Monday, 16 September 2019


I was wrong about oil prices in my last post.

So oil prices did jump over the weekend but were not reflected in the charts on Monday in Malaysia, which was still Sunday in the United States. I guess was off for the weekend

The prices of Brent Crude and West Texas Intermediate did jump as is shown in the latest screen cap below. 

I looked at another oil-price site - Oil which was active over the weekend and showed that the price of Brent Crude had jumped, though it had pulled back to U.S.$66.93 and it looks like the prices on Oil are more current, since the price of Brent Crude shown is delayed by 18 minutes. 

The price of Brent Crude is relevant to Malaysia, not oil prices on other indexes.

The site also has a chart showing the price of Brent Crude.

However, how long this this spike in oil prices will last is left to be seen, since like shares on stock markets, oil prices are also subject to market sentiment, which can be emotionally or opportunistically ("make a quick buck" traders) driven, hence erratic.

If the reduction in oil output from Saudi Arabia is soon made up for by output from other sources, then oil prices should stabilise and likely return to a more realistic market value.

Meanwhile, the share price of STAR Media Group has been on a downtrend

It closed at 55.5 Malaysian sen on Friday 13th September 2019. Notice the descending triangle indicated by the blue lines.

And here is the the price movement zoomed in.

As of today STAR's share price was down to 55.0 Malaysian sen

I bought one lot of STAR shares back in the 1990s at an Employees Share Option Scheme (ESOS) price of RM3.10 per share (or RM3,100 per lot of 1,000 shares), though I had sold them off in 2010 when the price was still pretty good but today - well it's become a penny stock.

This is a testimony to the future of news media and to the future of journalism as a viable paying career upon which journalists can make a living on.

Basically, as media readership increasingly goes online and digital, advertsing revenue on online and digital media is much lower that print advertsing revenue, and with the general trend observed in the United States, for print advertsing revenue to decline at about 10 times as online and digital advertsing revenue are rising, it's not sustainable for media organisations and for the future of journalism as a viable paying career, especially when there is stiff competition for advertising revenue from Internet giants such as Google and Facebook, as you can see in the chart below showing the plight faced by newspapers in the US since 1999 when Internet penetration in the US enabled online and digital media to challenge newspapers for readership and advertisingrevenue.


Yours truly


Sunday, 15 September 2019


In August 2015, I attended a regional information and communications technology (ICT) convention at the Sunway Pyramid Convention Centre in Bandar Sunway, organised by the National ICT Association of Malaysia (PIKOM), a member of the Asian-Oceanian Computing Industry Organization (ASOCIO).

And, as often happens around the third quarter of each year, there was a thick haze blanketing the Klang Valley and other parts of Malaysia.

One of the topics on the agenda was the liberalising of regulation to allow for the movement of logistics vehicles (lorries) to transport goods across the borders of countries of the ASEAN (Association of South East Asia Nations), and this would enable further opportunities for developers and suppliers of logistic management software, systems and services to provide such solutions to enable logistics companies to monitor, track and manage the movements of their vehicle fleet across the ASEAN region.

From the floor, I asked the speaker how well this newly enabled aspect of intra-ASEAN cooperation would work in reality, given the "legacy practices" of government officials in different ASEAN member countries - i.e. mostly corruption and high-handed officialdom  

The speaker admitted that there will be problems but  was confident that they could be overcome.

At the back of my mind, I felt like asking the speaker to look out of the window to see a fine example of intra-ASEAN cooperation.

Fast forward four years to September 2019 - look out of the window and witness once again a fine example of intra-ASEAN cooperation.

The Star Online reports:-

KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama): Putrajaya is one of five places in the country where the air quality registered "very unhealthy" at 9am Monday (Sept 16) due to the haze.

The others are Johan Setia in Klang, Selangor, and Sri Aman, Samarahan and Kuching in Sarawak.

The Air Pollutant Index Management System (APIMS) portal showed the API in Putrajaya as 203 at 9 am, having deteriorated from 199 at 7am.

The API in Johan Setia was 208; Sri Aman (217); Samarahan (223); and Kuching (248).

An API between zero and 50 indicates good air quality; 51 and 100, moderate; 101 and 200, unhealthy; 201 and 300, very unhealthy and 300 and above, hazardous.

The air quality registered as "unhealthy", with an API above 101, in 29 areas.

In the Klang Valley, the API in Batu Muda was 106; Cheras (156); Petaling Jaya, (146); Shah Alam, (155); Klang, (138); and Banting, (161).

