Thursday, January 7, 2010

BAIL-OUTS AND BUY-OUTS

As posted by Dr. Mahathir Mohamad at Che Det on January 7, 2010 8:56 AM

1. When the currencies of East Asia were being devalued in 1997-98 the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank offered to help with loans. However the offer was conditional.

2. The countries must open their economies to foreign capital including the buying up of their businesses by foreigners.

3. The effect of currency devaluation is to reduce the value of the countries' business in terms of foreign (US Dollar) currency. In addition the financial crisis would make the businesses less profitable or unprofitable so that their market value in local currency would be depressed.

4. For example if the local business is worth RM100 million in local currency, equivalent to US40 million at 2.5 Ringgit to the US Dollar, a devaluation to five Ringgit to the US Dollar would bring down the value of the business to US20 million.

5. If because of the crisis the value of the business in the local currency falls by 30 per cent i.e. to 70 million Ringgit, then the foreign buyer need to pay only 14 million in US currency.

6. Thus a business that was worth US40 million Dollars could be bought for only US14 million Dollars because of the effect of devaluing the currency by 50 per cent.

7. Obviously if foreign capital was allowed to buy local businesses at the time of the financial crisis, it would have acquired the local business very, very cheaply.

8. If after they had bought all the banks and businesses at these low prices, the devaluation of the currency is stopped, the value of the entities acquired by the foreigners would recover. They could then sell their acquisitions at a high price and make large profits.

9. We must not suspect that the IMF and the World Bank was collaborating with these foreign investors to rape the countries concerned. They are too honorable. But the fact remains that the condition that the domestic market must be open to foreign investors brought about the results stated above.

10. Malaysia decided not to borrow from the IMF and not to open its market. We decided to bailout our companies which were in distress.

11. Bailout means putting in money to revive the business but the ownership of the business remains with the original owner. That is what the US Government did when their banks were going bankrupt. The ownership of the banks and businesses bailed out by the US Government remained with the original owners.

12. But when foreign or local capital bought up the failed or distressed companies, they were not bailing out these companies. They were simply taking advantage of the financial problems of the companies to buy at fire-sale prices.

13. Frequently the amount the owners get for the sale of their businesses were not sufficient for payment of their debts even.

14. This is what is meant by a buyout. The owners were forced to part with their businesses at a loss. This is not a bailout.

15. It is important to understand the difference. Very frequently those who want to bad-mouth certain people would accuse them of being bailed out when they were in fact being forced to accept a buyout at fire-sale prices because of the distress caused by the devaluation of the currency.

16. The US Government bailed out the failed banks and businesses with trillions of dollars during the present crisis. Yet the United States and their media condemned the countries of East Asia for doing the same on a smaller scale. This is a blatant example of double standards and hypocrisy of monumental proportions.

KONTROVERSI KEGUNAAAN KALIMAH "ALLAH"

As posted by Dr. Mahathir Mohamad at Che Det on January 5, 2010 10:00 AM

1. Ingin saya terangkan secara lebih terperinci pendapat saya berkenaan kegunaan kalimah "Allah" untuk agama yang bukan Islam.

2. Sebenarnya kontroversi ini bermula di waktu saya masih Perdana Menteri. Pendapat Kabinet pada masa itu ialah kegunaannya dalam kitab Injil adalah perkara yang sensitif. Perkara yang sensitif seperti ini tidak boleh diselesaikan dengan hanya merujuk kepada undang-undang.

3. Sebagai perbandingan agak mudah dirujukkan perkataan "kaum pendatang" kepada mahkamah, Tetapi ia adalah sesuatu yang sensitif yang tidak dapat diselesaikan oleh undang-undang.

4. Penyelesaian kontroversi berkenaan kalimah "Allah" juga tidak boleh dicapai dengan membuat rayuan kepada mahkamah rayuan. Undang-undang tidak mengambilkira soal sensitif atau tidaknya sesuatu, soal mencetuskan ketegangan dan permusuhan antara penganut-penganut agama yang berlainan. Undang-undang mengutamakan maksud undang-undang sahaja.

