Sunday, March 08, 2015

Najib’s their man

Two weddings and a crisis: Najib is trying hard to contain the 1MDB crisis amid the backdrop of what might be the ‘weddings of the year’ this month. His daughter Nooryana Najwa will marry Nazarbayev (couple on the right), while Muhyiddin’s daughter Najwa and Koh, seen here during their engagement last year, will also tie the knot.

Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has had a tough year with issues big and small affecting his public image, but he continues to get full support from Umno.

THERE has been much buzz over the Umno gathering taking place today between Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and the party’s division chiefs. Even the foreign media has been pestering Cheras Umno chief Datuk Seri Syed Ali Alhabshee for his views on the meeting.

“I told them, don’t be stupid, none of us are going to ask Najib to step down. We want to tell him that he has our support,” he said.

But the division leaders also want a clearer explanation on the burning issue of the day: 1MDB.

“We need him to distinguish between the rubbish and the facts so that we can explain to the Umno members,” said Syed Ali.

The Cheras strongman is not only a fierce defender of the Umno president, he has also been very vocal about it.

His defence of Najib is a stark contrast to his stand during Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s time. Syed Ali was so vociferous about asking Abdullah to take responsibility and resign after the 2008 general election that Abdullah summoned him to his Putrajaya residence.

Abdullah had asked him point blank: “So you want me to leave?”That set off a torrent of words from Syed Ali, who was so loud and blunt that Abdullah’s political secretary literally ran out of the room.

Call it double standard, blind loyalty or whatever, but Syed Ali is standing by Najib.

“First of all, we have confidence in him. Second, we don’t want problems in the party,” he said.

The meeting involves 191 division chiefs, many of whom go back some way with Najib. They are also known as the “Telegram group”, so named because they are part of the Telegram instant messaging chat group used by the division chiefs.

The last one was in November before the Umno general assembly and this meeting, said another Najib loyalist, Datuk Sharkar Shamsuddin, is also to hear what Najib has to say before the Umno branch meetings start in a week’s time.

1MDB’s multi-billion investment troubles is the most serious crisis that Najib, who is also 1MDB chairman, has faced since becoming Prime Minister. The magnitude of the investments is mind-boggling and has been a hot topic of conversation among the business community and intelligentsia.

Then there were all those stories about Penang-born Low Jho Teck or Jho Low, his alleged role in the investment fund and his friendship with Najib’s stepson Riza Aziz.

A sensationalised article in the New York Times took things to a new level. The article was built around Low’s flamboyant personality and flashy lifestyle. Few could distinguish between what was true and what was exaggerated in the article, but the public was ready and eager to believe the worst of him.

It did not help that Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad was at the forefront in demanding answers.

The article also touched a raw nerve among Najib’s brothers, who took exception to a quote that Najib’s wealth came from “legacy family assets”. The four brothers are proud of their father’s reputation as Malaysia’s second Prime Minister and caused a stir when they issued their own statement to quash the claim.

Najib has since righted the picture. He reiterated that their father was an upright and frugal man who led a simple life till his last days in office.

Blood is thicker than water. His response has soothed feelings and a family member, when contacted, said: “Relations are good, they were never not good.”

Reports in recent days suggest that a debt repayment plan, in which most of the assets will be sold, is underway. After briefing the Cabinet on Wednesday, Najib said he had asked the Auditor-General to independently verify 1MDB’s accounts. It will then go before the Public Accounts Committee, which includes opposition MPs.

He also stressed that the law will be enforced without exception if any wrongdoing is proven.

“It is still going to be a rocky road but it’s the right step forward. He is telling us that he is ready to be scrutinised and will bite the bullet. There will be no cover-up. It’s an important message,” said Kapar division chief Datuk Faizal Abdullah.

There will be more questions to answer. Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has already expressed concern that government funds should not be used in any bailout.

The foreign publications are predicting that Najib is on borrowed time. Malaysia would have had more than six leaders in its 58 years of independent history if it was that easy to remove a Prime Minister.

Dr Mahathir had to put up with even more calls for him to go amid his administration’s share of financial troubles and bailouts, one of which involved his son. Then he retired in a blaze of glory after 22 years in power.

In Malaysia, there are basically two ways to remove a Prime Minister. One is by defeating his coalition in a general election, which has yet to happen in Malaysia. The other way is to defeat him in a party election.

Umno prefers to ask them to go gracefully and this has happened twice – Tunku Abdul Rahman resigned after the May 13 riots and Abdullah was pressured to go after the 2008 general election.

