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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

GST here to stay, says Ideas

The think tank shrugs off Mahathir's promise of abolishing the tax if the opposition ousts BN.
PETALING JAYA: The Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (Ideas) has put a damper on calls for the abolition of the GST, saying it is “here to stay” whether people like it or not.
The think tank’s external relations manager, Azrul Mohd Khalib, said replacing the GST with a sales tax regime would yield only half the revenue.
He was commenting on former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad’s promise that the opposition coalition of which he is now the de facto leader would replace the GST with a sales tax system if it came to power.
Azrul noted that income from direct and indirect taxes currently constituted about RM180 billion – or more than 80% – of the government’s total revenue, of which RM38 billion came from the GST alone in 2016.
“The sales tax would have been able to raise only half of that amount,” he said. “So we would have to raise the revenue some other way to make up” for the shortfall.
“With current oil prices and continued support for 1.6 million civil servants, compounded by the fact that Malaysia is now a net importer of oil, abolishing the GST would just increase the deficit.”
He said this would result in decreased funding for essential services and delude some people into thinking that the country’s problems, such as the high cost of living, would be resolved.
“More importantly, it will distract from one of our main problems, which is government waste of public funds and overspending,” he added.
Azrul said the public, in having to pay GST, would be compelled to take an interest in how the government spends money. This would increase the demand for accountability and transparency, he added.
“That’s incredibly important, especially in these challenging times. We must not regress to the mindset which makes people feel that it’s not relevant to them how the government spends.
“GST has a direct impact on how the public perceives government performance.”
Azrul said the government, through its BR1M cash aid, had already channelled back revenue from the GST to 70% of all households in the country.
He said BR1M helped cushion the impact of the high cost of living but was at best a temporary measure.
“To avoid a future increase in GST, the government needs to rein in on its huge spending on emoluments, unnecessary expenditure and, most important of all, wastage,” he said. “The public needs to demand that this happen. Getting rid of GST will not solve the actual problems.” -FMT


A friend sent me this. Thank you. This is from the Bangkok Post in Thailand. It is a very long and carefully analysed article. If you have the time, please do read the whole article at this link.  I have shortened it for quicker reading. 
The interesting thing is the foreign media are paying close attention to what is happening in Malaysia. Even the Bangkok Post has come out with this yard of print.  
In a shrinking and globalised world, we cannot just sit still and watch our neighbor’s house burning down. The fire may spread to our homes too. The world will also not sit still and watch irresponsible neighbours playing with fire.  Have you heard of the US Navy or the US Marines? They usually keep themselves busy in other countries that have messed up. 
Anyway here is the Bangkok Post :

– perfect storm is gathering around the Ringgit
– value at risk from protracted economic slump 
– aggravated by political scandal  
– Ringgit sell off can have contagious effect on neighbours
– sparking capital outflows and compounding financial volatilityNajib fighting tooth and nail to block investigation of 1MDB
– six countries investigating dubious 1MDB   – foreign holdings of M’sian government bonds 48.4% (US$40b) 
-Ringgit fell 22.8% vs US$ since 2015
My comments :  This chart below here says it all. Each time the Ringgit falls, Bank Negara sells US$ and other foreign currencies which they hold to push up the Ringgit. It does not work. Finally BOTH the Ringgit and our foreign reserves go down.
– Malaysia’s fundamentals very weak
– low foreign reserves, weak public investment
– ebbing fiscal revenues, bearish outlook for domestic politics
-low oil prices
-unemployment 3.6%
-private debt is 90% of GDP
My comments :  Between 1998 to 2016, India’s foreign reserves have jumped 12 times. South Korea’s have jumped 7 times. Thailand is 6 times. Malaysia is the least,  increased 3.7 times only.  Finally Bangkok Post says :
transparency in government is vital in shoring up investment sentiment
My comments :  Malaysia is now known as a kleptocracy.  The US DOJ said it plainly that MOI is a thief.  The US DOJ said, they used public funds like their “personal piggy bank”.
The country is led by a person who is recognised as being a thief.  The Ringgit will crash further because this person is still in power.   I think that is what the Bangkok Post is saying.– http://syedsoutsidethebox.blogspot.my/


