Environmental impact of cryptocurrency


Ten years ago, an anonymous cryptographer laid out the principles of an online currency that would operate beyond
the reach of governments and central banks. — dpa

BITCOIN was supposed to solve the problems of analogue currencies. Instead, it created a new one: an enormous amount of global energy consumption that rivals the power usage of an entire country like Ireland.

According to findings of a new study, the implementation of this cryptocurrency could lead to enough emissions being produced so that global temperatures rise 2°C by 2033.

The study, which was published in the journal Nature Climate Change, found that the hardware and electricity needs of Bitcoin alone could significantly impact climate change for the worse.

“Currently, the emissions from transportation, housing and food are considered the main contributors to ongoing climate change. This research illustrates that Bitcoin should be added to this list,” said Katie Taladay, one of the paper’s co-authors from the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

The technical design of how transactions are processed causes Bitcoin and many of the growing numbers of rival cryptocurrencies to consume an enormous amount of energy in so-called Bitcoin mining centres around the world.

And yet the digital currency Bitcoin is still enjoying hype as one of the greatest financial phenomenons of our time.

The foundation for Bitcoin was laid out 10 years ago when an anonymous cryptographer using the name “Satoshi Nakamoto” published a paper laying out the principles for autonomous digital money.

The ideas it contained were revolutionary: No control by central banks, no national borders.

Instead, a mechanism called blockchain would provide trust and security in the system. In broad strokes, blockchain is a publicly viewable ledger of transactions, each saved one after the other.

But as the cryptocurrency’s wild fluctuations and electricity needs have attracted a lot of media attention, the ramifications of the latter have only recently been brought to light.

In a different article published in May by financial economist and blockchain specialist Alex de Vries, the electricity consumption of Bitcoin was estimated to be around the same as the electricity use of the Republic of Ireland.

De Vries also predicted that Bitcoin could be using as much as half of a percent of the world’s total electricity consumption by the end of this year.

“To me, half a percent is already quite shocking. It’s an extreme difference compared to the regular financial system, and this increasing electricity demand is definitely not going to help us reach our climate goals,” de Vries said.

“With the ever-growing devastation created by hazardous climate conditions, humanity is coming to terms with the fact that climate change is as real and personal as it can be,” said Camilo Mora, associate professor of geography in the College of Social Sciences at UH Manoa, Hawaii.

“Clearly, any further development of cryptocurrencies should critically aim to reduce electricity demand,” Mora, the lead author of the new study warns.

So as Bitcoin celebrates 10 years since its creation and it gains more and more supporters each year, we should probably take a moment and give this energy-sucking technology a re-think. – dpa By AMY WALKER

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What is Blockchain Technology, its uses and applications?

 

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Blockchain Festival & Conference Week, Kuala Lumpur 26~27 Sept 2018

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Malaysia’s Human Resource Development Fund (HRDF) a ‘personal piggy bank of sr managers!


Moving ahead: (From left) HRDF board director J. Rasamy Manikkam, GOC chairman Tan Sri Rebecca Sta Maria, Kulasegaran, HRDF board director Datuk Quah Thain Khan and HRDF chief executive Elanjelian Venugopal at the townhall meeting.

 Petty cash in the millions

Millions were pouring into the HRDF. And for some
high-ranking personnel, their exorbitant salaries and bonuses weren’t enough. Greed got the better of them and they treated the fund as their personal bank, helping themselves to some RM100mil, maybe more!!

KUALA LUMPUR: High-ranking staff of the Human Resources Development Fund (HRDF) misappropriated about RM100mil or about a third of the RM300mil in the fund.

While certain management staff members were overpaid with high salaries and bonuses, some training providers and a number of HRDF management personnel misused the fund in the name of training to purchase commercial properties.

Large sums of money were diverted without the authorisation of the HRDF board and there was collusion between managerial staff and external parties to award contracts.

Human Resources Minister M. Kulasegaran revealed these wrongdoings at a townhall meeting with representatives of employer associations and HRDF-registered employers yesterday.

He said that some members of the HRDF board of directors also did not declare their vested interests to the board.