The opposition knows their attacks will not topple Najib. Their aim is to fertilise the ground for the next general election.

The Umno meeting today will show that Najib’s standing in Umno is still stable. The division leaders control the Umno grassroots and Najib will be up there for as long as the division leaders are with him.

Najib also scored a significant point in the last year of storms. Few can survive an attack by Dr Mahathir, but Najib managed to hold the party to his side even as the indomitable Dr Mahathir raged against him. The older man dented Najib but could not bring him down the way he did Abdullah.

“Don’t forget that he also has strong allies in the supreme council. That is the immediate level. All three vice-presidents are the president’s men,” said Pengerang division chief Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said.

Azalina will be the rose among the thorns at today’s meeting as she is the only woman division chief in Umno.

“For many division leaders, it’s basically about taking care of our constituency. The leadership supports us at that level and we support him in return,” she said.

Najib is trying to repair his public image and has cranked up his schedule. He has been spotted taking a ride on the LRT from PWTC to Masjid Jamek. He visited the MRT construction site in downtown Kuala Lumpur a few days ago. He was also seen having a meal with his two children at IOI City Mall and buying pastries at Mid Valley Megamall.

There have been too many controversies involving his family, from their recent holiday in the United States to the First Lady’s remarks about the cost of her hairdressing.

In the era of the Internet, everything done and spoken by top leaders and their families becomes public property – their lifestyle, the friends they keep, how they dress, their handbags and jewellery and, well, even their hair. That is the reality of being in political office in the age of social media.

“What it means is people who are in public office have to accept that they need to manage their private life. People are watching all the time. It is not only about doing the right thing, but to be seen as doing the right thing,” said a Malay corporate figure.

Najib came into the job as one of the most experienced leaders ever. His challenge now is to manage public perception, especially about his family.

Dr Mahathir managed it quite well for most of his career. His wife was a medical doctor but she played the demure and supportive politician’s wife to near perfection.

The spotlight may soon swing briefly from 1MDB to love and marriage. Two society weddings are about to take place within days of each other. They involve the daughters of Najib and his deputy Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

It is not known whether the dates were planned or coincidental but their daughters do coincidentally share similar names.
Najib’s daughter Nooryana Najwa is marrying her Kazakhstan beau Daniyar Nazarbayev. Muhyiddin’s daughter Najwa, who studied music in the United States, is marrying Idris Koh Keng Hui, a Malaysian musician. Umno circles are thrilled about the weddings, especially the fact that both Najwas are marrying men outside of their culture.

The wedding of the children of any Umno leader who is worth his or her salt comes in at least three parts. First, there is the akad nikah (solemnisation of vows), followed by a reception for family and friends, and finally a kenduri in their constituency. The last one is often the most important because it is about votes.

Najib has had a tough year. The nuptials will be a brief respite for him but it goes without saying that the wedding celebration will also come under public scrutiny.

Tuesday, March 03, 2015




Monday, March 02, 2015



贫富差距,向来就是政治经济领域的敏感课题,也是个备受爭议的课题。按国际慈善组织乐施会(Oxfam)的报告,全球最富有的1%超级富豪,所拥有的財富份额已从2009年的44%,升到2014年的48%。预计在2016年,还会突破50%,显示了贏家通吃(Winner TakesAll),是当前的趋势。
实则,自2009年美国出台量化宽松以来,新兴市场的贫富极化,也加速剧化。它突显了,量化宽松这种非传统的货幣政策是个强而有力的劫贫济富的工具。在大马,有关贫富极化的文章与书本,也在增多,如《富裕的大马,贫困的大马人》(Rich Malaysia,Poor Malaysians,2014)、《不平等的顏色》(The Colour of Inequality)一书(2014)等。
莫哈末阿都卡利(Muhammed Abdul Khalid)所写的《不平等的顏(肤)色》一书,收集与分析了大马財富差距(Wealth Gap)的现象、趋势、起因与对策。一贯以来研究大马贫富的作品,多集中于收入(Income)与公司股权,可此书则进一步集中分析財富缺口。在学界,收入是个流量(Flow)的概念,是即时性的,而財富,则是个存量(Stock)与积累性概念。
此书在重点突出华人较他族富有的同时,也有提及土著內部的不平等现象,如根据2013年的资料,虽然平均而言,土著託股(Amanah Saham Bumiputera)的持有额为1万5402令吉,可72%的持有者,仅持有554令吉,而0.2%的持股者,则持有72万5122令吉。另外,印度裔的贫富不均程度,更佔据各族之首(如丹斯里阿南达克里斯南便是大马的次富,仅输给首富郭鹤年)。

