Tuesday, 17 December 2019


Do you believe the World Bank's assessment ???

World Bank economist: Malaysia needs policy review to address disconnect between 'impressive' growth with consumers' reality

Wednesday, 18 Dec 2019 10:57 AM MYT


KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 18 — Malaysia must craft balanced policies to address the disconnect between the country's apparent economic growth and chronic complaints of rising costs from Malaysians, said the World Bank's lead economist here.

In an opinion piece titled "The right policy mix can help Malaysians make ends meet", Richard Record pointed out Malaysia's low inflation rate — 1.1 per cent in October — that belied Malaysians' persistent grievances about increasing prices.

Record said this could be due to lack of nuanced data about price levels as well as the prevalent use of the catch-all term "cost of living" whose definition he said varied significantly from one class of consumer to another.

"Closer analysis shows that despite low and stable inflation in recent years, different households live with different rates of inflation.

"For example, those with lower incomes spend a higher share of their family budget on food, and so will experience a higher rate of inflation when food prices rise faster than prices of other items," Record said.

The economist also repeated concerns the World Bank raised in its "21st Malaysia Economic Monitor — Making Ends Meet" that highlighted wage stagnation and the shortage of affordable housing.

Record said Malaysians' long-standing difficulty in making ends meet were unsurprising when these factors existed in combination with a generalised approach to addressing rising costs.

He also explained that the monitor illustrated the need for structural reforms to directly attack the root of each problems rather than their symptoms, which he said would be more effective albeit slower to show results.

Policies in this direction should include a re-evaluation of existing price control schemes with an eye on curbing monopolies, deepening social safety nets, and measures to stimulate sustainable income growth that is matched by increased productivity, among others.

"None of this will be easy, but with the right combination of policies, it is possible to address the deep causes that make so many Malaysians concerned about the cost of living."

The World Bank is the second global organisation this year to urge Malaysia towards being more honest and transparent in recognising the severity of the country's problems, such as the flattening of wage growth in the country, leading to rising household debt.

Previously, the UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights Philip Alston asserted that Malaysia's true poverty rate could be as high as 20 per cent if the country abandoned its poverty line indicator of RM980 per household per month.

The Pakatan Harapan government has taken steps towards addressing rising income inequality in Malaysia by introducing its Shared Prosperity Vision 2030, a ten-year plan that was introduced after it conceded that the Vision 2020 goal of becoming a high-income nation was likely to be missed.

,or the Malaysian Employers Federation ???

Employers dismiss World Bank report on stagnating wages, claim reality is different

Tuesday, 10 Dec 2019 06:26 PM MYT


KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 10 — The Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) has dismissed the latest World Bank's Malaysia Economic Monitor report, claiming it was unfair to employers for utilising starting pay as one of the indicators of the country's labour market.

The group also claimed that the report does not reflect the reality in highlighting the growing wage divide and wage stagnation among youths, as the country uses a different wage system compared with developed countries.

"For example, in developed countries, a Class C journalist may be paid RM5,000," MEF executive director Datuk Shamsuddin Bardan was quoted saying by New Straits Times.

"But in Malaysia, the pay may range from RM1,300 to RM5,000, depending on seniority, even though they are doing the same job, but that's a structure we strictly follow."

Shamsuddin said while it is true that the growth in starting pay in Malaysia is not substantial, employers would generally review wages after three months or once an employee was confirmed.

"There is also the annual review based on performance. But unfortunately, that's always not reflected in such researches," he reportedly said.

He also claimed that on average, starting pay had increased by about five per cent in the last few years.

"Those who have been in an industry for five years may see a 20 to 25 per cent increase in wages," he was quoted saying.

The report, launched yesterday, said although median incomes continued to outpace inflation, income growth rates for low-income Malaysians slowed between 2014 and 2016.

It also said that median employment income for younger workers aged 20 to 29 grew at an annual rate of 2.4 per cent, compared with 3.9 per cent for those aged 40 to 49 in the same period as the wage divide grew.

It's hard enough to survive on a starting pay of RM1,300 in the Klang Valley and I wonder how these 543 New Straits Times Press journalists (and many journalists from other media recently retrenched) will be able to make ends meet after 12th March 2020 when they will no longer be receiving a monthly salary.

NSTP union confirms over 500 to lose jobs by March 2020, to get letters today

Monday, 16 Dec 2019 11:14 AM MYT


KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 16 — A total of 543 employees at the New Straits Times Press (NSTP) are expected to receive their termination letters from parent company Media Prima today.

According to the publishing house's union of journalists, the termination is to take effect from March 12 next year.

"NSTP NUJ hope the retrenchment process goes smoothly and the compensation the company promised to give us will be delivered in accordance with the law so that we can look after the welfare of our members.

"We also hope this is the last round of retrenchment the company will undertake," its chairman Farah Marshita Abdul Patah said in a statement.

She said a total of 543 staff from NSTP's stable of one English-language and two Malay language papers are affected, New Straits Times, Berita Harian and Harian Metro respectively.

Last month, Media Prima announced that it would undertake a transformation and restructuring exercise that would last until the first quarter of 2020.

Rumours within the industry suggest that the firm were looking to shed as many as 1,500 jobs.

On Saturday, a source told Malay Mail that Media Prima was looking to halve the editorial headcount for newspapers in its stable from the 90 or so each at News Straits Times, Berita Harian and Harian Metro.

