Monthly Archives: February 2011

Spammed by the Prime Minister!

From: NG CHEE WAH
To: Aust – Paul Goh Melbourne ; BEC – Rita Yeoh ; BEC – Rita Yeoh ; Dr. Hwang Ipoh ; Dr. Vincent Ng ; Friends – Albert Chong from BEC ; Friends – Bernard Yong ; Friends – Cheng Ning Bing ; Friends – Eddy Chong ; Friends – Frankie Low ; “Friends – Henry @ Farri” ; Friends – Jimmy Tiow ; Friends – Lai Chak Ming ; Friends – Uncle Millian ; SGI – Al Teoh Teik Sun ; SGI – Chuah Chong Chaw ; SGI – Kuah Tee San ; SGI – Major Rajah Krishnan ; SGI – Teoh Teik San ; SGI – Vincent Soo ; Dr. JayaMatthew ; Dr. VanajaMsava ; Dr. Vellayan ; Dr. Victor Paul ; Friends – Ravichandran ; Ind – Amarjit Ruba ; Ind – Anbarasu renganathan ; Ind – Anblagan ; Ind – Caroljit kaur ; “Ind – Chanaida@hotmail.com” ; Ind – Dominic Silva ; Ind – Ganesan Mani ; Ind – Hari Menon ; Ind – Mahesh ; Ind – Marik Singh ; Ind – Pannirselvam arumugam ; Ind – Prem vasuthevan ; Ind – Rita Kumar ; Ind – SivasupramaniumJph ; Ind – VAsANTHA ; Ind – VENAGADASAMY APPALASAMY ; Ind – Vickraman ; Friends – Cheah Sin ; Q – Lim Choo Hock ; Q – Lim Choo Hock ; SGI – Abdullah Ong Hean Chye ; SGI – Capt Low Seng Joo ; SGI – Chan Chong Meng ; SGI – Cheah Nam Tim ; SGI – Chong Gin Ooi ; SGI – Chuah Chong Chaw ; SGI – Dr Goh Chooi Beow ; SGI – Dragonhead ; SGI – Eddy Kok Sang Chong ; SGI – Ho Boon Eng ; SGI – Lai Si Meng ; SGI – Lee Gan Tan ; SGI – Lee Soon Eng ; SGI – Melvin Loh ; SGI – Nah Kiat Gee ; SGI – Ng Hock Sing ; SGI – Paul Ooi Keat Ho ; SGI – Richard Teoh ; SGI – Sree Pathmanathan ; SGI – Tan Chee You ; SGI – Thomas Zachariah ; SGI – Toh Hock Thiam
Sent: Saturday, February 19, 2011 3:04 AM
Subject: Spammed by the Prime Minister!

———- Forwarded .com>
Date: Sat, Feb 19, 2011 at 2:04 PM
Subject: Spammed by the Prime Minister!
To:

Spammed by the Prime Minister!

