Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Turkey - Corruption Scandals Rock the Country

Some of us are looking at Turkey's Justice Party (AK) for inspirations in winning the hearts of voters. Even now in PAS, there is a group called - Erdogan faction who is allegedly inclined to Anwar more than PAS President.

Politicians are mostly from the same breed, except few like Nik Aziz. The rest, in whatever colours, are going all out for power because that's politics all about.

Power can corrupt politicians, and power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely
We have high hopes to our PR politicians as almost all BN politicians and leaders are tainted with corruptions in whatever names they call corruptions (like money politics or duit kopi)

People familiar with Turkish politics would know dozens of individuals who have made money under different governments - from socialist left to Islamist right. A decade ago they looked and dressed like any European. Now that returning to "Islamic roots" is in fashion, they sport designer stubbles and wear collarless shirts.

Turkey: Trouble at home, gains abroad

Whiter than white! This is the slogan under which the Justice and Development Party has won two successive general elections, something rare in the history of the Turkish republic. The claim comes from the party's acronym AK, which is Turkish for white, and is meant to underline its claim of fighting "the black clouds of corruption" that have hung over the country's politics for decades.

And yet, allegations of corruptions may be developing into the Achilles' heel of the governing AK Party. Two of Prime Minister Recep Tayyib Erdogan's close relatives are already under investigation on a range of charges linked to corrupt practices. And dozens of party and government officials are linked with fraud scandals that have rocked the country in the past few weeks.

The result is the sharpest drop in public support that the AKP has experienced since its emergence less than a decade ago. According to the most recent opinion polls, support for the party now stands at around 41 per cent, a fall of more than seven per cent since the last general election.

More ominously for the AKP, the two main opposition groups, the People's Republican Party (CHP), a social-democratic outfit, and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), a proto-fascist coalition, together garner almost as much support as the AKP.

The Turks appear to be particularly angry with AKP because of its implicit claim that its Islamic roots gave it an ethical bearing rare in the political world. AKP was supposed to be the home of pious politicians who see themselves as servants of the people and regard government as a sacerdotal pursuit.

That the AKP should become involved in corruption scandals should surprise no one. Political parties need money to run their electoral machines and keep their militants deployed wherever needed. Unless directly financed by the government, political parties must find their own sources of income.

People familiar with Turkish politics would know dozens of individuals who have made money under different governments - from socialist left to Islamist right. A decade ago they looked and dressed like any European. Now that returning to "Islamic roots" is in fashion, they sport designer stubbles and wear collarless shirts.

Turkey has introduced a massive privatisation programme, as part of a strategy to join the European Union. This has led to the transformation of the Turkish economy into a market-based system of free enterprise and in turn provided ample opportunity for greasing many paws. Western companies trying to cash in on Turkish privatisation have also done their bit in encouraging and spreading questionable deals and practices.

The AKP is governing with the support of some 47 per cent of the electorate, as expressed in the last general election. This means governing with an extra dose of caution and prudence, especially when it comes to introducing major reforms. Any further fall in support for AKP is bound to undermine the authority it needs to introduce changes needed to prepare Turkey for its European adventure.

The AKP is losing domestic support at a time when it is developing a potentially constructive foreign policy.

Summed up in one phrase, "no enemies", Turkey's foreign policy is designed to develop correct, and when possible close and friendly relations with all countries. That philosophy has enabled Turkey to remain the United States' closest ally in the Muslim world while emerging as the number-one trading partner of the Islamic Republic in Iran.

As one of the region's most stable nations, Turkey could and should play a leading role in the dangerous transition from Pax Americana to an as yet unknown system of collective security. At present, it is the only regional power capable of talking to all countries and benefiting from a positive relationship from all sides. It would be a pity if corruption scandals plunged Turkey into a domestic crisis that would undermine its ability to pursue its new and positive foreign policy.

Iranian author Amir Taheri is based in Europe.

Libya - Land of emerging opportunities

I met a good friend, now a businessman in Libya and we talked about the endless opportunities in Libya.

After more than 20 years as a global pariah, Libya is coming out of isolation. Most international sanctions have been lifted since its enigmatic leader, Col. Muammar Qaddafi, abandoned his weapons program, renounced terrorism, and accepted responsibility for the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, compensating the victims' families.

Indeed, the country suffered severely from the economic sanctions that were imposed by the US in 1986 after Libya was blamed for the bombing of a Berlin disco that killed two American servicemen. The consequence included a sharp decline in oil production, which fell to around 1.4 million barrels per day in the 1990s, from peak production of 3.3 million barrels per day in 1979. Output at the country's dilapidated liquefied natural gas plant, built by ExxonMobil in the late 1960s, has fallen to just 15 percent of capacity. Unemployment rose to about 30 percent.

Economic boom.
Libya's economy continues to be overwhelmingly driven by the hydrocarbons sector, despite efforts to diversify the economy. Thanks to the increased oil and gas prices in the past three years, the country has received a massive influx of revenues, generating a large fiscal surplus.
This has made possible a boom in investment and business opportunities for foreign companies, which have been accompanied and facilitated by some reformist measures, such as privatisation and reform of banks and preparations to reform other state-owned enterprises.