“There have been wrongdoings, such as abuse of duties, criminal breach of trust and exceeding procedure without reporting to the board.

“(They were) running (the HRDF) as though it was their own company,” he said.

Kulasegaran, who initiated a five-member independent Gover-nance Oversight Committee (GOC) to review and probe the allegations, said that there were elements of fraud in the misuse of the fund in the name of training.

The HRDF is an agency under the Human Resources Ministry that manages a fund for human resource training and development that were contributed by employers.

Regarding the alleged misappropriation of the fund, Kulasegaran said that the HRDF board was only informed after the money was spent.

“Out of RM300mil, nearly RM100mil has been spent,” he said, adding that some department officers, in other instances, also exceeded their authority and approved projects beyond their authorised limit.

When asked, Kulasegaran said that some staff allegedly involved in the wrongdoings are still holding positions in the agency, while some had left.

“After the Pakatan Harapan government took over, three directors have since resigned.

“If they have done anything wrong, action will be taken against them. We will let the process take place. It is not fair at this juncture to make allegations,” he said, adding that two police reports have been lodged based on the GOC report.

Not denying that more former and current HRDF staff are expected to be called up for questioning, Kulasegaran said that parties at fault would be pursued through civil and criminal proceedings.

“After this, I hope the HRDF management will make the agency transparent and accountable to the public,” he said.

Meanwhile, a source that has left the HRDF organisation told The Star that in the week before the townhall, three senior figures within the organisation were subject to domestic inquiries and released from the company.

Another three senior members were on contract and when their contracts expired recently they were not renewed.

A key figure implicated in the scandal resigned soon after GE14.

“Some senior figures have survived, but there is a definite clean-up exercise under way,” said the source.

In some cases, those due to leave found themselves locked out of their offices and escorted off the premises by security when they arrived for work.

The sources said finance personnel and those in special projects who released funds without going through the proper channels, and those who invested money without any accountability are believed to be among those implicated.

“A lack of accountability on the 30% given by companies to the HRDF led to certain figures treating it like a personal piggy bank,” said the source.

He said the culprits are now looking at making deals by providing evidence against the leadership in return for an easy way out.”

“The rot runs deep, and the money runs into billions,” he said. “That’s why there was no choice but to stop the 30% policy and fix the system before restarting it.”

The source said that a key figure implicated in the wrongdoings used tactics such as poor appraisals and internal audits to try to force out those who spoke out against dubious practices.

Some of the questionable property transactions may have involved property in Bangsar South, said the source. – The Star by allison laimartin vengadesan

 

Related story:

\Huge Civil Service Size, Attractive Emoluments and Benefits are costing Malaysia !

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Goldman Sachs staring at ‘significant penalties’, its system of accounting controls could be easily circumvented


Goldman Sachs (U.S. Financial Institution #1) – “knowingly and willfully conspired to circumvent and cause to be circumvented a system of international accounting controls at [Goldman Sachs], contrary to the FCPA [Foreign Corrupt Practices Act]

From left: Leissner, Ng and Low.

Goldman Sachs Group has acknowledged that it may receive “significant penalties” resulting from its deals with 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).

It also recognised that it had weaknesses in its compliance controls, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported.

In its third-quarter earnings filing to regulators, the investment management firm made citations about the indictment against its former employees for bribery and money laundering involving 1MDB, WSJ said.

Although it had acknowledged that it could face “significant penalties resulting from 1MDB”, Goldman Sachs said it was also cooperating with investigators, the report on Monday said.

According to WSJ, Goldman Sachs wrote in the filing that the indictment alleged the firm’s “system of internal accounting controls could be easily circumvented and that the firm’s business culture, particularly in South-East Asia, at times prioritised consummation of deals ahead of the proper operation of its compliance functions”.

The filing also mentioned that former Goldman Sachs bankers Tim Leissner and Roger Ng had “circumvented the firm’s internal accounting controls in part by intentionally deceiving control personnel and internal committees”.

Goldman Sachs is said to have received nearly RM2.5bil (US$600mil) in fees from the 1MDB deal.