However, the heaviest hits are expected to land on the group's broadcasting arm in Sri Pentas, which houses TV stations TV3, NTV7, 8TV and TV9.

Once the country's most influential publishing company, the NSTP group was bought over by Media Prima in 2009.

Last year, Media Prima sold Balai Berita, the building housing the NSTP's central operations in Bangsar and its main printing plant in Shah Alam, Selangor to PNB Development Berhad for RM280 million.

Malaysia's media industry has been struggling financially in recent years.

Earlier this year, Malaysia's oldest Bahasa Melayu newspaper, Utusan Malaysia, was forced to shut down due to insolvency and left hundreds jobless overnight.

It struggled to pay staff salaries in the final months of its career and still owes back pay to many. Even those who opted for an earlier voluntary separation scheme have not been fully compensated.

I took a Grab taxi to 3Damansara shopping mall (formerly Tropicana City Mall) last Thursday (12 December 2019) and did not want to ask the driver whether he was a former journalist. The fare was RM7.00 but I gave him an RM10 note and told him to keep the change. He was grateful and thanked me.

MIDF Research sees Malaysia's inflation rising to 2.4pc in 2020 on petrol subsidy policy

Tuesday, 17 Dec 2019 07:38 PM MYT

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 17 ― MIDF Research expects inflationary pressure to surge to 2.4 per cent year-on-year (y-o-y) in 2020 mainly due to the government's petrol subsidy policy.

Inflation in 2019 is estimated to settle at around 0.6 per cent y-o-y, which is lower than one per cent in 2018.

Head of research Mohd Redza Abdul Rahman said the price of RON95 had been capped at RM2.08 per litre since February this year, lower than the average price of RM2.20 in 2018, instigating downward pressure to the overall inflation this year particularly through the transport index.

However, the government's decision to introduce a new targeted fuel subsidy starting January 2020 would have spillover effects on other basket components such as food.

The targeted fuel subsidy scheme is set to benefit a smaller group of lower income households and to float the RON95 price under this scheme whereby at the current oil price of US$62 per barrel, the price would be higher than the capped price of RM2.08.

"Increasing inflation is one of the factors to cause economic moderation for Malaysia next year as it would affect domestic demand.

"We expect the Malaysian economy to continue expanding at a slightly moderated pace of 4.5 per cent due to a combination of both global and domestic factors such as increasing inflationary pressure," he said during a media briefing on the 2020 Market Outlook - Navigating Through Adversity here, today.

Mohd Redza said MIDF expected Bank Negara Malaysia to undertake a 25 basis-point rate cut in the first quarter of next year, with the ringgit to depreciate further to 4.20 to the US dollar by year-end and average at 4.18 against the greenback in 2020.

Cutting rate and ringgit depreciation generally would also provide an upside pressure to inflation, he noted.

He said there was a concern over Malaysia's external trade performance which was moderately impacted by external headwinds, and the research house expected commodity-based sectors to partly mitigate this as commodity prices are seen staying at profitable levels.

"For 2020, we are forecasting Brent crude oil to average at US$65 per barrel and crude palm oil at RM2,450 a tonne," he said.

With Malaysia's economic growth moderating, MIDF Research expects an increase in investment expenditure by both the private and public sectors next year to support the growth.

Private sector investment was expected to expand to 4.1 per cent in 2020 versus 1.5 per cent this year while public investment, which registered -9.2 per cent in 2019 and has been negative since the fourth quarter of 2017, was estimated to be around 1.4 per cent mainly in infrastructure, he noted.

Mohd Redza added the research house expected a more challenging global economic environment in 2020, amid slowing global demand, rising geopolitical risks and loss of growth momentum of the world's major economies including the US, China and Europe. ― Bernama

I guess we can look forward to a pricier 2020, especially journalists and other employees earning a starting pay of RM1,300.

Wasn't Malaysia supposed to have become a "high-income nation" by the year 2020, with a gross national income (GNI) per capita equivalent to US$15,000 per annum or  the equivalent of RM62,149 at today's exchange rate of RM4.14 to the U.S. dollar ????

The slide below is from the presentation made by Malaysia's former Prime Minister, Dato' Seri Najib Tun Razak when he launched the Economic Transformation Programme on the 25th of October 2010. At that time, the ringgit's exchange rate was around RM3.10 to the U.S. dollar, which would have been a GNI per capita of about RM48,000 per annum or about RM4,000 per month.


and, this slide below from the same presentation forecasts that 63% of us would be "middle and higher income" earners come the year 2020. Note though that "high income" earners would comprise a total of a mere 1.8% of all income earners by the year 2020. What "high income economy" bullshit is this ??? Ah! But that was during the Prime Ministership of Najib and of the Barisan Nasional government.

The above slides are from a set downloaded years ago from the Economic Transformation Programme website.
Wawasan 2020 (Vision 2020) was announced by Malaysia's 4th Prime Minister Dato' Seri Dr. Mahathir whilst tabling the Sixth Malaysia Plan back  in 1991, whereby Malaysia would have become a developed nation by the year 2020.

Well, we are less than two weeks away from the year 2020 and Vision 2020 had been replaced by Wawasan Kemakmuran Bersama (Shared Prosperity Vision) 2030 by our "New Malaysia" Pakatan Harapan government led by out 7th Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir.

Does your gut feeling tell you that Shared Prosperity Vision 2030 will be a reality 10 years fron now ????

