Thursday, August 25, 2011

POLITICS AND THE NEW ECONOMIC POLICY

As posted by Dr. Mahathir Mohamad at Che Det on August 25, 2011

1. The New Economic Policy has been denigrated by opposition politicians including Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim until it seems to be the worse policy ever conceived and implemented in Malaysia.

2. While Ramon Navaratnam blames the NEP as being the cause of foreign investors not coming to Malaysia, Anwar has condemned it for the abuses and corruption involved in its implementation.

3. Anwar loudly proclaims that the NEP benefits only the cronies of the Government and that the contracts, Approval Permits and licenses given out under the NEP involve corruption. He makes it sound as if the NEP did not benefit the Malays and other Bumiputera at all.

4. While it must be admitted that a few of the recipients of APs, contracts and licenses may know the leaders of Government or are members of UMNO, and that there may be corruption involved in some cases but the charge is not warranted because in most cases the benefits of the NEP has been enjoyed by almost every Malay and Bumiputera. In fact indirectly and in some cases directly it has benefited the non-Bumiputera as well.

5. For example every Malay child is helped in his education with free text books and often with free meals, Schools are built in the remotest areas where before there were no schools. Hostels are built for mostly Malay and other Bumiputera children so that they can live a better life and are able to study in better surroundings then in their homes in the villages.

6. For the qualified, tertiary education is readily accessible, with huge numbers of scholarships. As a result many of the children of poor families or of families unable to pay high fees, now hold university degrees, are highly qualified and many are professionals. As an example where before only 5% of the doctors in Malaysia were Malays and Bumiputera now 40% of them are Malays.

7. It is the same with the other professions. Just count the number of students in the public Universities in the country and those abroad on scholarships and one will appreciate how the NEP has benefitted the Malays and other Bumiputera in education.

8. It must be remembered that providing good educations, free book, food, hostels, scholarships benefit not just the recipients but also the parents. The NEP contributed most in the education of Bumiputera.

9. When under the NEP shares of companies were allocated to Malay applicants, they invariably sold the shares for capital gains almost immediately. This is because they did not have the money to purchase the shares and they had to repay the bank loans they had taken.

10. To avoid this the Government decided to create unit trusts so that the shares can only be sold back to the managers. Thus was the National Equity Corporation born.

11. Today more than ten and half million (10,500,000) Malays and other Bumiputera hold shares in these unit trusts with total holdings valued at one hundred and thirty-five billion (135,000,000,000) Ringgit. This is a direct benefit from the NEP. The unit trust make up a substantial percentage of corporate wealth held by the Bumiputera.

12. Felda, the Federal Land Development Authority was started before NEP. But under the NEP the role of the authority was greatly augmented. The settlers benefit from the spin-offs into the transport business, refining and marketing of the produce.

13. Felda has been nursed until it has become the biggest plantation company in the world. The settlers have much higher incomes while their children are much better educated. All these are due to the new economic policy.

14. Microcredit is extended to the smallest village enterprises and this has helped tens of thousands of Bumiputera villagers, especially the women in business.

15. There are now thousands of Bumiputera businessmen who benefitted from the importation of used and new cars, from becoming agents and vendors to the national car projects and also in the oil and gas business as a result of the NEP.

16. The best of them have grown big, some very big, becoming car dealers and assemblers, housing developers, steel fabricators, boat and ship builders, IT, transportation, ports and shipping, food and cosmetic manufacturers and many other businesses.

17. The privatisation scheme have also benefited Bumiputera business greatly, including the supply of materials and employment of engineers. Today they undertake multi-million dollar contracts in foreign countries.

18. Are they all cronies, these successful ones? There are far too many of them to be cronies. That some are known to Government leaders is to be expected because Government leaders in Malaysia are accessible to everyone as a matter of policy. They may be UMNO members. But then there are more than 3 million UMNO members. Is the Government expected to exclude them from the benefits of the NEP?

19. The fact is that almost all of those who have succeeded have benefited from the NEP. Those who show capability cannot be excluded from the support under the NEP. In fact it is safer to help those with good records then to give to untried people.

20. Why is it that the Government is doing all these under the NEP? The answer is simple. The Malay businessmen do not get opportunities from the private sector. They never get contracts or sub-contracts or contracts for supplies in the private sector. Even after they have proved their capabilities when carrying out Government contracts, they will not get contracts from the private sector.

