Monday, May 31, 2010

ISRAEL THE ROGUE STATE

As posted by Dr. Mahathir Mohamad at Che Det on May 31, 2010 6:20 PM

1. I am horrified at the violence employed by Israel to stop the ships from carrying humanitarian supplies to Gaza (read here). The ships are in international waters, yet the arrogant Israelis do not care to respect international laws and convention.

2. The claim that the people on the ships are carrying sharp objects is ridiculous. Are they going to fight the well armed Israeli soldiers with sharp objects?

3. Do Israeli soldiers shoot to kill people carrying sharp objects? The act is most cowardly and deserving only of brutes, not civilised people.

4. What kind of world are we living in when it allows a rogue state to use violence and killings against unarmed people on a mission of charity.




Saturday, May 29, 2010

PEKERJA ASING

As posted by Dr. Mahathir Mohamad at Che Det on May 27, 2010 6:53 PM

1. Kita kerap mendengar berkenaan pekerja asing menutup peluang pekerjaan pekerja Malaysia. Saya amat bersetuju pekerja asing tidak dibenarkan masuk negara kita supaya pekerja kita dapat cari makan dengan mengisi tempat-tempat yang dikosongkan oleh pekerja asing.

2. Memang benar pekerja asing menyebabkan wang Malaysia mengalir keluar. Katanya tiap bulan satu bilion ringgit Malaysia dihantar oleh pekerja asing ke negara mereka. Ini boleh menjejaskan kewangan kita. Kita dapat selamatkan wang ini jika pekerja kita yang mengisi semua jawatan-jawatan dalam negara.

3. Walaupun saya bersetuju dengan dasar Kerajaan tidak membenar pekerja asing masuk Malaysia lagi, saya telah didekati oleh peniaga dan pengusaha Malaysia dan asing supaya dilonggarkan sedikit dasar ini.

4. Mereka merayu kerana setelah pekerja asing dihentikan tidak ada pekerja Malaysia yang sanggup bekerja walaupun akan dibayar gaji yang lebih. Syarikat Jepun pula menghadapi masalah kerana pekerja asing ditugas untuk kerja kasar yang tidak memerlukan kecekapan, bergaji rendah dan tidak diminati oleh pekerja Malaysia. Pekerja kita bekerja diperingkat atas untuk memproses hasil kerja pekerja diperingkat bawah.

5. Apabila tidak ada pekerja peringkat bawah, dan tidak ada pekerja tempatan untuk mengganti mereka, maka kerja-kerja awal tidak dapat dibuat. Dengan itu tidak ada barangan untuk diproses oleh pekerja tingkat atas yang terdiri daripada orang Malaysia. Ini menjejaskan perusahaan Jepun. Kalau sudah tidak ada pekerja dan tidak ada produk maka mereka tentulah terpaksa hentikan perusahaan mereka.

6. Apabila mereka berbuat demikian pekerja Malaysia juga akan hilang mata pencarian.

7. Masalah ini melibatkan perniagaan di Langkawi juga. Kedai makan dan kedai bebas cukai sudah tidak ada pekerja. Apatah lagi larangan terhadap jabatan Kerajaan mengadakan kursus di Langkawi menjejas perniagaan hotel tiga bintang bahkan penjual buah di tepi jalan.

8. Saya percaya rakyat Malaysia tidaklah begitu keras hati sehingga sanggup melihat perniagaan dan pekerja Malaysia mengalami kerugian kerana tidak suka melihat pekerja asing bekerja di sini.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

BAKUN

As posted by Dr. Mahathir Mohamad at Che Det on May 19, 2010 9:30 AM

1. The Bakun hydroelectric project promised to be the biggest power project with the cheapest electricity price. So I was told by the Sarawak Government when I made my first official visit to the State.

2. It could produce 2,400 megawatt, but Sabah and Sarawak needed just about 1,000 megawatts even in the 1990s. The question was what to do with so much electricity.

3. Bringing it to the Peninsular would need 600 miles of undersea cables. This has never been done anywhere . The longest was only 200 miles. It would cost as much as a power station in Peninsular Malaysia. To use in Sarawak we would have to have a power-hungry industry.

4. Aluminium smelting consumes thousands of megawatts of electricity. But to be viable the electricity must be cheap. A hydro project would provide cheap electricity even though the capital cost would be very high. So while I was still Prime Minister an investor was found for both the power plant and the aluminium smelter.

5. Dubal aluminium smelter belongs to Dubai, and uses natural gas from the ground for power generation - very cheap. They were keen to expand and agreed to a 30 per cent stake in the hydro powerplant and a major share in a 300,000 tonne aluminium smelter.

