mereka. penyamun tu cuba naik ikut lubang di lantai yang bila terjongol saja kepala , arwah embah tu cekik dengan menolak tampah pada batang leher penyamun tu. sampai mati. lepas tu dia orang takut ada orang balas dendam , dia orang cabut lari.

Hj Basiron says:
memang pun duk dengan kak patimah. patimah bt dolah kot.atau pun abdullah. sama dengan kak markonah.imam sukani bin nya redhuan. dengan suami pertama , amat, takde anak.dengan moktar pun takde anak. last pak zainudin yunan. baru ingat, kata mak isteri mat karmin bernama sarminah. kira ok le tu. banyak juga dapat.i ingat, semua orang tu tinggal di jawa. pekalongan agaknya. kemudian tadi terjumpa kain sarung made in pekalongan. kebetulan.

dgn gleanology page dia besar sikit. manakala yang satu lagi tu kecil. so i padam je.

Hj Basiron says:
anak embah daud. rukiah.rukimin. rukinem. kamsaton.kembarnya. lupa tanya.rukinah. saringah. supingat. abd razak. misilah.

pak sarbini kawin dengan rukiah dan rukinah . yang pertama dpt kasbiran dan asmuni. yg kedua dpt asraf dan rahimah. one day i nak cari kang kasbiran. duk kg pandan.. taktau alamat.i pun tak dapat imagine rupa dia.

kalau tak salah dgn genbox bolih extract dari computer jauh ye. i tak paham.

baru ni i terjumpa satu kedai bolih modify gambar . jadi super impose baru dengan lama. lepas tu i tersenyum sorang sambil jalan sampai kena tegur orng kat taman tun ni. awak sakit ke? . adalah yang saya fikirkan tu. nah . agaknya kalau dapat kita cari gambar gambar lama bolih jadi bahan buku. malangnya i tak de gambar simpanan. tah mana pergi.

lupa list anak mbah daud is like this. rukiah. rukimin. rukinem.kamsaton. kembar.rukinah. sukardi.saringah.supingat. abdul razak. misilah ok ye.

hj Basiron says:
wak nik tu rukinem le. i pun baru tau, takpernah tanya dia nama sebenar. masa kat rumah wak rukimin muka wak nik dekat sama dengan mbah yem. begitu juga rupa rahimah. gemuk sikit. dulu lain.
rukinah adalah adik mak. kembar mak taktau nama. kalau taksilap dia mati kena timpa buah kelapa masa umurnya 12 tahun . atau sembilan tahun. itu pun i tak tanya dengan wak min, lupa.rukinah mati kena langgar lori masa ambil jemuran pandan kat tepi jalan besar. i ingat lupa, dulu dulu i manja dengan lek nah sebab dia suka layan i. masa kecik le.

bab gambar, scanner ni lina pandai kut. tapi lina sebuk dengan bisness dia mana ada masa. i tak jumpa satu bijio album pun kat rumah. mana semua nya pergi , i pun tak tau. mungkin kak sal ada simpan. tapi macam gambar ramai nenek rosni dulu tu , macam pernah nampak. tapi entahle.

i tak sure pasal kang jalal. kata kakak sal, bapak kang jalal nama dia juid. emak dia supinah. adik dia bin lain. yang berkait mungkin pak juid. masaalah nya bapak denied pak jalal ada kaitan . imam damanhuri ikut tu juga. entahlah. dia kata pak kusni adik beradik dua orang saja. misran. kholid jumpa surat kerakyatan kusni bin mat musa.

even antara mbah esti dan mbah samsi ada kecelaruan . i ingat esti, suchi, rosni bukan nya samsi suchi rosni. kakak yg lupa kut. tapi kalau anak bungsu embah esti kawin dgn anak pak ghapur, tua le dia tak? i pun tak faham. masa i pergi rumah dia dulu kecik kecik macam dah tua. takkan anak dia baya kita. kawin dgn orng muda dari kita.

dulu pernah dengar mak mengata, suami wak supinah jualkan tanah bapak. masa dia kecik dulu. tapi macam namanya ibrahim. ke i yang nyanyuk. tak tau yang mana satu.

nooryahaya says:
tak tahu aku pulak pasal kembar emak mati kena timpa kelapa.

kalau emak kata macam tu, tanah bapak dijualkan oleh suami mbok supinah, memang ada possibility, emak pernah citer, masa mbah rosni baru janda kematian suami, tinggal anak kecik dua, sedara mara arwah mbah kusni semua minta tanah harta peninggalan dan dijualkan sebahagiannya. mak kata kesian mbah rosni, janda tak ada nak bagi makan anak2, jadi terpaksa jual tanah etc. salah satu tanah yg emak pernah tunjukkan pernah di punyai mbah kusni dekat rumah anip/hanif tu. sempadan belah barat rumah anip tu lah.
aku tak pelik bapak tak mengaku ada kaitan.. memang bapak anti dgn mbok supinah.dan suami mbok supinah. tapi dia ok pulak dgn imam damanhuri.

