Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Bloated civil sevice in Malaysia must cut down the size and salaries

The Malaysian government can make further spending cuts if it reduces the size of its “bloated” civil service, an economist said. File picture shows Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi meeting civil servants during a Workers’ Day gathering in Penang. May 5, 2015. — Picture by KE Ooi: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/economist-putrajaya-can-tighten-spending-further-by-trimming-bloated-civil

Economist says there is need to cut down further on emoluments

<< Rosario: ‘The size of the Malaysian civil service is that there are five civil servants for every 100 people.’

KUALA LUMPUR: The government has to eventually deal with the issue of the bloated civil service to avoid repercussions later on, said Deutsche Bank’s economist Diana Rose del Rosario.

“Operating expenditure accounts for at least 80% of total expenditure (in the budget) and a big part of it comes from emoluments which account for 26% of total operating expenditure,” Rosario said at the Budgetary Priorities in a Challenging Economic Environment forum hereyesterday.

“The government has actually already tightened spending in this area: it used to grow around 10% year on year between 2010 and 2014. Growth here has since fallen to 5% year on year in 2016 to 2017.

“Success has been there in terms of tightening this area but there remains a great need to (further) cut down on emoluments,” she added.

Rosario said that the bloated size of the civil service in the country is much higher than the average in the Asean region.

“The size of the Malaysian civil service is that there are five civil servants for every 100 people. This is a lot higher than the average in the civil service of the rest of the region with an (average) of around two for every 100 people,” she said.

“There is an urgent need for this government if it continues in the path of fiscal consolidation to strive for a lean and efficient public service,” she added.

Rosario also said that there may be some “upward pressure” from debt service payments under the emoluments section of the expenditure as interest rates are poised to rise due to the stance taken by the US Federal Reserve.

Meanwhile, she also said that the retirement pension charges that are poised to rise by 15% next year should be looked at from a wider perspective.

“Although we are not worried that it is driven by a surge in retirees, but if you look at the pace of growth in the younger population the labour force as projected by the United Nations – the younger ones are expected to decelerate at a sustained deceleration in the next five years,” she said.

“This does not bode well for tax collection or domestic demand. There is a need then to boost wages through a boost in productivity to facilitate domestic demand and tax collections,” Rosario said.

At the same event, secretary-general of the Treasury Tan Sri Mohd Irwan Serigar said contingent liabilities by the government are backed by sound assets and companies.

“There may be some pressure by contingent liabilities by the government but those entities that the government provides guarantees for are all strong and credible ones which can pay off their dues.

For example, Khazanah Nasional Bhd, Prasarana and MRTcorp (have borrowed) for their big capital items,” he said.

“Although there is pressure but there is no worry in terms of default,” Irwan said.

Commenting also on the issue on jobless graduates and productivity, Irwan said that universities in Malaysia should supply manpower for what is needed for the industries in Malaysia.

“Some of the industries are too reliant on foreign workers.

“We can’t change this overnight and we need more technology here. We should not have universities which do not provide for certain industries that are in demand,” he said.

Source: The Star/Asia News Network

Bloated Malaysia Civil Service Presents Headache for Najib

Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak. Photographer: Mohd Rasfan/AFP via Getty Images 

Public workforce large relative to other Asian peers

Civil servants indispensable support base for Najib’s party

Malaysian Nor Mohamad loved her job with a major Western tech company. But she gave it up after two years, tired of bickering with her parents who felt she’d be better off in the public service.

“It’s boring but stable,” said the master’s degree holder, who is in her thirties and asked not to be fully identified, citing government policy. “Even though I’m not so in love with the job, I’m thankful that in this economic situation there’s no bad impact to my career.”

Malaysia’s civil service employs 1.6 million people, or about 11 percent of the labor force. The jobs provide stability and security, including for ethnic Malays who are the majority of the population. Now the bloated bureaucracy presents a challenge to Prime Minister Najib Razak.

Najib, whose ruling coalition Barisan Nasional has been in power for nearly 60 years with the help of the Malay vote, has pledged to gradually narrow a budget deficit the country has been running since the Asian financial crisis. The commodity-driven $296-billion economy is expected to grow at the slowest pace in seven years in 2016, with lower oil prices eating into revenue.

But trimming the public workforce to improve the government’s coffers is difficult. While Najib has survived a year of political turmoil over funding scandals, he needs the support of Malays to win the next election due by 2018. His party, the United Malays National Organisation, has for decades propagated policies that provide favorable access to education, jobs and housing for Malays and indigenous people, known collectively as Bumiputeras.

“The civil service in Malaysia is intricately jived in with the ethnic policies” of the government, said Jayant Menon, an economist at the Asian Development Bank. “This is a form of ensuring not just employment, but relatively attractive employment.”

About 79 percent of the civil service was made up of Malays as of the end of 2014, with over 11 percent from indigenous Bumiputera groups, the official Bernama news agency reported in March 2015, citing a government minister. About 5.2 percent of public servants were Chinese and 4.1 percent were Indian.

Malaysia’s civil service relative to population is large, at more than double the average in the Asia-Pacific region by some measures, according to Menon. The cost of maintaining it is draining resources at a time government revenues are falling.

Salaries, pensions and gratuities account for about a third of the budget every year, the biggest expenditure item. The government doesn’t regularly publish data on the size of the public service.

