China’s Xi Urges Self-Reliance Amid Change ‘Unseen in 100 Years’


Chinese President Xi Jinping stressed self-reliance amid “changes unseen in 100 years,” as the country faced an economic slowdown and a more confrontational U.S. under President Donald Trump.

In his annual New Year’s Eve address, Xi stressed China’s capacity to weather the storm, citing a series of industrial and technological achievements in 2018. He said the government would keep growth from slowing too quickly and follow through on a tax cut as part of an effort “to ease the burden on enterprises.”

“Despite all sorts of risks and challenges, we pushed our economy towards high-quality development, sped up the replacement of the old drivers of growth, and kept the major economic indicators within a reasonable range,” Xi said.

The speech followed reminders of Xi’s twin challenges: another dose of weak economic data Monday and a phone call with Trump on Saturday touching on their trade dispute. China’s factories slid back into contraction territory in December, with the manufacturing purchasing mangers index dropping to 49.4.

Meanwhile, a U.S. delegation led by Deputy Trade Representative Jeffrey Gerrish was preparing for talks in Beijing next week that would test a tariff cease-fire established earlier in the month by the two sides. Trump said he and Xi spoke at length and that “big progress” is being made toward a deal.

Looking Ahead

Next year marks 70 years since Mao Zedong led the Communist Party to power — a milestone that would surpass the Soviet Union. The anniversary underscores the urgency Xi faces in turning around stalled growth and investor confidence, while pushing forward an agenda of political reform that will strengthen his power.

The government launched over 100 reform measures in 2018, Xi said Monday, and stepped up efforts to improve standards of living.

“Our people are the country’s solid foundation and our main source of confidence to govern,” he said.

A little less than a year since he scrapped term limits, clearing the path toward his indefinite rule, Xi has seen his major initiatives — notably the Belt and Road trade and infrastructure program — draw international backlash amid the unprecedented trade war.

Over the next few months, March’s National People’s Congress and April’s Belt and Road Summit, both to be held in Beijing, could see the announcement of new regulations and investments meant to counter skepticism over Xi’s leadership.

China is already considering a new law on the practice of forced technology transfer that has drawn U.S. ire, and stepped up internal scrutiny of Belt and Road as poorer countries adopt a more cautious approach to China’s plans for what it regards as its backyard.

The country’s growth is still slowing as it transitions from a high-growth, export-led model to a consumer- focused state. Top economic policy makers last week pledged to exact “significant” stimulus policies this coming year.

— Bloomberg, with assistance by Shuping Niu, Dandan Li, and Fox Hu

Related:

2018: End of an era – Global Trends 

China will tread own path steadily in 2019

In the face of sudden escalation of China-US trade conflict throughout 2018, Beijing chose neither a concession nor a confrontation. The country has continued advancing and establishing its position as the world’s second largest economy, maximizing its vitality and cooperation. Undoubtedly, that is China’s lifeline to keep steady progress in an increasingly restless world.

 

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China marks 40th anniversary of reform and opening-up with greater resolve to cope with unimaginable perils

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China marks 40th anniversary of reform and opening-up with greater resolve to cope with ‘unimaginable’ perils


Chinese President Xi Jinping ahead of his speech at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing to mark the 40th anniversary of China's reform and opening up. Photo: Reuters
Chinese President Xi Jinping ahead of his speech at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing to mark the 40th anniversary of China’s reform and opening up. Photo: Reuters

https://youtu.be/MILBtNHX4rQ

  • Chinese president avoids specifics for the road ahead
  • Audiences at home and abroad need convincing that reforms started 40 years ago will continue
China faces “unimaginable” perils and dangers ahead and must rely on Communist Party rule and economic reform to sail through them, Chinese President Xi Jinping said in one of the most watched speeches of his leadership in Beijing on Tuesday.Speaking at the Great Hall of the People to mark the 40th anniversary of the country’s reform and opening up, Xi did not directly address the specific challenges facing the world’s second biggest economy or touch on sensitive issues such as the ongoing trade war with the US.

Instead, Xi spent much of the hour-and-a-half speech drawing general conclusions about China’s economic and social development in the past four decades since Deng Xiaoping, China’s former paramount leader, started to embrace market-oriented changes in China.

The No 1 lesson China can draw from the 40 years of success is that the country must stick to the leadership of the Communist Party, Xi said.

