Malaysia’s Tax Budget 2020 highlights


KUALA LUMPUR (Oct 11): The following are the highlights of Budget 2020:

Malaysian economy

Government

  • The Bureau of Public Complaints will be replaced by the Malaysian Ombudsman to enhance govt’s governance and delivery systems
  • Govt to move forward with the formation of the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) to increase public confidence and trust in police.
  • Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) offers to guarantee additional tranche of Samurai bonds with lower interest rate of less than 0.5% compared with 0.63% previously. The federal government plans to issue the bonds early next year. Issuance size to be determined after further discussion with JBIC.
  • Home Ministry to receive RM16.9 billion boost for 2020.
  • Allocation for Islamic affairs under PM’s Dept increased to RM1.3 billion from 1.2 billion in 2019
  • Govt has set up National Committee on Investments (NCI), chaired by Minister of Finance and Minister of International Trade and Industry
  • Allocation for Defence Ministry raised from RM13.9 billion in 2019 to RM15.6 billion in 2020

1MDB

Corporate, finance and fintech

  • Govt will continue to ensure at least 30% of tenders of each ministry are reserved for only Bumiputera contractors
  • 50% matching grant of up to RM5,000 to increase the digitalisation of operations for Malaysian small and medium enterprises (SME)
  • RM50m allocation proposed to encourage SMEs to engage in more export promotion activities
  • Govt to provide extra RM50m for SC’s My Co-Investment Fund (MyCIF) to assist SMEs that have difficulties in getting financing
  • Govt to merge Bank Pembangunan Malaysia, Danajamin Nasional, SME Bank and EXIM Bank Malaysia to restructure development financial institutions (DFI)
  • Govt allocates RM1 billion in investment incentives to attract Fortune Fortune 500 companies and global unicorns
  • Govt to offer special investment incentive package worth RM1b per year for five years to local companies capable of penetrating overseas market
  • Additional RM10m allocation to be set aside for MITI to increase monitoring to ensure approved investments are realised
  • Government evaluating Carey Island development feasibility for next growth phase
  • Govt intends to develop a 100-acre logistics hub at Special Border Economic Zone at Kota Perdana in Bukit Kayu Hitam to strengthen trade relations with Thailand
  • National Fiberisation & Connectivity Plan will adopt public-private partnership approach involving total investment of RM21.6b
  • RM20m allocation for Cradle Fund to train and offer grants to high-impact technology entrepreneurs
  • Licensing for digital banks to be opened for public consultation by year end. A framework is expected to be released in 1H2020
  • Digital bank licensing framework will be finalised by Bank Negara and open for application in the first half of 2020
  • Govt to allocate additional RM50 million to Malaysia Co-Investment Fund (MyCIF) to benefit equity crowdfunding platforms and peer-to-peer (P2P) financing platforms.
  • Ceiling on Market Development Grant (MDG) by Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (Matrade) raised to RM300,000. Cap on entry to export exhibitions also raised to RM25,000. RM50 million allocated to encourage SMEs to join promotional activities.

Entrepreneur

  • RM445m Bumiputera entrepreneur development grant for access to financing, provision of business premises, entrepreneurship training
  • Govt to provide loans worth RM100m under Small Industries Entrepreneurs Financing Scheme for Chinese community
  • Govt to provide RM20m in loans under entrepreneur development scheme for Indian community
    Govt to allocate RM500m as guaranteed facility for women entrepreneurs via Syarikat Jaminan Pembiayaan Perniagaan Bhd (SJPP)
  • Skim Jaminan Pinjaman Perniagaan will be enhanced, with the government guarantee raised to 80% of the loan amount while the guarantee fee is reduced to 0.75%. A RM500 million guarantee facility has been set aside especially for women entrepreneurs.
  • SME Bank will introduce two new funds: a RM200m fund specially for women entrepreneurs, and a RM300m fund to support SMEs with potential to become regional champs
  • Ministry of Entrepreneur Development to give RM10 million for advisory services and awareness for the halal industry
  • Tax incentives for venture capital and angel investors will be extended until 2023
  • Govt jobs worth RM1.3b dedicated for Bumiputera contractors

Internet and tech

  • Mandatory Standard on Access Pricing (MSAP) has successfully reduced broadband prices by 49% and increased speeds by three times
  • RM250m will be set aside by MCMC to prepare broadband access via satellite technology to increase connectivity in rural Malaysia, especially Sabah and Sarawak
  • Matching grant fund of RM25m will be set aside to encourage more pioneer digital projects that benefit fibre optic infrastructure and 5G
  • RM20m allocated to MDEC to groom local champions in producing digital content
  • RM50 million grant to develop 5G ecosystem to prepare for  5G transformation worldwide
  • Smart automation matching grant (up to RM2m) for 1,000 local manufacturers and 1,000 services companies to automate business processes
  • To boost use of e-wallets, govt to offer one-time RM30 digital stimulus to qualified Malaysians aged 18 and above with annual income less than RM100,000
  • 14 one-stop digital improvement centres to be set up in every state to faciltiate access to financing, development of business capacity
  • RM10m to be set aside for MDEC to train micro-digital entrepreneurs and technology experts to leverage e-market places, social media platforms
  • Digital Social Responsibility (DSR) is commitment from business sector to enhance workforce with digital skills needed by society. Contributions from the private sector to the DSR will be given tax
  • R&D in public sector to be intensified with RM524 million allocation to ministries, public agencies exemptions.
  • Government to up e-sports allocation to RM20m due to high potential
  • Green Investment Tax Allowance (GITA) and Green Investment Tax Exemptions (GITE) extended to 2023 in line with sustainable development

Palm oil

  • Govt has launched palm oil replanting loan fund worth RM550m for smallholders
  • Govt to implement B20 biodiesel for the transport sector by end-2020. This is expected to increase palm oil demand by 500,000 tonnes per annum.