Najib has weathered a year of graft allegations over hundreds of millions of dollars that appeared in his personal bank accounts before the last election in 2013, with the claims putting some pressure on his leadership. He denies wrongdoing and was cleared by the country’s attorney-general earlier this year.

Najib’s office didn’t respond to an e-mail seeking comment on the civil service. The office of the chief secretary to the government also did not reply to an e-mailed request for comment.

Malaysian officials have previously defended the size of the civil service, which includes teachers, doctors, soldiers and police. Idris Jala, then-minister in the Prime Minister’s office, said in 2014 that it wasn’t bloated even though it could be made more efficient to save the government money.

Najib’s government spent 1.1 billion ringgit ($275 million) to raise salaries for civil servants last month -- the biggest rise since 2013 -- and increased their minimum starting pay to 1,200 ringgit a month. Like in previous years, public employees received a 500 ringgit special allowance just before the Eid al-Fitr holidays in July, a celebration marking the end of the Muslim fasting month.

‘Support Base’

“The civil service forms an important support base for the government and can usually be counted upon to show up and vote for the ruling party during elections,” said Chia Shuhui, an Asia analyst at BMI Research in Singapore. “The government is not going to cut benefits to their support base, and therefore it is unlikely to make significant changes in terms of its expenditure on the civil service.”

The government has been taking steps to streamline the civil service and improve the efficiency of the public sector as part of its long-term efforts, Chia said.

Given that nothing much could be done to the civil service because of political and ethnic sensitivities, the government should focus on cutting its business exposure through the government-linked corporation divestment program to increase revenue, the ADB’s Menon said.

While UMNO has worked to retain Malay voters, the opposition has also sought to support the bureaucracy. The opposition-controlled Selangor state government pledged a 1.5 month bonus to its civil servants to mark Eid.

In neighboring Thailand, the ruling junta gave the nation’s two million civil servants and soldiers a four percent salary increase in December 2014 at an expected cost of 22.9 billion baht ($659 million). Many civil servants took part in anti-government protests that led to the May 2014 military coup and the junta has since emphasized the need to give bureaucrats greater power over elected officials.

“Civil servants are indeed an indispensable support base for Barisan Nasional in general and UMNO specifically,” said Oh Ei Sun, a senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore. “Hence the need to constantly improve their welfare.”

By Pooi Koon Chong Bloomberg

Related posts:

Malaysia's Budget 2017 Highlights

Malaysia world's No.1 highest civil servants-to-population ratio! Its tenure of service legally vulnerable but notoriously difficult to dismiss!

Monday, October 24, 2016

Supporting women entrepreneurs

One in five SMEs are owned by women, but many tend to be micro-enterprises with limited capital. Extending a helping hand to ensure their success is important because not only would it contribute to economic growth, it would also ensure the well-being of family.

FOLLOWING the talk on women entrepreneurship at our SME Club last May, we joined force with the Secretariat for Advancement of Malaysian Entrepreneurs (SAME), of the Prime Minister’s Department, to launch the Women Talentship Workshop on Oct 6 with the aim of encouraging women to participate in entrepreneurship.

The idea is to equip women with the necessary knowledge and skills in order for them to create and run successful businesses.

The workshop was well received. We had about 300 women participating.

Encouragement and support for women in entrepreneurial activties is important. Based on the latest statistics available (Economic Census 2011), nearly one in five SMEs (19.7%) are owned by women. About 92% of these SMEs are involved in the service sector.

Many of these businesses are likely to be unregistered micro-enterprises operating in the home or on temporary premises, with fewer or no employees and limited capital for expansion.

There are several common challenges faced by these small-scale, women-owned businesses. First of all, the women entrepreneurs constantly struggle with finding a balanced role between career and home.

Women are expected to shoulder the burden of being a mother and a homemaker, apart from being a breadwinner or business woman. And this is a challenging task.

Our workshop was intended to encourage women to participate in entrepreneurship while embracing well-balanced roles through three levels of strategy planning and development, i.e. personal discipline, communication discipline, and business discipline.

SAME’s advisor, Grace Chia, who is an advocator and practitioner of entrepreneurship, says the three disciplines are practised by many successful businesswomen.

By personal discipline, one means the ability to identify, acknowledge and understand your own strengths and weaknesses as the first step to finding your niche in business.

We should focus on leveraging on our strengths and finding peers with skills that we lack.

When we talk about communication discipline, we emphasise the ability to communicate in order to achieve a win-win outcome among family members, business partners and customers. You must be able to persuade your team to share your vision, in order to be able to tap the resulting synergy and move towards common goals.

By business discipline, we are refering to the bankability and marketability of your business. Often, many businesses fail to get financing because they lack solid fundamentals in finance and accounting, and consequently the bookkeeping for the company.

Also, the lack of a workable marketing plan may deter the access to financing as well as opportunities for success.

We must be able to prepare a bankable business plan when we want to obtain financing from a third party. A good bankable business plan would include an attractive and convincing business idea, what problems it can solve, how it fits with market needs, what effective and feasible marketing strategies you have, and what the ROI or return on investment is likely to be.

Also, it is essential to show entrepreneurial elements in the business plan when one is applying for financing. This is to help you to differentiate yourself from the usual business plans. More importantly, the entrepreneurial elements suggest that you are serious and have in mind a long-term endeavour rather than just a profit-making plan.

Equally important is to know your products well.

Who are your target groups? How are you going to promote the products to them? We may have good products, but there may not be a market for the products.