China tightens control of local economic data ahead of expected weak growth next year

.“The practices of reform and opening up in the past 40 years have shown us that the Chinese Communist Party leadership is the fundamental character of socialism with Chinese characteristics … east, west, south, north, and the middle, the party leads everything,” he said.

“Every step in reform and opening up will not be easy, and we will face all kinds of risks and challenges in the future and we may even encounter unimaginable terrifying tidal waves and horrifying storms,” Xi said.

“Only by improving the party’s leadership and governance … can we ensure the ship of reform and opening up will sail forward.”
Xi’s speech was delivered as prospects for China’s growth are clouded abroad, by rising rivalries between China and the US, and by a deepening economic slowdown at home.
Xi, who is now legally entitled to retain his presidency beyond 2023 after a constitutional amendment in March this year, needs to convince domestic and foreign audiences that Beijing remains committed to the economic liberalisation process that was started by Deng 40 years ago.
The stock indexes of Shanghai and Shenzhen, which had both risen in early trading in anticipation of possible policy announcements, retraced their declines soon after proceedings began.
Shanghai’s composite index fell as much as 1.2 per cent, while Shenzhen’s index fell as much as 1.5 per cent to an eight-week low.
On the Hong Kong exchange, the Hang Seng Index fell 0.9 per cent while the H-share index declined 1.3 per cent.
Xi stressed that China would stick to its own chosen path, namely socialism with Chinese characteristics.
“To push forward reform and opening up in a country with 5,000 years of civilisation and a population of 1.3 billion, there are no textbooks containing golden rules or teachers who can be arrogant to the Chinese people,” he said.
Xi quoted the renowned Chinese author Lu Xun, who asked, “what’s a road? A trodden path in a place where there was previously no road, and a passage opened from a place where there were only thorns.”
Xi opened his speech by saying the Cultural Revolution, from 1966 to 1976, had brought China’s economy to the brink of collapse and went on to quote Deng, saying “China’s modernisation and socialism will be buried if we do not embrace reform and opening up now.”
The audience at the Great Hall of the People listen to Chinese President Xi Jinping’s speech commemorating 40 years of opening up and reform. Photo: Xinhua
The audience at the Great Hall of the People listen to Chinese President Xi Jinping’s speech commemorating 40 years of opening up and reform. Photo: Xinhua
He made it clear that Beijing would not abandon its road as China’s developmental achievements in the past four decades had proven the “vivid vitality” of China’s “scientific socialism”.
“For those that ought to be changed or can be changed, we will change; but for those that shouldn’t be changed or cannot be changed, we will firmly not change,” Xi said.
In international relations, Xi reiterated Beijing’s existing line that China would not seek hegemony, but he did not mention the US specifically.
Xi said China was walking closer to the world’s centre stage and was now “an internationally recognised” builder of world peace, a contributor to global development, and a keeper of international order.
China, he said, had contributed “China wisdom, China solutions and China power” to world peace and development.
The Chinese president said China would play its role as “a big responsible country” to support developing countries and to take part in global governance.
“China will never grow at the cost of other countries’ interests but will never give up its legitimate rights and interests … China’s development does not pose a threat to any other country. No matter how far China develops, it will never seek hegemony,” Xi said.
In a long list of China’s economic and social achievements of the past four decades, Xi said China had achieved an annual average growth in GDP of 9.5 per cent since 1978, and contributed more than 30 per cent towards total global economic growth for many years.
China, he said, was now the world’s second largest economy, the world’s biggest manufacturing country and the world’s No 1 commodity trading country.
From left: Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang at the 40th anniversary commemorations of reform on Thursday. Photo: AP
From left: Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang at the 40th anniversary commemorations of reform on Thursday. Photo: AP
In terms of ideology, Xi said China would stick to its official ideology, namely Marxism, Leninism, Mao Thought, Deng Xiaoping Theory, Three Represents theory, scientific development concept and his own “Theory of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics in the New Era”.
In terms of economic policies, Xi reiterated the policy that China would support public ownership while offering “unswerving” support to non-state sectors.

How should China adjust its industrial policy?


Made in China 2025: The domestic tech plan that sparked an international backlash   

According to media reports, China is drafting a replacement for the “Made in China 2025” plan, with a new program promising greater access to China’s markets for foreign companies and playing down China’s bid to dominate manufacturing.

The “Made in China 2025” plan is a key concern of the US. The high tech products made by Chinese companies have been targeted amid the US-provoked trade war against China.

