Friday, October 31, 2008

Pak Lah:It's 'sap sap soi' no need to apologise

Hantu Laut

As they say in Hakka
'sap sap soi'. It's a small matter you don't need to apologise at all.Your apology does not make any different.The question is whether the price agreed upon is a fair price to pay for those machines. The meagre difference of RM93 million is not something you should worry about.What you should worry about is whether there were element of corruption or payment of excessive commissions to a third party.

Pak Lah has apologised over a small mistake he made on the price of the Eurocopter.You can read it here.

It is ridiculous that the boys at the Ministry of Defence want the Prime Minister to correct such petty amount and if they think that would satisfy the thirst of the conspiracy theorists, they are awfully wrong

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Reminiscence:The North Borneo Railway

Hantu Laut

After having written many articles on the gloomy scenarios of the economy, goddam politics and the antics of our mostly incorrigible politicians, I think I should take a break from those dreary subjects and take a trip down memory lane, a dose of nostalgia that bring back memories of my childhood on what must be, my rendering of it, the slowest train in the world.

It would take almost a whole day of daylight to travel from what was Jesselton then to Tenom in the interior.The scenic beauty of the lust jungle, the Padas Gorge and the backdrop of the Crocker Range is just unforgettable.

The North Borneo Railway re-named Sabah State Railway has ceased operation temporarily for major tracks renewal work. For those who love the past, below is the history of the Railway from the day it started in the then British North Borneo.

In the 1880’s, the so-called “White Rajahs” of the British Crown established the British North Borneo Company by obtaining parts of North Borneo from the Sultan of Sulu. The wild jungles provided grounds for great adventure and potential riches. As the need for larger plantations grew, the question of transportation became a major issue for these young plantation owners. A railway straight into the heart of Borneo was the only viable solution to keep the company afloat.

In 1894, the Chartered Company elected William Clarke Cowie as the Managing Director of the British North Borneo Company. Cowie appointed an English Civil Engineer, Arthur J. West, to build the railway line from Bukau, north to Beaufort and south to Weston. Named after Mr. West, Weston was to be the new port at Brunei Bay. However, upon completion of the railway in 1890, Weston was discovered to be too shallow for a deep-sea wharf. Instead, Arthur J. West extended a 64 km line from Beaufort to Tenom and to Melalap where laborers, mainly Hakka and Cantonese were lured from China to undertake what was known to be the most challenging task of construction along the gorge section. In the meantime, George Pauling & Company was appointed to continue the railway from Beaufort, further 90 km to Jesselton (now Kota Kinabalu). The railway was finally on the move!

North Borneo Postage StampHowever, victory did not last long, for in 1930, the Great Depression spread through the world. This threw men out of work everywhere; trade was almost halted; there was no sale of rubber and established companies collapsed. Hardly had the world recovered from this when the Second World War started in 1939. The Japanese 37 Army, under Lt. General Masao Baba occupied North Borneo. WWII and the Japanese Occupation almost paralyzed the whole railway system between 1944 and 1945. Despite severe damages, the railways continued providing its vital service to the state during the war. Locomotives continued running between bridges and “Rail Jeeps” were modified to replace damaged locomotives.

During the Post-War period, immediately after liberation of North Borneo by the 9th Division Australian Imperial Force (AIF), the British North Borneo Company faced the gigantic task of reconstruction and decided to relinquish its ownership of North Borneo to the British Colonial Office. From then on, North Borneo became a Crown Colony until Malaysian independence.

The North Borneo Railway The railway remained the only means of transportation into the interior until only half a century ago, playing a vital part in the economic development of Sabah. It helped open up the country and the emergence of towns like Bukau, Weston and Jesselton. It now continues to run through six main stations, namely Tanjung Aru, Papar, Bongawan, Beaufort and Tenom. The smaller stations are Putatan, Kinarut, Kawang, Kimanis, Lumat, Saliwangan, Halogilat, Rayoh and Pangi.

Colonial garb takes you back to yesteryearThe North Borneo Railway features a British Vulcan steam locomotive, designed and built by the Vulcan Foundry in Newton-le-Willows, England in 1954 as part of the last order before the factory converted to diesel and electric locomotive construction. The Vulcan 6-015, a 2-6-2 carrying a green livery with polished boiler bands and red edging to the running plate and tender frame, was de-commissioned for general use in the early 1970’s by the Sabah State Railway Department. It was proudly re-launched on January 22nd, 2000, in honour of Kota Kinabalu, Sabah’s capital, achieving City-Status. Not only does this steam engine represent the last of a fleet of steam engines that have plied the tracks through Borneo since the late 1800’s, it is also one of the only functional wood-burners left in the world.

Coal-powered Vulcan Steam EngineThe North Borneo Railway also features six carriages that have been meticulously restored and renovated to reflect the era of the steam train. The exterior utilizes the traditional deep green and cream of the original North Borneo Railway, with carved brass logos featuring the original British seal. The interior, highlighting the natural woods of Sabah, has comfortable seating and dining facilities. Every carriage provides the amenity of a modern washroom onboard. Seating accommodates 36 passengers per carriage, with a total train capacity of 180 passengers. An exotic bar car and observation deck accompanies the train, providing a comfortable lounge area to heighten the overall journey experience.

The Vulcan Steam Engine - the last of the greatsWindows remain open throughout the journey, and high-powered fans line the ceilings to ensure maximum comfort along the route. A provision has been made for air-conditioning, though the open windows enhance the entire heritage experience, as passengers are able to lean out the windows and doors to interact with the countryside, rather than merely be observers.

The North Borneo Railway is built and operated to the highest of international standards and is fully compliant with modern safety standards.

The nostalgic romance of an old steam train…passing through villages and coastal towns paddy fields, rainforests and plantations of rubber and coffee…

A ride on the North Borneo Railway is truly a journey of rediscovery into the heart of Borneo, transporting you back into the past; to the days of the Chartered Company…and British Colonial Office…of young Englishmen setting out to be planters in the interiors of Borneo…

The North Borneo Railway runs 36 miles between Kota Kinabalu, the state capital, and Papar, an agricultural town, known as the rice bowl of Sabah. From Tanjung Aru Station, your train, with an open observation car, travels along the main road to Putatan, a small village on the outskirts of the city. Beyond this station, the journey continues along a lovely bay dotted with mangrove swamp, protecting the coast from the South China Sea. View the fishermen waist-high in the waters collecting shrimp and small fish in these safe coastal waters.

As the train rounds the bay, it veers into the interior, leaving the main road behind as it makes its way through the countryside. Kinarut, a small kampong (village in Malay), is our first whistle-stop. Famous for its pre-war shop houses, passengers will de-board here for a quick tour of lovely Tsim Shen Tsui Temple, a temple built in honour of Mainland Chinese by the local community. It features 18 statues of Buddhist monks, a 20-foot giant smiling Buddha, and a lotus-pond in honour of Kwan Yin, the Goddess of Mercy.

Back onboard, enjoy the journey, surrounded by mangrove swamps and acres of Nepa Palm and Screw Pines. This swamp region is vital for the local community, as villagers collect the Nepa fronds to make baskets and mats, as well as the atap roofs for their houses. The area is also rich with fish and prawn, as mangrove regions are tidal. Local villagers travel through the swamps on little dugout canoes, painted in bright greens and blues.

