Thursday, May 31, 2007
PETALING JAYA: Proton Holdings Bhd failed to meet its key performance indicators (KPIs) for the fiscal year ended March 31 (FY07) as revenue dropped 37% to RM4.9bil from RM7.8bil in FY06.
It posted a whopping net loss of RM591.4mil against a profit of RM46.7mil previously. Loss per share stood at 107.7 sen compared with earnings per share of 8.4 sen in FY06.
Proton has almost depleted its cash reserves of RM3 billion after the new management took over since end of 2005.
When the new management took over, I was sceptical. I thought the government made a wrong move by appointing new people into executive positions at proton when the previous management did not do too badly, having accumulated cash reserves of more than RM 3 billion.
At the back of my mind, I had an inkling that the Proton's financial results that were to come thereafter would show it to be in a worse rather than better condition but of course I couldn't say for sure. The reasons for the shake up at Proton previously was not that of mismanagement, but it seemed more of a political appointment in order to get rid of a certain individual who had a mind of his own, who would stand up and speak out, whatever the costs.
After the old CEO was dropped out, the sale of Augusta too effect at a sobering Euro 1 although the motorbike itself was chosen to be the best motorbike in the world for that particular year. The reason given was to streamline operation and concentrate on its core business as well as cut losses. Proton wanted to go into collaboration with other car makers, one after another, with deadlines extended but without much success, until now. It then expressed desire to pay off RM150,000 for each vendor that was to close shop as compensation (I didn't know it was so lucrative to close a non-viable business until Proton showed that it can be so).
I had a feeling that Proton was to be in worse hands after the management shook out. Not because its CEO seemed overconfident or even sounding arrogant.
And today, I was proven right. It is about time that the government acknowledges its mistakes and right its wrong.
For a nation which is still developing, we require more capital to push start Small Medium Industries and Entreprises which is a key area in generating new economic opportunities. Without much capital, such endeavour would be placed on the backburner.
The inflated price of cars bleeds the household of capital accumulation opportunity. Instead of having more money to keep as possible capital, more is being paid to their bankers and of course to the government. Less money is available for spending.
Many individuals spend on their cars to settle their loan. Car instalments can take up 30% of their small salaries compared to those of the West which is far less than this figure. In some cases, it is higher than this.
In taxing too high on cars and imposing various duties and other levies, the price of cars in Malaysia has inflated to an unreasonable figure, and as a result, the people have to spend years (7 years etc) slugging it out just to pay up. Instead of having more money to have better living conditions, now they have to cut on their food, clothing, family outings, education and other more important tasks. This does not happen in Western countries.
If we reduce the price of cars, we would have more money for savings and have enough to accumulate capital for perhaps entrepenurial pursuits, which will push start small medium industries.
Moreover, with the reduction in the price of cars, there will be less accidents on the road that will rob one individual's life potential loss of earning of RM30,000,000 (average lifetime worth of a single individual) and not to mention the cost of disability and the effects on the families involved. More individuals will be able to afford a car as opposed to a motorcycle (The vast majority of road traffic accidents which result in fatalities are bikers).
It is not reasonable to continue paying for your car up to 7 years. The more likely figure would be below 3 years. More money should be channeled into other more essential spending rather than that of a car and it should not take up a vast portion of your income.
With greater disposable income as a result of paying less for your car, there will be more economic activity. There will be increased velocity of money, and as a result, increasing income for businesses and as a corollary to this, increased government expenditure. But more importantly, more money can be channel into more purposeful spending that benefit the household itself rather than enriching the banks through mortgage and remortgage.
No! reducing the price of cars will not make our country poorer. Instead, it will generate more economic opportunities.
Federal Constitution 121 [Judicial Power of the Federation] (1) There shall be two High Courts of co-ordinate jurisdiction and status, namely * (a) one in the States of Malaya, which shall be known as the High Court in Malaya, and shall have its principal registry in Kuala Lumpur; and (b) one in the States of Sabah and Sarawak, which shall be known as the High Court in Sabah and Sarawak and shall have its principal registry at such place in the States of Sabah and Sarawak as the Yang di-Pertuan Agong may determine;(c) repealed ; and such inferior courts as may be provided by federal law; and the High Courts and inferior courts shall have such jurisdiction and powers as may be conferred by or under federal law. (1A) The courts referred to in Clause (1) shall have no jurisdiction in respect of any matter within the jurisdiction of the Shari'ah courts.
