US has to accept China’s rise: expert said in 7th Xiangshan Security Forum

Major powers threaten other countries by seeking ‘absolute security’

Professor Zheng Yongnian (right) speaks to reporters at the Xiangshan Forum in Beijing on Wednesday. Photo: Chen Ping/GT

The US is sending the wrong diplomatic signals to South Asia, a Singapore-based scholar said at a security forum in ­Beijing on Wednesday. And he called for a balance in major power relations in the region.

Zheng Yongnian, professor and director of the East Asian Institute at the National University of Singapore, said “the US is adjusting itself toward the rise of China … But I don’t think the US is sending the right signals to South Asian countries.”

He noted, “although it will not go to war with China because of the Philippines [over South China Sea disputes] or any other nation, the signals the US sends out, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership or its ‘Pivot to Asia,’ are viewed negatively in South Asia.”

Zheng made the remarks on the sidelines on the third day of the Seventh Xiangshan Forum. He dismissed the concept of absolute power in the globalization era.

“Major powers should understand that they pose a threat to other countries by seeking absolute security for themselves,” Zheng said.

He emphasized that the expansion of NATO after the collapse of the Soviet Union led to conflict in eastern Ukraine, since the organization raised Russian security concerns.

Zheng also noted that as the world’s major power, the US has to accept the natural rise of China. “China’s economic rise means it will also have geopolitical influence regardless of the intentions of its leaders.”

He lashed out at the notion of “alliances,” which is an “offshoot” of the Cold War.

“Alliances mean there is an enemy. And no alliance is equal because there will be a leader and followers,” he said, adding “the US, Japan and the Philippines remain in an alliance. I believe once Japan and the Philippines get a chance, they will seek an equal ­position.”

However, smaller countries have to respect a major power’s interests, otherwise it will cause regional conflict, like when South Korea agreed to deploy the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) ­system, he said.

The US anti-missile defense system has caused a rift between South Korea and China. Although some South Koreans have been raising health and environmental concerns, President Park Geun-hye defended it as a national defense necessity.

Separately, referring to the position of the US toward China, J. Stapleton Roy, former US ambassador to China, told the Global Times, “We would consider China hostile if it enjoys greater military might.”

“Americans like to think in terms of using our robust military presence in the Asia-Pacific to balance the rise of China, but not to contain it, so that China’s neighbors are not alarmed over its growing military and economic power.”

China doesn’t want to be a dominant power in the region, which is not a military showcase for the US as well, said Su Ge, president of the China Institute of International Studies.

“China is not intent on replacing the US,” he said.

– Global Times – Asia-Pacific, Cross-Borders

US Policy towards China:

Related posts:

Xiangshan Defence Forum: Regional military chiefs hail Beijing’s security proposal 

China committed to upholding peace, stability in S. China Sea island-building, rejects US criticism to isolate China in Asia

Water corruption, an integrity crisis is disruptive, debilitating, damaging and hurting us

The Star Says: A crisis of integrity and a lesson to be learnt

THE country’s gaze is fixed on the alleged corruption in the Sabah Water Department, following the arrest of two of its senior officers.

How can it not be when the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) displayed at a press conference on Wednesday the cash, cars and luxury goods found in the duo’s homes and offices?

If a picture is worth a thousand words, imagine how much power there is in photographs of items worth tens of millions of ringgit.

And the numbers that the case has yielded so far are dizzying.

The MACC has seized about RM57mil in cash, nine cars (estimated value is RM3mil), 19.3kg of gold jewellery (RM3.6mil), almost 100 handbags (RM500,000) and 127 land title deeds.

The commission has also frozen bank accounts with balances totalling RM60mil.

It is certain that more assets will be uncovered as the probe deepens and widens.

There are additional figures to digest.

The MACC has discovered that the department had given contracts to 38 companies owned by family members and proxies of the two senior officers.

These contracts were awarded for projects funded by the Federal Government. In total, RM3.3bil was set aside for the projects.

The Star reported yesterday that 60 sen out of every ringgit thus allocated was pocketed by many individuals.

We marvel at the size of the MACC’s haul and we are outraged by the extent of the apparent theft of government funds, but we should also take note of another set of numbers.

According to 2015 statistics from the National Water Services Commission, which is better known as SPAN, 87.9% of Sabah’s population has treated water supply.

Only Kelantan has a lower water coverage (64%), although SPAN explained that many households in Kelantan relied on alternative water sources.

At the national level, 95.5% of the population has water coverage.

Sabah did just as poorly in the handling of non-revenue water (NRW), which is the difference between the water that comes out of the treatment plants and the water for which consumers are billed.

The gap is due to theft, leakage, burst pipes, faulty meters and maintenance works.

Last year, Malaysia’s NRW rate was 35.5%. Sabah’s rate was 55.1%, which again placed the state as second from the bottom.

Perlis was slightly worse, with 56.3%.

Yes, Sabah is large, and its rural communities are dispersed. But the same can be said about Sarawak, which has performed better in these areas of water supply management.

Whichever way you look at it, Sabah cannot claim to have a sparkling record in providing water to the people and in taking care of the water infrastructure. And now we can think of many million reasons why this is so.

The MACC investigations probably have some way to go, and if it leads to people being charged in court, a lot more will have to happen before the Sabah Water Department case can be put to rest.

Nevertheless, this is also a time for a compelling case study on how corruption directly hurts us.

Here is a great example of why we should all fight corruption. Underestimate its impact, and we may one day be left high and dry. Let us not waste this learning opportunity.

We have lately been fretting about being hit by a water crisis, but we should also understand that an integrity crisis is just as disruptive, debilitating and damaging. The Star Says

Related posts:

Water fiasco: RM114 million seized from Sabah water officials It was a record haul by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission – RM114mil seized from two top officer…

No water but officials flush with funds: abuse of power, nepotism, cronyism, bribery and money laundering

Jabatan Air Negeri Sabah – KOTA KINABALU: Everywhere in Sab…

 Jabatan Air Negeri – Customer Service How the millions were
stolen? 1. Contracts broken down to small packages of RM100,000 ea…

PBA in a fix over Penang water cut; billion litrea Water waste via leaky pipes 

Jabatan Air Negeri – Customer Service How the millions were
stolen? 1. Contracts broken down to small packages of RM100,000 ea…

Malaysia’s jobless rate on the rise as economic expansion slows

Unemployment in Malaysia is rising, the latest data released by the Statistics Department show.