5. Sebenarnya kalimah "Allah" tidak terdapat dalam kitab Taurat atau Talmud Hebrew atau kitab Injil Kristian dalam bahasa Latin, Greek atau bahasa-bahasa Eropah. Nama bagi Tuhan dalam bahasa yahudi ialah "Yahweh", yang diterjemahkan kepada bahasa Inggeris sebagai "Jehovah".

6. Dalam kitab Injil, Jesus (Isa) dan God adalah sama. Tidak ada kalimah Allah dalam kitab Injil dalam bahasa-bahasa yang disebut di atas.

7. Dalam usaha menerangkan agama Kristian di kalangan orang Islam atau masyarakat yang mahir dengan agama Islam, perkataan God diterjemah kepada "Allah" supaya mudah difaham oleh pendengar.

8. Mungkin juga kalimah "Allah" dapat menyamakan agama Kristian dengan agama Islam kerana menyembah Tuhan yang sama. Dengan ini penerimaan agama Kristian oleh orang Islam boleh jadi lebih mudah. Terjemahan ini salah. Sepatutnya perkataan "Tuhan" digunakan untuk God.

9. Tetapi dalam agama Kristian terdapat konsep "Trinity" yang mana terdapat "God the Father, God the Son and the Holy Ghost". Jika dalam bahasa Melayu terdapat dalam kitab Injil atau syarahan berkenaan "Allah sebagai Bapak, Allah sebagai Anak dan Roh yang Suci", maka tentulah ini akan ditentang oleh orang Islam. Dalam Islam Allah tidak ada bapak, tidak ada anak. Ia tidak dilahirkan dan Ia tidak melahirkan sesiapa. Allah hanya satu. Ia tidak boleh disekutu dengan sesiapa.

10. Di Amerika Syarikat, orang Kristian yang sudah tidak teguh iman biasa berkata dan menulis, "God is dead". Apakah perasaan orang Islam apabila ini diganti denagn "Allah is dead"?

11. Di Semenanjung Malaysia kita tidak pernah mendengar orang Kristian menggunakan kalimah "Allah" apabila bercakap berkenaan God dalam bahasa Melayu. Kenapa pula kita sekarang akan mengguna kalimah ini?

12. Saya harap pihak Kerajaan berhati-hati dalam perkara ini supaya negara berbilang agama yang aman ini tidak menjadi tegang dan tidak stabil secara berterusan. Wallahua'lam.

THE WEALTH OF NATIONS

As posted by Dr. Mahathir Mohamad at Che Det on January 4, 2010 6:55 AM

1. Adam Smith wrote about the above title a long time ago (1757). He talked about invisible hands which were instrumental in growing the wealth of nations.

2. In the latest financial crisis in the United States the invisible hands certainly played a big role. It took the form of abuses of the banking, monetary and financial system.

3. Pushed out of the international market place by the cheaper and better manufactured goods of the East Asian countries the West turned towards the financial system in order to enrich themselves. The opportunities for abuses were abundant.

4. They discovered that banks could create money out of thin air; without Government control (free market) any amount of loans of non-existent money could be given by the banks; the sale of commodities need not involve the commodities at all. It is the same with selling shares and currencies; having physical possession is not necessary. Sell and buy imaginary shares and make tons of profit.

5. Their fertile brain soon gave birth to hedge funds, short selling, leveraged purchases, junk bonds, currency trade, free markets etc etc.

6. All these systems promised great wealth to speculators and manipulators without the need to produce or possess anything. Better still they need not employ substantial number of workers who may make demands and threaten business with industrial action.

7. A good example is the trade in commodities. Without possession of the physical commodity, a speculator may sell huge quantities of it. The effect of this dumping is to depress the price of the commodity. When the price reached a low level the sellers would buy the commodity to deliver to the buyers that they had sold to earlier at a higher price. Thus without ever touching or seeing, much less possessing the commodity, the manipulators would make handsome profits. They call this short selling and the public is persuaded that this is fair trade.