The train then passes through a deep mountain tunnel, the sole tunnel along the entire route from Kota Kinabalu to Tenom, in the heart of the interior. As it emerges on the other side, the landscape changes dramatically from swampland to padi field. Watch as the farmers toil away in the fields, harvesting Sabah’s favorite crop. Water buffalo dot the fields, many with perched egrets on their shoulders, highlighting the pairs symbiotic friendship.

The train then enters Papar town, crossing a bright yellow trestle bridge over the Papar River. Blue, yellow and red fishing boats dot the river’s edge, docked to bring the day’s catch to the vast fish market in town. The train steams into town, met by waiving locals. In Papar, the Vulcan engine refills with water and utilizes a turn-table to reverse for the return journey into the heart of Borneo.

Railcar Train at Beaufort station
A railcar of the Sabah State Railway

Source:North Borneo Railway

Malaysian Economy:A Gloom On The Horizon

Hantu Laut

The Prime Minister or Finance Minister should have tabled it in Parliament and seek the approval of majority of the house.Government should act more responsibly and not used taxpayers money,foreign exchange reserves and pension funds for bailout purposes without getting the approval of Parliament.Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim had asked for it to be debated in Parliament.

The American Administration is an example of transparency and responsible behaviour.It goes to Congress to get approval for the bailout.The President could not simply decide on his own without Congress approval as the bailout involved public funds.

Using the fund to prop up shares of certain companies on the KLSE may not be a good idea under the current market conditions.The market have not hit rock bottom yet.Further declines are expected.A free fall should not be ruled out as and when companies start to announce their year end financial results.

Click to enlarge

The Composite Index has shedded over 40% of its value from its peak in January this year and the bottom is not yet in sight.The fear of global recession will drive stocks all over the globe further down and Malaysia will not be isolated from the movement on Wall Street and other markets.To say we are insulated from the effect of the global recession is misleading and totally irresponsible.Most sensible governments would brace themselves for the worst and inform its citizens of the bad times to come.

The situation is actually much more serious than what the government made it out to be and saving some selected companies on the KLSE should not be a priority.Foreign investors and funds managers are not stupid to place money in our stocks if they see weak fundamentals and an economy heading for a tailspin.

With substantial loss of revenue from falling prices of crude oil the bottom line for Petronas is likely to move into the red zone if the price of crude falls below US$50 per barrel.Its cost of production would be around that region.

OPEC has seldom been effective at controlling prices, often referred to as a cartel, it does not justify the definition.There is no cohesiveness among members to adhere strictly to production quotas.The cut in production of 1.5 barrel per day starting in November seems to have no effect in stabilising prices.Nigeria has objected to production cut citing heavy reliance on crude oil for the country's budget.

OPEC Production 1990-2007 OPEC Production 1990-2005

In the event Petronas have to sell its crude at a loss than it should consider trimming its domestic production and keep the oil in the ground and concentrates on those of its overseas operations that have lower costs of production.

The other equally serious erosion of source of income is the oil palm industry.Price has nosedived to a low of RM1390 on the futures market with the short and long term prospect looking rather bearish.

Another bad news for the palm oil industry is China expected bumper harvest of its soybean.Some Chinese buyers have defaulted on their contracts with Malaysian companies and some are re-negotiating prices downward on their outstanding contracts.Prices are expected to slide further down.Some plantations may have to shut down production if prices fall below their costs of production. There would be major unemployment coming out of this industry if prices continue to fall.The government should remove all cess or duties on palm oil and palm oil products immediately to ease the burden.

With the big drop in export due to falling prices and declining demands overseas the forecasted growth rate next year would have to be revised to a more sensible level to keep in line with prevailing economic situation.The projected rate of 5.4% may not be achievable.

There would be significant increase in non-performing loans(NPL) and business failures.

Reduced corporate profits or losses would mean less income taxes going into government coffers, which among other things, would affect the government budget.New sources of funding would have to be found to finance the budget.Unless there is sudden upswing to the current gloomy global conditions the general economy will face serious contraction in the next few months which would affect the value of the ringgit.The ringgit may be traded at 3.80 to 4.00 range by 1st Quarter 2009 if no viable solution is found to stimulate growth.

Now that oil price has gone down substantially the prices of consumers goods have not come down and would not go down if there were no interference from the government to stop traders from profiteering.The only fast solution to bring down those prices is to bring down the price of petrol and diesel as quickly as possible.

By now the government should have a plan on how to combat the adverse effects of the global recession, somehow, there seems to be none so far.

It would be advisable to abandon the plan to prop up the shares market and set aside the money as contingency for other emergency uses should the need arises.

The next few months will see how precarious the problems would be.

Below is an extract from an article in Bernama on 25th October:
The situation has clearly made all countries vulnerable including Malaysia, an analyst said. "Eventhough the domestic economy is still strong and not expected to go into recession, foreign portfolio funds have continued to flow out to meet redemption by the investors in their respective home base.
It is economist and analyst like this that the government like to listen to.

It appears the leaders are more concerned with the UMNO Elections and spent more time jockeying for positions in the party rather than spending time to call for emergency sessions to find ways and means to shelter the nation from what would probably be the worst recessions in many decades.

The solution would be to bring the UMNO party elections back to December and be done with it so those taking the helm can get down to business of running a nation.

Note:I have earlier written this article under inappropriate title.I have added new features and updated some of the contents.I would call it re-branding and is what exactly our government need to do to get back the people's trust.They need to re-invent and re-branding.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Meet The Taliban Of America

Hantu Laut

In Afghanistan, the Talibans are well known for their religious fanatism.Their purist's version of Islam can send shivers to your bones.

The word 'taliban' means 'students' in Pashto, the Pashtun language, a branch of the Indo-European language. The Talibans think of themselves as the purists in Islam with strict adherence to its pure and original form.They enforced compliance with severe punishments.They are God's judges,jurors and executioners.

That's in Afghanistan where the Talibans have made a come back and soon will drive the American out of Afghanistan as they did to the Russian and before that the British in the Anglo-Afghan Wars.

For a change, I would like you all to meet the other kind of Talibans, the American Talibans.

Call it a gaffe, paus fax or slip of the tongue if you like but it shows the true racist and bigoted nature of these 'talibans' of modern America. These gaffe type, that what they called it when they say it, and other white supremacists group including the Ku Klux Klan which still has small pockets of member scattered all over the country would definitely vote for John McCain, another racist white supremacist.

When former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad said the Jews used proxies to fight their wars, there were huge uproar in the West by these bigots.They called Mahathir 'pariah of the world'. Saying things like that had become their form of entertainment and it is called gaffe or paus fax and not racism or bigotry.

I would call it "shit full of racism,intolerance and shitty sense of superiority".

"I don't know that atheists should be considered citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God." George Bush Sr.(President)



"I don't think that witchcraft is a religion. I wish the military would rethink this decision."*

"God told me to strike at al Qaida and I struck them, and then he instructed me to strike at Saddam, which I did, and now I am determined to solve the problem in the Middle East. If you help me I will act, and if not, the elections will come and I will have to focus on them."

"Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists."

"This crusade, this war on terrorism is going to take a while." George W. Bush (President)

"Civilized people – Muslims, Christians, and Jews – all understand that the source of freedom and human dignity is the Creator." John Ashcroft (Attorney General)

"We had lost the fight for the preservation of the white race until God himself intervened in earthly affairs with AIDS to rescue and preserve the white race that he had created.... I praise God all the time for AIDS."

