22 May 2019

Watch Out Trump...

Huawei - President Donald Trump
China May Weaponize “Rare Earth” To Retaliate Against U.S.’ Ban On Huawei...

In what appears to be a hit below the belt and a coordinate attacks against China in the second phase of a trade war between the Middle Kingdom and the U.S., Trump has banned Huawei. The U.S. president’s executive order effectively prohibits U.S. companies from selling semiconductors to (or buying technological equipment from) the China’s largest technology company.

By adding Huawei to the so-called Entity List, American firms are essentially disallowed from selling technology to the Chinese company without first obtaining a license from the U.S. government. Washington claimed that the ban on Huawei was due to “national security”. But every Tom, Dick and Harry knew Huawei is targeted due to the ongoing US-China trade war.

Last year, Huawei purchased a whopping US$11 billion worth of computer chips and other components from American tech firms. That speaks volumes about how much the company depends on American chipmakers, the same way the U.S. companies rely on the Chinese tech giant for access to the nation’s market share.

However, considering that Huawei successfully sold 200 million smartphones and hit 721.2 billion Yuan (US$107.45 billion; £82.38 billion; RM438.67 billion) in sales last year, it would take more than just an executive order from President Trump to exterminate the Chinese giant. David Wang, Huawei’s executive director, said that new U.S. restrictions would have little effect on the tech giant’s business prospects.

Similarly, Huawei Technologies’ founder and chief executive, Ren Zhengfei, blasted the Trump administration’s decision and insists the Chinese telecom equipment maker has done nothing illegal. Mr. Ren also said the impact of the U.S. ban on Huawei’s business will be limited, and expressed confidence in its longer-term outlook.

But the fact remains that over 30 American companies supply core components to Huawei, including Qualcomm, Broadcom and Intel. Huawei, in its attempt to calm the business community, said it actually has been preparing for exactly the situation it now faces. Huawei’s fully-owned HiSilicon Technologies, which designs core processor chips, has made plans to deal with a potential disruption in supply.

Huawei Android Chipsets
Huawei Android Chipsets

Hardware disruption is just one area which Huawei might be affected. In a stunning move that could threaten Huawei’s global ambitions to take over from Samsung as the world’s biggest smartphone maker, Google has dropped a bombshell when it announced its decision to stop licensing its Android operating system for the Chinese telecommunications firm – in order to comply with a U.S. trade blacklist.

What that means is Huawei will no longer enjoy access to Android updates. It also means Huawei will only be able to use a public version of Google’s operating system through the Android Open Source Project. A new purchase of Huawei’s phone will also lose access to proprietary apps like the Google Play app store, Gmail and YouTube.

Google, however, assures people with existing Huawei devices that they will still be able to use Google apps and download updates for them. Interestingly, the havoc of not being able to run Google apps only confined to international consumers. In China, it’s a totally different story as Huawei uses a modified version of Android that doesn’t have Google apps pre-installed, thanks to Google service blockage.

Because international shipments accounted for almost half of Huawei’s overall smartphone sales in markets outside of China, the impact could be huge in the long term. In March, Huawei revealed that it had developed its own operating system for its consumer products if there came a time it was not able to use Google’s or Microsoft’s.

So, as early as 2 months ago, Huawei already knew their gadgets would probably be targeted by Trump administration. What is unknown is whether consumers can accept the Chinese tech giant’s own developed operating system. Days ago, Nikkei Asian Review reported that Huawei told global suppliers 6 months ago that it wanted to build up a year of crucial components to prepare for trade wars.

That means Huawei may have stockpiled components to produce up to 200 million of smartphones. Knowing China, they probably have also figured out the workaround – probably via a third party – to download Android apps or services. But Beijing probably isn’t impressed with Trump’s little dirty trick of forcing American technology companies to suspend business ties with Huawei.

Huawei - 5G Technology Advertisement
Huawei - 5G Technology Advertisement

When the official Xinhua news agency deliberately reported President Xi Jinping’s visit to the country’s rare earth mining base in Jiangxi province on Monday, it raises eyebrows. Chinese leaders have a habit of not trumpeting what they plan to do next, but would instead let its news media do the talking. Hence, speculations that Beijing could consider weaponize minerals such as rare earth against the U.S.

Accompanied by Vice-Premier Liu He, Xi’s most trusted adviser whom was appointed as a special envoy with authority to negotiate directly on trade matters with the U.S. recently, the Chinese president’s visit to one of the nation’s major rare earths mining and processing facilities can be interpreted as sending a strong message of China’s determination and defiance against the U.S.