8. Individuals cannot do this. The amount of money involved is too big. So funds were set up and managed by smart people.

9. The fate of the real producers is not the concern of these fund managers. As the price of the commodity become depressed the producer countries and their people would suffer.

10. If the producer country bought the non-existent commodity from the speculators at the low prices for future delivery, and if at the delivery date the speculators could not deliver the commodity, they would be forced to buy the physical commodity at prices higher than they had sold. They would lose money. This is as it should be. But no. Their market controllers would save them by declaring that they need not honour their contracts.

11. This was what happened when tin prices were depressed through the short selling of non-existent tin by the speculators. In desperation Malaysia bought the tin knowing that the sellers had no physical tin, whereas Malaysia had. When the delivery date arrived the sellers would be forced to buy physical tin from Malaysia at Malaysian prices in order to deliver. The price of the physical (real) tin would of course be higher. The sellers would lose money having to purchase at the higher prices in order to deliver to the buyers (Malaysia) at the lower prices.

12. When the short sellers faced this threat of losing a lot of money from their short selling price depressing activities, the London Metal Exchange which controlled the market ruled that the sellers need not honour their contract to deliver physical tin, allegedly because the purchasers were trying to corner the market.

13. Clearly the players in the financial market are protected. They can make tons of money selling non-existent commodities but they need not deliver if they have no physical commodities.

14. And so the financial market expanded until it became much bigger than the real market. The trade in currencies for example is twenty times bigger than total world trade. Hedge funds, through mysterious investments pay as much as 30% to their investors. Pyramid schemes gave huge returns and banks calculate their earnings on the amount of money they lent out, whether the borrowers were able to pay or not.

15. There were numerous schemes which gave huge profits to the investors, far more than investments in the production of goods and services.

16. With these financial schemes the wealth of these developed countries and their rich investors appeared to grow at a high rate every year and the people appeared to have the capacity to buy unlimited amounts of imported goods. These countries were apparently the locomotives of growth for the whole world.

17. Then the balloons bursts. The sub-prime borrowers, millions of them were unable to pay the housing loans they had taken. Neither could they borrow from other banks to repay their debts. The banks became saddled with huge non-performing loans and were headed for bankruptcy. Like a house of cards, the whole financial market collapsed. The crisis that followed is common knowledge now.

18. The wealth of the West, acquired through the financial market is not real wealth. Their Per Capita and GDP figure are not based on reality. Their money also has a bloated value, guaranteed by no reserves or gold. (Their money is truly fiat money).

19. Their Governments were forced to bail out their banks and companies with trillions of dollars. It can be said that their Presidents and Prime Ministers are all responsible for the trillions of dollars lost by their countries.

20. I am waiting for a good unemployed journalist to investigate and write a book on these leaders who presided over the trillion-dollar losses by their countries.

CHINESE MATHEMATICS

As posted by Dr. Mahathir Mohamad at Che Det on January 1, 2010 4:06 AM

1. The Chinese understand numbers. Very early they invented the computer - not the electronic one - but the abacus.

2. The abacus in the hands of experts can outrun the electronic calculator.

3. The ability to calculate fast contributes much to the skills in business. The brain deduces problems much faster.

4. When I was Prime Minister a Chinese expert demonstrated to me how pre-school children could be taught to mentally multiply or divide big figures almost instantaneously. They know how to use the abacus for quick calculations. When asked to add, subtract, multiply or divide, they mentally move the beads of the computer in their minds. That way they were able to almost immediately give the answers.

5. The professor told me that the children were ordinary children, It was his system of mental calculation which enabled them to perform.

6. I asked the Ministry of Education to use Prof Xu Si Zhong's method for our primary schools. I don't really know the results.

7. The Professor came to see me recently to introduce improvements he had made to his method. I must say that his new method is even better.

