29 March 2016

The Chinese Dilemma




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PAS has the mass Malay appeal that they (DAP) badly needed - a passport of sort. PKR is just a gimmick to portray the Malay representation in the opposition coalition to ensure that the Chinese votes are significant in shaping the country via DAP's influence over PKR. Without PAS, there is no passport... it is "pasgone",.. get it?

CHINESE in Malaysia is in dilemma. They are indecisive whether to support Y.A.B. Dato' Sri Najib's Barisan Nasional (BN) or to support the loose coalition of the Pakatan Rakyat (PR), also known as the Pakatoons, given their endless saga of back stabbing between the 3 component parties, namely Democratic Action Party (DAP), Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) and Parti Islam Semenanjung (PAS). The recent "retreat" of PAS from supporting the DAP led Pakatoons has further amplified the dilemma. Forget about PKR. The Chinese do not need the PKR when PAS is no longer in the picture. PAS has the mass Malay appeal that they (DAP) badly needed - a passport of sort. PKR is just a gimmick to portray the Malay representation in the opposition coalition to ensure that the Chinese votes are significant in shaping the country via DAP's influence over PKR. Without PAS, there is no passport... it is "pasgone",.. get it?

So, why did I say that there is a Chinese dilemma? First of all, let us analyse the while scenario from strategic political landscape rather than mere "love for the nation" idea. Yes there are many people out there who genuinely love the country and they want to make a difference via politics. Those people normally get eaten alive like a cockroach to an iguana. The ones who triumph to establish power are the strategic politicians. Politicians who work based on strategic outcomes rather than pure love for the country. Let us first agree on that as a reality check rather than kidding ourselves. If you disagree, you can stop reading this article now.

So, why did I say that there is a Chinese dilemma? If I am a Chinese (actually I do have one sixteenth Chinese blood), I would ensure that I will find the best ally in order to ensure maximum welfare to my people. We all know that the overall "Malaysian" as a race was (and still is) a dream that we have tried to embrace since the beginning of time. As long as there is no smooth assimilation of culture, we remain to be distinctive. To throw spanner into works, the economic disparity between Chinese and the rest of the ethnic groups remains significant, if not widening. Therefore, logically and strategically, as well as intelligently, I (If I am Chinese) would work alongside the rest ensuring a win-win situation so that my people's welfare is being addressed continuously. This is obviously not an easy question.

So, why did I say that there is a Chinese dilemma? Well, how do you decide which way to go? Which way that ensures that continuous welfare of your people? You have the option of supporting the existing ruling party, BN, who has for decades formed coalition with the Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) or do you go for a "potential" future ruling party, PR? It is a bet. A 50:50 bet? Well, I don't know. Based on the popular votes during the 13th General Elections (GE13), you may say that, but, looking at the loose opposition coalition, the position of the PR has diluted a lot I would say. One would deduce that this is an easy question given the dilution. However, it is still very much a dilemma. Why? Because they still have hopes that the PR coalition (without PAS) still has the strength. If their bets on PR turns good, they will be smiling. If BN still wins the 2018 General Elections (GE14), their favours with the ruling party may be impaired - as how it was apparent in the BN's conclusion of a Chinese tsunami during the GE13.

So, why did I say that there is a Chinese dilemma? Well, I direct you back to the weakening position of the PR. With PAS flying away, coupled with Dato' Sri Anwar Ibrahim's second round of jail term, as well as the demise of the charismatic Karpal Singh, what remains as the backbone of PR is a mere dream that shall remain as a dream. The Chinese have this at the back of their heads. They know that PR's position is weakening. They know that if they put their bets on PR, they will be risking their continued welfare if the existing Government continues to govern. They also fear that if they do not support PR, they will also lose that continued welfare if the existing ruling party loses in 2018. With the various political propaganda such as 1MDB and the many accusations flying around, it worsens their dilemma as they also see how PR is throwing all cards under their sleeves - for which, I suspect, they failed to realise that those cards may just be The Jokers rather than a Royal Flush.