"AIDS is a racial disease of Jews and Niggers, and fortunately it is wiping out the queers. I guess God hates queers for several reasons. There is one big reason to be against queers and that is because every time some white boy is seduced by a queer into becoming a queer, means his white bloodline has run out." J. B. Stoner (White Supremacist) (1924 - 2005)

"Those who control the access to the minds of children will set the agenda for the future of the nation and the future of the western world."

"State Universities are breeding grounds, quite literally, for sexually transmitted diseases (including HIV), homosexual behavior, unwanted pregnancies, abortions, alcoholism, and drug abuse."

"Today's children... They're damned. They're gone." James Dobson (Focus on the Family)

"The New York Times and Washington Post are both infested with homosexuals themselves. Just about every person down there is a homosexual or lesbian."

"All Latins are volatile people. Hence, I was not surprised at the volatile reaction."

"Your tax dollars are being used to pay for grade-school classes that teach our children that cannibalism, wife-swapping and murder of infants and the elderly are acceptable behavior."

"Homosexuals are weak, morally sick wretches." Jesse Helms (Sen. R-NC)

"Our culture is superior. Our culture is superior because our religion is Christianity and that is the truth that makes men free."
"There were no politics to polarize us then, to magnify every slight. The "negroes" of Washington had their public schools, restaurants, bars, movie houses, playgrounds and churches; and we had ours."
"Rail as they will about 'discrimination,' women are simply not endowed by nature with the same measures of single-minded ambition and the will to succeed in the fiercely competitive world of Western capitalism." Pat Buchanan (Presidential Candidate)

"The Islamic people, the Arabs, were the ones who captured Africans, put them in slavery, and sent them to America as slaves. Why would the people in America want to embrace the religion of slavers?"
"Just like what Nazi Germany did to the Jews, so liberal America is now doing to the evangelical Christians. It's no different...More terrible than anything suffered by any minority in history."
"When lawlessness is abroad in the land, the same thing will happen here that happened in Nazi Germany. Many of those people involved with Adolph Hitler were Satanists, many of them were homosexuals – the two things seem to go together."
"The feminist agenda is not about equal rights for women. It is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism, and become lesbians."
"You say you're supposed to be nice to the Episcopalians and the Presbyterians and the Methodists and this, that, and the other thing. Nonsense, I don't have to be nice to the spirit of the Antichrist."
"I know this is painful for the ladies to hear, but if you get married, you have accepted the headship of a man, your husband. Christ is the head of the household and the husband is the head of the wife, and that's the way it is, period"[Homosexuals] want to come into churches and disrupt church services and throw blood all around and try to give people AIDS and spit in the face of ministers."
"[Planned Parenthood] is teaching kids to fornicate, teaching people to have adultery, every kind of bestiality, homosexuality, lesbianism – everything that the Bible condemns."
Pat Robertson (Christian Coalition)

Quotes from the American Taliban

Monday, October 27, 2008

Masters Of War II

Hantu Laut

The 'Masters Of War' is at it again.

"I don't think that witchcraft is a religion. I wish the military would rethink this decision."

"God told me to strike at al Qaida and I struck them, and then he instructed me to strike at Saddam, which I did, and now I am determined to solve the problem in the Middle East. If you help me I will act, and if not, the elections will come and I will have to focus on them."

"Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists."

"This crusade, this war on terrorism is going to take a while."

George W.Bush

U.S. military helicopters launched an attack on Syrian territory close to the border with Iraq, killing eight people.A U.S. military official said the raid targeted the network of al-Qaida-linked foreign fighters moving through Syria into Iraq.

Would few and scattered bombings here and there on a neighbouring country stop the flow of foreign fighters into Iraq.Wouldn't policing the border and tighter border control makes more sense than bombing other sovereign nation and killing innocent lives.It goes to show the arrogance and total disregard of innocent human lives by the US Administration under the moronic George Bush, a man whose total lack of knowledge of the outside world outside America had made him quixotic and a menace to the world.He sees enemies,mostly imagined, in every Arab and Muslim nations after 9/11.His foreign policy is all about flexing muscles and gunboat diplomacy.If those options were not used than economic sanctions would be the tool of choice which the moron in the 'White House' knew very well would make the ordinary people suffered the most.The leaders of the country concerned would not suffer because with power they have access to money and other luxuries.Is America a true democracy or a fascist military regime?

The ways it goes about with its foreign policies there is little doubt that it is definitely practising double standards when dealing with other countries especially non- Occidental countries.Even worse if they are Muslims nations.

It has pointed its guns at North Korea and Iran under the pretext of trying to stop nuclear proliferation.These are small nations with inadequate military capability which it deems fit to bully.Would it dares to point it guns at the bigger power like China or Russia ?

The Korean nuclear standoff has become a high-stakes game, where the threats are potentially more dangerous than those posed by Iraq and now Iran.It is suspected to have at least one or more nuclear weapon, an extensive chemical weapons stockpile and a biological arsenal.A full scale military or nuclear strike by North Korea would be devastating to American troops in Japan and South Korean , which is the US main concern.It wouldn't care less what would happen to the population of these two countries as long as American interests are protected.It has recently toned down its military harangue against North Korea.

Like North Korea it has taken issue with Iran on its nuclear programme.The American suspected that Iran is technically capable of producing enough HEU(highly enriched uranium) toward the making of nuclear bombs.Iran has refuted the claim and said its nuclear programme are for peaceful purposes.An IAEA inspections have shown that Iran have not produced sufficient HEU for military purposes. Another IAEA report stated "there is no evidence that the previously undeclared nuclear material and activities ... were related to a nuclear weapons programme."

Iran has claimed that the military threat posed by Israel and the United States is forcing it to restrict the release of information on its nuclear programme.

Unconvinced, the US pressured the UN Security Council to pass sanctions against Iran.On 31 July 2006 the Security Council passed a resolution demanding Iran suspend its enrichment program.On 23 December 2006, the UN Security Council imposed sanctions against Iran for refusal to stop its uranium enrichment programme.

The recent unprovoked strike against Syria is to send a warning to Iran that it would face serious military action if it continues with its nuclear programme.

There is a 50/50 chance that the US will, directly or through its ally and proxy in the Middle East, Israel mount air strikes against Iran in the next few months.The military action would mainly be confined to aerial bombings of military installations but with tragic results on human lives.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Masters Of War

Hantu Laut

It's less than two weeks to the US Presidential Election and the future of America and the rest of the world, peace or turmoil, would be in the hands of the American people.A great many lives have been lost and lesser nations destroyed beyond human consideration in a war of attrition to weaken those who dares to cross the path of a mighty nation that have succumbed to the whims and fancies of self-serving and selfish leaders who cared not for human lives.This is America, a fascist military regime in the making.

These 'Masters Of War' have destroyed human lives and nations without fear of retribution.They have wrecked the global economy by contemptible financial manipulations and insatiable greed without any apathy for human sufferings and miseries caused by their contemptuous actions.

Come on! America!. Now is the time to get rid of the 'Masters of War'.Choose the better man, choose Barrack Obama, he who understands better the rest of the world and would bring peace and bring to end America's callous foreign policy.

Get rid of McCain and his gang, like Bush they are the devil incarnate and masters of war.Get rid of them so your children wouldn't have to die in their devilish wars.Send them to their graves and America back to its former glory and peace to the rest of the world. While they and their friends get richer and richer the poor American get poorer and the rest of the world in a perilous state.