Rubber

  • RM200m set aside for ‘Bantuan Musim Tengkujuh’ to eligible rubber smallholders under RISDA, Lembaga Industri Getah Sabah
  • RM100 million allocated for Rubber Production Incentive in 2020 to enhance income of smallholders faced with low rubber prices

Agriculture

  • Allocation for Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Ministry increased to RM4.9 billion, including RM150 million to support plant integration programmes such as for chilli, pineapple, coconut, watermelon and bamboo.
  • RM855 million allocation under Federal Government Padi Fertilizer Scheme to boost padi yield

Civil servants

  • Civil servants’ emoluments to exceed RM82 billion
  • Civil servant pension will cost RM27.1 billion
  • Civil servants’ cost of living allowance or COLA to be raised by RM50 a month starting 2020 for support group, with an additional RM350 million a year
  • Civil servants will be allowed early redemption of accumulated leaves (gantian cuti rehat) for up to 75 days as replacement pay for those who have served at least 15 years
  • Govt announces RM500 special payment for civil servants Grade 56 and below. Govt retirees to get special payment of RM250, also extended to non-pensionable veterans
  • Govt to allocate RM330 million to the Property and Land Management Division under the Prime Ministers Department to repair and maintain the public service quarters. Meanwhile, RM150 million and RM250 million is set aside to repair and refurbish Malaysian Armed Forces family housing units (RKAT) and PDRM quarters.
  • Fire fighters to get a special allowance of RM200 a month, which will benefit 14,400 personnel under the Fire and Rescue Dept, amounting to RM35 mil.

Highway and tolls

  • The Cabinet has approved the proposed offer to acquire four highways in the Klang Valleyy – Shah Alam Expressway (KESAS), Damansara-Puchong Expressway (LDP), Sprint Expressway (SPRINT) and SMART Tunnel (SMART) to be funded via Government-guaranteed borrowings.
  • Citizens to enjoy average 18% discount on all PLUS highways
  • Effective Jan 1, 2020, toll rates for cars at the Second Penang Bridge will be reduced from RM8.50 to RM7.00.

Public transport

  • RM450 million proposed to acquire up to 500 electric buses for public transport in selected cities nationwide
  • Govt intends to proceed with the Rapid Transit System (RTS) between Johor Bahru and Singapore.
  • It will also invest RM85 million beginning 2020 to ease congestion at the Causeway and 2nd Link by enhancing vehicle and traffic flow through the Customs, Immigration and Quarantine Complex.

Fuel subsidy

  • Individuals owning not more than two cars and two motorcycles can get fuel subsidy for one vehicle. The qualifying criteria are:
    • A passenger car with 1,600cc engine capacity and below, or
    • Any car above 1,600cc must be more than 10 years old, or
    • A qualified motorcycle must be 150cc and below, or
    • Any motorcycles above 150cc must be more than 7 years old.

 

  • From January 2020, the targeted fuel subsidy or PSP will be launched in Peninsular Malaysia with two eligible categories as follows:
    • For eligible recipients of the BSH, the petrol subsidy receivable will be RM30 per month for car owners and RM12 per month for motorcycle owners. This subsidy will be in the form of cash transfer, deposited into the recipient’s bank account every 4 months. The first payment will be made in April 2020 for the period January to April 2020; and
    • For all other motorists who are not BSH recipients, they will receive a special Kad95 which allows them to enjoy the fuel subsidy at a discount of 30 sen per litre limited to 100 litres per month for cars or 40 litres per month for motorcycles when purchasing RON95 at the petrol station. The Kad95 will be implemented progressively during the first quarter of 2020.

Taxes

  • Govt will merge Special Commissioner of Income Tax and Customs Appeal Tribunal into the Tax Appeal Tribunal, to be operational in 2021. Through this, taxpayers unhappy with the decision of IRB director-general or the Customs D-G can appeal
  • Govt proposes that a new band for taxable income in excess of RM2 million be introduced and taxed at 30%, up 2 percentage point from the current 28%. This will affect approximately 2,000 top income earners in the country.
  • Govt has repaid GST refunds amounting to RM15.9b to more than 78,000 companies, and income tax refunds of RM13.6b to 448,000 companies and 184,000 taxpayers

Medical and Healthcare

  • To support local medical device industry, government will introduce an initiative to encourage local producers to upgrade equipment and tools used in public clinics and hospitals, based on a minimum allocation of 30%.
  • RM227m to be set aside to upgrade medical equipment, and RM95m to renovate infrastructure and medical facilities, like in Hospital Pontian
  • RM1.6 billion to build new hospitals and upgrade existing ones. The hospital includes Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Klang, Hospital Kampar, Hospital Labuan and the Queen Elizabeth II Hospital, Sabah Heart Centre.
  • Govt to allocate RM60m for pneumococcal vaccination for all children
  • RM319m to build and upgrade health and dental clinics and quarters facilities; new clinics will be built in Setiu, Sg Petani, and Cameron Highlands, as well as Kudat and Tawau in Sabah, and Lon San and Sg Simunjan in Sarawak
  • Health Ministry to get RM30.6 billion allocation, compared to RM28.7 billion under Budget 2019

MySalam

  • MySalam to be expanded so that those with critical illnesses will get RM8,000 cash; those being treated in govt hospitals can also claim RM50 wage replacement a day for up to 14 days

Islamic finance

  • Islamic Economic Blueprint to be formulated to position Malaysia as centre of excellence for Islamic finance
  • Special Islamic Finance Committee to be set up to develop the Islamic finance ecosystem

FELDA

Property and housing

  • RPGT base year for asset purchase revised to Jan 1, 2013 for asset acquired before that date
  • To reduce supply overhang of condominiums and apartments amounting to RM8.3 billion in the second quarter of 2019, govt will lower the threshold on high rise property prices in urban areas for foreign ownership from RM1 million to RM600,000 in 2020.
  • Govt to extend Youth Housing Scheme administered by Bank Simpanan Nasional from Jan 1, 2020 until Dec 31, 2021. The scheme also offers a 10% loan guarantee via Cagamas to enable borrowers to get full financing and RM200 monthly instalment assistance for the first two years, limited to 10,000 home units.
  • Public Sector Home Financing Board to offer free personal accident insurance for up to two years to new government housing loan borrowers
  • To help those who can’t come up with 10% deposit or get financing to buy homes, govt will collaborate with financial institutions to introduce the rent-to-own (RTO) financing scheme, where up to RM10 billion will be provided by the financial institutions, with the governnment supporting via a 30% or RM3 billion guarantee.
    • This RTO scheme is for purchase of first home up to RM500,000 property price.
    • Under this scheme, the applicant will rent the property for up to 5 years and after the first year, and the tenant will have the option to purchase the house based on the price fixed at the time the tenancy agreement is signed.

Gaming Industry

  • To curb illegal gambling, govt proposes a higher minimum mandatory penalty of RM100,000 for illegal gamblers, along with a minimum mandatory jail sentence of six months.
    • For illegal operators, a higher minimum mandatory penalty of RM1 million and a 12 month minimum mandatory jail sentence will be imposed.
  • To curb illegal gambling, govt proposes a higher minimum mandatory penalty of RM100,000 for illegal gamblers, along with a minimum mandatory jail sentence of six months.
  • Starting 2020, total number of special draws for Numbers Forecast Operator (NFO) will be reduced from 11 to 8 times a year..

