Malaysia Baru

Syugia saya harapkan pembaca dan pengikut blog saya dapat menikmati penampilan baru (dan sudah tentu pendekatan baru) di dalam era Malaysia Baru ini.

Saya akan mengenegahkan isu-isu yang bertemakan apa yang dipanggil Malaysia Baru. Oleh kerana slogan “Malaysia Baru” digunakan secara meluas dewasakini, adalah penting untuk kita membina konsensus di kalangan rakyat Malaysia, tentang apa yang kita fahami bersama tentang maksud dan inti nya. Seperti yang saya perhatikan, sudah mula terdapat pelbagai kumpulan yang ingin menonjolkan makna Malaysia Baru dalam perspektif dan pandangan yang sempit.

Usaha saya disini adalah untuk kearah membina dan membentuk konsensus dikalangan kita, yang mana ianya adalah amat penting didalam aspek hala tuju bangsa dan negara. Saya berharap blog saya ini akan menjadi satu wadah yang utama untuk saya membawa pendekatan konsensus ini di kalangan rakyat ramai.

Secara inti nya, Malaysia Baru, mestilah disasarkan kepada rakyat jelata Malaysia. Oleh itu amatlah penting untuk kita terlebih dahulu mendefinisikan apakah kumpulan sasar utama rakyat Malaysia – yang dikatakan sebagai rakyat biasa (average Malaysian).

Rakyat Malaysia “biasa” (average) dengan takrifan statistik secara amnya dijelaskan seperti berikut: purata umur dalam kira-kira 27.7 tahun (umur median rakyat Malaysia tahun 2017), adalah 68.8% Bumiputera, 23.2% Cina, dan 7%  India (campuran etnik Malaysia sebagai banci 2017), tinggal di komuniti peri-urban, pendapatan purata bulanannya kurang daripada RM3,500 sebulan (dalam definisi pendapatan B40), tahap pendidikannya adalah dengan diploma (kira-kira 60%), status pemilikan aset: 15% daripada kereta (seperti jenis MyVee atau motosikal), tidak mempunyai rumah dan masih menyewa, memiliki telefon pintar dengan pelan data (prabayar dan pasca bayar), baru berkahwin atau sedang merancang untuk berkahwin dan mempunyai anak tidak lama lagi, secara asasnya beliau merupakan kombinasi unti famili yang baru di bentuk. (Sumber: Jabatan Perangkaan Malaysia).

Secara umum nya tingkah laku “average Malaysian” boleh digambarkan seperti berikut: beliau tidak menonton banyak televisyen, tapi menghabiskan masa kira-kira 8 jam sehari di internet, terutamanya applikasi media sosial dan pesanan ringkas, suka streaming dalam talian, mempunyai akaun Facebook, bekerja makan gaji , tidak berminat dengan ideologi politik, tidak begitu minat terhadap agama, walaupun mengambil berat terhadap terhadap amalan agama, prihatin tentang gaya hidup dan rakan sebaya (yang membuatnya prihatin terhadap tentang kos sara hidup), suka mendengar muzik dan menonton filem, suka membuat carian dalam talian untuk membeli-belah, walaupun tidak semestinya membuat pembelian dalam talian, mempunyai kemudahan perbankan dalam talian dan sering menggunakannya, mencari maklumat dalam talian dan mempercayai maklumat dalam talian lebih daripada yang lain, tidak memahami politik dan dasar-dasar kerajaan, dan yang penting adalah apa saja yang boleh menjejaskannya kehidupan sehariannya.

Sebenarnya apa yang saya gambarkan tadi tidaklah suatu yang mengejutkan kepada pembaca dari kalangan “average Malaysian”, cuma ianya mungkin agak janggal kepada kumpulan umur yang lebih dewasa (seperi saya). Yang jelas nya, rakyat Malaysia, secara purata nya adalah golongan muda, yang dikatakan sebagai Gen-X dan Gen-Y. Golongan ini lah merupakan paski baru dalam negara, yang bakal menjadi satu kuasa atau “force to be reckon with”, dalam jangka masa kedepan.