6. Dubal signed an agreement and paid RM90 million as a 10 per cent deposit on their 30 per cent share in the power plant. It was a win-win investment for them. When power price goes up they may make less money from the smelter but the profit from power generation would be greater. If the power price goes down they would profit less from power sales but more from smelting.

7. The moment I stepped down the successor Government gave back the 10 per cent deposit and told the Dubai investors there was something wrong with the investment.

8. The contract to build the plant was given to Sime Darby with a mainland Chinese partner. The price submitted was so low that the Malaysian who was the next lowest bidder was astounded. He simply said it could not be done at that price.

9. I could not intervene for fear of being accused of cronyism as I knew the Malaysian contractor very well. In fact he built the first phase of the project, the coffer dam and the spillway and had completed it without cost overrun as far as I am aware.

10. Sometimes, and I am not saying this of the contractor for the main project; sometimes very low price would be proposed so as to win the contract. Then as the construction is in progress there would be cost overruns and eventually the total cost would be far higher than the price of the bid. The owner of the project would be asked to pay for the new cost.

11. The Bakun hydro project was given to Sime Darby and Chinese partner at RM1.8 billion.

12. Now the CEO has been dismissed because of cost overrun in the Bakun project amounting to RM900 million. But I believe, and Sime Darby can correct me, the overrun is more than that because the Government has already compensated Sime Darby with about RM700 million. So total cost overrun would be almost equal to the bidded price of RM1.8 billion. The price has been doubled.

13. How come the bid is so low? I would think the engineers would know that they would not be able to build at RM1.8 billion.

14. Who are the consultants in Sime Darby? How come they okayed such a low cost for the project?

15. Is it only the CEO who was responsible? Who are the others who were involved with the project and failed to see that the cost overrun was very high and the project has been delayed by almost 3 years. I think responsibility should be shared. I was told of this cost overrun and delay three years ago.

16. Have we, or rather has Sime Darby learnt lessons and have begun to look at the other major projects it is handling? I think the people are entitled to know when a public company loses over a billion ringgit. Proton lost only RM500 million so that is acceptable. Is losing RM1 billion also acceptable?

Monday, May 17, 2010

LANGKAWI O' LANGKAWI

As posted by Dr. Mahathir Mohamad at Che Det on May 17, 2010 5:17 PM

1. I used to sail in the Mediterranean sea and visited the islands there. They were all very bare. There were a few trees growing in between bare rocks.

2. Coming back I appreciated our green islands more. And the greenest of them all (to me at least) is Langkawi.

3. But I am afraid it is getting less and less green now.

4. We like to blame the developers for cutting down the tree. And I think they should be blamed. But in Langkawi we see people, mostly locals I think, who quietly burn down the undergrowth and sometimes the trees as well, so they can plant bananas and other fruit trees. They do this on the hillsides normally.

5. As a result when it rains, muddy water which used to be trapped and the flow slowed by the bushes now come down in torrents.

6. If the hillsides continue to be cleared, there will be landslides soon.

7. A Langkawi that is not green won't be much of an attraction, I think.

8. My blog seems to have some effect. The straightening and widening of the north south highway, as well as the cutting of trees have now stopped. All praise be to Allah. Thank you JKR.

9. I had lunch on the rocks at Tanjung Sanctuary. This is an old hotel but the new owner has completely refurbished. No trees were cutand you pass through a real forest to reach the chalets and the restaurant.

10. I was there when the hotel was started almost 20 years ago. This was my second visit and the ambience is fantastic. Very restful.

11. O Langkawi - may it always be green. In my years as Prime Minister nothing gave me so much pleasure as developing Langkawi. It still gives me the same pleasure.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

RATING AGENCIES

As posted by Dr. Mahathir Mohamad at Che Det on May 12, 2010 9:29 PM

1. We are not conscious of it but the rating agencies have apparently become a factor in the failures or success of businesses and even whole countries.

2. Their rating can make or break even big corporations. A huge European corporation finds Justify Fullitself unable to invest for fear that it would be downgraded and its shares would plunge. The losses would run into hundreds of millions.

3. Perhaps the rating agencies were only doing their job - letting the investing public know the situation the corporations are in. But they can be wrong or they can be influenced.

4. Time magazine describes the rating agencies as "lap dogs" because they were clearly involved in wrongly rating certain hedge funds so as to hide the misdeeds of the management.

5. On the other hand European leaders are reported by Financial Times to be angry with rating agencies for their role in Europe's debt crisis. They and the United States are now calling for tough measures to curb their influence over markets.

6. These are cherished institutions in the Western financial and business systems. So we must have them as well. And so we do.