 

Employment

  • Hiring fresh graduates: Two-year pay incentives of RM500 a month. Hiring incentive of RM300 a month.
  • Incentives to get women into the workforce:
    • Two-year pay incentive of RM500 a month
    • Hiring incentive of RM300
    • Tax exemption for women returning to work will be extended until 2023.
  • Govt revises Employment Act, including increasing maternity leave from 60 days to 90 days from 2021
  • Govt proposes to raise minimum wage in urban areas to RM1,200 a month in 2020
  • Govt to launch Malaysians @ Work initiative aimed at creating better employment opportunities for youth and women, reducing over-dependence on low-skilled foreign workers
  • Malaysians who replace foreign workers will get a monthly wage incentive of RM350/RM500 for two years, depending on the sector. Employers will get a monthly incentive of RM250 a month throughout the same period.

Tourism

  • RM25 million allocated to Malaysia Healthcare Tourism Council to strengthen Malaysia’s position as the preferred destination for medical tourism in Asean for oncology, cardiology and fertility treatments.
  • Govt to contribute RM100 million towards construction of new cable car system to Penang Hill
  • RM1.1 billion allocated to Ministry of Tourism and Culture, of which RM90 million is specifically for VMY2020 promotion and programmes

Sabah and Sarawak

  • Govt plans to double special alowance for Sabah to RM53.4m and Sarawak to RM32m; this to be doubled further to 106.8m for Sabah and RM64m for Sarawak in five years
  • RM587 million allocation for rural water projects, of which RM470 million will be for Sabah and Sarawak
  • RM500 million for rural electrification benefiting more than 30,000 rural households, majority in Sabah and Sarawak

Aid and subsidies

  1. Govt to spend RM24.2 billion on subsidies and social assistance
  2. RM100 million grant proposed for Malaysian Indian Transformation Unit (MITRA) of which 80% will be programme-based
  3. RM57 million provided to Orang Asli Development Department (JAKOA), in addition to RM83 million allocation for the community’s economic development, education and infrastructure.
  4. RM575 million proposed for socio-economic assistance to senior citizens benefiting 137,000 seniors whose household income is below poverty level
  5. RM25 million allocated to manage, administer and expand food bank programme
  6. Allocation for subsidies and social assistance increased to RM24.2 billion, including welfare aid such as Bantuan Sara Hidup (BSH). BSH scheme expanded to cover 1.1 million single individuals aged above 40 earning less than RM2,000 per month.

Rural development

  • RM10.9 billion allocated for rural development projects in 2020, from RM9.7 billion in 2019
  • RM738 million provided for Risda and Felcra to implement income generating programme
  • RM1 billion set aside for rural roads throughout Malaysia, primarily targeted at Sabah and Sarawak

Education and training

  • Allowance for KAFA teachers increased by RM100 a month, to benefit 33,200 existing teachers
  • RM735 million proposed for school maintenance and upgrading works
  • Government allocates RM210m to expedite digital infrastructure establishment in public buildings like schools
  • Education Ministry to receive largest allocation of  of RM64.1 billion in 2020 from RM60.2 billion in 2019
  • Allocation for TVET programmes raised from RM5.7 billion in 2019 to RM5.9 billion in 2020
  • RM1.3 billion proposed for education institutions under MARA, a further RM2 billion for student loans benefitting 50,000 students

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China in the Asian century, Is the future truly Asian?



As China continues to develop, so does its global influence. What would the future be like for South-East Asia with a ‘risen China’?

Rising together: No, Chinese imperialism is not simply replacing US imperialism, as China emphasises win-win partnerships, says Prof Zhang. — Handout

 

China in the Asian century

PROF Zhang Weiwei is among the most respected scholars in China today. He is a leading expert on China’s “reform and opening up” policies and its status as a “civilisational state.”

As director of the China Institute at Shanghai’s elite Fudan University, he is also professor of International Relations and had served as English interpreter for China’s Paramount Leader Deng Xiaoping. In an exclusive interview earlier in the week, Prof Zhang spoke to Sunday Star about future prospects with China.

As the leading authority on China’s civilisational state, how would you define it, as distinct from a nation state?

With China, it’s a combination of the world’s longest continuous civilisation and a super-large modern state. A civilisational state is made up of hundreds of states amalgamated into one large state.

China is a modern state respecting international law like a nation state, but culturally diverse, with sovereignty and territorial integrity.

There are four features of China’s civilisational state: a super-large population of 1.4 billion people, a continent-size territory, significant culture, and a long history.

If we are returning to an East Asian tributary system, what changes can we expect in China’s policies in this region today?

The tributary system is a Western name for China’s relations in this region (in the past). China is a “civilisational” – as an adjective – state, a modern amalgamation of many (component communities).

During the Ming Dynasty, China was a world power – but as a civilizational state more than a nation state – and did not seek to colonize other countries, unlike Western powers that were nation states. Since then, China’s status and capacity as a nation state has grown significantly. Will it then become more like Western powers now?
China today is a nation state, but different from European (nation) states. It is also still a civilisational state.

The Chinese people are not just Han, although the Han majority is 92%. There are 56 ethnic groups in China, (mostly) minorities.

But China rejected the Permanent Court of Arbitration’s ruling on the South China Sea, initiated by the Philippines, which found China’s claims insupportable.

The tribunal was illegal; it had no right to make such decisions. The Permanent Court of Arbitration is not part of the United Nations.

How can countries in South-East Asia be convinced that the rise of China will not simply result in Chinese imperialism replacing US imperialism?

China emphasises win-win partnerships, such as in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). It encourages discovering, building, and benefiting together.

Countries in South-East Asia join the BRI out of their own interest. It is not something imposed by China.

Some countries have described the Second Belt and Road Summit this year as being more consultative than the first. As for the future?

The future Belt and Road Summits will be even more open and consultative.

Is the current US-China trade dispute only a symptom of much larger differences, such as a historic divide in the reshaping of a new global order?

It is more than about trade. With the United States especially, it is zero-sum, but for China it is win-win.

The Chinese economy is larger than the US economy, or soon will be. (In PPP or purchasing power parity terms, China’s economy grew larger than the US economy in 2014.)

The United States is trying to decouple its economy from China’s. How can China ensure that it would not only withstand these efforts but also triumph?

The attempt to decouple the two economies will fail. About 85% of US companies that are already in China want to stay.

Looking at the trade structure, most Chinese exports to the US are irreplaceable. No other place in the world gives a better price-quality ratio in manufactured goods.