masa arwah mbah daud meniggal dulu dia pegi rumah kang jalal dan kak (sapa ke nama elor le kang jalal seberang jalan) pukul 3 pagi bagi tahu. sebab sedara.

nama ibrahim memang macam pernah dengar. tak tahu lah kalau satu hari kita jumpa kang jalal cuba tanya dia, mana tahu dia nak cakap.

maslina says:
gambar rasanya emak dah buang....tak dapat nak kutip le....kena makan dek anai-anai....
scanner ada ni.....boleh scan masuk...gambar tak de macamana nak cari?
Eh... setau i kembar emak yang ninggal accident tu....emak cite macam tu...

Saturday, November 05, 2005

The Malays and their lands

I called my parents on Malaysia’s hari raya day, Thursday 3rd Nov. 2005. Actually, where I live, Eid was celebrated on Friday. I hadn’t balik kampung for hari raya for the past eight years; I simply could not afford it. This time, as my parent implored to come home and work on the land, my father is too old to work on it, and I am the only son who is still hasn’t properly settle down, not owning any property or even have a proper career. My father has a total of almost 7 acres at two locations near Tanjong Karang. A four acre plot fully planted with palm oil and a three acre plot around their home that has almost revert back to secondary bush and become trudging ground for wild pigs.
My father’s problem is common among Malay smallholders. He is too old to work on the land and none of his children is keen to work the small plot. These problems are made worse with the Malay sensitivities among the children and the custom of dividing the land more or less equally among the children upon the demise of the patriarch. If the father only owns small three acre plot, to be divided among six children, what size of land does each child get? Probably just enough to build a house on, but not enough to run a commercial agribusiness to support a family. Multiply this with millions of smallholders all over the peninsula and you get millions of acres of rundown smallholding in rubber trees, palm oil and coconut. If we drive down the coast of peninsula and see rundown rubber or coconut smallholding that is turning into secondary bush, then we know we are approaching a Malay kampung.
Let me list the reasons:
The Malays value their relationship with their kith and kin as well as their neighbours more than anything else. They wouldn’t quarrel with their siblings over a piece of land, well, there may be exceptions here, but it’s few and far between. If the patriarch died and leaves behind some land to be divided among many, most of the time the land become idle because none of the children want to work on the land for fear of hurting the other siblings’ feeling.
Most of these Malay lands are in the Malay Reserve area, where the land value is lower and ownership of one plot may run into hundreds for the older villages. This in itself presents a significant barrier to development, even in the urban areas.
Use the land as collateral to the bank? That is an absolute no-no for fear of the bank selling their land if the business goes bust. Most Malay smallholders have no capital to start a meaningful agribusiness, even though they have some ideas.
So the land goes idle while the farmers’ sons and daughters go to the cities to work in factories and elsewhere. The country is losing out, these lands could have produced enough food for the country or even for export, and instead we have to import 80 percent of our food requirements.

What could be done? These are my ideas; someone else could have some other solution that is better.
We could set up cooperatives or companies for every village, whereby the villagers could combine their holdings into one. Whatever they choose to grow, be it palm oil, vegetables, rice or oranges they could achieve the necessary economies of scale. Every villager owns some shares in the holding company, according to their size of capital contribution, be they in the form of land use or money. Land use would mean that the company could lease the farmers’ land on an annual basis for a fixed sum. I am not even suggesting that the company buys the villagers’ land, which would create more problems. Profit could be divided among the shareholders/villagers annually or monthly according to their contribution. Some of the able bodied villagers could work for the company, while the old ones could sit back and enjoy annual/monthly profit from their shares in the company.
It’s a win-win situation; the country would get food and produce from the land, the old farmers can retire and still have money and the unemployed young can get jobs in the village.
I suppose these companies would need working capital to start with, it cost money to cut down those old coconut trees, plough the land and build the necessary infrastructure for a successful agribusiness. Asking poor villagers a few thousand ringgits for working capital is like getting blood out of stone. Forget about borrowing money from banks; without capital or collateral would the bank lend these companies money?
The government could set up fund to lend money to these companies as a start up working capital, to be paid back gradually.
If a project like this could get off the ground, I suppose we need a new position in the village, the CEO kampung beside the ketua kampung and his/her JKKK.
Given chance, I would love to do this.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Selamat Hari Raya