Sudah banyak bukti-bukti yang menunjukan bahawa anak-anak yang dilahirkan daripada ibu bapa pasca kemerdekaan adalah penentu utama masa depan bangsa dan negara. Pilhanraya PRU14 adalah satu “crowning event” kepada fenomena baru ini. Bagi kita semua, terutama golongan atasan, lebih-lebih lagi kepada pimpinan politik negara, kita harus akur dan terima hakikat yang baru ini, dan kita harus mengambil jalan untuk menjadi lebih relevan kepada mereka.

Saya membuat kesimpulan bahawa Malaysia Baru adalah realisasi kepada “average Malaysian” sebagai paksi baru masyarakat, dan mereka boleh menentukan perubahan dalam masyarakat sebagai satu kumpulan. Dalam jangka terdekat, adalah tidak mustahil bagi golongan ini untuk menyedari bahawa mereka adalah faktor penentu utama penentu perubahan dan kuasa untuk melakukannya adalah di tangan mereka.

Marilah kita mengalu-alukan kedatangan ini ke MALAYSIA BARU ini.

Malaysia Baru – New Malaysia

This is re-emergence of my blog postings, under a new look and banner – Malaysia Baru or New Malaysia.

Hope that readers and followers of my blog would enjoy the new looks (and of course new approach).

I will post issues that would relate mostly to the so-called New Malaysia (Malaysia Baru). As the tagline “Malaysia Baru” being used widely of late, it is important that defining this “Malaysia Baru” must take place in what I would call “consensus building” among Malaysians, as to what it could mean. As I observe, some would like to skew the “Malaysia Baru” meanings to their perspectives and views, which is normal under any emergence of new social changes, at the expense of consensus building, which should be the penultimate goal. I will try my best to push forward this agenda of consensus building among fellow Malaysians, using this blog as one of its main venues.

Malaysia Baru – must be targeted for the average Malaysian. First, we must define what would be the “proper and correct” description of “average” Malaysian?

An average Malaysian by statistical definition would generally be described as follows: he/she is on average about 27.7 years old (the median age of Malaysians as 2017), he/she is 68.8% Bumiputera, 23.2% Chinese, about 7% Indian & others (Malaysian ethnicity mix as 2017 census), he/she lives in peri-urban community, his/her average monthly income is less than RM3,500 per month (in the B40 income definition), his/her education level is with a diploma (about 60%), his/her properties would include: 15% of a car (which is about MyVee type or a motorbike), do not own a house yet and still renting them, own a smartphone with data plan in place (even though could be prepaid and not postpaid), he/she is just married with no kids yet and planning to have kids soon, and last but not least, he and she is combined as he and she (basic household definition of a family unit). (Source: Department of Statistics, Malaysia)

Let us further define his/her behaviors: he/she don’t watch much television, but spent about 8 hours a day on the internet, which dominated by gluing themselves to social media and online streaming, has facebook account, working as an employee, not interested in politics (general political apathy to any political ideology), not so religious (even though care about religious practices), is concerned about lifestyle and peers (which makes him/her to be concerned about costs of living), likes some type of music and movies, do search online for shopping, even though may not consummate the purchase online, do have online banking facilities and use them often, do search for information online and trust online information more than others, do not understand politics and policies save for what it affects him/her directly on his/her daily life, and so on.

If Malaysia Baru means the prominence of this “Average Malaysian” as I had described, as it’s main thrusts of consensus, then it would not be to any surprise for the Average Malaysian. It is only surprising to those (older generations) who do not see that Malaysians had shifted to these new Gen-X and Gen-Y, as it’s new polar. And if anyone could see that is the case, it would be futile to go against this grain and would risk themselves to be marginalized as well as facing the risk of being irrelevant.

For me, I would conclude that Malaysia Baru is the realization of the Average Malaysian (which is really Gen-X and Gen-Y) that they represent the polar of society, and could affect changes in society as a group. And soon, they may realize that they are the determinant factor to make these changes, and the power of doing so is in their hands.