21. On the other hand even when the NEP was being implemented, many of the Government contracts still go to non-Malays.

22. The accusation of cronyism is made without any real basis. There are far too many benefitting from the NEP at all levels and in all fields for the policy to be benefitting only the cronies.

23. There may be corruption but the NEP would not have succeeded to the extent shown if corruption prevails in every case. The focus on cronyism and corruption is political, not based on the real role and achievements of the NEP.

24. If there is no NEP, the economic position of the Bumiputera would be dismal. There would not be as many Bumiputera professionals as there are now. The disparities in all fields of economic activities would be very much greater as the national economy grows.

25. Some of the Malay beneficiaries of the NEP are supportive of the idea that the NEP should be scrapped. They dislike the benefits they had obtained from it to be mentioned as this would amount to, what the Malays called “ungkit”, i.e. to remind one of a debt of gratitude. Yet in Malay culture one should never forget the “budi” of another. As Muslims they should know that thankfulness for any benefit is enjoined by Islam.

26. Corruption and cronyism should be condemned, but most of the accusation is unjustified. They are motivated by personal and sectarian politics. The fair-minded must consider also the good achieved by the NEP.

27. It is sad that people who had benefitted from the NEP should want to deny it to others who are still in need of it.

28. Admittedly the NEP has not achieved the target to remove the disparities between races in Malaysia completely. But there can be no doubt that it has reduced the disparities enough to keep Malaysia stable even during the financial crisis. What is more, it did this without stifling the remarkable growth.

29. Have the non-Bumiputera benefitted from the NEP? They have. They have simply because invariably what is given to the Bumiputera must spin-off to the non-bumis. In some cases the Ali-Baba phenomena are exhibited, with the Bumiputera merely getting a small portion for just lending his name. But even if a Bumiputera contractor decides to implement the contract, he still has to procure building materials, skilled labour etc from the non-Bumiputera companies. Specialised work must also be given to non-Bumiputera as there are hardly any Bumiputera sub-contractor capable of doing this. In fact a substantial part of the projects during the NEP period went to non-Bumiputera. It cannot be that the non-Bumiputera earn no profits from these contracts, sub-contracts, supplies and skilled labour.

30. If there is no NEP and the contracts etc go directly to non-Bumiputera, then there would be no spin-off to the Bumiputera at all. The non-Bumiputera do not need Bumiputera for their contracts. The result must be increasing disparities in wealth between Bumiputera and non-Bumiputera as the economy grows. The dichotomy already seen in our Malaysian society will become worse when this happens.

31. Politicians must find issues to support their bids for power. But condemning the NEP can only be done by twisting or ignoring the contributions of that policy to political stability and the economic success of Malaysia.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Arab Spring II

As posted by Dr. Mahathir Mohamad at Che Det on August 17, 2011

1. The Western Press has decided to label the upheavals in the Arab countries as the Arab Spring. But it is no spring as the attempts to overthrow authoritarian Governments in these countries have resulted in bloodshed and serious damage to property and to the economy.

2. While in Tunisia and Egypt the uprising of the people has been successful, the fighting in the other countries is still going on. There is no doubt that one way or another there will be changes political, economic and social before the uprisings come to an end.

3. But overthrowing the Government is not the end of the struggle. A greater struggle lies ahead – that of setting up new Governments; the true purpose of the uprisings.

4. If the choice is to be through the democratic process, those with ambitions will have to seek for popular support. For this political parties would have to be formed.

5. Unfortunately the number of political parties cannot be limited as there would be at best a weak interim Government quite unable to do this. There can literally be hundreds of parties, with none being big enough to win a majority of seats in an election to form a Government.

6. A free for all would follow as the small parties jockey for positions. The likelihood is that no one would be able to form a majority Government and anarchy would set in. This might even lead to violence and break-down of law and order.

7. When the anarchy becomes serious, the only disciplined institution in the country would have to step in. This will usually be the military. A military Government would be set up usually with promises that it would be temporary.

8. To maintain law and order the military Government will have to crack down on disruptive dissensions. There will be arrests and detentions without trial. There will be varying degrees of suppression of opposition.

9. To ensure the loyalty of the junior officers and the rank and file of the military, privileges must be accorded to them. In a situation where the economy is disabled and there are shortages of food etc. the military Government would ensure that their men would not be without these essentials. Fairly rapidly the privileges will increase. There will be a black market for the food and goods supplied to the military men. Various degrees of power will be wielded by the military personnel. And power corrupts.

