Minds without borders: A coffee with Huawei Ren: We will be reborn by 2021


They say a good conversation could be just like drinking a cup of black coffee and as stimulating as it is hard. Today’s conversation is certainly stimulating intellectually and thought-provoking. The panelists on stage are trailblazers in their respective fields and certainly very outspoken about the challenges that we are facing today. First up, Ren Zhengfei, the founder and CEO of Huawei. Next, Catherine Chen, the senior vice president and director of the board of Huawei. Also on stage are George Gilder, a tech guru and futurist and Prof. Nicholas Negroponte, a tech visionary who’s the co-founder of the MIT Media Lab.

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Category:  News & Politics

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Huawei founder:We will be reborn by 2021 – Business News

US companies fight against Trump’s tariffs – Business News

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A phoenix has risen from the ashes – THE RISE OF CHINA

The oppression of a civilization:

The world was turned into an ocean of colonies of subject people during the few centuries of ‘friendly’ European conquest. The Africans were turned into slaves, the natives of both Americas massacred. The ancient civilization of China was crippled and dismantled into pieces. After the Western powers brought down the decadent Qing Dynasty with the might of modern firearms, the Chinese civilization was turned into a pariah race of nothingness by the invaders in their country. The foreigners did not bring anything good but oppression, bullying and raiding China ’s wealth and dignity by all kinds of barbarian and deceptive means, and by the barrel of the gun. The Japanese joined in and even thought of conquering and ruling the whole of China as their colony.

There was a moment of salvation when Japan attacked Pearl Harbour and declared war on the Western power. China and its peasant soldiers were needed to open another front to sap the fighting power and resources of the Japanese. A large part of the Japanese Imperial Army was held down in China by the peasant soldiers. History would not be the same if the Japanese could run through China without resistance and conquer the whole of Asia .

After the war there was a brief moment of equality for China as a key member of the Allied Forces that fought against the Japanese. Chiang Kai Shek was seated with the Allied leaders like Churchill, Stalin and Roosevelt in Potsdam and Cairo to divide the world among the victorious Allied Powers. China was lucky to have its lost territories back. But Chiang was more like a flower vase and inconsequen-tail, would not be deserving of any war loot. His presence among the leaders of the big powers was a consolation that gave China a little recognition as a big nation.

This little moment of dignity did not last long when Mao Zedong defeated Chiang and China adopted communism as a state ideology. This turn of event led to a renewed and concerted Western effort to brand and condemn the Chinese civilization as peasants, rogues, dumb, uncivilized, aggressive and the pariahs of the human race, a good for nothing race that was lack of talent, unproduc-tive and unimaginative, and unfit to join the advanced nations of the West.

This was the hopeless China painted by the West. They kept repeating the misinfor-mation daily in all western media, like they are doing to North Korea today, that the whole world simply believed so. Chinese are useless, Chinese are lame, Chinese are bad.

Cold Wars, containment policies, encirclement, depriving China of its rightful seat in the UN, blocking China from joining international organizations like the WTO and the Groupings of rich nations, were history now. In the last 40 odd years, China came storming back on its own despite all the sanctions and barriers and threats against its rise as a nation and the Chinese people as a civilization, old, ancient, but not useless and remote of talents.

Throughout the two hundred years of Western oppression and suppression, the Chinese civilization was not allowed to surface, no opportunity to break out and be the equals of other nations. The Chinese civilization was down and out, the Chinese in despair. Many Chinese had doubts in themselves, and were ashamed to be Chinese. The Westerners reinforced this belief by sneering at them, contributing negative literature furiously to debase the Chinese, discriminated against them in practically every human endeavour and industry. In the USA there were racist laws forbidding the Chinese from higher skill jobs. The image and perception of useless and untalented Chinese became a self fulfilling prophecy. The Chinese civilization was a joke, a condemned race that was lacking in industry and innovation.

On its own, slowly and steadily the Chinese rebuilt their nation and their civilization, with little foreign talents and assistance, China has overtaken Japan and is closing in on the US as the number Two world power, economically and militarily. They have proven that they could match the West in every field of industry. The oppression and suppression of a civilization have failed, and a revitalized China has assumed its rightful place as a proud nation among nations. The Chinese civilization is no longer to be spitted at, to be kicked around by the Western powers or by teeny weeny little Asian states. It is now a force to be reckoned with and to be respected on its own merits.

The tag of being the Sick Man of Asia, a semi colony of the West, a broken country with nothing, no inventions, no modern industries, no talents except poverty and all the trappings of a poor and backward third world country vanished over a few decades. There is renewed pride as a people, a nation and a civilization in the new China. A phoenix has risen from the ashes. There is no turning back. The Chinese have found their way back and will leap frog over the West in science and technology and in all things, while the West are still trying to restrain their advances by hook and by crook.

