Sunday, March 24, 2013

GUERRILLA WAR


As posted by Dr. Mahathir Mohamad at Che Det on March 23, 2013

1. When in 1990 I first met Nelson Mandela upon his release, the first thing he asked was how Malaysia defeated the guerrillas. He said when he was being trained in Yugoslavia and Libya he was told that guerrillas could not be defeated. So how did Malaysia defeat the guerrillas?

2. I explained that two things helped in the defeat of the Malaysian guerrillas.

3. Firstly was the decision to move out all the people living at the fringe of the thick Malaysian jungle and located them in protected new villages. Secondly was the campaign to win the hearts and minds of the people.

4. Perhaps Jamalul Kiram knows nothing about how Malaysia dealt with the guerrillas. His suggestion about conducting a guerrilla war in Malaysia seems to be based on ignorance. Yes, in the Philippines the Moros conducted a guerrilla war for decades. While it harassed the Philippine Government it did not result in attaining independence for the south. In the end common sense prevailed and the MILF decided on autonomy for the region.

5. Malaysia followed the Moro fight very closely and is well aware that guerrillas can be disruptive. It can render Malaysia less stable and secure. But the situation today is much better for Malaysia to defeat any attempt at guerrilla war by the Kiram and Suluks.

6. In the first place the people’s hearts and minds are already with the Government. True there are some, including leaders of the political opposition who are not with the Government but they are not able to influence the minds and hearts of the vast majority of the people.

7. We know about relocating people who may be terrorised into supporting the invaders and we have the money to do it.

8. And most importantly we have the forces to fight any guerrillas who may be persuaded to risk their lives for a useless adventure.

9. The soldiers and police who are currently participating in the fight against the terrorist in Lahad Datu are well-trained and well equipped. The Malaysian forces have inherited the knowledge and the skills in fighting anti-guerrilla wars. The spirits of the Malaysian security forces are very good and the attempt to frighten them by mutilating the bodies of their comrades has not worked. If at all it has made our security personnel very angry and more determine to defeat the enemy. It has become almost a personal war for them.

10. Malaysians must be thankful to our boys for their willingness to die for the country. It is not a sandiwara (stage play). It is real. The deaths and the wounding are real. If we are safe and secure, if we are stable and free from fear of guerrilla attacks it is because our soldiers and police are ready to die for us.

11. If they are not, what happens in the Philippines can happen here also. We will not be able to go about our daily lives without the certainty we take for granted that nothing will happen to us.

12. Peace and stability do not just happen. They have to be worked at. They depend on our awareness and our not taking things for granted. Look around us. Look at the Middle East or South Asia or Africa or Latin America. Look also at the economic and financial problem of America and Europe.

13. Then relook at our country. I think there is much for us to be grateful about and to say thank you to the people who secure our peace and stability.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

A CITIZEN’S RIGHT


As posted by Dr. Mahathir Mohamad at Che Det on March 08, 2013

1. It would seem that some people are unhappy over my continued involvement in politics. As a retiree I should just retire.

2. I did in fact plan to retire in 1998. But events at that time forced me to defer. When the conditions in Malaysia had been stabilised after the currency crisis, I announced my retirement in 2002. But I gave the assurance that I would continue to support the party at all times as my elevation to the highest office in the country was due to the support of the party. To me it is payback time.

3. Unfortunately, under the policy and practices of the Government which followed, the healthy growth of the country was hampered. The effect is still felt today. More seriously the attempts to reduce the economic disparities between the races have been neglected. Although the election of 2004 resulted in overwhelming victory of the governing BN party, there were clear signs that the popularity of the Party was deteriorating after the 2004 elections.

4. The 2008 Election resulted in heavy losses by the BN. The Government it formed was very weak and the opposition took advantage by raising racist and religious issues. Where before there was relative harmony between the races, now there is open confrontation. Affirmative action was viciously attacked by the opposition and the Government had to give in. And now religious issues are being even more politicised.

5. Clearly the opposition parties are bent on doing away with the attempt to achieve fair economic participation between the races. Without affirmative action the disparities would increase. This will not be good for Malaysian stability or economic progress.

6. Although the Opposition also have a lot of Malays, it has been amply demonstrated that they cannot handle even the administration, much less the complex resolution of the disparities between the races.

7. Some would say that as long as Malaysians do well, it does not matter what race they belong to. Unfortunately in Malaysia we all insist on becoming identified by our race. We all want to preserve our languages, our schools, our culture and even the environment we live in. If the Malaysians who do well are of one race and the poor are of another race, the race which is less fortunate will resent the economic disparity between them. This can lead to disunity and tensions between races. It may even lead to violence.

8. As a citizen I have every right to voice my criticism or to support action by political parties. When I find that the opposition rejects the NEP, I feel a need to voice my fears for the future of this, my beloved country.

9. As much as my detractors have a right to object to my continued involvement in politics, I have a right to hold a different view.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

HUMPTY DUMPTY


As posted by Dr. Mahathir Mohamad at Che Det on March 01, 2013

1. I don’t know whether our schools today acquaint the children with Humpty-Dumpty but I am sure older Malaysians are familiar with the character, and know the following ditty

“Humpty-Dumpty sat on the wall

Humpty-Dumpty had a great fall”

2. For those who are not acquainted with this ditty I would like to explain that Humpty-Dumpty is an egg, a great big imaginary egg and it sat on a wall.