10. The division between the military and the people will widen. Complaints or adverse reaction by the people would meet with ever increasing suppression. Soon the military Government would be hated as much as the overthrown predecessor.

11. Having oppressed and suppressed the people, having thrown dissidents into detention and having executed some of them, the interim Government will find itself unable to keep the promise to hand back power. The interim Government has now become permanent, exercising power without being answerable to anyone but itself.

12. Egyptians should know this cycle. The military overthrew the king for various reasons. The people supported the military coup. But soon the military Government became authoritarian. As the leader aged, attempts would be made to create a dynasty. The leader wants to be succeeded by members of his family. The situation becomes intolerable again.

13. To ensure that this cycle would not repeat, democracy must be made to work. There cannot be too many political parties. The most successful democracies have very few parties, often only two. Somehow or other the leaders of the many parties must come together so as to form big parties with the capacity to gain a majority of the seats in Parliament.

14. The people too need to reject sectarian interests, be they racial, religious, ideological or territorial.

15. The most important mindset for everyone to accept is that no one would get everything that he or his sect considers as being their entitlement. Everyone has to make some sacrifice so that there would be room for the others to participate.

16. With this it would be possible for the many small parties to come together and form a unitary party or a coalition. The enlarged party would then have sufficient support to win a majority of the seats in order to form a credible Government.

17. The other need is for everyone to accept that in a democratic contest there will be winners and losers. It is important that everyone should accept losing. If not the winners would find themselves unable to govern the country as the losers would undermine the stability of the country which is required for a Government to function.

18. If the leaders and the people accept these two things, i.e. the willingness to downplay sectarian rights or entitlements at least partially and the willingness to accept defeat in elections, then democracy will work and elections will identify the party and the leaders who will form the Government.

19. If a unitary party is not possible than a coalition of parties should be formed.

20. This is a pre-election coalition. It is different from a coalition formed after elections when no party has won a majority to form the Government. A coalition of convenience such as this will always be held to ransom by the smaller party or parties which help to make up the necessary majority. A defection would result in the Government falling. The smaller party could then join the opposition to give it enough seats to form a Government. Clearly a post election coalition results in the tail wagging the dog.

21. A pre-election coalition would be more stable. The parties in the coalition could agree to the allocation of seats so that the coalition members would not contest against each other. Instead they should all support the coalition candidate no matter from which party he comes. This will ensure there will be no split in the votes of the coalition. By voting for a candidate from another coalition member, the party and its supporters can expect the other parties to vote for its candidates in the constituency allocated to it. Thus even if the number of supporters of a small party in the allocated constituency is not sufficient to ensure winning, the support of the supporters of the other coalition members can be sufficient to give its candidate a majority.

22. On the other hand if the individual parties put up candidates against each other in a constituency, the votes would be split. There will still be a winner but the split among voters would mean that the winner’s votes would often be less than a real majority of 50 per cent plus.

23. Assuming that there is understanding of the workings of democracy on the part of the people and the leaders, there would still be the minority extremists in all the groups who would object to any dilution of their beliefs or ideology. Extremists wield a far bigger influence in politics than is warranted by their numbers.

24. They frighten the moderates and the rationalists into undermining efforts at reconciling with others.

25. Usually no one among the moderates would want to take an open stand against the extremists. They fear being accused of betrayals and so losing support. In extreme cases the extremists may become violent to the point of assassinating the alleged betrayers of the cause.

26. A great deal of skill and diplomacy would be required to nullify the influence of the extremists. In countries where violence is a way of life; a creed, it will be very difficult. Such countries will be unstable when adopting democratic ways. There will be some degree of anarchy. And as has been pointed out earlier, anarchy is likely to result in military coups and authoritarian military Governments.

27. In the end it is up to the people whether they want a good Government or not. Democracy will give them a choice but democracy requires an understanding of its limitations. If this is understood and the rights are not abused, then democracy will give a good Government.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

THE NEP

As posted by Dr. Mahathir Mohamad at Che Det on August 12, 2011

1. Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam is vehement that the New Economic Policy is the cause of poor inflow of Foreign Direct Investments here.

2. One can fault the NEP for a lot of things but to blame it for the current slowdown in Foreign Direct Investments is not quite correct.

