The Honour of A Man

I have been reading Nassim Taleb’s book Antifragile since 2 months ago. I try to do 20 minutes of reading before I sleep and my pile of bedside books keep piling up. My reading of Antifragile was somewhat abruptly stopped when I gave Rafizi my copy 2 weeks ago at the Budget Forum. I introduced the book and told him to keep it. I now vaguely remember a quote from the book that goes something like this:


The honour of a man is truly tested when his personal safety is at stake.

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Due to the Pakatan Rakyat Budget, I have been spending a lot more time with Anwar Ibrahim lately. Ironically, since becoming an MP, our meetings have lessen and become more formal, taking place in Parliament or at official party meetings. For those who have attended one or two of his ceramahs, you will think of him as a powerful orator. His more die hard fans will note his sense of humour. For us who work with him, we enjoy his generosity, wit and honour. Despite facing possible incarceration next week, we witnessed all these in abundance during the Budget sessions in his office and home.

Before politics, I was a corporate lawyer and dealt mostly with alpha male types. Anwar is not a typical big boss. He sees the funny side of life. He mentors and leads us. He is also tough and I have been reprimanded a few times for political mistakes. He has no bitterness despite being jailed for six years. He is committed in leading us as brothers in arms, to bring down a corrupt regime and make Malaysia better. He earns our respect not by fear but by his generosity of spirit. Recently, he knew I worked hard on the Income Tax issue and told me to drive home the victory on the investment panel. He gave me, a first time backbench MP, a day of glory in Parliament. He has an instinctive sense of fairness. He is an honourable man.

Next Tuesday and Wednesday (28th & 29th October), I will be in Putrajaya to support him. At stake is not so much his liberty, at stake is justice in Malaysia. For that, I urge you to join me. For those working, apply for your leave today and join me in prayers of hope in Putrajaya.

 

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Back Home

It’s good to be back! I got back yesterday evening and went straight to bed.

Perth is nice. The weather is great, the parks are well kept and the seafood excellent. Greater Perth has about 2 million population and about 23,000 Malaysians living there. With YB Nik Nazmi and Melissa PKR Youth, we had a meet the community event with a small crowd of 30 people in a suburb 2 nights ago. I also took time off to visit my uncle and his family and also catch up with some friends.

 

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With Perth residents, YB Nik Nazmi, and Melissa Sasidaran.


I have a busy day today to catch up on work, TPPA issues, Parliamentary speeches and party preparations for Anwar Ibrahim’s final trial next week 28th and 29th October. It’s going to be a trying and challenging time for all as we have to prepare for the worst case scenario of losing our leader.

 

PKR Perth Lecture Tour

I am at KLIA 2 on the way to Perth for 5 days. Parliament is closed from tomorrow for 10 days. I will be attending a PKR event to meet Malaysians studying and residing there. I am also taking the opportunity to have some rest, catch up with relatives and friends living in Perth.

If you have friends in Perth do let them know that we will be having a forum on Monday night 7pm at Collins Street Centre, South Perth.

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Lastly, I will not likely be posting much the next 5 to 6 days. So here is an advance Happy Deepavali and Happy Awal Muharram to all!

 

Bar Council Anti-Sedition March

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Bersih and lawyers carried out their anti-sedition march to Parliament from Padang Merbok. Pakatan Rakyat MPs were on standby to receive them at the Parliament gate to sign in the leaders of the march.

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Supporters with YB Sim, YB Gooi, YB Darell Leiking, Akmal and myself

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The Bar Council representatives officially handed over the memorandum to Minister Mah, the minister without portfolio in the PM Department. Nice words were exchanged and Minister spoke for a minute and then said he will not join the press conference. Group photos taken.

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Selangor Select Committee on Deceptive Land Transfers and Re-zoning

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The Sun, 16 October 2014

 

Good news this morning for my constituents especially those living near the PKNS field. My friend Esham, a vocal resident and critic on the matter, should be pleased.

The Sun newspaper this morning reports that a powerful select committee on local councils will grill and expose deceptive land transfer and rezoning activities. The PKNS field fraudulent rezoning matter is widely reported and known, but the previous MB failed to take any actions on the matter in 6 years.

I congratulate the new MB Azmin Ali for standing up for truth and justice and I want the culprits involved in this fraud to be punished severely.

To safeguard the overall reputation of the civil service, it is time that we discipline the errant and corrupt civil servants at the very top.