So the US cannot win in this decoupling because there are no alternatives (as desirable producing countries). China has the world’s largest chain or network, or factory clusters, for all kinds of goods.

How likely do you see a hot war – more than a trade war or a cold war – breaking out between a rising China and what is perceived to be a declining United States?

The US knows that it won’t win (a hot war). No two nuclear-armed countries will go to war. It would be very messy.

So far no two nuclear-armed countries have fought. There may be a small likelihood of direct confrontation, but not a war situation.

No commercial shipping has been interrupted by China. So the US need not worry.

Can Asean, or an Asean country like Malaysia, help to bring the United States and China closer together as partners rather than as rivals?

Possibly. Malaysia perhaps can help, as it is friendly to both China and the US.

As China continues in its rise, what steps is it taking to provide for more cooperative and consultative relations in this region?

Trade between China and Asean countries, for example, has grown, and has now exceeded China-US trade.

Generally, China’s relations with Asean countries are quite promising, with Free Trade Area relationships as well.

By Bunn Nagara, who is Senior Fellow at the Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ISIS) Malaysia.

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Poised for growth: Shipping containers sit stacked next to gantry cranes at the Yantian International Container Terminals in Shenzhen, China. — Bloomberg

 

Is the future truly Asian?

The Region, while growing fast, faces issues such as youth joblessness, climate change and income gaps

THIS is a question that is at the heart of the tensions across the Pacific.

To Parag Khanna, author of The Future Is Asian (2019), the answer is almost self-evident.

However, if you read his book carefully, you will find that he thinks global power will be shared between Asian and Western civilisations

For the West, the rise of Asia has been frighteningly fast, because as late as 1960, most of Asia was poor, agricultural and rural, with an average income per capita of less than US$1,000 in 2010 prices.

But 50 years on, Asia has become more urban and industrialised, and is becoming a challenge to the West in terms of trade, income and innovation.

Global management consulting firm McKinsey has just published a study on “The Future is Asian” that highlights many aspects why Asia is both attractive to businessmen and yet feared as a competitor.

Conventionally, excluding the Middle East and Iran, Asia is divided into North-East Asia (China, Japan and South Korea), South-East Asia (mostly Asean), South Asia (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh) and Central Asia.

But McKinsey has identified at least four Asias that are quite complementary to each other.

First, there is Advanced Asia, comprising Australia, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea and Singapore, each with per capita incomes exceeding US$30,000 (RM125,600), highly urbanised and rich, with a combined GDP that is 10% of global GDP.

This group provides technology, capital and markets for the rest of Asia, but it is ageing fast.

Second, China is the world’s largest trading economy, second largest in GDP after the United States, and a growing consumer powerhouse. By 2030, the Chinese consumer market will be equal to Western Europe and the United States combined.

China is also an increasing capital provider to the rest of the world.

Third, the 11 countries of Emerging Asia (Asean plus Bhutan and Nepal, excluding Singapore) have young populations, fast growth and cultural diversity.

Fourth, Frontier Asia and India – covering essentially South and Central Asia including Afghanistan – which have 1.8 billion in population, still rural but young.

Taken together, these four Asias today account for one-third of global GDP and 40% of the world’s middle class.

But what is remarkable is that while the region grew from trading with the rest of the world, intra-regional trade has grown faster, to 60% of total trade, with intra-regional foreign direct investment (FDI) at 66% of total inward FDI, and 74% of air traffic.

Much of Asian growth will come from rapid urbanisation, amid growing connectivity with each other. The top 20 cities in Asia will be mega conglomerates that are among the largest cities in the world with the fastest-growing income.

A major finding is that America First-style protectionism is helping to intensify the localisation and regionalisation of intra-regional connectivity in terms of trade, finance, knowledge and cultural networks.

Furthermore, the traditional savings surpluses in Asia basically went to London and New York and were recycled back in terms of foreign direct investment and portfolio flows.

But no longer.

Increasingly, Asian financial centres are emerging to compete to re-pump surplus capital from Advanced Asia and China to fund the growth in Emerging and Frontier Asia.

In short, intra-regional finance is following intra-regional trade.

In a multipolar world, no one wants to be completely dependent on any single player but prefers network connectivity to other cities and centres of activity and creativity.

As Khanna puts it: “The phrase ‘China-led Asia’ is thus no more acceptable to most Asians than the notion of a ‘US-led West’ is to Europeans.”

But are such rosy growth prospects in Asia predestined or ordained?

Based on the trajectory of demographic growth of half the world’s young population moving into middle income, the logical answer appears to be yes.

But there are at least three major bumps in that trajectory.

First, Asia, like the rest of the world, is highly vulnerable to global warming.

Large populations with faster growth mean more energy consumption, carbon emissions and natural resource degradation. Large chunks of Asia will be vulnerable to more water, food and energy stresses, as well as natural disasters (rising seas, forest fires, pandemics, typhoons, etc).

Second, even though more Asians have been lifted out of poverty, domestic inequality of income and wealth has increased in the last 20 years.

Part of this is caused by rural-urban disparities, and widening gaps in high-value knowledge and skills. Without adequate social safety nets, healthcare and social security, dissatisfaction over youth unemployment, access to housing, and deafness to problems by bureaucracies has erupted in protests everywhere.

Third, geopolitical rivalry has meant that there will be tensions between diverse Asia over territorial, cultural and religious differences that can rapidly escalate into conflict. The region is beginning to spend more on armaments and defence instead of focusing on alleviating poverty and addressing the common threat of climate change.

Two generational leaders from the West have approached these threats from very different angles.

Addressing the United Nations, 16-year-old Swedish schoolgirl Greta Thunberg dramatically shamed the older generation for its lack of action on climate change.

“People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are at the beginning of a mass extinction and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you, ” she said.

The young are idealistically appealing for unity in action against a common fate.

In contrast, addressing the UN Security Council, US President Donald Trump was arguing the case for patriotism as a solution to global issues. Climate change was not mentioned at all.

Since the older generation created most of the carbon emissions in the first place, no wonder the young are asking why they are inheriting all the problems that the old deny.

This then is the difference in passion between generations.

Globalisation occurred because of increasing flows of trade, finance, data and people. That is not stoppable by patriot-protected borders.

A multipolar Asia within a multipolar world means that even America First, however strong, will have to work with everyone, despite differences in worldviews.

All patriots will have to remember that it is the richness of diversity that keeps the world in balance.

The writer ANDREW SHENG is a distinguished fellow with the Asia Global Institute at the University of Hong Kong. This article is part of the Asian Editors Circle series, a weekly commentary by editors from the Asia News Network, an alliance of 24 news media titles across the region.

