Huawei CFO arrest violates human rights as US takes aim at Huawei, the real trade war with China


In custody: A profile of Meng is displayed on a  computer at a Huawei store in Beijing. The Chinese government, speaking through its embassy in Canada, strenuously objected to the arrest, and  demanded Meng’s immediate release. — AP

China urges release of Huawei executive

– In violation of universal human rights

Chinese officials are urging the US and Canada to clarify why Meng Wanzhou, a senior executive of Huawei Technologies, has been detained and to immediately release her, slamming the arrest as a violation of her rights.

Experts said on Thursday that Meng’s detention is a move by the US to heat up the ongoing trade war between China and the US.

Meng, who is Huawei’s chief financial officer and the daughter of Huawei’s founder Ren Zhengfei, was detained as she was transferring flights in Canada, according to information provided by Huawei, one of China’s tech giants.

Meng’s detention was made following a request by the US, which is seeking her extradition on as yet unspecified charges made by prosecutors in the Eastern District of New York, a Huawei spokesperson told the Global Times on Thursday.

Meng was arrested in Vancouver on Saturday, the New York Times reported on Thursday, citing a spokesperson from Canada’s Justice Department.

“China has demanded that the US and Canada immediately clarify the reasons for Meng’s detention and to release her,” Geng Shuang, spokesperson of China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told a daily press briefing on Thursday.

He noted that Chinese consular officials in Canada have already provided assistance to Meng.

Meng’s detention, made without any clearly stated charges, is an obvious violation of her human rights, said Geng.

The Chinese Embassy in Canada also said on Thursday morning that it firmly opposes and has made strong protests over the action which has seriously curtailed the rights of a Chinese citizen.

“The Chinese side has lodged stern representations with the US and Canadian side, and urged them to immediately correct the wrongdoing and restore the personal freedom of Meng Wanzhou,” the Chinese Embassy in Canada said in a statement published on its website.

A Canadian source with knowledge of the arrest was quoted in the Canadian newspaper Globe and Mail on Thursday as saying that US law enforcement authorities allege that Huawei violated US sanctions against Iran but provided no further details.

Although Meng’s detention stems from terms of the US-Canada extradition treaty, the US should not be taking such legal action without providing concrete evidence, especially when it has been trying to restore relations with China, Hao Junbo, a Beijing-based lawyer, told the Global Times on Thursday.

Chinese officials and experts criticized the US for its long-arm jurisdiction, which not only hurts individuals but also enterprises.

Rising obstacles

Huawei has been targeted by the US for many years, from patent infringement lawsuits to political pressure, Xiang Ligang, chief executive of the telecom industry news site cctime.com, told the Global Times on Thursday.

“As the Chinese company grew stronger, it faced more obstacles in foreign markets as it is considered as a threat to local players,” he said.

Cisco Systems filed the first lawsuit against Huawei in 2003. Motorola filed a lawsuit accusing Huawei of theft of trade secrets in 2010, according to media reports. The company also faced investigation by the US Congress on security issues.

Since at least 2016, US authorities have been probing Huawei’s alleged shipping of US-origin products to Iran and other countries in violation of US export and sanctions laws, Reuters reported in April.

The US also asked its major allies to say ‘no’ to Huawei equipment, as it was worried about alleged potential Chinese meddling in 5G networks, the Wall Street Journal reported on November 23.

While the company faces rising difficulties in the US market, it has been actively exploring other markets such as the EU and Africa.

It became the world’s largest telecom equipment provider in 2017, surpassing Ericsson and ZTE, industry website telecomlead.com reported in March, citing IHS data.

Huawei has a 28 percent market share in the global telecom infrastructure industry, followed by Ericsson and Nokia, which have 27 percent and 23 percent respectively, said the report.

Escalating trade war

The US will not stop countering China’s rise in the technology sector and will never drop its hostility toward China’s “Made in China 2025” strategy, Wang Yanhui, head of the Shanghai-based Mobile China Alliance, told the Global Times on Thursday.

“Huawei has become another card for the US to play against China in the ongoing trade war,” he said.

China and the US announced a trade truce following a meeting between the two countries’ top leaders in Buenos Aires on Saturday.

But experts warned that China should be prepared for a long-lasting and heated trade war with the US, as it will continue to attempt to counter China’s rising power.

“The latest Huawei incident shows that we should get ready for long-term confrontation between China and the US, as the US will not ease its stance on China and the arrest of a senior executive of a major Chinese tech company is a vivid example,” Mei Xinyu, a research fellow with the Beijing-based Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, told the Global Times on Thursday.

Huawei said there is very little information about specific allegations and that the company is not aware of any misconduct by Meng.

“The company complies with all laws and regulations in the countries in which it operates, including export control and sanctions laws applied in the UN, the US and the EU,” Huawei said. – Global Times by Chen Qingqing

Canada’s treatment of Meng Wanzhou in violation of human rights

We hope that Canadian authorities handle the case seriously and properly. We also hope that Ms Meng will be treated humanely and will be bailed out. We would like to see Meng’s case being handled properly, so that she can regain her freedom as soon as possible. Chinese society has always respected Canada, and it is sincerely hoped that the way how Canadian authorities handle this matter will live up to Chinese people’s expectation and impressions regarding the country.

 With executive’s arrest, US wants to stifle Huawei

The Chinese government should seriously go behind the US tendency to abuse legal procedures to suppress China’s high-tech enterprises. It should increase interaction with the US and exert pressure when necessary. China has been exercising restraint, but the US cannot act recklessly. US President Donald Trump should rein in the hostile activities of some Americans who may imperil Sino-US relations.

US takes aim at Huawei

 Arrest of telecom giant’s CFO escalates US-China tech battle

THE Trump administration’s efforts to extradite the chief financial officer of China’s Huawei Technologies Co over criminal charges mark the start of an even more aggressive phase in the technology rivalry between the United States and China and will increase pressure on Washington’s allies to shun the telecommunications company.

Armed with a US extradition request, Canadian authorities arrested Meng Wanzhou on Dec 1, the same day as President Trump was holding a summit with Chinese counterpart President Xi Jinping. But White House officials said Trump had no advance knowledge of the arrest, indicating the action was on a separate track from trade talks currently under way between Washington and Beijing.

Meng’s detention underscores a sense of urgency, at the Justice Department and other US agencies, to address what they see as a growing threat to national security posed by China’s ambitions to gain an edge in the tech sector. For years, Washington has alleged the Chinese government could compel Huawei, which supplies much of the world with critical cellular network equipment, to spy or to disrupt communications.

Huawei has long said it is an employee-owned company and isn’t beholden to any government, and has never used its equipment to spy on or sabotage other countries. The Chinese government, speaking through its embassy in Canada, strenuously objected to the arrest, and demanded Meng’s immediate release.

US prosecutors made the extradition request based on a sealed indictment for alleged violations of Iran sanctions that had been prepared for some time, people familiar with the matter said. A federally appointed US overseer, formerly charged with evaluating HSBC Holdings PLC’s anti-money-laundering and sanctions controls, relayed information about suspicious Huawei transactions to federal prosecutors in the Eastern District of New York, some of the people said.

Meng, the daughter of Huawei’s founder, Ren Zhengfei, is now in custody in Vancouver, and a bail hearing has been scheduled for Friday, according to a spokesman for Canada’s justice department.

Some worried a lack of coordination on the various strands of the Trump administration’s China initiatives could be counterproductive, especially if Trump decides to use the detention of Meng as leverage to extract concessions in the trade talks. The two sides agreed on a 90-day window from the Dec 1 summit to settle a trade dispute that has seen the two sides exchange tit-for-tat tariffs on each other’s goods.

“I’m very concerned that that’s just going to ratchet this trade war and make negotiations much more difficult,” said Gary Locke, former US ambassador to China. “This is I think a really hot-button, almost a grenade with respect to the 90-day negotiations.”

China has a long history of reading darker motives into US actions. “The risk is conspiracy theories in Beijing,” said China scholar Michael Pillsbury at Hudson Institute, who consults regularly with the Trump trade team. He compares the events to when China rejected US explanations that the United States had made a mistake when it bombed the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade in 1999 during the Kosovo war.

The arrest indicated the Justice Department had significant evidence against Meng, and that additional charges were likely, said Brian Fleming, a trade and national security lawyer at Miller & Chevalier. “This is just the tip of the iceberg,” he said.

The arrest could also add ammunition to an extraordinary US government campaign to persuade wireless and Internet providers in allied countries to stop using telecommunications equipment from Huawei, said national security experts. US officials say they are intensifying efforts to curb Huawei because wireless carriers world-wide are about to upgrade to 5G, a new wireless technology that will connect many more items—factory parts, self-driving cars and everyday objects like wearable health monitors – to the Internet. US officials say they don’t want to give Beijing the potential to interfere with an ever-growing universe of connected devices.

 

By Kate O’keeffe and Bob Davis

 

Huawei reveals the real trade war with China

Tech rivalry: The high-tech trade war shows that for all the hoopla over manufacturing jobs, steel autos and
tariffs, the real competition is in the tech sector. — Reuters

IF you only scan the headlines, you could be forgiven for thinking that the US-China trade war is mainly about tariffs.

After all, the president and trade-warrior-in-chief has called himself “Tariff Man”. And the tentative trade deal between US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping was mainly about tariffs, especially on items like automobiles.

But the startling arrest in Canada of a Chinese telecom company executive should wake people up to the fact that there’s a second US-China trade war going on – a much more stealthy conflict, fought with weapons much subtler and more devastating than tariffs. And the prize in that other struggle is domination of the information-technology industry.

The arrested executive, Wanzhou Meng, is the chief financial officer of telecom-equipment manufacturer Huawei Technologies Co (and its founder’s daughter). The official reason for her arrest is that Huawei is suspected of selling technology to Iran, in violation of US sanctions.

It’s the second big Chinese tech company to be accused of breaching those sanctions – the first was ZTE Corp in 2017. The United States punished ZTE by forbidding it from buying American components – most importantly, telecom chips made by US-based Qualcomm Inc.

Those purchasing restrictions were eventually lifted after ZTE agreed to pay a fine, and it seems certain that Huawei will also eventually escape severe punishment. But these episodes highlight Chinese companies’ dependence on critical US technology.

The United States. still makes – or at least, designs – the best computer chips in the world. China assembles lots of electronics, but without those crucial inputs of US technology, products made by companies such as Huawei would be of much lower quality.

Export restrictions, and threats of restrictions, are thus probably not just about sanctions – they’re about making life harder for the main competitors of US tech companies.

Huawei just passed Apple Inc to become the world’s second-largest smartphone maker by market share (Samsung Electronics Co is first). This marks a change for China, whose companies have long been stuck doing low-value assembly while companies in rich countries do the high-value design, marketing and component manufacturing.

US moves against Huawei and ZTE may be intended to force China to remain a cheap supplier instead of a threatening competitor.

The subtle, far-sighted nature of this approach suggests that the impetus for the high-tech trade war goes far beyond what Trump, with his focus on tariffs and old-line manufacturing industries, would think of. It seems likely that US tech companies, as well as the military intelligence communities, are influencing policy here as well.

In fact, more systematic efforts to block Chinese access to US components are in the works. The Export Control Reform Act, passed this summer, increased regulatory oversight of US exports of “emerging” and “foundational” technologies deemed to have national-security importance. Although national security is certainly a concern, it’s generally hard to separate high-tech industrial and corporate dominance from military dominance, so this too should be seen as part of the trade war.

A second weapon in the high-tech trade war is investment restrictions. The Trump administration has greatly expanded its power to block Chinese investments in US technology companies, through the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States.

The goal of investment restrictions is to prevent Chinese companies from copying or stealing American ideas and technologies. Chinese companies can buy American companies and transfer their intellectual property overseas, or have their employees train their Chinese replacements.

Even minority stakes can allow a Chinese investor access to industrial secrets that would otherwise be off-limits. By blocking these investors, the Trump administration hopes to preserve US technological dominance, at least for a little while longer.

Notably, the European Union is also moving to restrict Chinese investments. The fact that Europe, which has opposed Trump’s tariffs, is copying American investment restrictions, should be a signal that the less-publicised high-tech trade war is actually the important one.

The high-tech trade war shows that for all the hoopla over manufacturing jobs, steel, autos and tariffs, the real competition is in the tech sector.

Losing the lead in the global technology race means lower profits and a disappearing military advantage. But it also means losing the powerful knowledge-industry clustering effects that have been an engine of US economic growth in the post-manufacturing age. Bluntly put, the United States can afford to lose its lead in furniture manufacturing; it can’t afford to lose its dominance in the tech sector.

The question is whether the high-tech trade war will succeed in keeping China in second place. China has long wanted to catch up in semiconductor manufacturing, but export controls will make that goal a necessity rather than an aspiration. And investment restrictions may spur China to upgrade its own homegrown research and development capacity.

In other words, in the age when China and the United States were economically co-dependent, China might have been content to accept lower profit margins and keep copying American technology instead of developing its own. But with the coming of the high-tech trade war, that co-dependency is coming to an end. Perhaps that was always inevitable, as China pressed forward on the technological frontier. In any case, the Trump administration’s recent moves against Chinese tech – and some similar moves by the EU – should be seen as the first shots in a long war.

— Bloomberg by Noah Smit

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China leads the way as world’s billionaires get even richer


The United States created 53 new billionaires in 2017, down from 87 five years ago
China produced around
two new billionaires a week last year as the fortunes of the world’s
ultra-rich soared by a record amount, a report said Friday.Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2018-10-china-world-billionaires-richer.html#jCp
China produced two new billionaires a week last year as the fortunes of the world’s ultra-rich soared by a record amount – AFP

China produced around two new billionaires a week last year as the fortunes of the world’s ultra-rich soared by a record amount, Swiss banking giant UBS and auditors PwC said.

Billionaires’ wealth enjoyed its “greatest-ever” increase in 2017, rising 19 percent to $8.9 trillion ($7.8 billion euros) shared among 2,158 individuals, said the report by Swiss banking giant UBS and auditors PwC.

But Chinese billionaires expanded their wealth at nearly double that pace, growing by 39 percent to $1.12 trillion.

“Over the last decade, Chinese billionaires have created some of the world’s largest and most successful companies, raised living standards,” said Josef Stadler, head of Ultra High Net Worth at UBS Global Wealth Management.

“But this is just the beginning. China’s vast population, technology innovation and productivity growth combined with government support, are providing unprecedented opportunities for individuals not only to build businesses but also to change people’s lives for the better.”

The report said China minted two new billionaires a week in 2017, among more than three a week created in Asia.

In the Americas region, the wealth of billionaires increased at a slower rate of 12 percent, to $3.6 trillion, with the United States creating 53 new billionaires in 2017 compared to 87 five years ago.

Currency appreciation saw European billionaires’ wealth grow 19 percent although the number of billionaires rose by just 4.0 percent to 414.

Wealth transition from just five families accounted for 30 percent of the continent’s wealth expansion, the study said.

It warned of lower economic growth in the United States and China if the trade war between the two countries escalates.

“US and Asia ex-Japan equities could fall by 20 percent from their mid-summer 2018 levels.”

Asia challenging US dominance

For China’s young billionaires “the country’s fundamentals of a huge population and rising technology will continue to offer fertile conditions for entrepreneurs to grow their businesses,” the study said.

It there were only 16 Chinese billionaires as recently as 2006.

“Today, only 30 years after the country’s government first allowed private enterprise, they number 373 – nearly one in five of the global total.”

It said 97 percent of them are self-made, many of them in sectors such as technology and retail.

Billionaires from Asia, especially in the Chinese city of Shenzhen, are now challenging the traditional dominance of Americans as technology entrepreneurs.

“In 2017, they equalled America’s level of venture capital funding for start-ups, registered four times as many Artificial-Intelligence-related patents and three times as many blockchain and crypto-related patents as their US counterparts.”

Ravi Raju, head of Asia Pacific Ultra High Net Worth at UBS Global Wealth Management, said Asia’s billionaires “are young and relentless. They are constantly transforming their companies, developing new business models and shifting rapidly into new sectors.”

The report said that globally, self-made billionaires have driven 80 percent of the 40 main breakthrough innovations over the last 40 years.
UP AND OUT OF POVERTY – Xi Jinping https://youtu.be/SYWz2bwCUEE

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© 2018 AFP /Phys.org

Asia’s billionaires see fastest wealth growth: report 
September 17, 2014 

 

 Asia’s billionaires see fastest wealth growth: report

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Asia’s billionaires see fastest wealth growth: report



September 17, 2014

Asia’s billionaires led by Chinese tycoons enjoyed the
fastest increase in their wealth this year compared to their peers in
the rest of the world, a report said Wednesday.

Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2018-10-china-world-billionaires-richer.html#jCp

 

America First? China Is Dominating Global Technology

We are Malaysians first, not Malay first!


 

 

We are Malaysians first – own it!

We can do it: When faced with the challenges of being truly Malaysian, we should not be as timid as Game of Thrones
Theon Greyjoy (left) waiting for sausages to be served.

I SPEAK my mind. I don’t care what you think of me or what I say. I care that I move people, and hopefully for the best. You cannot sugar-coat truth, truth must be spoken loud and clear if we want to make a difference. Speak Out.

A great nation is one where the majority looks at its marginalised minorities with compassion and empathy, and ensures their wellbeing is taken care of, and the weak among us are always protected. A great society ensures that the disadvantaged are helped in the best way such that opportunities do not pass them by.

Malaysia in this sense is a real paradox.

It has a majority that is politically powerful and yet economically weak and uncompetitive. The Malays (and to some extent our bumiputras overall) by and large have been told over decades that they are superior but are unable to compete and therefore needed every advantage and protection by their political leaders, their clerics, the state, the monarchs and every other self-proclaimed champion under the sun.

Hence, we create a supremacist complex, subconscious in most and overt in some, but one with a dependency syndrome.

The minority Chinese and Indians are economically strong, competitive and over the years, in the absence of a reliance on government assistance, has also become urbane and progressive in outlook.

Hey! Do you know the other minority that to a certain extent fit this category? The progressive Malay liberals.

That despised minority among the majority. What do all these people have in common? When faced with the challenges of being truly Malaysian, they are as timid as a gang of Theon Greyjoys waiting for sausages to be served. The majority of them are so scared to speak out or come out. Witness the Bersih rallies, the numbers are way below the actual support.

I have news for all you Theons, we can do it. You’ve proven it on May 9. You all came out. Don’t stop there. It’s time all of us come together to change our nation to be truly progressive, modern and, sooner rather than later, join the ranks of developed nations.

To do that we must be Malaysian first – without fear or favour. Never again allow an injustice perpetrated upon your fellow Malaysians be left unquestioned and unanswered.

Never again allow that little voice that says “let’s not court trouble”, or those that shout at you “you are not of the religion, do not interfere” stop you.

Humanity knows no race, no religion nor does it care what your supposed station in life is. We are all Malaysians. If we want to be equal we have to behave as equals, until the powers that be capitulate.

If we see our race denigrating or abusing the other, speak up and condemn it. If we see another race doing it to their own, speak up as well.

If we see another people of a different religion abusing and persecuting their own kind, speak up. They are your fellow Malaysians. There is no justification in persecuting our fellow Malaysians.

Let me give you an example.

If someone proposes to impose penalties upon Malaysian Muslims that only the Muslims in our nation will be subjected to for the same crime, we must all speak up and oppose it. This is not about religion. It is about fairness to our fellow citizens.

Being a Malaysian means speaking up on behalf of every one of our countrymen. Standing up to oppression and for justice for all. None of us can or should be shut up for one reason or another when it comes to what happens in Malaysia and to Malaysians. We are all equal. We need to walk this talk until we change the environment by which discourse takes place in this country.

There will be many detractors and there will be many people who will mine the well of extremism to stop us. We should not be cowed by them because that is what they want of us. They have been scaring us all to compliance all these years.

Right-thinking Malaysians must demand that our elected leaders step up and lead, and not follow the herd. The herd follow the shepherd, not the other way around. When I hear characters say “we must be sensitive to the feelings of the majority”, I know these are no leaders.

These are mere political hacks, characters who are interested in the jockeying of position and personal victory, rather than one willing to risk his or her popularity to stand by the courage of their convictions and chart the destiny of the nation and its people. More than likely such people do not even have any convictions.

This nation needs leaders. We are at crossroads in our history. I believe the next three years will determine whether we will sink back into the old politics of protecting and championing race and religion, or we will emerge as a confident nation of equals ready to bring our collective strength to take on the world on our own terms. The result will be determined by us Malaysians speaking out and standing up to and with our fellow countrymen, and insisting that our “leaders” lead.

This is what I intend to continue to do.

The fundamental need in Malaysian education reform

THE Science and Technology Human Capital Report and Science Outlook 2015 by Akademi Science Malaysia show that we may soon have a serious shortage in science-related fields.

It seems more students are opting out of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) fields at secondary and tertiary levels.

Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister, Hannah Yeoh – quoting the National Council of Science, Research and Development which stated that the country needed about 500,000 scientists and engineers by 2030 – pointed out that we have only 70,000 registered engineers, seven times lower than the number required.

Meanwhile, the Education Ministry proposed black shoes, special number plates and a manual for noble and religious values to be read out at assemblies.

What is going on here? Why is there this serious disconnect between what the nation needs and what the so-called custodian and driver of the nation’s education machinery?

I think it’s time to talk about the fundamental elephant in the room that no one wants to talk about when it comes to education reform in Malaysia – the number of hours dedicated to religion (including its related subjects) and the influence of religion in Malaysian schools.

With 60% of our population being Malay-Muslims, what and how their children are educated from young is a concern to all Malaysians.

They are the backbone of the nation’s future. Even a cursory look at the hours spent by these children in religious classes should alarm everyone, what more in the government’s Sekolah Agama (religious schools).

Equally of concern, in Sekolah Kebangsaan (national schools), non-Muslim children would be attending alternative subjects that may not enhance their educational value, especially in Science, at the times Malay children attend their religious classes.

Educating children is a zero-sum game. There are only so many hours in a day. Children cannot be going to classes all day long.

They also need time for games and sports and other extracurricular activities that have nothing to do with classroom learning but more to do with expanding their experience of life, physical exertion and just relaxing.

Therefore, their “classroom time” is finite and each subject accommodated means another will have less of it.

A typical Malay-Muslim child in Year One at national school undergoes approximately four hours per week of religious studies (including related subjects such as Tasmik or Quran reading).

Another hour and a half per week go to Bahasa Arab.

Science, on the other hand, is only accorded an hour and a half per week. A Year Six pupil gets about four hours of religion and related subjects, with one hour of Arabic per week. Science gets two hours per week.

Let’s be honest.

The only reason for Arabic being taught is due to its affiliation to the religion, otherwise the next language a Malay child should be learning is either Chinese, Tamil or even Spanish, the next most spoken language after English.

So basically from Year 1 to Year 6, the ratio is approximately on average two hours of Science versus five hours of religion per week.

That is the formative years of our children. What are we doing to our children? This is appalling.

We are basically indoctrinating our children in religion and neglecting basic sciences that will make them critical thinkers and progressive individual with real foundation.

In the same instance, our non-Malay children also are disadvantaged because they are not taught those sciences at the time Malay children are in their religious classes.

Let’s get it clear.

The function of education is learning to think critically.

The function of religious studies is indoctrination to be obedient followers. We are regressing our Malay children and failing our Malaysian children overall.

Again, let us be honest. Our national education system today, save the vernacular schools, both from an administrative and teaching standpoints are overwhelmingly Malay.

And the Malay-centric system is overwhelmingly religious.

Our children are taught overtly and subliminally that being the “correct” Muslims is the only option.

The authoritative teacher and peer pressure brought upon the Muslim child today is overwhelming at school.

It is a norm to find daughters coming home in tears being bullied as a result of their or their parents’ outward appearance, especially mothers, that do not conform to religious dogma.

The bullies in most circumstances are the Malay teachers themselves. As such, both parents and children conform to avoid the oppressive peer and teaching pressure.

In such an environment, the dichotomy between Muslim and non-Muslim children becomes pronounced.

Is it any wonder that our society right from school to their adulthood has become divided and suspicious, and in a significant portion, easily inflamed with hatred?

Today, race is not the main driver of such divisiveness, it is the religious influence over society starting from the schools.

We need to confront this issue head-on and not be cowed by the label of “sensitivity”.

It is the sensitivity of not talking and confronting these issues that has made the bad become even worse. One cannot solve a problem if one cannot acknowledge and confront their existence in an honest manner.

We need honest conversations and political will from the Education Ministry to overcome this seemingly intractable virus that has infected our whole education system and administrative body.

In this aspect, I have not even touched about the watered-down content or substance of the school subjects, especially Science and History, as a result of the religious influence within our education system.

That will be for another day.

What we have is an almost unique Malaysian national education problem found nowhere else in a functioning democracy.

The result of at least 30 years of Barisan Nasional and PAS politics of using religion to buy the votes of the Malay electorate.

We require a head-on examination of the philosophy of Malaysian education which is today religious-centric instead of education-centric and STEM-centric as would be required by a 21st century modern nation that wants to be developed.

It also requires a total re-education of our teaching human resources – from one that has been religiously indoctrinated to one that will be accepting of all religious and non-religious peoples and societies as being equally good.

One where the teachers are focused on STEM education and ensuring critical thinking rather than being obsessed with religious pre-occupation of any sorts when they are in the national schools educating our children.

One where rational critical thought is the inspiration for good values rather than one that derives on religious books and doctrines as the minister has instead suggested.

We need to demand this of our Government, from our educators and our education system.

If these two fundamental aspects of our basic primary education cannot be rectified – a major increase in teaching/learning time for the sciences and a significant reduction in religious indoctrination and influence in national education – no amount of other esoteric and sophisticated policies and plans would be of any worth.

By Siti Kasim

We are Malaysians first – own it!

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Malaysia’s Vision 2020: Falling apart with alarming speed; Dr M is creator and destroyer, said Musa

KUALA LUMPUR: Former Deputy Prime Minister Tun Musa Hitam said Malaysia’s Vision 2020 objective was “falling apart” with “alarming speed”, and he blames Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad for it.

In his keynote speech at an event to mark the sixth anniversary of the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (Ideas), Musa said this was because the former premier did not train leaders but instead chose to retain and train followers instead.

“It is ironic that Dr Mahathir’s vision is now certain to fail because of Dr Mahathir himself.

Rocky times ahead for China FDI in Malaysia


Li: ‘Malaysia must remember that by targeting Chinese investors in an unreasonable way, this will scare away not only FDI from China, but also from other countries.’ – credit: Malaysia Today

Great wall of controversy: Dr Mahathir’s criticism of Alliance Steel’s barricade for its RM6bil integrated steel
complex has upset some Chinese investors.

A series of attacks on China-funded projects in Malaysia by the Prime Minister is causing anxiety not only to Chinese nationals but also locals.

INVESTMENTS and mega contracts linked to China will have to brace for rocky times ahead if Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad continues unchecked with his incessant tirade against Chinese endeavours in Malaysia.

The golden era for Chinese investments, which possibly peaked during the rule of former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, seems to have come to an unceremonious end.

The future of foreign direct investment (FDI) from China is now seen as unpredictable – at least for the next 3-5 years – under the new government of Dr Mahathir, according to Datuk Keith Li, president of China Entrepreneurs Association in Malaysia.

Li: ‘Malaysia must remember that by targeting Chinese investors in an unreasonable way, this will scare away not only FDI from China, but also from other countries.

“The series of comments made on Chinese investments by the PM have affected the confidence of Chinese investors. Those who originally wanted to come are adopting a wait-and-see attitude, while those already in are careful about their expansion plans,” says Li in an interview with Sunday Star.

The outspoken leader of Chinese firms notes that businessmen from the mainland are “worried”, although some comments of the Prime Minister were later “clarified” by other Cabinet Ministers or the PM’s Office.

“Malaysia must remember that by targeting Chinese investors in an unreasonable way, this will scare away not only FDI from China, but also from other countries as well,” adds Li.

Since his five-day official visit to China that ended on Aug 21, the 93-year-old Malaysian leader has caused anxiety to all by making shocking announcements.

While summing up his China trip on Aug 21, he declared he would cancel the RM55bil East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) and two gas pipelines being built by Chinese firms.

As the ECRL is of strategic importance to China’s Belt and Road Initiative – the policy which Dr Mahathir has repeatedly voiced his support for, Beijing would expect a renegotiation of the contract terms rather than an outright cancellation.

Dr Mahathir had reasoned that with national debt of over RM1 trillion, Malaysia could not afford these projects. In addition, these contracts are tainted with unfair terms and smacked of high corruption.
Although the Prime Minister said Chinese leaders understood Malaysia’s situation, reactions of Chinese nationals on social media were unforgiving with many suspecting Dr Mahathir “has other motives”.

Many see Dr Mahathir as attempting to raise Malaysia’s bargaining power in the negotiation for compensation for the cancelled projects. China, according to social media talk, is asking for RMB50bil as compensation.

On social media, there are also suggestions that Dr Mahathir is aiming at his predecessor as most China-linked projects were launched during the rule of Najib.

During the rule of Najib, Malaysia-China relations were intimate.

This has resulted in the influx of major construction and property companies from the mainland, followed by banks and industries.

But on May 9, Dr Mahathir’s Pakatan Harapan coalition toppled the Barisan Nasional government of Najib after the most bitterly fought general election in local history.

The second-time premier has put the blame on Najib for the massive 1MDB financial scandal, which Najib has denied, and mismanagement of the country’s finance.

And while the Chinese nationals are all riled up by the cancellation of ECRL, Dr Mahathir came up with an ill-advised statement.

Last week he ordered a wall surrounding Alliance Steel, which is investing US$1.4bil (RM6bil) for a massive steel complex, to be demolished. This was seen as unreasonably targeting a genuine FDI.

Although the foreign ministry later clarified that the leader had mistaken the wall to be built around the Malaysia-China Kuantan Industrial Park (MCKIP), the anger of Chinese nationals lingers on.

The industrial park is a G-to-G project to jointly promote bilateral investments. There is an even bigger sister industrial park in China that houses many Malaysian firms. All these were built during Najib’s reign.

Dr Mahathir’s statement has also caught the attention of China’s Global Times, the mouthpiece of the Communist Party of China.

In an editorial on Aug 28, the news portal warned: “Many words of Kuala Lumpur can spread to China via the Internet, causing different reactions. How the Chinese public sees China-Malaysia cooperation is by no means inconsequential to Malaysia’s interests.”

It noted “while Dr Mahathir advocates pursuing a policy of expanding friendly cooperation with China … but when it comes to specific China-funded projects, his remarks gave rise to confusion. Like this time, it is startling to equate the controversy surrounding a factory wall with state sovereignty.”

Global Times added: “When such remarks are heard by Chinese people, the latter find it piercing. They will definitely make Chinese investors worry about Malaysian public opinion and whether such an atmosphere will affect investment in the country.”

In fact, it would be unwise for the government to disrupt MCKIP. Co-owned by Chinese, IJM Corporation and Pahang government, this industrial park has lured in Chinese FDI of over RM20bil.

It is an important economic driver in the East Coast and has aimed to create 19,000 jobs by 2020.

While the “wall” statement might be seen as a minor mistake, Dr Mahathir’s flawed announcement last Monday that foreigners would be barred from buying residential units in the US$100bil (RM410bil) Forest City stirred another uproar.

On Aug 27, Reuters quoted Dr Mahathir as saying: “That city that is going to be built cannot be sold to foreigners. Our objection is because it was built for foreigners, not built for Malaysians. Most Malaysians are unable to buy those flats.”

Currently being developed by Country Garden Holdings of China, this 20-year long project, built on reclaimed land in Johor Bahru, aims to house 700,000 people. As about 70% of the house buyers are Chinese, some locals fear this could turn into a China town.

Unlike Alliance Steel that has stayed silent, Country Garden fought back by seeking clarifications from the PM’s Office.

In a statement, the major Chinese developer said all its property transactions had complied with Malaysian laws.

Citing Section 433B of the National Land Code, it added a foreign citizen or a foreign company may acquire land in Malaysia subject to the prior approval of the State Authority.

In addition, it said Dr Mahathir’s comment did not correspond with the content of the meeting he had with Country Garden founder and chairman Yeung Kwok Keung on Aug 16.

During the meeting, Dr Mahathir said he welcomed foreign investments which could create job opportunities, promote technology transfer and innovations.

In fact, this forest city project – along with ECRL – were the main targets of attack by Dr Mahathir before the May 9 election.

Opposition to these projects had helped drive Dr Mahathir’s election campaign, during which he said was evidence of Najib selling Malaysia’s sovereignty to China.

These projects, together with major construction contracts won by Chinese and the inflow of industrial investments, place the total value of Chinese deals at more than RM600bil in Malaysia.

But few would expect Dr Mahathir to use his powerful position to resume his attacks on China-linked projects so soon after his so-called “fruitful visit” to Beijing.

During his official visit to Beijing, the Malaysian leader was accorded the highest honour by China, due mainly to respect for “China’s old friend” and strong Malaysia-China relations built since 1975.

Dr Mahathir was chauffeured in Hongqi L5 limousine, reserved for the most honourable leaders, and greeted in an official welcome ceremony by Premier Li Keqiang. He was also guest of honour at a banquet at Diaoyutai State Guesthouse hosted by President Xi Jinping.

But beneath these glamorous receptions, there were reservations exuded by the Chinese for this leader whose premiership is scheduled to end in two years.

There were no exciting business deals signed in Beijing. There was absence of high diplomatic rhetoric that “Malaysia-China ties have been elevated to another historic high”, oft-repeated during Najib’s past visits.

Many even notice that Premier Li and Dr Mahathir had a cool handshake after their short joint press conference in Beijing.

And although China promised to buy Malaysian palm oil, the statement was qualified with “price sensitivity”, which means it will not buy above market price.

In addition, there was no mention of “buying palm oil without upper limit”, which was promised to Najib last year.

If Dr Mahathir’s original intention was to target Forest City and its owners, his move has certainly backfired. The country will have to pay a price for his off-the-cuff statement.

The “new policy” will have serious ramifications as it would hit the value of the properties not only in Forest City but also in other China-linked and non-Chinese projects.

Country Garden’s Danga Bay project will also be hit. It now faces a more daunting task of selling the balance of about 2,000 units in Danga Bay, according to a Starbiz report.

Other Chinese developers like R&F Princess Cove and Greenland Group will be affected.

VPC Alliance Malaysia managing director James Wong told Starbiz there may be legal suits against the government.

“That may force Country Garden to scale down because it has invested a lot with its industrial building systems factory and an international school, among other investments. It will impact Country Garden and Malaysia’s property sector negatively,” Wong said.

“Foreign buyers and other foreign companies will shy away,” Wong added.

The change in government and the insensitive comments on China-funded projects have turned Malaysia into a high-risk investment destination for the Chinese, according to Li.

“We don’t know which China projects will be targeted next. Looking back, it’s a blessing in disguise that we were pushed out of the RM200bil Bandar Malaysia project. It is also lucky that Chinese money has not gone into the RM30bil Melaka Gateway project,” says Li, who owns a travel agency in Malaysia.

“In the immediate future, more tourists from China are likely to shy away from Malaysia.

“Malaysia may not hit the target of having three million visits from China this year,” Li adds.

Credit: Ho Wah Foon The Star

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Robert Quok, Richest Malaysian Back Home


All ears: Bai Tian listening to Kuok during their meeting

 

PETALING JAYA: The return of billionaire Robert Kuok to Malaysia sends an important message that the Government is getting advice from highly-respected experts, a move that could instil confidence and optimism among the business community and the public, say economists.

Prof Dr Yeah Kim Leng said it was reassuring that the Government is listening to the views of a tycoon who has a thorough understanding of the history, as well as the economic and business landscapes of Malaysia and the region.

“We now know that whatever new policies or changes introduced would have been passed through or reviewed by Kuok and the panel of experts.

“We are in safe hands. We are able to secure the best advice. It is comforting and reassuring,” the Sunway University Business School economics professor said.

Kuok, 94, was named as a member of the Council of Eminent Persons (CEP) by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to help shape policies and programmes to achieve Pakatan Harapan’s 100-day promises.