All major industrial countries have their own industrial policy that aims to promote high tech development, such as Germany’s “Industry 4.0” strategy.

The intent in drafting the “Made in China 2025” plan is obviously justifiable. The discontent and concern it has stirred among the US and other Western countries shows the plan has unique implications for those countries.

The “Made in China 2025” plan emphasizes support to State-owned enterprises (SOEs) and the investment of huge amounts of capital. China’s private enterprises have faced difficulties for quite some time and there has been talk of a trend known as “the State advances while the private sector retreats.” Therefore, it has become necessary and urgent to create an environment that provides fairer competition between SOEs and private firms.

The objections to the “Made in China 2025” plan made by the US have been beyond China’s expectations.

Drafting the plan is a matter of China’s sovereign right and China can totally ignore the attitude of the US and focus on its own decision. But China is now deeply intertwined with the world and there are practical reasons to mutually coordinate China’s interest and those of Western countries including the US. Expanding areas of common interest is an important way that China has adopted to continuously move forward its reform and opening-up.

China will likely adjust its future industrial plan and policies accordingly while insisting on its right to develop the country’s high technology sector.

The major direction of the adjustment could be granting the market a bigger role and creating an environment for fairer competition between enterprises with different forms of ownership.

Regarding whether or how China should adjust its industrial plan, we would like to analyze the key changes of the overall environment and the principles China should stick to in adapting to these changes.

First, the external environment of China’s development and the dynamic of internal and external economic interactions have undergone major changes since the beginning of this year. We need to adopt a pragmatic attitude toward these changes and respond actively.

Second, external pressure has always been a driving force for China’s domestic reforms. The more open China is, the more it needs to respond to external demands. China’s interaction with the outside world is a result of the need to better realize national interests, rather than being pushed to make humiliating concessions in which sovereignty is oppressed. In the 21st century, China should no longer hold the belief that being tough and confrontational is more politically correct than making concessions.

Third, China’s development must lead to win-win results for the world. This is the lifeline of our peaceful development and cannot be a mere slogan. China needs to be more open to the world, increase its momentum of development through expanding foreign cooperation, and bring more benefits to the world.

Fourth, China should not fear taking economic or political risks in further expanding its opening-up policy. Fair competition between all types of companies will force SOEs to reform. In fact, many SOEs are not short of funds, but lack a competitive management mechanism. By unleashing the vitality of various enterprises, China’s technological innovations will usher in a new chapter. If a more robust development is achieved, we will have more resources to maintain the political cohesion of the country, avoiding greater ideological risks.

Reform and opening-up is the only path China should follow. We have achieved successful results over the past 40 years, as will we do in the future. We must effectively emancipate our minds and resolutely overcome all the difficulties on the road to success – this should be the motto of Chinese society from generation to generation.- Global Times

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ICERD: An universal pact against racial discrimination, to ratify or not to ratify no longer the question


Just look at the world today.:

MYANMAR, South Sudan, North Korea, Vanuatu… What do these countries have in common with Malaysia?

Yes, they all have not signed or ratified the United Nation’s International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD).

Malaysia is currently one of 14 countries in the world that have not recognised or signed the UN treaty.

The other countries in this exclusive club include the Cook Islands, the federated states of Micronesia, Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Samoa, Niue and Tuvalu.

Out of 197 countries, 179 countries have ratified or acceded to the ICERD. Four countries – Angola, Bhutan, Nauru and Palau – have signed the ICERD but not ratified it.

The treaty was first mooted in the early 1960s in response to the growing racial discrimination and religious intolerance in the world.

In 1965, the ICERD was adopted unanimously by the UN General Assembly, with one abstention. The Convention came into force in 1969.

Malaysia and Brunei are the only Islamic-majority countries that have not signed ICERD. All 22 states of the Arab League, Iran, Turkey, Afghanistan and Indonesia, among others, have signed and ratified the treaty.

However, many countries only agreed to be bound by ICERD with certain reservations.

Reservations to parts of ICERD are allowed as long as they are not “incompatible with the object and purpose” of the treaty. Even the US has made a reservation: it does not accept any part of the Convention that would oblige it to criminalise hate speech.

Many – including China, India and Thailand – do not accept a provision that allows national ICERD disputes to be referred to the International Court of Justice. Singapore, which only ratified ICERD in November 2017, reserves the right to apply its own policies on foreign workers, “with a view to promoting integration and maintaining cohesion within its racially diverse society”.

Most of the Islamic states that have ratified ICERD state that they will not recognise or establish relations with Israel.

Saudi Arabia is the sole Islamic state that has a reservation that it will only implement the ICERD provisions that do not conflict with the Islamic Syariah.

Tonga and Fiji reserve the right on indigenous citizens’ land. In fact, many countries that have ratified the ICERD have affirmative action policies to ensure marginalised and indigenous groups are given some privileges to help them move up the social and economic ladder.

This is clearly stated in the treaty: state parties are allowed, “when the circumstances so warrant”… to use “positive discrimination policies” for specific racial groups to guarantee “the full and equal enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms”.

And while the treaty obliges signatories to “pursue by all appropriate means and without delay a policy of eliminating racial discrimination in all its forms”, some have questioned its effectiveness in eliminating racism and hate crime.

To ratify or not to ratify no longer the question

But the ICERD remains a tempest in a political teapot, and so the discussion on the UN Convention must continue in Malaysia, a nation at the crossroads

.

 

A NUMBER of individuals and groups denounced the proposal to ratify the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) on the ground that it will destroy Malay rights, weaken the position of Islam and erode the power of the Malay Rulers.

Most of the criticisms have no legal basis. However, as hate and fear are potent weapons in politics, the perpetrators have succeeded in polarising society and raising the spectre of violence. The Prime Minister has, therefore, strategically retracted the proposal to ratify.

The debate on this UN Convention will, however, continue and this necessitates a brief discussion of the Federal Constitution and the ICERD.

Equality

The Constitution in Articles 5-13 protects many human rights and these are available irrespective of race. Article 8(1) declares that all persons are equal before the law and entitled to the equal protection of the law. Article 8(2) states that except as expressly authorised, there shall be no discrimination on the ground of religion, race, descent, place of birth or gender.

Many other Articles explicitly forbid racial discrimination. Among them are Article 12(1) relating to education and Article 136 regarding impartial treatment of federal employees.

Citizenship (Articles 14-22); the electoral process; membership of Parliament; and positions in the Cabinet, public services, judiciary and the constitutional commissions are all free of racial differentiation.

Permissible exceptions: To the general rule of racial equality, a number of exceptions are explicitly provided. Foremost are protection for the aborigines (Article 8), Malay Regiment (Article 8), Malay Reserves (Article 89) and special position of the Malays and the natives of Sabah and Sarawak (Article 153). These preferential provisions are not based on the idea of racial superiority or exclusiveness but on a mixture of historical realities and the impulses of affirmative action. Their primary purpose is to engineer society through the law and to ensure that those left behind in socioeconomic development are able to catch up with the others.

Article 153’s provisions have much in common with India’s special provisions for the Scheduled Castes. Like in India, Article 153 provisions are hedged in by clear limits. For example, Article 153’s quotas do not apply across the board but only in four areas: positions in the public service; scholarships and educational and training facilities; licences and permits; and post-secondary education.

It is also notable that Article 153 enjoins the King to safeguard the “legitimate interests of other communities”.

Likewise, Article 89(2) requires that where land is reserved for Malays, an equal area shall be made available for general alienation.

ICERD

This piece of international law takes a strong stand against apartheid, segregation, discrimination and racial superiority. However, it recognises the need for affirmative action. It acknowledges the need to rectify historical injustices and to enrich formal equality with functional and substantive equality. Articles 1(4) and 2(2) of ICERD permit “special measures taken for the sole purpose of securing adequate advancement of certain racial or ethnic groups or individuals requiring such protection”.

This is quite in line with Articles 89 and 153 of Malaysia’s Constitution. However, the ICERD seeks to set limits on the duration for affirmative action. The measures “shall not be continued after the objectives for which they were taken have been achieved”.

This has riled up the ICERD critics because Articles 153 and 89 contain no time limits. It is submitted that for all practical purposes the differences between Article 153 and ICERD are insignificant. ICERD opposes “eternity clauses” but imposes no time limit. Article 153 imposes no time limit but is capable of amendment subject to the special procedures of Articles 159(5) and 38(4) – two-thirds majority plus the consent of the Conference of Rulers and the Governors of Sabah and Sarawak.

ICERD in Article 20 allows nations to ratify it with reservations. For example, the United States adopted ICERD but objected to any provision in the Convention that breached the US Constitution. Malaysia can do the same and indeed has done so in a number of situations.

We adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948 in section 4(4) of our Human Rights Commission of Malaysia Act 1999 but subjected it to our Federal Constitution. We adopted the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) but subjected it to our Constitution’s Article 8(5) which exempts personal laws from the Constitution’s gilt-edged provisions for gender equality.

ICERD and Islam

To bolster their opposition to the ICERD, its critics are claiming, amazingly, that ICERD will weaken the position of Islam. To give this claim any credibility requires a willing suspension of disbelief. The ICERD is against racial discrimination and does not address itself to official religions or secularism or theocracy. In any case, Islam promotes racial equality. The ICERD has been ratified by 179 nations, of which 48 are Muslim nations. Out of 50 Muslim countries, only Malaysia and Brunei are non-signatories.

ICERD and Malay Rulers

The ICERD is not anti-monarchial and in no way affects the honours and dignities of the 27 monarchies existing in the world today, six of whom are absolute monarchies.

International law is not law

Even if ratified by the executive, ICERD cannot displace Article 3 (Islam), Article 153 (special position of the Malays and natives) and Article 181 (prerogatives of Malay Rulers). This is due to the legal fact that our concept of “law” is defined narrowly in ArticIe 160(2) and does not include international law.

The constitutional position on the ICERD is, therefore, this: Even if the ICERD is ratified by the executive, it is not law unless incorporated into a parliamentary Act. Even if so legislated, it is subject to the supreme Constitution’s Articles 3, 153 and 181. Unless these Articles are amended by a special two-thirds majority and the consent of the Conference of Rulers and the Governors of Sabah and Sarawak, the existing constitutional provisions remain in operation.

The ICERD is not a law but only a pole star for action. Its ideals cannot invalidate national laws. The agitation against it is contrived for political purposes and perceptive Malaysians must not allow themselves to be exploited by politicians.

By Shad Saleem Faruqi

Emeritus Professor Datuk Dr Shad Saleem Faruqi is a holder of the Tunku Abdul Rahman Chair at Universiti Malaya.

 

Malay supremacy – Ketuanan Melayu ! How to be supreme ?


 

“If we want to be tuan (master), we need to have knowledge, willingness to be hardworking, do things properly and not steal. Don’t fellow the example of our previous prime minister (Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak” said Dr. Mahathir:  

Dr M: All races to be consulted on ICERD first

How to be supreme!

Here’s a plea to reconsider an unpalatable term favoured by certain politicians and nationalists.

Tsk, tsk, tsk. Can our dear politicians stop fighting? That’s what they keep telling us, don’t they?

If it is a Malay politician, he is fighting for Malay rights. If it’s an Indian leader, he’s fighting for Indian rights. If it’s a Chinese bloke, he’s fighting for… You get the drift.

Instead of the aggressive and violence-laden word, “fighting”, how about they use words like “promoting”,

“protecting” or “nurturing”?

I actually like another word more: “sharing”. I wish politicians will say things like, “Let me share what the Malay community’s thoughts and concerns are so that we can address them together.”

The word “Malay” can be substituted by any of the following: Chinese, Indian, Iban, Kadazan, Orang Asli, Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, etc.

And why should it be so? Because we share this nation. It’s as simple and obvious as that.

The soil, air and water we all need to live have no boundaries when it comes to pollution, global warming and diminishing resources that affect us collectively.

Because when our economy gets bad, everyone suffers – jobs are lost, crimes increase, prices go up… You get the picture. If that happens, will fighting over community rights or racial supremacy help?

That’s why this endless debate over Malay supremacy – ketuanan Melayu – is so pointless and unne­cessary.

Why do people get all riled up whenever it comes up, the latest being our youngest Cabinet member, Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman, who said on Saturday the era of ketuanan Melayu had ended under the Pakatan Harapan government?

He went on to give the assurance that this did not mean the needs of the Malay community would be sidelined but that Putrajaya now preferred to emphasise the concept of “shared prosperity” to ensure fair and equitable distribution of wealth across all races.

Somehow that was misconstrued by some quarters and Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia president and Home Minister, had to step in to explain and defend his young colleague. And how was Syed Saddiq misconstrued by the likes of Majlis Belia Negeri Johor?

Well, its president Md Salleheen Mohamad was quoted as saying that Syed Saddiq needed to understand Malay supremacy in the historical context.

He added that it wasn’t about the Malays as master and the non-Malays as slaves but about the position of the Malay sultans as pillars of the nation that protect the importance of Islam, Malay customs and the Malay language.

That sounds perfectly acceptable to me. But what is perhaps not very acceptable or palatable is the use of the word “supremacy” in the context of a race or community.

Despite the assurances that it is not about master versus slave, it brings to mind things like white supremacy and the Nazi’s brand of Aryan supremacism. And surely right-thinking people would agree these are really bad things.

The poster boys for white supremacists are the Klu Klux Klan of America whose members believe that the “white race” is superior in intelligence and culture over other so-called non-white races.

Back in the 1800s to the 1950s when white supremacy was at its height during the era of European colonisation of Africa and Asia, Europeans used being white-skinned and Christian to justify slavery and taking political and economic control of people of darker skin by military and religious methods.

But how “white” is defined is fluid. Not all ethnic groups with white skin were deemed white. The Irish and Italians were not considered as such in late 19th and early 20th century America. But the US government expanded its definition of whites to include Arabs and North Africans in 1944.

America is today very multi-ethnic but the Jim Crow mentality continues and is getting a major boost under Donald Trump’s presidency. The man suspected of sending letter bombs to Barack Obama and others last week considers himself a Trump supporter and a “foot soldier” for white supremacy. He openly proclaimed his love for Adolf Hitler and ethnic cleansing.

Indeed, the most dreadful and extreme example of racial supremacy was demonstrated by the Nazis and Hitler who used it to justify his extermination of millions of Jews and other undesirables like the gypsies, blacks, gay men and the disabled.

So when some people obsess over the need for their race or community to be supreme or “above” others, it doesn’t go down well as they come across as frightening and hate-filled.

That’s why such a term, Malay supremacy, to describe the up­hol­ding of the position of the Malay rulers and Islam is wrong in our Malaysian context.

Malays, I like to believe, are not hate-fuelled, nor do they want to exterminate the non-Malays. They just want to be reassured that the non-Malays understand this is a Malay-Muslim majority nation and that it will stay that way.

As a non-Malay Malaysian, I can give that assurance. And easily so. After all, as have been pointed out repeatedly, Malays dominate the armed forces, the civil service, the Cabinet, the GLCs and in plain demographics with a healthily growing urban middle class.

With such dominance and strength, surely the Malays are in a position to be more generous-hearted and can wean themselves off the siege mentality they were brainwashed with by the previous government that did it to stay in power.

As I have said before, non-Malays are not the enemy. Corrupt, divisive leaders are. They are the ones who want to continue the British colonial tactic of divide and rule that keeps the various races “at just the right distance from each other” so that it is easy to sow fear and suspicion against each other.

So let’s not fight any more. As Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who has said he did not subscribe to the ketuanan Melayu concept, puts it, what is far more important is the willingness of all the communities to share the good and the bad and work together.

Here is where the Malays can show the way. It’s called leadership, Malay leadership. – The Star So aunty, so what? June H.L. Wong

AN OPEN LETTER TO OUR ELECTED NEW GOVERNMENT PUBLIC SERVANTS

Dear PH elected public servants,
We, the rakyat, elected a coalition called Pakatan Harapan under a single banner led by a 92 year old statesman whom we have, at least, the most trust for to save this nation. This is a MALAYSIAN mandate. Do not forget that. You are all public servants. SERVE.
We did not elect you to squabble over posts and spoils of war.  We want a reformed nation.  Not the same politicking and sharing of spoils amongst politicians.  We do not care which party you came from.
The nation faces 3 immediate and present dangers:
1. We have an economic catastrophe waiting to happen due to economic malfeasance over the last decade – financed by debt.
2. We have a corrupt, racialist religiously-bigoted civil administrative system to be dismantled and replaced.
3. We have today an ineffective education but instead a religious-centric education system that has been the source of extremist indoctrination of Malay-Muslim youths and populace over the last 2 decades at least. The result being, Malaysia is per capita the largest exporter of terrorist Islamic fighters in the world and sympathisers. And a large unemployable pool of graduates as product of our failed system.
Lets be honest in our euphoria of victory that the work ahead is difficult. To be honest, the economic problems, intractable as it looks, is the easiest to solve. That I have full trust in Tun, his brilliantly assembled Council and newly minted Minister of Finance.
The other two challenges could very well be almost impossible but if not solved will mean the utter destruction of our beloved nation.
It will take great political-will from your leadership to make hard decisions to drag  some of you, not to mention the mostly entitled ketuanan bangsa and ugama Malay-Muslim populace kicking and screaming towards reforms.
1. We need clear separation of religion and government. Government and public
funds must stay out from the business of religion and religious morality.
2. We need to take out religious education and proselytising from the public arena.
Religion must be a private matter and kept private.
3. Our education must emphasise education not indoctrination. There is no such thing as religious education, only indoctrination. The nation’s future rests in its populace being science and technology passionate.
In conclusion, as I had mentioned before, by 2050, seven of 10 Malaysians will be Muslims. We do not reform at our peril. Do we want our nation to be another failed Muslim majority country as everyone of them is, or do we want to pioneer one that is a model Malaysia – developed, wealthy, technologically superior multi-ethnic multi-religious nation fair to all.
We, the Malaysian rakyat will be watching and  we will be calling you to account
throughout your term. Mark my word, we and I are only starting. We wish you all the best and before I forget – congratulations.
Siti Kasim
A Malaysian
Note:  No need to ask, just share if you agree.

 

Related:

Making Malaysia an innovation hub – Business News

 

Open society and closed minds, Trump bragging as UN Laughs at him


 ‘Leadership has always been about generosity to those who are less well endowed and fortunate than you are. Often, it is not generosity of kind, because that would be buying of votes, but generosity of spirit.’ – Tan Sri Andrew Sheng

WHY is it that in the last days of September, 10 years after the failure of Lehman Brothers, the world feels as if it is a dangerous place?

Bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers – Wikipedia

The filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection by financial services firm Lehman Brothers on September 15, 2008, remains the largest bankruptcy filing in U.S. history, with Lehman holding over US$600,000,000,000 in assets. Wikipedia

President Trump’s remarkable speech to the United Nations this week was supposed to re-state the New Order that America has envisioned for the world. And all he got was a laugh.

But it was an important speech, because it spelt out more clearly what everyone knew since January 2017 – his Administration is dismantling what America has stood for since the Second World War.

Out goes the vision of a liberal rule-based stable world under US leadership. What replaces it is a “no holds barred” reality show of bilateral “Art of the Deal” negotiations supposedly to solve what is paining America. Never mind the collateral damage on everyone else, even if they are ultimately American consumers. What everyone heard is that the White House does not care too much about allies or enemies, only what is good for America First, trumped by the speaker’s ego.

Speeches to the United Nations has never been about foreign policy. Speaking in front of 193 member countries, the national leader is actually addressing his home audience, a photo-opportunity to show that as a member of the United Nations, your voice is heard by the whole wide world. Accordingly, other than the famous 1960 case of Soviet Leader Khruschev making his point by banging his shoe at the podium, most national leader speeches to the United Nations are boring homilies. They tend to praise themselves, pay due respect to the UN, and expound what Miss Congeniality says in all beauty contests, “world peace!”

What we got instead from President Trump was raw and edged, “America’s policy of principled realism means we will not be held hostage to old dogmas, discredited ideologies, and so-called experts who have been proven wrong over the years, time and time again.” That statement made a powerful indictment of “experts”, because his supporters feel that it is the elite experts that have run the country for 70 years who have let them down.

If America is doing so well economically, militarily and technologically, why should her middle class feel so insecure? And it is lashing out at everyone else.

The answer lies in not what the speech said, but what it omitted. Everywhere in the world, not least in America, the greatest existential concerns are inequality and climate change. Almost nothing was said about both issues, which are stressing societies and pushing immigration from poorer neighbours across borders to richer nations with cooler climates.

Instead, what was decided was non-participation in the Global Compact on Migration, withdrawal from the Human Rights Council and non-recognition of the International Criminal Court. There was also a barrage against Opec, which contains some of the US’s strongest allies. If other bodies like the World Trade Organisation or even the United Nations do not do America’s bidding, then the cutting of funds or withdrawal is a matter of time. Does that imply that the US will now veto every World Bank or IMF loan to members that she does not like?

In short, it is all about anti-globalisation. In the same breath that “We reject the ideology of globalism, and we embrace the doctrine of patriotism,” Trump appeals to the passion and pride of nationalism. “The passion that burns in the hearts of patriots and the souls of nations has inspired reform and revolution, sacrifice and selflessness, scientific breakthroughs, and magnificent works of art.”

Never mind if a lot of that sacrifice and selflessness was by immigrants and new arrivals.