The irrefutable facts….Jho Low was studying with Rosmah son in the UK. They were close mates, if not living as neighbhours.Rosmah was with her son more often than her husband and in those circumstances she cultivated a close frienship wih Joh Low and he with her.
The nature and type of bonding between them at that point of time was not known.Joh Low was a virile young man with ambition.Rosmah was also know to have enormous greed for wealth. She saw in him more than his lumpy phyical form and he in turn saw in her acess to $$$$$$ of sovereign fund.
Najib was the pawn with the key to the national treasury.The rest is all known.
Further, it is a known that Joh Low was not restrained by Erectile Dyfunctional of the tiny tiny weapon he possessed.It is not known how useful it was for him at that point of time.
Moral of this . Dont keep your wallet next to your little tool if you want to f*** around.
– http://steadyaku-steadyaku-husseinhamid.blogspot.my/


JOHOR BARU: The Sultan of Johor says he is not interested in a debate or polemic with Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
“I have said what needs to be said. Enough is enough. I make statements that are based on facts and figures, and not on a Western news report.
“I don’t make assumptions or create fears, that’s all.
“I do not want to lower myself,” he said, adding that he was only interested “in the welfare of the people and not politics”.
 Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar (pic) was asked to comment on a reply by Dr Mahathir following the former prime minster’s statements against the Forest City development in the state.
Dr Mahathir had in a series of blog posts and comments claimed that over 700,000 Chinese nationals will be brought into Forest City, and that they would be given identity cards to enable them to vote in the next general election.
On Monday, in an exclusive interview with The Star, Sultan Ibrahim accused Dr Mahathir of fear-mongering by playing racial politics that he claimed had no place in the southern state.
The Johor Ruler said then he was “deeply offended and hurt” by the political spin against mainland Chinese investments in the state.
He singled out Dr Mahathir for “putting political interests above Malaysian interests, particularly Johor”.
In response, Dr Mahathir said in a letter to The Star, which appeared yesterday, that he was quoting a report by Bloomberg on the details of Forest City, of which he said has yet to be challenged nor denied.

Hanging out a goat’s head to sell dog meat

I think we shouldn’t let go of the Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia (BR1M) debate yet. The issue is just too controversial to be allowed to continue on its present course. This nation cannot let this monster grow further.
BR1M may not be strictly bribery, but it is not a welfare programme either. Let’s not be pretentious, BR1M is a populist measure.
It is a programme that buys time for the government. It is a programme that camouflages the inability of the government and the failure of our economic system to provide the people with a decent living despite them working full-time.
If a welfare programme has become almost ‘universal’, what does that tell us?
It is nice to be altruistic. We like to be associated with empathy and compassion for the poor and the lower income groups. But what if I say we are just pretending.
If people working full-time (and some with two jobs or double incomes) can’t provide themselves and their families with a decent living, what does that tell us?
Economist like Jomo Kwame Sundaram may have said BR1M is one of Najib Abdul Razak’s successes, but I would certainly like to know whether the cost of living has escalated far beyond wages and income. I would also like to ask whether employers have paid fair wages to employees for the amount of work done. I believe these two things must have happened. Otherwise, it is impossible to have more than 7 million people now eligible for BR1M.
Hence, on the flipside, can I look at BR1M this way? First, BR1M is to allow the government to continue with its incompetent and lackadaisical way.
Yes, why not, just throw some money to the people, and voila, the government can now be excused from tanking the ringgit, from causing the cost of living to escalate, from imposing the Goods and Services Tax (GST), from its ill-intended and ill-conceived ventures and misadventures and from causing so much of inequality in our society. Think about it, which of these is not true?
Second, it is to allow employers and the economic system to continue with its exploitative and manipulative way. In its most simplistic form, is BR1M not an unintended measure allowing the employers to pay less to employees? Why pay them fair wages, the government will come to the rescue by supplementing their income through BR1M.
In essence, people working full-time, regardless of profession, ought to earn enough to sustain themselves and their families. If not, they have no business working and supporting that economic system. If we truly love fairness and justice and have compassion for the poor, fix the system. Otherwise, to quote a famous Chinese saying, we are just “hanging out a goat’s head to sell dog meat”.
BR1M should rightly only be targeting at people who are handicapped, suffered misfortunate, temporary out of work, or due to extraordinary or extenuating circumstances.
Malaysia is well-known for making everything universal. Remember the National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) loans at one time? It was supposed to help students from poorer families to pursue their university education, but the loans have become universal to everyone, including the rich and the super-rich.
Of course we all know eventually PTPTN has sunk under its own weight. If we are not careful, BR1M will be moving toward the same trajectory.- Mkini

What a joke, Iskandar!