Article 11 (of the Federal Constitution) [Freedom of Religion] "(1) Every person has the right to profess and practise his religion and, subject to Clause (4), to propagate it.(2) No person shall be compelled to pay and tax the proceeds of which are specially allocated in whole or in part for the purposes of a religion other than his own.(3) Every religious group has the right (a) to manage its own religious affairs;(b) to establish and maintain institutions for religious or charitable purposes; and (c) to acquire and own property and hold and administer it in accordance with law.(4) State law and in respect of the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur and Labuan, federal law may control or restrict the propagation of any religious doctrine or belief among persons professing the religion of Islam.(5) This Article does not authorise any act contrary to any general law relating to public order, public health or morality."Since Lina Joy was a Muslim before she renounced Islam, she would still be subject to the law of the Syariah because in Syariah Law, there is provision for cases involving apostasy. One must respect the rule of law and go through the due process of law in any given situation. Had this not been the case, lawlessness would prevail. The argument that says the Syariah does apply in her case because she renouced Islam and therefore no longer is she subject to the Syariah Law is similar to an individual getting tangled up with the law suddenly announces that he or she has renounced the citizenship of Malaysia and therefore is no longer subject to the Law of the country because she no longer believes in Malaysia. Or a more appropriate comparison would be someone born in Malaysia and is automatically bound by the laws of the land without choice. You did not choose to be born in Malaysia you might argue, but this argument is futile. This is similar to a Muslim as regards to the Syariah Law, so she is still bound by Syariah Law.
I however feel that we should not keep Muslims who wish to leave the flock. Their leaving Islam will not weaken the Muslim community, on the contrary, it will strengthen it. Why would the Muslim community wish to keep those who no longer want to remain in the community. Indeed we should councel them because there are many attempts by missionaries to influence Muslims to convert to other religions (because this region and the Malays are said to be the last frontier of missionary activities). But in the event in which after councelling has been given, if they wish to leave (for whatever reason), it is best to let them go because a weak Muslim will render the Muslim weaker. It is better to have Muslims who are strong than Muslim who are weak and non-believing. For every 1 Muslim who wish to leave Islam, there are 10 non-Muslims who wish to enter into Islam. This is a natural process of weeding out what is unwanted and seedling new and stronger seeds.
109:1-6 Say: O disbelievers! I worship not that which ye worship; Nor worship ye that which I worship. And I shall not worship that which ye worship. Nor will ye worship that which I worship. Unto you your religion, and unto me my religion.
2:256 There is no compulsion in religion. The right direction is henceforth distinct from error. And he who rejecteth false deities and believeth in Allah hath grasped a firm handhold which will never break. Allah is Hearer, Knower.
Monday, May 28, 2007
This statement needs to be qualified first before it is being dished out as a matter of fact.We ought to conduct a study between "provocative" dressing and sexual related crimes. Perhaps the best way to do this ought to be conducted by sociologists, comparing Asian countries that still maintain a degree of moral dress codes with that of the open dress codes of Western countries.
Looking at previous statistics, studies and reports, it seems that sexual crimes against women in Western countries far exceed those of Asian countries. Although this is not a direct cause and effect, it does seem to point to a certain direction and we may speculate with a high degree of probability what the outcome of the studies mightt be had it really been undertaken.
We may also ask some questions. If dressing provocatively is not reason for fear of increasing sexual crimes, then why do we not allow topless bars, nude shows, and playboy magazines (we will not mention pornographic films) and the like to operate in this country?
Will the presence of such increase rape in the country? From the argument of those who oppose the linkage between proper clothing attire and crime such as rape, we would suggest that their answer would be a resounding "No". But of course we know that this is not true.
In Thailand a few years ago, there was a trend for young women/ school going teenagers to wear a top without bra, because this would be more attractive as one would be able to take a peak at the jutting nipple. This mode of dressing was subsequently banned because it was deemed immoral.
Would we allow women in Malaysia to dress in the same manner? Perhaps we should allow it because some say that there is no relation between dressing and sexual crimes.
I remember not too long ago when people were shocked to see the natal cleft of a women through the exposed part of the back of her jeans. Now, it can be witnessed everywhere since there is a new trend of donning low cut jeans. Nobody screams anymore but if this "indecent exposure" is not indecency, I dont know what is.
And if men see this as sexually stimulating, who are we to blame?..those wearing them or those looking at them?
We may then pose another question, if everybody starts to dress in this manner, even if the men wanted to avoid looking at what attracts them the most, could they really have avoided it, when they are surrounded by these 'attractive' ladies? And in the course of one's daily goingabouts, if images of these women constantly bombard the brain of virile men, and as a result, increase their baseline/resting sexual arousal, and with that, tip them over the scale....then who are we to blame?
Is this not sexual harrasment of the visual kind, I may ask? We have no choice but to look at them although we wish it would be otherwise. As a matter of fact, we would be happier going about without having to be caught staring down someone's backside or bossoms. If it does not incite sexual cravings in virile young men, the least harm it does is distract someone from their work and attention.
But mind you we know that most women care for attention. Well, who doesn't, its human nature. Exposing some parts of their anatomy is one way of gaining attention because women know what attracts men. And women like attention, as do men.