On a lighter note, allow me to hand you over to Syed Akbar Ali's recent OutSyed the Box post, which perhaps is one of his shortest, which I could capture in a single screencap:-

Syed Akbar Ali is right that Malaysian politics has been very much about anuses and rectums since 1998 and especially recently, whilst the economy tanks and us the people have to bear the economic burden.
Also, below are a selection of comments to his post below, well amongst the 11 comments at time of writing that is. I'll leave you to figure out who those cryptically referred to are:-

Anonymous said...

    Check and mate for Rear Admiral

    Semburit 2 no better.

    PKR supporters must have shit for brains for not seeing the real truth. Probably better off with Wan
    Azizah. They should start looking for a better leader..before pkr collapses completely at GE15.
    Wednesday, December 18, 2019 9:43:00 AM 

Anonymous said...


    I think the Brader is not so stupid as to subject himself to that.

    The Ancient Termite's personal lawyer and personal Ayegeepee are on the case.

    Meaning, the results will be whatever The Ancient Termite decrees. (Those with longer memories will recall that Brader's first fix-up was in a condo that hadn't even been built yet.)

    You think the authorities are independent?

    Kah kah kah.

    a) Pastor Koh was kidnapped with clear video evidence. The finding of the inquiry was this:

    "The direct and circumstantial evidence in Pastor Raymond Koh's case proves, on a balance of probabilities, that he was abducted by State agents namely, the Special Branch, Bukit Aman, Kuala Lumpur."

    Why has nothing happened?

    b) Semburit 2's case. Wow, the speed of the boys in blue has been dazzling, hasn't it? What exactly is Semburit 2's alibi? The video is quite irrelevant; there is a confession by his lover. This case should in the Sessions Court already.

    c) The Filthy Terror-Goat: Despite the hundreds of police reports, why is he roaming free?

    Nothing has changed. Najib had a servile law enforcement, courts and Ayegeepee. But he would not have enjoyed these "perks" if Madey had not spent the 80s and 90s eating away at the independence of these institutions.

    Meanwhile, people are yawning.

    They have seen all this s*** before, too many times.

    Madey and the 2 homos, locked in a perpetual power struggle.

    Nothing to do with us, folks.

    We just want food on the table.

    This is not an issue that bothers Madey and the 2 homos, the Concerned Groupies, the millionaires of UMNO, the thuggish factions of PKR, the crumblickers of MIC and MCA, or any other politicians.

    It's never about us.

    It's always about them.

    Wednesday, December 18, 2019 9:52:00 AM 

Anonymous said...

    Personally, I think leaders should know when they become a liability and give way so that they don't drag down the party with them.

    Innocent or guilty doesn't matter. Once a leader can't handle a personal issue which affect the party, he/she should leave. At least until he has cleared his name.

    Malaysian politicians don't subscribe to this way of life. They stay on bcoz there are fools who still support them.

    bin Susah
    Wednesday, December 18, 2019 11:27:00 AM 

Anonymous said...

    A battered PH will see PAS come to power and starts talibanism in the country. The filthy terror-goat (now in hibernation) will then come out to help PAS. The country is doomed.

    PH has to be strong. Who will be next after Tun. This worries us a lot.
    Wednesday, December 18, 2019 11:32:00 AM 

Anonymous said...

    YM Syed

    I appreciate a lot of your progressive ideas, but I feel many of your good ideas cannot be accepted by the ketuanan group.

    Take away RM1.2 billion from Jakim. No Jakim at all.
    No religious teaching in schools.
    No hadith, except the Quran.
    Bring back English in schools.
    Kick out Zakir Kambing.

    The ketuanan group will revolt. The country is finished.
    Wednesday, December 18, 2019 11:37:00 AM 

Syed Akbar Ali does not keep his post online for long, so catch it whilst you can:-

If the Labour Party had played anus and rectum politics against the Conservatives, would they have won the 12th December 2019 U.K. general elections convincingly ???

Quite frankly, I don't know how I can wish people "HAPPY NEW YEAR!" with a straight face.

Yours most truly


Saturday, 7 December 2019


Well, well, well! Is this what we voted Pakatan Harapan for on 9 May 2018?

Did we vote for higher private medical consultation fees, like when we visit our local general practitioner's clinic, even for relief of a cold or a fever?

Well, we now are very likely going to have to pay higher, following the Pakatan Harapan Cabinet's decision to let private doctors and specialists fix their consultation fees - i.e. a neo-liberal style deregulation of healthcare charges, instead of a revision of the limit on fees chargeable so that they remain affordable, especially today when prices and cost of living remain high.

Moreover, prices of Research Octane Number (RON) 95 and RON 97 petrol will be deregulated and allowed to rise come 2020.

So will Selangor state remove the monthly RM6 rebate on water use charges for residents.

This is Thatcherite, Reaganite, von Hayekist, von Misesist, Chicago School style neo-liberalism in action.

Is the Pakatan government under the charm of local neo-liberal think tanks and NGOs, or are they full of neo-liberals?

I don't know how to wish people "Happy New Year" with a straight face in 2020.

Meanwhile, if Pakatan tiada-Harapan wants to lose GE15, please be my guest.

Two articles in the Sunday Star of 8 December 2019 follow below:-

Shock over consultation fee news

Sunday, 08 Dec 2019


KUALA LUMPUR: The Cabinet's move to allow private doctors and specialists to fix their consultation fee has shocked Malaysians who are worried about the possibility of rising healthcare costs.