3. There are of course some investors who were and are put off by the NEP and the abuses involving it. But FDI actually contributed much to Malaysia’s industrialisation. And this happened when the NEP was in full swing, in fact picked up during the time when the NEP was being implemented.

4. Between 1986 to 1997, Malaysia attained the highest growth rates with FDI contributing much towards this achievement.

5. The FDI began to slow down only when China and Vietnam opened themselves to foreign investments. As the cost of labour in Malaysia rose, the countries with much lower cost of labour such as Indonesia and Thailand begun to attract more foreign investment. All these affected the flow of foreign investments into Malaysia.

6. Today foreign investments have decreased because of the financial problems faced by the developed countries.

7. Blaming the NEP is political. That is all there is to it.

8. That “the majority would argue that the (NEP) policy is the source of all problems facing the nation” as quoted by Dr Muhammed Abdul Khalid here, does not mean that he agrees with the said majority.

9. Therefore he was correct in saying that Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam was “factually incorrect”.

10. Let us resurrect at the figures of FDI before NEP, and during the years the NEP was being implemented and compare them with those of neighbouring countries. We should also look at the economic growth figures of Malaysia since the NEP was implemented and compare with the period before NEP.

11. These figures would validate or disprove the claims of Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam and the majority that the NEP was at the root of all the problems in Malaysia.

12. Finally Malaysia was able to tackle the depression caused by the devaluation of its currency by currency traders without the social problems as witnessed in other countries affected by the Asian Financial Crisis of 1997-98 and thereafter. Indeed it was the partial success of the NEP in correcting the disparities between the races in Malaysia that the racial problems seen in neighbouring countries did not plague the nation.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

ARAB SPRING I

As posted by Dr. Mahathir Mohamad at Che Det on August 11, 2011

1. There is much gloating in the West over what is happening in the Arab countries. They, the West, have been peddling democracy to the world and at times they would assassinate leaders or invade countries so as to impose their democracy. Now the Arabs are doing this work for them. The Arabs themselves are overthrowing their authoritarian Governments so as to, presumably, install democratic Governments in their places.

2. Overthrowing Governments is serious business. It normally involves violence and killings. Fortunately the people in Tunisia and Egypt have achieved their objectives without too much bloodshed. But the Libyan Government is not ready to go. So are the Governments of Syria, Yemen and Bahrain.

3. The situation in these four countries is not to the liking of the western democrats. They want to make sure that the despotic rulers surrender and the forces of democracy take over. If the people cannot overthrow their Governments by themselves, than the West must take a hand in ensuring that the authoritarian rulers are deposed.

4. I don’t think it is right for the Western powers to interfere. We believe strongly in non-interference in the internal affairs of independent nations. That was what independence was about: the right to manage a nation’s affairs by its people. And the uprisings of people, be they simple demonstration, civil wars or rebellions are basically the internal affairs of the countries’ concerned. No one really has a right to interfere.

5. But then one remembers Cambodia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. In Cambodia the Pol Pot regime decided to get rid of all intellectuals and others believed to be against the Government. The world knew something horrid was happening in that country but a policy of non-interference in the internal affairs of nations stood in the way. As a result two million Cambodians were systematically bludgeoned to death.

6. In Bosnia-Herzegovina the Serbs openly announced that they intended to cleanse the country of European Muslims. With guns and bombs and missiles they set about doing this as the world watched live on TV. Even when NATO soldiers were sent in, they turned a blind eye when the Serbs systematically massacred 12,000 Bosnian men and boys while the women were raped. The Dutch soldiers tasked with protecting these people simply moved away.

7. Far from helping the Bosnians the West decreed that no weapons should be supplied to them. This is to “reduce” killings. Let the killings be done by the Serbs only. Allowing the Bosnians to defend themselves, would result in Serbs being killed also. And so the Bosnians were massacred by the Serbs, without Serb deaths adding to the numbers killed.

8. By the time the United Nations decided to send in a peace-keeping force, a hundred thousand Bosnians had been killed.

9. The price for non-interference is clearly very high. But is it better for other countries to send forces to help the rebels or the Government. The Americans went into Korea, Vietnam and Grenada to support the Governments of these countries. The result is a full-scale war in which a lot of people, not just soldiers were killed. The end of the wars saw Korea divided into two and the defeat of the United States in Vietnam. Only in Grenada was the mighty US successful.