Saturday, May 26, 2007
R. Ganesh did not live to experience the life of comfort he had hoped for. Eight months after coming to Malaysia, the Indian national was dead. The cards seem to be overwhelmingly stacked against foreign workers in terms of poor working conditions, laws that do not adequately protect and employers who just do not care.
Where have we lost our sense of humanity? Are humans to be used and abused? We don't do these sort of things to animals, let alone another human beings. But, we have subhumans living amongst humans who exploit other fellow human beings recklessly.
It is also possible that privatisation moves show that these companies no longer have confidence in the Malaysian economy and the would rather list their shares overseas.
However, there is another talk in town that such move is a prelude to a takeover by the Singapore's investment arm Temasek, especially Maxis'.
We cannot verify if this is indeed what is happenning, however it might be plausible given the history of Temasek and its efforts to gain strategic control of the region.
It is known that Temasek did purchase Thailand's communication company Shin Corp but with dreadful repercussions due to Thailand's very nationalistic stance against foreign domination. Temasek has learnt its lessons well and a similar move would cause similar reactions in Malaysia. The only way that it might be done is taking the entity private (to reduce antagonism from the public) and buy up a significant share of the private company using nominees to hide its name.
In Thailand, subsequent investigations revealed that " Thai nominees owned 24.1% of all shares on the Thai stock exchange, and up to 36% of all shares in the technology sector." (wikipedia) In Malaysia, we do not know how much nominees own publicly listed companies and what percentage of this represents foreign interests. However, if this scenario is representative of the situation in Malaysia, we ought to be gravely concerned, and perhaps instruct similar investigations of Malaysia's public listed companies.
Slowly, our companies are bought over by foreigners and they hold all the strings. In the end, we work to enrich foreigners and our fate is in the hands of others.
If you look at the youngsters, many are headed for doom. They imbibe alcohol, take drugs, practise free sex, dabble in anti-God movements, rape and molest yet their own race..Malay girls, waste time trying to be circus performers & stunt men (Mat Rempits with their acrobatic motorcycle acts) etc etc (the list is too long).
Truly, these are not Muslims. Muslims do not conduct themselves in this manner. They are just Malays losing their religion.
In a country in which the Malays are inferior to the other races, you would have thought that they would try their level best to be the best they can. Alas, this is not the case with the Malays.
If they are bent on destroying themselves, then let it be. We Muslims do not need these sorts of Malays. Perhaps their gravitation towards the drug culture is an evolutionary process over time to weed out intellectually inferior Malays and leave the better ones to survive.
Friday, May 25, 2007
There are some who advocate extreme policies of curtailing the freedom of religion in the West because they foresee that Islam is hell bent on destroying their very own political and secular system.
There are some who wish that the influx of Muslims and the increasing growth rate of Muslims in Western countries ought to be reversed.
The increasing number of Muslims and their inevitable increase in political and economic influence can no longer be reversed.
Part of the reason why there is an influx of muslims into the western world is due to past colonisation of Muslim lands. Western states colonised and plundered Muslim lands for hundreds of years and thereafter felt obliged to admit these when the various Muslim nations faced persecution and wars (cf seperation of India/Pakistan..persecution and civil war in North Africa etc)
THis is perhaps a classic case of past misdeeds coming to haunt the West.
And since there is no way of reversing the scenario, the West will just have to learn to adapt with the Muslims increasing in numbers and mixing with the population.
I foresee Muslims will over time, slowly gain the acceptance of non-Muslims, provided the Muslims themselves abandon zealous religious extremism.
This can be attained, provided of course justice could be served in Iraq, Palestine and other Muslim countries trampled by the West for the West's self interests.
This choice is left to the political masters of the West. They hold the key to assuage the increasing disattisfaction of Muslims in the West. There must be an about-turn in Western policies on the Middle east and Muslims countries if they were to avoid the scenario of Muslims in the West becoming more hostile to their own governments.
If this is effected into place, then I foresee Muslims and Non-Muslims living amicably in Western countries and integrating freely in the future.
This goes to show that the FAM and government either does not read agreements or that they do not wish to honour agreements.
Precisely due to this, we have created a problem which is unnecessary. Had they looked into the matter earlier, we would have spared this unnecessary trouble and needless time wasting and not to mention creating a tense relationship between AFC and FAM and the government.
This could have been avoided but instead a problem is created. For what purpose? For nothing..if you ask me. What a waste of time, resources as well as energy.
This is not a mark of good governance.
Thursday, May 24, 2007
Otherwise, why would you have topless bars and nude bars and porn movies?
And of course some men cannot control their desires (due to their mental fault) and the begin to harass women.