The obvious correlation to the rise in the jobless rate, which in Malaysia is counted as those who are unemployed but remain actively looking for a job, is the slower pace of economic growth.

The economy, up until the second quarter ended June 30, has slowed for five quarters in a row with weak exports the main drag on growth.

Although private consumption and investments supported the economy in the second quarter, economists are not very confident that this will drive growth in the coming quarters without supportive government policies and improvement in overseas consumer demand.

This will have implications for jobs and the economy.

There could be reason for short-term cheer with data exceeding expectations, as August trade data released yesterday show but there are indications that downside risks remain.

Positive sentiments as reflected in the Malaysian Institute of Economic Research’s (Mier) business conditions index, which is now above the 100-point threshold, indicating that businesses’ confidence levels are up, can just as easily dissipate.

Consumers do not share the same sentiments as businesses, as the Mier’s consumer sentiments index show.

Although rising steadily since the beginning of the year, the index is still below the 100-point threshold, largely reflecting benign inflation and the fading impact of the goods and services tax implemented last year.

Standard Chartered plc Asean economic research head Edward Lee says private consumption growth momentum will not be sustainable because of the weak labour-market conditions.

Besides the higher unemployment rate, weak wage- and job-growth together with the slowdown in the property market and financial-market volatility to also affect spending sentiment.

Lee, who expects the economy to grow 3.8% this year compared to the official estimates of 4% to 4.5%, adds that the weakening labour market will be a drag on economic growth.

“Private consumption will be key to achieving this target, and we think it may come in weaker than the central bank expects due to weaker labour-market conditions.

“We will therefore monitor consumption metrics closely over the next few months,” he says.

Cautious consumer sentiment largely reflects the state of the job market and high household debt.

Different views: Consumers do not share the same sentiments as businesses, as Mier’s consumer sentiments index shows

Data from Bank Negara and the Nikkei Malaysia manufacturing purchasing managers index (PMI) compiled by IHS Markit Ltd paint a bleaker picture.

While the September Nikkei Malaysia manufacturing PMI, which was released at the end of last month saw an improvement from August, it is still below the 50-point threshold, indicating that the manufacturing sector is still contracting.

But what is interesting is the press statement following the release of the August data, in which IHS Markit economist Amy Brownbill says the Malaysian manufacturing sector saw a sharper deterioration in operating conditions underpinned by quicker declines in output, new orders and employment with the rate of job shedding the fastest in over three years.

The August PMI report noted that firms cut back on payroll numbers as part of efforts to make cost savings.

Bank Negara report

A Bank Negara report also showed that labour market conditions have become challenging, with the recent high unemployment rates coinciding with lower job vacancies available per active job seekers.

AllianceDBS Research chief economist Manokaran Mottain said in a report released last week that while the manufacturing sector was shedding jobs, selected services subsectors has added headcount and could be cushioning job losses in the manufacturing sector.

More than half of the workforce are employed in the services sector with the manufacturing sector employing about 16%.

Further evidence of the deteriorating conditions in the job market comes from the Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF).

Manokaran says the monthly contribution value growth rate from the EPF’s members have moderated, signalling weak wage growth in recent years.

This also mirrors the slowdown in the economy over the past few quarters as businesses will not give higher increments or pay out bonuses.

Manokaran says based on trend-growth estimates, seasonally and inflation adjusted monthly EPF contribution growth has tapered to 2.7% in February on a year-on-year basis before the voluntary employees contribution rate reduction effective in March, down from around 10% growth in 2011.

He noted that while average household income grew 9.6% per annum between 2012 and 2014 in inflation adjusted terms based on the Statistics Department’s household income survey, this was largely propped up by government cash transfers (Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia payments) to the bottom 40% of earners.

“On average, given that 65% of household income is from paid employment, signs of wages growth moderation could weigh on household income growth going forward,” Manokaran says.

He adds that the state of labour market and income growth are among the key underlying factors in assessing the state of economic growth outlook.

Earlier this week, the World Bank slashed its growth forecast for Malaysia from 2016 to 2018 on the weak exports and commodity-price outlook. Its chief economist for the East Asia and Pacific Region, Sudhir Shetty, says despite the region’s favourable prospects, growth is vulnerable to a sharp global financial tightening, a further slowdown in world growth or a faster-than-anticipated slowdown in China.

By Fintan Ng The Star/ANN


Muhammad says in the short term, the exchange rate movement could be a reaction to news headlines and market sentiments, instead of reflecting the underlying strength of the economy. - Bernama picBNM governor: Take long-term view on adjustment of ringgit

Bank Negara's international reserves position is sufficient to finance 8.4 months of retained imports. - Bernama picBank Negara’s international reserves at RM405bil 

The new banknote with Muhammad's signature.Banknotes with new governor’s signature out soon 
BNM: Ombudsman for Financial Services is an independent redress mechanism for financial consumers.Ombudsman for financial services starts Oct 1

Budget 2017 expectations

Sabah corruption – another reason why the ringgit is weak

Related posts:
Water fiasco: RM114 million seized from Sabah water officials It was a record haul by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission – RM114mil seized from two top officer…
Water theft: 60% of RM3.3bil project allocation stolen by senior officers  Jabatan Air Negeri – Customer Service How the millions were stolen? 1. Contracts broken down to small packages of RM100,000 ea…

PBA in a fix over Penang water cut; billion litrea Water waste via leaky pipes

Internet addiction on the rise among Malaysian youths, Asians one of the most addicted to the Internet

Enough evidence to show links to anxiety, decreased job productivity, says expert.

CYBERJAYA: A 14-year-old boy loved gaming so much that he did not leave his home for half a year until his parents hauled him to therapy for Internet addiction.

This sounds like a story that happens in Japan, China or South Korea, where teenagers have died from binging on their computers. But this case happened right here in Kuala Lumpur.

At the International Society of Internet Addiction (Isia) Conference here, researchers said they were most worried that Malaysian youth were increasingly using the Internet in excess, with local studies revealing that 37% of Malaysian parents felt their children’s online life was interfering with their home and school obligations while 18% said their children were sacrificing basic social activities.

