Thursday, 20 December 2018

HONG KONG BASED URBAN PLANNING EXPERT TELLS PENANG NOT COPYCAT HONG KONG

Ha Ha!!! Now didn't I say so in my blog post of 16th November 2018???

"WHAT HAS PENANG LEARNED FROM HONG KONG, Y.B. CHOW KON YEOW?"

Penang Chief Minister, Y.B. Chow Kon Yeow may choose to ignore IT.Scheiss and other Malaysians in Penang but will he listen to this expert from Hong Kong Alain Chiaradia who advises Penang with facts and figures why it should not try to be a cut and paste of Hong Kong?

However, from my experience of Malaysians, many of us are very good at cutting and pasting and of not using our brains. I suppose that's due to our rote learning education system which has been going downhill into the abyss since I left school.

It's no rocket science to come to such a conclusion. All it requires is to study the historical materialist differences between Penang and Hong Kong to understand the materialist (real world) differences between the two island cities with regard to public and private transport to be able to derive a viable solution to real-world problems in Penang.

Some years back, a well-known Malaysian sociologist and NGO activist with a PhD, argued that Penang should not install an LRT network on elevated tracks but instead should install trams running at grade on the roads.

Sure, Penang had trams running at grade (at road level) circa in the1890s but did it not occur to this sociologist and NGO activist that Penang had few cars on the roads back then which allowed those trams to run relatively unimpeded along relatively clear roads?

Did it not occur to this sociologist and NGO activist that trams would not be able to move freely at grade along Penang's roads which are already clogged with traffic today and moreover that they would only add to traffic congestion on Penang's roads already clogged with cars, buses, lorries and motorcycles?

Free Malaysia Today article follows. 



We are not a model, HK expert tells why Penang shouldn't copy it


Wednesday, 19 December 2018

WHAT A BIG MESS IN MALAYSIAN POLITICS RIGHT NOW!

When the Pakatan Harapan (Pact of Hope) won the federal government in Malaysia's 14th general elections on 9 May 2018, members and supporters of the four-party pack (Amanah, DAP, PKR and Pribumi) were ecstatic and looked forward to the much awaited reforms which would save Malaysia from the effects of two or more decades of alleged kleptocracy under Barisan Nasional rule, including the supposed dire effects on Malaysia's economy due to the 1MDB issue.

The Barisan Nasional (National Front) coalition of 13 parties (UMNO, MCA, MIC, Gerakan, PPP and other in Sabah and Sarawak) broke up, with the Sarawak and Sabah members of the coalition leaving, followed by PPP and Gerakan, leaving a rump of three members - UMNO with 76 seats, MIC with 2 seats and MCA with 1 seat, with another opposition party PAS with 18 seats.

Recently, Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir said he was open to some UMNO members of parliament first resigning from UMNO to become independents, after which they can apply to join his party Pribumi and will be duly considered for suitability.

They can also choose to join other Pakatan Harapan components parties which will accept them.


(Graphic - source Sin Chew Daily)

Lim Kit Siang, DAP advisor and a prominent leading member from the party's founding also welcome former UMNO members to join the Pakatan Harapan. 

By their defection, apart from strengthening Pakatan's reach into the crucial predominantly ethnic Malay heartlands in rural and semi-rural areas, it is also believed the Pakatan Harapan hopes to gain a two-thirds majority in parliament, thus allowing it to amend Malaysia's constitution and also that it would be able to gain a majority in the still Barisan Nasional dominated Senate, which right now can refuse to approve bills passed by the Pakatan Harapan dominated parliament.

A shocker came on 18th December 2018 when PKR President, Anwar Ibrahim's daughter Nurul Izzah announced her resignation as PKR vice-president, as Penang PKR head and relinquished her various roles in the federal government, to focus her duties as PKR member of parliament for Permatang Pauh.

Heck! News and speculation over this has gone regional, if not international.


Nurul did not give clear reasons for her shock resignation from leading PKR party positions, though her tweets and postings on social media, speculation has it that it has to do with her unhappiness with the direction PKR and more broadly, Pakatan Harapan is going in. 

