Monday, January 30, 2012
No personal guarantee!
The giver of the loan should now carry the burden of responsibility to the taxpayers.If this isn't abuse of the first order what would you call it? It's not the recipient fault if the government acted so stupidly.Those involved in giving out the loan should also be investigated.
It is now clear why the money was used for what it is not intended for.This soft loan is softer than soft, abnormally low interest rate, no collateral, no director's personal guarantee, it is as good as giving the money away for free.
"The loan agreement has been signed. If we don’t pay back, we will be declared bankrupt or locked up in jail. We will pay every sen plus interest. The question of misappropriation does not arise,” said Wan Shahinur Izmir, who is minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil’s son.
Come on man! Who are you kidding? How is the government going to sue you personally for recovery of the loan if you did not sign personal guarantee?
My company had borrowed tens of millions before from banks and all directors were made to sign "Joint and Several Guarantee" in spite of more than sufficient securities given to the banks.
If the company folded and can't pay up the loans and there happen to be diminution in the value of the securities, the directors are fully liable for the amount including all interests and if they failed to make good the banks would declare every director a bankrupt.
The government, probably, can charge the directors for CBT (Criminal Breach of Trust), which, sometimes, is difficult to prove in a mismanagement.
Misappropriation is a crime, mismanagement is not.Buying properties under the company's name for investment or even to house working directors is also not a crime, it becomes a crime only if they are in your personal name using company's fund to purchase.It would also not be a crime if the company gave you a housing loan duly approved by the BOD (Board of Directors).
You see, whichever way the government is going to be the biggest loser if the project failed.
Read the full story here.
Friday, January 27, 2012
The Prime Minister should not buckle to some of the opposition's ridiculous demands.
Ministers should only declare their assets to the PM and no one else.To declare assets to MACC is ridiculous and dangerous, particularly, to those who has substantial liquid assets.Should there be a leak of confidentiality it would be more difficult to trace from which source the leak came from.
If the state of Penang wanted to implement this stupid idea to show off, let them be.It is just a political ploy to hoodwink the people that they would be better government.
I have seen what happened in the Philippines and Indonesia.Every succeeding government that promised to end corruption helped themselves to the same thing.Malaysia, believe me, is not going be different, it's likely to be even worse, we'll have a whole new collection of hungry crocodiles.
I have not heard of any country demanding minister's family and relatives to declare their assets. This is another absurd and stupid idea. Some ministers may already have some substantially rich family members that would make it very uncomfortable and unsafe to disclose their wealth to others.Kidnapping for ransom is still a lucrative trade in this country.Junior civil servants have been know to sell information for money.Do not rule out the probability of this happening.
There are many ways one can hide one's ill gotten gains and the crooks would know how to work the system to their advantage.It would be pointless to legislate law that would soon be redundant.
It falls on the MACC to investigate any minister or civil servant suspected of corruptions, on a case to case basis.The MACC argument is deeply flawed and an attempt to make live easier for them.If such proposal is put into practice than the MACC would have no investigative work to do. They would just have to compare notes without any serious effort to investigate the case thoroughly.
MACC can always request copy of asset's declaration from the PM's office on any minister suspected of corrupt practices.Declaration of assets by cabinet ministers to the prime minister has always been in practice.
I do not agree with former Prime Minister Tun Mahathir, Chua Soi Lek and Mukhriz Mahathir on their support of the proposal.
Only office holder should declare assets. The practice of requiring minister's family to declare assets would seal the Pandora's box even more tightly.Crooked ministers would find other avenues to stash their ill gotten gains making investigation even more difficult.
There's no gentle way to put it: People who give in to racism and prejudice may simply be dumb, according to a new study that is bound to stir public controversy.
The research finds that children with low intelligence are more likely to hold prejudiced attitudes as adults. These findings point to a vicious cycle, according to lead researcher Gordon Hodson, a psychologist at Brock University in Ontario. Low-intelligence adults tend to gravitate toward socially conservative ideologies, the study found. Those ideologies, in turn, stress hierarchy and resistance to change, attitudes that can contribute to prejudice, Hodson wrote in an email to LiveScience.
"Prejudice is extremely complex and multifaceted, making it critical that any factors contributing to bias are uncovered and understood," he said.
The findings combine three hot-button topics.