Today, the overseas Chinese are also starting to rediscover themselves, their pride and dignity as a respectable people. They too find some renewed confidence that they are not rubbish and useless as the West wanted to hole them in, to be bullied by even little third world people, to be told to go home in western countries. They too share the pride of an ancient civilization seeking a second chance in renaissance, to achieve in whatever they seek to do, to be a respectable people and civilization on par with the best in the world. They no longer lower their heads in shame as they go about their lives. They are standing tall, heads and shoulders to the Western civilization with the knowledge that they are just as good if not better. The Chinese civilization is reviving and will no longer be oppressed and suppressed again.

After reading this, you can now benefit from a short history lesson of mankind and their actions on earth and the generations to come….DONT BE DECEIVED ANYMORE BY THE WEST…

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Huawei files to trademark mobile OS around the world after US ban


Huawei files to trademark mobile OS around the world after US ban

LIMA/SHANGHAI: China’s Huawei has applied to trademark its “Hongmeng” operating system (OS) in at least nine countries and Europe, data from a U.N. body shows, in a sign it may be deploying a back-up plan in key markets as U.S. sanctions threaten its business model.

The move comes after the Trump administration put Huawei on a blacklist last month that barred it from doing business with U.S. tech companies such as Alphabet Inc, whose Android OS is used in Huawei’s phones.

Since then, Huawei – the world’s biggest maker of telecoms network gear – has filed for a Hongmeng trademark in countries such as Cambodia, Canada, South Korea and New Zealand, data from the U.N. World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) shows.

It also filed an application in Peru on May 27, according to the country’s anti-trust agency Indecopi.

Huawei has a back-up OS in case it is cut off from U.S.-made software, Richard Yu, CEO of the firm’s consumer division, told German newspaper Die Welt in an interview earlier this year.

The firm, also the world’s second-largest maker of smartphones, has not yet revealed details about its OS. Advertisement

Its applications to trademark the OS show Huawei wants to use “Hongmeng” for gadgets ranging from smartphones, portable computers to robots and car televisions.

At home, Huawei applied for a Hongmeng trademark in August last year and received a nod last month, according to a filing on China’s intellectual property administration’s website.

Huawei declined to comment.

CONSUMER CONCERNS

According to WIPO data, the earliest Huawei applications to trademark the Hongmeng OS outside China were made on May 14 to the European Union Intellectual Property Office and South Korea, or right after the United States flagged it would stick Huawei on an export blacklist.

Huawei has come under mounting scrutiny for over a year, led by U.S. allegations that “back doors” in its routers, switches and other gear could allow China to spy on U.S. communications.

The company has denied its products pose a security threat.

However, consumers have been spooked by how matters have escalated, with many looking to offload their devices on worries they would be cut off from Android updates in the wake of the U.S. blacklist.

Huawei’s hopes to become the world’s top selling smartphone maker in the fourth quarter this year have now been delayed, a senior Huawei executive said this week.

Peru’s Indecopi has said it needs more information from Huawei before it can register a trademark for Hongmeng in the country, where there are some 5.5 million Huawei phone users.

The agency did not give details on the documents it had sought, but said Huawei had up to nine months to respond.

Huawei representatives in Peru declined to provide immediate comment, while the Chinese embassy in Lima did not respond to requests for comment.

(Reporting by Marco Aquino in Lima and Brenda Goh in Shanghai, Additional Reporting by Sijia Jiang in Hong Kong; Shanghai Newsroom and Mitra Taj in Lima, Editing by Himani Sarkar)

Source: Reuters

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Huawei developed own operating system Hongmeng OS; 5G商用 中国准备好了! China roll-out affordable 5G


https://youtu.be/uHlrc7kWh-w

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这是特朗普面对中国犯的最大错误

5G商用 中国准备好了! 20190605 | CCTV中文国际

 

Chinese consumers expected to use affordable 5G phones next year

 

After 5G commercial licenses have been officially issued, how long will Chinese people have to wait before they can use 5G smartphones?

The official issuance of the licenses shows that China — the world’s largest mobile phone market — has entered the 5G era. Industry analysts predict that Chinese consumers will be able to use 5G smartphones at prices ranging from 2,000 yuan ($290) to 3,000 yuan next year.

“Some 5G smartphone products will be released this year, but will be quite expensive, over 10,000 yuan,” Xiang Ligang, director-general of the Bei-jing-based Information Consumption Alliance, told the Global Times on Thursday. Consumers can buy 5G phones at affordable prices in a year, he noted.

Major regions such as Beijing, Shanghai and South China’s Guangdong will be the first places covered by 5G networks. Based on previous in-formation unveiled by the three carriers, smartphone users will have access to 5G high-speed internet and voice services without having to change SIM cards.