The research, led by child psychologist and Isia spokesperson Dr Norharlina Bahar, found that males under the age of 24, from the Klang Valley, Ipoh or Penang, were the most susceptible to Internet addiction in Malaysia.

“Most spend time on online games and browsing social media and there is enough evidence to show links to anxiety, depression, physical health problems, school disconnection, unemployment, decreased job productivity and social isolation,” she said.

Studies have also found frequent use of the Internet could translate to low self-esteem, depression, boredom and attention-deficit hyperactive disorder.

“There is no denying that Internet eases our life but when it affects your mental health capacity and interferes with your day-to-day work, then you need help,” she added.

In the case of the young boy, Dr Norharlina said he became irritable and angry when he was cut off from the digital world by his parents as part of the treatment.

“This is becoming a bigger problem now,” she said.

The challenge for the academic community is translating their data into tangible policies, as definitions of Internet addiction are still being worked out, she added.

That is something the Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) is seeking to address, by adapting research on Internet addiction into guidelines that can be used by school counsellors or pa­rents to identify addiction in adolescents, said MCMC advocacy and outreach senior director Eneng Faridah Iskandar.

“We want to know when is usage going to be a problem. When should I start regulating my child’s use of the Internet? We want to develop self-help tips that parents can use,” she said.

The conference was attended by 200 researchers and psychologists from 10 countries to present their findings on Internet wellness and discuss policies to address the effects of the digital world on users’ health.

Asians one of the most addicted to the Internet

CYBERJAYA: The Middle East, North America and Asia have the highest number of people addicted to the Internet, said Hong Kong University (HKU) Psychology. Department Associate Dean Prof. Dr Cecelia Cheng.

Dr. Cheng, who presented the findings of a HKU study on Thursday said that findings suggest that the more a country experiences traffic jams, air pollution and low life satisfaction, the more likely its citizens will be addicted to the Internet.

She added that out of 31 countries surveyed, European and South American nations had the smallest number of people addicted to the Internet.

“Basically if the life satisfaction of a country is low, the people in that country are more likely to be addicted to the Internet, particularly gaming,” she said.

Speaking at the International Society of Internet Addiction (ISIA) conference here, Dr Cheng added that there was a link between countries that have high levels of air pollution and Internet addiction.

“The study suggests that the problem of Internet addiction could be linked with the external environment that drives people indoors. Low life satisfaction also suggests that people look to the Internet for escapism when they are dissatisfied with the outside world,” she said.

Dr Cheng pointed out that less people are addicted to the Internet in Europe because pollution and crime rates are generally lower.

“In Europe, and people there can afford to engage in more outdoor activities than those in the Middle East and Asia,” she said.

She added that improving the quality of environmental conditions might encourage residents to engage more in outdoor activities rather than relying solely on browsing the Internet at home for stress relief.

Malaysia was not surveyed in the HKU study, but local authorities suggested that Internet addiction was a rising trend here too.

According to the Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), 50.4% of children already have a smartphone by the age of 12 and Malaysians have a 100.4% penetration rate for Internet connectivity and a 143% penetration rate for cellular use.

An ISIA study led by Dr Norharlina Bahar also found that the prevalence of problematic Internet users in Malaysia could be as high as 49.2%, with people spending at least five-hours in front of screens daily.

In last year’s World Happiness Index which measures a country’s general wellbeing, Malaysia ranked 61 out of 161 countries, behind Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines.

By Nicholas Cheng The Star/ANN

Related posts:

  Internet addiction taking toll on health !

 Sick gamers on the rise ! 

Internet addiction taking toll on health !

Why the US dollar will remain strong despite cheap money at near zero interest rates?

THE Fed failed to raise interest rates on Sept 21, giving many markets and fund managers a sigh of relief.

Fed chairman Janet Yellen said the case for an increase has strengthened, but decided for the time being to wait for further evidence of continued progress toward the Fed objectives of maximum employment and price stability. Some analysts felt that any Fed rate increases would be seen as favouring one party in the US Presidential elections.

Caution having over-ridden valour, overall stock markets rallied somewhat, while currency markets moved sideways. Going forward, the futures market think that there is a 60% chance of the Fed raising interest rates in December, after the November Presidential elections.

The key question is whether the dollar will strengthen. So far, the US dollar has been strong against emerging market currencies, flat against the euro and weakened relative to the yen.

There are hoards of analysts trying to forecast short-term and long-term exchange rate movements. Exchange rates are determined by the supply and demand in currency pairs, usually between the dollar and the most traded currencies, such as euro, sterling, yen and other liquid currencies (Australian dollar etc). In turn, the supply and demand for foreign exchange would depend on the current account (trade flows) and capital account (financial flows) of the balance of payments.

If one only looked at trade flows, then exchange rate expectations would depend on whether countries are running large current account surpluses or not, on the basis that a surplus country’s currency would strength. On that basis, one would expect that the Euro should strengthen, because the eurozone is now overall running a current surplus of roughly 3% of GDP. Germany alone is runnng a current account surplus equivalent to 8% of German GDP. However, investor nervousness about the sluggish outlook for the eurozone has keep the euro on the weak side.

One reason is that capital flows are now driving the exchange rate, due to large portfolio flows in search of yield and total returns, as financial assets become more globalised. Theoretically, portfolio flows should be driven by covered interest rate parity, meaning that foreign exchange traders arbitrage in spot, forward and futures markets to equalise risk-adjusted interest rates between countries. Hence, expectations of interest rate differentials between countries matter in shaping exchange rate behaviour.

Interest rate behaviour is determined today largely by monetary policy, which is why global markets are particularly nervous about US Fed interest rate adjustments. Since the US dollar is the world’s benchmark currency, with roughly two thirds of global financial assets measured against the dollar, global financial markets move in expectations of future Fed interest rate increases.

The US remains the dominant military and economic power and is consequently the safe-haven currency. Whenever geo-politics become tense, as is the situation currently, the flight is always towards the dollar.

Furthermore, all signs point towards the US economy performing best amongst the advanced economies, despite overall slower growth post-crisis.

