Friday, March 30, 2012

CURRENCY WARS

As posted by Dr. Mahathir Mohamad at Che Det on March 29, 2012

1. I have been reading a book by James Rickards entitled ”Currency Wars.

2. He writes that he participated in War Games at the Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) located near Washington, D.C.

3. Set up in 1942, after the Pearl Harbour attack, APL brought applied science to improving weaponry.

4. In 2009 the war game was about a global financial war using currencies and capital markets instead of ships and planes. This financial war games was the Pentagon’s first effort to see how an actual financial war might evolve and to see what lessons might be learnt.

5. James Rickards presented a paper on “the new science of market intelligence, which involves analysing capital markets to find actionable intelligence on the intentions of market participants”.

6. The stated purpose was “to examine the impact of global financial activities on national security issues”.

7. Rickards also gave a presentation on futures and derivatives to explain how these leveraged instruments could be used to manipulate underlying physical markets, including those in strategic commodities such as oil, uranium, copper and gold.

8. He writes, “There is a far more insidious scenario in which currencies are used as weapons, not in a metaphorical sense but in a real sense, to cause economic harm to rivals. The mere threat of harm can be enough to force concessions by rivals in the geopolitical battle space”. (Globalisation and State Capital – page 145)

9. When the Ringgit depreciated in value, the financial and economic experts including those in Malaysia, blames it on bad financial management and contagion. When I suggested that it was due to deliberate action on the part of currency traders to devalue the Ringgit to undermine the Malaysian economy, this was dismissed.

10. Had we failed to handle the crisis, had the economy collapsed, the Government would have to resign. The action taken by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance at that time to apply the IMF solution without the IMF would have hastened the collapse. But our unorthodox solution prevented the collapse from taking place and we recovered. Otherwise there could have been a regime change.

11. Whatever, the fact is that the U.S. is aware that a currency war can achieve political objectives just as well as a military war. The idea that the attack against our Ringgit was deliberate is not too farfetched. The Western Press and Government leaders in certain countries had made it clear that they desired to bring down the Government of that time for very many reasons.

12. Towards this end they have used NGOs and funds as they are doing in Egypt now.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

MONEY

As posted by Dr. Mahathir Mohamad at Che Det on March 20, 2012

1. I wrote recently on the financial problems of Europe at the invitation of the Financial Times. Of course it is not erudite as would those who studied economics and finance would write. Strangely some people agreed with my views.

2. During the financial crisis of 1997-1998 I was forced to read up on the subject. Today I know a bit more about money and finance. But the most important thing about money which everyone of us knows without need to be an economist or financial expert is that if you spend more money than you have you will be in trouble. Simply put, if you have one hundred Ringgit but you spend one hundred and ten Ringgit, you will be in debt to the amount of ten Ringgit. But if you have 100 RM and spend 90 RM you will not face trouble.

3. No big deal. But when you have a million or a billion, your 10% overspending will put you in debt to a level which you may not be able to pay and the person you owe money to may not be so ready to forgive.

4. Greece is now bankrupt. The reason is simple enough, Greece overspent. It borrowed more money than it is able to pay. The sums are big, running into billions of Euro. The creditors cannot forgive.

5. Why did Greece borrow beyond what it could pay. Well, Greece is a member of the European Union, a collection of developed countries. So it must live by the standards of the European Union. It must practice the welfare state principles of the European countries.

6. The revenue of the Greek Government was not enough to support the high standards of living, the high pay, pension and other benefits of the Europeans. So the Government borrowed money to cover the high salaries, short working hours and days, early pensions, unemployment benefits and other perks that European Governments offered their workers.

7. The private sector had to follow the Government, which results in raising the cost of production until the products of their labour are no longer competitive and either they earn less profits or became unsaleable altogether.

8. Loans unfortunately have to be paid when matured. When the loans amounting to hundreds of billions cannot be paid, the Greek Government, the borrower, must be made bankrupt.

9. Somewhere in the story of Greece, there is a lesson for other countries. The lesson as I pointed out earlier is very simple. When you spend more than the money you have, you will become a debtor. And when you cannot pay your debt you will become bankrupt.

10. Once upon a time when I was Prime Minister I had the responsibility of approving the budget before it was presented to Parliament.

11. Roughly I knew I had to make provision for operation, for debt servicing and for development. Despite allegedly being profligate, I managed not to overspend. In fact the reason why we did not go down during the financial crisis was because we had no big debts to pay.

12. Of the three elements of the Government budget, only development spending can be reduced. Debt servicing and operations (salaries, pensions and other statutory expenditure must be paid on time if we are not going to default). If we increase salaries too much, and we have more than a million Government employees, there is a likelihood that we will not have enough for even minimal development.

13. We may announce a big development budget but there will simply be not enough money to implement them.

14. We may borrow. But there is a limit to borrowing. When you borrow the debt servicing charges will increase. A point will be reached when we will not be able to service debts or pay the lender when the loans become mature.