"They've pulled off the trifecta of controversial topics," said Brian Nosek, a social and cognitive psychologist at the University of Virginia who was not involved in the study. "When one selects intelligence, political ideology and racism and looks at any of the relationships between those three variables, it's bound to upset somebody."
Polling data and social and political science research do show that prejudice is more common in those who hold right-wing ideals that those of other political persuasions, Nosek told LiveScience. [7 Thoughts That Are Bad For You]
"The unique contribution here is trying to make some progress on the most challenging aspect of this," Nosek said, referring to the new study. "It's not that a relationship like that exists, but why it exists."
Brains and bias
Earlier studies have found links between low levels of education and higher levels of prejudice, Hodson said, so studying intelligence seemed a logical next step. The researchers turned to two studies of citizens in the United Kingdom, one that has followed babies since their births in March 1958, and another that did the same for babies born in April 1970. The children in the studies had their intelligence assessed at age 10 or 11; as adults ages 30 or 33, their levels of social conservatism and racism were measured. [Life's Extremes: Democrat vs. Republican]
In the first study, verbal and nonverbal intelligence was measured using tests that asked people to find similarities and differences between words, shapes and symbols. The second study measured cognitive abilities in four ways, including number recall, shape-drawing tasks, defining words and identifying patterns and similarities among words. Average IQ is set at 100.
Social conservatives were defined as people who agreed with a laundry list of statements such as "Family life suffers if mum is working full-time," and "Schools should teach children to obey authority." Attitudes toward other races were captured by measuring agreement with statements such as "I wouldn't mind working with people from other races." (These questions measured overt prejudiced attitudes, but most people, no matter how egalitarian, do hold unconscious racial biases; Hodson's work can't speak to this "underground" racism.)
As suspected, low intelligence in childhood corresponded with racism in adulthood. But the factor that explained the relationship between these two variables was political: When researchers included social conservatism in the analysis, those ideologies accounted for much of the link between brains and bias.
People with lower cognitive abilities also had less contact with people of other races.Read more.
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
President Obama, all but shoved offstage during the Republican primary craziness, had a rare opportunity to grab the spotlight Tuesday night and attempt to answer a question at the heart of his reelection effort:
Just what does he want to do with another four years?
An election-year State of the Union is a tricky assignment, given that a divided Congress is unlikely to accomplish squat and the incumbent is already under daily assault by those who want his job. So as the halftime act between a pair of Newt-and-Mitt debates, Obama’s challenge was to sketch his vision of the future and rekindle some of the excitement he generated in 2008.
This laundry-list speech was an aggressive attempt, and Obama was savvy to lead off with Iraq and close with a moving recitation of the mission that killed Osama bin Laden. There were laudable sentiments: “An economy built to last, where hard work pays off, and responsibility is rewarded.” That sounds Clintonesque, and in fact Obama recycled one of the 42nd president’s signature phrases, lauding those who “work hard and play by the rules.” This line was a bit more bumper sticker-ish: “No bailouts, no handouts, and no copouts.” (Except he did help bail out the banks, and boasted in the speech about rescuing General Motors.)
But the bar may have been impossible to clear. Three years into an ailing economy, words are no longer enough. The state of our union may be “getting stronger,” but Obama knows it’s not strong enough. And to briefly call for “comprehensive immigration reform,” when the White House never mounted a push for the legislation, simply falls flat.
The speech’s subtext is that Obama stands for middle-class fairness while his Republican opponents are champions of the wealthy.
The president acknowledged the perception that “Washington is broken,” and called for Congress to reform itself. Anyone want to take bets on that happening?
Obama offered a number of small-ball initiatives, such as asking companies to work with community colleges on hiring. And there were lofty promises, such as urging schools to reward good teachers, with no concrete proposals attached. And even if there were, where would the money come from with both parties arguing over the deep budget cutbacks mandated after the supercommittee’s demise? Read more.
Monday, January 23, 2012
By Aidan Foster-Carter
Quite a contrast, aren't they, the two Koreas? One is a weird, weepy-creepy, nasty dynastic dinosaur. The other is ultra-modern, hi-tech, dynamic and vibrant: a stunning success story. So much so that in November the Economist headlined a feature on South Korea: "What do you do when you reach the top?"  (Their answer: Tweak a few things here and there.)