There is enough evidence that the US is already reaching full employment levels at 4.9% unemployment rate, with anecdotal evidence that companies are hiring in anticipation of growing consumer confidence.

There is however a disconnect between US recovery and trade growth. The US consumption pattern has changed from consuming durables towards spending on services, such as new apps and digital entertainment. A partial shift towards manufacturing at home also explains why exports to the US have not increased substantially. With global trade growing slower than GDP, emerging markets are not growing due to the traditional cyclical uptick in exports.

The bad news is that historically, a strong dollar has been associated with slower global growth and vice versa. The explanation is that when the dollar is weak, capital flows out to the emerging markets, stimulating trade and investments. When the dollar is strong, capital flows back to the US and if the US is unable to recycle these flows, global growth weakens.

As the taper tantrum in 2013 showed, when the Fed signalled an increase in interest rates, emerging markets suffered huge turmoil of capital outflows, leading to either interest rate increases or sharp devaluations.

The power of the US to recycle global capital flows is critical to global recovery. Unconventional monetary policy in the US, in the form of near zero interest rates, is not working because the transmission mechanism of cheap money to the real economy is not working. Liquidity remains within the central bank-financial market nexus, with relatively slow lending to finance private sector long-term investments. The private sector is also not confident about the future until there are stronger signs of sustained consumer spending. Furthermore, much-needed public sector investments in infrastructure are being constrained by the large debt overhang and toxic politics.

In short, global capital flight to the dollar, with near zero interest rates, will mean global secular deflation. The reason is that zero interest rate dollar holdings have the same deflationary role as gold in the 1930s. Holding gold was deflationary because spending stops as more and more gold hoarding drained liquidity from the market.

Wait a minute. If the Chinese economy is still growing three times faster than the US in GDP terms (6.7% versus 1.8%), shouldn’t the yuan appreciate? Yes, China is running a current account surplus, but capital outflows are currently running about the same level as trade surpluses, so foreign exchange reserves are flat. Many people think that capital outflows indicate that the yuan will remain weak against the dollar until private sector confidence recovers.

The European and Japanese central banks are running negative interest rate policies precisely because with interest rates relatively lower than the dollar, capital flows will induce lower exchange rates, which will hopefully reflate their economies. The Fed has exactly the same fear as the People’s Bank of China in 2009 when China was growing at more than 10% per year.

Higher Fed interest rates would attract higher capital inflows, pushing up the dollar and inducing even higher asset bubbles, with no inflation in sight.

In sum, much will depend whether the US will use more fiscal stimulative policies and less of unconventional monetary policy to revive productivity growth. It looks as if we will have to wait for a new President to make that strategic call. We will know by November,

By Andrew Sheng

Tan Sri Andrew Sheng is Distinguished Fellow, Asia Global Institute, University of Hong Kong.

Related posts:

Coming global economic crash, threat of WWIII, petitioned 2030 Agenda
for a One World Global Government under a New World Order…

Mar 5, 2016 Modern finance and money being managed like a Ponzi scheme! Economic Collapse soon? Ponzi schemes and modern finance. Andrew…

The Age of Uncertainty

 Jul 24, 2016 When bull elephants like Trump trumpet their charge, beware of global consequences. By Andrew Sheng Tan Sri Andrew Sheng writes on.

Dealing with the new abnormal negative …

Jun 15, 2016 When bull elephants like Trump trumpet their charge, beware of global consequences. By Andrew Sheng Tan Sri Andrew Sheng writes on.

Asians can and must think strategically, not to be dominated by the West 


Remembering the legacy of Bandung, Sandakan death and Hiroshima bombing 

Can Asia escape global secular stagnation? 


Currency Wars: the Unloved Dollar Standard from Bretton Woods to the Rise of China 


Chinese President Xi Jinping has delivered a speech, with the aim of
carrying on the Bandung Spirit and promoting the common development …

Why should an organisation devoted to saving “succeeding generations from the scourge of war” make it its business to authorise war?

High-rise living in below par, need professionalism in managing the property

Only 74 out of 7,325 high-rise residential properties in Peninsular Malaysia earned the top five-star ranking in an evaluation of their property management standards. And more than half are below par, earning only one and two stars.

IT is one thing to be a developed state by 2020. But it is another thing entirely to have a developed state of mind – and Malaysians have a long way to go to achieve that.

Take, for instance, condominium- and apartment-living.

Some of these properties may come with top notch facilities but when it comes to managing their upkeep, there is much to be desired.

Or so says the latest findings on the quality of managing stratified properties from a survey by the Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Ministry.

Every year, the ministry conducts its Strata Scheme Management Quality Evaluation, or “Star Rating”, which ranks the standards of joint management bodies (JMBs) or management corporations (MCs) of apartments and condominiums.

These bodies are ranked based on how they do in seven areas (see graphic below for details); five stars is the highest rank.

But, as it turns out, more than half – or 69% – of condominiums and apartments nationwide ranked “below par”, scoring only one and two stars in 2015. In 2014, a slightly smaller percentage, 65%, were ranked below par.

Only 1% – or 74 – out of 7,325 strata development schemes surveyed earned five stars in the 2015 ratings, made available to Sunday Star.

If such a trend continues, future residents will inherit poor standards of living amidst modern facilities.

Currently, almost six million Malaysians out of 20 million city folk are living in stratified buildings like apartments and condominiums.

“But this number is expected to rise in future as the country progresses and becomes more urbanised,” says Mohammad Ridzwan Abidin, Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Ministry urban service division under-secretary.

He says one of the major problems that condo dwellers continue to face is the refusal of other residents to pay maintenance fees. Other problems are building defects and matters involving enforcement.

“For now, about 70% of residents are at a level where they are merely aware of what needs to be done in managing their property. They are not yet at a level to appreciate the benefits of cooperating with each other and creating a better living culture,” he says.

Mohamad Ridzwan says there is a need to change the mindset of people to foster more civic-minded communities in high-rise buildings.

“Future generations will likely live in stratified buildings, so people should try to set a proper precedent for them,” he says.

He points out that there are also more people moving out of landed properties and into high-rise buildings.

“This group of people will have to learn to adapt to the culture of living in stratified buildings as it is different from living in houses.

“They will need to be more inclusive of and cooperative with their neighbours,” he says, adding that they would also have to learn to be more considerate when it comes to using shared facilities.