7. But like all the systems and institutions conceived by the rich western countries, they are far from perfect. If we must follow them, we should be more circumspect. Rating agencies wield power and as they say power corrupts. We should take their ratings with a grain of salt. We must be told the real basis for their ratings. Otherwise we may suffer the same fate as the European and the Americans.

Monday, May 10, 2010

DOW JONES

As posted by Dr. Mahathir Mohamad at Che Det on May 10, 2010 3:48 PM

1. I don't play the stock market but I cannot think of anything more silly than computer programmed buying and selling of shares.

2. The program can work if only a few players make use of it. But when the program is available to tens of thousands, then their concerted programmed buying and selling will surely affect the market.

3. Simultaneous buying by thousands of players will push up the prices very high while simultaneous selling by tens of thousands would push down the prices to extremely low levels.

4. That was what happened when Dow Jones went down by 1,000 points. And as the index go down the computer would direct the players to sell more, and again the index would plunge.

5. As can be expected the other stock markets would panic and follow Dow Jones. Then the whole world would lose market capitalisation for no good reason other than the effect of the computer's programme.

6. Governments should ban computer programming for stock market gambling. Otherwise periodically we will be seeing stock prices plunging.

Friday, May 7, 2010

RACIST LABEL

As posted by Dr. Mahathir Mohamad at Che Det on May 7, 2010 7:55 AM

1. I was asked by a Chinese reporter recently why I said the Chinese did not vote Barisan Nasional in Hulu Selangor. To avoid ballot boxes being tempered with or getting lost the counting is now done at the polling stations.

2. Obviously if the voters in a given station is overwhelmingly Malay and the votes are overwhelmingly for PAS then we can assume the Malays at that polling station did not vote for the BN. Similarly if the voters at a polling station are largely Chinese and the votes are largely for Pakatan, then it is obvious that the Chinese there did not vote for BN.

3. Perhaps it is because Perkasa appears to be racist that the Chinese are against BN. But Perkasa is not BN. Also the Chinese parties in BN are facing a crisis. What is happening now is that Malays are forming Non-Governmental Organisations because of Chinese attacks against the Malays and UMNO seems unable to defend them.

4. We hear a lot about demands by Chinese extremists questioning the provision of Malay special rights in the constitution, demanding an end to the NEP, reduction of quotas for Malay students. They even say the Malays are also "kaum pendatang" or immigrants. An article even claim that there is no such thing as a Malay race (read here).

5. UMNO remained silent. In fact when an UMNO member said that the Chinese and Indians are descendants of immigrants, he was suspended by UMNO. It seems to many Malays that UMNO is incapable of countering the attacks by Chinese extremists against Malays.

6. The NGOs like Perkasa feel that they have to rebut racist statements by the Chinese. And when they do they are labelled as racist.

7. The BN must remember that in the 2008 election it lost a lot of seats. Where it won the margins are very small. If a few hundred Malays decide not to vote BN, even the seats that it had won would be lost in the 13th General Election.

8. UMNO and the Government are facing a dilemma. In trying to win over the Chinese with allocations and abolishing New Economic Policy provisions, the BN will lose Malay support as indeed it did in 2008. On the other hand no matter how the Government try to satisfy Chinese demands, the Chinese have clearly rejected the BN.

9. The opposition is no alternative. They have shown no capacity to rule.

10. Playing race politics in Malaysia is dangerous. This country may find itself being governed by a weak Government. There will be more politicking and more racial conflicts. There will be instability and chaos. Then everyone, whatever race he may be will suffer.

11. The choice is ours.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

NOT SO GENEROUS?

As posted by Dr. Mahathir Mohamad at Che Det on May 3, 2010 7:44 PM

1. I am glad that Petronas is going to take part in the exploration and production of the two blocks we surrendered to Brunei. That still does not mean we will get much out of the deal.

2. Wisma Putra should make public the full contents of the agreement signed last year. When we give up what belongs to the people really, the people have a right to know. After all, Abdullah's Government made a point about being transparent, implying of course that the previous Government was not transparent. So let us see transparency in this decision to surrender the peoples' heritage. If as it is claimed we have not lost much, let us know how much is not much.

3. At the present price of USD83 per barrel (RM249.00), one billion barrels would yield USD 83 billion or RM249 billion. Forget the likelihood that the oil price would increase in future, how much would we get from Petronas' involvement in the production.

4. The question as to what happened to the RM270 billion that Petronas paid to Abdullah's Government has not been answered.

5. His apologists will say that I am being petty, that I lost billions too. But concern over a total of over RM500 billion not accounted for or lost cannot be considered petty.

6. The Malaysian public is very forgiving. When my questions are met with "elegant silence", that is the end of the story.