Previously, the Financial Times reported that Goldman Sachs had helped 1MDB sell about RM27bil (US$6.5bil) of bonds between 2012 and 2013, two years before the authorities raided 1MDB’s offices to investigate allegations of massive fraud.

In a filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday, Goldman Sachs estimated that possible losses related to litigation proceedings could run as high as US$1.8bil (RM7.49bil) above its total reserves for such matters.

Previously, Goldman Sachs estimated litigation losses to be in excess of US$1.5bil (RM6.24 bil).

The Financial Times also reported that almost 30 people from Goldman Sachs had reviewed 1MDB deal’s approval process.

Meanwhile, in a 2016 indictment, the US Department of Justice (DoJ) alleged that most of the money raised with Goldman Sachs’ help was siphoned off by Low Taek Jho, also known as Jho Low.

The fugitive businessman together with bankers Ng and Leissner were indicted by the DoJ on Thursday for conspiring to launder money and violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in relation to 1MDB.

Leissner pleaded guilty to conspiring to launder money and to violating anti-bribery laws. He has been ordered to forfeit US$43.7mil (RM182.27mil) as a result of his crimes.

The criminal charges relating to 1MDB are the first by DoJ.

In 2016, the DOJ reportedly recovered over US$1bil (RM4.17bil being the current conversion rate) that was allegedly stolen, and sought the forfeiture of property, including a Bombardier private jet, Manhattan penthouse, Beverly Hills mansion and paintings by Vincent Van Gogh and Claude Monet.

Low is currently wanted in Malaysia and Singa­pore and other countries over investigations into 1MDB.

In a separate report by the Associated Press, PKR incoming president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said that Low would be given a fair trial.

Anwar said he was “quite pleased” with developments in the case so far and that investigations in the United States, Malaysia and Singapore and other places were “progressing very well”.

The report also said Anwar had hinted that more former officials could be tried on corruption charges.

Malaysia has applied for a Red Notice to seek assistance from countries such as the United Arab Emirates, Indonesia, India, Myanmar, China and Hong Kong via Interpol, and Taiwan via diplomatic channels to arrest Low. – The Star

Related posts:

Goldman Sachs CEO: I feel horrible ex-bankers broke law in 1MDB case

https://content.jwplatform.com/players/r3OlEq4I-d74adXtC.html

SINGAPORE (Reuters): Goldman Sachs chief executive officer David Solomon said on Wednesday he felt “horrible” that two former employees “blatantly broke the law” in their dealings with 1Malaysia Development Berhad.

US prosecutors filed criminal charges against the two former Goldman bankers and a Malaysian financier linked to the alleged theft of billions of dollars from the fund.

An investigation into where 1MDB’s money went became the largest carried out by the Department of Justice under its anti-kleptocracy programme, and the scandal was a major reason why Malaysian voters rejected Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, their prime minister for nearly a decade, in the May 9 general election.

“It is obviously very distressing to see two former Goldman Sachs employees went so blatantly around our policies and so blatantly broke the law,” Solomon said in an interview with Bloomberg TV in Singapore.

“I feel horrible about the fact that people who worked at Goldman Sachs, and it doesn’t matter whether it’s a partner or it’s an entry level employee, would go around our policies and break the law,” Solomon said.

US prosecutors announced last week that Tim Leissner, former partner for Goldman Sachs in Asia, had pleaded guilty to conspiracy to launder money and conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and agreed to forfeit US$43.7mil (RM181.8mil).

Roger Ng, the other charged former Goldman banker, was arrested in Malaysia and is expected to be extradited.

Reuters was not immediately able to contact Ng’s lawyer on Wednesday. His lawyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment after US prosecutors unveiled the charges last Thursday.

Goldman has also placed its former co-head of Asia investment banking, Andrea Vella, on leave over his role in the firm’s involvement with the case, pending a review of allegations, according to a person familiar with the decision.

The Wall Street bank said in a securities filing on Friday that it may also face penalties from dealings with 1MDB.