China’s telecoms industry regulator officially re-leased the first four 5G business licenses to Chi-na Mobile, China Union, China Telecom and Chi-na Broadcast Network on Thursday, helping the country get into the fast lane in commercializing the next generation of wireless technologies.

China released licenses a year earlier than scheduled to boost the economy while strengthening the overall telecoms sector in light of the US-led crackdown on Chinese telecoms vendors, Xiang noted.

“It will also help boost the sluggish smartphone market,” he said.

Chinese smartphone makers such as OPPO and vivo have shown confidence by releasing the first batch of 5G phones as soon as possible, and will adjust shipments in line with demand, media re-ported on Thursday.

– Global Times

 

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US hits China with higher tariffs, raising stakes in trade talks



Punitive duties on US$200bil in goods raises stakes in trade talks.

Chinese Vice Premier Liu He arrives at the the Office of the United States Trade Representative for negotiations on a trade deal

The United States pulled the trigger Friday on a steep increase in tariffs on Chinese products and Beijing immediately vowed to hit back, turning up the heat before a second day of trade negotiations.

President Donald Trump got a briefing from his trade negotiators after the first day of talks with the Chinese side on Thursday, but made no move to hold off on the tariffs — dashing hopes there might be a last-minute reprieve as the negotiations continued.

Minutes after the US increased punitive duties on $200 billion in imports from 10 to 25 percent, the Chinese commerce ministry said it “deeply regrets” the move and repeated its pledge to take “necessary countermeasures”, without elaborating.

Locked in a trade dispute for more than a year, officials from the world’s two biggest economies returned to the bargaining table late Thursday, led by Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

Since last year, the two sides have exchanged tariffs on more than $360 billion in two-way trade, gutting US agricultural exports to China and weighing on both countries’ manufacturing sectors.

Trump began the standoff because of complaints about unfair Chinese trade practices.

The US team met with Trump late Thursday night to brief him and “agreed to continue discussions” on Friday, the White House said in a statement.

AFP / Jonathan WALTER US-China trade

Lighthizer and Mnuchin met the Chinese delegation for about 90 minutes Thursday evening and they had a working dinner with Liu.

“We hope the US and the Chinese side can meet each other halfway and work hard together to resolve existing problems through cooperation and consultation,” the Chinese commerce ministry said in a statement.

Despite optimism from officials in recent weeks that the talks were moving towards a deal, tensions reignited this week after Trump angrily accused China of trying to backpedal on its commitments.

“They took many, many parts of that deal and they renegotiated. You can’t do that,” Trump said on Thursday.

But he held out hopes of salvaging a deal.

“It’s possible to do it,” Trump said. “I did get last night a very beautiful letter from President Xi (Jinping).”

At the same time, he said he would be happy to keep tariffs in place. And he has threatened to extend the tough duties to all Chinese goods.

Michael Taylor, a managing director for Moody’s Investors Service, said the tariff hike “further raises tensions” between the two countries.

“While we believe that a trade deal will eventually be reached between the US and China, the risk of a complete breakdown in trade talks has certainly increased,” Taylor said.

– Tariffs increase –

The renewed tensions roiled global stock markets this week and unnerved exporters, though Chinese shares led gains across most Asian and European markets on Friday.

AFP / ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer (L) and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin wait to greet Chinese Vice Premier Liu He for trade talks

Liu said on his arrival in Washington that the prospects for the talks were “promising,” but warned that raising tariffs would be “harmful to both sides,” and called instead for cooperation.

“I hope to engage in rational and candid exchanges with the US side,” he told Chinese state media.

“Of course, China believes raising tariffs in the current situation is not a solution to the problem, but harmful to China, to the United States and to the whole world.”

The higher duty rates will hit a vast array of Chinese-made electrical equipment, machinery, auto parts and furniture.

But due to a quirk in the implementation of the higher tariffs, products already on ships headed for US ports before midnight will only pay the 10 percent rate, US Customs and Border Protection explained.

That could effectively provide a grace period for the sides to avert serious escalation.

AFP / Andrew Caballero-Reynolds An anti-China protester (C) yells at a pro-China demonstrator outside the Office of the United States Trade Representative as US and Chinese officials hold tariff negotiations in Washington

“While we are disappointed that the stakes have been raised, we nevertheless support the ongoing effort by both sides to reach agreement on a strong, enforceable deal that resolves the fundamental, structural issues our members have long faced in China,” said business lobby the American Chamber of Commerce in China.

The US is pressing China to change its policies on protections for intellectual property, massive subsidies for state-owned firms, and reduce the yawning trade deficit.

Derek Scissors, a China expert at the American Enterprise Institute, said the two sides had clashed over how much of the final trade agreement should be enshrined in a public document, something Beijing has long resisted.

“What the Chinese step-back primarily says is they don’t want to publicly acknowledge that their existing laws, especially on IP, are flawed,” he told AFP.