However, state-owned entities continue to play a significant role in many sectors. In some cases, work is going ahead on long-standing but costly ventures that have questionable economic merit, and that might be shelved if government revenues fall:

Oil and gas.

Following the rounds of licensing in the past five years, the bulk of new activity is presently in exploration, though a number of firms with mature fields are beginning or preparing to carry out enhanced recovery programmes.


A raft of new construction and real estate deals has recently been agreed.
Tourism. A new Dubai-based real estate company, Nobles Properties, has just agreed a project with Oya Tourism and Development to build and develop a large residential and commercial property complex in Tripoli.


Afriqiyah Airways, a part-private Libyan airline established in 1999, is expanding its fleet and has all but eclipsed state-owned Libyan Arab Airlines as Libya's leading airline. Last month, OAO Russian Railways announced that it had begun work on building track.

Telecommunications. Chinese telecoms firms Huawei and ZTE have just won contracts to expand the mobile telecoms network run by state-owned Libyana.

Despite Libya's international political rehabilitation, doing business in and with Libya retains some idiosyncratic practical challenges and risks for foreign companies and governments:

Leveraging history. In July, Qadhafi agreed a new package of "compensation" from Italy for colonial misrule. The deal will benefit Italy, as Italian companies. The deal illustrates Qadhafi's willingness repeatedly to play the colonial compensation card with Italy. Similarly, though he recently described problems in US relations as "completely closed", it is possible that he may seek to leverage past disputes in the future.

Sensitivities. Libyan officials and Qadhafi's family are prone to taking arbitrary or disproportionate measures, for example because of perceived slights or attacks.
Nevertheless, the level of business opportunities for foreign firms should be high for at least the near future. Political disputes may continue to have short-lived repercussions for foreign firms, but economic policy and the overall business environment will remain broadly stable.

Meanwhile, endemic corruption and high unemployment persist, and the lack of real economic incentives is driving skilled professionals out of the country. It was reporthed that, doctors, engineers, and economists are going elsewhere, rather than subsist on 600 Libyan dinars ($450) per month.
Other issues seriously obstructing Libya's political and economic development include the state ownership of banks, a government controlled media and the ban on political opposition parties.
Libya is a country that has responded to international criticisms but how and how far is where it gets difficult.

With oil prices on the rise, none of these difficulties are deterring foreign oil companies from aggressively competing to win exploration rights and investment opportunities in Libya.

With the current wolrd's economic turmoil though, Libya has become a very attractive place for doing business.

There are opportunities in Libya that do not exist in other Middle Eastern countries.

Nakheel is Hiring World Class Talents!

I have been with Nakheel since before its inception in 2002. A great company with world-class projects all over the world. I am currently in Palm Jebel Ali project.
Nakheel is the force turning the vision of Dubai into reality. When complete, projects such as the Palm Trilogy, the World and Waterfront will add more than 600 miles of beachfront to the Dubai coastline and cover over 2 billion sq ft.

Nakheel's 1800 employees are delivering US$60 billion of iconic developments, driving thought leadership, pioneering innovation and creating a legacy for generations to come.
Nakheel hires world class talent. Our people are the passion behind everything we do - their courage, boldness, drive, focus, enthusiasm and tenacity help Nakheel to achieve what no other company attempts.
As a leader, building a world-class organisation, we know that we constantly have to challenge the status quo to stay ahead.
Nakheel's extraordinary and powerful pace of growth means there is no time to wait to be told what to do. As Cedric MacKellar our Executive Director for Human Resources puts it, "Nakheel needs people who can be relied upon to instinctively act in the right way, without instructions, and who feel inspired to perform at their best… "
If you think you have what it takes to work with us, submit an application form here

Putrajaya - Esok Atau Lusa?

ramai tidak sabar lagi
menghitung dan menanti
esok atau lusa
bulan depan tahun bila
semakin bernada melankolik
meratah meriah retorik
marhaen kais pagi makan pagi
kroni kais KWSP untung lagi
peralihan pak lah ke najib
tiada perubahan yang ajaib
ekonomi dunia merudum jatuh
ekonomi kita diisytiharkan teguh
amerika muflis atas kertas
eropah bertindak waras
singapura sama tersangkut
negara arab kelam kabut
china juga berserabut
iceland sudah kaput
tetapi malaysia terhebat
menyongsang arus sejagat
duit berligar dalam sampul
janji kontrak asap berkepul
kerana ameno sedang berpesta
kempen politik orang gila
bila agaknya,
esok atau lusa
kita mengubah suasana
mewajah putrajaya
kini dan selamanya
tiada yang mustahil
semuga doa membuah hasil!
Palm Jebel Ali
22 Okt 2008

Rafidah Aziz to be Petronas Chairwoman?

DS Rafidah Aziz has been issued with Petronas green staff card for accessibility at Petronas executive office.
Is she going to be the new Petronas chairwoman?