The next day (19th December 2018), various media were abuzz with reports that Nurul, Rafizi Ramil, her fellow prominent PKR party comrade and former PKR member of parliament for Pandan and tad-a-a--a-a-a-a - Khairi Jamaluddin, UMNO member of parliament for Rembau were photographed having lunch together at the Alexis Bistro in Bangsar Shopping Centre in Kuala Lumpur.

This led to speculation that the threesome were discussing the formation of a new political party but Rafizi has denied that.

So Malaysians are left guessing what the trio from both sides of the political divide were up to apart from having lunch together.

Meanwhile, earlier on 18 December 2018, UMNO president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamid, who is facing a number of graft charges in court, stepped aside and handed over his duties to UMNO deputy-president Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan.

However, not all members and leaders of the respective Pakatan Harapan component parties welcome this move and especially leading DAP politicians have spoken up against it.

For instance, today - 20th December 2018, The Star reported that Ramkarpal Singh, DAP member of parliament for Bukit Gelugor, Penang, warned that the Pakatan Harapan government is falling apart, due to the issue of possible acceptance of up to 40 UMNO members of parliament who cross over.

Pakatan government is failing, DAP MP warns

Published 3 hours ago on 20 December 2018

By Justin Ong

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 20 ― Public meetings of PKR and Umno leaders are distracting attention from Pakatan Harapan's possible absorption of nearly 40 lawmakers from the Malay nationalist party, Ramkarpal Singh asserted today.

The Bukit Gelugor MP urged both the public and the ruling coalition not to let themselves be drawn by the public meetings involving Nurul Izzah Anwar, Rafizi Ramli and Khairy Jamaluddin, calling these "wayang" that pulled focus away from impending disaster.

"Well, let me remind you, what's going on is dire. What's going on is a new PH government failing," he said in a statement today.

Ramkarpal said he was being plied with questions on rumours that PH parties were contemplating the entry of Umno lawmakers who have left or will leave the party as well as the ruling coalition's stewardship of the country.

The Malay nationalist party has lost 17 federal lawmakers since the general election and some, such as former minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed and former Puteri Umno chief Datuk Mas Ermieyati Samsudin, have since found their way into PH component PPBM.

The issue has split the ruling coalition in two, with DAP and PKR resistant to the idea, PPBM open to accepting the former Umno leaders, and Amanah saying it would consider this.

Ramkarpal stressed today that taking in the Umno representatives would be to betray the will of voters from the general election, asserting that he was recently asked by a constituent why the coalition was even thinking of taking in the defectors.

"He was absolutely right. Why? Because we are no different from Umno if we can consider accepting the very people we voted out, all of whom so far are from Umno, into PH.

"It is like saying to the Rakyat, 'Thank you for your vote but to hell with you. I have my own plans,'" he said.

Some including PH component leaders have expressed concern that Umno lawmakers were seeking to join PH via PPBM to escape possible prosecution for corrupt practices they may have indulged in while Barisan Nasional had been in power.

Senior BN figures such as former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, former minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Mansor, and former Sabah chief minister Tan Sri Musa Aman, among others, have all been charged with corruption.

PPBM president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin previously gave his assurance that entry into his party would not prevent these lawmakers from being prosecuted if they were previously corrupt.

There are only 37 Umno MPs left now, down from the 54 after the May 9 polls.


In a more detailed opinion piece in the English language section of Sin Chew Daily on 18th December 2018, the daily speculates:-

Now, who's breaking up PH?

By LIM SUE GOAN

Sin Chew Daily
The mass exodus in Umno has spawned the conspiracy theory of an imminent ouster of PM Mahathir.

I have tried to figure out why Umno has been divided into three different sects and why Mahathir's ouster to pave the way for Anwar Ibrahim to take over when the parliament sitting resumes next March has been implicated.

A group of Umno leaders have been meeting over their court cases and possible dissolution of Umno. Those against Mahathir argue that the PM is not someone you can negotiate and they are therefore more inclined to support Anwar's early ascension to power because they believe Anwar will keep Umno and help them with their cases.