So, sexily dressed women do attract the attention of men and may have a cause in the increase in sexually related crimes on women. Having said that, men ought to be able to control their actions. Women dressing sexily is a separate issue from men raping women. However, dressing does play a major role in causing men to be more sexually alert and consequently may play a role in criminal acts.
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
This book traces the life of the late Tun Dr.Ismail. For some, especially devout Muslims, there are certain aspects in the book which is rather distasteful which ought to be left out in this sort of biography. I shall not mention what these are ( I will leave it to the reader), and I too think that these aspects do not need mentioning because it might taint the image of this powerful political figure and it does not add anything to the book.
The jist of the book is to portray events surrounding the Tun's political ascendency and decisions that he made and his arguments as regards to various aspects of the formation of a new independent county and policies.
From these events we would learn a great deal just about what the man stood for and his principles.
I am most impressed by his unwavering sense of fairness and justice and his distaste for individuals lacking competence and discipline. I believe these qualities are missing in many politicians these days. His attitude reminds me of headmasters of previous years who were strict and feared by students; who stand by their unwavering sense of duty and discipline. These qualities are seriously lacking in today's world and we ought to urgently bring these back.
If we have more leaders such as the late Tun Dr.Ismail, our country would definitely be ahead of many Asian countries.
Monday, May 14, 2007
Earlier, in his address at the function, Dr Mahathir said the rise of a people depended on two factors, the first an untiring quest for knowledge and the second a sense of shame when having done something wrong.
If I may add, we should also have a sense of shame when having done our job poorly.
Sunday, May 13, 2007
If Maybank wishes to implement their policy of favouring a company that has at least 50% bumiputera stake (Bumiputera population in Malaysia is roughly 65%), it can do so, but do not declare it openly.
No reputable Chinese owned companies will make it an open policy to favour Chinese but of course the tacit understanding is such. So, do the same if Maybank wishes to do so.
I am sure it is not as difficult to find a lawyer's firm that fit the requirement as well as being an efficient law firm to boot.
Tuesday, May 01, 2007
The issue of apostasy and its punishment is one of these areas prone to controversy. In Islam, every individual is given the right to choose his own religion. There is a hadith narrated by Bukhari conveying the story of a certain Christian who came into Islam and later reverted back to Christianity. He was never sentenced to any form of punishment for renouncing Islam.
During the time of the Prophet, the death sentence was pronounced on those who had come under the fold of Islam for espionage to find weaknesses in the nascent Muslim community and to feed information back to the enemies of Islam and for those after their conversion out of Islam pronounced war on the Muslim community. Islam for these individuals was a front to be accepted into the community and once they were in, they embarked upon their illicit intelligence work. Thus, when the Prophet pronounced the death penalty upon these apostates, it was pronounced on the basis of treason.
Furthermore, in a climate of constant warfare and bouts of hostility that erupted between the people of Medina and the people of Mecca, conversion out of Islam and vice versa by an individual is synonymous with a change in allegiance. Defection in religion was tantamount to a declaration of war against the respective parties. During this formative stage of Islam's political ascendancy, there was a need to prevent these sorts of events that could rattle Islam's social and power base * apostasy being the greatest threat. The threat of the death sentence for those who renounced Islam would nip the problem in the bud. Treason anywhere in the world is still to this day meted out with capital punishment. The purpose of which is none other than deterrence and for compromising national security. But to many Muslims who are proponents of the death sentence, the change of religion out of Islam for the mere reason of disbelief is considered to merit the death penalty also. They usually quote the hadith "Whoever changed his religion, then kill him." If taken literally, this also means that had someone accepted Islam and renounced his former religion, he would also be killed, which of course makes no sense. It only makes sense if high treason is involved. It is also significant that out of the ayahs (verses) that mention apostasy in the Holy Qur'an, none mentioned punishment for apostates in this world. They gave assurance that the apostates will be punished in the hereafter.
The freedom of religion is guaranteed in Islam otherwise it would be unfair to expect everybody who was born a Muslim not to have the freedom given to those who were born outside Islam and to chose a religion of their own. Every human being either born a Muslim or otherwise has the right to his choice of religion. This is only just. However, having said this, in the case of Malaysia, where there is a delicate balance of the differing ethnic groups, conversion out of Islam may merit special attention. It is of course arguable that reneging Islam, can be interpreted as amounting to a threat of national security since the definition of a Malay person is inextricably linked to a profession of Islam as his faith. Furthermore, conversion out of Islam is highly inflammatory to the sensitivity of Muslims in the country especially when Muslims regard themselves of having been marginalised in many areas of human endeavour. Desertion of Islam is seen as the final blow to their self-esteem and a threat. In such a setting of delicate balance where mass conversions will inevitably engender religious dissension, the death punishment, or other less intrusive laws may be appropriate to act as a deterrence if national security is at stake.