Headed by former Finance Minister Tun Daim Zainuddin, the CEP also includes former Bank Negara governor Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz, former Petronas CEO Tan Sri Hassan Marican and renowned economist Prof Jomo Kwame Sundaram.

Kuok, who resides in Hong Kong, returned to Malaysia to attend his first CEP meeting on Tuesday.

Speaking to reporters later, he urged Malaysians to trust the council.

Yesterday, a video of Kuok meeting Dr Mahathir was uploaded on Kelab Che Det’s Facebook page.

He was seen saluting Dr Mahathir, saying: “I salute you. You saved the country.”

Socio-Economic Research Centre executive director Lee Heng Guie said Kuok and the other eminent persons conveyed a message that the Government was bent on making Malaysia better, more competitive and credible.

“Kuok is a prominent and respected entrepreneur. We can tap into his vast experiences in the corporate world. This will benefit Malaysia,” he said.

Lee expected Kuok to give his fair advice to the Government on how to ensure foreign investors would pour in to place Malaysia in the top of the list for investments.

Meanwhile, on the Government’s decision to review projects approved by the previous government – of which a substantial number of projects involved Chinese private and government-linked entities – Dr Yeah said Kuok could serve as the bridge between both countries.

“Some of the mega projects will likely see a need for a third party to intervene. Kuok will be an excellent intermediary.

“Investors will be more comforted if we have a intermediary that is able to facilitate discussion or smoothen out frictions if there is any,” he said, adding that this was to ensure the ties remained strong and not derailed should there be any hard decisions that needed to be taken.

Separately, China’s ambassador to Malaysia Bai Tian met with Kuok yesterday.

In an official statement, Bai spoke highly of the 94-year-old billionaire’s contributions to the development of Malaysia and the progress of China-Malaysia relations.

“He expects that Kuok would continue to contribute to the future development of China-Malaysia cooperation,” the statement said.

During the meeting, both of them agreed that friendly cooperation between China and Malaysia is in the fundamental interests of the two countries and their people.

“They believe that, as an important country along the 21st century maritime silk road under the Belt and Road Initiative, Malaysia could further benefit from mutually-beneficial and win-win cooperation with China.

“They recall the sound development of bilateral relations during Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s last service as Prime Minister, and are both confident that during the term of the new government, China-Malaysia relations will achieve greater progress,” it added. – The Star

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Strong navy steers more balanced, steady rise of China


 https://youtu.be/e9O21AljMow

 

On April 12, Chinese President Xi Jinping, who is also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, made important remarks during a naval parade held in the South China Sea. The event is the largest maritime military parade in the history of the People’s Republic of China, showcasing a new height of the People’s Liberation Army Navy via its Liaoning carrier battle group and the new-generation nuclear submarine. China’s ability to defend world and regional peace has reached another milestone.

During his speech, Xi noted that the mission of building a strong navy has never been more urgent. This is crucial to point out in today’s international environment and his tone carried a robust sense of mission.

Xi has expressed in several key reports that China is closer than ever to achieving the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. However, history reminds us that the closer we are to accomplishing a glorious goal, the more the pressure and risk. Building a strong navy, as well as national defense, has never been more significant to China.

After 40 years of reform and opening-up, China has risen to become the world’s second largest economy. In this process, China has further advanced its unstoppable economic potential. However, China’s elevated status, accompanied by its incredible progress, has attracted both friendly and hostile gestures. Thus, catching up in national defense is necessary to attain balanced growth. For any big nation, strong economic development without balanced efforts in national defense is a dangerous combination. This might give other powers the idea and temptation to subdue China with non-economic methods.

A country’s navy is considered the force that bears most pressure, while also being the most active in the modern military. Despite all the military forces of a country, the navy usually stands at the forefront in crucial moments. The technologies for naval forces are complex and at a high cost, representing the refined strength of its country. Strong naval forces only belong to a powerful country, reflecting the accumulation of a nation’s strength, and indicating the nation’s future and destiny.

The step-by-step development of Chinese navy is steady and strong. Through the South China Sea military parade, Chinese people can see that part of China’s economic strength is quickly converting to military strength. We can also predict that China’s ability to convert between its strengths will be stronger in the future.

The logic of maintaining peace is different among major, mid-sized and small countries. China must objectively understand the security situations we are dealing with and build the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to show that it projects power and focuses on maintaining peace. This is an urgent task which requires racing against time.

China must ignore the noise of the “Chinese military threat” theory from some Western countries. The theory is a misrepresentation of China’s role as the world’s second-largest economy and its role in securing global peace. The theory is also a discrimination to China’s status as one of the world’s major powers.

To build a top-tier navy, China has a long way to go. To understand the enormous challenges China faces in building a blue-water navy, one should look at how other countries monitor and scrutinize China’s foreign ports and naval supply checkpoints. Furthermore, China’s navy needs to accumulate vast experience to become an effective instrument in China’s toolbox for deterrence.

There are two essential strategic questions for China: How do we show others our determination in defending national interest under the thesis of ‘China’s peaceful rise’? How do we communicate our simultaneous dedication to world peace and resolution to fight aggression?

Many WWII-era ships are still commissioned by other navies around the world, and yet more than half of the ships participating in this parade started their service around the time of the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China. The Chinese navy has rapidly developed, and we believe it will continue to do so until it reaches its maturity. China will be more secure and the world more peaceful as the Chinese navy sails into the deep blue sea. – Global Times

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