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NO POWER, NO FORCE CAN STOP THE PROGRESS OF THE CHINESE PEOPLE AND NATION


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Xi addresses grand rally to celebrate PRC’s 70th founding anniversary

DF 17, DF 100 & DF 41 make debuts at National Day parade

The Strategic Attack Formation is one of the most anticipated parts of Tuesday’s military parade, as the DF-17, CJ-100, and DF-41 missiles made their first appearances. DF-17 conventional missiles are used for precision strikes against medium-and-close targets. The hypersonic CJ-100, on the other hand, is the latest cruise missile of the CJ family, and can strike long-range targets. Lastly, the DF-41 has gained worldwide attention. The purpose of the DF-41 intercontinental strategic nuclear missile is for balancing power and securing victory. Other equipment being showcased includes the second-generation JL-2 long-range ballistic missiles, solid-fuel DF-31 nuclear missiles and DF-5B nuclear missiles, which can carry multiple warheads and excel at both assault and defense. #70YearsOn #NationalDay2019 #PRC70

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China’s 70th National Day: No force can stop country’s progress, says Xi Jinping

BEIJING – China held its largest display of military force with a parade along its main Chang’an Avenue as the nation celebrated 70 years of communist rule.

Under hazy skies on Tuesday morning (Oct 1), President Xi Jinping, in a Mao suit and flanked by his two precedessors, former presidents Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao, appeared on Tiananmen, or Gate of Heavenly Peace.

Addressing the nation, President Xi spoke of how Chinese Communist Party leader Mao Zedong had stood in the same spot 70 years ago and declared the founding of the People’s Republic of China, paving the way for the country to embark on the path of the “great rejuvenation” of China.

“No power can shake the status of our great motherland, no force can stop the progress of the Chinese people and nation,” he said, to cheers from the thousands of flag-waving Chinese who had gathered at Tiananmen Square.

An aerial display welcomed by wild cheers from the audience
Unlisted

Mr Xi urged loyalty to the Communist Party’s leadership and again vowed that Beijing will abide by the “one country, two systems”  model to ensure Hong Kong and Macau’s continued prosperity, as well as promote the peaceful development of cross-strait relations.

“Yesterday’s China has been written into the history books. Today’s China is being created by more than one billion people. Tomorrow’s China will be even better,” he said, urging unity and the fulfilment of the two centennial goals.

The Chinese leader had vowed to restore the country to greatness – by making China a “moderately prosperous society” by 2021, and for it to become a “fully developed, rich and powerful nation” by 2049.

These two centennial goals – 2021 marks 100 years since the founding of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), and 2049, the centenary of the founding of PRC – have been Mr Xi’s overarching vision since he took power in 2012.

The celebrations on Tuesday culminate in a gala show in the evening complete with fireworks.

The display of China’s military might in the morning was a picture of pride for the Chinese audience.

“I had taken taken part in one of the dress rehearsals for the parade and even then it was a stirring sight to see the Chinese military. Today’s atmosphere feels even better,” said civil servant Li Yidong, 27, adding that the showcase “is also a window to show the world China’s national power”.

Mr Li Xuguang, 29, who works in the security industry, said he was already very excited when planes flew past his home during the parade in 2015 to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II.

“Watching them today is even better,” said Mr Li.

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WHO IS A “MELAYU” AS EXPLAINED BY A MELAYU: Melayu by a Melayu


WHO IS A “MELAYU” AS EXPLAINED BY A MELAYU …

The politics of race – Melayu by a Melayu

https://kuncitberagum.wordpress.com/2009/08/26/melayu-by-a-melayu/

 I salute my former colleague Syed Imran….

I got this from a friend and decided to resend it as it explains in great detail what a Malayu really is. It is time we stopped those who corrupt the original meaning in order to use it to divide Malaysian.

Mahathir should know this since he registered himself as an Indian in Singapore where he studied medicine. Inside him, he knows the real reason why he now considers himself a Malay and refuses to acknowledge his Indian roots. There are opportunists everywhere and UMNO has become the platform for them to satisfy their greed.. It will also be the platform on which they destroy themselves.

The Deputy PM expressed disappointment with the Chinese for not voting UMNO but when you look back at recent history, did he thank the Chinese for their role in getting independence for Malaya? The Chinese, Indians and Malays were supposed to be equal partners as a condition for obtaining Merdeka. Then, the Malays asked for 25 years of “Special Privileges” so that they could catch up with the other races. Along the way, they changed the Constitution and it is now an unquestionable “Malay Right” for perpetuity. Look at your genuine history books (not the ones they distorted) to see if I am telling the truth.. Or go to the newspaper archives in the Straits Times and in London to get to the truth.

Because of this, the UMNOputras own the banks, the plantations, petroleum. The Malays are encouraged to start and own their businesses entirely on their own (100%). The non-Malays start their own businesses but when they get big, 30% must be given to bumiputras. Who are these bumiputras? They are selected UMNOputras ( not ordinary Malays) – those who use politics to get what is not rightfully theirs. They use the law to rob others of their wealth. Yet, they will not give a single share to the ordinary Malays in the streets – it is all theirs to keep. They will not do what they ask the non-Malays to do – sharing their wealth.

Not only that, they rob the ordinary Malays daily with the Water Concessions, the Tolls, etc.

CH

Melayu By a Malay-Syed Imran

You may have already read this article I published more than a year ago, below this is another article written by a “Malay” who I salute, that reinforces what I have said.

I’d like to challenge your article on the origins of the word Melayu.

(I hope you will not be emotional about this email and create an issue about it, but rather treat this as an intellectual argument between two matured individuals. I have presented facts here for you to review, and if you disagree please substantiate it. Since you have come out with a blog to attempt to tell us the origins of the word Melayu, and as a Malay, if you are really and truly keen in your own heritage and roots, I am writing to you with the facts of the origins of the word Melayu, in fact there are many scholars of yesteryear’s, Malays, who will tell you that the only original words in the Malay language are “Tanah” and “Melayu”)

Melayu is derived from the Javanese word Melayu, there are many other words in the Malay vocabulary that actually come from the various Asian languages mostly those of Sanskrit Origin.

The Sanskrit in Malay is derived from the Indian influence of the Majapahit, Srivijaya and other Indian influences in South East Asia. This particular word in Bahasa Malaysia is derived from the word Melayu from Javanese. Javanese was the lingua franca of the people in the region having had its own script, which was actually taken from the Arabic script, the bugis and the rest have dialects close to Javanese.

The Malay language in its romanised context only evolved in the early part of the 20th century.