In my one and a half years as MP, I find most lower ranking civil servants to be honest but I get a lot of complaints from them of funny dealings at the top. But back then the “best ever” MB Khalid had decided to support the civil servants and not allow politicians to “interfere”. As a result, the civil servants only report to him and if you demand action, they just laughed and ignored you.

In particular, I am extremely sore over the lift repairs in low cost flats in Desa Mentari which repair costs are RM120,000 to RM150,000 each lift! And it took them 4 months to approve the repairs. Last year, a simple cement walking track was also built in a common field and I was told it cost RM200,000. When I met local contractors they tell me they could do it for RM80,000.

The next thing MB Azmin Ali needs to do is to roll out a robust procurement policy for Selangor.

The Sun, 16 October 2014

The Sun, 16 October 2014

In the same Sun newspaper today, it is reported that the MACC is now investigating MB Azmin over his position in PKNS. Tit for tat? I think the federal government must be sweating bullets on how MB Azmin Ali has taken on his new job with vigour, Jokowi style.

Press Conference: Bad Governance Causes Capital Flight, Not CGT

YB Rafizi and I gave a press conference at 11 am this morning in Parliament. We took on the PM’s allegations that we will cause capital flight and crash the stock market.

Here is a video of Rafizi and my press conference today in Parliament.

And here is the writeup.

Below is our press statement:

Bad Governance causes Capital Flight Not CGT

Yesterday, PM and Finance Minister Najib alleged that our tax policy on Capital Gains Tax (CGT) on shares if implemented will cause capital flight and send the stock market crashing.

1. I want to thank the PM for paying attention to the Pakatan Rakyat Budget. It is important that he reads our Budget because we have a lot of suggestions to him on how to improve governance, in particular cutting our corruption and implementing greater transparency and accountability.

2. While it is important that the PM reads the Pakatan Rakyat Budget, my advice is that he reads it carefully and fully. We are against GST. So in our Pakatan Rakyat Budget we proposed CGT in lieu or GST. In other words, the CGT we proposed is not an additional tax, but as an alternative to the GST.

3. CGT is a tax on profits that people make when they buy and sell shares. If you lose money there is not tax. It is a tax on the few who can afford to buy shares and only when they make profits. In comparison, GST is a tax on everyone not just people who buy shares. As such GST is a regressive tax and CGT is a progressive tax.

4. “CGT is levied on profits on financial assets such shares and bonds. According to the latest statistics by Muhammad Abdul Khalid in his book “The Colour of Inequality: Ethnicity, Class, Income and Wealth in Malaysia”, the breakdown of financial assets’ ownership in Malaysia in 2014 is as follows:

  • More than 54% of Malaysians do not have any financial assets The top 10% richest Malaysians control more than 77% of financial assets
  • We estimate that going by this statistics, only 15% of Malaysians will be subjected to CGT and they are the richest of Malaysians.

It is morally right to tax these 15% rich Malaysians first compared to taxing every Malaysian (most of them poor) through GST”

5. On the allegation that capital flight will happen when CGT is applied, this is an unfounded and silly view. CGT is recognised globally and is implemented in many countries. The United States, Germany Japan, UK and Australia have CGT, we don’t see capital flights in these countries. Malaysia has no CGT but we have massive capital flights. I would like to remind the PM that the main causes of capital flights are bad governance, corruption, poor democracy and political extremism, all of which, unfortunately in Malaysia we have in abundance.

6. Introducing CGT in fact will be good for the stock market as it will curb unbridled speculation. The less volatile the stock market, the better the governance and accountability of our Bursa listed companies. We can also tweak the CGT tax structure with CGT discounts to encourage people to own shares and hold it for longer periods of more than one year.

7. Lastly, I repeat the call of PM to relinquish his post as Finance Minister. He is obviously over worked with so much budget to handle in both the PM Department (RM22 billion) and Finance Ministry (RM40 billion) and in this case regarding CGT he should listen to the Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Ahmad Maslan who on Tuesday 7th October has said in Parliament that he will give good consideration to CGT.

13th October 2014 Wong Chen, MP Kelana Jaya and Rafizi Ramli, MP Pandan

Pakatan Rakyat Budget Forum

I am going to HQ now to help finalise Anwar’s budget reply speech. This is my fifth year helping out and every year we learn a thing or two from the boss at such meetings. After all, he was finance minister in the 1990s. What we have in policy ideas, he leads and guides us with experience and practicality.

This is to inform all that on Tuesday, 14th Oct 8.30pm at Empire Hotel Subang Jaya, Rafizi, Dr Dzul, Dr Ong Kian Ming and I will be conducting a budget forum. It is open to the public on a first come first served basis. See you there!

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