So, why did I say that there is a Chinese dilemma? Because the Chinese knows that the single most important determinant of a winning ruling party is the mass Malay population. Of course DAP can win in the cities but that won't give them Putrajaya. It is the kampung folks that they have forsaken. It is also the same kampung folks that the BN has been addressing via various economic policies such as Felda, MARA and the like. It is also the same kampung folks that PAS has under their umbrella. It is also the same kampung folks that secured BN's more than 50% parliamentary seats albeit the thin win. It is also the same kampung folks that will make a significant winning if PAS is to joint force with BN for GE14. This realisation makes the Chinese even more in dilemma, especially when they saw how the Malays reacted in red t-shirts during 16 September 2015 as a counter-attack to the yellow demonstration that happened earlier.

So, why did I say that there is a Chinese dilemma? Because the Chinese knows that they themselves have killed MCA to a point of no return. They have put all their chips on the other side of the table so much so that when the dice stops at an unfavourable number, they are left with nothing to cling on. Some of them (I think) wish that they did not destroy MCA. Some of them wish that they can still go back to MCA so that when the wind blows the other way, their sails can follow suit. Is it still possible to do so? Well, I did say that they have thrashed MCA to the point of no return - hence why I concluded a dilemma - a dilemma that there is a high possibility that BN will still rule but with no MCA strong enough to fight for the Chinese after all bets were on DAP (via PR).

So, why did I say that there is a Chinese dilemma? Well, my sincere analysis here is on the back of a strategic thinking for the Chinese. I am a Malay but I am trying to understand what a Chinese might feel/think. That is why I concluded that there it is a dilemma. A very troublesome dilemma. Forget about me - just look at what the Singaporean ambassador had to say in the article "Singapore's Ambassador Slams Malaysian Chinese as Naive and Delusional" on 8 October 2015 in the blog site The Kuala Lumpur Chronicle, where he had said, "Anwar is now in jail and PR has fallen apart. PAS has left. Without Anwar, Keadilan's future is bleak. The DAP is subject to the demographic constraints of a falling Chinese population and is unlikely to make substantial electoral advances beyond its present strength, although it will probably retain what it now holds. PR's successor - Pakatan Harapan - a coalition of the DAP, Keadilan and a minor breakaway faction from PAS, is a forlorn hope (pun intended)."

I realised that my article has painted quite a melancholic outlook for the Chinese despite a title (for this article) that suggests an indifferent analysis. The truth is, I have tried to analyse it objectively with no partisan (or racial) inclinations - but only to realise that my true feeling about all this, even when I tried to put my self into the shoes of a Chinese, is that the best option for the Chinese to ensure their continued welfare is to stick to the current existing ruling party, BN. It may not be too late though (to turn around) - after all, even the worst drought can still turn into a green field and a pond of Talapias. All you need is that rain drop - the tiny drops of hope to support an ethnic coalition that existed since 1957.


"Anwar is now in jail and PR has fallen apart. PAS has left. Without Anwar, Keadilan's future is bleak. The DAP is subject to the demographic constraints of a falling Chinese population and is unlikely to make substantial electoral advances beyond its present strength, although it will probably retain what it now holds. PR's successor - Pakatan Harapan - a coalition of the DAP, Keadilan and a minor breakaway faction from PAS, is a forlorn hope (pun intended)." - Ambassador Bilahari Kausikan of Singapore.




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14 March 2016

Tanggungjawab Bank Negara Malaysia



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MACAM-MACAM khabar angin yang berdesus sana sini mengenai Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) ataupun Gebenornya, Tan Sri Zeti. Ada yang negatif dan ada yang positif. Ada yang tak masuk akal dan ada yang masuk akal. Walau bagaimana pun, sebelum membuat apa apa konklusi, perlulah seseorang itu memahami sepenuhnya apa peranan BNM agar tidak mewujudkan konklusi yang salah lagi mengarut sehingga terjadinya fitnah. Saya bernasib baik kerana mempunyai seorang kawan yang lebih mengetahui secara menyeluruh apa peranan BNM. Saudara Saiful Bahari Baharom menerangkan perkara ini seperti berikut:

*****

Tugas utama BNM adalah untuk melaksanakan dasar monetari (monetary policy) negara. Apakah dasar monetari ini?