Outsiders who used to admire America as an open society founded by immigrants with new ideas on how to build a more just society and free economy find instead one that has an increasingly closed mind to global issues. It does seem strange that American innovation, entrepreneurship and dynamism which drew continuously on new talent initially from Europe and then the rest of the world is now walling up its borders, physically, legally and mentally.

There are 40 million immigrants in the US today, representing 13% of the US population. Immigrants founded nearly one-fifth of the Fortune 500 companies, such as Google, Procter & Gamble, Kraft, Colgate Palmolive, Pfizer, and eBay. Today, much of Silicon Valley talent feel like working in the United Nations, diverse, noisy and creative.

The irony of America drawing on global talent and resources is that she has no need to pay for it from exports, but can easily print more dollars. In other words, the Grand Bargain of global trade was the ability of the US to pay for real goods and services with something that can be printed at near zero marginal cost. Even the Europeans are now creating a separate payment system outside the US dollar dominated SWIFT system to avoid being punished for “trading with the enemy”.

When contracts of trust are being renegotiated, no one can feel at ease. One can never solve global problems unilaterally or even bilaterally, let alone calls for more national patriotism. And as the English writer Samuel Johnson scribbled in 1775, a year before US independence from Britain, “patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.”

Leadership has always been about generosity to those who are less well endowed and fortunate than you are. Often, it is not generosity of kind, because that would be buying of votes, but generosity of spirit.

This side of the Pacific, there is awareness that the tensions will not go away with Trump or a change in the November elections. What has happened is that the US establishment has put political interests ahead of economic interests, which means that any settlement will have to go beyond economic considerations.

If trade and political tensions are in for the long haul, can the current US market enthusiasm have sufficient strategic patience?

Now we understand why no one is laughing.

Credit; Think Asian Andrew Sheng

Tan Sri Andrew Sheng writes on global issues from an Asian perspective.


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Still waiting on election promises


Will the Government deliver or are rosy pledges meant to be broken anyway?

PEOPLE are still harping on election manifesto promises which the new coalition has yet to fulfil.

In the wake of the 14th general election, the 100-day manifesto of Pakatan Harapan is being scrutinised.

Does anyone remember the promises made before GE13 or GE12 or any other election before that?

Remember the Penang Bridge toll promises?

Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak came to town and promised free passage across the bridge for motorcycles.

Hours later, the then Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng cleverly upped the ante and promised that the bridge would be completely toll- free.

In Malaysian lingo, we call this ‘wayang’ or political theatrics.

I found it all very entertaining. I looked forward to each retort from the opposite side.

We should not be like children and cry: “But mummy, you promised!”

Now, Pakatan Harapan did fulfil some of their promises.

The Government abolished the goods and services tax and an earnest hunt has begun for those responsible for the 1MDB controversy.

As for the other promises, maybe not yet? Or at a later date?

You cannot fault Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad for being honest. He told the world Pakatan could not fulfil all the promises in its manifesto because it did not expect to win!

So the politicians were just putting on a show and we, the audience, bought front-row tickets to the ‘wayang’.

Dr Mahathir would know. Can anyone remember any of the manifesto promises that were never fulfilled during his previous 22-year tenure or during the last 10 years under Najib?

I don’t and I have been around for more than three decades, starting my working life the year Mahathir came to power in 1981.

If elections were won just on fulfilling manifestos, Barisan would not have been able to rule for 60 years because there has been volumes of unfulfilled promises.

Elections are usually won on negative rather than positive elements.

We have a saying in the newsroom: people wanna read about sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll.

At The Star Online, stories along those lines get astronomical level hits.

In politics, seats tend to be won by candidates who can portray how bad the other guy is!

People want to be shocked by scandals, not lulled by promises.

So we do not have to lament the unfulfilled promises.

It is a universal issue which is not confined to Third World countries as even presidential elections in developed countries are won the same way.

One which comes to recent memory is the United States’ presidential elections in 2016.

Everyone thought Hilary Clinton would triumph but Donald Trump ran a smear campaign on her.

People heard all about her leaked emails and the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s case on her.

Both candidates spent millions of dollars taking out advertisements in newspapers and on television.

The focus was more on showing how bad the other candidate would be for the country rather than what they would do if elected.

So for all those who are still hung up on Pakatan promises, forget it.

You can shout until the cows come home and nothing is going to happen.

But they still have four years to make good on their promises, before power comes back to us.

They could be saving the best promises for last. Maybe?

Credit: Pinang points R. Sekaran

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