Top of what, though? Exports are one thing, but virtue is another. Those of us who enthuse and root for South Korea have a problem. Amid all the glitter, there are some bits that stink.
I keep a running file on Korea called "Corpulent Governance" (geddit?). It's always full, sad to say. Right now, it's
overflowing. So here are some tales to make you hold your nose - or retch, or weep. It gives me no pleasure to write thus, but this stuff has to be faced up to.
First up, the chaebol (conglomerates). Many top Korean companies, including household names, are run by crooks. That's not a libel; it's a fact. The chairmen of Samsung, Hyundai Motor, SK and Hanwha - the first, second, third and tenth largest business groups - have all been convicted of crimes in Korean courts of law. And three of them (guess the exception) have spent time behind bars - though only serving a fraction of their supposed sentences.
Usually it's financial, but not always. In 2007 Kim Seung-youn, the chairman of Hanwha - founded as Korea Explosives, but now inter alia Korea's second largest non-bank financial group, big in insurance - hired goons to beat up some guys who got in a fight with his son; even wielding a metal bar himself. 
Sentenced to 18 months, Kim pleaded ill-health and was out in no time. The Korea Times recently called Kim a "Dragon CEO" (he was born in 1952), noting wryly that the mythical beast may remind people of this event.  No one seems to care.
Unbelievably, this was the man whom last year South Korea chose as a leading lobbyist in its (successful) bid to host the 2018 Winter Olympics. As the Financial Times commented: "Let's hope he has some more gentle means of persuasion at his disposal than steel pipes."  Seoul must have decided it needed to send a heavy hitter, if you'll pardon the expression.
Another such thug is at least behind bars where he belongs. Chey Chul-won - a cousin of SK chairman Chey Tae-won, and former CEO of SK's logistics affiliate, the aptly named Might & Main (M&M) - received an 18-month jail sentence last February for beating a laid-off truck driver with a baseball bat.
Yoo Hong-joon had staged a one-man protest for months outside group headquarters in Seoul. One day Chey called him in, hit him repeatedly with other executives present, and then threw checks at him as "compensation".  Charming.
In his defense, Chey claimed that what he did was no worse than goes on in the army every day. (South Korea still has universal male conscription.) It turned out he'd earlier threatened a woman living in the apartment below his - again with a baseball bat, and with three club-wielding goons in tow - after she complained about "extreme" noise from upstairs. Police were called, but laid no charges. Afraid, the woman and her family moved out, sharpish. 
But more often, as I said, it's money. Take the three largest chaebol. Though successful as businesses, all are marred by financial malpractice - but have only had their wrists slapped.
Since the old Hyundai group broke up, Hyundai Motor is the number two conglomerate. It has grown to become the world's fifth largest car-maker, led by Chung Mong-koo - who in 2006 spent two months in jail prior to conviction in 2007 for embezzling US$100 million to create slush funds. Sentenced to three years, he never went back inside; a judge ruled that the economy needed him. And in 2009 he got a special pardon from President Lee Myung-bak.  Read more.
At midnight on January 23, 2012, Chinese people around the world will welcome the new year, ushering in the Year of the Dragon.
The Dragon is a creature of myth and legend. A symbol of good fortune and sign of intense power, the Oriental Dragon is regarded as a divine beast - the reverse of the malicious monster that Westerners felt necessary to find and slay. In Eastern philosophy, the Dragon is said to be a deliverer of good fortune and a master of authority. Therefore, those people born in Dragon years are to be honored and respected.
Water has a calming effect on the Dragon's fearless temperament. Water allows the Dragon to re-direct its enthusiasm, and makes him more perceptive of others. These Dragons are better equipped to take a step back to re-evaluate a situation because they understand the art of patience and do not desire the spotlight like other Dragons. Therefore, they make smart decisions and are able to see eye-to-eye with other people. However, their actions can go wrong if they do not research or if they do not finish one project before starting another.
Saturday, January 21, 2012
Friday, January 20, 2012
Thursday, January 19, 2012
After almost a month in Europe it's nice to be back home.The excitement of the Anwar's sodomy verdict has somewhat subsides but a new political inferno is brewing.........Anwar's proposition to abolish what he called archaic laws in response to BBC's interview where he was asked whether he is prepared to change the discriminatory law against gay rights.