Washington is counting on the strong US economy to be able to withstand the impact of higher costs from the import duties and retaliation better than China, which has seen its growth slow.

A Chinese central bank advisor told state-run Financial News that Trump’s tariff hike and Chinese retaliation would lower economic growth by 0.3 percentage points.

It is “within a controllable range”, the advisor Ma Jun saidA.

By AFP / ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS

China vows to counter US tariffs

Beijing has many ways to make Washington pay


Chinese Vice Premier Liu He (left) shakes hands with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer (center) alongside US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin as Liu arrives at the Office of the US Trade Representative for trade negotiations in Washington DC, Friday. Photo: AP

After months of truce, the trade war between China and the US escalated on Friday, after the US shrugged off widespread warnings and moved to hike tariffs on Chinese goods, drawing a firm response from China, which vowed to retaliate.

Though Chinese and US officials are continuing talks, the renewed tensions between the world’s two largest economies significantly complicated ongoing negotiations, dimmed the prospects of any potential trade agreement and stoked fear that a full-fledged trade war could still break out. And the US is to blame for the risky turn of events, Chinese officials and analysts stressed.

After days of repeated threats, US officials on Friday noon (Beijing Time) increased an existing 10 percent tariff on $200 billion in Chinese goods to 25 percent, breaking a truce reached by the leaders of the two countries in December 2018 and highlighting the unreliable and unpredictable nature of the US administration.

Minutes after the US tariff hike took effect, China struck back. In a statement, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) said that China “will have to take necessary countermeasures,” while still urging the US to meet China halfway in ongoing negotiations in Washington.

Even as tensions escalated, officials pushed through with the 11th round of negotiations as they try to make a last-ditch effort to bring the months-long talks back on track for a trade agreement.

The Chinese delegation was seen arriving at the Office of the US Trade Representative at around 5 pm on Thursday US time and left about an hour and half later. The talks will continue on Friday morning, according to US media reports.

“We are now at a very delicate place, where further negotiations have become significantly more difficult… the risk of a further escalation also increased,” Song Guoyou, director of Fudan University’s Center for Economic Diplomacy, told the Global Times on Friday. “We cannot allow this to become normal. That would be dangerous.”

Forced retaliation

Chinese officials have repeatedly stressed that China does not want to fight a trade war, but Washington’s aggressiveness and belligerence left them no other option but to fight back, analysts said.

“China will also have to make good on its own words, otherwise, it will be at a huge disadvantage to the US team at the negotiations,” said He Weiwen, a former senior Chinese trade official, told the Global Times on Friday, referring to China’s earlier vow to retaliate if the US went ahead with the tariff threat.

Though the MOFCOM on Friday did not say what countermeasures China will take and when it will implement them, there are many ways China can inflict pain on the US economy, according to analysts.

“The most direct countermeasure would be raising existing tariffs on US goods or imposing tariffs on more US products,” Song said. “However, we cannot rule out other policy tools.”

Song pointed out that with the overall trade relationship souring, US companies’ operations and investments in China could also be impacted, given the rising anger among the Chinese public toward the US.

In the wake of renewed tensions, calls on Chinese social media to boycott US products rose, including US films, iPhones and computers. “Why retaliate? All we need to do is boycotting US products,” one internet user said on Sina Weibo.

Chinese analysts also suggested that China could target the US financial system, the backbone of the US economy, including unloading China’s holdings of US Treasury bonds.  Big US corporations and products, such as agricultural goods, will also likely encounter more scrutiny and resistance in China.

“Such an impact on US companies and industries will not be less severe than from the tariffs,” Song said.

Many US business groups have expressed strong opposition to the  tariffs. On Wall Street, US stocks have also suffered losses in the past few days, as have stocks in major bourses across the world.

Complicated outlook

While it remains to be seen whether trade officials could still make a breakthrough at the talks, it is clear that the escalation complicates the talks and dims prospects for a deal, analysts said.

“I don’t expect too much from this round of talks,” a source in Washington  familiar with the talks told the Global Times on Friday, noting that US President Donald Trump had miscalculated.

“He initially wanted to show how he forced China into making concessions,” the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said. “But that is like forcing China not to sign the deal quickly.”

However, citing US eagerness, other observers have also argued that there is still a chance for the two sides to reach a deal.

“I think there is still a chance for the two countries to reach an agreement,” Sang Baichuan, director of the Institute of International Business at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing, told the Global Times on Friday, noting that the two sides still appear eager to reach a deal, despite their tough rhetoric.

In what appears to be an attempt to leave room for talks, US officials offered a grace period for the tariff hike. Trump also said on Thursday that a deal is still “possible” this week and that he might speak to Chinese President Xi Jinping by phone, CNBC reported.

Asked about the phone call, Geng Shuang, a spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said on Friday that he was not aware of such a plan but the two leaders have maintained close contact.