Let us give a warm welcome to this NEW MALAYSIA (BARU).

 

 

 

 

Dark World Series

Dear readers

I am starting a new line of discussions, called the “Dark World Series”, which I had started earlier and with my e-book : THE DARK WORLD OF FINANCE.

My idea and objectives is to debunk and clarify lots of myths and fallacies in the World that we live in. Finance is one of the area. There are many other areas that I planned to worked on.

I would like to use my blog as the medium to engage and discuss, as well as to recieve feedback from readers.

Thank you

 

Wan M Hasni

STORIES OF LIFE

I finally had thought out what i would like to write and publish. Something that I had planned to do since 2001. But I suffer from writers “syndrome of perfection” – that is I want to publish only something that is perfect. Because of that I have so many drafts of books that I seemingly could never complete. Anyhow, here I would share what I plan to do.

To develop a common theme and approach of my writings as follows

  • Objective: to relate economic issues to the general public, people’s interest on economics, business and finance.
  • What problems that I am setting out to solve? There are very few books written on the subject, in simple language – in a manner of story telling. Academic textbooks will not do, and yet too factual books with too much jargon and technical language, will also not do.
  • What confusions do I wish to clarify? There are many facts and fallacies out there; many misconceptions, confusions arising out of many reasons. We want to simplify, separate correct analysis and facts – from myths, fallacies and fictions.
  • What previously unknown or unfortunately neglected story am I planning to tell?  I would like to tell balanced story; not promoting specific agenda or ideas.
  • How is these books different from all other books? It has to be concise, not too long, since very few people are serious readers. It has to be focused and yet, general enough.
  • Why does that matter? To whom? Anyone interested in business and economics

 

The planned (tentative) list are as follows:

  • Story of Business (partly done)
  • Story of Risks (started)
  • Story of Asian Financial Crisis (almost done)
  • Story of Dark Finance (started)
  • Story of Islamic Finance (not yet)
  • Story of Life (partly done)
  • Story of Capital (not yet)
  • Story of the Malays (started)
  • Story of Game Theory (not yet)
  • Story of Value (not yet)
  • Story of Money (not yet)
  • Story of Dinar (not yet)
  • Story of Knowledge (not yet)
  • Story of Probability (started)
  • Story of Inequality (not yet)
  • Story of Economic Theory (not yet)
  • Story of Islamic Economic Theory (not yet)
  • Story of Laws & Regulations (not yet)
  • Story of Justice (not yet)
  • Story of Economic Management of Malaysia (not yet)

A very raw draft of “Story of Business” is here. Story of Business Draft v0 2016.08.28

 

 

 

 

IS RELIGIOUS VIOLENCE ON THE RISE?

SUMMARY: Islamic faith based religious violence is statistically insignificant, compared to many other occurrences of violence. But it makes big news, because of its dramatic nature, just like plane crashes compared to automobile accidents. However, Muslims should not be apologetic about it – but rather to clarify them clearly about the bias as well as the framing effects of the media, which aggravates the perception of the masses. Islam always stood on its principles, which is against injustices (Al Fitnah) – by Muslims or non-Muslims alike. Violence is the effects, but not its roots; injustices are.

The question I posed above: whether religious violence, such as ISIS of Syria & Iraq, Al Qaeda, the so called religiously “linked” violence is on the rise – begs us to dig a bit deeper into the subject matter. Furthermore, these violence seems to point out to Islamic belief as the source of these violence. First question is: is it true that violence is on the rise? Second question is: is it due to Islamic faith? Let us try to address this “scientifically” – which means that I will base my arguments based on statistical analysis, and secondly based on fundamental analysis.

Let me start with statistical analysis.

I would use studies in a recent paper by Cirillo & Taleb “The Decline of Violent Conflicts: What
Do The Data Really Say?” [Nobel Symposium 161: The Causes of Peace, June 15-18, 2016, Bergen, Norway, (Nobel Foundation)]

First, statistically we have to rely on longer historical data, say of about 50 years or more, and better still 100 years or even more. Then only, we could make statistical statements that are meaningful (which means unbiased) and “statistically correct”(which means scientifically proper).  The answer to this is clear: violence is statistically speaking violence had been on a significant decline over the last 100 years, and religious violence represent statistically “insignificant” percentage of the total violence that occurred [adjusted for the number of the world population, since 100 events based on 1 billion people is different than ones based on 6 billion people]. In another word, the World had become a safer place to live than say 100 years ago.