PAS was absent during the official launch of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) recently “because Amanah and DAP were there”.
This sounds like the biggest joke by Iskandar Abdul Samad, a PAS vice-president. He and his president, Abdul Hadi Awang, would rather be seen with the Malaysian Official 1 (MO1), who has been identified by the US Department of Justice as a kleptocrat, supposedly championing the cause of the Rohingyas.
It is also strange that Iskandar is still in the Selangor state government as a member of the executive committee (exco) where others on the exco include Ean Yong Hian Wah and Hannah Yeoh who are both from the DAP.
PAS state assemblypersons should not even be sitting with DAP and Amanah state reps. In fact, they should be seated with the opposition, under the wing of Umno.
Face the facts
Iskandar should face the fact that each time that PAS wins an election outside of Kelantan, it is because of former deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim.
Terengganu fell into the hands of the then-Barisan Alternatif because of Anwar’s Reformasi movement around 1998. Hadi’s performance as a menteri besar of Terengganu was anything but glowing.
For that reason, Terengganu went back to Umno. Even today, Hadi’s performance as a member of Parliament is seemingly not impressive at all. He is the alleged ‘jaguh kampung’ that is hardly relevant to national politics.
I cannot recall even the slightest squeak from the Islamist party president about the major scandals that have rocked our nation. Does he even know that our currency has hit the lowest level at RM4.68 to the US dollar?
The major reasons why PAS came into the picture when Pakatan Rakyat was formed were (1) Anwar was the mobiliser behind Pakatan Rakyat; (2) The late Pas spiritual adviser and Kelantan menteri besar, Nik Aziz Nik Mat, was supportive of the alternative coalition; and (3) People like Mohamad Sabu, Khalid Samad and others, who are now with Amanah, were the PAS faces that we were familiar with.
Now that Amanah has been formed, Pakatan Harapan has already embraced people within the new party. The bonus now is the newly-launched Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) comprising former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad and former deputy prime minister MuhyiddinYasin, which is also against Umno and Barisan Nasional.
Pakatan Harapan should therefore move on without PAS. As a coalition, it would be more fruitful to work on both Sabah and Sarawak, than to negotiate with people who are not serious about having a new alternative to lead the country.
PAS, the spoiler for who?
Frankly, there is the other side of the argument, although most pundits would not agree with me that PAS will be a spoiler for Umno’s support rather than Pakatan Harapan.
It has always been said that Umno stands to benefit when there is a three-cornered fight. The situation may have changed as Bersatu and Dr Mahathir still command a high level of respect amongst the Umno members in rural areas.
One Malay gentleman whom I spoke told me that in the past, he has always been voting Umno, but looking at what Umno can do to its former president, he, too, is fed-up.
So, imagine a three-cornered fight between Umno, PAS and Amanah. Would PAS always be a spoiler to Amanah? I doubt that PAS would join the race if Umno is contesting. Umno is already facing an internal crisis where its own members are beginning to question the present batch of leaders.
Umno will need PAS supporters to vote for Umno. By putting in a PAS candidate, I believe it will further dilute votes for Umno and PAS. The swing may be towards Amanah, which I believe will get more support from the non-Malay communities.
I believe some of us have placed too much emphasis on the often quoted examples of the Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar by-elections. These are traditionally Umno seats. At that point in time, Amanah had only been less than a year old, yet its performance against PAS was quite impressive.
PAS will stand to lose in these Umno strongholds. Another good example is Paya Jeras. Its present state assemblyperson, Khairuddin Othman, won the constituency for the first time since 1957. This was due to the support of the non-Malay community and a stronger Pakatan Rakyat during the last general election.
If there is another election this year, I doubt if Khairuddin would even win the seat. He hardly even make his presence felt to the voters. He cannot even be contacted. Whenever a complaint is raised to his attention via email, he does not even respond, or give an update on what he has done.
A number of the complaints in his area are instead handled by state assemblypersons like Elizabeth Wong and her local councilors.
If a Pakatan Harapan person (be it Amanah, PKR or even DAP) is in the race in Paya Jeras, I am sure I would vote for that candidate instead of Khairuddin or an Umno candidate. If none, I would just vote for the local member of Parliament and spoil the vote for the state constituency.
I believe most non-Malays would prefer Amanah than an Islamist party candidate, especially with the current brouhaha over Act 355 and the push for hudud. The same, too, with many of my more liberal Malay friends who do not see things eye-to-eye with Hadi or Iskandar.
Trust me, with the changing landscape, PAS may be a spoiler to Umno’s chances of winning than those of Pakatan Harapan.