> Read the following article by the highly regarded Kee Thuan Chye, comment on it (show it here at the end of the article) and CIRCULATE to show our disdain and contempt for the PM for hijacking our email addresses and our privacy
>
>
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> by Kee Thuan Chye
> NO less than the Prime Minister has just spammed me! In an email wishing me Happy Chinese New Year. I’m not pleased. In fact, when I got the email, I freaked out. How did he get my address? I take strong umbrage against whoever gave it to him. It is an invasion of my privacy.
>
> Najib (or rather, his assistants) reportedly sent out that email to 1.5 million people. The Star reported that many were happy to get it – in a report quoting only three people. And two of them had Muslim-sounding names! From the tweets I’ve seen, it seems many Muslims have been getting the email too. Some tweeters considered the greeting “insincere”, some suggested reporting the matter to Cyber 999 and even the police.
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> Many questioned how Najib or his assistants got their e-mail addresses. There’s a theory going round that it came from the database of a media conglomerate. If this is true, the practice is, of course, not right. It contravenes the cyberworld law of data privacy. Whoever gave the data to him showed that they did not respect that privacy.
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> My wife got a CNY greeting from Najib too – via an SMS. Did her telco give her number to Najib and Co? Is that a proper thing to do? This episode shows that the personal details of Malaysians are not safe from prying and abuse. And that Big Brother is watching. That’s a scary prospect.
>
> Najib’s greeting is yet another of the public relations campaigns he has been mounting for more than a year now. Those who are aware realize they are nothing more than efforts to win votes for the next general election, but there are plenty of others who are not so clued-in.
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> This Chinese New Year campaign seems to have had an effect, especially on fence-sitters. Some of them said they were touched. They seemed swayed into believing that the PM cared enough to send them the greeting. This is not surprising, because gullible Malaysians often fall for cheap tricks all too easily. The number who have fallen victim to internet scams must be substantial. As a politician of long experience, Najib must surely know that.
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> More public relations at work can be seen in the awarding of datukships in conjunction with Federal Territory Day. The number of Indians being awarded this year is relatively high. Seen in relation to Barisan Nasional’s bid to sustain its regaining of the Indian vote, this is to be expected.
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> Among the awardees, also expected, is K Rajagopal, the national football coach who recently guided his team to winning the small-time AFF Suzuki Cup. I’ve written before that his achievement in that competition is not something worthy of a datukship, but we all know that football ranks high in the popular Malaysian imagination, so not only has Rajagopal been made a datuk; also awarded is former football ace Santokh Singh.
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> Najib’s own special assistant, Ravindren Chelliah Ponniah, also gets to be a datuk. So do a couple of other Singhs. And guess who else? R Thanenthiran, president of Parti Makkal Sakthi Malaysia. For what? For forsaking Hindraf and crossing to the other side?
>
> What about the Datuk Seri title for the president of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP), M Kayveas? What has Kayveas done of late to deserve this higher award? That’s how the next general election is going to be won – by public relations. Of which BN being in government has plenty of resources to invest in.
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> Similarly, it has the resources to hijack Pakatan Rakyat’s recently announced pledge to abolish toll on all highways within 100 days of coming to power. A few days ago, Najib declared – in perfect time for the Tenang by-election – that the toll for the Salak to Taman Connaught stretch on the East-West Link Expressway would be abolished by May. He also announced that the toll for two other expressways would not be increased for the next five years. According to him, no compensation would be paid to the highway concessionaires, implying that it would not cost taxpayers anything.
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> Whether this is true remains to be seen. An engineer of long experience in the relevant industry that I spoke to is very skeptical about it. He feels that there will be other ways of compensation made to the concessionaires that will ultimately involve payment by the rakyat.
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> Last December, when Pakatan Rakyat announced its pledge to abolish tolls, Najib pooh-poohed it and said it was irresponsible. But now he’s going for it himself. He has even hinted that there will be more good news on the same subject soon. I suspect he will make the North-South Expressway toll-free. He might announce this on the eve of the next general election and make a major score from it. If that happens, you can bet that the taxpayer will not be able to avoid compensating the concessionaires in one way or another. Regardless of what Najib might say then to the contrary.
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> We have to be circumspect. We have to learn not to be so easily fooled. On the surface, a proposition may sound good, but there can be hidden drawbacks underlying it which of course will be kept secret at the time of announcement. We have also to be aware that all these public relations efforts made by Najib are intended for one main purpose. Apart from that, they also distract public attention from the questionable goings-on.
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> Only last week, it was revealed that there is now a new department in the Prime Minister’s Office called FLOM – for First Lady of Malaysia – manned by a staff of six. And it looks after the operational needs of Najib’s wife, Rosmah Mansor. Never in our history has there ever been such a department. It reeks of nepotism and other things besides. Why should the PM’s wife have a department all to herself? Are there institutionalized provisions for such a thing? Who is paying for the upkeep of this department? We need to snap out of our distracted state and pressure Najib to justify the setting-up of FLOM. Let’s see how his public relations advisers will respond to that. For CNY, they came up with spam; for FLOM, will they come up with flam?
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> Just for fun, here are two Urban Dictionary definitions of “flom” – 1) To untie someone’s shoe lace while they aren’t looking, so they get pissed off and have to retie it (e.g. “Hey, stop it! This is the fifth time you’ve flommed me!”); 2) to do something sexual to someone of the opposite sex.
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> Either way you look at it, it sounds naughty!
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> COMMENTS
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> This PM fella is really desperate, bending so low just to gain a few miserable brownie points. I did not receive an email, but I did get an SMS. No matter, I am still pissed off. The man with the highest position in the land, stooping so low – stealing my sacred privy info and pretending to send me CNY greetings – just to get my vote? No way.
> I view his actions as despicable, disgusting, deplorable, disdainful and desperate.