Three places in Negeri Sembilan had "unhealthy" air quality - Nilai (170); Seremban (137) and Port Dickson (135).

In Melaka,"unhealthy" air quality was recorded at Alor Gajah (123); Bukit Rambai (127) and the Historical City of Melaka (138).

In Pahang, Temerloh (162), Indera Mahkota Kuantan (176) and Balok Baru, Kuantan (145) had "unhealthy" air quality.

"Unhealthy" air quality was recorded at Segamat (124) and Tangkak (153) in Johor; Kemaman (147) and Paka (117) in Terengganu and Tawau (134) and Sandakan (108) in Sabah.

Eight areas in Sarawak also recorded "unhealthy" air quality - Miri ILP (Industrial Training Institute) (128); Miri (128), Samalaju (130); Bintulu (154); Mukah (129); Sibu (142); Sarikei (162); Sekolah Kebangsaan Kuala Baram 2 (103).

Twenty-four areas in the country registered moderate air quality. - Bernama

Meanwhile, Indonesia's Environment Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar  had literally farted in the face of Y.B. Yeo Bee Yin, Malaysia's Minister of Energy, Sctence, Technology, Environment and Climate Change (MESTECC) by accusing the Malaysian government of covering up the current haze situation.  

And Y.B. Yeo Bee Yin hit back, accusing her Indonesian counterpart of being in denial.

The Malay Mail reports:-

Putrajaya lying about haze? Stop living in denial, minister tells Indonesian counterpart

Published 4 days ago on 11 September 2019


KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 11 — Yeo Bee Yin today told Indonesian Environment Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar not to be in denial after the latter alleged of a cover up by Putrajaya regarding the current haze situation.

In a very terse Facebook post, the Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change minister shared the latest data on the number of hotspots by Asean Specialised Meteorological Centre.

"Let the data speak for itself. The latest data on the total number of hotspots recorded by Asean Specialised Meteorological Center (ASMC) : Kalimantan (474), Sumatera (387) vs Malaysia (7)," said Yeo who shared the link to the corresponding website.

She also dismissed Siti Nurbaya's claims that the haze originated from Sarawak by sharing an image of the wind direction, stating that the latter's claim was illogical.

"As for her claim that the haze is from Sarawak, just look at the wind direction. How is it logically possible?

"Minister Siti Nurbaya should not be in denial," Yeo said.

Then Indonesia acted and sealed off 29 plantations in Indonesia, including four subsidiaries of Malaysian plantation groups, one one Singaporean firm and the rest Indonesian

The Straits Times of Singapore reports:-

Indonesia seals off plantations operated by 29 firms over fires, including Singapore, Malaysian companies

Published Sep 13, 2019, 11:31 pm SGT Updated Sep 14, 2019, 12:01 pm

Trinna Leong Malaysia Correspondent

JAKARTA/KUALA LUMPUR - Indonesia has sealed off plantations operated by 29 companies, including four subsidiaries of Malaysian groups and one Singaporean firm, after fires were detected in their concessions, the government said on Friday (Sept 13).

The legal measures against allegedly errant companies have been underway since last month.

Environment and forestry minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar said on Friday the government will prosecute a number of these companies as a deterrent to setting fires. Indonesia is struggling to curb spreading fires in Sumatra and Kalimantan and has faced criticism from Malaysia.

Ms Siti named the Singapore-affiliated company as Hutan Ketapang Industri, a West Kalimantan province-based rubber plantation subsidiary of another Indonesian company Sungai Menang, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Indonesia's Sampoerna Agro. Singapore-based Sampoerna Agri Resources Pte Ltd owns two-thirds of Sampoerna Agro.

Sampoerna Agro was founded by the family of Indonesian billionaire Putera Sampoerna.

The four firms affiliated with Malaysian corporate groups operate in West Kalimantan and Riau provinces. Ms Siti named the companies as Sime Indo Agro (a unit of Sime Darby Plantation), Sukses Karya Sawit (a unit of IOI Corporation) and Rafi Kamajaya Abadi (a unit of TDM Bhd). The last one, operating in Riau, is Adei Plantation and Industry (a unit of Kuala Lumpur Kepong Group).

Ms Siti made her remarks in a media briefing after a three-hour coordination meeting in Jakarta that was chaired by Coordinating Minister of Political, Legal and Security Affairs Wiranto.

"We give no compromise to those that burn and cause fire," retired general Wiranto said in the same media briefing. "Our approach is, enforce the law hard and firm to create deterrent effect."