Bob Dylan's
Masters Of War

Come you masters of war
You that build all the guns
You that build the death planes
You that build all the bombs
You that hide behind walls
You that hide behind desks
I just want you to know
I can see through your masks.

You that never done nothin'
But build to destroy
You play with my world
Like it's your little toy
You put a gun in my hand
And you hide from my eyes
And you turn and run farther
When the fast bullets fly.

Like Judas of old
You lie and deceive
A world war can be won
You want me to believe
But I see through your eyes
And I see through your brain
Like I see through the water
That runs down my drain.

You fasten all the triggers
For the others to fire
Then you set back and watch
When the death count gets higher
You hide in your mansion'
As young people's blood
Flows out of their bodies
And is buried in the mud.

You've thrown the worst fear
That can ever be hurled
Fear to bring children
Into the world
For threatening my baby
Unborn and unnamed
You ain't worth the blood
That runs in your veins.

How much do I know
To talk out of turn
You might say that I'm young
You might say I'm unlearned
But there's one thing I know
Though I'm younger than you
That even Jesus would never
Forgive what you do.

Let me ask you one question
Is your money that good
Will it buy you forgiveness
Do you think that it could
I think you will find
When your death takes it's toll
All the money you made
Will never buy back your soul.

And I hope that you die
And your death'll come soon
I will follow your casket
In the pale afternoon
And I'll watch while you're lowered
Down to your deathbed
And I'll stand over your grave
'Til I'm sure that you're dead.

Do not play with the bomb again !

Go to hell George Bush,John McCain and all the 'Masters of War'.

We want our "Wonderful World' back

Let's wake up to a new world free of violence,free of war and free of fascist democracy.

Free of America ?

Why Chua Soi Lek Won ?

Hantu Laut

Below is part of what I wrote in January 2008 when Chua Soi Lek was caught with his pants down having illicit sex with a woman and caught on video planted by his enemies.

"I can't recalled of any other Malaysian politician that had the guts to own up for his or her misdemeanour. Many have gone unpunished for much bigger crime.We don't seem to have a standard in dealing with errant politicians holding public office, it's kind of different strokes for different folks, the less influential and less needed, would be sacrificed.The case of a Chief Minister having sexual liaison with an underage girl was one case that didn't shook the government or prompted it to investigate, instead it sent a member of the opposition to jail for bringing the case into public domain.The then Prime Minister refused to delve any further into the case, which could have ended in statutory rape, if it was proven true.If I remember well, it was the girl that was taken to court, and sent for rehabilitation.

What Chua did was wrong from moral point of view, but it didn't bring any physical harm or injustice to the general population as much as corruption and abuse of power would have.The only person emotionally hurt would be his wife. She has, for being a devoted husband and good provider, forgiven him.

My premise on this case would not be a pleonasm of disagreement with the sentences agreed upon by his comrades in MCA and the Prime Minister.I think the man was given too many lashes, more than he deserves. The penalty was bigger than the crime.He should just have to resign his ministerial position and be allowed to keep his party position and the elected seat.

Now that Chua's political career is over, would the prime minister leave no stone unturned to get the culprits who illegally made and distributed the video?

It is obvious that in this country 'honesty is not the best policy'.Hypocrisy can save you but honesty will definitely kill you. "

I would rather have people like him in government rather than those hypocrites who indulged in bigger misconduct and dishonesty and got away with it.

He won the MCA Deputy President because of his honesty and had the balls to admit his sexual indiscretion publicly putting his relationship at risk with his wife and family.

How many men in high places, if we should call them men, would not be coward enough to admit their mistakes ?

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Longest Murder Trial In History ?

Hantu Laut

It could go down in the Guiness's Book Of World Records as the longest murder trial in the world.

After 18 months of court proceedings the case have not gotten any where nearer to conclusion.Except for a few diehard bloggers, highly motivated by politics, rather than a deep sense of seeking justice, the Malaysian public seem to have lost interest in the case.The snail's pace trial of the case and the constant hooded faces of the two accused begets more questions than answers.

The most vociferous in the blogging fraternity was Raja Petra Kamaruddin, the editor and owner of the most popular blog in the country Malaysia Today, a blog that have good following of Malaysians who are hungry for hot gossips and news not normally carried in the main stream media. A vast majority of his readers took his masterpieces against the government and the Deputy Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak as Gospel's truth.Although there might have been some truth to the many misdeeds of government reported in his blog, some appears to be politically motivated.The most controversial was his Statutory Declaration alleging the involvement of Najib and his wife in the crime based on hearsay from a third party which even the most hardened critic like America's Michael Moore would stay away from.Raja Petra is now languishing in jail under the ISA(Internal Security Act) and have other charges under the Seditious Act slapped on him.

Raja Petra's expos'e of corruptions in government have some merits and he would have made an excellent watchdog and critic if he had been independent and not aligned to any political party or politicians.It would give impartiality and plausibility to his stories.Giving over-zealous support to the oppositions and highly visible political bias against the government have made the accuracy and truthfulness of some of his stories questionable.

Statutory Declaration(SD) does not give guarantee or confirmation of the truth.Anyone can, truth or otherwise, signed a SD and swears that he/she is telling the truth.

In Sabah, SD have become instruments used by illegal immigrants to prove right of birth to get citizenships.In cahoot with ketuas kampong and native chiefs who took bribes from the illegal immigrants, these unpatriotic Malaysians would lie through their teeth and attest their signatures to the SD to confirm that MR So and So was born in the village at certain time and date and to certain parents.

Najib had denied any of the allegations against him and said it was politically motivated to smear his name.

The murder trail of Altantuya had certainly dragged on too long and the judiciary and government have certainly to blame for creating doubts in the mind of the people.

This could go down as the longest murder trail in history.

Also read:Jed Yoong's "A Malaysian Murder Trial to Nowhere."

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Ugly Extortionists

Hantu Laut

Got back my Streamyx yesterday after one week of screaming obscenities at TmNet's talking machines.They have gone completely futuristic, you talk to a machine that talk endlessly about the company but can't understand your plea for help.This company is helmed by a bunch of jackasses.A typical trademark of government-linked companies.

On 11 October I wrote on the expected price decline of crude oil due to declining demand in global consumption brought about by the global recession.

In my article "Where Crude Oil Heading For" I predicted that price would fall below the US$50 per barrel before the end of the year.OPEC is now taking steps to cut down production to stabilise prices.

Many OPEC members were over-spending their windfall for the past 18 months on the assumption that oil price would stay at high level.The spending spree in some OPEC countries have been unashamedly financed by other consuming countries forced to pay ridiculously high price for one of the most essential commodities in the modern world without which it can bring untold human miseries and paralyse the world's industry.The high price have to certain degree played an important part in the global economic chaos.

OPEC accounts for 40% of global oil supply and can influence or control prices in a stable economic situation by cutting or increasing production output.In a severe economic downturn the law of supply and demand would decide the idle price the global market should pay.The picture is increasingly moving in that direction and OPEC are now trying to stop the price free fall with cut in production, which they will find increasingly difficult to control as the recession moves into high gear in other industrialised countries.There would be major decline in industrial output in India and China starting in the 1st quarter of 2009.

OPEC countries have benefited and compensated by the strengthening of the US Dollars the past few weeks.Price is now steadying at US$67 a barrel and would dip further as more bad news come out of the global economy.

