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Category: Others (page 82 of 87)

Bloomberg Interview on Market Reaction

I was interviewed by Bloomberg yesterday and I have been quoted in the news below that appeared in Singapore Business Times. So far the market has reacted rather negatively to Najib’s assurance that all is well in Malaysia.

I am currently in Seremban for a wake. The conversation is now focused on the economy and two businessmen are giving me microeconomic perspectives of what is happening. Their greatest fear is a slow down in consumer spending and when some businesses start to fail and people lose jobs, what then will happen to their extremely high personal/household debts? They quipped that this country and people are built on debt and an economic downturn will push debtors to a corner.
http://www.businesstimes.com.sg/…/malaysias-default-risk-he…

No Reassurance for Markets

So how has Najib’s budget revision speech assured the market today? The crux of his speech seems to say that “Malaysia is OK”. I beg to differ. You can’t assure the market with this kind of talk. The market wants to see positive actions not denials and cosmetic cuts in the budget. What worries me most is there is no announcement of an economic action team.

Sending the right message is essential in a very jittery global market.

While the fundamentals; i.e. national reserves in US dollars at RM400 billion can cover the exit of Malaysian Government Securities (bonds) held by foreigners, now roughly RM130 billion, the rate of its depletion could trigger a panic sell off by all, not just foreigners on all financial products, not just bonds.

Are we prepared for all eventualities? Najib must form an economic team now. Do what the Norwegians have been doing since November 2014.

In mid 1997, I was a young corporate lawyer having closed my first big acquisition deal six months earlier. Whilst I never bought stocks, like the rest of the country, I was feeling pretty invincible. The crazy stock market generated heaps of corporate deals.

The 1997 Asian Financial Crisis started in Thailand in May 1997. My Thai friend described the situation in Bangkok as a bloodbath. However in June, the corporate folks in KL were still immune to it. A former classmate of mine who worked for Goldman Sachs told me not to worry, the Malaysian fundamentals are strong! We are not as crazy as the Thais, he assured me.

To celebrate my big corporate deal, I decided to take 2 months off to trek and travel. In end June 1997, I took a week off to see the Hong Kong handover and to buy mountain trekking gears. In July, I blissfully took a month long mountain trek in Pakistan. When we left KL for the mountains of Pakistan, the KLSE stood at 1,200 points, and in the deep mountains we had no telephone nor TV. When we finally emerged 25 days later from the mountains into civilization, the KLSE was at 800 points. I didn’t panic as I had no investments in the KLSE and went on to London for a week to see a friend. I was feeling a big smug not to have been suckered into the crazy KLSE stock market.

But in less than a year, in 1998, the full brunt of the crisis had hit home. All around businesses failed and there were no corporate work or need for young corporate lawyers. Personally, it took me until 2002 to see some small recovery. I dabbled in IT law.

I am a product of the Asian Financial Crisis. Even now, 1997 evokes strong yet vaporous memories. It chewed up 5 valuable years of my life. So, yes, I will always beg to differ to the views of a PM who is vague and clueless.

Re: Revised Budget 2015

I have been busy the last two days with meetings and interviews. Yesterday, I was in KLCC for 5 hours with three back to back meetings with an international reporter and officials from embassies. Then today I had to field calls from local reporters covering the Najib revised budget speech.

I have been quoted by The Rakyat Post in two recent articles:

http://www.therakyatpost.com/…/need-get-nitty-gritty-rm5-5…/

http://www.therakyatpost.com/…/honesty-best-policy-opposit…/

 

Dialog Anak Muda Bersama Anwar

I am currently in One World Hotel, One Utama for Anwar’s dialogue with youth and the young at heart. I gave an opening speech followed by YB Dato Fauzi and then YB Elizabeth Wong. YB Rafizi, YB Manivanan are amongst the Parliamentarians here. Senior PKR party leaders and ADUNs are also present. Anwar Ibrahim is now delivering his main economic speech. The hall is packed with media. The hall is also full of youth and supporters.

anwar

PKR to counter UMNO racist perception

I spent the morning in PKR Party HQ and did a press conference with YB Rafizi and YB Manivanan.

YB Rafizi argued that prices and costs of most goods and services should be coming down due to the fall in petrol prices. However this cheap oil knock on effect has yet to materialise. Prices are still high. When asked to explain, the 2nd Finance Minister blames this squarely on the greedy business community. This then has taken on a racist element on pro UMNO cyberspace that “Chinese Tauke” are profiteering by maintaining high prices.

PKR aim to counter this racist perception by exposing the supply chain of most of our basic needs are in fact controlled by government and cronies. Thus the government cannot just wash their hands and blame “businessmen”.

The profiteering is not about race but a failure of government policy and anti-competition activities such as monopolies. We urge the government not to play the race card but to carry out their fundamental duties of dismantling monopolies, inject in more competition and improve enforcement to punish price hikes.

Specifically, I will be focusing on telcos, logistics and Astro.

pc