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Do you earn enough to sustain your lifestyle?


DO you know how much you need to sustain your lifestyle every month? Are you living within your budget or stretching to make ends meet?

We can now gain insights with the unveiling of Belanjawanku, an Expenditure Guide for Malaysian Individuals and Families, launched by the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) in early March.

The guide offers an idea of the living costs for respective household categories. It encompasses the expenditure on basic needs and involvement in society for a reasonable standard of living in the Klang Valley.

According to Belanjawanku, a married couple with two children spend about RM6,620 per month on food, transport, housing, childcare, utilities, healthcare, personal care, annual expenses, savings, social participation and discretionary expenses.

When I read this guide together with the income statistics published by the Statistics Department, it reveals that a vast majority of Malaysians can’t afford to live in the Klang Valley.

Based on the statistics, the median household income for Malaysian households in 2016 is RM5,228, far below the RM6,620 required for a family with two children to stay in the Klang Valley.

If we take a closer look, the median income of M40 group (Middle 40%) is RM6,275, which means five out of 10 households in this category received RM6,275 per month or less. This indicates that over 60% (40% from B40 households and half of the M40 households) of Malaysian households (if they have two children) can’t afford to stay in the Klang Valley.

What went wrong in the process? Why are many households having challenges to meet the required budget?

According to Belanjawanku, a married couple with two children spent the majority of their income on food (RM1,550), followed by childcare (RM1,150) and transport (RM1,040), then only on housing (RM870) and other items.

Based on the research, even if housing was provided for free, a household of four would still need RM5,750 to sustain their lifestyle. Therefore, the common perception that only housing is expensive is not right. It is not that housing is expensive, but that everything is expensive because of inflation over the years! The value of our currency has fallen due to global money printing measures over the past decade.

Belanjawanku compiles only core living expenses without luxury items or excessive spending. It also doesn’t include long-term financial planning tools such as funds for education or investments. If the majority of Malaysian households have challenges in meeting the existing expenses listed in the guide, it poses a serious concern on their future financial prospects.

The underlying factor of this challenge is the low household income earned by Malaysians. The previous government failed to move us to a high income nation as they had promised, and more families are stretching to make ends meet now. It may lead to serious financial problems in the future.

If median household incomes don’t increase, the B40 (Bottom 40%) and half of the M40 will always struggle even if housing is free, assuming that they aspire to have two children and to live in the Klang Valley.

According to Transparency International Malaysia, corruption had cost our country about 4% of its gross domestic product (GDP) value each year since 2013. Added together, this amounts to a high figure of some RM212.3bil since 2013. For 2017 alone, that figure was a whopping RM46.9bil!

Imagine what we can do with these monies if there was no leakage in the system? The previous government should have channeled the money to stimulate economic growth and increase the income of the rakyat.

Going forward, I am optimistic that the new government, with its promise of a clean and transparent government, can finally fix the leakage and focus on generating a higher income level for all Malaysian households.

Financial independence is a key factor in the overall well being of the rakyat. We need to increase household incomes to a level where families can meet their basic needs and embark on long-term financial planning, to elevate their quality of life.

Then, and only then, will housing and other living expenses finally become affordable.

By

Food for thought By Alan Tong

Datuk Alan Tong has over 50 years of experience in property development. He is the group chairman of Bukit Kiara Properties. For feedback, email bkp@bukitkiara.com



 

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A RM53mil road in Balik Pulau no one wants, now a township will be taking shape there on dangerously unstable mangrove swamps, and the Penang govt isn’t aware of it !!


Ongoing work: A general view of the road project linking Kampung Sungai Pinang to Kampung Pulau Betong.

Ongoing work: A general view of the road project linking Kampung Sungai Pinang to Kampung Pulau Betong.


It’s is unnecessary and the money is better spent elsewhere, says locals

BALIK PULAU: The government’s move to build a RM53mil road linking Kampung Sungai Pinang in the north to Kampung Pulau Betong on the south-western end of the island has got local folks fuming.

Fisherman Wan Mohizan Wan Hussein is one such person. The 52-year-old said the project would threaten Balik Pulau’s image of being “one with nature”.

“It would be better to spend the money on flood mitigation in the area,” he suggested.

“If it rains for two hours straight, there will definitely be flooding. That’s something that should be addressed,” he said.

Wan Mohizan said furthermore, the new road would be built along an existing narrow dirt trail and he felt that prices of land in the vicinity would increase.

“What if developers start coming here and offer to buy Balik Pulau farmland for development? Can we stop them?

“This side of the island is flat and easy to develop. The road can change Balik Pulau,” he said.

Balik Pulau is the “last hinterland” of Penang island, a flat farmland of about 1,000ha with narrow dirt trails.

For the first time since Penang was founded in 1786, this land on the island’s rustic eastern side will get a two-way tarred 10.2km road stretching almost the entire north-south length.