7. Whither Malaysia?

Sunday, May 2, 2010

MALAYSIA'S GENEROSITY

As posted by Dr. Mahathir Mohamad at Che Det on April 29, 2010 6:00 PM

1. The Edge Financial Daily, an article by Joseph Chin (The Edge, April 22nd) as well as Brunei Times reported a substantial oil producing offshore area in the South China Sea, namely Block L and Block M, were no longer a part of Malaysia.

2. Malaysians and the Malaysian media did not ask how this came about. It would seem that the loss of a huge oil producing area that had apparently belonged to Malaysia is okay.

3. Block L and Block M had been claimed by Malaysia based on historical facts. Accordingly, Petronas entered into a production sharing contract with Murphy Oil to start drilling to produce oil. It is estimated that the reserves amounted to almost 1 billion barrels.

4. Abdullah Badawi negotiated with the Sultan to get back Limbang in Sarawak. In return he agreed to surrender the two blocks to Brunei. No Petronas representatives were present, only foreign office staff and the foreign affairs adviser to the PM.

5. As we all know Abdullah triumphantly announced that he had settled the Limbang claim with Brunei (here). No mention was made of the two blocks.

6. Brunei disclaimed (here) that they had agreed to give up Limbang. The foreign office and Abdullah did not rebut Brunei's statement.

7. Now it is made clear that the two blocks are no longer a part of Malaysia.

8. Abdullah has caused Malaysia to lose at least US100 billion dollars (about RM320 billion) of Malaysia's oil in this agreement.

9. Can Wisma Putra please explain why it did not stop Abdullah.

THE HULU SELANGOR BY-ELECTION

As posted by Dr. Mahathir Mohamad at Che Det on April 28, 2010 2:11 PM

1. Barisan Nasional won the by-election by a majority of 1,725. It is a large constituency of 63,701. Although the BN garnered 24,997 votes, the opposition Pakatan managed to get 23,272 votes. Obviously Pakatan is still a force to reckon with.

2. Foreign observers and their local counterparts commenting on the results of the 2008 General Election asserted that the rejection of the BN was due to the electorate rejecting race-based parties i.e. rejection of racial politics. I had rejected this assumption. It was wishful thinking.

3. I believed that it was disenchantment with the leadership of the Prime Minister of that time that caused the BN to show such poor results. Malaysians still put race before even national interest.

4. The Hulu Selangor by-election has proven that racial politics is still very much alive. It is obvious that while the Malays and Indians had returned to support the BN, the Chinese had supported the opposition.

5. I believe the Government knows why the Chinese fail to support BN despite the steps taken to downgrade the New Economic Policy and other policies deemed to be discriminatory towards the Chinese.

6. On the other hand quite a substantial number of Malays also supported Pakatan.

7. I am sure BN will study the results thoroughly. The result of the 13th General Election less than two years away will depend on the correct analysis and the corrective actions carried out before then.

RACISM AND ANTI-SEMITISM

As posted by Dr. Mahathir Mohamad at Che Det on April 26, 2010 11:09 AM

1. One of the most powerful political weapons is labelling. In one word a label can literally destroy the character of a person. After that anything he says or does would be tainted by the label he carries. He becomes no longer effective, politically.

2. He would be barred even from speaking the truth. The Jews won a great social and political battle when they were able to label anti-Semitism as defamatory. Even when what is said is absolutely true and is meant to correct wrong statements, it would be regarded as defamatory and rejected.

3. In Malaysia today the label that has effectively prevented the truth from being heard is "racism" and "racist".

4. Fear of these labels has prevented the truth from countering the lies that have been spun and spread.

5. There is no doubt that such a thing as racism exists. It is the extremism which reflects the mindless and belligerent championing of race regardless of the rights and wrongs involved.

6. But to argue in favour of one's race based entirely on truth and proven facts; to argue in order to correct wrong assumptions and deliberate lies; to defend the truth and to expose lies - these are not manifestations of racism, nor is the speaker a racist.

7. In today's debate on racial issues in Malaysia the stage has been reached where truth and facts have been suppressed through fear of the racist label.

8. Like the thief who cries thief, the real racists use this label to deny the rights of others to counter their allegations.

9. To warn that unsubstantiated condemnation as racist will stifle fair debate and may lead to the violence of frustration may sound like crying wolf. But the warning bells must be sounded for even in this country racial violence have been known to happen.

10. Openness and free speech are said to be among the virtues of democracy. When a Government denies this, it will be condemned for denying democratic rights. But labeling as racist to prevent truth from being heard, to prevent rationale debate, is no less undemocratic than the censorship exercised by Governments.

11. Racism in a multi-racial country should not be tolerated. But to cry "racist" so as to prevent the truth from being heard is as good as to apply censorship. In fact such labelling is much more racist than the alleged racism of the truth being spoken.

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