Stressing that it all boils down to the mindset of residents, Mohamad Ridzwan highlights the case of Rumah Pangsa Orkid, a low-cost flats property in Ulu Tiram, Johor, which made it into the Malaysia Book Of Records in 2014 for obtaining the ISO 9001:2008 standard for exemplary management.

“Until today, they remain the only low cost flat development to have achieved this,” he says, adding that there are yet to be any high-end condominiums accorded the same standard.

Mohamad Ridzwan says the ministry will continue to actively educate dwellers on proper management of their properties.

“We will embark on more education programmes to promote better practices through advertisements in the mass media,” he says.

On the Strata Management Tribunals to hear disputes, Mohamad Ridzwan says four such tribunals have been successfully set up to cover different zones in Peninsular Malaysia.

“Since their formation the tribunals have heard about 200 cases per month,” he says.

In March, Sunday Star reported that residents who do not pay maintenance fees and other charges were set to face the music, with the Government forming a team to strengthen the enforcement of the Strata Management Act.

The Act also enables residents to take their disputes to a Strata Management Tribunal to settle matters.

Building Managers Association of Malaysia committee member Richard Chan agrees that the “biggest and most critical” problem is the collection of fees, saying that it is rare that JMBs or MCs are able to collect payment from 80% of residents.

“It is more common for the collection rate to be at 40% or 50%,” he says.

Chan laments that petty excuses are often given by residents to defend their refusal to pay up.

“Some refuse because they don’t use the facilities.

“When people ask why they don’t want to pay, they simply say they don’t swim or play tennis,” he shares.

Chan adds that many unit owners live elsewhere or are based overseas and so are reluctant to pay.

“Some are not satisfied with services like garbage collection and defy orders to settle the fees,” he says.

He urges future condo owners to refrain from buying properties that come with all sorts of facilities if they are unwilling to pay up.

“Sometimes, it isn’t about whether they can afford the fees or service charges. It is about their attitude and mentality.

“Some don’t pay simply because their neighbours are not paying and are getting away with it,” Chan says, adding that such attitudes have resulted in some apartments owing up to RM200,000 in water and electricity bills.

The lack of money in the sinking fund also hinders JMBs and MCs from paying for major works like repairing lifts.

“It becomes a vicious cycle. Because people are not satisfied with the upkeep of the place, they do not pay the fees.

“But when they do not pay, there isn’t enough funds for upkeep,” he says.

Also, developers must do their part by informing all potential property buyers of the exact amount of all service charges, says Chan.

“Developers will try to promote their projects for more sales but they should also inform buyers of the fees they are expected to pay.

“Owners should also consider that, after a year, the fees may go up as warranty periods for equipment expire,” he says.

Federation of Malaysian Consumers Associations secretary-general Datuk Paul Selvaraj says many complaints against MCs have been made to the federation.

“High-end condominiums are generally better managed. We received a lot of complaints from people in medium cost apartments,” he says.

He says that consumers and the building management should both be more responsible.

“Consumers need to settle payments that they have agreed to. But they should also be receiving good service in return, like efficient rubbish collection,” he says.

Selvaraj highlights that the only way forward is for management bodies and residents to have a good working relationship.

“People should understand that managing their building is a collective responsibility.

“More dialogues should be held on how to improve the community to ensure good quality of life wherever we live,” he adds.

by Yuen Meikeng The Star/Asia News Network

More professionalism needed in managing high-rises

WITH more high-rises mushrooming, a Building Managers Board is urgently needed, according to Tan Sri Teo Chiang Kok, deputy president of the Building Managers Association of Malaysia (BMAM).

BMAM is an umbrella body comprising stakeholder organisations representing management corporations (MCs), joint management bodies (JMBs), chambers of commerce, developers, engineers, architects, shopping and high-rise complex managers, and managing agents.

Appealing to the Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Ministry to set up the board urgently, Teo says such a body is long overdue.

“Millions of stratified properties are coming up. Building management is becoming a very big industry. We have to start regulating. All building managers must be registered and regulated,” he says.

To date, some 600 building managers have voluntarily registered with the association, he shares, estimating that there are probably tens of thousands more.

Meanwhile, the BMAM is focused on educating its members and interested parties on good management via collaborations with institutions of higher learning.

Describing building management as a multitasking, multi­discipline function that attracts people from various backgrounds and with a variety of skills, Teo says that basic criteria for the role is needed. A Building Managers Board, once set up, will have guidelines and regulations to bring professionalism to the role.

Persons deregistered by the board cannot be hired as property managers, he suggests. This, he feels, will make hiring building managers cheaper while ensuring that they are monitored.

“So long as they fulfil the board’s requirements, anyone can be a building manager. The board will monitor and weed out the errant ones. JMBs and MCs can hire cheaper, smaller companies, even individuals, to manage their buildings if they don’t have the budget.”

Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Ministry urban service division undersecretary Mohammad Ridzwan Abidin acknowledges the proposal to set up a Building Managers Board.

“However, no decision can be made by the ministry yet as this matter is still being discussed,” he says.

He says the ministry issued a directive to Commissioners of Buildings nationwide last month to register all managing agents to protect residents from unscrupulous parties.

The BMAM would also like to see the country’s 150-plus Commissioners of Buildings (COB) given proper funding and staff. The role of the commissioner is mostly undertaken by local council heads or mayors, which isn’t right because they already have so much on their plate, he says.

The Commissioner of Buildings must be a dedicated, full-time position supported by an adequately funded department. Now, it’s mainly a one-man show, he observes.

“The Act is a good tool,” he says, referring to the Strata Management Act 2013, “But it’s for the COB to implement it efficiently. An effective COB can nip many things in the bud – the COB can call a unit owner, find out the grouses and give directives. If the COB can offer easy resolution, a lot of problems will be solved.”

Apart from supporting the position of COB, JMBs and MCs must familiarise themselves with the Strata Management Act, says Richard Chan, a committee member of the Building Managers Association of Malaysia and a past president of the Malaysian Association for Shopping and High-Rise Complex Management.

“For instance, many aren’t aware that money collected should go to JMBs and MCs – not the companies or individuals hired to manage the property. What if these companies don’t pay the service contractors?”