But the road construction has left many wondering why this road was being built through mangrove swamps, padi fields, shrimp ponds and oil palm estates.

Another fisherman, Mazlan Sahib, 48, said the new road was unnecessary and it would only welcome over-development.

“There are hardly any residents living there so it doesn’t make sense to have it at all.

“The project might also be a threat to the mangrove swamps along the coast,” he added.

Balik Pulau’s Simpang Empat resi­dent Zainudin Ahad wondered why the government planned to build a new road when the existing Jalan Baru that ran parallel to the new road about 3km away never experienced traffic congestion.

“I thought we need new roads only when existing roads are congested.

“The only traffic jam we get in Balik Pulau is in the town itself.

“There is never any traffic jam in the kampung area, so why give us a new road?” Zainudin questioned.

Kuala Sungai Burung Fishermen’s Association committee member Abd Malik Man, 55, said there was talk about the road project since the Barisan Nasional government.

“We thought that the project would be shelved. I didn’t think the new government would go ahead with it,” he said.

Abd Malik said many residents in the area around the new road were living or farming on government land and their leases might be over soon.

“The government has all the right to develop the land but the long-term impact should be taken into consideration,” he cautioned.

Even Balik Pulau MP Muhammad Bakthiar Wan Chik was dumbfounded by the new road.

He urged the Rural Development Ministry to look into more pressing areas that need the funds, beginning with flood mitigation, a new hospital and traffic snarls in the heart of Balik Pulau town.

“The new road is not top priority and does not serve much purpose,” he pointed out.

“I hope the ministry will practise stakeholder consultation with the locals and hold town hall meetings to see what the residents want.

“Neither the locals nor me knew that the road project was approved and the construction had begun,” he said.

He also appealed to the ministry to foster entrepreneurial projects for Balik Pulau’s numerous cottage industry products including bedak sejuk (cooling powder, a traditional facial treatment product), nutmeg, otak udang (prawn paste) and salted eggs.

By arnold loh and intan amalina mohd ali The Star

Parts of controversial road run along mangrove swamps

BALIK PULAU: The state government had tried to stall plans for a new road in Balik Pulau’s coastal farmland by insisting on an application for planning permission.

State Environment Committee chairman Phee Boon Poh said he had asked for realignment proposals of the road because stretches of this new road will run along the edge of the mangrove swamps.

“When the 2004 tsunami hit us, the mangrove swamp saved Balik Pulau from the worst effect.

“We also agree that the swamps are vital breeding grounds for the jumbo prawns that our inshore fisherman can catch when they are in season.

“So we want the road to be away from the swamps,” he said.

State Works Committee chairman Zairil Khir Johari said the requirement for an environmental assessment (EIA) impact report was initially done away with because the proposed road was to run along the existing dirt trail and the footprint was therefore too small to need an EIA.

“If there is proof that a tarred road through the western coastline of the island will impact the environment, we will not hesitate to require an EIA,” he said.

When told of the sentiments of the locals, a senior officer in the Rural Development Ministry declared that the ministry would immediately conduct a stakeholder consultation on the road construction.

“We renegotiated the road project because it was first proposed in 2016 and we did not want any more delays.

“But since there are signs that locals find the road unnecessary, we will go to the ground at once and find out what the Balik Pulau community wants,” the spokesman assured.

It is understood that the budget for the road comes from the 10th Malaysia Plan in 2015 and the state was willing to surrender 11.5ha of land along the route without asking for the premium, which came up to RM18mil, for the 10.2km two-way street.

Things changed after the general election when the Rural Develop­ment Ministry renegotiated with contractors and brought the price down to RM53mil from the initial ceiling budget that was over RM78mil.

As is permissible for government projects, the state government subsequently waived the need for planning permission and state approval was given late last month.

Rural Development Minister Datuk Seri Rina Mohd Harun visited the newly begun road construction last month.

Meanwhile, cycling enthusiasts were disappointed that the new road would be built over a dirt trail that made up the Balik Pulau Eco Bike Trail.

“This is a popular route for cyclists to enjoy some light off-road mountain biking across Balik Pulau’s rustic farmland,” one cyclist said.

A netizen, Adrian Chan, also wrote on Balik Pulau MP Muhammad Bakhtiar Wan Chik’s Facebook page: “We already have Jalan Baru (a two-way street serving villages in Balik Pulau). Just upgrade or widen it.

“We should keep the cycling trail. That is the only (rural) asset in Penang island.

“Batu Maung, Bayan Lepas all gone with the concrete like Queens Bay.

“Visitors from overseas really admire that we have a cycling trail with the nature view.”

Balik Pulau residents riled after finding out about latest development

 

BALIK PULAU: While residents in Balik Pulau are unhappy with a new road being built, it has been revealed that there’s actually a proposal to set up a new township on this last hinterland of the island.