We recognise the importance of promoting women entrepreneurship for the reason that the success of women entrepreneurs will contribute to economic growth as well as the well-being of families. There is no reason for us to neglect the talents and capabilities of women, which form half of the population in Malaysia.

Women entrepreneurs should fully utilise government programmes that promote entrepreneurship among women. Some of the government agencies and programmes that aim to assist women entrepreneurship include SAME’s women talentship initiative, SME Corporation’s Skills Upgrading Programme, and Matrade’s Women Exporters Development Programme.

By Michael Kang, who is the national president of the SME Association of Malaysia.

Related posts:

 Promoting women entrepreneurs; mind your finances

Jun 20, 2016 ... Do we need specific initiatives to help female entrepreneurs? Some say no, because men and women face similar obstacles in business.

Mar 28, 2016 ... Entrepreneurship is not a job. It's about providing a solution, and pulling people and resources together to make that change. Workable ...

Aug 27, 2016 ... As an entrepreneur with businesses and investments, my natural .... Promoting women entrepreneurs; mind your finances Jun 20, 2016 .

Jun 4, 2016 ... The solution, said Jim and other global leaders speaking in Copenhagen, lies in investing in women and girls, a strategy that is crucial to ...

Crowdfunding is slowly gaining credibility, helped entrepreneurs achieve their dreams

Sunday, October 23, 2016

US becoming nothing more than troublemaker! Why US resents Beijing-Manila rapport?


US becoming nothing more than troublemaker

The US military revealed to Reuters that its guided-missile destroyer USS Decatur on Friday conducted a so-called freedom of navigation mission in the South China Sea. The US military mentioned China's Yongxing and Zhongjian islands, and said the Chinese mainland, the island of Taiwan and Vietnam all claim ownership of the Xisha Islands. It said the destroyer did not come within 12 nautical miles of the islands.

According to China's Ministry of National Defense, a guided-missile destroyer and a guided-missile frigate were dispatched to identify and expel the US vessel.

All Western media have noted that the US maneuver was conducted during Philippine President Duterte's state visit to China in which bilateral relations have been restored with the signing of a series of cooperative agreements. This was a provocation by the US, flagrantly telling the world that it doesn't want to see peace in the South China Sea, and that it wants waves there. If no one helps it, it will make them itself.

China as early as 1996 announced that the territorial waters surrounding Xisha Islands belong to it alone. Unlike the Nansha Islands, the Xisha Islands are under full Chinese control and Beijing doesn't recognize any territorial disputes there. A US warship coming to the Xisha Islands can be viewed as a way to escalate provocations.

The Philippines has started to shelve its disagreements with China and restore friendly relations, and has announced the end of its joint military patrols and exercises with the US. Duterte has talked of "separation" from the US, which will severely impact the US's strategy. The Pentagon dispatching warships to patrol at this moment is a clear response to Duterte's visit to China, sending signals to the region that it will maintain its presence and continue trying to exert influence.

They chose the Xisha Islands this time, probably with the intention to arouse the interest of Vietnam and test its reaction. After Duterte has repeatedly ridiculed Washington, US ships going to China-Philippines disputed waters will be fruitless, therefore the US has decided to change direction.

We hope that Vietnam will see through the US's intentions and not fall into their trap. Duterte has said the US military is stationed in the Philippines only out of its own interests and he has decided to leave the road of conflict that the US has forced the Philippines to take, which shows that he and many of his compatriots are fed up with the US profiting from South China Sea tensions at their expense.

Recently, China and Vietnam have also started to control disputes and push for better bilateral ties. As China-Philippine ties improve, the geopolitical situation in the South China Sea has changed, which is good for the whole region. While the US is not willing to accept this change, as long as China, Vietnam and the Philippines stick to their own interests and put cooperation first, a US warship sailing in the South China Sea will have no effect.

Many critics have overestimated Washington's tolerance. It has started not to care about its image as a "world leader," but is becoming nothing more than a troublemaker.

Why the US resents Beijing-Manila rapport ?


In a signed article published by the latest issue of Foreign Affairs, US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter tried to trumpet the US rebalance to the Asia-Pacific strategy, claiming the US can "help ensure that the next 70 years in the region are as secure, stable, and prosperous as the last."

He also used more than a few words to criticize China, arguing that "Beijing sometimes plays by its own rules and undercuts those [regional] principles."

The article was published during Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's visit to China. A number of steps Duterte took, especially this visit, are regarded as undermining the US' South China Sea strategy, which is core to the US rebalance to the Asia-Pacific.

As the most outstanding diplomatic and political legacy of Barack Obama's presidency, Washington's rebalancing strategy is now in crisis. Besides the Philippines' fresh start over the South China Sea issue, the chances that US Congress will pass the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade deal are slim. Carter's article is refuting those voices pessimistic about the US strategy of rebalancing to the Asia-Pacific.

Washington has been claiming credit for safeguarding peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific, including the South China Sea.

Now the Philippines and China have reached a rapport after intense conflict over the maritime dispute. Washington should feel happy about the stabilization of the situation, but look how begrudging it is.

President Obama announced an overall lifting of the weapons ban on Vietnam during his visit there in May, a move widely seen as targeting China. But Beijing reacted positively about the improved ties between the former foes. Washington should take the same gesture, even if it is faking it, to compliment Beijing and Manila on their return to a friendly track.