On Tuesday, a full-day strata management seminar will be held at Wisma Rehda in Petaling Jaya, Selangor, to explain the Act, he says, urging stakeholders to attend the event.

Teo feels that the Act is too harsh on JMB volunteers. Calling it a thankless job, he says it’s difficult getting residents to even attend AGMs, what more serve on the JMB.

“Despite not being paid, JMB members risk personal liability actions. It’s too onerous. It’s overkill because there are already laws like the Penal Code which imposes fines and jail terms.”

And he feels that the Act places too many obstacles in front of willing volunteers.

“The JMB chairman and members can only serve for two and three years respectively. Such restrictions will make things worse because as it is, no one wants the job. Our solution is to extend the chairman’s term to three years; but if at the AGM there’s no one else who wants the post, he or she should be allowed to stay on. And members should be permitted to stay on for as long as they want.” –  The Star

Related articles:


Defeating the defaulters

It’s a crime not to pay 

Why some people don’t comply 

The Star OnlineSep 24, 2016
Record-breaking: Rumah Pangsa Orkid is the first low-cost property to achieve the top standard for quality management.

Room for improvement

 THERE are mixed views, but apartment and condominium residents generally agree that there is room for improvement in managing their .


Related posts:

By-laws governing strata property management in

 Aug 11, 2015 There are (or will soon be) more people living in high-rise strata … New beginning in … Managing strata properties in Malaysia Sep 11, 2012


 Aug 23, 2015 IF you live in a high rise building and have an inter-floor leakage issue, you … occurs during the defects liability period, and which the housing developers … By -laws governing strata property management in Malaysia, part 1.

Service charges under strata title property in Malaysia

 Aug 27, 2015 By-laws governing strata property management in Malaysia, part 2. General … Cheers for high-rise house buyers GEORGE TOWN: The state …

May 28, 2015 There are (or will soon be) more people living in high-rise strata … New beginning in … Managing strata properties in Malaysia Sep 11, 2012
Dec 22, 2012 There are (or will soon be) more people living in high-rise strata properties than in landed properties, given the rapid urbanisation and rising …


Sep 11, 2012 … engineers, architects, shopping and high-rise complex managers, management corporations … Though building owners (JMBs and MCs) and Real Estate Investment Trusts … Building Management Association of Malaysia.


Jun 15, 2011 “It’s similar to the drive that was extended to unlicensed real estate agents … working at the high-rise apartment block where Liew See Lanlives.
 Aug 19, 2015 “We are pleased to make our first direct real estate investment in … it had set a record of sorts for pricing its high-rise serviced residential units of …


Vital to know your rights when get arrested; comments on social media not be a serious crime

Know the law: Citizens need to know how to react if approached or arrested by police.

YOU wake up, read the latest news updates on your mobile phone, retweet some interesting comments, and post your own reactions. Just another ordinary day, right?

Wrong. If you are not careful, that retweet or comment might land you in legal hot water.

Former journalist Sidek Kamiso found himself in that predicament early last week when a band of plain-clothed policemen banged on his door at 4.40am to arrest him for an alleged Twitter insult. They had not only come for him at an ungodly hour but also reportedly jumped over the fence to forcefully nab him.

After checking their identification, Sidek had let them in, although they did not produce an arrest warrant. The police officers then searched the house, confiscating his phone and laptop before dragging him away in handcuffs to the police station.

The conduct of the police and the nature of that alleged offence notwithstanding, how many of us would have just opened the door when the intruders commanded, “We are the Police! Open the door!” and let them in?

Confirming the police officers’ identity first is extremely important, stresses Sevan Doraisamy, executive director of human rights advocate group Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram).

Many Malaysians are too quick to obey whatever the police tell them to do without first confirming the officers’ identity, says Sevan.

“We always advise the public to ask the police to identify themselves and show their identity card when they are stopped on the street by someone who claims to be the police or when the police go to their house,” he adds, highlighting the public workshops on human rights and the police that Suaram has been holding for more than a decade.

It is normal for policemen on duty on the ground to be in plain clothes, which is why it is crucial to establish their identity.

Eric Paulsen (C) arriving at the lobby of Kuala Lumpur court to have his sedition charge read to him.AZHAR MAHFOF/The Star 06 Feb 2015

Eric Paulsen (C) arriving at the lobby of Kuala Lumpur court to have his sedition charge read to him.AZHAR MAHFOF/The Star 06 Feb 2015 The laws like the CPC and IGP’s Standing Order clearly protects a person’s fundamental liberties, but they are also general. – Eric Paulsen

Senior level police officers, from the rank of Inspector and above, carry blue IDs, while constables and below carry yellow cards. Reserve police carry white IDs while red is for suspended policemen.

According to Suaram, when making arrests, conducting raids, roadblocks or body searches, a police officer of at least the rank of Inspector (with a blue ID) must be present.

“You can also ask them which police station they are from and call it to verify the officers’ identity,” says Sevan.

Another safeguard against unlawful arrests or violations of a person’s civil rights is the police warrant.

The Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar has asserted that an arrest warrant was not necessary when the police arrested Sidek at his home in Petaling Jaya, as the alleged offence, over a tweet on the death of PAS spiritual leader Datuk Dr Haron Din, fell under the Communications and Multimedia Act (CMA) 1998.

“For this offence, a warrant is not needed. For offences under the (CMA) Act, there is no need for warrants. There is no need for a warrant to detain and no need for a warrant to search homes,” he reportedly said.

The local legal fraternity was quick to refute him.

According to lawyer Siti Kasim, who represented Sidek’s family, a warrant was necessary in his case as arrests made under the CMA generally requires a warrant.

Universiti Sains Malaysia’s (USM) Research Team on Crime and Policing head Assoc Prof Dr P. Sundramoorthy. (CHARLES MARIASOOSAY/ The Star/06/ March 2016).

Universiti Sains Malaysia’s (USM) Research Team on Crime and Policing head Assoc Prof Dr P. Sundramoorthy. (CHARLES MARIASOOSAY/ The Star/06/ March 2016). ‘Police personnel who violate criminal laws and other regulations will have to face the consequences’.