Asked if he could provide assurances that neither he, former CEO Lloyd Blankfein or any of the senior management team suspected illegality or compliance breaches in dealings with 1MDB, Solomon said:

“We take compliance and control in our firm extremely seriously, we always have…We are going to continue to cooperate with the authorities and there’s a process in place and that process will proceed.” According to prosecutors, the investment bank generated about US$600mil (RM2.49bil) in fees for its work with 1MDB, which included three bond offerings in 2012 and 2013 that raised US$6.5bil (RM23.29bil). Leissner, Ng and others received large bonuses in connection with that revenue.

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng told Reuters in June that the government will be looking at the possibility of seeking claims from Goldman Sachs.

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said Malaysia will look into why Goldman was paid around US$600mil in fees, an amount that critics say exceeds normal levels.

Goldman has maintained that the outsized fees related to the additional risks it took on after it bought the un-rated bonds while it sought investors and, in the case of the 2013 deal which raised US$2.7bil (RM11.24bil), 1MDB wanted the funds in a hurry for a planned investment.

The new Malaysian government has barred Najib and his wife from leaving the country, and the former premier faces multiple charges of corruption, money laundering and abuse of power, though he has consistently denied any wrongdoing related to 1MDB.

In another interview with Bloomberg on Tuesday, Malaysia’s prime minister-in-waiting Anwar Ibrahim said it would be “inexcusable” if Goldman Sachs was complicit in the scandal. – Reuters

Guan Eng: Goldman Sachs should return RM2.4bil fees – Nation

American investment bank Goldman Sachs should return the US$588mil (RM2.4bil) in it was paid for 1MDB-related matters, says Lim Guan Eng.

The Finance Minister said the fees were for raising bonds totalling US$6.5 billion (RM23.29 billion) for the Malaysian state investment firm back in 2012 and 2013.

“They must pay us back this money, not only the US$588mil but much more than that,” he said during a briefing on Budget 2019 at Hotel Equatorial Penang on Wednesday (Nov 7).

He said there were consequential losses due to the fees paid as it had cost Malaysia big losses.

This was in respond to Goldman Sachs chief executive officer David Solomon, who admitted that their employees had broken the law over 1MDB matters.

Read more at https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2018/11/08/guan-eng-goldman-sachs-should-return-rm2_4bil-fees/#wqMtc2F6O1jC35UJ.99

 

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1MDB scandalous Bombardier Global 500 Jet parking fees of RM3.5mil to be paid if govt wants it back

Malaysia’s Budget 2019: Making the tiger roar again in 3 years?


The Pakatan Harapan government yesterday tabled its maiden budget that sought to restore Malaysia’s status as an “Asian Tiger” with a clean and transparent government that cares for the rakyat. (EPA/FANDY AZLAN)

KUALA LUMPUR: THE Pakatan Harapan government yesterday tabled its maiden budget that sought to restore Malaysia’s status as an “Asian Tiger” with a clean and transparent government that cares for the rakyat.

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng, in tabling the 2019 Budget in Parliament, said: “As long as we are clean, people-centric and focused on carrying out institutional reforms, we can restore Malaysia back to fiscal health in three years.

“Let our love for our country unite us, our challenges make us stronger and our confidence awaken Malaysia as an Asian Tiger all over again.”

Themed “A Resurgent Malaysia, A Dynamic Economy, A Prosperous Society”, the RM314.5 billion budget for next year has three areas of focus with 12 key strategies.

One focus area — to ensure the socio-economic well-being of Malaysians — will be the key performance indicator of the government’s success.

“We will seek to meet this objective by ensuring welfare and quality of life, improving employment and employability, enhancing wealth and social welfare protection, raising real disposal income and education for a better future,” he said.

In a speech that lasted more than two hours, interrupted by intermittent heckling from opposition lawmakers, Lim announced a slew of measures to address the people’s key concerns, from cost of living to housing, healthcare, education and transport.

Cash grants for the low-income Bottom 40 (B40) group will continue, single vehicle/motorbike owners with engine capacity of 1500cc and below will get targeted fuel subsidy, and the minimum wage will be raised to RM1,100 from Jan 1.

A National Health Protection Fund, with free coverage on four critical illnesses of up to RM8,000 and a hospitalisation benefit of RM50 a day, was also introduced for the B40 group.