10. Apparently interventions in the internal affairs of nations do not always yield good result. It is worse when force has to be used.

11. Interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq have resulted in increasing the numbers killed without the objectives being realised. Indeed the situation now is perhaps worse than before intervention.

12. Today we see NATO forces not just supporting the rebels in Libya but have actually carried out military assaults against Government forces. They have interpreted “no-fly zone” to mean outright aerial attacks against Gadaffi. In fact it is obvious that NATO is bent on assassinating the Libyan leader and his family. Is this the right way to reduce bloodshed?

13. Bloodshed is not something to be encouraged. But when attacks are made against the Government there is bound to be bloodshed.

14. We have all but forgotten that one of the most important reasons for setting up the United Nations is to end wars. What is happening in Libya and other Arab countries is war, civil war. It is the bounden duty of the United Nations to stop the wars. But the United Nations should not pass judgement and take sides. The United Nations should not help one side to defeat the other.

15. But then how should the United Nations go about stopping the killings? Is it by a “no-fly zone” resolution? We are seeing now that “no-fly zone” means aerial and ground attacks by NATO forces against Libyan Government forces. Basically the United Nations have declared war against Libya. It is hardly in keeping with an institution to end wars and promote peace.

16. What the United Nations should do is to engineer a peaceful solution. It should try to get the two sides to agree to negotiate, or to submit to United Nations arbitration, or to seek for judgement of the claims by a world court. If all these fail a referendum supervised by the UN should be held so as to ascertain the true wishes of the people.

17. If any side refuses to all these means of peaceful settlement, then the United Nations must act against the recalcitrant side. Force may need to be used to get the recalcitrant to accept United Nations’ efforts at peaceful settlement of the dispute.

18. It is important that the United Nations does not allow NATO or any other power to act on its behalf. The operation should be a United Nations operation commanded by United Nations – appointed commanders.

19. This action is not new because the United Nations has always been tasked to keep combatants apart. However the United Nations may have to use more force than usual in order to separate the warring factions and bring them to the negotiating table.

20. It is likely that if the operation is truly a United Nations operation for the purpose of giving both sides a hearing or for conducting a national referendum, the parties to the conflicts are more likely to show respect for the move.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

MENGHANCURKAN UMNO

As posted by Dr. Mahathir Mohamad at Che Det on August 06, 2011

1. Usaha sedang dibuat untuk melemahkan lagi UMNO supaya ia dapat dikalahkan dalam Pilihanraya Umum ke-13, bahkan jika boleh untuk menghancurkan UMNO sekarang ini juga.

2. Laporan dalam portal berita, oleh Muda Mohd Noor, mencerita berkenaan Penawar, sebuah badan bukan Kerajaan yang disertai oleh beberapa bekas ahli Parlimen UMNO yang kononnya tidak puas hati dengan Dato Seri Najib sebagai Perdana Menteri.

3. Kononnya saya dibelakang gerakan untuk menaikkan Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin mengganti Najib.

4. Kesan dari laporan ini tentulah kecurigaan Najib terhadap timbalannya. Apabila Najib mempunyai sangkaan buruk terhadap Muhyiddin maka ahli-ahli UMNO pun akan berpecah dan memihak kepada Presiden atau Timbalan Presiden.

5. Pergolakan akan berlaku secara serius dalam UMNO dan ia akan menjadi lebih lemah untuk menghadapi Pilihanraya Umum ke-13.

6. Terdahulu dari ini seorang pemberita semasa sidang akhbar telah bertanya kepada Najib samada dia lebih Melayu atau lebih Malaysian.

7. Soalan ini sengaja dibuat kerana Muhyiddin biasa mendakwa yang dianya lebih Melayu daripada Malaysian.

8. Sebenarnya soalan ini patut ditujukan kepada semua rakyat Malaysia, termasuk pemberita yang bertanya. Apakah rakyat Malaysia pelbagai keturunan lebih utama kaumnya atau lebih utamakan kerakyatan Malaysianya?

9. Ditujukan soalan ini kepada Najib ialah supaya dia menghadapi dilema. Jika dia menjawab dia lebih Melayu maka dia akan dituduh racist seperti tuduhan yang dilemparkan kepada Muhyiddin dan juga saya.

10. Sebaliknya kalau dia menjawab dia lebih Malaysian supaya tidak dituduh racist maka akan ternampak yang dia tidak secocok dengan timbalannya.