HR consultant Toh Joo Lee said middle-class families could afford to go to private clinics but when the fees are unregulated, they would likely go up, thus making the service less accessible.

Toh, 33, is also concerned that patients might have to fork out a hefty sum in emergencies.

Programme administrator Stephanie Cheang said with no regulation controlling consultation fees, specialists might take advantage by charging a premium.

"This will leave middle-income parents like myself and my husband with limited choices.

"We want to be able to consult good specialists for our daughter."

"I think the government should provide guidelines on the maximum charge for consultation fee per visit," said Cheang, 30.

Lim Lay See, 42, said there should be a mechanism in place to ensure such fees remain affordable.

"Now, I am worried because it may cost way more than the current fees," said Lim.

However, a mother of four, Sem Aw, 51, agreed with the deregulation

She said this would allow doctors to waive or charge minimal fees to the poor.

She explained that she had met a patient who left a specialist clinic with her screaming baby when told the minimum charge was RM135.

"Specialists should at least treat their patients first and charge with discretion," she said.

The Health Ministry made the announcement about deregulating the fee structure on Friday, which means that private doctors, dentists and specialists in clinics and hospitals can soon set their own consultation fees.

No date has been announced on when this will start, as the regulations on the fees need to be amended first.

The move came about after general practitioners in standalone clinics had protested about their fees of RM10 to RM35, which had not been revised since 1992.

Doctors at private hospitals with similar qualifications, however, have been charging between RM30 and RM125 per consultation since 2013.

But this deregulation move by the government has stunned the Citizens' Health Initiative, an informal grouping that works towards healthcare reforms.

Describing it as "bizarre" and very unexpected, member Dr Chee Heng Leng explained that GPs had been asking their fees to be adjusted but the Cabinet instead opted to free the market for all private doctors.

"There were hardly any consultations with consumer groups and the public.

"We were caught unawares," she said.

The healthcare market is not perfect, she said.

"There is competition in urban areas, but in areas with only one doctor, it will be difficult for people to travel to other places.

"They tend to go to the nearest facility when they are sick and need care urgently," she said.

Dr Chee cautioned that if private doctors increase their fees too high, more patients would turn to public healthcare and the government would then need to allocate more resources to ensure waiting time is manageable.

If fees are too high, insurance premiums might increase, she added.

Fomca CEO Datuk Paul Selvaraj said that doctors should display their charges for their patients' viewing.

He added that the government must also look at ensuring all charges at private hospitals are affordable as "many Malaysians pay out-of-pocket and do not have insurance".

With public hospitals being overcrowded and private hospitals charging too high, Paul suggested that hospitals owned by government-linked companies play a role in offering affordable rates.

"The government must play a significant role in making healthcare accessible and affordable for all so that people do not suffer," he said.

Government urged to set minimum doctors' fee

Sunday, 08 Dec 2019

KUALA LUMPUR: The government should state a minimum consultation fee to prevent private doctors from undercutting one another, said Medical Practitioners Coalition Association of Malaysia former president Dr Peter Chan.

These doctors, if they resort to undercutting one another, would compromise their professional fees, he said.

"The Health Ministry should have put out a minimum professional consultation fee charge," he said.

On Friday, the ministry said that doctors, dentists and specialists in private clinics and hospitals would be allowed to fix their own charges.

The decision was made after general practitioners in standalone clinics complained that the current fees of RM10 to RM35 have not been revised since 1992, while doctors at private hospitals who have the same qualifications have been charging between RM30 and RM125 per consultation.

It is not known yet when the new charges based on market forces will start, as the regulations need to be amended first.

Dr Chan said that doctors should focus on providing good quality patient care at reasonable charges, even if there is a monopoly in rural areas.

All medical associations have to come up with an agreed list of charges for different levels of consultation, he said.

However, he believed that these consultation fees would likely remain about the same as current rates because doctors would charge what their patients could afford.

Association of Specialists in Private Medical Practice past president Dr Sng Kim Hock said the deregulation of private doctors' consultation fees would enable them to charge according to the services provided.

The move, he said, would mean that specialists could fix their rates according to the complexity of the case, and services given after office hours.

"It will also allow senior and experienced subspecialists to charge accordingly.

"At the moment, there is no difference in charges when you see any specialist," he said.

Dr Sng said that compared to other professions such as lawyers or architects, specialists' consultation fees are low.

Currently, specialists' fees costs up to RM235 for first consultation and between RM60 to RM105 for subsequent visits.

Singapore has withdrawn its guidelines on fees since April 2007, allowing private doctors to set their own consultation fees.

In November last year, Singapore's Health Ministry published a benchmark fee structure for common surgical procedures to help patients make better-informed decisions. However, there was none on doctors' consultation fees.

Similarly, in England and Australia, private practitioners are free to determine their own fees.

While the Australian Medical Association publishes an annual List of Medical Services and Fees, it serves only as a recommendation.

In Japan, medical fees are regulated and reviewed every two years.

Its government controls the prices of all fees in relation to medical services and pharmaceuticals provided at hospitals and clinics.

Meanwhile, Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) or "People's Justice Party" are having a "ball" at their Youth and Annual National Congress last Friday this weekend.

Chaos erupts at PKR Youth congress

PKR troublemakers could be sacked, says Fahmi

Brawl spills to the streets as PKR scuffles continue

This is even more chaotic.