Food inflation: Please store up more food

Folks– this is serious stuff. Due to the cold freeze and the stinkin weather all over the world, this has caused catastrophic food production. Bad weather in China and it affects the wheat/rice supply , you can feel the cost of food has gone up.
Here is the story:
http://epik.com/blog/inflation-has-arrived-specifically-food-inflation.html

In Epik’s 2011 Outlook, we said to expect inflation this year. Well, that did not take long. The headlines these days are full of news of inflation — specifically inflation in the things you need (food, fuel, clothing) and deflation in the things you don’t (a larger house or a new boat). To date, this inflation hit has mostly been observed in producer prices but not in consumer prices. That could well change soon, particularly once excess inventories are liquidated.

In the meantime:

* The supply of things you need is potentially shrinking: I don’t want to sound excessively Malthusian but for the first time in my life, I am sensing that there is a risk risk of widespread famine. The group most at risk is the nominally 1 billion people living on less than $2 a day. However, if the 2011 harvests are as bad as they look like they might be, the pain will quickly expand to those living on $10 a day and quite possibly higher. For calibration, something like 80% of humanity lives on less than $10 a day.

* The Inflation catapult is locked and loaded: Inflation is largely a monetary phenomenon. For inflation to occur, you either need (1) more money chasing the same amount of product, or (2) equal money chasing less product. In the case of food inflation, we may have the worst possible combination: more money chasing less product. The below chart explains perfectly why I think the inflation catapult is primed for blast-off. It awaits a triggering event.

* The Inflation hawks have left the building: Earlier today, there was news that Neil Barofsky is leaving his role as SIGTARP. These are the guys who are accountable for where the TARP bailout money goes. On a related note, Hawkish Fed Governor Kevin Warsh resigned last week. Axel Weber, the similarly hawkish heir apparent to the European Central Bank, also resigned last week. The hawks appear to be leaving the building.

You may not care about the money supply, and may well not know your M1, M2 and M3. Now would be a good time to get up to speed — before the velocity of money returns to trend. It is also a good time to diversify into assets that have finite supply and that have global appeal. Personally, I like premium domain names as an asset class for reasons discussed prior.

The Chinese need to eat too — and with $2.65 Trillion in ForEx reserves they can afford to!
The big macroeconomic development to watch in the coming months is Chinese food inflation. Month over month, the official number is that it is running a TRIPLE DIGIT annualized growth rate. I have an ongoing Skype dialog with a business partner in Fuzhou, China, who has confirmed that rapidly increasing food prices in late 2010 is now accelerating in 2011. Due to ongoing drought, China’s domestic harvest could take a large hit in 2011. However, keep in mind that China also has the world’s largest foreign exchange reserves, now above $2.65 Trillion. In other words, in a global market with free trade, their government should be able to import what they need from willing exporters. Interesting to note though that Russia has banned grained exports in the wake of their own failed harvest.

I goes to follow then that China is the X-Factor in global pricing of food — they would have the greatest need and also the greatest capacity to pay for it. Although drought conditions are not new in China, 2011 is looking particularly severe. This is the first time that I can recall when the world’s most populous nation can also afford to outbid the world’s wealthiest nations for a good that is classically price inelastic.

Guess who has the largest supply of exportable grain?
As you can see in the below info-graphic, far and away the US is the leading exporters of food.