Rare earth is a group of metals and alloys that contain a set of 17 chemical elements that have magnetic and optical properties useful for making electronic components like computer memory, DVDs, rechargeable batteries, cell phones, catalytic converters, magnets and whatnot. Although not as rare as gold or silver, extraction and refinement of rare earth are costly and dangerous, not to mention “environment dirty”.

For example, the Asian Rare Earth factory built in Bukit Merah, Perak, Malaysia in 1982 has seen radioactive pollution and health problems – infant deaths, congenital disease, leukemia and lead poisoning – even decades after it was closed in 1992. An estimated RM100 million was required to clean up the factory and dump site in Bukit Merah.

As the world’s biggest producer – about 90% of rare earth elements of the global supply – the U.S. depended on China for about four of every five tons of rare-earths imports between 2014 and 2017. The lack of domestic rare earth supplies would undermine a competitive modern economy and a strong military for the U.S. Yes, as it turned out, rare earth is a critical component to make weapons.

Rare Earth Metal Alloy Components
Rare Earth Metal Alloy Components

Terbium, dysprosium, samarium, praseodymium and neodymium are some high-tech names of rare earth exotic elements critical in making missiles and bombs, as well as electric motors and batteries for U.S. Navy’s destroyers. Rare earth element rhenium is a key component of jet engines for U.S. Air Force’s F-15, F-16, F-22 Raptor and the F-35 Joint Strike FIghters.

Sure, the U.S. can build their own plants to produce rare earth, if they don’t mind the environmental issues. But that would take years. Blue Line Corporation, a US company, and Lynas Corp., an Australian miner propose to build the first rare-earths plant in the U.S. in years. Lynas, the world’s only major producer of rare earth minerals outside China, faces regulatory issues at its processing plant in Malaysia.

The strategic importance of rare earth in the present US-China trade war can be seen when President Trump exempted U.S. imports of rare earths from the latest round of tariffs imposed on Chinese goods. In 2017 alone, China mined 105,000 metric tons of rare earth metals, while the U.S. has only produced about 43,000 metric tons in the last 20 years combined.

Hence, the visit to a rare earth plant by President Xi sends a message to President Trump – the U.S. may lose 80% of the supply of its rare earth imports anytime from China. The issue here isn’t about the value of the rare earth imports by the U.S., but rather the supply chain. After all, the U.S. imported only US$160 million worth of rare earth from China last year.

Clearly, losing the US$160 million business is just s drop in the ocean for China. So, to retaliate against the U.S.’ ban on Huawei, China can easily deliver a deadly punch – bans export of rare earth to America. Beijing has actually weaponized rare earth before when it banned rare earth exports to Japan during a diplomatic standoff between the two countries in 2010. - FT

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Story kat SINI dan SINI

Bersediakah Najib debat 
tentang kleptokrasi?...

Adakah Najib seorang yang mempunyai penyakit suka berbohong atau sememangnya seorang kaki pembohong? Adakah dia bersedia untuk berdebat mengenai topik “Bagaimana Malaysia terjerumus menjadi sebuah kleptokrasi global dan bagaimana kita boleh kembali menjadi sebuah negara terulung yang berintegriti”?

Adakah bekas Perdana Menteri, Datuk Seri Najib Razak seorang yang mempunyai penyakit suka berbohong atau sememangnya seorang kaki pembohong?

Dalam wawancara dengan Free Malaysia Today hari ini pun, tidak ada lain yang dibuatnya selain berbohong. Najib mendakwa beliau telah menjawab segala persoalan yang dibangkitkan saya dalam kenyataan media saya, yang mana adalah pembohongan yang nyata.

Adakah beliau sudah menjawab persoalan saya, antaranya yang telah dibangkitkan saya dalam kenyataan saya di Sandakan pada 8 Mei lalu mengenai sama ada lawatan kempen “Malu Apa Bossku” beliau untuk membantu kempen PBS dalam Pilihan Raya Kecil Sandakan adalah wadah terbaik untuk beliau menjelaskan mengapa beliau masih terus-menerus menafikan kewujudan skandal 1MDB, meskipun sejak empat tahun lalu, begitu banyak laporan berita mengenainya dikeluarkan oleh media antarabangsa, pelbagai buku dan filem telah diterbitkan mengenai skandal 1MDB sementara 10 negara lain telah melancarkan siasatan ke atas skandal terbabit?