Apart from the Beijing-Manila reconciliation, choppy waters between Beijing and Hanoi have also calmed down. The US should welcome the change and encourage claimants to negotiate for win-win cooperation if it really cares about the benefits of regional countries.

However, the US seems to be unhappy and feel betrayed. It is widely believed that Washington is pressuring Manila to return to confrontation against Beijing. US public opinion is hoping Duterte can retake a tough stand over Huangyan Island.

The major conflicts in the South China Sea are becoming those between China and the US, rather than territorial disputes. It is not difficult to cool Beijing's disputes with Manila and Hanoi down to a level that will not seriously jeopardize their friendly cooperation. Whether the US can restrain itself from the urge to dominate regional order and using "rules" as an excuse to contain China is a real test.

To Washington, rules and principles actually mean its leadership. US national strength is losing its advantage, but its obsession and sensitivity to hegemony have increasingly turned extreme, which leads to many problems.

China has no intention to drive the US out of Asia. In many cases, it doesn't reject the US' willingness to be a global leader. But we hope it knows that its strength is limited, as well as its understanding of the world. - Global Times

Related posts:

  Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte arrives in Beijing on October 18, 2016, beginning his state visit to China. [Photo: Chinanews.co...

China, a whisper of a great power beckons

The Chinese want advancement just as much as others do. It’s just that they would rather do it quietly.

Patriotic spirit: A paramilitary soldier guarding a giant flower bouquet at Tiananmen Square in Beijing to commemorate Chinese National Day. — AFP

TO understand why and how China has emerged as a great power, we have to look beyond what experts usually point to. The Chinese have opened up the economy, they have invested heavily in R&D, goods made in China flood stores in the United States, Europe and elsewhere, they are a patriotic bunch. They are industrious.

These are good reasons. But what are the real ones? Why can't other nations do the same? The United States used to be a major manufacturing country. Now it’s a consumption economy with an astounding number of obese people. Why?

What drives the way the Chinese do things and conduct themselves at the personal as well as national level? I have seen Chinese graduate students in the United States who kept quiet in the classroom when the professor asked a question but at the end of the semester, managed to score all As. They have no intention of showing off. They are advancing slowly but surely without making a lot of noise.

Despite all its strength and ambition, China is not bent on global domination. Although its influence is undeniably rising, its engagement is transactional, not imperial. Its interest beyond Asia is mainly in countries that can provide it with raw materials and markets.

Talk of China’s big footprints in Africa, for example, is overstated. Its stock of direct investment in the continent still lags far behind that of Great Britain and France, and amounts to only a third of the United States’. In Africa and Latin America, it is concentrating more on taking stakes in local companies, not just buying up land and resources.

China likes to mind its own business. It wants to have as little involvement abroad as it can get away with. Instead of acting for the greater good of humanity, it responds pragmatically when its own interests are at stake. Its navy has begun to participate in anti-piracy operations off the Horn of Africa and in United Nations peacekeeping in Africa. In 2011, it sent a ship to co-ordinate the evacuation of 36,000 Chinese workers from Libya.

The world may anticipate more such actions as its companies get more deeply involved around the globe. It is also making inroads into the use of soft power through Confucius Institutes all over the world that try to demonstrate that China and its culture are benign.

What China is against is easier to comprehend than what it is for. It opposed Bush’s incursion into Iraq in 2003, vetoed the interventions Western powers sought in Syria and Darfur and took no position on the Russian annexation of Crimea. Chinese leaders are not great fans of the existing system of alliances but offer no alternative system of collective security. They talk about sharing resources in the South and East China Seas, but have offered no definite proposals to this end.

Disappointed by what it sees as its lack of influence in international organisations, China led the establishment of the Shanghaibased New Development Bank in 2014, of which all the Brics countries are members and which looks like a tenderfoot to the World Bank. It has also set up an Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank to rival the ADB.

A late appearance is not unusual for a great power. It took a world war to draw the United States irreversibly onto the world stage. Over 200 years, through much pain and suffering, China has transformed the very centre of its identity, changing itself from an inwardand backward-looking society to an outward- and forward-looking power. Since 1978, it has shown both flexibility and firm resolve in its continued pursuit of wealth and power.

Many countries around the world respect, and would like to imitate, the undemocratic but efficient way that China has managed its decades of growth. But how exactly to go about it? What do they know that the rest of the world doesn’t? Well, for one thing, they don’t believe that they are superior to others or destined by the Divine to be great. They know they have to work for it.

They are honest with themselves. More importantly, they know how. While the Western culture teaches people to be “themselves”, there could be no advice more hollow than this.

Confucius, Mencius, Zhuangzi and other Chinese thinkers, more than 2,000 years ago taught that we shouldn’t be looking for our essential self, let alone seeking to embrace it, because there is no true, absolute self to begin with.

As they understood, human beings are messy, multi-dimensional beings, a tangle of conflicting emotions and capabilities in a messy, ever-changing world. We are who we are by reacting to one another. It’s no wonder that the Chinese leadership is turning to ancient philosophy for support. That’s something to learn from China.

 From Asia News Network THE DAILY STAR

Related posts:

China, the shy superpower

  Graphics shows the launching process of Shenzhou-11 manned spacecraft.(Xinhua/Lu Zhe) https://youtu.be/7Jhx4J2j_kw China laun...

  Rendez-vous By Wang Xiaoying https://youtu.be/35B4d_3qCd0 Shenzhou-11 docks with Tiangong-2 space lab ...

  Snail-like progress By Cai Meng New company set up to develop space economy The commercialization of rocket launches will boost .

Philippine President Duterte in China for "Historic" Visit ; US Media Churlish!
  Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte arrives in Beijing on October 18, 2016, beginning his state visit to China. [Photo: Chinanews.co...

The culture of guns As the US has lost more international status and influence since the global financial crisis in 2008, the inter...

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Malaysia's Budget 2017 Highlights


Here are the highlights of the 2017 Budget proposals announced on Friday by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak:

Lower corporate tax

* Govt has proposed to reduce the corporate tax for the year of assessment 2017 and 2018

* Reduce tax rate between 1 and 4 percentage points for companies with significant increase in taxable income for year of assessment 2017 and 2018.

* Reduce tax rate from 19% to 18% for SMEs with taxable income up to first RM500,000.

* Extend double taxation promotion on operating expenditure borne by anchor companies for the Vendor Development Programme until 31 December 2020.

Amendment to Bankruptcy Act 1967

* To enable bankrupt individuals to rejoin business activities by amending the Bankruptcy Act for social guarantors and those diagnosed with chronic diseases as well as the elderly.

Infrastructure, railway projects

* New 600km East Coast Rail Line connecting Klang Valley to East Coast, costing RM55b. Conects Port Klang, ITT Gombak, Bentong, Mentakab, Kuantan, Kemaman, Kerteh, Kuala Terengganu, Kota Bharu ends in Tumpat

* RM100m to restore East Coast railway line along Gua Musang – Tumpat that was destroyed during flood.

* To increase trip frequency of ETS for JB-Padang Besar route, RM1.1b allocation to buy more train sets

Boosting investments in small, midcap companies

* Govt-linked investment companies will set aside up to RM3b to fund managers to invest in potential small and midcap firms

* Capital Market Research Institute will set up Capital Market Development Fund with initial funding of RM75m

* Stamp duty on instruments of transfer of real estate worth more than RM1m to rise from 3% to 4% from Jan 1, 2018

Broadband incentives for rakyat

* Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) will provide RM1 billion to ensure the coverage and quality of broadband nationwide reaches up to 20 megabytes per second.

* From January 2017, fixed line broadband service providers will offer services at a higher speed for the same price.

* A subscriber of 5 mbs per second package at RM149 will enjoy a package with twice the speed, which is 10 megabytes per second. Within the next two years, for this package, the speed will be doubled with the reduction in prices by 50%.

BR1M, subsidies

* BR1M’s assistance for 2017. Households with monthly income below RM3,000, raised to RM1,200

* For households earning RM3,000-RM4,000, the BR1M allocation increased from RM800 to RM900

* Government will provide nearly RM10b for fuel subsidies including cooking gas, toll charges, public transport

* For the purchase of reading materials, PCs, sports equipment be combined as lifestyle tax relief up to RM2,500 from 2017

Affordable housing for first time buyers

*Govt vacant lands at strategic locations will be given to GLCs and PR1MA to build 30,000 houses. The selling price RM150,000 to RM300,000.

*Govt to build 10,000 houses in urban areas for rental to eligible youths with permanent job, Rental up to 5yrs, below than market rate

* Rakyat-Centric projects will be continued through Private Finance Initiative with allocation of RM10b

Empowering taxi drivers, Uber

* Taxi drivers to get Govt grant of RM5,000 to buy new vehicles, individual taxi permits, RM60m allocation

* For ride-sharing drivers who don't own car, down payment can be made using BR1M, rebate RM4,000 to buy Proton Iriz*

Private retirement schemes

* Effective 2017, the Government proposes to introduce a one-off increase of the existing RM500 incentive to RM1,000 to PRS contributors. Minimum accumulated investment of RM1,000 during the otwo years. For this, an allocation of RM165mil will be provided.

* RM400 million will be allocated, among others for clean air and ecotourism initiatives

Source: The Star


Budget 2017 Archives - BAJET Malaysia

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has arrived at Parliament House to table the Budget for 2017. The budget speech theme is “Accelerating Growth, ...

Budget 2017: RM30mil for NCR land survey good for landowners, says Masing

Budget lacks measures to revive property slowdown

Shot in the arm for affordable housing

Budget 2017: RM25bil for healthcare programmes

Artistes upbeat over higher tax relief for sponsors

 Lifestyle tax relief a boon for lower and middle-income groups

2017 Budget: New corporate tax scheme for SMEs

Friday, October 21, 2016

China space economy developing rapidly, the most accurate atomic clock in the world

Snail-like progress By Cai Meng

New company set up to develop space economy

The commercialization of rocket launches will boost the industry by bringing space tourism income and attracting private investment, experts said.

ChinaRocket Co. Ltd, a subsidiary of China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology, the country's largest developer of ballistic missiles and carrier rockets, was established on Wednesday, marking the commercialization of China's space industry, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

"Chinese commercial space enterprises are lagging behind the global market due to lack of complete production chain in the commercial space industry and experience in commercial space activities like space tourism," Li Hong, president of the academy, said at a press conference on Wednesday.

"Commercializing rocket launches will help develop the industry as many private companies will be interested in the sector," Jiao Weixin, a professor at the School of Earth and Space Science of Peking University, told the Global Times on Thursday.

Jiao said the establishment of the company signals that State-controlled space industry is stepping into ordinary people's daily life.

Han Qingping, president of ChinaRocket, said at the press conference that the company would focus on keeping the cost 30 percent lower than an average launch through the "standardization of the interface between satellite and rocket as well as advance preparation."

According to Han, China will develop reusable sub-orbital vehicles in five to 10 years.

Han said the company will launch individual space travel services like "space taxi, free space ride and space shuttle bus" to promote the space economy.

According to Xinhua, ChinaRocket's individual space travel package would cost about $200,000.

Huang Jun, a professor at the School of Aeronautic Science and Engineering at Beihang University, said that "many countries have been studying the reusability of carrier devices and aircraft, but it will take at least one to two decades before visitors can afford a space trip."

The market value of commercial space in China would reach 30 billion yuan ($4.6 billion) annually by 2020, Xinhua reported, citing Hu Shengyun, a senior rocket engineer at China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp.

By Leng Shumei Global Times

China's atomic clock: The most accurate clock in the world

China's atomic clock: The most accurate clock in the world

China's cold atomic clock is the most precise time-keeping device ever built. The clock only weighs a couple kilograms and could fit comfortably in the boot of a car. And because it is powered by atoms, it won't have to be reset for another 30 million years.


China's cold atomic clock is the most precise time-keeping device ever built. The clock only weighs a couple kilograms and could fit comfortably in the boot of a car. And because it is powered by atoms, it won't have to be reset for another 30 million years.

Cold atomic clocks are the most accurate clocks in the world. Low-frequency lasers lower their internal temperatures to 273 degrees centigrade below zero, and slow down the movement of atoms inside. Slow-moving atoms decrease the likelihood of counting errors, and result in a more accurate counting of time.

"The frequency of the atom will not change. It is the same wherever it is. Unlike in mechanical clocks and electric clocks, atomic clocks aren't drastically affected by their surrounding environment. We are going to operate the most accurate cold atomic clock in space. It is the first time ever, not only for our country, but also for the world," Liu Liang, chief designer of Shanghai Institute of Optics and Fine Mechanics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, said.

Rubidium atoms count time inside China's cold atomic clock. Atoms are usually affected by gravity, but the low level of gravity in space will weaken the earth's gravitational pull and increase the accuracy of China's cold atomic clock.

"Atoms usually fall because of gravity, making it difficult to keep track of time for a long time. But up in space, we don't have that problem," Liu said.

The launch of Tiangong-2 marks China's transition from a follower in space research, to a pioneer. China's cold atomic clock project is a good example of that transition.

"The initial plan was brought up in 2006. We have made great efforts over the past ten years. We have been through a lot... and we have been successful" Liu said.

It took years of scientific work to get China's cold atomic clock into space. Researchers are now devising ways how to use the clock to benefit people down on earth.

Related posts:

  Rendez-vous By Wang Xiaoying https://youtu.be/35B4d_3qCd0 Shenzhou-11 docks with Tiangong-2 space station ...

Graphics shows the launching process of Shenzhou-11 manned spacecraft.(Xinhua/Lu Zhe) https://youtu.be/7Jhx4J2j_kw China launches...

Chinese astronauts Jing Haipeng (L) and Chen Dong meet the media at a press conference at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest...

Sep 17, 2016 ... NASA closely watches Tiangong-2 launch. The space industry has paid close attention as China sent the Tiangong-2 lab into space. NASA is ...

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Chinese astronauts enter their space station following docking

Rendez-vous By Wang Xiaoying


Shenzhou-11 docks with Tiangong-2 space lab

More than 40 hours after lift-off, the Shenzhou-11 spacecraft has docked with the Tiangong-2 space lab. Astronauts Jing Haipeng and Chen Dong have moved into what will be their home in space for the next month.

Shenzhou-11 spacecraft docks with Tiangong-2 space lab

The Shenzhou-11 manned spacecraft successfully completed its automated docking with the orbiting Tiangong-2 space lab at 3:31 am Wednesday Beijing Time, according to Beijing Aerospace Control Center (BACC).

Shenzhou-11, which was launched Monday morning from northwest China's Gobi Desert, began to approach Tiangong-2 automatically at 1:11 am Wednesday and made contact with the space lab at 3:24 am.

The rendezvous took place in the orbit about 393 kilometers above Earth.

The two astronauts aboard Shenzhou-11, Jing Haipeng and Chen Dong, monitored and reported on the docking operation, relaying their findings to the control center.

According to the mission schedule, once they enter the space module, the astronauts will stay there for 30 days.

Shenzhou-11, China's sixth manned spacecraft, will undertake the longest-ever space mission in the country. The two astronauts will spend a total of 33 days in space.

Sun Jun, deputy chief engineer of BACC, told Xinhua that the precision needed for the orbit prediction and automated docking calculation was much higher than previous docking missions.

China is the third country, after the United States and Russia, to complete successfully space rendezvous and docking procedures.

Tiangong-2 was sent into space on Sept. 15. It is hailed as China's first space lab "in the strict sense" and a key step in building a permanent space station, which the country aims to accomplish by 2020.

Related posts:

Graphics shows the launching process of Shenzhou-11 manned spacecraft.(Xinhua/Lu Zhe) https://youtu.be/7Jhx4J2j_kw China launches... 

Chinese astronauts Jing Haipeng (L) and Chen Dong meet the media at a press conference at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest...

Sep 17, 2016 ... NASA closely watches Tiangong-2 launch. The space industry has paid close attention as China sent the Tiangong-2 lab into space. NASA is ...

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Philippine President Duterte in China for "Historic" Visit ; US Media Churlish!


Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte arrives in Beijing on October 18, 2016, beginning his state visit to China. [Photo: Chinanews.com]



US media churlish on Duterte’s China visit

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's ongoing trip to China has been seen as a gamble by the American media. Their astonished reaction clearly shows the selfish considerations of the US and its Western allies on the South China Sea issue. They take Philippine willingness to be a loyal part of the US alliance system as granted.

While providing security to the Philippines, Washington treats Manila as a pawn. The alliance requires the Philippines to serve US interests. To Washington, the Philippines' value lies in providing military bases and legitimacy for the US containment of China in the South China Sea. As to the price Manila has to pay, it isn't a problem at all for Washington.

We don't foresee that the Philippines under the Duterte administration will break with the US. The majority of Chinese scholars on international strategy don't think it will ever happen. Duterte appears more to be striving for increased diplomatic autonomy. Instead of serving Washington's rebalance to the Asia-Pacific strategy, he is redesigning Philippine foreign policy based on Philippine interests.

Manila has shifted its China policy from one of confrontation during the Aquino era to being friendly and cooperative, as China's support is essential for its economic development. Washington needs Manila to stick to its geopolitical role, but 100 million Filipinos want a better life more.

The Philippines needs support to improve infrastructure, for which the US offers no help. Washington only sends soldiers and military equipment, but the security threat it paints is exaggerating to Filipinos.

Duterte's China visit burst the "China threat" bubble jointly blown by Aquino and the US. Arbitration and US aircraft carriers are useless in solving maritime disputes between Beijing and Manila. Friendly engagement and negotiations are more beneficial to the Philippines. Aquino was more like a gambler, betting that confronting China would win public support and that all ASEAN countries would follow the US. He lost the bet.

Development and cooperation are the major theme in Southeast Asia, but the US is pushing the region to the opposite pole for its selfish strategic gains. It is a costly strategy. Washington ties Manila and Hanoi to its chariot for its China-containment strategy in the South China Sea, but the latter could have more room to cooperate with China.

A BBC opinion piece expects Duterte to focus on the maritime disputes and re-evaluate the importance of the alliance with the US some day. Beijing does not expect the Philippines to swing fully to China, but we are also clear that the Sino-Philippine friendship is in line with the long-term interests of Duterte and the Philippines as a whole. That's enough. The US and Western mainstream media would be foolish to expect a Manila that is hostile to Beijing for Washington's South China Sea strategy. Such a scenario will probably not reappear during Duterte's term of office.

China should reciprocate Duterte’s overture

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte embarked on his state visit to China today. This visit would have been unimaginable three months ago when the Philippines, as an initiator of the South China Sea arbitration and a key pivot of the US strategy of rebalance to the Asia-Pacific, was in sharp conflict with China over maritime disputes. Duterte has made a fresh start with Beijing-Manila ties and the nation's regional strategies after coming into office, and thus is widely regarded as a "subverter."

Duterte's straightforward way of speaking and acting has made a deep impression on the world. He extended the olive branch to China soon after taking office, making China the first country outside ASEAN for an official visit and speaking publicly in favor of Beijing. Now it's China's turn to receive his olive branch.

Since assuming office, Duterte reprioritized national affairs, taking the public's attention from the South China Sea back to domestic governance. Meanwhile, he insists on Manila's right to an independent foreign policy and opposes Washington's excessive control over the Philippines, which has riled the US. The announcement of a suspension of Washington-Manila joint patrols and military drills has particularly rocked this alliance.

The Philippines plays a special role in the South China Sea situation. Manila is Washington's ally and the most ideal pawn for Washington and Tokyo to intervene in the South China Sea issue. Duterte's predecessor Benigno Aquino III provoked strongly as he was backed by the US and Japan. Washington also counts on Manila to acquire legitimacy to launch South China Sea joint patrols. Once the Sino-Philippine relationship is returned to a friendly track, the US strategy of rebalancing will be undermined in the South China Sea.

Some are suspicious of Duterte's sincerity toward China. However, Duterte's policy has clear logic. China is his best partner in the anti-drug fight and for infrastructure construction. He is realistic and clear that the Philippines is only serving the US China-containment policy if it goes against China on the South China Sea issue.

Duterte's understandings on the Sino-Philippine relationship reflect his left-wing political ideas. Whether he can resist pressure from domestic pro-US forces is key to the issue.

We call on China to grasp this major strategic opportunity brought by the Duterte administration. At the moment, China can make more efforts to facilitate the turnaround of the bilateral relationship. Beijing-Manila ties suffered an overall retreat during Aquino's rule. Two-way trade dropped, Chinese tourist groups to Philippines stopped and fruit imports to China were affected. Changes are now happening.

The Philippine media has focused on the issue of fisheries around Huangyan Island. Duterte, under great domestic pressure, is strongly expected by Philippine media to bring a breakthrough on the issue.

Sovereignty is non-negotiable, but China can adopt a flexible policy on the Philippines' fishing rights. Filipino fishermen fish on a shoestring and are unlikely to jeopardize the ecosystem of China's waters.