For the affordable home programmes, Lim announced an allocation of RM1.5 billion while Bank Negara Malaysia will set up a RM1 billion fund to help those earning below RM2,300 a month to own houses costing below RM150,000.

The government will also allow the private sector to engage in new crowdfunding schemes for first-time housebuyers.

The Education Ministry received the lion’s share of the budget, with an allocation of RM60.2 billion, including RM2.9 billion assistance for the poor and RM652 million to upgrade and repair schools.

An amount of RM3.8 billion has been set aside for government scholarships.

All intra-city toll rate hikes will be frozen next year, said Lim, and public transport users, meanwhile, can buy RM100 monthly passes for unlimited trips on RapidKL rail or bus services beginning January.

A RM50 monthly pass is also available for those who use RapidKL buses only.

Civil servants and pensioners were not left out — staff up to Grade 54 will receive a one-off special payment of RM500; while government pensioners will get RM250.

The budget deficit for this year is likely to be 3.7 per cent, while gross domestic product (GDP) growth is forecast at 4.8 per cent and 4.9 per cent next year.

To ensure strong and dynamic economic growth, another focus area is to promote an entrepreneurial state that leverages innovation and creativity, while embracing the new digital economy.

The government aims to provide at least 30Mbps broadband connectivity outside urban centres within five years, while funds have been allocated to encourage investments in green technology and transition into Industry 4.0.

Corporate tax rate will be reduced to 17 per cent from 18 per cent for SMEs with paid capital below RM2.5 million, and businesses with annual taxable income below RM500,000.

Meanwhile, after inheriting “a worrying state of financial affairs which was in dire straits” with debts amounting to RM1.065 trillion from the previous administration, the third area of focus is to implement institutional reforms that promote transparent fiscal discipline.

“We intend to table a new Government Procurement Act next year to govern procurement processes to ensure transparency and competition, while punishing abuse of power, negligence and corruption,” Lim said.

He said open tenders will not only achieve more value-for-money for taxpayers, it will also nurture an efficient and competitive private sector.

To ensure that Malaysia has a clean government, the budget also saw the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission receiving an increased allocation of RM286.8 million.

Lim said the allocation, which is an 18.5 per cent increase from this year’s, will see MACC employing up to 100 more staff next year as the government revs up its anti-graft campaign.

Putrajaya expects to collect a revenue of RM261.8 billion next year, including a RM30 billion dividend from Petronas.

To raise its revenue, the government will leverage its assets and review taxation policies.

This includes reducing its stake in non-strategic companies, expanding the Service Tax to cover online services, and raising licence fees and taxes in the gaming sector.- By Nst Team

The following are the highlights of the 2019 Budget, which was tabled by Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng in Parliament on Friday. (Bernama photo)

The budget carries the theme of “Credible Malaysia, Dynamic Economy, Prosperous Rakyat” and will focus on three main thrusts with 12 key strategies to recapture Malaysia’s ‘Economic Tiger’ status.

The three main thrusts are:

*Institutional reforms

*People’s wellbeing

*Promotion of entrepreneurial culture

.The 12 strategies are:

*Strengthening fiscal management

*Restructuring and rationalising government debt

*Increase government revenue

*Ensuring welfare and quality life

*Increasing job opportunities and marketability

*Improving quality of healthcare services and social welfare protection

*Increasing disposable income

*Education for a better future

*Initiating new economic power

*Grabbing opportunity to face global challenge

*Redefining government’s role in business

*Ensuring economic fairness and sustainable economic growth

Related:

Govt vows to restore our finances – Nation

 

image: https://www.thestar.com.my/~/media/online/2018/11/03/03/17/budget-spread.ashx?la=en

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Malaysia goes to UK court to challenge IPIC-1MDB consent award US$5.78bil (RM24.16bil)


Malaysia legally challenges a consent award granted in 2017 to Abu Dhabi’s sovereign wealth fund, International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC), following a debt dispute with its state investment fund, 1Malaysia Development Bhd.

Under the consent award, Malaysia is obliged to pay US$5.78 billion to IPIC and the bond trustee over five years. The country has paid US$1.46 billion so far.
Below is the full media statement from Malaysia’s attorney-general, Tommy Thomas, explaining why the country is filing the legal challenge.