In response, Sime Darby Plantation (SDP) said on Friday that there had not been any action taken by the Indonesian authorities to seal off the operations of Sime Indo Agro (PT SIA).

SDP also said it was assisted by its Indonesian subsidiary in continually monitoring all its operation sites throughout the year, and that a recent fire that broke out on Sept 3 outside of PT SIA's operational area was in fact on land occupied by local communities. The fire was contained and the incident clarified to visiting authorities from the Indonesian Ministry of Environment and Forestry.

IOI Corporation also issued a statement late on Friday that its subsidiary had not received any official notification on the matter.

"PT SKS has been on high alert and has put in place measures to deal with the dry weather and the risk of fire," it said.

"We were able to quickly extinguish several small fires that have occurred over the last couple of months and have assisted other companies and villagers to respond to fires on our neighbouring lands."

The spouse of a scion of IOI Corporation is Malaysia's Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister Yeo Bee Yin, who has been sharply critical of Indonesia over transboundary haze.

Kuala Lumpur Kepong confirmed on Saturday (Sept 14) that a fire at P.T. Adei which the company said was successfully extinguished within a day. It said 4.25 hectares of its land had been sealed off for an investigation.

It said it is actively assisting the local authorities and surrounding communities to fight the fires while reiterated its zero burning policy and compliance with the Asean Policy on Zero Burning for all its plantations.

The head of Indonesia's Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG), Dr Dwikorita Karnawati said Indonesia only detected transboundary haze originating in the country early on Friday, dismissing claims by Malaysia that haze from Indonesia has drifted to Malaysia for days.

"Only this morning at 8am that the haze started to enter (the area above) peninsular Malaysia. We have been monitoring every hour," Dr Dwikorita said on Friday, supporting her colleague, the environment minister, who has insisted there was only limited haze from Indonesia blowing over to Malaysia.

A diplomatic row has erupted over the past days between both countries' environment ministers, centring on who is at fault for the hazy conditions.

On Thursday, Ms Yeo had cited data from the Asean Specialised Meteorological Centre (ASMC) that more than 1,600 hotspots had been detected in Kalimantan and Sumatra.

She tweeted on Friday: "All diplomatic channels exhausted to manage transboundary haze from Indonesia," in response to concerns that the government has not done enough to address the issue. She added Malaysia has reduced its own hotspots from 50 to fewer than 10 and that the ministry welcomes "constructive suggestions".

She also said the prolonged haze comes from hotspots in Indonesia that are on peatlands, making it harder to put out fires. However, Ms Yeo made no mention of any measures the Malaysian government would take against the Malaysian subsidiaries accused of having agricultural fires in their concessions in Sumatra and Kalimantan.

Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok, who oversees cash crops such as palm oil, issued a statement on Friday to express concern over Indonesia's claim that Malaysian subsidiaries owned land where forest fires were reported.

Calling it a "serious accusation", Ms Kok said such allegations could lead to the cessation of these companies' certification status in Indonesia and Malaysia.

"Such action is also highly unwarranted since I remain concerned that the current accusation will play right into the hands of the anti-palm oil campaigners and both Indonesia and Malaysia as major palm oil producers could end up as the ultimate losers," she added.

As hazy conditions continue to plague Malaysians, Deputy Health Minister Lee Boon Chye said the ministry had recorded an increase of 30 to 40 per cent in haze-related illnesses. Clinics monitored by the health ministry over the last three weeks have seen more cases of respiratory tract infections, conjunctivitis and acute asthma attacks.

Local airports in affected areas in both countries have had a number of flights delayed because of the haze.

Indonesian Minister Wiranto on Friday also admitted the country is facing a bold challenge from traditional farmers, who have used slash-and-burn methods to clear land for generations.

"We have tried to find them help, asking corporations operating near them to lend them their heavy equipment to clear land. But we were overwhelmed by the huge number of these poor farmers," Mr Wiranto said. "Today, we discussed a way out. We will recruit these poor farmers as ground fire fighters so they will earn a living being fire fighters."

Indonesian weather forecasters say the dry spell will continue in Sumatra and Kalimantan until mid-October, with only minimal and intermittent rains until then.

So Malaysia's Minister of Primary Industries, Y.B. Teresa Kok got into the act too.

Thus is a fine example of intra-ASEAN cooperation.

Meanwhile, the website of the Ministry of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change is down right now.

I guess it's on holiday this Malaysia Day - 16th September 2019 long weekend. Web servers need a break too, I suppose.

So much for e-Government.


Enjoy the haze whilst it lasts.

Yours truly