Lawyer Syahredzan Johan concurred, explaining that although the police have general powers to make arrests without warrants, they can only do so for offences that are listed as seizable offences under the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC), namely those carrying the maximum jail sentence of three years and above.

But for offences under the CMA which carry a maximum jail term of one year, the police would need a warrant when making arrests, he reportedly said.

Conceding that the details of the law might be beyond a layman’s grasp, Sevan advises members of the public to always demand for a warrant when they are being arrested.

What is important, he adds, is that any arrest can only be made after adequate investigation has been conducted on a case.

“You cannot be arrested if you are a witness or just to assist the police in an investigation.

“Always ask if you are being arrested, and for what charge or under what Act. There is no harm in also asking for the warrant,” he notes, adding that in any CMA case, the investigation should first be conducted by the country’s Internet regulator, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), before any police arrest.

And just like in the American cop movies and television series, when we are arrested in Malaysia, our fundamental rights are guaranteed, as stipulated under the Federal Constitution, the amended CPC and the IGP’s Standing Order on Arrest, says Sevan.

Just don’t expect to be read the Miranda Rights, those words many of us have grown up hearing on the telly: “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you.”

Still, as stated on the Malaysian Bar website, our right to remain silent and refuse to answer any questions when arrested is guaranteed by the Federal Constitution.

Under the Constitution, a person also has a fundamental right to be informed of the grounds of his arrest as soon as possible, as well as a right to consult and be defended by a legal practitioner of his choice.

These rights are clearly spelt out and reiterated under Section 28A of the CPC which came into force in September 2007: An arrested person has the right to be informed as soon as may be the grounds for this arrest; to contact a legal practitioner of his choice within 24 hours from the time of his arrest; to communicate with a relative or friend of his with regards to his whereabouts within 24 hours from the time of his arrest; and the right to consult with his lawyer and the lawyer is allowed to be present and to meet the arrested person at the place of detention before the police commences any form of questioning or recording of any statement from the person arrested.


SEVAN DORAISAMY TAMAN SRI CHERAS HOUSING PROJECT ABANDONED COORDINATOR ‘Ask if you are being arrested, and for what charge or under what Act. There is no harm in also asking for the warrant’. – Sevan Doraisamy

“We always advise those arrested to remain silent in order not to unknowingly incriminate themselves or be forced to make a confession. You can also say, ‘Saya jawab di mahkamah.’ (I’ll answer or say it in court),” Sevan notes.

As for family members, he advises them to get the name of the police station that the arresting police officers are from and are taking their loved one to.

At the police station, he adds, they need to get the name of the Investigating Officer (IO) of the case and his or her contact details.

“The good thing now is that the police’ public communications have greatly improved, and the IO will usually give out their handphone numbers to the family members,” he says, commending Sidek and his wife, Norlin Wan Musa, who is also a former journalist, for knowing and exercising their rights when the police took Sidek to the Johor Baru police station without informing her, and when they allegedly intimidated her and tried to harass their children.

Unfortunately, says Sevan, many Malaysians don’t know their rights when they get arrested, making it easy for errant police officers to intimidate them or abuse their rights.

Lawyers for Liberty executive director Eric Paulsen concurs, stressing that the police also need to act responsibly and reasonably, in accordance to their Standard Operating Procedure when conducting an arrest.

“The laws like the CPC and IGP’s Standing Order clearly protects a person’s fundamental liberties, but they are also general, especially in their wording.

“They were drafted with the expectation that the police would act reasonably and without bias in accordance to their SOP,” he says, describing the police conduct in the arrest of Sidek and two others in relation to the “Twitter insult” as excessive and an abuse of police powers.

Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) chief Tan Sri Razali Ismail urges the police to defend civil liberties in Malaysia rather than repress the exercise of human rights.

“In essence, the police should be the face of human rights, and not a face of intimidation, even as the police needs to be the bulwark of the country’s security. Regulations are being promulgated in a sweeping fashion that will have the effect of threatening democratic practice and undermine the fundamental liberties enshrined in the Federal Constitution,” he had reiterated in his speech at the Malaysian Bar’s International Law Conference in Kuala Lumpur last week.

Khalid has given assurances that the police are subject to the laws and regulations enshrined in the Constitution.

“If we flout the laws, action will be taken against us. We are also subjected to the laws and regulations under the Constitution. So are the Members of Parliament,” he told a press conference after a dialogue with Universiti Utara Malaysia students in Sintok, Kedah, on the role of undergraduates in overcoming national security threats.

Universiti Sains Malaysia criminologist, Assoc Prof Dr P. Sundramoorthy agrees that nobody should be above the law, especially the police.

“Police personnel who violate criminal laws and other regulations will have to face the consequences. Everyone who gets arrested has equal rights under the Federal Constitution and the CPC, irrespective of the nature of the case, so the police and the prosecution need to adhere to the law without bias. If they did not follow the SOP that is clearly spelt out then they should have to face the legal consequences, ”he says.

Critically, he adds, it is important for the general public to be aware of the laws of the land and their rights.

“Especially now that social media is an integral and pervasive part of our day-to-day lives. People need to be aware of the law – you make choices in life and you need to face their consequences.

“Similarly, you make your choice of tweeting and retweeting something or posting anything and making comments on social media, so you will have to bear the consequences.”

And as Dr Sundramoorthy puts it bluntly, “If you are so good at using social media, you should also be able to source the relevant information on the law and your civil rights online.

“If you are an expert on social media, you should be able to Google the dos and don’ts of when you are arrested, from the Malaysia Bar website and other civil society groups.”

By Hariati Azizan The Star/Asia News Network


When Police stop you on the street

■ If cop not in uniform, ask to see his/her Police authority card. Note cop’s name and Police authority card number.

■ If cop in uniform, note cop’s name and ID on uniform, and number plate of vehicle.

When Police question you on the street

■ Only give your name, ID card number and address.

■ Politely ask, “Am I under arrest?”. You can walk away if you are not under arrest.

When Police call you for questioning to help in investigation

■ If the place and time is convenient for you, cooperate. Important: Police cannot arrest you if you are a witness.

■ If not, you can negotiate for a more convenient time and place with Police.

When Police arrest you

■ Ask why you are under arrest.

■ Ask which Police Station they are taking you to.

