Tuesday, June 24, 2008

RM380 Billion Lost Through Graft Over 20 years

Malaysiakini reports that RM380b lost through graft over 20 years, Parliament told.

Reading it makes me spin for a while. I am boiling in exasperation in this simmering summer heat while my brain is crunching the amount. At loss to digest how much of rakyat funds have been squandered all these years by those robbers, whoever they are. Crime does pay for some people, especially those who walk in corridors of power.

Lim Kit Siang told Parliament that international investments and finances services giant Morgan Stanley had in 2004 estimated that as much as US$100 billion (then RM380 billion) had been squandered through corruption over the past two decades.

(That is about the same amount of the current value of all my employer's ongoing projects.)

The estimated figure may be less than the actual amount that had slipped if we calculate other wastages from other syok sendiri projects, events, ceremonies etc. Name other 'legal' channels of robbing like wang ehsan, subsidies to IPPs, tolls, bailouts, APs, etc and we may get the real picture of our nation's wealth. We are rich indeed.

RM380 billion or more will be lost forever. Nobody is answerable while ACA is still stuck with old way of doing things. Nothing will change as long as ACA is only answerable to the PM, not parliament.

Those robbers are enjoying their loots and some perhaps are still enjoying their days as ministers and leaders of our beloved nation.

What a tragedy!


Pasir-pasir di jalanan jiwa
sepanjang lebuhraya minda
telah lama menjadi ketulan emas
sinarnya mewah mengubah lanskap
dari warna kontang gurun sejarah
ke wajah-wajah kosmopolitan semasa

Debu-debu berterbangan jauh
menguak peralihan musim kehidupan
suasana membentuk perspektif jinak
ruang fikir mengorak imaginasi liar
masih hayat terkurung meniti memori
dalam rindu musafir menghirup perubahan

Imej-imej dari struktur menerojah langit
pecah bersilauan memecah setiap ilusi
antara gerak hitam putih emirati
terkedu mengukur saujana jejak realiti
masih superfisial mempertahan tradisi
kelabu berkabut di mamah globalisasi

Hari-hari beredar deras ke masa depan
jurang material merentas wawasan perdana
bersama ganas kren-kren menguak terus
sempadan kemanusiaan sejagat
melakar untung rugi peradaban
sebagai nota kaki biasan pembangunan!

Dubai, 24 Jun 2008

Upbeat in the UAE...Life goes on!

Reading through news reports on the daily life here is already depressing on the inflation and other escalating cost of living. Not to include incessant traffic jams and declining currency rate. Forget about Malaysia's political and economic situations for a while since it could lead to more depressions.

There are options and choices to be made during this trying time. There are always opportunities for those who can see them from brighter perspectives. We have to be a part of solutions, not problems.

The following report adds some spices as food for thought. The thought of leaving the UAE for another hijrah has been running wild for some time. I took the risk in 2000 to land here and it was proved to be one of the better decisions in my life. Looking back, it was a quantum leap into the future, which is now 9 years later.

The future is still there, albeit shorter and more challenging for the parents like me and wife, but the future is for our children to shape their destinations and destiny.

Until then, life goes on!

The latest Nielsen Global Consumer Confidence Index has discovered that 56% of online consumers believe their country is currently in recession, the lowest level since the survey began in 2004.
However the gloomy economic outlook is not replicated in the UAE where the Index stands at 111, a drop of only two points, indicating consumers are happy to splash out despite costs flying up.
"The UAE is confident while the rest of the world is becoming very pessimistic. The US, New Zealand and Latvia had the steepest fall in confidence. The UAE economy is strong as the job prospects are booming," said Piyush Mathur, regional managing director, Middle East, North Africa, Pakistan, The Nielsen Company.

What are consumers' major concerns in the next six months? The first choice was not the economy, according to Mathur, and people say they are not feeling a huge impact.
"The landscape is changing as the boundary between life and work is becoming inseparable, and people want healthier lifestyles."
The latest Nielsen Consumer Confidence Index dropped to 88 - down six points in the last six months - the largest single drop the Index has recorded in the last three years.
The largest half-yearly survey of its kind, the Nielsen Global Online Consumer Confidence and Opinion Survey provides insight into current confidence levels, spending intentions and the major concerns of consumers across the globe.
The Nielsen Consumer Confidence Index is developed based on consumers' confidence in the job market, status of their personal finances and readiness to spend. The online survey was carried out in countries with high levels of Internet penetration.
The Index has dropped in 39 countries, with double-digit drops in 15 national. Only nine surveyed territories have witnessed an increase in consumer confidence: Indonesia, Hong Kong, Poland, Brazil, Canada, Belgium, Taiwan, Egypt and the Czech Republic.
The US and the UK Indexes stand at 83 and 79 respectively, compared to the UAE Index at 111.
More than 20% of UAE respondents identified the work-life balance as their biggest concern over the next six months, ahead of the economy (15%), job security (11%), children's education and welfare (9%), parents' welfare and happiness (8%), debt (6%), health (5%), global warming (4%), war (3%), terrorism (3%), political stability (3%), crime (1%) and immigration (1%).
After covering essential living expenses, UAE respondents use their extra cash in the following ways: putting it into savings (58%), new clothes (33%), paying off credit cards and loans (30%) holidays (28%), new technology (27%), home improvements (25%), investments in stocks (24%), out-of-home entertainment (23%) and in a retirement fund (9%), while 8% of people said they had no extra money.
Questions addressed spending preferences once essential living expenses were covered, the biggest and second-biggest concerns over the next six months and the primary concern in the event of a downturn in the local economy.