11. Jawapan Najib kepada soalan ini ialah dia tidak ingin dilihat tidak sependapat dengan timbalannya.

12. Secara tidak langsung ini bermakna dia lebih Malaysian, tidak seperti timbalannya yang menyatakan dia lebih Melayu. Sudah tentu ini akan menjadikan hubungan antara dua pemimpin UMNO lebih renggang.

13. Susulan daripada ini terdengar banyaklah berita angin berkenaan dengan renggangnya hubungan antara Najib dan Muhyiddin yang pasti akan memecahbelahkan UMNO lagi.

14. Hari ini terdapat banyak NGO Melayu ditubuh kerana ramai orang Melayu khuatir berkenaan dengan masa depan mereka. Pihak tertentu yang ingin mengurangkan sokongan Melayu kepada UMNO ingin menentukan NGO Melayu ini tidak berupaya mempengaruhi kepimpinan UMNO supaya terus mendapat sokongan orang Melayu.

15. Strategi pihak tertentu ini ialah dengan membuat tuduhan bahawa perjumpaan NGO ini sebenarnya bertujuan untuk menjatuhkan Najib, dan saya dan Muhyiddin adalah dalang yang bertanggungjawab, tentulah Najib akan mempunyai syak wasangka terhadap kami berdua dan NGO berkenaan.

16. Sekaligus laporan ini menakutkan Penawar dan NGO lain bahawa mesyuarat mereka akan disyaki oleh Najib bertujuan menjatuhkannya. Mereka juga akan terdedah kepada tuduhan yang mereka adalah orang Mahathir dan Mahathir ingin menjatuhkan Najib.

17. Dengan tuduhan-tuduhan dan laporan seperti ini maka orang Melayu akan takut berpolitik. Mereka akan terdedah kepada dakyah parti lawan yang memang pun ingin melihat mereka berpecah dan menjadi lebih lemah serta tidak dapat mempertahankan kepentingan orang Melayu sama sekali.

18. Saya ucap tahniah kepada mereka yang begitu cekap mengguna psikologi untuk menghancurkan UMNO dengan menimbulkan keraguan dan syak wasangka antara pemimpin-pemimpin UMNO dan ahli-ahlinya terhadap masing-masing dan terhadap kepimpinan UMNO sekarang.

19. Sebaliknya jika kita ingin tahu berkenaan siapa lebih Malaysian atau lebih utamakan kaumnya, kita patut tanya semua pemimpin-pemimpin semua parti politik dan NGO yag aktif dalam politik baik dari parti pemerintah ataupun parti lawan.

20. Mereka juga patut jelas apakah maknanya lebih Malaysian atau lebih utamakan kaum sendiri.

21. Saya sedar jawapan kepada soalan saya ialah saya racist (perkauman). Ini membuktikan ketandusan hujah yang boleh dikemukakan oleh mereka.

22. Saya pernah dilabel Malay ultra tetapi sepanjang saya menjadi Perdana Menteri apakah Melayu sahaja yang diberi layanan dan mendapat nikmat.

23. Apakah pembangunan Malaysia dihasilkan oleh orang Melayu semata-mata dan mereka sahaja yang meraih kekayaan.

24. Untuk tidak berat sebelah kita perlu mengumpul fakta yang benar berkenaan nikmat yang diperolehi rakyat Malaysia dan pembangunan Negara.

ONE TRILLION

As posted by Dr. Mahathir Mohamad at Che Det on August 05, 2011

1. Obama, according to their own news reports, is trying to raise the ceiling for borrowing by the US Government.

2. The US Government is in debt to the tune of US$14 trillion. He wants to borrow more in order to repay the loans. If he cannot repay he will be in default. When a country fails to repay loans, it will be declared bankrupt just like anyone else.

3. What is one trillion dollars? We write it down as one billion with three additional zeros after it. Thus 1,000,000,000,000. It is not such a big figure. You add three zeros or three nothings and the figure increases by 1,000 times. But if we write down one billion as 1,000,000,000 one thousand times, we will have a better idea of what one trillion means. We would be horrified at the size of one trillion if we write the figure 1, one trillion times, which really is what one trillion means.

4. We now talk about these huge sums of money without really appreciating the real amount. Even in Malaysia we talk of billionaires now, not millionaires who are dime a dozen. We are losing our sense of proportion.