A developer from Kuala Lumpur has promised farmers a payout of at least RM120mil to turn a strip of rural land on western Penang island into a township with nearly 600 houses, four blocks of high-rise buildings and two blocks of shoplots on top of community amenities.

It wants to develop 36ha of oil palm estates along which will soon be a new road for which the Rural Development Ministry is spending RM53mil to build.

When the road project was announced by the federal government last mid-December, many Balik Pulau residents were left wondering why the 10.2km road was needed along 1,000ha of oil palm land, shrimp ponds and mangroves, with hardly anyone living there.

Even the state government is left dumbfounded and completely unaware of plans to develop this countryside.

“This is something new to me. I don’t remember ever seeing a proposal to develop that area or to convert the land use.

“We have got to find out what is being planned. Is the ministry building that road for the developer?

“At first, we were unhappy that the road is being built right beside the mangrove swamp and we wanted another alignment away from it.

“And now we find out a developer has plans to build a township there.

“We will find out what is going on,” state Environment Committee chairman Phee Boon Poh told The Star, stressing that the road was a federal project and the state was kept in the loop about it on a “for-your-info” basis.

In a filing to Bursa Malaysia on Jan 30, the public-listed developer announced that it has entered into a joint-venture development agreement with Koperasi Kampung Melayu Balik Pulau Berhad to build 276 terraced houses, 214 semi-detached houses, 91 double-storey bungalows, two 16-storey blocks of condominiums, two 16-storey blocks of low-cost flats, two blocks of retail shoplots, a school, mosque, community hall and other public amenities on land which the co-op owns.

The 36ha is specified as being on Lots 254, 804 and 803 of the area.

A check with the Malaysia Co-operative Societies Commission database shows that the co-op exists though no other information on its members are available.

The developer guarantees in writing that the co-op will earn RM120mil, out of which RM45mil will be in cash payouts and the remaining will be given in the form of units built on the land.

It will be an 80-20 joint venture between the developer and the co-op, respectively.

The developer informed Bursa Malaysia that the gross development value of the joint venture deal is RM600mil.

In its Bursa Malaysia filing, the developer specified that the deal is conditional upon the successful extension of the land lease to 99 years, re-zoning of the land use category, and approval of all relevant building plans. The current status of the land is unclear.

For the first time since Penang was founded in 1786, the island’s rustic western coastline will get a two-way tarred road stretching almost the entire north-south length, from Bagan Sungai Pinang to Pulau Betong.

The road was first proposed by the federal government in 2016 and initially, the state Town and Country Planning Department requested the Public Works Department to apply for planning permission from Penang Island City Council.

The initial budget for the project was RM78mil and after the general election, the new government renegotiated with contractors and brought the price down to RM53mil.

Earlier, state Works Committee chairman Zairil Khir Johari said that the state waived the planning permission requirement after being convinced that the footprint of the road, which will be built along an existing dirt trail that villagers have used for decades, would be small.

The road construction began in December.

‘Risky to build on ex-mangrove swamps land

BALIK PULAU: A mangrove ecologist has warned of the risk of development encroaching into mangrove swamps, and the risks are for people and buildings.

Dr Foong Swee Yeok predicted that the road or planned property development on the eastern coastline of Penang island would not endanger the swamp or wildlife.

But she said the future road and buildings might suffer because the land on Balik Pulau’s coastline is all ex-mangrove swamp land, and there could be as deep as 25m of mud and clay down below.

“Developers will know how to pile deeply until they reach the bedrock for high rises, but there is no piling requirement for two-storey homes.

“You see nothing wrong in the first 10 years or so, but after that, things start sinking.

“Roads become wavy, uneven and start breaking apart,” she warned.

Dr Foong, who has been studying mangrove swamps since 1996, explained that the thick column of peat, mud and clay below the swamp is high in organic matter and once disturbed, it is prone to shifting over a long period after development.

“Waterlogged and anaerobic peat in the swamp becomes aerobic when drained. Then you get biological oxidation or mineralisation of the organic deposits. That is why the soil will sink,” she pointed out.

She said in developed ex-mangrove swamps on the island, such as parts of Bayan Lepas and Batu Maung, there have been numerous instances of buildings sinking and cracking after a few decades and this was due to the slow shifting of the mud and clay below.

Dr Foong also urged authorities to look into the operations of over 40 shrimp or fish dugout ponds fronting the land which a developer from Kuala Lumpur plans to build 276 terraced houses, 214 semi-detached houses, 91 double-storey bungalows, two 16-storey blocks of condominiums, two 16-storey blocks of low-cost flats, two blocks of retail shoplots, a school, mosque, community hall and other public amenities.