In Javanese the word Melayu means running away, or a runaway, that is why if you go to Java and ask a Javanese if he is Melayu he will feel very insulted. The word Melayu found on the statue as claimed in your URL; http://www.sabrizain.org/malaya/malays4.htm thus denotes that this person was a Melayu, a “Runaway.”

These people, the runaways whether in Sumatra or in the Malay Peninsula referred to themselves as orangMelayu, it is therefore no coincidence that the word orang is placed before Melayu, people who ran away so to speak.

In the Malay Peninsular, it was gradually accepted as the word to describe the Javanese, the Bugis, the Menang, the Achinese etc. and even the Kelantanese who are actually Yunanese and have their origins in China, because they recognized the fact that at the end of the day they were all Melayu, or Run Aways from their respective homelands the word was accepted by all these communities to describe themselves.

In fact, before the formation of the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), it is a fact that all the people in the country had referred to themselves as Menang, Achinese, Bugis, Javanese etc. etc. and we all know that the Kelantanese used to treat the other Melayu, that is the Menang, Javanese, the Bugis etc. as foreigners.

Well for that matter, even Mahathir Mohammed was registered as Indian in King Edwards College where he studied medicine.

The Malay therefore very much like the Indians, and later the Chinese are Melayu in the very true sense of the word because they all left their respective countries to come to this location in South East Asia called Malaysia today.

The real natives of the country are the Orang Laut, the Jakun, the Kadazaan, the Iban, the Senoi and the rest, and not the so called Orang Melayu, because these people are actually Javanese, Achinese, Bugis, people from the Mollucas islands, and other parts of neighbouring Indonesia, including those from Cambodia and even China (Yunanese). That explains the word Melayu in various parts of Sumatra too.

The Javanese people in particular were referred to as Java Kontra a term they despised and today in Sumatra they are referred to as Orang Transmigrasi which is more acceptable to the Javanese in Indonesia then the term Melayu.

For Malay citizenship and for permanent residence reasons, the Orang Java, be they Sundanese, Orang Java Barat, Orang Java Tengah or Orang Java Timor, or any other Indonesian for that matter recognises the fact that the day he becomes a Malaysian citizen, he is now an Orang Melayu that is a new word coined by Malaysians of these origins to legitimise their Bumiputraism.

And to become Bumiputra this way, that is by becoming a Melayu, he has to profess the Islamic faith. This privilege is not extended to Dayaks, from Kalimantan, or Christian Filipinos, or for that matter Christians from among the peoples of Sumatra, Java or any other Indonesian Islands.

The irony of all this is the fact that if you look at the real Orang Asli of Malaysia as a whole you’ll find out that the majority of them are not from the Islamic faith, and that is one of the reasons why in Sabah the registration department of the Federal Government legitimised and gave citizenship and permanent residence status to hundreds and thousands of illegal Fillipina immigrants from the Southern part of the Philippines.

I therefore disagree with your attempt to legitimize the term Orang Melayu as a race, it is not and never will be. The so-called Melayu must own up to their own heritage the way the Chinese and Indians in Malaysia proudly do.

And if we are to use this word called Melayu, it should be a term used to refer to all Malaysians except the ethnic Malaysians who are orang Asli.

The term Bumiputera was coined and the Malay placed in that category to legitimize the fact that he is ethnic when he is not.

It is a shame, and in fact a disgrace that they are the only group of people who by this very act, show the world that they are ashamed of their own heritage.

And who else can be so? Only those who run away or are banished from their own lands, for it is only such people who are ashamed of their own heritage.

Even the customs, the traditions, the dressings, the architecture etc. point to the fact that the so calledOrang Melayu of Peninsular Malaysia are actually not one and the same people.

Scroll below and read the next article by Syed Imran a Melayu and an ex Bernama Journalist from Penang

Some time ago I wrote about the Melayu and the origins of the name Melayu, which means runaway.

Today another “Melayu has written” totally unconnected this man, yes he is a man he stands up for the truth has written a similar article.

I am sending both these articles to you for your reading and circulation

All immigrants

Syed Imran, an Arab-Malaysian born in Penang, Malaysia, an ex-Bernama journalist (1971-1998) and former press secretary to the Minister in PM’s Department, posted a great blog days ago, which was translated into English.

Please circulate it and let all Malaysians understand the facts.

*Antara pendatang dan penumpang (English Translation) *

To begin with, I was quite reluctant to comment on the mess created by the statement made by Ahmad bin Ismail, the head of the Bukit Bendera, Pulau Pinang UMNO Division.. Whether he made the statement in reference to Chinese Malaysians is no longer the question, as the issue has spread and has been hotly debated.

If it is not handled carefully and smartly, this issue could make clear water murky, giving opportunity to parties who are keen on seeing this country crash, not to mention falling into the hands of foreigners. In today’s borderless world, international electronic media coverage makes it difficult for any country to hide or deny any given event.

The main issue brought up by Ahmad Ismail revolves around the question of “squatters”, that is, that Chinese Malaysians are squatters in this country. He explained that he was referring to pre-independence days. However, it had hurt the sensitivity of the Chinese Malaysian community.

I don’t know Ahmad Ismail personally, but I was quite close to his late elder brother, Abdul Rahim Ismail, the owner of Rahim Construction Company that was once famous as an “Earth-Prince” (Bumiputra) construction firm in Pulau Pinang. I don’t know what has happened to the company after Abdul Rahim passed away.

Personally, I don’t agree with what Ahmad Ismail said for the following reasons.

To me, nearly 90 percent of Malaysians, especially those in the Peninsula, are immigrants, and all of us are actually squatters in the land of Allah anyways. We are anything but permanent owners, we are merely squatters.

For example, I come from a family that squatted in this blessed land. My paternal grandfather and grandmother migrated from Mecca and Brunei, while my maternal grandmother came from Hadramut, Yaman. We are immigrants and squatters, as are almost everyone else in this country.

As for Ahmad Ismail, he is also an immigrant having descended from an immigrant’s family who squatted in this country. Ahmad Ismail cannot deny the fact that his grandfather and grandmother moved from India to this country in search of a better life in this blessed land.

It is also the case with Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi whose maternal grandfather hailed from Guangdong in southern China. In short, Pak Lah’s grandfather, Allahyarhamah Kailan, whose name was Hasson Salleh or Hah Su Chiang, was an immigrant. He moved to Tanah Melayu from Guangdong in the mid-19th century. He stayed in Bayan Lepas as a rubber estate worker, a padi farmer and later became a diamond trader.