Below is what I wrote in my earlier article:

"With increasingly high unemployment in the developed economies, industrial outputs are going to plummet to a low level and consumption of energy would likewise follow.

As more people lose their jobs, businesses going into bankruptcies and reduction in global industrial outputs the demand for oil would show a sharp decline.Consumption would continue to decline as long as the global economy continue to shrink which is expected to continue well into 2009.With reduced global demand prices are expected to fall below US$50 a barrel before the year ended.

If the global recession become hard-headed and carry on without any sign of recovery than prices may even drop below US$30 per barrel by the first-half of 2009."

The oil-producing countries have had it too good and have been totally inconsiderate to poorer countries by demanding ridiculous price for their oil.

I believe crude price should stay around the US$50 per barrel, a reasonable threshold for both oil-producers and the rest of the world.

Anything more is extortion.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A Word Of Caution For The New Finance Minister

Hantu Laut

The government proposal to borrow from EPF to prop up the bearish KLSE may not be a good idea in view of the global economic uncertainty.Trading on the KLSE should be left to market forces.If the economy is as strong as the government have said umpteen times than its plan to intervene in the stocks market contradicts what it has been saying all this while.

Puting more money to help what it called laggard blue-chips stocks could end up good money chasing bad money.Such exercise will only invite the vultures to come back for the final killing.

If the government think RM5 billion is enough to prop the market and makes it look attractive to investors it would be in for a big shock when the the combined forces of the hedge funds decide to descend on the KLSE and raid the market , unless the government intend to lock up the shares bought by Valuecap, which would defeat the very purpose it was for, to create a bullish market. It would be back to square one, a lacklustre KLSE or money down the drain.

How the government wish to borrow from the EPF and on what terms, the Finance Minister had not made clear.The Board of EPF should not agree to giving loan to the government on private basis.The Board of Directors are trustees of the members of EPF and should work in the interest of the owners of the funds.

The most appropriate thing to do would be for the government to issue short-term bonds to EPF at higher yield than those of its normal bonds.The government should pay according to the rate of dividend currently paid to EPF holders.To pay anything less is unfair to EPF holders as the designated amount would have lost its opportunity cost.

Saving banks are one thing, saving a bad stocks market with the people's pension funds is not exactly prudent financial planning and not only does not make any economic sense, it does not make any sense at all.

Just a word of caution to the new Finance Minister to think over the negative side of the proposal. It is not too late to ditch the idea.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I wasn't Wrong

Hantu Laut

I wasn't wrong in my suspicion of the government intention to prop up the stocks market.

Below is what I wrote on 9 October, the full article here.

"Surprisingly, while all other Asian markets went down quite substantially the KLSE went down only 2.71%.Is our fundamentals really that strong and investors confidence unshaken in spite of all the bad news on the global financial markets? Is the government trying to prop up the market to avert panic selling? If that is the case how long can the government continue to do so and where are the funds coming from? Let's hope it is not our money or worse still the EPF money."

Read the article below:

EPF to lend the RM5b to fund Valuecap

By Adib Zalkapli

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 21 — Finance Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said today the government will borrow RM5 billion from the Employees Provident Fund to fund government investment agency Valuecap Sdn Bhd.

"It's not part of the Consolidated Fund. It's a loan from EPF," said Najib.

The Deputy Prime Minister pointed out that the loan would not be part of the Budget 2009 allocations for spending announced last month.

Yesterday, Najib announced a host of measures to boost the economy and protect Malaysia from the effects of the global financial turmoil.

These included spending more on the service sector to cushion expected declines in Malaysia's exports.

Also, RM5 billion would be injected into Valuecap to buy undervalued stocks.

Valuecap was set up five years ago to invest in undervalued firms.

The government hopes the injection will offer much needed support for laggard blue-chip stocks in the local bourse.

The Finance Minister is expected to announce more measures on Nov 4 when he winds up the debate on the Budget in Parliament. Read more.......

Is the government paying good money to chase bad money.

Beware of the vultures (hedge funds) they may come back to take your money away.

Siapa Kata Malaysia Boleh ?

Hantu Laut

My streamyx has been down for 3 days now.Called TmNet twice but still no sign of the trouble being rectified or anyone turning up at my house to check whether the problem is at home.My phone line is working and I believe my payment is up to date so I can rule out that those were not the source of the problem.

The problem with this country is they take your money and provide you with crappy services and sold you 'broadband' which aren't broadband at all.If you don't pay up in time they disconnect the service without any mercy and when the service is down they don't give a damn and don't compensate you.

I lived in Singapore over 25 years ago. If you applied for a phone line it would be installed either the same day or latest the next day.If there were something wrong with your phone, likewise, you get immediate attention.If you get too many crank calls you can apply for unlisted number. It means your name is not listed on the phone directory so those sickos who masturbate over the phone and let you hear their sexual fantasy have no access to your number.We applied, our number was changed the same day.No questions asked.

Mind you! that was 25 years ago and the Internets have not been invented yet. Tell that to any Malaysian bumiputra and don't be surprised if 7 out of 10 will tell "Singapore is a small country, lah! easier to manage lah!, this lah!, that lah!. I say bullshit lah! Why don't we just learn from them and all we need to do is drive across the causeway and open our eyes,our ears and our screwed up brains and say that this is what we want for our country.

We returned to Malaysia in the early nineties and lived in Taman Duta and guess what, it took almost a month before our phone was connected and to cut the story short we did get crank calls every now and then and so naturally we asked Telecom for unlisted number and guess what we were told "Encik, minta maaf yah! itu unlisted number kami reserve hanya untuk VIP" Great! no point arguing with this kind of stupid policy.Might as well forget it and accept the fact that we are back in our beloved country--- 'Malaysia Boleh'

I was in Kuala Lumpur two weeks ago and stayed five minutes walk from the KLCC, in the deep commercial hub of the city.The hotel provided one free so-called 'broadband' connection.If anything that can ruin my whole day it would be what I called 'unexpected disappointment'.The bloody streamyx was worse than the one I have at home in Sabah and mind you that was in the heart of Kuala Lumpur.

I say to TMNet and Telecom Malaysia take your money and put it in where your mouth is.

This article is posted using public wi-fi.My streamyx is still out.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Lim Kit Siang:Incessant Barking

Hantu Laut

They have taken the meaning of their roles literally in every sense of the word and opposed for the sake of opposing.More often then not some of them acted like a bunch of spoilt brats making incomprehensible and useless noises that have no constructive contributions to the betterment of society and the nation.They are all noises but no punches.

The rumoured appointment of the next Chief Justice was a case which didn't merit any controversy but yet the oppositions, for the sake of making noises, were critical and condemned the choice of Tan Sri Zaki Azmi just because he was an ex-legal adviser to UMNO.Zaki have yet to be officially appointed to the post.

The most vocal critic is the head honco of DAP, the iriscible and self-opinionated Mr Lim Kit Siang who have never found a drop of goodness in the government since time immemorial.He is also the loudest and noisiest vessel in Parliament.A man who sees evil lurking in every nook and cranny of government.A man drowning in his own false dogmas of morality.

The nomination of names are the prerogative of the Prime Minister who would submit the names to the Agong, who, in consultation with the Conference of Rulers would than give his royal assent to the appointment.The final choice lies with the Agong and Conference of Rulers, not the Prime Minister.