After all, between PAS and Umno, who would PAS supporters vote for? A three-cornered fight may not even take place when both Umno and PAS appear to be in the same bed this past one year.

STEPHEN NG is an ordinary citizen with an avid interest in following political developments in the country since 2008.- Mkini

Nazir, no need for NCC2, just restore Liberty, Equality, Fraternity

Clever voter: Not many would disagree with CIMB Group chairperson Nazir Razak. But such noises are not new, ignored or noted by the establishment. There is no capacity to change, not because of scepticism but because we have a deep-rooted rent-seekers society, where any attempt to change is seen as racist or religious insult.
Successive governments have replaced practical and pragmatic solutions with outdated ideologies. They even got rid of talented people because they go against the bureaucracy or were seen as disloyal. The entire governance system meant to protect public interest is now broken. Returns on education and development are way below expectations. We have too many duplicating bureaucracy, all self-serving rent-seekers’ interests.
One massive change is to replace this rotten government. It has had too many expensive opportunities.
Anticonmen: Just reinstate equality and the freedoms of speech, assembly and religion of the original constitution. The checks and balances resulting from equality and freedom will work by itself against abuse of power, by any one person or race or group.
No need for all these councils and committees. No need for selfish politicians or parties to mess things up for the people that result in theft from the coffers and dictatorship. True democracy by itself is a perfect system built by wise men over the ages to manage resources for the people. Three beautiful, simple, God-ordained words sum up democracy: Liberty, Equality and Fraternity.
All nations that followed these tenets are successful. All that did not simply became failed states.
Why do politicians and thieves who abuse power and loot in their own countries run to Western democracies to live, put their children in schools or park their stolen assets there? It’s because of true democracy in those countries, which they want, but deny democracy to others in their own countries.
NNFC: What we need is a country where there is law and order. We should not have laws which are not observed by all. We need to have cops, prosecutors, etc, who work independently without hindrance and are not reporting to any politicians. No need for any more councils outshooting from Parliament. I do not see any use there.
Anonymous #03815719: When the original National Consultative Council (NCC) was formed in 1970, Parliament was suspended, am I right? So what what happens to Parliament with NCC2?
Leonie: No need for another 'NATO, no action, talk only.' Get Anwar Ibrahim a royal pardon. Then there are many excellent Malay and non-Malay politicians, technocrats, sociologists, professionals like yourself, who are willing and able to remove this 'lack of trust' in Malaysia. Then they will say, 'the rest is history'. This is the correct time for the 'Mahathir Mohamad-Anwar Ibrahim combination' to work. Will you be the catalyst for this combination?
Hplooi: NCC2 is just replacing one set of political nabobs with another set of nabobs. The first NCC was an opaque institution implementing rules and political narratives without any form of public consultation. In fact any criticism of the first NCC was criminalised under the sedition law.
While NCC1 may have been motivated by (perhaps) some idealism, the absolute power provided under the NCC framework quickly became corrupting. So, I can state categorically that the miasma currently permeating our political structure can be traced directly to NCC1 and the moral corruption it inserted into Malaysian politics. Now, who was it who said that, "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results?"
Mosquitobrain: Set up NCC2 with existing Umno warlords and clowns to solve existing problems created by them? Better ask the crystal ball.
Rupert16: Well said, Amanah strategy director Dzulkefly Ahmad. The perpetrators in the 1MDB scam should be charged and money recovered be returned to the public - only then can there be closure of this sad episode of massive corruption by the people at the very top of the country's leadership.
Anonymous 2418081463042685: So true, Dzulkefly. Umno has successfully kept the rural Malays uneducated so that they will keep voting in the BN for peanuts (Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia or BR1M).
Whatever happens in Malaysia after GE14, history will record that the perpetrators are thieves and traitors to the country. The real patriots are those arrested and tried for protesting this heinous crimes against the rakyat.
Anonymous 2447961480069542: MO1 sends in the office boy to wind up the company in the hope that the grand scandal will eventually subside. He is allegedly directly involved in the misappropriation but hasn't said a word about the truth of the matter. Instead, he hounds, arrests and intimidates all those who dare to question the fraud and misappropriation.
We are still waiting to know where all the stolen money and the 'donation' have gone? Quiet like a mouse and pretending he has nothing to do with it? Such a shameless person.

Solaris: Does that mean that all companies can also do likewise - wind up and escape prosecution?- Mkini