Secondly, religious based violence had been even on a lesser scale, as they represent statistically insignificant percentage of near 0%. The largest percentage of violence is war between nations (i.e. other reasons than religion); and war’s occurrence is considered to be “anomalies” within the data (that is it occurred in less frequencies but with devastating casualties).

Now let us address the issue of religion as the source of violence. First we cannot deny those who commit violence and claimed that it is because of religion (such as ISIS). Anyone who commits anything based on his claims to act on his religious faith – has to be taken on that “face value”. We should not say that they are wrong “religiously”. In another word, if someone claims to act based on Islamic faith – we should not be apologetic to say that they are “NOT MUSLIMS”. This is clear from Al Quran that we can’t deny anyone who says the Syahadah (the verse which refers to one Sahabah who was admonished by Ar Rasul (saw), when he killed a Musyrik who uttered the Syahadah). We have to stop at that point – not to deny a Muslim as a Muslim. What’s in their heart is between them and Allah (نحكم بالظواهر ولا بالخواطر, we judge on the Dzahir (known) and not the Khawatir (unknown)). But whether their acts are in conformity to Islamic principles is another thing altogether – as this is the domain of Islamic scholars to interpret such matter. And in the case of ISIS, majority of big scholars clearly says that what they do are Islamically wrong.

Statistically speaking, violence comes from many sources – and religion is the least and the most insignificant of them (at least over the last 100 years of human history). But why does religious violence, in particular, the ones related to Islamic faith is so highly propagated (such as the 9/11 events, the ISIS, and many other spates of violence in the West)? I would analyze this similarly to the case of “airplane crashes”. The probability of airplane crash is extremely small (i.e. statistically insignificant), but the occurrence (even rarely), make big news. Why? Because despite we have millions who died yearly from automobile accidents, they are non-dramatic; but plane crash, even if it kills 300 people, is dramatic. Our human minds are biased towards dramatic events.

What makes it worse is the framing approach of the media. This framing effect magnifies the subject, and create the perception which dominates the front lobes of human brain. A such, I found many non-Muslims friend of mine views that Muslims are violent. The Muslims have to encounter this by no other way (I disagree on denial approach as explained above – that these people are NOT MUSLIMS; they are Muslims) – except first to accept that Islam stood for its principles – that is to remove injustice ( يقاتلوهم حتى لا تكون فتنة) . If injustice still dominates, and some people reacts to those injustices – it must be understood that it is the root cause of those violence. We do not need to apologize, as Ar Rasul (saw) and the Sahabah never apologizes for their actions. This is what I am trying to correct, since I saw many Muslims are apologetic to these events. What we have to say is that, factually and scientifically speaking (hence based on rational scientific argument), that these events are insignificant and it is distortion of the actual reality.

That is my view on this matter. Wallahu A’lam.

 

 

THE DARK WORLD OF FINANCE – PART 8 “1MDB – WHAT’S NEEDED TO BE DONE” – POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS

Summary: This is my final piece on 1MDB. I propose the following solutions: Close down 1MDB parent company; break it up into independent operating entities; refinance the debts locally. But to do so, first the OLD TEAM got to go: the Board, the Senior Management (includes ARUL KANDA). Dato’ Jo, is so far seems to be the best person to handle it from the Government side. But there is one ACHILLES HEEL to the whole thing: THE ARABS. They could be the source of problems or solutions, depending on how we handle it. My advice is – they could be our savior and not detractor.

As I had indicated and repeated many times, as a Malaysian, I would prefer 1MDB to succeed rather than to fail. This is out of a simple notion: 1MDB is a public entity, its failure means it will borne by all of us, and otherwise, it success (or non-failure, at the least) will give us at least no harm, or better still benefits us.