5. Just consider $14 trillion in Rupiahs or even in Yen. The figure would spill over the edge of a million sheets of A4-sized paper.

6. Malaysia is one of the countries which lent money to the US. When we buy US bonds we are in fact lending money to the US. Now the US dollar has depreciated from 3.8 Ringgit to one US Dollar to 3 Ringgit per US Dollar. We have lost 80 Malaysian sen for each dollar we lent to the US, if we redeem our bonds. Incidentally we will not be allowed to redeem all our bonds as the US has no money.

7. However, if we keep gold we would be rolling in wealth. Gold was fixed at US$35 per ounce by Bretton Woods in 1943. Now it is US$1,400 per ounce. Even at the depreciated US Dollar of 3 Ringgit we would have 4,200 Ringgit worth of gold for every ounce. Even if we had bought gold say 10 years ago we would have made a pile.

8. A US report says that the US war in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan has cost the US more than US$3 trillion. This is being financed by the loans given by other countries through buying US bonds.

9. The US shows no signs of cutting back on military expenditure. Billions of Dollars are spent on researching, developing and producing more efficient means of killing people. Some 60 military bases are maintained all over the world.

10. By all accounts the US is a debtor nation which will never be able to settle its US$14 trillion debt. In other words the US is a poor debtor country, unable to discharge its loans. And it will remain a poor debtor country unless it is willing to cut back massively on its expenditure, particularly its military budget. When one is poor one lives like a poor men.

11. I remember reciting Humpty Dumpty when I was a child. That is the US today. And not all the Nobel laureates in finance, economics and accounting can put it back together once it falls.

12. Far better to admit you are poor and behave like a poor man than to wear flashy suits and throw your weight around. People will soon learn what you really are.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

THE TELEPHONE HACKING SCANDAL II

As posted by Dr. Mahathir Mohamad at Che Det on August 02, 2011

1. We are used to the high moral ground taken by the Western Press. We almost cringe mentally when they criticise us for our poor record on human rights, our alleged failure to respect the rule of law, our corruption and the injustices that we perpetrate against others etc. etc.

2. We feel they are right, that they, unlike us, have and they obey high ethical codes, that they are honest and straightforward.

3. It is shocking to find that they are really no better than us, that given half a chance they would cheat and abuse their positions, that they would forget human rights.

4. We know now that their Members of Parliament as reported by their Press use public funds to furnish their homes with chandeliers etc., that they claim excessive traveling allowances. We know that their Governments sell titles.

5. Now we are witnessing their most powerful media mogul admitting that the paper he owns, “News of the World” has been hacking telephones to listen in on private conversations and to use what they hear when reporting in their paper. Now we hear of bribes given to soften reports by journalists about all kinds of shenanigans by powerful people. And their politicians are just as afraid of the Press as we are.

6. Their MPs now have an opportunity to get back at the media through their debates and through calling up not just the media people but the Chief of the Metropolitan Police to face Parliamentary Select Committees.

7. I agree that the media should play a role to stop immorality on the part of public figures. They should be the watchdog overseeing the possible impropriety of Government practices and policies. But this should not include abuses of the rights accorded to them.

8. Many of the things the Western media reports in Malaysia are far from the truth. But once one of them says something bad about this country and its Government (and other countries too) others will repeat it without any attempt to verify the truth of the reports.

9. I was reported to have practiced cronyism; that I manipulated the judiciary, that I threw into jail my deputy by Western journalists who for one reason of another had taken a dislike for me. After that every journalist when reporting about Malaysia must mention that I had practised cronyism, manipulated the judiciary and threw my deputy into jail. For that matter every book written about Malaysia must include these items. The words of the first journalist who reported this must be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. No amount of refuting the allegations by anyone would be accepted.

10. That Western journalists have accepted bribes has long been suspected. But the reporting on the hacking by the News of the World has confirmed that Western journalists are not the purveyors of truth that they are supposed to be. They will deny of course. They will write nastier reports on those who criticise them. But the fact remains that they are as unprincipled and corrupt as the people they allege to have these failings.

11. I write this piece not because I expect the Western journalist to repent or change. They will not change, especially in their opinion of native leaders who thumb noses at the West. I write simply to draw attention to the fact that western journalists, with very few exceptions, are not the impartial purveyor of truth that people assume them to be.

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