"Definition: Monetary policy is the macroeconomic policy laid down by the central bank. It involves management of money supply and interest rate and is the demand side economic policy used by the government of a country to achieve macroeconomic objectives like inflation, consumption, growth and liquidity."

Ini bermakna: tanggungjawab utama BNM adalah untuk menentukan jumlah wang (kecairan atau liquidity) di dalam sistem perbankan negara dan seterusnya, jumlah atau aliran wang di dalam ekonomi negara. Ini dibuat dengan dua cara:-

1. Menentukan kadar faedah Ringgit yang semua bank gunakan untuk menentukan kadar faedah yang dikenakan kepada para pelanggannya;

2.  Menentukan jumlah wang milik bank yang perlu disimpan dengan BNM (statutory reserve requirement atau SRR). Jumlah wang setiap bank perlu mendeposit di BNM adalah lebih kurang jumlah wang yang boleh dipinjamkan kepada pelanggannya.

Maka, jika terlebih wang di dalam sistem kewangan negara, inflasi akan naik, wujudnya "asset bubble", di mana harga hartanah akan meningkat terlalu tinggi dan perbelanjaan membazir akan meningkat. Jikalau terlalu sedikit wang di dalam sistem kewangan, para perniaga akan kurang melabur, orang ramai akan kurang berbelanja dan jualan rumah dan kereta akan menguncup.

Tugas utama BNM adalah untuk mencapai keseimbangan di antara kedua-dua kedudukan ini - tidak terlalu banyak dan tidak terlalu sedikit. Jika ada kegawatan di dalam ekonomi dunia, BNM akan meningkatkan jumlah wang di dalam sistem perbankan/kewangan dan jikalau ekonomi dunia terlalu rancak, Bank negara akan mengurangkan jumlah wang tersebut.

Bidang tanggunjawab BNM juga merangkumi pengawalseliaan pembangunan sektor perbankan dan sektor insurans. Pendek kata, tanggungjawab sesebuah bank pusat adalah untuk mengawal "demand-side of the economy", iaitu mengawal bahagian permintaan di dalam ekonomi negara.

Bahagian pembekalan (supply-side of the economy) pula adalah di bawah kuasa Kementerian Kewangan. Di dalam menjalankan tugas ini, dasar ekonomi dan pencukaian serta perbelanjaan negara adalah tanggungjawab Kementerian Kewangan. Saya percaya semua orang faham tugas Kementerian Kewangan. Segala dasar ekonomi dan segala keputusan untuk perbelanjaan negara adalah tanggungjawab Kementerian Kewangan. Seperti BNM, Kementerian Kewangan akan menbanyakkan projek-projek atau pembayaran kepada umum sebagai cara untuk mengalakkan perbelanjaan jika ekonomi dunia menghadapi kegawatan dan sebaliknya. 

Terdapat sejarah pertelagahan di antara Kementerian Kewangan di bawah kuasa pihak eksekutif dan bank pusat di beberapa negara luar. Tetapi di Malaysia, hanya sekali sahaja di dalam ingatan saya di mana BNM tidak bersetuju dengan pihak Eksekutif - semasa Tun Mahathir menjadi Perdana Menteri di mana Gabenor BNM pada masa itu, Tan Sri Aziz Taha, ditamatkan perkhidmatannya kerana beliau tidak bersetuju rizab BNM di gunakan untuk pelaburan matawang asing. Pelaburan matawang asing secara besar-besaran di bawah Tun Mahathir dan Tun Daim pada ketika itu melibatkan kerugian sebanyak RM30 billion (pada nilai dekad 1980an). 

Namun, sejak itu, perhubungan cabang Eksekutif dan BNM,  di mana kedua-duanya menjalankan peranan masing-masing, adalah lancar dan seiringan untuk pembangunan, pertahanan dan kestabilan ekonomi negara.

Alhamdulillah.




* kopihangtuah



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