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