8. Since I am now no longer in the Government I cannot persuade the Ministry of Education to adopt his system. It strikes me that if someone were to invest a small sum of money to put up a classroom for pre-school children to be taught mathematics using this method, there might be parents interested to send their children for a few hours a week to learn. I think the children will enjoy learning mathematics and the use of the abacus.

9. I will be happy to put interested private kindergartens and primary schools in contact with Prof Xu Si Zhong.

THREATENING MINARETS

As posted by Dr. Mahathir Mohamad at Che Det on December 31, 2009 8:30 AM

1. Switzerland has decided that Muslim mosques in that country would not be allowed to have minarets. It seems that minarets would overwhelm the Swiss.

2. I wonder what would happen in Malaysia if Hindu temples are not allowed to have statues, for example. I think there would be an explosion. The whole world will condemn us as being undemocratic, not respecting human rights, not upholding religious freedom etc.

3. But when the Swiss bans minarets (there are only four minarets in the whole of Switzerland) and the French ban headscarves, these are very democratic. Always double standards and unfortunately the discrimination is always against Muslims.

4. Mr Obama, the Nobel Laureate President of the United States of America who promised to get out of Iraq and Afghanistan and close Guantanamo Detention Camp, have not honoured even a single word of his promises.

5. In fact more soldiers have been sent by him to Afghanistan and Iraq. He is now preparing to attack Iran together with his ally, Israel.

6. There will be excuses of course. They will show evidence that Iran is making nuclear bombs and is about to launch nuclear war against the world.

7. But after the evidence that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction to justify the invasion of that country, can we believe that the attack against Iran is due to the imminent nuclear attack by that country???

AL-QURAN DAN YAYASAN RESTU

As posted by Dr. Mahathir Mohamad at Che Det on December 30, 2009 5:00 PM

1. Yayasan Restu adalah sebuah badan bukan Kerajaan yang giat dalam pengeluaran Al-Quran yang dihias dengan lukisan bunga dan tumbuh-tumbuhan gaya Al-Quran tulisan tangan di zaman dahulu.

2. Yayasan Restu telah melatih penulis khad sehingga mereka dapat menulis dengan tangan Al-Quran dengan sepenuhnya.

3. Sekarang Yayasan Restu telah berjaya mengeluarkan Al-Quran dalam bahasa Melayu dan Inggeris yang disahkan oleh Jabatan yang bertanggungjawab dalam Kerajaan.

4. Pihak Kerajaan Pusat pernah memberi bantuan kewangan kepada Yayasan Restu. Pihak Kerajaan Barisan Nasional Selangor pula telah beri secara percuma sebuah bangunan untuk usaha menulis Al-Quran, melatih penulis-penulis khad dan mempamer hasil usaha murni mereka.

5. Yayasan Restu mengguna semua pendapatan daripada penjualan Al-Quran keluaran mereka untuk membiayai kerja-kerja mereka sahaja. Ia adalah sebuah non-profit organisation.

6. Saya amat berterimakasih kepada Yayasan Restu kerana menghadiahkan kepada saya tiap-tiap keluaran baru dan memberi sebuah Al-Quran yang ditulis tangan khas bagi saya. Mereka mengambil masa hampir lima tahun untuk mushaf Al-Quran yang unik ini.

7. Saya ingin syorkan supaya pelawat ke Selangor melapangkan masa untuk melawat Kompleks Taman Seni Islam Selangor di Persiaran Damai, Seksyen 10, Shah Alam untuk melihat penulis menulis ayat-ayat Al-Quran dan pameran Al-Quran Yayasan Restu. Saya yakin pelawat akan berbangga dengan kecantikan Al-Quran mushaf Malaysia yang dipamerkan.

8. Sebagai hasil sampingan apabila Quran mushaf Malaysia dipamerkan di New Zealand dan ceramah diberi berkenaan isi kandungan Al-Quran, ada pelawat bukan Islam yang kemudian memeluk agama Islam, Alhamdulillah.

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