There is nothing illegal or constitutionally wrong in the appointment of the Chief Justice or for that matter of all the judges for all the courts in the country.The vetting and selection process have gone through sufficient filtering and the appointment is in accordance with Article 122B of the Constitution.

From the Prime Minister to the Agong, to the Conference of Rulers and back to the Agong.Isn't that more than sufficient.To question the choice is showing disrespect for the Agong and the Conference of Rulers.

With his usual rhetoric and opposition to anything and everything he has put the cart before the horse and questioned albeit indirectly the competency of the Agong and Conference of Rulers in their decision making.

Below is part of what he wrote in his blog.

"This is not only not so, the Prime Minister has shown utter disregard and contempt for the widespread objections of the legal community and civil society to the appointment of the first Umno Chief Justice in the 51-year history of the nation!

In the circumstances, it is most regrettable and deplorable that Abdullah had stuck to his guns that Zaki be appointed the new Chief Justice, despite being forewarned that it would plunge the country into a new judicial crisis of confidence and a new era of judicial darkness.

Is Zaki capable of providing the necessary judicial leadership to ensure that Malaysia can rise above the past two decades of judicial darkness, plunging from one judicial scandal and crisis of confidence to another, and which reduced the Malaysian judiciary from its previous high international standing into a laughing stock for lack of independence, impartiality and integrity of the judiciary?

Pakatan Rakyat MPs must now decide whether to invoke Article 127 of the Malaysian Constitution which empowers the tabling in Parliament a substantive motion to debate the suitability and the merits/demerits of Zaki as the new Chief Justice provided it has the support of at t least a quarter of the Members of Parliament, i.e. 55 MPs.

If such a substantive motion is presented in Parliament, it would be the first time in Malaysian parliamentary and constitutional history."

The system of appointment of our Chief Justice and judges of the various courts in the country is better than that of the US.In the US the President nominates the name and the Senate approves it.In the UK, the Lord Chancellor similarly was appointed by the monarch upon the advice of the Prime Minister.

Lim Kit Siang talk of invoking Article 127 of the Malaysian Constitution is a disrespect for the Agong and the Malay rulers.His prejudgement that the man is already guilty even before the commission of the crime is I would say most unbecoming of him as a veteran politician.

I believe the the invocation of Article 127 is appropriate and makes more sense to call for substantive motion to discuss the behaviour of an errant Chief Justice or judges who were already on the job and has committed serious breach of judicial duties or some other criminal act.Lim is putting the cart before the horse.

How does he know that Zaki is going to be a bad judge? Who says there is widespread objections from the legal community and civil society? Has Lim done a reliable public opinion polls to claim the truth of his allegations.Why must the government listen to the Bar Council when they have shown partiality and bias against the government?

The government is duly elected by the people and it is absurd and a mockery of the democratic system if it has to consult every lawyers in town or the people, every now and then, before making any decision.What's the point of having elections ?

Obviously, empty vessel makes the loudest noise.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Return To Past Glory: Will UMNO Be In The Death Throes ?

Hantu Laut

If UMNO think with the exit of Abdullah they can go back to its former tough and rough ways of governing the nation to gain back its past glory, they are dead wrong! Things and time have changed.People are more conscious of their rights now after many years of non-egalitarian,oligarchy, injurious and imprudent government.

The return to the old ways of Mahathirism would be suicidal for the BN (Barisan Nasional).It has worked well during his time but time has changed.There is now greater awareness on good governance and the people wouldn't accept anything less.The BN may last this term but if they don't change there will be changes at the next general elections.That would be their death throes

Since the inconceivably bad results obtained by the BN at the March 8 General Elections many articles have been written about why and where Abdullah had failed that have made him the most unpopular prime minister and a government in political dire straits.The government is practically under siege since then.

The Star has on Friday 17th October published an article by P.Gunasegaram that gave the most accurate picture of the root causes of Abdullah's problems and failures that led to the eventual diminution of support for the BN.The article is

Friday, October 17, 2008

Contempt Of Court ?

Hantu Laut

On 17 Sept the Federal Court upheld a decision by the High Court in Kuantan which on 25 May 2007 ordered the Government of Pahang to pay Seruan Gemilang Makmur Sdn.Bhd the sum of RM60 million for damages for breach of contract.

The company was given the right to log 4,000 hectares of forest concession by the Pahang State Government.The government subsequently allowed a third party to enter part of the area to carry out logging activities.The company sued the government for RM60 million and was awarded damages by the High Court.The government appealled to the Federal Court but lost the case.

The Pahang Government have not paid the company in spite of court order given by the Federal Court, the highest court in the country.The company have now applied for an order of mandamus to compel the government to pay.

What should be done if leaders of government have no respect of the law and the nation's highest court? Not respecting the court order is contempt of court and the court if it so wishes can send the person concerned for custodial sentence.

There are four elements that construe contempt.These are:

existence of a lawful order.
the contemnor's knowledge of the order.
the contemnor's ability to comply.
the contemnor's failure to comply.

If the Menteri Besar of Pahang has all of the above than the court should take serious view of his action and deal with him in accordance with the letter of the law.

There may be a law against seizure of government assets which gave the company no other choice but to apply for the 'order of mandamus' to compel the Menteri Besar to pay up.

If government can enforce its claims against its citizens for breach of contract, it has no right to be more equal than others.

I hope the court will take serious view of the disrespect for the court.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Malaysia Fast Asleep

Hantu Laut

"Yesterday the Dow went up 11% and every where other markets soared.The Nikkei went up 12% in a day.Will the trend continue or was it a flash in the pan before the big dive to the abyss of economic disaster." Hantu Laut, Wednesday 14 Oct.

That what I said when the world's stock exchanges made dramatic recovery 3 days ago on a false sense of emboldened euphoria.The good feelings have now manifested into stark reality that the world might have to face the inevitable adversity of its own making.What happened to the world's economy today is not adventitious but the result of human folly.

As citizens I think we have the right to know what actions the government has in store to lessen the burden on the people in the event we go into a recession.High unemployment and business failures are two most imminent things in a recession.

The Nikkei was down 11.41% at today's closing, Hong Kong about 7% and Seoul 9.44%.The European markets which had just opened declined with the London FTSE down 5.17%.Most of the gains on Tuesday's rally have either been completely wiped out or are in bigger negative territory.

Bad news bear no significant in Malaysia where politics is still the master of the day.The sky might come down on Malaysia and if pigs have wings we would still be as strong as ever and no conundrum is beyond our ability to overcome.Both the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister have full confidence in our economy to being able to withstand the onslaught of the global recession.

Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Najib Tun Razak visited Kota Kinabalu yesterday to officially launch the Sabah International Expo 2008 and said "We Won't Fare Badly" and that the Malaysian economy is resilient and can withstood the global financial meltdown and recession.

I expect the KLCI to drop at least between 3 to 4% at today's closing.The ball will start rolling down hill from now on with small rebounds every now and then before the finale.

"The whole world is in financial turmoil.Malaysia is still in a slumber.More concerned with politics than state of the economy.The KLSE is the only exchange that is not in sync with the other markets.Are we fundamentally strong or are we living in a state of denial.Watch the market next week." Hantu Laut, Friday Oct 10

Malaysian leaders need to wake up to reality.Even our neighbour down south, Singapore has officially announced they are going into a recession and here, they are still playing politics and telling the people not to worry as we can overcome the crisis.

Can we ?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Who Put The Skeletons In Najib's Closet ?