As for those without court cases or are unhappy with Anwar, they are more likely to continue supporting Mahathir as PM because they don't trust Anwar.

The meeting of these Umno leaders ended with no conclusion, and soon afterward we have all kinds of rumors.

It has been reported that Umno president Ahmad Zahid is more towards supporting Anwar, and may have instructed Padang Rengas MP Mohamed Nazri to talk divisional leaders into supporting the PKR president. and to form a coalition government with PKR and DAP.

The move has nevertheless backfired among the grassroots.

Larut MP Hamzah Zainudin is strongly against Anwar. He claims that 36 BN reps have signed a letter in support of Mahathir.

It is also said that Hishammuddin called a secret meeting last week that included among others Hamzah and PKR's deputy president Azmin Ali, who was accused of trying to stop Anwar from becoming PM during the recent party elections.

If Pakatan Harapan remains disunited, it will not be able to focus on dealing with Umno, allowing the latter to take advantage of the chaos to gain a backdoor access to federal administration.
PH will become BN 2.0 if these people were to be allowed to join the coalition and have their court cases forgiven. This will deal a lethal blow to the country's judiciary.

Why are PH component parties still willing to accept worthless Umno politicians? Very simple: they want to strengthen themselves by absorbing Umno MPs and Malay votes will go to them if Umno is eventually dissolved.

Doing so will also ensure that PH secures a two-thirds majority advantage in Dewan Rakyat so that the Constitution can be amended and their political agendas fulfilled.

Also, bills tabled by the PH government will no longer risk rejection in Dewan Negara following the side-changing of Umno senators.

If these Umno reps are not allowed to join PH, they may eventually defect to PAS, making the Islamic party all the harder to fight in future.

That said, ship-jumping will have very severe impact on the country, as the acceptance of political frogs will invariably trigger renewed political tug-of-war within PH in addition to betraying the public mandate.

Can Lim Kit Siang sit alongside Abdul Rahim Thamby Chik, who has applied to join PPBM and who he said was the culprit for his son Guan Eng's imprisonment for helping an underage Malay girl? Will Anwar pardon someone who in 2011 wickedly 
distributed his fake sex video clip?

We can judge from their recent public comments that indeed some PH leaders' stand has already softened. They are more willing now to accept these frogs on the grounds of political interest.

As a matter of fact, the PH leadership's position has swung away from that of ordinary citizens who are frustrated that corrupt Umno leaders can be whitewashed and allowed to join PH. This has contravened the coalition's pledge of battling corruption and upholding clean governance.

Unfortunately, the PH leadership appears to have turned a deaf ear to the rakyat's views dutifully reflected by the elected reps from DAP and PKR.

If Umno eventually goes bust and the opposition is significantly weakened, who are there to oversee the government?

Lest we forget, BN was so powerful in the past and could deliberately amend the Constitution because we had a weak opposition.

PH leaders are humans and are thus susceptible to temptation. The country's reforms will never materialize in the absence of a healthy checks and balances mechanism.

New Malaysia must reject immoral political deals. The new government must draw a line between itself and treacherous politicians.

Some PH leaders seem to have lost their directions as they are engrossed with the game of engaging Umno reps, putting behind their priority of revitalizing the country's economy.

PH will have nowhere to go but down if it steers off course and forgoes its principles.


All this politischeiss is happening when the Pakatan Harapan government should be focussing its efforts and energies on addressing Malaysia's economic and other issues affecting the Malaysian people, instead of politicking amongst themselves.

Then again, who knows what Mahathir has up his sleeve for Malaysia, should Pakatan Harapan manage to gain a two-thirds majority in parliament with the help of its former rivals and be able to amend the constitution.

We can only stay tuned and watch what results from all these political wheelings and dealings.

Malaysian politics is a more than world-class reality soap opera (reality show and soap opera) which can beat the BBC's Yes Prime Minister TV series hands down.