Misteri baju hitam cetus kecoh, insiden darah, baling batu

This is a clear evidence of tribalism between supporters of a sacked PKR member and the rest of PKR Youth.

"The PKR Youth congress was interrupted repeatedly this morning when a group of members tried to smuggle in sacked permanent chairman Mizan Adli Md Noor into the event, clashing with those trying to stop them."

"Mizan was sacked just ahead of the congress and previously insisted he must attend to open the assembly."

"Despite the apparent truce between rival factions in the party, there appeared to be two camps that dressed according to their affiliations."

This is even more graphic.

TERKINI : Pergaduhan Penyokong KEADILAN di Perkarangan MITC ! #KongresNasionalPKR

PKR Youth takes it outside as scuffles continue

Police calls eight over fracases at PKR Youth congress

And at PKR's Annual Congress this weekend:-

Azmin's parallel congress still happening but now renamed 'appreciation dinner'

Trouble again: Azmin's faction stage walkout from PKR congress

Sack 'em, PKR delegate says after walkout

You broke ceasefire promise, Azmin tells Anwar

Did my 'Si Kitol' speech irk you? That's your problem, Anwar tells Azmin

Azmin: Focus on new govt should be reforms, not power transition

Azmin and his men missing from final day of PKR National Congress

Welcome to our "New Malaysia", folks!

Yours truly


Tuesday, 26 November 2019


George Galloway has no university education but made tyres for a living.

He asks how many of the U.K. MPs know how to change a tyre, let alone make them.

Daily Vlog from West Brom: How jobs were shipped out of the country

Which brings me to the question as to how many of our MPs, State Assemblymen and Assemblywomen know how to change a tyre, let alone make one, or do they get their driver or even maid to change a tyre on their ar for them.

Yours trully


Sunday, 17 November 2019


Whilst Malaysia's media publications, independent commentators, political analysts and politicians on both sides of the political divide have begun talking about the thorough trashing  which the Pakatan Harapan/PPBM candidate received at the hands of the Barisan Nasional/MCA candidate in the Tanjung Piai by-election on Saturday 16th November,  the critic of the socio-economo-futurist nonsense peddled by paperback writers, business and management consultants or CON-sultants and seminar speakers in me compels me to highlight Syed Akbar Ali's post on his OutSyed the Box blog early on Saturday before voting in the Tanjung Piai by-election began.

In his blog post, Syed Akbar Ali begins by criticising a statement by Tun Dr. Diam Zainuddin, former Finance Minister and former member of the now disbanded Council of Eminent Persons established after Pakatan Harapan won Malaysia's 14th General Elections on 9th May 2018, who attributed the current weakness of the Malaysian ringgit to the US dollar and other currencies to the eight million notices sent out by the Inland Revenue Board of Malaysia (LHDN) as having frightened the Malaysian public from spending, hence the ringgit weakened against other currencies. (The words in the Malay language in black).

However, Syed Akbar Ali, a former banker, disagrees with Diam and went on to attribute the ringgit's and other national currencies' strength to demand for it from importers overseas who want to buy Malaysia's goods, especially higher value-added goods, such as those from manufacturers in Malaysia.

Whilst that is a significant factor, I would also add confidence in the health of Malaysia's economy and political stability and future prospects for Malaysia's economic growth as well well as transient speculative buy and sell trading forces in currency markets.

Anyway, Syed Akbar Ali goes on to attribute the current 37% appreciation of the Thai Baht to the Malaysian Ringgit since 2014 to the fact that Malaysia used to export manufactured goods to Thailand and import commodities, especially rice and canned rambutans from Thailand but now Malaysia imports manufactured goods such as cars, tyres and so forth from Thailand.

Syed Akbar Ali also points out that with the 90% of Malaysian who earn less than RM3,000 per month not having to pay income tax, there is no need for them to fear spending which would attract the attention of the Inland Revenue Department. However, those who earn so little especially with today's high cost of living (which the Pakatan Harapan promised to reduce in their election promises but have not delivered since they became the government), such Malaysians have little to spend anyway, even if they want to, and that according to Malaysia's Minister of Education, 60% of Malaysia's university graduates are unemployed. 

Syed Akbar Ali goes on to say that the solution is for Malaysia to move further up the value chain to manufacture and export very high-value manufactured products.

Now this leads me to the point of this post - i.e. that Malaysia began our Multimedia Super Corridor initiative back in 1997 or 22 years ago to develop a domestic Information and Communications Technology and multimedia (ICT) industry which would be an "engine of Malaysia economic growth" which would "propel Malaysia to become an knowledge-based, information-rich, high-income, developed economy by the Year 2020" but where is this "engine of growth" which would have required the employment of those unemployed of under-employed university graduates?

I have been writing about the ICT and multimedia industry, including Malaysia's and worldwide since September 1994 and covered the grand groundbreaking ceremony of Malaysia's "intelligent" city Cyberjaya and heart of Malaysia's Multimedia Super Corridor initiative in 1997 and since then, in their speeches senior government officials, government ministers, even the prime minister, as well as economic, business and management consultants as well as CON-sultants, tended to disparage Malaysia's earlier primary industries such a agriculture ("First Wave" industries), Malaysia's assembly and manufacturing industries ("Second Wave" industries), whilst proudly touting Malaysia's developing ICT and multimedia industries ("Third Wave" industries), as if they were ashamed of Malaysia's earlier industries which enabled our development.