CHALLENGING THE IPIC ARBITRATION CONSENT AWARD

1. The Government of Malaysia will apply to the Courts of England for an order to set aside a Consent Award recorded on 9th May 2017 by an Arbitration Tribunal sitting in London. We are confident that we have a strong case. The Arbitration, conducted under the Rules of the London Court of International Arbitration, was between International Petroleum Investment Company (“IPIC”) and Aabar Investments PJS, as Claimants, and 1MDB and our Minister of Finance Inc., as Respondents.

2. Under the Consent Award, Malaysia is obliged to pay US$5.78 billion to IPIC and the Bond Trustee over a five year period. So far, US$1.46 billion has been paid, leaving a balance of US$4.32 billion, with the next interest payment of US$50 million due on 11th November 2018. Similar interest payments are payable periodically until April 2022. The final bullet payments, representing principal and interest of US$1.8 billion each, are due and payable in May and October 2022.

3. The basis of Malaysia’s legal challenge in the High Court in London is that the Consent Award was procured by fraud or in a manner contrary to public policy. The Court application relates to the knowledge of IPIC and Aabar of the serious allegations made by the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) against former Prime Minister and Finance Minister Najib Razak, who was also the moving spirit and ultimate decision maker in 1MDB. Such knowledge on their part was acquired, “inter alia”, no later than the time when the DOJ’s Press Conference was held by the Attorney General of the United States, Loretta Lynch, in July 2016 when she announced the filing by by DOJ of several civil suits for the freezing of assets purchased by fraudsters from stolen proceeds, and popularly described as the greatest kleptocracy in modern history.

4. The grave, detailed allegations in those DOJ court documents were given tremendous global publicity, particularly in the political and business media. They had certainly entered the global public domain by July 2016. Najib Razak is identified as “MO1” in the DOJ pleadings. Any reasonable reader reading these court documents would immediately become aware of his central role in defrauding 1MDB to the benefit of himself, his stepson and Jho Low.

5. In such circumstances, Malaysia takes the position that IPIC and Aabar were aware of the fraud of Najib Razak. He was principally responsible for 1MDB and Minister of Finance Inc. consenting to the Award. Every system of law would hold that he could not possibly have acted in the best interests of his country and his company. Indeed, he did not. Fraud is an established ground to challenge the consent award for public policy reasons.

6. We are pleased to report that the application will be filed today in the High Court in London. Malaysia will claim that as a result of the fraud, we are relieved from any obligation to pay the balance of the US$4.32 billion to IPIC or Aabar under the Consent Award, and additionally have a right to recover the US$1.46 billion already paid.

Tommy Thomas
Attorney General
30th October 2018
 

Related:

 

1MDB and IPIC settle arbitration proceedings

 

 

Govt to appeal consent award – Nation | The Star Online

 

 

Malaysia to appeal for order to set aside RM24.16bil consent award in …

 

AG says Malaysia doesn’t have to pay US$4.32b to IPIC as 1MDB defrauded 

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Malaysia’s widening income gap between rich and the poor has only RM76 a month after expenses


 

The State of Households – Khazanah Research Institute

 

Launch of State of Households 2018: Different Realities. From left to right: Datuk Hisham Hamdan, Dr Nungsari Ahmad Radhi, Allen Ng, Dr Suraya Ismail, Junaidi Mansor.

Malaysia’s widening income gap

KUALA LUMPUR: The gap in income between the rich, middle class and poor in Malaysia has widened since 2008, according to a study by Khazanah Research Institute (KRI).

In its “The State of Households 2018” report, the research outfit of sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional Bhd noted that the gap in the real average income between the top-20% households (T20) and the middle-40% (M40) and bottom-40% (B40) households in Malaysia has almost doubled compared to two decades ago.

The report, entitled “Different Realities”, pointed out that while previous economic crises in 1987 and the 1997/98 Asian Financial Crisis saw a reduction in the income gap between the T20 and B40/M40, post 2008/09 Global Financial Crisis (GFC), those disparities were not reduced.

