Thursday, September 18, 2008

FINANCIAL TURMOIL


As posted by Dr. Mahathir Mohamad at www.chedet.com on September 18, 2008 3:45 PM

1. The world is going through financial turmoil but most Malaysian politicians especially those in the Government seem blissfully unaware or unconcerned. Already 10 major banks in America have collapsed. The almighty US Dollar has depreciated. Now the huge insurance corporation, the American International Group is on the verge of bankruptcy.

2. In the last three quarters AIG lost US$18.5 billion dollars (68 billion Ringgit). AIG is struggling to raise funds to overcome its difficulties. If it fails it may have to opt for bankruptcy. But AIG is going to lose even more.

3. The failures are all due to playing with money, selling mortgages, selling papers and all kinds of financial dealings which have been invented by the finance houses in order to make huge sums of money out of nothing. Currency trading is one of them.

4. I am not a financial expert but I see trouble coming our way. Our currency should be appreciating against the cheaper US Dollar. But instead it is depreciating. This must be caused by weaknesses in our economy.

5. Despite Government propaganda through the controlled media that we are doing well, the reality is otherwise. The foreign investors, including Arabs came, and the reports claim that hundreds of millions of Ringgit in investment would be coming in, but there is no sign that the investors are actually investing. In fact I hear in the IT sector a proposed 600 million Ringgit investment has been withdrawn.

6. Apart from Arabs buying up new skyscrapers there is no sign that investments are really coming in.

7. I talked to potential investors and they told me they would not be investing and they are pulling out from the Malaysian stock market. The KLSE figures show how much market capital has disappeared. I am told that it is more than 100 billion Ringgit.

8. In the meantime the prices of oil and foodstuff are high and may go higher. But incomes are not increasing. In other words we are experiencing inflation. When the American financial crisis really hits us we may not be able to handle it.

9. Dato Seri Najib Tun Razak's appointment as Minister of Finance has come at a crucial time. I pray and hope he will be able to handle the impending crisis. If he fails then he will have to take the blame. Dato Seri Abdullah is now only involved in social issues, reform (of what?) and Islam Hadari. Appropriately he has taken over the Ministry of Defence.

10. We are in for a very interesting time. The PM should read carefully SAPP President Yong Teck Lee's press statement. But I don't think he would. He is reputed to have told Malaysian diplomats undergoing training that if they are asked critical questions they should "buat bodoh" i.e. pretend to be stupid. I believe that is precisely what Abdullah would do to Yong's statement.

PS

1. I read this morning that the Federal Reserve Bank will loan to AIG US$85 billion to prevent it from going into bankruptcy.

2. I remember well how we were told never to bail out failing companies. But in the last one year the Fed has bailed out dozens of failing banks, mortgage corporations and other businesses. Altogether the bail out has cost the Fed almost US$500 billion dollars.

3. I just wonder where the money comes from. Does the Fed hold hundreds of billions of dollars in readiness to rescue failed banks? I don't think so.

4. The money used is "created" through entries in account books. No cash or dollar notes are issued or even printed. Like a magician, the Fed make money from invisible sources.

5. Whatever, the USD will continue to fall.

6. Malaysia would be wise to get rid of dollar holdings. This goes for Bank Negara too. It must have lost quite a bit because of the depreciation of the USD.