At a time when food will be much more expensive, let’s see if the US crop holds up. It just might, and almost certainly on a relative basis. The (geopolitical) implications are significant as there is mounting evidence that instability in places like Egypt have their origin in rising food prices. Said another way, a government would spend as much as needed to maintain control of its population. With 43 million Americans on food stamps at a time of record budget deficits, the writing is on the wall that more debasement of the currency can be expected as the global trends towards income equality and wealth concentration continues. Hedge accordingly.
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http://biz.thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2011/2/15/business/8066033&sec=business
OF late, there is this massive pressure on Asian nations to stockpile rice as part of their national food security efforts.

With the weather pattern wreaking havoc on food crops leading to dwindling supplies and rising food inflation, there is looming fear the current price of rice may soon revisit the all-time record price in 2008, which at one time saw the grain price surging by 200%.

The global rice market has been on the rise again over the past few months after hitting a two-year low in early August 2010. The price of the Asian rice benchmark, Thai 100% grade-B white rice, has steadily risen by about 4.5% since Dec 29 to reach about US$558 per tonne.

Despite the assurance of ample rice supply by the world’s largest rice producers Thailand and Vietnam, Indonesia and Bangladesh have become among the earliest Asian nations to extensively boost their rice imports for 2011.

Early this month, Indonesia had ordered its state procurement agency Bulog to secure imports to gradually boost its rice stockpiles to two million tonnes from the current 1.5 million tonnes. Indonesia surprised the market recently by purchasing 820,000 tonnes of rice from Thailand for prompt shipment.

Bangladesh has also said it was buying 200,000 tonnes of parboiled rice from Thailand in the first government-to-government deal for the grain.

Malaysia has also been steadily stockpiling rice. After the bitter experience of 2008, Bernas the local rice custodian has been procuring rice over the past two years via active buying both on the spot and forward contract for two to six months to build up stocks.

According to some quarters, more Asian nations would likely make similar move to boost their rice stockpile should drought-striken China, the world’s largest rice consumer, start to procure more rice externally in the near term. China has been self-sufficient of the grain.

Interestingly, Vietnam, the second world largest rice producer, is also stockpiling its rice at about one million tonnes but Thailand intends to reduce its volume of it domestic stockpile to only 100,000 tonnes and export 900,000 tonnes from its stockpile.

Meanwhile, the Thai government is not overly worried about lowering its stockpile as new harvest will start soon. It is likely to export 10.73 million tonnes of the 2010-11 crop, up slightly from 10 million for 2009-10.

So what will be in store next as the scramble to stockpile rice hots up among Asian countries?

Given such a dire situation, it seems the proposal to create a permanent rice emergency reserve by the 10-member Asean together wth China, South Korea and Japan (Asean plus three) may likely be speeded up.

A meeting is slated in Jakarta later this year to discuss the supply and financing, and the mechanism to the countries should a hike in prices occur.

In addition, a blueprint will also be put up for the establishment of a 800,000-tonne strategic rice storage facility with pledges from Asean members, Japan, China and South Korea to protect the region’s two billion people from an environmental disaster and a runaway inflation.

New unit to boost bumiputra economic participation

So this is 1Malaysia is all about—give give more to Bumiputra

New unit to boost bumiputra economic participation

http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2011/2/9/nation/8029068&sec=nation

PUTRAJAYA: Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak launched the “Unit Peneraju Agenda Bumiputera” (Teraju) to further strengthen the bumiputra development agenda.

The special unit would look into five areas, including entrepreneurship and wealth creation, to boost bumiputra economic participation.

The remaining areas are funding, education and employment, institutional and policy instrument review and stakeholder management.

The Prime Minister said Teraju would also propose institutional reforms to increase effectiveness. “Teraju will work with relevant agencies to develop implementation initiatives, review existing programmes and manage the implementation of these programmes,” he said at the launch after chairing the Bumiputra Agenda Action Council meeting yesterday.

“To better understand ground issues and sentiments, it will be crucial for Teraju to engage with non-governmental organisations and stakeholders,” he said.