Najib Tun Razak, Deputy Prime Minister, is also a descendant of an immigrant Bugis family that came from Sulawesi, Indonesia. Hishammudin Hussein cannot escape the fact that there is Turkish blood running through his veins.

The Malacca Malay Sultanate was founded by an immigrant coming from Sumatra — Parameswara, a prince who practised Hinduism.

A reading of the history of Malay Sultanates would reveal that some of them were founded by Bugis immigrants, while others were of Hadramut and Minangkabau parentage.

Almost all Malays living in this country are from outside Tanah Melayu, but are defined as “Malay Race” by the Federal Constitution. We are “Malay” in definition by the Constitution, that is, we are Muslims; we practise Malay customs and speak the Malay language. Unfortunately, the Malay language itself seems> to have been killed by the Malays in UMNO when they named it the Malaysian language (Bahasa Malaysia).

Therefore, Arabs like Syed Hamid Albar and myself, Achehs like Sanusi Junid, Indians like Kader Sheikh Fadzir and Nor Mohamed Yakcop, Bugises like Najib, Minangs like Rais Yatim, Jawas like Mohamad Rahmat, and others from Madura, Pulau Buyan, Siam, Myanmar, Yunnan (China) and the Philippines are conveniently categorized as Malays.

They are accepted as Malays regardless of whether they speak Malay or otherwise at home like those of us who speak Arabic, the Jawas that speak Jawa, the Minangs that speak Minang, or the Mamak that speak Tamil..

These languages are anything but Malay if we look at it from the perspective of the Federal Constitution, so they should never have been declared Malays. But for the sake of political correctness, all of them are accepted as Malays and “Earth Princes” (bumiputra).

It is grossly unfair to point to the Chinese as immigrants when the Arabs, Indians, Achehs, Minangs, Bataks, Mandailings, Jawas, Maduras, and Bugises are immigrants no less in this country. We cannot deny the fact that most of the Chinese’s grandfathers and

grandmothers migrated to this country in the days of the Malacca Malay Sultanante, some of whom did so during the period of Kedah Sultanate, Terengganu Sultanate and Kelantan Sultanate respectively. After Francis Light wrested Penang from the hands of the sultan of Kedah in 1786, more Chinese had arrived here.

We are all immigrants squatting in this country. Only the Negrito, Jekun, Semang, Jahut, Orang Laut, Orang Darat, Senoi, and other indigenous people groups (like the Kadazandusuns, ibans and bidayuhs) can be correctly considered the original inhabitants of this country.

We must never forget the contributions and sacrifices made by all the races in building our nation in all its aspects, including the economy, social structure, national defense and, most importantly, national unity. We are all taxpayers whether or not we are descended from immigrants or squatters.

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Leng Siew Yeap, a Malaysian, a graduate of UMS applied for a scholarship to do a doctorate degree but was refused outright by the local govt.

She was however offered scholarships by University of Edinburgh, London University and Cambridge University. She chose Cambridge University’s Dorothy Hodgkin  postgraduate award to study stem cell.

On graduation she accepted the offer from Harvard to study human immunology. She is now working in research for a Shanghai university hospital.

She hassuccessfully helped to create an method/procedure 4 the body to secrete an antibody to fight HIV. She is now married to a Shanghai citizen, living and working in Shanghai. She and her achievements are never mentioned in any Malaysia newspaper.

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Exclusive: How the US is pushing HK’s protesters to attack China, overthrow: 100 Years of U.S. Meddling & Regime Change, from Iran to Nicaragua to Hawaii to Cuba


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Behind Hong Kong’s chaos lie deep-seated social ills



Chief Executive of China’s Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Carrie Lam speaks during a media session in Hong Kong, south China, Sept 5, 2019. [Photo/Xinhua]

Economist: Island needs closer ties with China to improve

“Seclusion brings no development opportunity for Hong Kong,” said economist Lau Pui-King. “Some youngsters don’t understand that Hong Kong would be even worse if it is secluded from the Chinese mainland.”

“To come out of the current economic difficulty, Hong Kong needs to be linked with the Chinese mainland much closer and more effectively,” she said.

HONG KONG – Kwong loves the pure adrenaline rush he gets when he takes his motorcycle out on the weekends to light up his lackluster life.

The 35-year-old lives with his parents in an old and cramped apartment in the New Territories of Hong Kong. He has a girlfriend but is hesitant to get married and start a family.

“The rent is so high, and there is no way I can afford an apartment,” said Kwong, who earns 15,000 HK dollars ($1,950) a month. Renting a 30-square meter one-bedroom apartment would cost him about two-thirds of his salary.

“Future? I don’t think much about it, just passing each day as it is,” he said.

Kwong’s words reflect the grievances among many people in Hong Kong, particularly the young. Many vented their discontent in prolonged streets protests that have rocked Hong Kong since June.

The demonstrations, which started over two planned amendments to Hong Kong’s ordinances concerning fugitive offenders, widened and turned violent over the past months.

“After more than two months of social unrest, it is obvious to many that discontentment extends far beyond the bill,” said Carrie Lam, chief executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), referring to the now-withdrawn amendments.

To Lam, the discontent covers political, economic and social issues, including the often-mentioned problems relating to housing and land supply, income distribution, social justice and mobility and opportunities, for the public to be fully engaged in the HKSAR government’s decision-making.

“We can discuss all these issues in our new dialogue platform,” she said.

HKSAR Chief Executive Carrie Lam visits a transitional housing project of the Lok Sin Tong Benevolent Society Kowloon in Hong Kong, south China, Aug 9, 2019. [Photo/Xinhua]


UNAFFORDABLE HOUSES

For nine straight years, housing in Hong Kong has been ranked as the least affordable in the world. Homes in the city got further out of reach for most residents, according to Demographia, an urban planning policy consultancy. The city’s median property price climbed to 7.16 million HK dollars in 2019, or 20.9 times the median household income in 2018, up from 19.4 times from a year earlier.

In the latest case of house transaction, an apartment of 353 square feet (about 33 square meters) at Mong Kok in central Kowloon was sold at 5.2 million HK dollars in September, according to the registered data from Centaline Property Agency Limited.

For those fortunate enough to have bought an apartment, many have to spend a large part of their monthly income on a mortgage. For those who have not bought any property yet, it is common to spend more than 10,000 HK dollars in rent, while saving every penny up for a multi-million HK dollar down payment.

From 2004 to 2018, the property price increased by 4.4 fold, while income stagnated, statistics show. From 2008 to 2017, average real wage growth in Hong Kong was merely 0.1 percent, according to a global wage report by the International Labor Organization. Homeownership dropped from 53 percent to 48.9 percent from 2003 to 2018.