She said the tens of tonnes of shrimp and fish reared in the ponds produced vast amounts of nitrate and ammonia pollution.- The Star

 

Related:

MBPP, contractor, engineers and DOSH named as responsible in fatal Penang landslide

The price we pay to axe East Coast Rail Link (ECRL)


KUALA LUMPUR: Loss of jobs, harm to diplomatic ties with China, damage to the economy plus a RM20bil compensation are awaiting Malaysia if the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project is cancelled.

The billion ringgit 688km long track linking Selangor, Pahang, Trengganu and Kelantan is already 20% completed, says MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong on the trail of potential damage if the project set for completion in 2024 is axed now.

The Ayer Hitam Member of Parliament who issued an open letter to Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Cabinet Ministers on the matter, said he earnestly hoped the Cabinet can explore the effects of axing the project.

The ECRL project whose construction contract was awarded to China Communications, Construction Co Ltd (CCCC) and financed by China is a hot topic in the past few days, and its fate is expected to be made known officia­lly this week.

Yesterday, Dr Mahathir said Malaysia will be “impoverished” if the government proceeds with the ECRL project.

While not confirming that the project has been scrapped, Dr Mahathir said paying compensation is cheaper than bearing the cost of the project.

Below is Dr Wee’s letter in full:

An open letter to YAB Prime Minister and Cabinet Ministers

The cancellation of the ECRL project and the bickering between two Cabinet ministers over the issue has become the talk of the town. I foresee this issue to be a hot topic in the Cabinet meeting this Wednesday (Jan 30).

Whether the cancellation of ECRL was discussed in previous Cabinet meetings or not, I earnestly hope the Cabinet can explore the effects of axing this project.

Take a moment to consider factors such as the friendship between the people of both countries, jobs and economy, diplomatic ties and the reputation of Malaysia.

On the bilateral relations between Malaysia and China, I can safely say that putting a stop to the ECRL project will harm the diplomatic ties between Malaysia and China.

If we put ourselves in China’s shoes, we will surely respond negatively as well if our overseas investment is treated as such.

A nightmare looms should China take any retaliatory action, such as reduce or even halt the import of commodities (palm oil in particular) from us.

If that happens, Felda, Sime Darby and other big corporations will be the first to feel the heat.

The livelihood of some 650,000 smallholders and their families will be directly affected.

From the economic perspective, the ECRL project is likely to boost the GDP growth of three east coast states by 1.5%.

It will also spur the development of the east coast, enhance connectivity between the east and west coast, and close the economic divide between the two coasts.

Through bridging the rural-urban divide, the overall development of Malaysia will be more balanced and comprehensive.

The rail link is 20% completed, with several tens of billions paid to the contractor.

On top of that, Malaysia will be penalised for cancelling the RM30bil loan from the EXIM Bank of China.

We will have to repay the loan and compensation within a short period of time.

From my experience in administering engineering projects, any breach of contract will result in a hefty penalty. The compensation for cancelling ECRL could reach RM20bil.

Financial losses aside, scrapping the ECRL will also bring a negative impact to Malaysia’s reputation in the international arena and erode Malaysia’s trustworthiness.

Judging from my past experience dealing with China and its officials, as well as the friendly gestures displayed by China so far, I can conclude that China is willing to achieve a win-win solution instead of situation where both sides lose out.

The Malaysian government can consider restructuring the project timeline or reducing the project scale, which are alternatives that work in Malaysia’s favour while maintaining the amicable ties between Malaysia and China.

The government should also keep the small and medium enterprises in mind.

Business owners in 150 related industries, including tens of thousands of contractors who have taken a loan to purchase equipment, will suffer greatly should ECRL be cancelled.

China is Malaysia’s largest trading partner since 2009, with bilateral trade figures reaching US$100bil. Business linkages and people-to-people exchanges have also flourished over the years.

Products such as palm oil, bird’s nest, Musang King, white coffee, etc, are exported to China, while people from both countries visit each other for vacations and academic exchanges, benefitting Malaysians of all races.

All these have contributed to the income of various communities and brought in foreign exchange earnings for the country.

It takes years to build a bilateral relationship, and only seconds to destroy it.

The Malaysian government should appreciate our friendship with China and try its best to achieve mutual benefits and common prosperity with China.

Prioritise the economy and the livelihood of the people, and put an end to the political game to discredit your opponents.

For the sake of the people in the east coast as well as the whole of Malaysia, the government should not cancel the ECRL project.- The Star

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The rail economics of East Coast Rail Link (ECRL)

 

ECRL and pipeline projects cancelled !

Malaysia scraps MRT3 project, reviews HSR, ECRL mega projects to reduce borrowings

Don’t brush aside the goodwill, Mahathir !

 

The world’s oldest PM, Dr. Mahathir must now walk the talk

Rocky times ahead for China FDI in Malaysia

Keep China’s faith in us; Relationship with China is crucial, says expert

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