Whilst, some Malaysian "Third Wave" industries have been spawned and nurtured by the Multimedia Super Corridor initiative, however until today, the Malaysia's  ICT industry contributed a total of 18.5% to Malaysia's economy in 2019, according to the Department of Statistic Malaysia.


As for exports and imports of ICT products - i.e. goods, services, content & media in 2018,  90.4% of Malaysia's ICT products exported were ICT goods, whilst ICT goods comprised 88.7% of ICT products imported. The ICT goods mainly comprisedelectronic components & boards, communication equipment and consumer electronics 

Exports ICT services comprised 7.3% of ICT products exports in 2018, ICT services comprised 9.1% of ICT products imported. Telecommunications services comprised the majority of ICT services exported and imported.

Multimedia content is a major aspect of the Multimedia Super Corridor initiative, where the the government agency charged with driving the Multimedia Super Corridor initiative - i.e. what was initially known as the Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC) and now renamed the Malaysian Digital Economy Corporation and in 2018, ICT content and media comprised a mere 2.3% of Malaysia's ICT products exported and 2.2% of ICT products imported.

Now, the production and export of ICT goods - i.e. an assembly or manufacturing ("Second Wave") industrial activity, has been going on in Malaysia since the early 1970s and most of it is done in assembly and manufacturing plants established in Malaysia by foreign multinationals to take advantage of our cheap labour or what was cheap labour back then. Heck! my first ever job was as a Process Engineer at the National Semiconductor integrated circuit assembly plant in the Senawang Industrial Estate just south of Seremban, Negeri Sembilan way back in March 1980.

The manufacture of ICT goods is not a primary focus of the MDeC and began in Malaysia long before MDeC or the Multimedia Super Corridor was mooted back in the 1990s. Also, telecommunications services which comprises the bulk of ICT services in Malaysia is not a major part of the Multimedia Super Corridor initiative either and telecommunications services in Malaysia (then Malaya) began in 1864 when the Department of Posts and Telegraph laid Malaya's first telecommunications line - i.e. atelegraph line connecting to the British Resident at Perak House in Kuala Kangsar to the house of Deputy British Resident in Perak at Taiping, about 103 years before the groundbreaking of Cyberjaya.

The next chart below shows employment by different sub-sectors of Malaysia's ICT industry.

Thankfully, there still is production of ICT goods (manufacturing and assembly) in Malaysia, since this ICT sub-sector employed 37% of the 1.12 million ICT employees in 2018, or else we would have plenty more unemployed Malaysians, including graduates.

ICT services (mostly telecommunications) employed 28.2% of ICT industry employees in 2018 and together, both ICT manufacturing and ICT services (mostly telecommunications) employed 66.2% or almost two-thirds of ICT employees in 2018 and these two are not "sexy", "Third Wave" industries.

Not quite sure what ICT trade is but I guess it includes all those Form 5 school leavers with or without an SPM selling PCs, PC accessories, mobile phones and so forth and ICT trade employed 20.9% of just over one-fifth of ICT industry employees in 2018.

And now we come to ICT content and media - intended to be Malaysia's "engine of economic growth" which altogether employed a mere 13.2% of ICT industry employees. I suppose most of them are web designers, graphic designers, video producers, animators and so forth - mostly vocational types of jobs, though some may have degrees in ICT, but a degree today means nothing, especially when toilet cleaners and gig-economy food deliverers, as well as roadside drink stall entrepreneurs have degrees, including engineering degrees, since they cannot find employment more suited to their qualifications.  

Apparently, software and software systems development, robotics, artificial intelligence development  - all "Third Wave" industry activities employ to few people to be statistically significant.

So what crap were government officials, government ministers, even the prime minister, ICT futurists, ICT consultants as well as CON-sultants, conference and seminar speakers talking about ICT and multimedia being Malaysia's "next engine of economic growth"?

Well, they are still talking the same crap even today, though the various western paperback writers who touted the "Information and Services Economy", "First, Second and Third Waves", "Bits and Bytes versus Atoms" and so forth have all dropped below the radar since the chronic financial crisis gripped the world since 2008 and which still mires the world, especially the capitalist world until today.

As real life shows, the sun sets where "sunset industries" leave, whilst the sun rises where "sunset industries" arrive.

And, today, countries which have lost their "sunset industries", especially the developed countries, are now scrambling to bring them back, hence the election of Donald Trump and the rise of the populist right especially in Western Europe, with some predicting that Marine Le Pen could well be France's next president.

Ah yes! Fibreisation of the whole nation is supposed to drive the Malaysian economy !!!!!

More likely a means for the Pakatan government and parties to deliver their political messages to rural, semi-rural and urban lower income voters, whom they have had a hard time reaching out to, hoping that these voters who have traditionally voted Barisan Nasional would vote Pakatan instead, once they get the alternative message, instead of having to rely on BN owned or pro-BN mainstream print newspapers for their news.

At a DAP fundrasing dinner in SS2 Petaling Jaya before GE14, Y.B. Puan Yeo Bee Yin, then Selangor State Assemblywoman for Damansara Utama (now Malaysia's  Minister of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change) mentioned in her speech that those voters without broadband access were unreachable due to their lack of Internet access so they tended to vote for Barisan Nasional but would be inclined to switch their vote to Pakatan if they had Internet access.