Firstly, before I proceed, let me just list down the factual issues (as addressed and alluded to in previous articles, Part 1 – Part 7).

  1. 1MDB is not a private venture, it belongs to us the Malaysian public.
  2. 1MDB was setup initially to play Leveraged Buyout ventures – but failed to do so, thus far.
  3. 1MDB is currently laden with debts that are guaranteed by Malaysian Government, explicitly and implicitly.
  4. The problems of 1MDB now spreads to the US, based on US DOJ Civil Suit filing; even though it is about assets seizure, the exposé, spills the Malaysian beans to international scene. This is not of 1MDB’s actions, but by those who were purportedly linked or related to 1MDB’s transactions.
  5. 1 MDB is in full dispute with Abu Dhabi (IPIC, Aabar, Mubadala, etc). Both parties are now gearing up for a full dispute; the arbitration case in London is only a start.

 

Secondly, let us take everything based on ITS FACE VALUE backed by facts.

  1. The Malaysian AG has cleared Dato’ Sri Najib from any criminal wrong doings in relations to 1MDB. So let us accept this as a fact, until proven otherwise.
  2. The US DOJ Civil Suits is about assets seizure, based on criminal acts purportedly done by some individuals named. The filings reveals quite a lot of details, which we could take as facts to be proven in the court of laws. Up to now, we have to wait for the results of the suit. If it is contested, then we could see what else, factually revealed or concluded. If it is not contested, then we could take these facts as facts proven through the court of laws.
  3. The various probes on the accounts of 1MDB, such as by PAC, Auditor General, the Auditor (Deloitte or others), as established facts.

 

ALL IN ALL, I COULD ONLY CONCLUDE THAT:

  1. 1MDB IS IN TROUBLE, FINANCIALLY AND LEGALLY.
  2. ALL FACTS, SO FAR PROVEN (UNTIL PROVEN OTHERWISE), THAT DATO’ SRI NAJIB IS NOT GUILTY OF ANY CRIMINAL OFFENCES.
  3. THE POLITICKING OF 1MDB ISSUES DO NOT SOLVE 1 MDB’S TROUBLE. IT ONLY AGGRAVATES THE SITUATION AND COULD POTENTIALLY PRECIPITATES ITS FAILURE, INSTEAD OF ITS SURVIVAL.

Based on the above, my own views of what could be done are summarized as follows:

  1. Dato Sri Najib to be personally off the subject of 1MDB’s “direct management”. This could be done by giving Dato’ Johari Ghani full authority to deal with 1MDB. It is his rightful duty and portfolio as Finance Minister II. Dato’ Jo background’s as former corporate guy would be beneficial and useful. He is also known to be no nonsense manager. His role to save KFC in the past was commendable. So, in short, I presumed this is already done, and let us give him the chance to so do.
  2. To focus on the dispute with Abu Dhabi. The results of the current London Arbitration will set tone for what would be the impact on 1MDB financially. It could be insolvent and all debts will become due. In short, bankruptcy, unless saved by the Government.
  3. To CLOSE DOWN 1MDB holding company, soonest possible. 1MDB has become a “pariah brand” locally and internationally. Once you are a pariah, nobody wants to deal with you, or if they will, the price you pay (for the perceived risks) is extremely high and costly.

 

Tactically, the following must be done:

  1. To sack all the “old members” of the Board, and disband the Advisory Board (which consists of names that are not even functional).
  2. To REPLACE ALL THE SENIOR MANAGEMENT of 1MDB and its subsidiaries. Replace them with seasoned and experienced corporate managers. Malaysia had lots of talent who could do this.
  3. Create independent entities out of the “OLD 1MDB”. TRX, Bandar 1Malaysia, etc., could become independent from 1MDB parent, and rebrand them well.