3. Then this great egg had a fall.

4. We all know what happens when an egg falls. It breaks into innumerable pieces of shell, spilling out yolk and egg white. And the ditty went on to say that all the king’s soldiers and all the king’s men could not put Humpty Dumpty together again.

5. Somehow I am reminded of the currency crisis experienced by Europe today. Try as they might they have not been able to recover the great financial wealth which Europe had been enjoying all these many years. Trying to put the European economy and finance back into the great thing that they were is like trying to put Humpty Dumpty together again.

6. The Europeans seem to think that they can restore their wealth to its former self by some kind of financial juggling. And because they think so, they refuse to recognise that their economy is beyond repair. They are actually in a state of denial.

7. The fact is that their economy was not sound in the first place. They believed that their wealth was real but it was not. It was really make believe wealth created by trickery. Their so-called wealth was created through tricks in valuation. Share prices for example were increased not because the businesses were making profits but because of the demand for the shares. And very often the demands were artificial, cleverly manipulated by the market players.

8. The money they use for all those wealth-creating tricks were not real either. The banks lent money which they did not have. The banks created the money out of nothing. The money lent is then regarded as the asset of the bank. The more they lent, the bigger the bank’s asset. It was alright as long as they did not abuse this money creation too much. But they became greedy and created too much. This non-existent money is then invested in the shares of companies which were incapable of producing anything substantial, too much which were not profitable. They were invested in houses which did not exist or were not even built. But on paper, in their book these non-existent things were given values.

9. The money created is also lent for the purchase of non-existent currencies which only appear in the books of the banks. When this non-existent money was bought or sold the only thing that happened was the transfer of the ownership of the figures in the banks to the new owner, the so-called buyer. Somehow the owner of this non-existent money was able to buy things with it as if the money is real. This money takes the form of cheques, credit cards and entries in bank books. The owner is seemingly rich. Hundreds of thousands of these seemingly rich people push up the per capita income and GDP of the nation. The nation is then considered to be a developed nation based on figures collected of the GDP, and the per capita.

10. And there are many other financial products which do not really exist but which can be invested in to give huge profits.

11. But then the balloons burst. The borrowers failed to make even the nominal profits and returns and could not repay the loans which had been registered in the books of the banks. For a while it was possible to hide with imaginative accounting. But the amounts became so huge, running into tens and hundreds of billions that even smart accounting could not hide the losses. The great banks failed and went bankrupt.

12. When banks go bankrupt they drag down everyone with them. The so-called financial institutions collapsed. There is a recession and the financial crisis that we are seeing today.

13. What this means is that all involved, the banks, mortgage companies, insurance companies hedge funds etc…etc… lost money, huge sums of money. Now, when one loses money one becomes poor. But the Europeans do not want to admit that they are poor, that Humpty-Dumpty had fallen off the wall. They want to believe that they are still rich, that the wealth they owned before would somehow come back. That the wealth was not real did not bother them. Somehow through some kind of magic the wealth would return. Somehow Humpty-Dumpty would become whole again, like when you reverse a movie film.

14. Some even believe that they are actually still as rich as before and can continue to live the life they were used to. They rebelled against austerity measures, they go on strike, holding demonstrations because of high cost of living and unemployment. All these only worsen their situation. They refuse to accept that their country can be bankrupt.

15. Still their Governments and their experts try to think up of ways to restore their wealth without having to work for it. They still believe they can conjure a return to prosperity without doing any real business of producing goods, of trading and of providing services.

16. If before they could enrich themselves by financial manipulations, they believe they can somehow recover through the same kind of manipulation and financial tricks.

17. But the fact is that Humpty-Dumpty just cannot be put together again. So it is with the false wealth that they had created. The wealth cannot be recreated and put together in some magical way.

18. But the wealth can really come back. It will need a lot of real work – the kind of work which originally created their wealth. Real money has to be invested to produce goods at competitive prices and to sell them in the market to make real profits. With the technological knowhow they possess it would not be difficult to return to manufacturing and providing services.

19. To be competitive they must accept lower wages and lower profit margins. They can no longer give themselves huge bonuses. They must pay taxes so their Government can provide needed infrastructure. They should forsake tax havens.

20. Lifestyle will have to be changed radically. High wages for workers together with shorter working hours as well as the lavish perks will have to be revised downwards. Workers must work hard and be productive. Increases in wages must be accompanied with higher productivity. Working hours and working days must be revised.

21. Management and executives must also expect to be paid less based on their productivity and profits. Bonuses should not be automatic. Even when deserved they should not be ridiculously high.

22. It will take time. But it would not be as long as when they built their original wealth.

23. It is galling. To go back to being poor, to have to work hard to produce real things, to learn to sell in a fiercely competitive market, it will be painful. But it will be real wealth. It will be cash in the banks and not merely numbers.

24. The banks can still create money to lend but the amounts will have to be limited and the loans prudent. Leveraging must not be excessive.

25. One thing the Europeans must learn is to give up is their belligerent ways and their huge budgets on weapons. They must give up their idea that they are responsible for spreading their philosophy and systems to every country in the world. They must not resort to war because it will bankrupt them and prevent recovery.

26. I am not extending gratuitous advice to the Europeans. I am aiming this at countries which have somehow escaped the financial tsunami. Don’t copy the Europeans. If your systems are doing well, continue with them. Europeans don’t have a monopoly of wisdom.