Yours truly

POLITISCHEISS


Saturday, 15 December 2018

MALAYSIA'S 1,049 BILLION RINGGIT WHALE?

Postings and forwardings gone viral on social media both before and after Malaysia's 14th General Elections on 9 May 2018 created the perception in many people's minds that all of Malaysia's financial and economic troubles are due to RM42.26 billion debt owed by the 1MDB sovereign wealth fund owned 100% by the Malaysian government .

However, according to this infographic by The Edge Markets article of 25 May 2018 based upon a breakdown of Malaysia's over RM1 trillion national debt provided by the Finance Ministry, 1MDB contributes only RM38 billion to Malaysia's national debt, whilst federal government debt is worth RM686.6 billion, plus debt due to other government companies, mostly infrastructure-related, whilst the rest are attributed to government guarantees and commitment to lease payments for public-private partnership (PPP) projects.



So that RM38 billion debt owed by 1MDB is around 3.8% of Malaysia's RM1.087 trillion national debt and financial commitments, and is small change compared to Malaysia's total national debt.

Also, now that former Goldman Sachs banker Roger Ng has been arrested on allegations related to 1MDB and the US Department of Justice (DoJ) has charged his former colleague Tim Leissner and Jho Low over alleged wrongdoing related to 1MDB, doesn't Malaysia have legal grounds to not repay whatever debt 1MDB owes Goldman Sachs or a substantial part of that debt?

The Star wrote of 2 November 2018:-

"Leissner pleaded guilty to conspiring to launder money and to violating anti-bribery laws. He has been ordered to forfeit $43.7mil (RM182.27mil) as a result of his crimes."

Heck! RM182.27 million is small change compared to RM38 billion, let alone RM1 trillion.

And:-

"In 2016, the DOJ had reportedly recovered over US$1bil (RM4.17bil – current conversion rate) that was allegedly stolen and sought the forfeiture of property including a Bombardier private jet, a Manhattan penthouse, a Beverly Hills mansion and paintings by Vincent Van Gogh and Claude Monet."

OK! RM4.17 billion is more substantial but still is just 10.97% of RM38 billion. 


The EDGE Markets of 18 January 2018, gives us a breakdown of government guaranteed loans.


Yet the public perception created by the politicians, coffee shop and tea shop politicians, bar politicians, social media politicians, the mainstream media and the alternative media all paint the 1MDB issue as the scapegoat for all of Malaysia's current financial woes, when whilst the RM38 billion owned by 1MDB and the issue itself is significant, it's not big enough to almost bankrupt Malaysia.

However, I expect that the chattering classes will continue to chatter on social media, coffee and tea shops, in bars and so forth about how 1MDB's debt owed is "solely responsible" for Malaysia's current financial woes, even though the anti-ICERD rally on 8 December 2018, the riots at the temple in Seafield in late November, the resignations of members of parliament from the UMNO party and the possibility that they will later join Prime Minister Mahathir's Pribumi party have somewhat overshadowed 1MDB in public discourse lately.

Anyway, as I've oftentimes said - Malaysian politics is full of scheiss. 

Meanwhile, for a refreshing change from politisceiss, let's take a look at what the Gilets Jaunes (Yellow Vests) movement in France is doing.

15 d├ęcembre : Edition sp├ęciale RT France. Suivez en direct les manifestations des Gilets jaunes

LIVE: Yellow Vests march under 'Macron resign' motto, huge numbers of police deployed

Down with that neo-liberal globalist Macron !

Yours trully

POLITISCHEISS

Wednesday, 12 December 2018

CAN YOU BELIEVE THIS WORLD BANK CRAP?



Malaysia on track to high-income status, says World Bank
Bernama - December 12, 2018 2:35 PM

KUALA LUMPUR: The World Bank today said Malaysia is well on its way to becoming a high-income and developed country.

Vice-president for East Asia and Pacific, Victoria Kwakwa, in a statement, said Malaysia's economy was well diversified and stood on solid foundations, which were primed to take the country to the next level.