A flexible fishing policy will bring the Sino-Philippine relationship to a new stage. As a major power, China should express its goodwill to Filipino fishermen and their president at this time. Washington's strategy of rebalancing to the Asia-Pacific has increased China's diplomatic and economic costs in Southeast Asia, and it is necessary for Beijing to reciprocate Manila for its clear stance of not willing to serve the US' China strategy.

It is more effective to address the disputes in a friendly, instead of a confrontational way. China should make this clear to the world to win more respect in the world.  - Global Times

Related posts:

The culture of guns As the US has lost more international status and influence since the global financial crisis in 2008, the intern...

Sep 7, 2016 ... Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte called Barack Obama a "son of a w****"/" son of a bitch" on Monday as he vowed not to be lectured by the ...
 Philippine President calls Obama the "son of a bitch", reveals cracks in ties as he refuses to be lectured on human rights 

US media wanted 'special privileges'

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

World doubts the leadership of Uncle Sam: expert

The culture of guns

As the US has lost more international status and influence since the global financial crisis in 2008, the international community is raising doubts about its leadership and ability to contribute to the world, an expert said, analyzing that such a decline of influence can be attributed to some deep-seated reasons, including its self-willed overseas military operations.

Since the financial crisis, the US can neither provide effective solutions to a host of global challenges, nor sustain its control over other countries, Zhang Ruizhuang, Director of the Center of American Studies at Nankai University, wrote in an article published in the People’s Daily on Sunday.

In the commentary titled “The City upon a Hill is not there any more,” he gave an in-depth analysis on the reasons of such changes.

Zhang says that “A City upon a Hill,” often cited by American politicians as their political creed, verified the self-labelling of the arrogant Americans as “God's Chosen Ones” to lead the world. After the Cold War, the preaching about the superiority of its values brought US much popularity and pulled the country to a commanding stage.

But it over-consumed its accumulated political capital during the last quarter of the 20th century, which resulted in a decline in its global influence, Zhang said, adding that the most destructive threat to its dropping status can be attributed to overseas military operations.

After the Soviet Union collapsed with the end of the Cold War, the US dominated the world and launched a series of capricious measures. With the excuse of protecting democracy, human rights and the world order, Uncle Sam trampled on the post-war international law based on the UN Charter and norms governing global relations by bringing the flames of war to many parts of the world.

Panama, Somalia, Haiti and Kosovo are all victims of such wars waged by the superpower. With a made-up excuse, it pulled Iraq into a war and this political farce finally brought the latter millions of civilian casualties, endless terrorist attacks and ceaseless disturbance.

What the US gained, after it paid a price of trillions of dollars for the war, was a hotbed for terrorist organizations which in turn threatened the security of itself and other Western countries. The war against Iraq ultimately turned out to be a foolish one that not only crumbled its diplomatic morality, but undermined its own strategic interests, Zhang concluded.

Despite the lessons, the US never gave up every opportunity to start “color revolutions.” Its attacks on Libya and Syria, once again, dragged these nations into raging wars. What’s worse, as a result of the wars, a number of regulation vacuums provided ISIS and other religious extremist organizations a bed in which to grow stronger.

The US, its Western allies, as well as the whole world, are now swallowing the sour fruits resulted from its self-willed deed, he added.

According to the scholar, apart from its frequent diplomatic mistakes, its economy, politics and society, in which the Americans once took pride, are all in a predicament, arising more doubts over the superiority of the US system.

The global financial crisis breaking out in 2008 exposed the defects of capitalism once again. It brought to light not only the failure of Keynesian policy to narrow the wealth gap and boost effective demand, but the greed and corruption of financial executives, the ineffectiveness of financial supervision, plus the government’s shielding of tycoons.

The US public felt shock, despair and anger towards such defects, and the ensuing “Occupy Wall Street” movement is one of their ways to express dissatisfaction. The protest wave later spilled to other part of the world, triggering worldwide query over the US system and its values.

Zhang also criticized US domestic politics, citing its notorious presidential election system as an example.

Manipulated by capital, the “winner takes all” election system in many states gives no chance to other newborn parties besides the two major parties. The American elections of the past two to three decades have been more like technical games.

The candidates now focus more on technical details for the sake of more votes rather than their political ideas and governance philosophies, and the whole process has fallen into personal attacks between the two candidates, he added.

Coupled with some other faults, the US and even the whole world began to question on the effectiveness of US democracy, as well as its leader selected in such a flawed way.

The article analyzed that one key reason for its flopping election lies in a lack of innovative governing ideas.

Barely stimulated by major crisis, US society tends to be mediocre and conservative about its ideas, the commentary further explained, adding that the prevailing philosophy of so-called “political correctness” also created an unfavorable environment for the candidates to come up with new ideas acceptable to the public.

Lack of foresighted candidates with outstanding capability is another reason for its unsuccessful election, Zhang wrote.

He explained that some capable politicians are not willing to embarrass themselves on the election stage at the cost of their privacy and that of their family as the butt of jokes.

“As a result, the world was presented with an election farce performed by the two unqualified and big-mouth candidates selected by the two parties,” the author concluded.

“It is obvious that the US is seeing a decline in terms of both prestige and influence, but such a drop is not so eye-catching as it has no strong competitors yet. It would be a complicated historic path,” the scholar said, calling for more attention to the course of the world pattern.

 (People's Daily)

Related posts:

US presidential hopefuls show a country lacking in leadership, debate falls into trite format

Modern finance and money being managed like a Ponzi scheme ! Economic Collapse soon?