Hantu Laut

There is concerted effort to discredit Najib as much as possible before he ascends to the premiership.As the saying goes 'throw mud enough, some will stick'

The recent article in "Abuse Of Power By The Deputy Prime Minister" that appeared in Malaysia Today where the writer claimed abuse of power by the DPM and gave a list of unsubstantiated SMS communications between Najib and lawyer Shafee Abdullah initially assigned to defend Razak Beginda who was charged with abetting in the murder of Mongolian model Altantuya Shaariibuu.Razak Beginda is a close friend and adviser to Najib.

The reason I called it unsubstantiated is because it would have been more plausible if he had given a photocopy of the print out from the server.Surprisingly, some popular blogs including newsportal Malaysiakini carried the story on their websites.

It makes one wonder how a person can compile a complete list of SMSs for 24 days from the 8 November to 2 December 2006 with such dexterous result.It would be interesting to find out if this person is in possession of the original print out from the server of the telecom company concerned and who in the company gave him the information, if what was published is true and not fabricated.It is amazing how a private communication between two persons can end up in the hand of another person.Is everything for sale in this country? With million of messages going through those servers every day how long are they kept in the server before they are discarded?

Some time ago Raja Petra published the same transcriptions in Malaysia Today.Whether it is the same one I haven't the faintest idea.Raja Petra seems to have the canny ability to get privy to information that most ordinary people wouldn't be able to get.He does better police work than the police.

It is not impalpable that when someone close to you is in trouble you have a natural instinct to help to the best of your ability.If your close friend or your brother is accused of murder which is a capital crime, wouldn't you be concerned and try your best to save him within the confine of the law? Has Najib broken the law by showing concern and trying to help his friend until he found the case was hopeless and withdrew because of his position in government? If Najib is guilty of a crime would he be so stupid to incriminate himself by using SMSs to communicate with a criminal lawyer who happened to be one of the best in the country.Wouldn't the lawyer knew better than to leave their footprints all over the place if he thinks Najib is involved.Only guilty people will always want to cover their tracks.

If one care to read properly the exchanges of conversation in the SMSs it is clear that they are open to interpretation at one's whim and fancy. Were there any wording to show Najib intend to commit abuse of power in those communications?The last conversation was the most telling when Shafee SMS him as follows.

Saturday 2/12/2006

S2N Date: 2/12/2006 18:59:15

--> Dato Seri, Got some info that are troubling.Quite serious.Are you in Taman Duta?Can we meet? Salam, Shafee

After the last message I believe Shafee withdrew from the case.I suspect he must have found something sinister that makes it untenable for him to carry on with the defence.How and why the writer concluded that Najib abused his position as DPM is beyond me.

Did Najib tried to stop the investigation and stop the case from going to court? Did the next of kin of the murdered girl lodged a police report that Najib interfered or attempted to interfere in the case? Did the police complain that the DPM tried to interfere in police work?

Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim has called on the police to investigate the matter?Don't you think it is absurd that the police have to waste their time to investigate every dubious story about politicians carried on the blogs on the Internets.The story didn't even carry the name of the writer. I find it is also absurd that a learned person like Anwar can give credence to a story that has no basis for official investigation.Read some of the comments from pro-Anwar blogs here and here and here .

It is foregone conclusion that we already knew the answer in the event of a police investigation Malaysian Today will refuse to divulge its source.

I don't see any abuse of power in the SMS messages other than a concern for a dear friend.Of course the oppositions will take every opportunity to make a mountain out of a molehill and accused him of abuse of power.

I have always been a sceptic and always give people the benefit of the doubt and would give Najib this one.I strongly feel there is something wrong somewhere, as the whole story just don't seem to fit together.

With Najib in such powerful position he could have killed the case at the early stage of police investigation and it would have never reached the court and the ears of the public.Everything will be hushed-up and the founding of Altantuya remains would never be known.

I am sure the police would have informed Najib about his friend involvement before the case went public.This happened not only in Malaysia.Even in developed countries in the West if a close associate of the President or Prime Minister is involved in serious crime they would be inform first as a matter of courtesy before the case goes public.

If your very close friend or brother was found guilty of murder would you be guilty by association? Sometimes, you don't even know what your own brother is up to, let alone your friends.A drowning man will clutch at a straw.Sometimes, those in distress would go down alone but there are some who want to bring the whole world down with them.Human aren't all that perfect.Some are liars,some are saints.

The oppositions and those with devious agenda have not ceased the mud-slinging and more is expected to come from now on and it wouldn't be, impertinent on my part, to say that much of the seedy sauces came from someone that have vested interest in taking over the helm.

Some time ago at the early stages of the Altantuya court proceedings there was a big hullabaloo about a photograph of Najib having dinner together with the late Altantuya and Beginda in a posh restaurant in Paris.None of those witnesses who said to have seen the photograph have delivered them to the court.The opposition in their desperate attempt to implicate Najib did the unthinkable.They doctored a photograph and posted it on the Internet showing the three having a cosy dinner in a not very elegant looking restaurant.With hundreds of million ringgit in commission collected Beginda must be a pathetically stingy man to bring his darling mistress to such hovel.An empty restaurant and a table meant for two but sat three people.Some people simply have no taste.

Till today not a single photograph of Najib and her had been found which seemed very odd if they have been out together there sure to be some photographs taken by her.Most young girls would like to show off their famous paramour to their friends.An outgoing girl and extrovert like the late Altantuya would be more than willing to show-off her secret lover to her friends.Don't tell me Rosmah has bought all the photographs and destroyed them.Amazingly, even her parents did not have such photographs and Mr Shaariibuu have not made any hint or allegation that her daughter knew Najib.

The photo was the handiwork of Tian Chua of PKR.Now, it makes one wonder whose handiwork was the SMS transcriptions published in Malaysia Today.

Raja Petra's Statutory Declaration implicating Najib and his wife in the murder of the Mongolian girl was investigated by the police.When asked for the source of his information he refused to give it to the police citing protection of his source material.

Raja Petra had taken the same stand as Judith Miller of the New York Times who was sent to jail for contempt of court by refusing to divulge the name of her confidential source of information in a case involving the CIA.Before taken into custody Miller told the judge "If journalists cannot be trusted to guarantee confidentiality,then journalists cannot function and there cannot be a free press."

Miller, who conducted interviews but never wrote an article about the C.I.A. operative, joins a line of journalists who have accepted jail time rather than betray their sources' confidences. That tradition, according to Judge Hogan, does not deserve respect.

But than Miller is a journalist whose bread and butter depended on her profession and the integrity of her keeping her promise.Raja Petra run a personal blog that have become popular for its sensationalism and creative writing.

Both the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister had taken what most Western leaders would have taken against disparaging articles on the Internet, ignore them.

It is not worthwhile to go down to their detractors level to answer to dubious allegations.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Badawi's State Of Euphoria II

Hantu Laut

Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi is confident that Malaysia will not have a recession and will not be affected by the contagion of the global financial meltdown.He said we have a strong reserves, strong surpluses,high savings and a stable currency.These are all true and there is no doubt that Malaysia can ride over the global upheaval provided the government took measures to pump the economy and keep investors' confidence alive.

In this particular exercise keeping the banking system liquid and no tightening of credit would help keep normal businesses to function and confidence in the economy for new investments.However, GDP growth may be affected by declining industrial output due to declining demands from overseas markets.This will not give us any choice or flexibility.