However, what the good Minister seems to forget is that Internet access is a double-edged sword, which parties on both sides of the political divide can effectively use to deliver their message. Also, that in a free press environment, where different media present different political perspectives across the political spectrum, people will tend to gravitate towards those publications or commentators whose message most closely jives with their political views and prejudices.

When I was a student in the U.K. back in the 1970s, there were many print newspapers offering different perspectives spanning the political spectrum from left to right and people tended to gravitate to those papers closest to their political and personal beliefs, and it's the same today when we are spoilt for choice of access to domestic and international media. My first choice of newspaper back then was The Guardian and today, it is Russia Today and Sputnik over media, such as CNN, BBC, Al Jazeera and so forth, which I mostly access on the Internet.

I'm pretty sure that the voters in Tanjung Piai have access to the Internet, either on their PC or more likely on their smartphones, as well as access to social media services where both real news and fake news are forwarded extensively to them peer-to-peer, and this could well have been a factor as to why the Pakatan/PPBM lcandidate ost theTanjung Piai by-election so miserably.

With greater broadband fibre Internet access come GE15, it could be a contributing factor to Pakatan being wiped out nationwide, so you want to continue with fibreisation, Y.B. Gobind Singh Deo, Minister of Communications and Multimedia.

Politics aside, where you should focus your fibreisation efforts is to improve the quality of fixed-line telephone, fax and also broadband Internet access in areas on the outskirts of cities and towns.

At a regional ICT conference and seminar organised by the National ICT Industry Association of Malaysia (PIKOM) back in 2015, representatives of companies with facilities in industrial estates mentioned that fibre broadband Internet services such as Telekom Malaysia's Unifi, so had to rely on TM's Streamx ADSL broadband Internet.

An ADSL (Asynchronous Digital Subscriber Line) broadband Internet service is carried over metal (copper or aluminium) wire pairs into the subscribers' homes and offices, where the wire-pair line is connected to a splitter which separates the high frequency signals which carry the Streamyx broadband Internet signals from the low-frequency voice telephony signals. However, speeds over ADSL are limited compared to fibre and are also dependent upon the quality of the wire pair, due to oxidation or the wire, corrosion, loose joints and connections and so forth, which introduce noise

More recently, I have been helping a neighbour who runs a small business with his business communications with his suppliers and customers, many of them which still use fax, which works over wire-pairs and how well fax works depends very much upon the quality and condition of the wire pair serving the subscriber and I have found the fax at a supplier in the Kundang Industrial Estate in Rawang to be slow, the fax at a customer's premises on Jalan Bukit Kemuning, 40460, Shah Alam is also slow and the connection often drops and I usually hear line noise when their fax answers the call, whilst a supplier in the Jalan Perdana, Taman Segar Perdana, 43200 area of Cheras told me that their fax line had was down and had not been fixed despite repeated reports to Telekom Malaysia and they later just gave up the fax line.

Now don't let anyone tell you that fax is "a dinosaur", "obsolete" or whatever, since many businesses with turnover in millions of ringgit, including exporters still use fax for their business communications, both domestically in Malaysia and overseas to countries still with a less developed Internet infrastructure.

Back in the late 1990s or early 2000s, I visited Telekom Malaysia's telegraphic switching centre in the Telekom building on Jalan Bukit Nanas and learned that despite fax having been available in Malaysia since the late 1980s, however mostly banks still required telegraphic services for messaging and fund transfers with banks in countries where the voice telephony infrastructure was less developed.

Telegraphic technology is more robust since it uses current loop technology to transmit the ones and noughts which represent the characters transmitted, whilst fax employs different tones carried over the line to represent elements of the image of the document or picture being transmitted, so is more susceptible to interference from line noise.

Legacy telecommunication networks had a cable containing a bundle of wire pairs running from the telephone exchange  to a cabinet by the road (those cigar-tube or "rocket" shaped things) in the vicinity of the customer, where the wire-pair serving a subscriber is connected to a distribution-side wire-pair to the customer's premises by the Telekom technician. Such legacy telephone networks are more prone to poor quality of wire-pair, especially when old and this is an old technology. After I left National Semiconductor, I joined Kabelcom, a Jabatan Telekom cable laying contractor where I supervised teams of workers laying cables underground and overhead for Jabatan Telekom (this was before Telekom Malaysia was established), so I am familiar with this type of telecommunications network.  

However, I understand that today, the telephone exchange is connected by fibre to a distribution cabinet by the roadside in the vicinity of the customers in that area and active electronic equipment in the cabinet (rectangular boxes) converts the light signals in the fibre to tones over wire-pairs which are then connected to the wire-pair serving the subscribers' home or office.

Whilst I do not know for sure and could be wrong but I believe that this is the configuration of the Telekom Malaysia telephone network serving my area of Petaling Jaya, especially since there is a fibre cabinet just next to a "cigar-tube" cabinet in the vicinity of his premises and any fax I send him from my Unifi phone line is delivered fast and received documents and images are clear.

Again, whilst I don't know for sure and could be wrong, I suspect that Telekom Malaysia's telephone network serving the industrial estates and commercial premises referred to above could be based upon wire-pairs all the way from the exchange to the customers' premises.

On the other hand, it could be due to loose or corroded wiring connections within the customer's premises and internal wiring is the cistomer's responsibility, more particularly, that of their wiring contractor or technician.