15. All these elementary things must be known to the Government. So we will not become like Greece. But people do not seem to know about this. Demands for pay increases, for higher non-taxable pensions, for abolition of tolls ( the Government has to make up for the loss of revenue by toll concessionairs), more holidays, more subsidies etc will continue to be made.

16. The opposition, wishing to become popular and win elections will always support these demands. Not having to be responsible for the overspending and the possible bankruptcy of the nation, it is easy for them to support. I hope the people will see through their lack of a sense of responsibility to the nation.

17. The incumbent Governments cannot be irresponsible and try to be popular always. The people must understand this.

18. When a demand is made the Government has to examine the implication not only to the Government in terms of its capacity to meet the demand, it must also consider the effect on the whole nation. If the Government cannot approve the demand it must be because it does not want to bankrupt the nation.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

HUKUM HUDUD

As posted by Dr. Mahathir Mohamad at Che Det on March 14, 2012

1. Saya ucap berbanyak terima kasih kepada adik Hilal Asyraf (mungkin cucu lebih tepat kerana saya sudah mencecah 87 tahun Masehi – iaitu 90 tahun mengikut Hijrah) kerana membuat teguran terhadap ucapan saya di UNIMAS baru-baru ini.

2. Sebelum saya menjelaskan maksud saya di dalam ucapan itu, saya harap adik Asyraf dapat menjawab secara ringkas (Ya atau Tidak) beberapa soalan yang ingin saya tanya kepada adik.

3. Soalan :

i) Punca ajaran agama Islam ialah Al-Quran, Hadith, fatwa, ajaran ulama’-ulama’ dan guru-guru agama. Diantara punca-punca ini yang mana satukah yang diutamakan?

ii) Sekiranya terdapat perlanggaran atau percanggahan antara hadith, fatwa, pendapat ulama’ dan guru-guru agama dengan apa yang terdapat dalam Al-Quran, apakah kita harus tolak Al-Quran (terutama ayat-ayat yang jelas) dan terima hadith, fatwa dan lain-lain?

iii) Ada pihak yang mendakwa bahawa Al-Bukhari telah mengkaji sebanyak 600,000 hadith tetapi menerima hanya 7000 sebagai sahih.

iv) Apakah kesahihan hadith-hadith ini semuanya sama dengan sahih pengkaji hadith lain termasuk Muslim, Tarmizi dan lain-lain. Apakah kita harus tolak kajian-kajian lain dari Bukhari?

v) Apakah ingatan manusia lebih tepat dan kekal dari catitan, seperti wahyu dari Allah s.w.t. kepada Nabi Muhammad s.a.w. dicatit, kemudian dibukukan sebagai Al-Quran.

vi) Bukhari membuat kajian hadithnya 200 tahun selepas wafat Nabi. Apakah orang pertama yang melihat atau mendengar Nabi bersabda mencatat apa yang dilihat dan didengar dan catitan ini disimpan sehingga Bukhari mengkajinya? Atau apakah Bukhari bergantung kepada riwayat yang diperturunkan melalui beberapa generasi sehingga sampai kepada Al-Bukhari?

(Di sini jangan mula cap saya sebagai anti-hadith. Saya pegang kuat kepada hadith asalkan ia tidak berbeza, bercanggah dan menafi ayat-ayat Al-Quran. Saya sedar saya tak mungkin tahu bagaimana sembahyang jika saya pegang semata-mata kepada ayat-ayat dalam Al-Quran. Menuduh seseorang itu anti-hadith seperti menuduh seseorang itu kafir adalah cara mereka yang tidak dapat pertahan kefahaman dan pendapat mereka).

vii) Tuhan menjadikan manusia berbeza dengan haiwan kerana manusia diberi akal fikiran. Apakah agama Islam melarang manusia dari mengguna akal dan berfikir?

Saya menunggu jawapan daripada adik Hilal Asyraf supaya dapat saya betulkan diri saya.

Monday, March 5, 2012

PEPERANGAN MESIR MELAWAN NGO

As posted by Dr. Mahathir Mohamad at Che Det on March 05, 2012

1. Baru-baru ini pemerintah Mesir telah menangkap lebih daripada 10 rakyat Amerika Syarikat.

2. Siapakah mereka ini?

3. Mereka, mengikut laporan dalam sebuah majalah Amerika, Newsweek, adalah ahli beberapa NGO dari Amerika yang terlibat kononnya untuk membawa demokrasi kepada Mesir. Diantara mereka adalah NDI (National Democratic Institute), IRI (International Republican Institute) dan Freedom House. Semua mereka mengikut Newsweek “receive U.S. Government funding”.

4. Laporan yang sama berkata dalam keluarannya pada Februari 13, “But storming NGO’s, interrogating U.S. citizens, and banning them from leaving the country has strained U.S-Egypt relations and threatened the sacrosanct $1.3 billion in military aid from the U.S.” (Menggeledah NGO, menyoal rakyat Amerika, dan melarang mereka keluar dari Mesir telah menegangkan hubungan Amerika dengan Mesir dan menggugat bantuan $1.3 billion untuk tentera (Mesir) dari Amerika.)