■ You have the right to telephone:* i) Your relative or friend ii) A lawyer or a nearby Legal Aid Centre (LAC)

► Inform them: – you have been arrested; – the time, place and reason of the arrest; – the Police Station you will be taken to.

In police raids and searches

■ Demand for a warrant – raids without warrant are usually done when Police believe their suspect is in the building, stolen goods are hidden in the premises or some criminal activity is going on there.

After arrest and during detention

You may be detained up to 24 hours at the Police Station, or in a lock-up to “assist” police investigation.


Right to remain silent

The Federal Constitution gives you the right to remain silent when questioned.

Right to counsel

– Under Article 5(3) of the Federal Constitution, an arrested person also has the right “to consult and be defended by a legal practitioner of his choice”.

– Section 28A of Criminal Procedure Code, which came into force in 2007, also gives an arrested person the right to consult a lawyer.

– The Police must accord you reasonable facilities and a reasonable time period to meet and consult your lawyer. This right can be denied if the delay in questioning you may cause the occurrence of another crime or cause danger to others.

Right to clothing

You are allowed to have one set of clothing with you in the lock-up.

Right to personal belongings
The Police must record and put all your personal belongings in safe custody. Your personal belongings must be returned to you upon your release.

Right to welfare

– You are allowed to take a bath two times a day. If you are sick, you have the right to receive immediate medical attention. – You are to be given proper and adequate food and water during detention.

The Police may only detain you for up to 24 hours for investigation.

It is the Police’s duty to complete their investigations within 24 hours and release you as soon as possible. Failing that, the Police must bring you before a Magistrate for a remand order to extend your detention beyond 24 hours (Remand Order).
For more information, check out the Malaysian Bar’s Redbook pamphlet at

Source: The Malaysian Bar, Suaram

Making comments on social media should not be a serious crime, says don

TWO years ago, a 17-year-old boy was investigated for sedition when he “liked” a pro-Israel Facebook post. When questioned by the police, the student had explained that he had accidentally clicked “like” for the post that read “I love Israel” and featured a picture of the Jewish state’s flag.

We will see more and more “insensitive” and “ill-advised” online postings like this – either done intentionally or not – with the Internet and social media growing as an integral and pervasive part of our daily life, says Universiti Sains Malaysia criminologist, Assoc Prof Dr P. Sundramoorthy.

“We have seen this trend of ‘slanderous’, ‘defamatory’ and ‘insensitive’ remarks constantly being made by all segments of society. It is not limited to people in leadership positions or prominence, ordinary people are also making these comments, including the young.”

As he sees it, stopping people from expressing themselves when they have access to these channels will be impossible.

“We can’t stop people from using the Internet and social media, and many will use them without thinking of the consequences. The question is where do you draw the line for freedom of expression?” he poses.

“For the proponents of absolute freedom of expression, they will say it’s the right of the people to express themselves.

“People who are against absolute freedom of expression will say that this freedom will create chaos, disharmony and trouble in general, and they will prefer some sort of censorship.”

The issue was thrust under the spotlight again recently with the arrest of three people under the Communications and Multimedia Act (CMA) 1998 for their Twitter comments over the death of PAS spiritual adviser Datuk Dr Haron Din.

This time around, the glare was on the police conduct during the arrests – the police had allegedly trespassed into the compound of former journalist Sidek Kamiso’s house in the wee hours of the night to arrest him for his tweet, traumatising his wife and children. The police had also allegedly searched his house without a warrant while denying him his right to contact his family and lawyer after his arrest.

While he believes that it depends on the laws of the land, Dr Sundramoorthy feels that social media boo-boos should not be treated as a crime per se.

“Granted, there are limitations on the subject matters that we can comment on as they can create racial or religious disharmony and other types of conflict among citizens here, but we need to take a reasonable approach towards it.”

Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) executive director Sevan Doraisamy frankly describes the police action towards Sidek as “excessive and a waste of resources”.

He says many of the CMA cases undertaken by the police do not meet the criteria of hate speech and dangerous speech to justify arrests or prosecution. In fact, he stresses, the cases are a “severe threat” to freedom of expression.

“If you ask me, ‘insensitive comments’ should not be an arrestable crime. It is also unacceptable that just because of one or two incidences of inadvisable comments, the Government should curb the freedom of expression of everyone.”

He points out that CMA cases can be investigated without physical detention. “If the police receive reports on alleged insensitive comments, they should not waste their resources to arrest the people, they can just call them in to give their statement.

“And the top officers do not need to get involved, especially when there are more serious crimes and security issues in the country – for instance, we have hundreds of people still missing from unsolved abduction and kidnapping cases,” he says. “Crucially, there is no need for those detained in Petaling Jaya to be taken to Johor Baru for investigations, for example, as it is a waste of public resources.”

Sevan, however, concedes that Malaysians need to be more responsible when using social media.

“It should not be a crime – people have a right to express themselves – but they need to be responsible about what they post or comment on.

“While they continue to assert their freedom of expression, people should also realise that they don’t need to comment on everything and anything, especially if they know that it might lead to slander or instigate something. We are still living in a sensitive society entrenched in racial and communal politics. You don’t want to get caught in the middle of it,” he says.

Denying that they are making light of hate speech, Lawyers for Liberty executive director Eric Paulsen contends that the Government and Malaysian authorities need to come to terms with social media.

“Nobody is saying that the Internet and social media should be free for all – if someone promotes hate or threatens someone with murder or rape online, or if they are cyber terrorists, then police should take action against them. But they need to be fair, and the legal action should be proportionate.

“We should not prosecute someone for a mere comment – no matter how unsavoury or insulting we think it is. Without any serious element of hate speech or real element of incitement to violence or harm it should not be a crime.”

Paulsen also believes that the police conduct in the arrest of Sidek was excessive, calling it “overkill”.

Declining to comment on whether there is a need to review the CMA or enforce a hate speech law, Paulsen says what is needed is a review of police policies.

“What are their priorities in crime fighting? What constitutes serious crime for the police? Anywhere in the world, corruption, criminal breach of trust, robbery and murder are traditionally considered the serious crimes and resources are channelled towards fighting them. Unfortunately in Malaysia, a lot of our resources are wasted on frivolous cases like this.” – The Star

%d bloggers like this: