Sunday, February 01, 2009

The road less travelled in the Gulf

The recent internal circular on thrift expenditure reflects the current situation. It reminds us, the employees, about the prevailing uncertainties without sight of light at the end of the tunnel, yet. We keep our heads down and take things as they come.

Some already planning for option B if anything happens, such as exploring other Gulf states.

The spectacular economic growth of the UAE has lured hundreds of thousands of expats to its palm-fringed shores. However, as the downturn hits the emirates, those same expats are being forced to turn elsewhere to prolong their stay in the Gulf.

Claire Ferris-Lay

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Lured by the promise of a tax-free salary and year-round sunshine, project manager Jonathan Underwood moved from Britain to the UAE eight months ago. However, he was unable to live the dream for long: Underwood was forced to return home in December after the project he was assigned to was cancelled without warning.

He is keen to return to the Gulf but, in today's climate, his horizons have broadened. "When I was looking for work in the UAE I was told everything was dead," he shrugs. "I would go back to Dubai but in reality I don't think its going to happen - Bahrain is a better opportunity [for finding employment]."

Underwood is not alone in widening his search. Spectacular economic growth, spurred by a booming construction sector and record high oil prices, has lured hundreds of thousands of expats to the UAE. But as the global recession starts to bite and major construction projects are put on hold, many expats have been forced to look to other Gulf states for job opportunities.

"We are placing a lot of people within the GCC, and now our focus is on relocating clients from Dubai and some from Abu Dhabi into wider GCC markets," says Dave Storey, a director at Dubai-based recruitment firm Michael Page Middle East.

In the last five years local and international real estate and construction firms have embarked on a hiring frenzy, unable to keep up with huge demand for skills and labour. According to the Federal National Council around 640,000 work permits for foreigners were issued in the first quarter of 2008, nearly half of which were in Dubai.

Today, with mounting job losses, the picture is quite different. In December Nakheel made 500 of its staff redundant. Dubai-based Damac Properties cut 200 jobs in October, while Al Shafar General Contracting laid off 1,000 workers and some 800 staff at Dubai Labour Supply Company (Dulsco) have been left looking for work.

UAE labour laws dictate that redundancy victims have one month to find new employment before their visa is revoked and they are ordered to leave the country. And with the clock ticking, many expats who are keen to remain in the Gulf, and boast years of Middle East experience, are turning to other GCC countries and finding their services are still required.

"Traditionally it has always been difficult to get people to even listen to job opportunities in [Saudi Arabia] but out of necessity people are choosing to look at that area now. It is an important part of the GCC and there will be a lot of opportunities to work there," says Matthew Taylor, a Dubai-based international director for real estate recruitment agency MacDonald & Company.

"Local market experience is important," he adds. "There is also a cost implication as well. If companies are looking at making savings, they are always going to go for the people closest to them."

Analysts agree there are still opportunities available across the Gulf. Patricia McCall, a senior consultant at corporate finance and consultancy firm Jasper Capital, notes that although the entire Gulf has been hit by the global downturn, Qatar and Saudi Arabia are best placed to mop up expatriates from the UAE for government-backed mega-projects.

"Saudi Arabia still has quite a lot of reserves so a lot of spending power to keep projects going ahead, and if they do keep their projects going ahead then there is a huge need for human capital to execute these projects," she says. "Qatar, meanwhile, has an abundance of gas and its economy is still quite strong. I would say that Qatar would be one of the few places that would continue to recruit."


If Perak state assembly Dissolves now

Written by Francis, comments in Malaysian Insider

February 01, 2009

State seats to be lost by Umno in case of a snap by-election.
1. Rungkup in Bagan Datok: UMNO won by 454 (2,330 in 2004)
2. Sungai Manikin P. Salak Umno won by 1,374 (3,599 in 2004)
3. Kampong Gajah, P. Salak Umno won by 1,415 (over 5,000 in 2004)
4. Chenderiang in Tapah. Won by MCA by 50% reduced margin. PKR fielded an Indian in a pure Chinese base. Will be corrected.
5. Ayer Kuning in Tapah (Umno won by 3,252. Close to 7000 in 2004). However, research shows the Umno candidate got 74% of the 48% non-Malay electorate. Now those non-Malays will vote for PAS which fielded a candidate here.
6. Tualang Sekah in Kampar. Umno won by 1,500 (3,500 in 2004). PKR fielded an Indian in the majority Malay seat. Though he did well, fielding a Malay here will beat the pulp out of Umno. Non-Malays are 43%
7. Sungai Rapat. Umno won by 636 against Pas. Hamida Osman, the DUN here is the one who called Indians snakes later after she won. Her majority in 2004 was over 6,000 but she survived by 600 in 2008. Pas will win outright here. Furthermore, PKR V.President is the MP here (Gopeng).
8. Belanja in Parit. Pas lost by over 1,800 (over 3,000 in 2004) due to non-Malay vote in 2008. With Umno taking a dig at the non-Malays and Pas accomdating them, and with Perak’s large non-Malay vote, Umno will lose every seat it won in March 08 due to the fear of Pas and the fact that PKR was unknown.
9. Bota is in Parit. The canidate defected to PKR and will retain his seat. Yesterday he said the pple who came to welcome him couldn’t be obtained even during his Ceramahas in March 08.
10. Pengkalan Baru. Umno won by 14 votes only. Yes 14 votes (over 2,200 in 2004). Pas swept the Malay vote but got less non-Malay vote. Today, Pas will retain malay vote and obtain non-Malay vote. That 14 votes for Umno will be 1,400 votes for Pas victory KT style.
11. Bukit Chandaran in Kuala Kangsar. Umno won by 1,600 votes (close to 6,000 in 2004). With Rafidah Aziz on her way out (she won by 1,000 unlike 5,600 in 2004), Umno will lose here.
12. Manong in K. Kangsar. Umno won by 749 (2,353 in 2004). Pas will sweep Malay vote and get non-Malay vote as well while PKR can obtain its one ADUN here.
13. Manjoi in Tampun. Umno won by 348 votes. Yet in 2004, it was close to 8,000 majority.
14. Lintang in Sungai Siput. Umno won by 1,376 (5,389 in 2004). PKR controls Parliament while DAP has the other DUN by a big margin.
15. Chenderoh in Padang Rengas of Nazri bloody racist Aziz. Umno won by 1,749 votes (4,771 in 2004). Note that Nazri survived by a whisker yet had a big win in 2004. Umno is losing further and further.The other DUN won captured by Pas ousting Umno.
16. Kamuting in Taiping. Umno won by 555 votes (4,571 in 2004). DAP has the Parliament seat here and Pas will cash on that apart from ISA is haram votes. Kamuting Prison is here.
17. Trong in Bukit Gantang (Pas captured the MP). Umno won by 916 votes (3,020 in 2004). It has a decent 30% non-Malay vote. PAS will win here.
18. Alor Bongus in Bagan Serai. (PKR Malay candidate outsted UMNO MP here). Umno won the DUN by 95 votes (3,416 in 2004). PKR to easily capture the DUN
19. Selama in Larut. Umno won by 355 votes (2,053 votes in 2004).
20. Kubu Gajah in Larut. Umno won by 66 votes (1,403 in 2004).

P.s I have left one million reasons why PR will sweep the state and many other considerations, but I just wanted to point out that PR will get close to 50 out 59 seats if we go for a snap election. Say Amin! Lets force the PR leadership to dissolve the state assembly. We are ready.

p.s (2) The 2 PKR ADUNS were blackmailed and detained ala Bala and they aren't leaving because of PKR or PR pressure. Both of them contested on PKR seats in 2004 and waited patiently to get elected in 2008 again. As you can see, they are principled but due to their naivety, they were framed by the nefarious forces of evil (you know them as that's their last resport always). Now they are being pressured to leave PR so that their corruption cases are dropped. while PR has more UMNO MPs who will cross over, like Pakeh who said he will and Hamdi who won with 14 votes only and Hamidah who won with 600 votes only (all 3 constituencies are controlled by PKR-Parliament wise), we prefer state elections and Husam has already said so. Yay....We want that to bury Najib and Umno

Malaysiakini's Perak discovered old stone tools and lost two ADUNs

It could be a coincidence to read the series of news in Malaysiakini today below (note : The oldest human skeleton ever found in Malaysia is the 11,000-year-old Perak man (above), discovered in 1991)

Scientists find Perak stone tools 'oldest in SEA'
Feb 1, 09 8:25am
Malaysian archaeologists have announced the discovery of stone tools they believe are more than 1.8 million years old and the earliest evidence of human ancestors in Southeast Asia.
The stone hand-axes were discovered last year in the historical site of Lenggong in Perak, embedded in a type of rock formed by meteorites which was sent to a Japanese lab to be dated.

Missing PKR duo: Perak Pakatan to lodge report
Malaysiakini Team Feb 1, 09 11:17am
The Perak Pakatan Rakyat government is ready to swing into action after waiting for five days to hear from its two missing state exco members.
Menteri Besar Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin today said that his government would be lodging a 'missing person' police report after consulting with the families of the two PKR state representatives.Mohammad Nizar also urged the duo - Behrang assemblyperson Jamaluddin Mat Radzi and Changkat Jering state representative Osman Jailu - to come forward even if they have decided to join the Barisan Nasional.