But the Gini coefficient, which measures income inequality in the country, had declined from 0.513 in 1970 to 0.399 in 2016, denoting improvement in income inequality in Malaysia over the past 46 years.

Explaining the phenomenon, Allen Ng, who is the lead author of the KRI report, said income of the T20 households had continued to grow, albeit at a slower pace than that of the M40 and B40 since 2010.

“However, because they (the T20) started at a higher base, the income gap between the T20 and M40/B40 had continued to grow despite the fact that the relative (income growth) is actually narrowing post-GFC,” Ng explained at a press conference after the launch of the report here yesterday.

On that note, Ng calls for greater emphasis and investment in human capital to address the income disparities in the country.

“Human capital is the lynchpin that will help us in the next mile of development,” Ng said.

“Based on the work that we have done, and the way we read the issue, the most important equaliser in terms of income inequality is actually human capital. If we don’t address the quality of our education system, we will not be able to solve the problem of income inequality,” he added.

Among the many key issues highlighted in the report, the state of human capital development in Malaysia was noted as a crucial element to complement the country’s transition towards a knowledge-based economy.

“To complement the knowledge-based economy, the state of human capital development in this country – of which 20% of government expenditure goes to education – has plenty of room for improvement,” the report stated.

Worryingly, the report noted that despite Malaysians receiving 12 years of schooling, they receive only nine years’ worth of schooling after adjusting for education quality.

“The central issue of generating high-quality human capital in this country is an important one as the transition to a high-income nation requires human capital levels that continuously improve productivity, sustain growth and are able to create or utilise technological advancements rather than being substituted by it,” the report said.

Meanwhile, KRI also noted that despite the improvement in income inequality and declining poverty rates in Malaysia, poverty in the country remained rampant.

“While the absolute poverty rate has been steadily declining, it is estimated that an additional one million households lived in ‘relative poverty’ in 2016 compared to two decades ago,” it said in its report.-  The Star

Malaysia’s Lower Income Group Only Has RM76 To Spend A Month After Expenses

Shocking.
Some numbers for your soul.- PIC: Department of Statistics Malaysia

According to The Star Online, these households — categorised under the bottom 40% (B40) income group in the country because they are earning less than RM2,000 a month — only have RM76 to spare, after deductions, in 2016.

As comparison, these households have a residual income of RM124 in 2014.

The reason for the sharp decline? They were forced to spend more of their income on household items.

The study revealed that these households are spending 95 per cent of their total  income on consumption items in 2016 compared to 2014, when the same households spend ‘only’ 92 per cent of their income on daily items.
So, what’s the cause behind this worrying trend?

The report indicated that the rising cost of living is mainly to be blamed for the increase in household expenditure, so #ThanksNajib.

In fact, the report revealed that the high cost of living has affected not only the B40, but all income groups as well.

The real residual household income has, according to the report, reduced
for all income classes. For example, households earning above RM15,000
has a real resi­dual income of RM13,100 in 2016, down from RM14,458 in
2014.

Sigh, we guess we just have to spend our money wisely from now on. No more RM16 Caramel Frappuccino® from Starbucks from now on.

Money, where did you go?

We know we keep saying that we’re broke, but after reading this report, we found out that there are a lot of people out there who are having it worse than us.

A recent Khazanah Research Insti­tute (KRI) study revealed that every month, the average lower-income household in Malaysia has barely enough to survive after household expenses are deducted.

It’s, like, really, really bad!
Related:

We need a complete overhaul of our education system, says NUTP – Nation

 

Malaysia’s widening income gap between rich and poor – Business …

 

 

 

China tycoon to invest RM10b in M’sia, ADB debunks BRI ‘debt trap’ concerns


https://youtu.be/4bhexUMxO0w

China tycoon to invest RM10b in Malaysia

Yan Jiehe says country is business friendly, with strong fundamentals

China’s Pacific Construction Group Ltd (CPCG) gave Malaysia a vote of confidence with a planned RM10bil investment over 10 years in areas including infrastructure development and hi-tech machinery.

Yan Jiehe (pic), founder of CPCG, which is No. 96th in 2018 Fortune Global 500, said Malaysia “is business friendly, and one of the most competitive countries in the region”.

“The country’s fundamentals are strong. You have excellent infrastructure, a robust eco-system and a big pool of trilingual talents. Kuala Lumpur, is thus, a strategic launch pad for our expansion into Asia Pacific.

“We plan to invest up to RM10bil over 10 years in Malaysia in line with our core business areas of infrastructure development, hi-tech machinery and education,” he said in a statement.

Yan also said CPCG was open to increasing its investment especially for federal projects that would benefit the people.

“With our track record of having successfully delivered complicated construction projects in China, we are confident that, in collaboration with local partners, we will be able to do the same in Malaysia,” he said.

The group, in a move to make it easier to invest in Malaysia and across Asia Pacific, CPCG has set up CPCI Holdings Sdn Bhd, a wholly-owned subsidiary in Kuala Lumpur as its regional technical competency centre.

CPCI is involved in a RM200mil construction project in Sahabat, Sabah.

“Within the next five years, we plan to employ 150 highly skilled professionals of which more than half will be Malaysians as we position CPCI as a major player across the Asia-Pacific region. These trilingual local talents will be invaluable to work on the group’s projects worldwide,” Yan added.

With CPCI, the group would be able to optimise its operations by centralising its regional decision-making and key activities in Kuala Lumpur including accounting, strategic business planning, business development, bid and tender management, as well as engineering services.

Under its education strategy, CPCI plans to set up business schools and universities, and provide scholarships to local students. As a start, CPCI will provide up to 500 scholarships for construction and engineering students in local universities.

On the group itself, CPCG had a total revenue of RM319bil and it is the biggest private-owned construction company in the world. Founded in 1995 by Yan, CPCG was named as one of the Top 500 Chinese enterprises. It is one of the largest integrated construction groups in China and Asia in terms of the total engineering contract revenue. – The Star

 

ADB  Panel debunks ‘debt trap’ concerns

 ‘Belt and Road Initiative not out to cause hardship to recipients’

KUALA LUMPUR: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and two China watchers do not believe that China is using its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) to practise debt diplomacy and causing hardship to recipient nations.

“I don’t buy the notion of China practising debt diplomacy. It is not a sustainable model.

“I don’t think this is the objective of the Chinese government in launching the BRI,” said ADB vice-president Stephen Groff.

Groff told a regional China Conference here yesterday that the failure of some BRI recipient countries to repay loans was due to their “lack of capacity”.

China’s ambitious BRI, which spans more than 65 countries, has given rise to criticism that it will drag developing countries into debt they cannot repay.

Malaysia recently cancelled several projects, saying it could not afford to implement them.

Reminding accusers of China to adopt an evidence-based approach, Groff said countries should look at their capacity when coming to the negotiating table.

At the same panel discussion on “Avoiding Belt and Road debt trap”, Prof Dr Belal Ehsan of International Centre for Education in Islamic Finance said China’s BRI had played an important role in infrastructure investments in Asia.

“Every country in the world is corrupt. It is a question of degree. China now needs a new financial architecture for BRI.

“It cannot be debt-driven but risk-sharing and profit-sharing (like Islamic financing) so that no one is a loser in the end,” he said.

Describing the “debt trap” as a concoction of Western governments and media, chief economist of IQI Global Shan Saeed said: “The rise of China is inevitable, whether you like it or not.

“The US government, media and people do not understand history and culture.

“China has 5,000 years and US only 250.

“In the Western world, everything about China is bad. The time has come for us not to listen to the Western media and be dictated by Western policies.”

To reduce risk in BRI projects, Saeed proposed loans be denominated in local currency or yuan, and not in the US dollar.

ADB believes that adopting transparency and international standards in financing will also help nations reduce risk.

“Institutions have learnt from experiences in the 1990s on debt problems.

“It has taught us the importance of transparency and sustainable framework,” said Groff. – The Star by Ho Wah Foon

 

Related:

 

IMF’s Lagarde warns against trade, currency wars, urges … – Reuters UK

 

 

Jack Ma: US will suffer more in trade war 

 

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