Financially, the following must be done:

  1. Debts to equity conversion or replacement. With only about RM1 billion equity (or quasi equity), is far too low, and the debt/equity ratio to be unsustainable. A combined equity of at least RM5 billion or more would be proper.
  2. Reduction and replacement of government guarantees. A program to reduce the amount and government guarantee exposures must be undertaken.
  3. Bonds or Sukuks, etc., could be raised locally to refinance and repay the US Dollar Notes. However, the structure must be well done, to allow market confidence as well as to get the most competitive pricings. With prime real estate as its base (assuming Edra or energy assets are no longer an issue), the possibility of getting the right structure and rates are good.
  4. Future financial needs are done in Ringgit, using the local financial market as the prime source.

 

So far, all of the above are direct from any “standard” financial play book. Nothing extra ordinary. The only thing is the WILL TO DO SO. I sincerely hope that Dato Jo, would do the above, or some variations of similar measures. With all due respect to ARUL KANDA, his measures for 1MDB fall far too short, and I would say that he is already becoming an “interested person” and hence not free to do and execute the above or any new measures, impartially. He is already part of the “OLD 1MDB brand”. He need to go.

Lastly but not the least, there is one ACHILLES HEEL in all of these, the ARABS. Now let me comment on this issue:

  1. The ARABS are major investors in Malaysia. Abu Dhabi is only one of them. We have Al Rajhi Bank, Kuwait Finance House, the Qataris, the Saudis, and so on. The United Arab Emirates played prominently in our investors’ scene, for example, Bank Islam shares owned by UAE entity, Mubadala in Bandar Seri Iskandar, the same for the shares in RHB Bank, the same for Oil & Gas sector, and many others.
  2. We could be risking the whole ARAB investors, just to save 1MDB. The 1MDB fallout could signal a long term withdrawal of the ARABS. I was once advised by ADIA’s senior ranking official: “Dr. Wan, we want to invest in Malaysia, as much as we could; you do not need to lay us the “RED CARPETS” (i.e. special treatments), but please do not put on the “RED TAPES” (i.e. problems and obstacles).
  3. The financial wealth and muscle of the ARABS could be larger than Malaysia’s own clout in international politics. The long term risk that we could get is by going at odds against them, instead of working with them, could not bode too well for Malaysia in the long term. We could gain more than lose, if we work with them.

 

My personal knowledge and experience with the ARABS clearly tells me that so far, we are on the wrong track as far as our dealing with IPIC. My experience also tells me that the arbitration in London between 1MDB and IPIC is not the last and definitely not the least. Statements such as “we are confidence that we will win the case” is pure hubris. At best, our odds is at 50%, same as IPIC’s. Currently both sides are “building up their case” – which means more damages and revelations. Both will be spilling their beans in front of others – to no good.

ARABS are known for what I called “TENT DIPLOMACY”. I had participated in so many of them, to tell you with confidence that it is the best way to solve issues with them. What it means is private discussions to solve issues, sincerely among “friends” in most friendly manner. It also involves a lot of gives and takes. But it would require people with experience and knowledge to be able to do so. Tent diplomacy is not an open forum; when it’s done, nothing of the details should come out to the public (media). ARABS are personally, media shy (except for Prince Waleed of Saudi Arabia, and he is another breed apart).

Just to give you an example – when Dubai was in serious debt troubles (after 2008 crisis) of more than few hundred billions. There were so much noise and brouhaha, it finally went down in total silence and all parties (i.e. debtors) were paid. This was done within just less than 3 months or so. How was it done? The answer is the tent diplomacy between Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Today, Dubai is back in its growth again.

My sincere take is: Abu Dhabi and the ARABS should be our friend and not enemy. They should be part of the solutions and not the problems. Remember one more thing about the ARABS – they are like CAMELS. They could survive “long journey without water”. Their key people are permanent rulers (not elected). Hence, they could wait to outlast you. They will not die or unfold because of 1MDB, but 1MDB could, because of them. So, I am sure they will prepare for this path. A path that I would not take. So my advice is: use TENT DIPLOMACY. Make the ARABS as part of the solution and not the problems. But these could not be done by ARUL KANDA or the OLD team that managed 1MDB. It needs fresh team and with the right actions and solutions.

GOOD LUCK!!!