PM: Pakatan reps to join us
Malaysiakini Team Feb 1, 09 2:12pm

Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi today revealed that several Pakatan Rakyat state representatives from Perak could soon join the Barisan Nasional."God willing, it will happen," he was quoted as saying by Bernama. He said this when asked to comment on talks that two missing Perak Pakatan state excos are defecting to BN.

Najib vs Ku Li

Satu analisa menarik menurut SifuPTS dalam Darah Pupu lawan Darah Tengku:

Darah lebih pekat daripada air.
Lembaga Disiplin Umno (LDU), di bawah pengerusinya, YM Tengku Ahmad Rithauddeen Tengku Ismail, telah mula mengambil tindakan disiplinari ke atas beberapa ahli UMNO yang terlibat dengan politik wang.

Apatah lagi apabila LDU memberi kerjasama kepada Suruhanjaya Pencegahan Rasuah Malaysia (SPRM/MACC), yang serentak mula mengambil tindakan undang-undang ke atas beberapa ahli UMNO yang atas tuduhan terlibat dengan politik wang dalam UMNO.

Tindakan LDU dan SPRM itu ada kaitannya dengan cita-cita YM Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah mahu menjadi perdana menteri.

Baca : Big Mama Kata "I don't bloody care".

Kes-kes yang diambil tindakan oleh LDU dan SPRM akan dijadikan bukti-bukti sohih yang akan digunakan oleh YM Tengku Razaleigh bagi mendapatkan pembatalan Najib sebagai calon presiden UMNO yang konnonnya telah menang tanpa bertanding.

YM Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah boleh membawa kesnya ke Suruhanjaya Pilihanraya (SPR). Keputusan SPR tidak dapat dibatalkan oleh mahkamah.

YM Tengku Razaleigh menentang PPSMI. Tengku Kelantan ini yakin beliau mempunyai peluang menjadi perdana menteri dengan menjatuhkan Najib di luar pertandingan merebut kerusi presiden UMNO. Beliau akan dibantu oleh Tengku Kelantan yang satu lagi.
Langkah LDU dan SPRM tiba-tiba sama-sama serentak mengambil tindakan ke atas beberapa ahli UMNO atas tuduhan politik wang itu tidak mungkin tanpa perancangan rapi yang melibatkan pucuk pimpinan.

Itulah sebabnya sampai saat ini Tengku Razaleigh masih belum mahu menerima tawaran daripada PKR supaya beliau dan 40 orang ahli parlimen (MP) yang menyokong beliau masuk parti itu.

Darah Najib dan darah Hishamuddin amat pekat kerana mereka bersepupu.
Apa kurang pekatnya darah 2 orang Tengku-Tengku dari keluarga istana Kelantan itu.
Hishamuddin adalah ibarat kutu di atas kepala ayam. Mati ayam, matilah kutu.
Jika Tengku Razaleigh berjaya menjatuhkan Najib, Hishamuddin akan jatuh. Tamatlah sejarah PPSMI!

GMP demo depan Sogo - Hisham di Atlantis Dubai

Demo depan Sogo - Gambar dari blog Prof Abdullah Hassan.

Sewaktu demostrasi depan Sogo dan majlis pelancaran kempen Gerakan Mansuhkan PPSMI (GMP), Menteri Pelajaran berada di Dubai. Singgah dari umrah bersama rombongan gerombolan exco pemuda United Malays National Organisation. Apakah ini sebahagian dari lawatan sambil belajar sempena pemilihan gerombolan United Malays National Organisation Mac nanti?

Seorang kawan menelefon dari Atlantis Resort Palm Jumeirah (Pak Lah dan rombongan menginap di hotel lima bintang ini sewaktu lawatan ke Dubai baru-baru ini) yang beliau nampak Hishamudin masuk ke hotel tersebut.
Beliau tidak sempat mengejar Hishamudin tetapi sempat bercakap dengan Dato Pirdaus, exco Pertanian dan mantan imam masjid negara yang masuk United Malays National Organisation sebelum kalah dua kali bertanding melawan Dr. Wan Azizah di Permatang Pauh.
Mahu juga saya bertemu dengan Hishamudin untuk memprotes PPSMI secara peribadi.

Baca - Big Mama kata ' I don't bloody care'.

Saya sempat juga bercakap dengan Pirdaus melalui telefon kawan saya itu. Pirdaus adalah senior isteri saya di Sekolah Agama Irsyad Pulau Pinang dan kami ada juga bertemu beliau sewaktu Pirdaus masih imam masjid negara. Terngiang-ngiang lagi alunan 'reformasi' dari mulut Pirdaus kali terakhir kami bertemu di Dewan FELDA untuk satu majlis perkahwinan.

Untuk baca lain-lain berita kempen Gerakan Mansuhkan PPSMI (GMP), sila ke laman SifuPTS di mana ada satu artikel menarik Data-data Pencapaian Pendidikan Melayu 1958 - 2002.