5. Semasa Mubarak Amerika dilarang membiayai NGO Mesir yang tidak berdaftar melalui badan-badan bantuan kewangan Kerajaan Amerika seperti Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labour. Sekarang agensi-agensi Kerajaan Amerika memula semula membiayai badan NGO yang tidak berdaftar.

6. (However, following the uprising that toppled Mubarak, U.S. AID once again began distributing funds to unregistered NGOs in an effort to be part of Egypt’s democratic future – Newsweek Feb. 13)

7. Campurtangan Amerika Syarikat dalam gerakan untuk menjatuhkan Kerajaan negara-negara yang tidak sebulu dengannya amatlah jelas. Sudah tentu di Malaysia juga pembiayaan badan-badan NGO dilakukan untuk menjayakan “Regime Change” (Pertukaran Pemerintah).

8. Bahawa Amerika menyokong Anwar Ibrahim untuk menjadi Perdana Menteri Malaysia adalah jelas dari laporan akhbar dan majalah mereka. Apa yang sedang dilakukan oleh Amerika Syarikat di Negara Arab sudah tentu dilakukan juga di Malaysia. NGO-NGO yang sedang menghasut dan memburukkan Kerajaan supaya Anwar Ibrahim dapat menjadi Perdana Menteri tentu sekali mendapat bantuan kewangan dan media Amerika. Mereka kononnya tidak puas hati dengan dasar Kerajaan berkenaan hak asasi manusia termasuk seksualiti bebas (menghalalkan zina, perkahwinan sejenis, menghapuskan institusi perkahwinan dan kekeluargaan dan liwat). Sebenarnya tujuan mereka ialah untuk menjayakan hasrat Amerika Syarikat untuk melakukan regime change supaya Malaysia menjadi alat Amerika Syarikat. Sudah tentu setelah Anwar Ibrahim menjadi Perdana Menteri Malaysia, tuntutan NGO-NGO berkenaan akan dihalalkan. Sebagai penyokong kuat Israel, Amerika Syarikat tetap akan memujuk Anwar supaya mengadakan hubungan diplomatik dengan negara Yahudi itu.

9. Malaysia merdeka. Tetapi apabila kuasa asing dapat menukar Kerajaan Malaysia dengan pelbagai cara yang haram, apakah Malaysia akan terus merdeka?

10. Tetapi terpulanglah kepada rakyat Malaysia. Jika mereka suka Malaysia menjadi alat Amerika Syarikat (penyokong kuat Israel) sokonglah puak yang menerima bantuan dan sokongan Amerika Syarikat.

11. Tetapi jika kita ingin betul-betul merdeka, tidak dikongkong oleh Amerika Syarikat dan sekutunya, tolaklah mereka yang sanggup diperalatkan oleh Amerika Syarikat untuk menukar Kerajaan.

Friday, March 2, 2012

MINIMUM PAY

As posted by Dr. Mahathir Mohamad at Che Det on March 02, 2012

1. We all would like to see Malaysia become a high-income country. However we must also be concerned about our competitiveness. Increasing incomes must raise the cost of production unless there is a corresponding increase in productivity.

2. But already we are having far too many holidays. To the 52 Sundays, have been added, 52 Saturdays. We now have holidays for the holy days of all religions, however small the followers. We now automatically replace any holiday which falls on Sunday or Saturday with another day of holiday. When we work a lesser number of days our productivity must decrease. So it will not be easy to increase productivity with the increase in minimum wages which will trigger pay increases throughout, so as to maintain the parity between the different grades of the employees. Working during holidays will also cost more. So will contribution to EPF and rates of pensions.

3. Between higher pay and shorter working hours, plus all the other costs, the cost of production of goods and services must increase considerably.

4. Once, during the Government of a previous Prime Minister, a 25% salary increase was given to Government servants. There is no evidence that Government revenue had increased by 25%. The normal increase is about 10%. What this means is that the increase in operation costs due to the 25% salary increases have to be met through reduction of allocation for development. Reducing needed development is not going to be good for a rapidly developing nation.

5. The West today is in great financial trouble with at least one country going bankrupt. The reason is simple. The West has been overpaying their people. High wages and salaries, huge bonuses and numerous costly benefits such as unemployment pay gave the developed West an appearance of prosperity. But their profligate ways is not sustainable.

6. Faced with competition from eastern countries, they lost their markets. For a time they benefitted from the financial markets. But the financial market is about gambling. And as happens with all gamblers, they must lose eventually. And that plunged them into this intractable financial crisis.

7. This is what happens when wages and compensations for work are not accompanied by increases in productivity. I fear Malaysia may be heading this way if we pay more for less work, as we are doing now.

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