Ku Ucapkan Selamat Hari Raya.
Di Hari yang mulia ini, kupohon ampun maaf.
Kepada pelayar blog yang budiman.
Maaf Zahir dan Batin.

gambar Masjid Jamaat Mukmineen Boston Massachusett

A comment from shahrir-umno

Written by Encik Kamaruddin
I tend to disagree with Encik Noor Yahya\'s argument that the local content concept is outdated. I think Encik Yahya fails to realise that most of the local assemblers and Proton are outsourcing their components manufacturing through local vendors. So the development of local vendors is very critical for motor industry to thrive. If these vendors are contented with their sub-standard quality and are incapable of improving their capability of producing good quality products then our motor industry would never be able to compete internationally in terms of pricing and costs.

I would say absolutely true, I was just being polite (being a Malay), "kata orang cakap berlapik". What I am implying is, these vendors have to improve, Proton and other car manufacturer have to improve or die. That is competition. All have to improve significantly to in terms of technology, pricing and cost. All other parts of economy has to be efficient as well. Pricing is secondary, efficiency, speed and value of money is the edge over competition.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

A trip to see the sunset

I went to the mosque at 7pm, still daylight. A group of us went to the hill just above the city at Cashmere Hill to see the new moon for Shawal. We arrive at the site at 8pm, and waited for the sunset at 8.20pm. The view alone is breathtaking, worth the drive up hill. It wasnt that far from the city, less than half an hour drive. There was a viewing platform, circular made of concrete. You can see 270 degrees, from the surf of New Brighton to the Southern Alps. The sun sets slowly, when it becomes bigger at the setting point. Then we waited for the new moon to appear. No, we didnt see the new moon of Shawal.
I bear witness that we didnt see the new moon of Shawal...
I didnt bring any camera, nor binocular.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Govt should focus on controlling inflation

In the past week, I have been in contact with several of my close relatives in Malaysia. Apart from exchanging family news, wishing each other Selamat Hari Raya and enquiring the experiences of Ramadan, we also talk about each others’ lives.
This year, they all complained of one thing; grocery items are becoming more expensive, their incomes static or becoming less. Inflation is running rampant, and it’s affecting ordinary folk more than ever. Prices of goods are rising fast, which indicates demand for goods outstrip supply.
While its okay to blame the causes of inflation as largely imported, (rising fuel prices, and the emergence of China and India as consumer society) some of our policies also contribute to this problem.
For the past few years, government has been using monetary and fiscal policy to get us out of economic slowdown. Meaning we have been printing money, encourage spending and consumption as well as awarding large infrastructure projects in the name of national development and increasing income. (Keynesian)
There is nothing wrong with monetary expansion during recession. It lowers interest rate, encourage investment and subsequently create jobs – but continuing monetary policy after a few years of economic growth and in the environment of accelerating inflation will only stoke inflation further, thus undoing the prosperity gains of the previous years.
This year, the government budget is still in deficit, with stated policy of continuing with monetary policy (print more money). This simply means the government is postponing the increase in taxes for high and medium income earners, hoping that with expanding economy, next year there will be more income, which would be enough to cover the deficit, thus negating the need to increase taxes to plug the deficit.
This may avoid government from making unpopular move of increase taxes, but insidiously imposing inflation tax for general population. (Inflation is a form of tax – government get the revenue by printing money)
No doubt large numbers of Malaysians benefits from the economic growth of the pasr few years. We can see the evidence from expanding new suburbia outside Klang Valley, Johor Bahru and Sg. Petani as well as the choked roads and motorways full of cars. People who benefit most are the well-connected and the street smart. Low interest rate from expansionary monetary policy enables them to borrow money at cheap rates to buy assets and set up businesses that won the government and business contracts large and small.
Now that they earn more, have more money to splash about and consume more. These are the people that government should tax more – the high and medium income earners.
It has been reported in the news media that since Abdullah Badawi took over, government projects has dried up. In other words, government spends less. In economic terms, this is fiscal tightening with the benefit of lowering interest rate. More funds are now available for businesses for their expansion and investment.
I have no scruples with the government giving more incentives to businesses to invest more, as this would create more jobs and income, increasing supply of goods in the market. Supply side economics if started now, would contribute to reduce shortages in two to three years time.
More drastic action has to be taken now, by taking steps to curb demand. Inflation tends to feed on itself, a round of price increases will stoke more and more price increases in other sector of the economy.
The real losers are the people who are on fixed or low income – their money worth less. Ahh, don’t suggest that enforcement officers should check prices at vegetable markets, that will only exacerbates the scarcity, as traders will sell less of controlled and unprofitable goods. Those officers would be better off employed to grow vegetables and other foods at least that will increase supply.