11 November 2020

Layan ucapan Ketua Pembankang full trottle...

Belanjawan 2021 kena repot polis...

The 2021 Budget...

1. For 2½ hours I sat down in my seat at the Dewan Rakyat listening to the Minister of Finance’s budget speech.

2. It was amazing. It was the biggest ever. For operation and development the Government will spend 322.5 billion altogether.

3. I am not a financier. These big figures are mind-boggling. It seems that the Government will be putting money in the pocket of everyone, rich and poor, employed and unemployed.

4. The question that I would like to ask is where the money will come from. The deficit is said to be about 85 billion Ringgit. It is bigger than the development budget of 69 billion.

5. We know that the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the economy badly. Although the glove industry has done well but Petronas and Tourism, the two biggest contributors to Government revenue, have done very badly.

6. All other industries have suffered badly. I don’t think income and corporate tax would amount to even 2/3 of the normal figures during normal times.

7. It is expected that vaccines would put an end to the pandemic. The industries, trade and business will recover. But can they recover fully so as to achieve a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth of 7.5%. Just think. From a shrinkage of 4% to growth of 7.5%, the recovery would be 11.5% – fantastic.

8. From the complaints I hear from the business community mere approvals would take more than a year. That means there would be practically no inflow of investment funds in 2021. Certainly, there would be no profits made, or taxes paid to the Government. Even local investors will meet with these delays.

9. Policies don’t grow economies. Only implementation will do so. I know of cases where multi-billion Ringgit projects have been delayed for years. If the investor pushed, he is likely to face even longer delays.

10. So don’t expect restarting or launching new industries to begin on the 1st of January. The rosy picture of immediate recovery once the COVID-19 pandemic is overcome is not going to happen. The pandemic would not end on new year’s day.

11. I suppose the Government will have to borrow to implement the budget. This is estimated to increase Government debt to 1.3 trillion. That is a lot of money. If you fail to service loans, you may be bankrupted.

12. I can understand the need but we can still prune the operation and development costs. In the last 15 years salaries had been increased at very high rates – as much as 25% each time. Ministers and members of parliament had been given numerous allowances. Such is the increase that everyone is keen to be members of Parliament and Ministers. Nothing will make them part with their position. Even when their leaders commit crimes, they will support them. Giving up their posts would deprive them of so much money. Principles don’t count anymore.

13. It is perhaps better to make these posts less lucrative.

14. This pandemic is affecting the poor the most. Those who have lost their jobs and the small traders have no income at all. They earn today for today. If they don’t then they will have no money to buy food even. They will starve.

15. On the other hand those who are paid high salaries continue to earn more than their daily needs. Of course, those who are paid high salaries, such as airline staff and business executives may also lose their jobs.

16. Dato Seri Shafie Apdal had suggested that Ministers should have their pay cut by 30%. That is a big figure. I think people earning high salaries in the Government or private sector should forgo 10% of their salaries. It is a sacrifice but I don’t think it would hurt them if there is a reasonable cut off point, say RM 20,000 p.m.

17. The money should be used to provide food to the unemployed and those without income.
18. Back to the budget. While the economic situation requires more money to be spent by the Government, the pandemic also affects the revenue for the Government.

19. When business do not do well, they would pay less tax to the Government. Indeed, when they fail to make profits, they would pay no taxes to the Government.

20. Government revenue must shrink during this pandemic. But the Government needs to offer stimulus packages. That cost a lot of money.

21. Additionally, Government has to service loans and also reduce the principals. For this RM35 billion would be needed. Total charge expenditure is RM72.3 billion or 30.6% of Operating Expenditure of RM236.5 billion.

22. I must admit to being frightened. It is a behemoth of a budget but can we raise the money to finance it. Government debt will be RM1.3 trillion. How do we pay.

23. The budget is for the Year 2021. The expectation of economic recovery is too optimistic. I can think of lots of other things which can be done to lower cost and increase income. But I suppose the Minister of Finance has considered all of them.

24. What is a fact is that most people are not happy. That is shown by their reaction.

25. I hope this budget would be modified in order to become more realistic. Then we can support it. We need not be bribed for our support. We do not want to precipitate a crisis. - chedet

Trump, Hitler and Malaysian Politics...

Do you like fairy tales? Here’s one -- the evil wizard Donald Trump has been defeated and America lives “happily ever after”. The End. But hold on. We know that life and politics don’t work out that way. Trump may have lost but Trumpism is still very alive -- in fact, half of America voted for it. Can we in Malaysia learn some lessons from this?

The Conman-in-Chief was just the symptom of a deeper disease - mainly of inequality - that has plagued the country for decades. Real wages for ordinary Americans (after adjusting for inflation) in 2018 had not gone up in 40 years (yes, forty!) even though GDP and corporate profits have soared many times over.

Hilary Clinton lost the Democrats’ “blue wall” (of industrial states such as Michigan) in 2016 because her husband had promised back in the 1990s that free trade deals like Nafta would bring many high-paying jobs. Instead, factories closed down and jobs went overseas.

Small towns were devastated - the only work available was to flip burgers - and in the despair, many turned to drugs (the opioid epidemic). While it’s easy to dismiss all Trump voters as irredeemable racists, we easily forget that they were also driven by bread and butter issues.

What about us? History does not repeat itself directly, but it does rhyme. In 2018, half of Malaysians earned below RM2,000 per month -- thanks to the national policy to bring in cheap foreign labour.

Given that situation, was it politically wise for the Pakatan Harapan government to cut certain subsidies to the poor, who were mainly Malays? Especially, when Harapan got only about 20 percent of the rural Malay vote in the 2018 general elections?

While the reason for cutbacks was supposedly the high national debt, money was still found to pay RM4.7 billion in GST arrears to companies. (In fact, Lim Guan Eng now says the government should drop the “obsession with controlling the country's deficit” and borrow even more money to help companies save jobs and deal with the economic impact of Covid-19.) 

Could that RM4.7 billion have been repaid in instalments instead, to allow more subsidies for the B40 poor? And to fulfil the Harapan manifesto promise to defer PTPTN student loan repayments? Whose interests were more important? That of big companies? Or poorer folks?

Was it wise for Harapan to try and run Malaysia as an efficient company, rather than consolidating Malay support? While we may criticise the current backdoor government for many things, at least they know how to use goodies to bolster their voter base, as can be seen in the latest national budget.

And why is the Harapan Selangor menteri besar still hell-bent in 2020 on chopping down forests in Kuala Langat and Bukit Cherakah? How much influence do rich donors have over our politicians - from both sides? Why didn’t the Harapan Federal government reform political funding as they had promised in their manifesto?

Let’s return to Trump. How could Americans support a leader who lies non-stop, who had molested women and cheated a long list of people? It was his evil genius to recognise (and then exploit) all the pain and despair of the American working class, while Democrat politicians, including former President Obama, seemed “out of touch” as they spoke of bright futures.

Politicians (of both parties) had been legally bought over by rich campaign donors which is why no Wall Street boss was ever punished by Obama even though their greedy market manipulation had led to the 2008 global financial crash.

Ordinary Americans lost hope in the promises of pro-corporate “normal politicians” and The Establishment. So when Trump demonised “the system” -- including the mainstream media as “fake news” -- many believed him.

The man himself had been a multiple bankrupt and business failure but desperate Americans wanted to believe Trump had magical businessman “superpowers” as portrayed in reality TV show "The Apprentice". Angry voters trusted his promise to be The Saviour from “the swamp” of Washington politics that favoured the rich.

No other politician - Republican or Democrat - talked like he did. Trump successfully tapped into a deep seam of resentment and cynicism with the status quo, nevermind that he himself was a billionaire who was part of that same swamp. He rebranded himself as the “blue-collar billionaire” who drove trucks and wore miners’ hats.

The D in Donald also symbolises his mastery of The Art of Diversion and Distraction, especially to make most poor whites think that their “real enemies” are Muslims, blacks and Mexicans, rather than the big corporate bosses who had sent their jobs overseas.

Trump has some chilling parallels to Adolf Hitler, a man who also capitalised on economic devastation (of early-1930s Germany). Here was someone who promised to “Make Germany Great Again” and who blamed the country’s problems on the Jews.

As traditional politicians seemed helpless, people were willing to overlook Hitler jailing his opponents (just as many Americans were willing to overlook Trump advocating violence). Desperate people who see no other solution tend to flock to strongmen fascists who promise to “rescue” and “restore” the nation.

In Hitler’s case, he skillfully exploited fears of chaos (including a huge fire at the German Parliament suspected to have been set up by the Nazis themselves) to win 90 percent of a plebiscite vote in 1934 to become the ultimate leader - The Fuhrer.

So what lessons can be learnt for Malaysia? Just as Democrats are bewildered that so many Americans “still support” Trump, many Harapan supporters are exasperated that “they” (certain voters) still support a former prime minister who has been convicted, and sentenced to 12 years jail, for corruption.

And how could PAS, which claims to be “Islamic”, support such people? Maybe there are similarities with how Trump captured 75 percent of the votes of white (though not black) “born again” evangelical Christians.

Were these evangelicals more interested in white identity politics than the genuine Christian values of love thy neighbour, welcoming refugees, helping the poor and caring for the sick? Similarly, is PAS under Abdul Hadi Awang more into “Malay nationalism” than Islamic teachings of assabiyah that prohibit racism (which were highlighted by Tok Guru Nik Aziz)?

Many of the problems and poverty of Malaysians can be traced back to decades of corruption and money politics. But it is the evil genius of certain politicians to divert voters’ anger and frustration onto a certain non-halal race which their cyber troopers call “DAPig”.

Don’t look here! Look there! Yeah, sure we’ve been busy siphoning the system but it’s “them” who are your “real enemies”. We are your “saviours” and “protectors” -- even though we take a huge chunk for ourselves. Hey, maybe it’s “protection money” eh?

The failure to fulfil crucial parts of the Harapan manifesto, slippery political frogs making governments fall, the more recent backroom deals by Anwar Ibrahim with Umno and the attempt to declare an emergency - all these make us distrust “the system” more and more.

The long-term danger is that people will become totally disillusioned with politicians from both sides. And then, when a major economic crisis hits us, people will run to a strongman fascist to “rescue” them - someone like Trump. - Andrew Sia,mk

Shamala Gopalan with daughters
Kamala and Maya in the 1960s...
IQ and TV3 - Berkeley bukan 'Bakery"

The last time I watched TV3 was in the 20th century, maybe around 1993. That was also about the last time I watched RTM. Here is some trivia. Until not too lately I would be invited to appear on Astro and RTM (and TV3 as well). But I never watched any of those shows where I had appeared so I cant recall in full what I said.

1. Anyway one day I was invited to talk on RTM. I cant recall the program either. Before the recording began they will powder you up and comb your hair etc. I was in the make-up room and I chit chatted with the make up girls. When I asked them about the program (which was being recorded) they said 'We dont know, we dont watch RTM'. I thought that was funny. 

2. Another time Super Moron came to launch a blogger association of which I was the inaugural president (for four years). The TV3 crew was also there. I was told that a TV3 anchor woman (a Chinese girl) wanted to interview me. Since I never watched TV3 I did not know who she was and missed her among the crowd.  Oops !

Well TV3 has apologised today for saying that Kamala Harris' mother was a PATI (Pendatang Asing Tanpa Izin) or illegal immigrant from India (pendatang asing tanpa izin dari India). The video clip has also been removed from YouTube?
The source of information about Kamala Devi Harris obviously must be from the US. Meaning the information MUST have come written in the English language. 

There is absolutely no way that the source material from the USA (in English) could have said that Kamala was the child of illegal immigrants. So how did whichever editor or translator in TV3 come up with PATI (Pendatang Asing Tanpa Izin)? Careless or maybe not really careless?  

Maybe it would be too onerous to decipher (for Low IQ viewers) that Kamala Harris' mother Shamala Gopalan, travelled to Berkeley from India in 1958 where she completed her PhD and became a professor and a renowned researcher in breast cancer. Her Jamaican father too earned his PhD at Berkeley and married Kamala's mother in 1963. 
VP-elect Kamala Harris...

Because there is no way that this information was not known to whichever news editor or translator who first received the source material from the US. Or they could not decipher Berkeley? Berkeley means University of California at Berkeley. 

Berkeley (ok-lah the University of California at Berkeley) has to date produced a whopping 110 Nobel Prize winners ! !  

"Among the 110 laureates, 82 are Nobel laureates in natural sciences; 34 are Berkeley alumni (graduates and attendees), and 42 have been long-term academic members of the Berkeley faculty or Berkeley-affiliated research organizations; and subject-wise, 34 laureates have won the Nobel Prize in Physics, more than any other subject." Ingat bukan 'bakery'  OK!!!. -  Syed Akbar Ali 


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