"We welcome the government's efforts as part of this process to strengthen institutions, develop human capital and protect the vulnerable in the society. The World Bank Group stands ready to support Malaysia during this important transition process," she said.

Kwakwa concluded an official four-day visit to Malaysia on Monday during which she met Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng and Bank Negara Malaysia governor Nor Shamsiah Mohd Yunus.

The World Bank senior official and her delegation also met Deputy Yang Di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah with whom they exchanged ideas about development trends in Malaysia and the wider region.

These trends include the rising significance of the digital economy and skills development for future competitiveness in all countries in the region.


My questions:

"....primed to take the country to the next level."

By when, 100 years time?

Also,what does "the next level" mean?

And,

"....with whom they exchanged ideas about development trends in Malaysia and the wider region."

"These trends include the rising significance of the digital economy and skills development for future competitiveness in all countries in the region."

How far has Malaysia progressed in our development of the "digital economy" and in "skills development for future competitiveness" after the over 20 years in which these terms have been bandied around by national decision makers?

Last night, I was chatting with a friend who had worked and developed training programmes at a Malaysian government vocational training centre back in the 1990s and he was disappointed at the state which vocational training in Malaysia had descended to today, especially with the privatisation of vocational training.

At the same time, Malaysia has allowed for the mushrooming of whole slew of private universities and university colleges and we now read and hear much about graduate unemployment, whilst graduates complain about their inability to repay their PTPTN study loans due to starting income levels which have not risen much - an issue which has been much in the news recently.

Does "rising significance of the digital economy" include people going around with faces buried in their smartphone screens, their competency and addiction to social media?

I know people who know access to social media on their smartphones and tablets backward but can't even check their e-mail, do a Google search or write a letter with a word processor on their PC. So what rubbish is Ms Kwakwa talking?

Anyway, knowing how send and receive e-mail, to use a word processor (such as Microsoft Word), a spreadsheet (such as Microsoft Excel) and presentation graphics (such as Microsoft Power Point) on a PC, as well as photocopying, basic printing, scanning and filing away of documents and other content on the PC are all latter day clerical and secretarial skills, similar to typing and filing skills back when there were no desktop PC's smartphones or tablets.

What is the World Bank?

According to its website, the World Bank is an international development organisation of over 189 member countries, with its headquarters in Washington DC.

"With 189 member countries, staff from more than 170 countries, and offices in over 130 locations, the World Bank Group is a unique global partnership: five institutions working for sustainable solutions that reduce poverty and build shared prosperity in developing countries."


Wikipedia provides more information about the World Bank's history:-

"The World Bank was created at the 1944 Bretton Woods Conference along with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The president of the World Bank is, traditionally, an American The World Bank and the IMF are both based in Washington, D.C., and work closely with each other."

"Although many countries were represented at the Bretton Woods Conference, the United States and United Kingdom were the most powerful in attendance and dominated the negotiations. The intention behind the founding of the World Bank was to provide temporary loans to low-income countries which were unable to obtain loans commercially. The Bank may also make loans and demand policy reforms from recipients."

"The first country to receive a World Bank loan was France. The Bank's president at the time, John McCloy, chose France over two other applicants, Poland and Chile. The loan was for US$250 million, half the amount requested, and it came with strict conditions. France had to agree to produce a balanced budget and give priority of debt repayment to the World Bank over other governments. World Bank staff closely monitored the use of the funds to ensure that the French government met the conditions. In addition, before the loan was approved, the United States State Department told the French government that its members associated with the Communist Party would first have to be removed. The French government complied and removed the Communist coalition government - the so-called tripartite. Within hours, the loan to France was approved."

"When the Marshall Plan went into effect in 1947, many European countries began receiving aid from other sources. Faced with this competition, the World Bank shifted its focus to non-European countries. Until 1968, its loans were earmarked for the construction of infrastructure works, such as seaports, highway systems, and power plants, that would generate enough income to enable a borrower country to repay the loan. In 1960, the International Development Association was formed (as opposed to a UN fund named SUNFED), providing soft loans to developing countries."