For instance, one day there was no dial tone to my neighbour's fax line and he called Telekom Malaysia who took a long time to come, so I checked Telekom Malaysia's the incoming wire pair (black colour) just before the junction box with the wire pair (grey colour) into his premises and heard a dial tone, so I went inside and found a dial tone on the wire pair (grey colour) connected to the telephone socket to which the RJ11 plug from his fax was connected and found that the screws which held the wires had been loosely tightened, so I reconnected the wires by wrapping them clockwise around the screw shaft and screwed the wires down tightly and there was a dial tone at the fax again.

We called Telekom Malaysia to cancel the service request and there has been no further problem with the fax line since then, well so far not.

Telekom Malaysia needs to train its telephone wiring contractors and the contractors' staff in seemingly ""simple" and "lowly" activities such as tightening a wire with a screw - i.e. that the wire must be wrapped around the shaft of the screw in the same direction as the screw is turned when it's tightened, which is most cases is clockwise. Wrap the wire around the screw counter-clockwise and tighten the screw clockwise is unprofessional and can result in a poor connection which could give problems later on.

Quite often, problems with seeming "humble", "mundane", low-tech aspects can bring down a highly sophisticated piece of equipment. For instance, planes have crashed with the death of all on board due to shoddy greasing of seemingly "humble" but critical mechanical components, such as a motorised jackscrew which controlled the stabiliser of an Alaska Airlines, McDonnel Douglass MD-83, Flight 261 which crashed into the sea off Los Angeles on January 31 2000, killing all persons on board.

The investigation by the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board found the jackscrew to have been badly work and failed due to excessive wear due to inadequate and improper greasing by the maintenance mechanic and that Alaska Airlines had been trying to cut corners with maintenance.

Flying Inverted - Alaska Airlines Flight 261

That's neo-liberal, free market capitalism at its "best".          

I'll now leave you with Syed Akbar Ali's OutSyed the Box post which follows below.

Saturday, November 16, 2019

*Ringgit jatuh antaranya disebabkan menteri PH 'bodoh' – Daim* ??

By admin on May 29, 2019 19

KUALA LUMPUR – Notis cukai pendapatan yang terlalu banyak dihantar kepada orang ramai membuatkan rakyat takut berbelanja hingga menyebabkan ringgit mengalami kejatuhan, kata bekas Pengerusi Majlis Penasihat Kerajaan Tun Daim Zainuddin.

Daim berkata perkara itu diburukkan lagi apabila penghantaran notis cukai itu diumumkan kepada orang ramai hingga menyebabkan mereka takut berbelanja.
"Income tax tak perlulah kacau orang. Kalau hantar notis mereka takut nak belanja, patut jangan kacau rakyat.

"Sebelum ini tidak pernah umum, bila Pakatan Harapan jadi kerajaan, hantar notis sampai lapan juta.

"Lapan juta notis kalau seorang isteri dan seorang suami sudah 16 juta, kacau ni. Anda bunuh keyakinan. Dulu mereka keluar makan, sekarang mereka takut nak keluar," katanya dalam satu wawancara eksklusif bersama Astro AWANI.

Beliau menasihatkan menteri-menteri Kabinet supaya berbincang terlebih dahulu dengan Setiausaha Akhbar masing-masing sebelum mengeluarkan kenyataan.

"Kalau nak buat kenyataan, bincang tengok apa kesannya, bincang dengan pegawai kemudian bincang menteri dengan menteri. Bukan seronok-seronok buat kenyataan.

"Kalau positif keluar kenyataan, kalau negatif jangan keluar kenyataan, kalau negatif nak umum juga, bodoh lah," katanya.

My comments :  No Sir this is incorrect.  Eight million notis cukai maybe excessive and stupid. But only people earning above RM3,000 need to worry about taxes. People earning below RM3000 per month (about 90% of the population) not only does not pay income taxes but they have no money to buy things.

The purchasing power in the economy has gone down. That is why people are not spending.

Whether people spend money or not may not have as much influence on the value of the Ringgit. I dont know where you got this idea. 

The value of the Ringgit, as in any currency, is dependent on the demand for the Ringgit, especially from importers of Malaysian goods in other countries.

The more we can export, the higher the demand for our Ringgit and the higher the value of the Ringgit.

The less we export or less value added we export then the less demand for the Ringgit. 

Even if we do not do anything the value of the Ringgit depends on what our trading partners are doing.

For example the Ringgit has fallen against the Thai baht. Why?

Dulu we export manufactured products to Thailand. Higher value added.
Thailand sold rice and canned rambutans to us. Less value added.
So our Ringgit was stronger.

Now we import manufactured products from Thailand - (Toyota, Ford pick up trucks), Continental, Michelin tyres etc.  More value added.
We export less value added to Thailand. 
So our Ringgit has fallen against the Thai Baht.

This has nothing to do with the Income Tax Department sending notis cukai.

If the people spend less on imported goods (Toyota trucks, Ford trucks, Continental tyres, Michelin tyres made in Thailand) it should help our Ringgit.

But even that is not happening.

We need very high value added, manufacturing and export industries. 
Not toll roads.

But according to your third world class bodoh Minister of Education, 60% of your university graduates are unemployed. These are mostly Malay kids.

The solutions to the country's problems are simpler than a child digging a hole with a stick.

But it enriches everyone.  In this country that seems to be the problem.  

BTW. Better be quick to read Syed Akbar Ali's blog post above, since he tends to take down his posts a few days after he posts them.

Yours Trully