Malaysia is a major exporting nation and most of our manufactured products are exported overseas.The US is the biggest market for Malaysian products.To say we will not suffer the effect of the contagion may not be all that true.With less demand there would be decline in our industrial output and that would mean rising unemployment due to retrenchment of workers,reduced GDP growth and less spending.With less economic activity there would be less consumer's spending which is an essential element in a thriving economy.

With less economic activities and falling prices of crude oil the government would have less revenue in the form of reduction of income taxes,other taxes and less oil revenue.

Government debt is expected to rise substantially to meet the shortfall by the issuance of government bonds.A strong reserve is one thing.It is money to back liabilities and currency, not spending money, unless the government is thinking of drawing on the reserve.A currency is only as good as the confidence it has in the foreign exchange market and this confidence can evaporate very quickly if there were erosion of confidence in the economy.

A recent example of how fast a currency can depreciate is the Australian Dollar that was trading against the ringgit at its highest of 3.15 in June/July this year is now around 2.20 and against the US Dollar at o.98 and now 0.65.

For some unknown reason there always seems to be a time lag of 6 to 12 months before we catch the flu.Past recessions had shown that this region did not get the immediate effect of recession in the West but only suffered the consequence much later.

Although the global economy is more resilient now and many lessons have been learned from past upheavals, the recent meltdown that caused failure of the financial system were human greed compounded by government failure to regulate the financial markets.

Yesterday the Dow went up 11% and every where other markets soared.The Nikkei went up 12% in a day.Will the trend continue or was it a flash in the pan before the big dive to the abyss of economic disaster.

I believe the markets would stay good as long as the leaders of the world continue to support the bailouts of the troubled global economy.Any slackening of this support would spell disaster.

In the 1930s Depression 744 US banks failed in the first 10 months of 1930 and a total of 9,000 banks failed throughout the period.With almost everything including food production on downward spiral there were widespread hardship and starvation and it was the worse depression in modern history.Its recovery culminated with the 2nd World War.

The world leaders had probably learned from it and took immediate action to intervene in the present financial meltdown before it went out of control.

The government should not listen to Anwar Ibrahim asking for review of the budget.Any cut in development expenditure would dull economic activities and bring about economic downturn, which was exactly what he wanted to happen just to discredit the government and gave him opportunity to take over.What the government need to do is to trim operating expenditure and downsize the civil service.A chance I believe the government wouldn't dare take.

However, it would be imperative for Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and his successor Najib Tun Razak to ensure that money are wisely spent and ensure less wastage through corruption,nepotism and cronyism.

Majority of Malaysians are fed up with the excesses of those in power.Now is the time to show the people that the government is capable of change.

Read also:
Badawi's State Of Euphoria

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Pied Piper Of Permatang Pauh

Hantu Laut

Anwar Ibrahim yesterday put the blame on Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi for the delay in the oppositions attempt to form the government and insisted that he had the numbers to take over the government on 16 September 2008 but failed because Badawi refused to step down and hand over the government to him.He now set December 8 as his next game of blind man's buff.

Which idiot is going to give him the government on the platter? Which idiot is going to buy his story when they knew fully well he his bluffing? Not only he tried to bluff Abdullah and the BN, he also bluffed members of his coalition and his supporters by saying he can't reveal the names of those BN MPs that have agreed to join him because the Prime Minister would use dirty tactics to stop them and the sad thing is his followers believed him.DAP and PAS swallowed the crap hook,line and sinker.

The problem with Anwar is he has become victim of his own bluff.If you have enough MPs to form the government the right thing to do is to assemble all of them and march to Puterajaya
and demand the resignation of the Prime Minister and than go to Parliament and exercise your constitutional rights.Pass a vote of no confidence against the PM if he refused to resign.In fact he can do it today when Parliament reconvened.That's what astute and honest politician should do instead of making a fool of oneself by making all kinds of false claims.

It's the same kind of rubbish he came up with by accusing the BN of rigging the elections.How would he explains the unprecedented and unbelievable results obtained by the oppositions in the March General Elections if the BN rigged the elections.The oppositions captured 5 states and got 82 MPs and denied the BN of two-thirds majority.The BN was wiped out in the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur.Sad to say he gave his followers blinkers to wear so they couldn't see the sides of the track.

He said there will be fireworks today in Parliament on debate of the budget.Malaysians are looking forward to him taking a pragmatic and sensible approach on debate of the budget and not just screaming his head off just to make senseless noise to keep his supporters besotted to him with his endless rhetoric.

Anwar Ibrahim has come to a stage where he believes in his own lies.He epitomises a demagogic preacher.His followers believed him without a shadow of a doubt.These are the early signs and one of the most essential ingredient in the making of a dictator, blind and unquestionable loyalty. This is not to say that he definitely would end up being a dictator if he comes to power but the people are giving him the opportunity to be one.

PAS and DAP are watching him closely as to where he is leading them to.His repeated failure to make good his promise in taking over the government would soon weaken the solidarity of this loose coalition and lost of confidence in him.

They say revenge is sweet, that probably sits at the top of his priority list more than anything else.

Give it another year, if no government,the coalition will break up.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Where Crude Oil Heading For?

Hantu Laut

Have we reached 'peak oil'? Would the world's industrial output come to a grinding halt when we ran out of fossil fuel.

Peak oil is not about absolute depletion of crude oil and the world running out of it.It is a theory of whether oil extraction have reached its peak and in terminal decline as featured in the 'Hubbart Curve'.

Below is Hubbart's theoretical chart

Click to read:

From the said chart he theorised that oil extraction would decline to zero by the year 2200.

Will it happen? I would think so, maybe, not on the exact Hubbart's time frame, but the day would come when mother earth would run out of fossil fuel. I am also optimistic that by then humans would have found abundance of alternative sources of energy through technological advancement and new inventions capable of mass production of energy producing substances.

The recent high oil prices we saw this year was not the consequence of the law of supply and demand but has an added element of human greed in the form of speculation of oil futures.Again greedy speculators took advantage of this forward and futures contracts and took it to the casinos.

In 1972 the price of crude oil was around US$3.00 a barrel.During the Yom Kippur War or the Arab Oil Embargo in 1973/74 the price of oil quadrupled to US$12.00, not because of shortages but because of Arab's anger at America and the West for having sided with Israel.The Arabs put a brake on productions that increased the price.This year we saw the highest price of over US$150 per barrel fuelled by rising demands and needless to say price highly aggravated by speculations.

Prices have begun to fall over recent weeks as speculators moved out of the market in anticipation of the financial market collapse.The crude oil market is now finding its own price level.

Below is a chart showing the prices of crude between 1947 to May 2008:

Crude Oil Prices 1947-2007
Click to enlarge

With increasingly high unemployment in the developed economies, industrial outputs are going to plummet to a low level and consumption of energy would likewise follow.

As more people lose their jobs, businesses going into bankruptcies and reduction in global industrial outputs the demand for oil would show a sharp decline.Consumption would continue to decline as long as the global economy continue to shrink which is expected to continue well into 2009.With reduced global demand prices are expected to fall below US$50 a barrel before the year end.

If the global recession become hard-headed and carry on without any sign of recovery than prices may even drop below US$30 per barrel by the first-half of 2009.

It may sound like good news but it is not.In fact it is a scary scenario, it means the global economy is in the doldrums and there would be widespread hardship among the populace of the world.

Those who have cash are kings and can go bargain hunting.

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