Dia sepatutnya menjelaskan mengenai skandal 1MDB serta skandal rasuah mega yang lain yang berlaku di bawah pentadbirannya selaku perdana menteri sebelum ini, terutamanya tiga isu yang berbangkit sejak dua hari lalu, iaitu:

1. Ucapan ulang tahun pertama 509 oleh Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad di mana perdana menteri itu berkata beliau amat “pelik” melihat Najib masih berlagak seperti orang tidak bersalah meskipun sedang disiasat berhubung skandal 1MDB dan pihak berkuasa US dan Singapura telah memulangkan sebahagian RM1.5 billion wang yang diselewengkan dari 1MDB serta siasatan pengubahan wang haram dijalankan oleh 10 negara.

2. Pendedahan oleh bekas ahli Panel Penilaian Operasi SPRM, Datuk Lim Chee Wee bahawa Najib tidak disiasat atas kesalahan rasuah ketika beliau masih memegang jawatan perdana menteri kerana beliau memecat Tan Sri Gani Patail selaku Peguam Negara, menggantikan Gani dengan Tan Sri Mohamad Apandi Ali, yang hanya mempunyai satu utama agenda selaku Peguam Negara, iaitu untuk melindungi Najib daripada siasatan rasuah.

3. Pendedahan oleh Deepak Jaikishan dalam sebuah wawancara dengan Al Jazeera bahawa isteri Najib, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor adalah “perdana menteri de facto” semasa Barisan Nasional masih berkuasa.

Najib tuduh saya obses dengannya. Beliau salah besar. Saya tidak berminat langsung dengan beliau jika beliau tidak melakukan kerosakan besar terhadap negara serta generasi masa kini dan akan datang dengan legasi kleptokrasi yang ditinggalkannya. Malah, beliau telah membawa malu kepada nama baik serta legasi arwah bapanya, Tun Razak.

Mengambil kira semua ini, wajarkah seseorang masuk gelanggang dan berdebat dengan seorang kleptokrat, seorang yang mempunyai penyakit suka berbohong atau seorang kaki pembohong?

Mungkin, subjek terbaik bagi sesi perdebatan tersebut adalah: “Bagaimana Malaysia terjerumus menjadi sebuah kleptokrasi global dan bagaimana kita boleh kembali menjadi sebuah negara terulung yang berintegriti”?

Giliran Najib pula untuk menjawab. - LKS

Sejarah debat Malaysia...

Shabery Cheek(BN) vs Anwar Ibrahim(PKR) - keputusan - Shabery Cheek tewas mulut berbuih.

Program 'nothing to hide' untuk debat Najib(BN) vs Dr.M(PPBM)  - keputusan - Najib cabut lari batang hidung pun tak nampak.

Dengan perempuan Al-Jazeera pun dia nyaris2 nak cabut lari. 

Pokoknya Najib hanya mahu mencari publisiti murahan di kala popularitinya makin menurun. - f/bk

Debate on kleptocracy,let’s do it after Raya - Najib

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1. R Rajagopal, pengarah urusan Golden Mineral Sdn Bhd (GMSB) sebuah syarikat perlombongan hari ini mendakwa MB Terengganu berbohong kepada media berkenaan status sebuah GLC apabila mengatakan Permint Mineral Sdn Bhd (PMSB) telah dibubarkan.

2. Baru-baru ini beliau menang saman terhadap PMSB. Jika sebuah syarikat ditutup, mana mungkin kes boleh dibawa ke mahkamah terhadapnya.

3. PMSB masih wujud dan media boleh periksa statusnya dengan SSM.

4. Pada 15 Mei lalu dan disiarkan oleh Berita Harian, Samsuri mengatakan kerajaan negeri menyerahkan soal melunaskan pampasan RM15.3 juta kepada GMSB kepada proses undang-undang. Kerajaan negeri tidak boleh berbuat apa-apa kerana syarikat itu telah dibubarkan, dan soal perundangan itu antara dua syarikat tersebut.

5. Samsuri berkata demikian ketika mengulas dakwaan Rajagopal sebelum itu bahawa kerajaan negeri menganiaya GMSB apabila PMSB enggan membayar RM15.3 juta ke atas kehilangan keuntungan GMSB seperti yang diarahkan Mahkamah Rayuan.

6. PMSB dimiliki Perbadanan Memajukan Iktisad Negeri Terengganu (Permint) dan ianya adalah sebahagian daripada tanggungjawab kerajaan negeri.

7. Mahkamah Rayuan pada September 2018 mengarahkan PSMB membayar pampasan RM15.3 juta kepada GMSB untuk 20 bulan - antara Ogos 2010 hingga Mac 2012 - ketika GMSB tidak dapat menjalankan kegiatan perlombongan di Kemaman, Terengganu ekoran pertikaian kontrak antara kedua-dua pihak.

8. Mahkamah Persekutuan mengekalkan keputusan Mahkamah Rayuan pada 14 Mac lalu.

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Tahniah Pak Jokowi...


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