So it is pretty clear that the World Bank was established after World War II to provide funds for post-war redevelopment of countries in Europe which had been devastated by the war and it's scope was later extended to countries outside Europe.

The World Bank can and has also dictated terms to recipients of its loans, as we can see with its first loan recipient - i.e. France, and based purely on political grounds.

As for the Bretton Woods Conference where the World Bank was established:-

"The Bretton Woods Conference, formally known as the United Nations Monetary and Financial Conference, was the gathering of 730 delegates from all 44 Allied nations at the Mount Washington Hotel, situated in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, United States, to regulate the international monetary and financial order after the conclusion of World War II."

"The conference was held from July 1–22, 1944. Agreements were signed that, after legislative ratification by member governments, established the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF)."


"... to regulate the international monetary and financial order"

Yes. They give you a loan to a country and then dictate to that country how it should be run.

Whilst the Washington DC based World Bank is in principle a multi-lateral, membership-based organisation of countries around the world, it in practice, western imperialist countries have the biggest say in the World Bank, which dictates the politics of its Third World member countries through pressure of finance capital.

This is just a more "refined" form of old-style colonialism, or what is called neo-colonialism, in which these western imperialist powers control Third World member countries - their neo-colonies through the dictates of finance capital to force them to implement neo-liberal economic policies.

I have avoided using the politically correct term "emerging markets" to refer to Third World countries and the more palatable sounding term "globalisation", which in reality is imperialism.

Remember, that Anwar Ibrahim was a good friend of neo-conservative Paul Wolfowitz, one of those who supported the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq and Anwar supported Paul Wolfowitz chairmanship of the World Bank.

"Indeed, Wolfowitz's desire to overthrow Saddam Hussein's regime and replace it with a democratic government in the mold of a Western power was shared by the Washington foreign-policy establishment. We tend to forget, for instance, that President Bill Clinton signed the Iraq Liberation Act , which made regime change U.S. policy. In Wolfowitz's eyes, the Bush administration was merely implementing a policy that a Democratic president signed into law five years prior."

"What grates on many realists is that Wolfowitz, twelve years removed from the U.S. government and over fourteen years since Operation Iraqi Freedom commenced, still refuses to admit that the Iraq War was a mistake. Wolfowitz's belief has been stubbornly consistent: Saddam, a bloody tyrant, a war criminal and a human-rights abuser—who gassed the Kurds, gassed the Iranians, invaded two of his neighbors and took pot-shots at U.S. planes patrolling no-fly zones—deserved to be taken down. If bad decisions were made, they occurred during the execution of the strategy"

"Wolfowitz's long interview today with Politico's Susan B. Glasser demonstrates that he indeed hasn't learned many lessons from the past fifteen years."

"He suggests that the Trump administration could use its Tomahawk missile attack on an Assad regime air base as a jumping-off point to initiate a Dayton-like peace agreement to end the civil war."


And here is the full transcript of the interview with Wolfowitz:-

The Neo-conservatives are liberal interventionists who want U.S. imperialism to use its military force to impose "democracy". "human rights", "free speech", "free press" and so forth on other countries, including through military invasion to topple governments, irrespective of local conditions and circumstances faced by those governments.

Many of Malaysia's liberal, liberal-left or social democratic NGOs and political parties have accepted funds from various western imperialist funding organisations such as the United States-based, very much governmental "non-governmental" organisations such as the National Endowment for Democracy and non-profit organisations such as the International Republican Institute, the National Democratic Institute, Freedom House and so forth, as well a non-profits associated or funded by the likes of George Soros.

Many of them hate me for highlighting this video:-

"IRI chief admits helping M'sian opposition since 2002"

Screw them!

This is not to deny that there are no genuine domestic grievances in Malaysia. There certainly are, and such foreign imperialist funding organisations exploit these domestic grievances to achieve their own imperialist geo-political and economic agenda in various countries, including Malaysia.

This is how modern imperialism works and we have many useful idiots here who either innocently fall for it or knowingly go along with it.

Yours trully

POLITISCHEISS