Tuesday, January 27, 2015


也就是,从名义上的民有、民治、民享,转为商有、商治、商享的金主、財主的財阀(Plutocracy)政治。也有论者用「无声的接管」(Silent Takeover)来形容这个质变。这个富有、富治、富享,也是致成2008-2009年的债务金融与经济危机的主因,可灾难反而壮大了金融寡占。
此外,当代资本主义还有一个贏家通吃(Winner-Take-All),让超级精英扫空一切,只留残余给非精英的特点。此点,不仅见之于体育界、演艺,也见之于商界,如微软公司创始人比尔盖茨(Bill Gates)身价已高达800多亿美元(约2882亿令吉),而谷哥创办人身价也有300多亿美元(约1081亿令吉);阿里巴巴的马云,也成了中国首富。既然机会与財富已被贏家通吃了,中等才能、中等技能群体,便只好认命了。
在这种情况下,许多发达国,甚至是高收入经济体如台湾或香港的中產与下层,就更难像以往一样享有更多向上流动(Upward Social Mobility)的机会。特別是,富人又因以钱赚钱,炒高房地產等,让他们望屋兴嘆时,更易產生焦虑感与排外仇富仇外情绪。美国的占领华尔街、欧洲的极右政治的崛起、台湾的太阳花学生运动、香港的「占中」,在一定程度上,也与当代资本主义的性质有关,即市场標准至上。

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Saturday, October 25, 2014





与此同时, 联邦政府开销, 与时並进, 日渐增多。据《2014/15经济报告》表6.3所列,2011年是1825亿;2012年,2055亿;2013年,2112亿;2014年,2211亿。到了2015年,预计將需2234亿。

在这之中,薪酬佔了接近三成,2 0 1 1年至2 0 1 5年的支出,分別是5 0 1亿(2 7 . 5 %)、6 0 0亿(29.2%)、610亿(28.9%)、653亿(29.6%)。2015年,则是656亿(29.4%)。

除此之外,这个国家公僕退休金的比重,也相当可观。凡此5年,这个环节都在7%左右:2011年,1 3 5亿;2 0 1 2年,1 4 0亿;2013年,148亿;2014年,161亿;2015年,161亿。


表6.3同时列出,国库支出的一系列津贴,虽然晚近有所削减,数目仍然庞大:2011年,362亿;2 0 12年,4 4 0亿;2 0 13年,4 33亿;2014年,405亿;2015年,376亿。

薪酬、退休金和津贴三者总结,仅2 0 1 5年一年高达1 1 9 3亿, 超逾政府总开销的一半(53.6%)。折换上来,南中国海两岸的纳税人要为公务员体系,每日要贡献3.2亿。



2 0 1 3年1 1月1 8日时任首相署部长的沙希淡透露,截至2013年1 0 月, 不计军警, 国內的公务员人数已有1 1 3万人,公务员与人口比率达4 . 6 8 %,远在泰国(2.06%)、菲律宾(1.8%)和印尼(1.79%)之上。




何况, 人数多寡和服务质量,两者之间没有必然关係。隆雪华堂会长陈友信先生也再一次勾画这一点:「眾所周知,我国公务员人数与总人口的比例是相对高的;公务员的效率问题一直是人民关注的议题,提高服务效率的呼声多年来从未间断。」



Tuesday, September 30, 2014


作者: 迦玛







君主国大体可分为君主专制(Absolute monarchy)和君主立宪制(Constitutional and monarchy)两种。君主专制是一种君主政府形式,在此形式下君主拥有管理国家和其子民的绝对权力;君主立宪制则是另一种民主形式的君主政府,这种形式的君主是国家宪法范围內不归属任何政党的政治领导人。君主通常拥有宪赋保留权力,政府允许以君主的名义运作,但君主一般不参与制定公共政策或选择政治领袖。


现今世界至少有两种不同形式的君主立宪制,一种是执行式君主立宪制(Executive monarchy),另一种则是礼仪式君主立宪制(Ceremonial monarchy)。执行式君主立宪制里,君主握有显著(虽然不是绝对的)权力,王室在如此政府体系中是一强大政治及社会机构。相反地,礼仪式君主立宪制的王室所拥有的实际权力和直接政治影响力都很小。君主立宪模式乃相对概念,必须视一国之歷史、国情和宪法条款而詮释及实践。