Efforts of the HKSAR government to increase land supply to stem home prices from soaring also went futile amid endless quarrels. Of Hong Kong’s total 1,100 square kilometers of land area, only 24.3 percent has been developed, with land for residential use accounting for a mere 6.9 percent, according to data from the HKSAR government.

Social worker Jack Wong, 29, lives in an apartment bought by his parents. “I’m lucky. Most of my friends still have to share apartments with their parents. My cousin has been married for seven years, but he is still saving for his down payment, so he has to live at his parents’ house,” he said.

“The older generation changed from having nothing to having something. We, the younger generation, thought we had something, but it turns out we have nothing,” he said.


MIDDLE CLASS’ ANXIETY

While young people complain about having few opportunities for upward mobility, Hong Kong’s middle class, which should have long been stalwarts of the society, are under great economic pressure and in fear of falling behind.

It is not easy to be middle class in Hong Kong, one of the world’s most expensive cities. To join the rank, a household needs to earn at least 55,000 HK dollars, or $7,000, a month, according to Paul Yip Siu-fai, a senior lecturer at the University of Hong Kong. About 10 percent of the households in the city are up to the rank.

Earning that much can be counted as rich in many parts of the world. But in Hong Kong, the money is still tight if you have a child to raise and elderly to support.

Housing is the biggest burden for the average middle-class resident. The cost of having a child is another headache in Hong Kong, where pricey extra-curricular activities and private tutoring are considered necessary to win in the fierce competition.

Fears of descending to the low-income group are real for the middle class. Many think they belong to the middle class only in education and cultural identity, but their living conditions are not much better than the impoverished, said Anthony Cheung Bing-leung, former secretary for transport and housing of the HKSAR government.

Civil servants and teachers, who earn much more than the average income, are traditionally considered middle class. But Cheung found out in a survey that many of them could not afford to have their own apartment, with some even living in the narrow rooms of partitioned apartments.

“We don’t belong to the low-income group, but we could just rent an apartment now,” said Lee, a teacher at a secondary school in Hong Kong.

Lee and her husband earned nearly 1.3 million HK dollars a year, but a 50-square meter apartment is the best they could rent now for a five-member family. She preferred not to give her full name as she feels her situation is embarrassing.

“We want to save more money to buy a house near prestigious elementary schools for our kids,” Lee said. “If our kids can’t go to a good school, it’ll be very tough in the future.”

A woman walks near the Harbour City in Hong Kong, south China, Aug 27, 2019. [Photo/Xinhua]


CHANGING ECONOMIC STRUCTURE

In the 1970s, nearly half of Hong Kong’s labor force were industrial workers when manufacturing thrived in Hong Kong. During the 1980s, Hong Kong’s finance, shipping, trade and logistics and service industries started to boom.

Since then, the economic landscape began to change amid subsequent industrial upgrading.

Due to the hollowing out of the manufacturing industry, the wealth gap in Hong Kong widened and the class division worsened. Despite the prosperity of finance, trade and tourism in recent years, more than 1.37 million people are living below the poverty line in Hong Kong, home to more than 7 million.

Working career options are now limited, leaving little hope for the youngsters to move up the social ranks.

As a result, Hong Kong’s social class has largely been solidified in the 21st century, with the richest people dominated by property developers and their families.

The Gini coefficient, which measures the inequality of income distribution, reached a new high of 0.539 in 2016, far above the warning level of 0.4, according to data by the HKSAR government’s Census and Statistics Department. The greater the number toward one, the more inequal in income distribution.

Though the HKSAR government tried to narrow the wealth gap, many people in Hong Kong said they are not sharing the fruits of economic prosperity, the young and those low-income groups in particular.

STAGNATING POLITICAL BARRIERS

What makes the deep-seated problems in Hong Kong such a hard nut to crack? The reason is complicated, according to observers, partly due to the containment in the current political structure that leads to governance difficulty, partly due to a doctrinaire implementation of the principle of “small government, big market,” or laisser faire, and most importantly due to the opposition’s “say no for none’s sake” that stirs political confrontation and sends Hong Kong into a dilemma of discussions without decisions, or making decisions without execution.

Over the past 22 years, the successive HKSAR governments have tried many times to tackle these problems by rolling out affordable housing programs and narrowing the rich-poor gap.

For example, to make houses more affordable, Tung Chee-hwa, the first HKSAR chief executive, proposed in 1997 to build at least 85,000 flats every year in the public and private sectors, raise the homeownership rate to 70 percent in 10 years and reduce the average waiting time for public rental housing to three years.

Such plans, however, went aborted as home prices plunged in Hong Kong amid the Asian financial crisis in 1998.

“Since Hong Kong’s return, many economic and livelihood issues would not be as politicized as they are now, should the HKSAR government have introduced more policies and better social security arrangements to address those problems,” said Tian Feilong, a law expert of the “one country, two systems” center with the Beijing-based Beihang University.

To carry out major policies or push forward major bills, the HKSAR government needs to garner the support of two-thirds majority at the Legislative Council (LegCo).

The HKSAR government’s previous motions, be it economic policies or fiscal appropriations, were impeded by the opposition time and again at the LegCo, regardless of the interests of the majority of Hong Kong residents and the long-term development of the society.

The HKSAR government sought in 2012 to establish the Innovation and Technology Bureau to ride the global wave of innovative startups, diversify its economic structure and bring more opportunities for young people. Such efforts, however, were obstructed by the opposition at the LegCo in defiance of repeated calls by the public. After three years, the proposal to create the bureau was finally passed by the LegCo.

In another case, a Hong Kong resident, incited by the opposition, appealed in 2010 for a judicial review of the construction plan of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge. Though the HKSAR government won the lawsuit after more than a year of court proceedings, 6.5 billion HK dollars of taxpayers’ money had been wasted in the increased construction costs of the bridge’s Hong Kong section due to the delay.

As time passed, problems remained unsolved, so did public discontent.

Repeated political bickering stalled Hong Kong’s social progress amid the sparring, and the opposition created a false target and blamed the Chinese mainland for those deep-seated problems.

Lau Pui-King, an economist in Hong Kong, snubbed the opposition’s resistance of or even antagonism to the Chinese mainland, saying such thinking of secluding Hong Kong from the entire country could end nowhere but push the city down an abyss.

“Seclusion brings no development opportunity for Hong Kong,” Lau said. “Some youngsters don’t understand that Hong Kong would be even worse if it is secluded from the Chinese mainland.”

“To come out of the current economic difficulty, Hong Kong needs to be linked with the Chinese mainland much closer and more effectively,” she said.

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