30 August, 2006

Nonsense to celebrate Merdeka?

Nonsense to celebrate Merdeka ?

Malaysiakini interviews Parti Gerakan secretary-general Chia Kwang Chye.

(Excerpted from Screen Shot and Lim Kit Siang's blog)

Though we are celebrating Merdeka tomorrow, Chia, who is deputy Minister of Information, said that the row within the component BN parties lately over purportedly racially offensive remarks has made the country gone backwards to its pre-Merdeka days. Quote:

“We always talk about Merdeka (the country’s independence) and Merdeka is so near, yet we are still fighting as though we are in pre-Merdeka days,” Gerakan secretary-general Chia Kwang Chye told malaysiakini in an exclusive interview at Parliament House on Monday.

“You can say it’s nonsense to celebrate Merdeka,” he added when asked about the unity within the ruling coalition in view of the alleged racial sentiments stirred up by an Umno Youth leader recently. [...]

Elaborating, the 54-year-old Chia - who is also deputy information minister - said the Merdeka celebration is ‘not just about raising flags, hands and shout Merdeka’, but it should be practised in true spirit.

“We actually have gone backwards, it should be minus 10 Merdeka years, not 49 years of Merdeka, minus 10 Merdeka(s), this is essentially how we are behaving and I think it’s wrong, we should progress,” he added. [...]

“You can have a situation (then) where a ethnic-based party becomes so strong (and) we worry whether we can have a peaceful, united country,” he explained.

According to media reports, Umno Youth deputy chief Khairy Jamaluddin irked MCA and Gerakan leaders after he openly told an Umno Youth meeting that the Chinese Malaysian community would take advantage of a weakened Umno to press for their rights.

On the other hand, the famous Son-in-Law remained firm on his stand and argued any action that “upholds the dignity of religion and interest of ethnic community” does not require an apology.

So, does Chia have an alternative? Quote Malaysiakini:

Meanwhile, the Gerakan sec-gen said that the party would continue to use its ‘Malaysian approach’ to win over more supporters who believe in multiracialism in party politics and hoped that the appeal of ethnic-based parties will be less and eventually fade off.

Gerakan is a multiracial-based BN component party but it is dominated by Chinese Malaysians whereas other major ruling parties including Umno, MCA and MIC are ethnic-based representing the Malays, Chinese Malaysians and Indian Malaysians respectively.

Lim Kit Siang says :

The 49th National Day has been marred some two weeks earlier by the power-behind-the-UMNO-political-throne who trotted out the same canard, warning that Chinese Malaysians would exploit the current infighting within UMNO to advance the community’s interest, and citing Suqiu as example.

As a result, a Barisan Nasional component party leader has admitted that on the occasion of the 49th National Day, nation-building in the country “had gone backwards, minus 10 Merdeka years”.

This is a development which would have been completely unthinkable when Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi became the fifth Prime Minister 34 months ago, with his pledge to be Prime Minister for all Malaysians and not just for one community, asking Malaysians to work with him and not for him.

Let us soberly ponder these weighty issues on the 49th National Day as there can be nothing more meaningful than to use the occasion to reaffirm our individual and national commitment to create a Malaysia for all Malaysians, where all her citizens can feel and be proud that they are Malaysians first, and their ethnic and religious identities in second and third places.


On a more positive note, though, perhaps we hope that politicians we voted
will be 'devoted'.

**********

KL politics could derail SGX link-up with Bursa

The fierce row raging between Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi and his predecessor, Dr Mahathir Mohamad, could kill off the Singapore Exchange's (SGX's) much-delayed link-up with Bursa Malaysia.

Rumours have been swirling in the market that the project - already hit by technical glitches - will be a victim of the increasingly bitter political feud.

Dealers said the row could make cooperation between the two bourses more difficult, given that Mahathir's supporters had recently criticised the opening of Malaysia's door to investments from Singapore.

Their attacks were sparked by Temasek Holdings taking stakes in Telekom Malaysia and Alliance Bank.

Many analysts now fear that the investment climate may be becoming less friendly.

Their concerns arose on Monday (August 28) when Singapore-listed Parkway Holdings agreed to cede control of its stake in Pantai Holdings, Malaysia's biggest health-care provider, in a deal with Malaysian investment firm, Khazanah Nasional.

"I haven't been able to see any progress since the exchanges start talking about the link two years ago," said a broking house's operational manager.

"The added political dimension to the problem will just cause further delays on top of Bursa's problems over its new trading platform."

But an SGX spokesman said yesterday that the project is still viable: "The two exchanges are committed to . . . linking the markets."

The link-up offers "strong value proposition", making it easier for investors on both sides of the Causeway to trade on each other's bourses.

But SGX could not give a new target date. Eight months ago, it had to push back the estimated start date due to Bursa's technical glitches with its computer trading system.

This was the second time the project was delayed. An earlier pushback occurred last year to allow the two exchanges to implement their respective new trading systems.

"In due course, when the technical issues on the trading link are resolved, we hope to announce a new target date," the SGX spokesman said.

But some brokers see no need for the proposed link and think both bourses should use the uncertainties and delays as an excuse to cancel it.

"The fierce competition among brokerages to provide trading of Malaysian shares to their clients will make the link obsolete," one remisier said.

And others feel the initial aim of the link-up has receded.

"At this point in time, the link would be more advantageous to Singapore than to Malaysia. Presumably, there will be more Malaysians wanting to buy Singapore shares, not the other way around," said a stockbroking director. SGX, which now has over 100 China listings, is considerably more vibrant than Bursa.

This is in contrast to the original intention in 2004, which was to foster more buying of Malaysian shares by investors in Singapore.

Trading in Malaysian shares had been hugely popular here on Clob International, an over-the-counter market, but it was closed in 1998 when Malaysia imposed capital controls.

And competition, rather than cooperation, may now be the main driving force, given Bursa's refusal to license its crude palm oil prices to SGX's joint venture, Joint Asian Derivatives Exchange.

But SGX chief executive Hsieh Fu Hua said last year that the proposed linkage would be 'a long-term measure to facilitate cross-border engagement without the exchanges actually owning each other'.

He disclosed in the same interview that he met his Bursa counterpart, Yusli Mohamed Yusoff, once a month.

The omens may not be good for the link-up, once it does get going.

One dealer noted the SGX's recent decision to sever its common trading platform with the Australian Stock Exchange - a relationship that had been seen as the model for the SGX-Bursa link - due to a lack of trading interest. (Asia News Net)


**********

Isu Pantai Holdings: PM harus perjelas kesilapan kerajaan
(Harakah Daily)

Naib Presiden PAS, Dato' Husam Musa mahu Perdana Menteri dan Menteri Kewangan, Dato' Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi dipertanggungjawabkan dan memberi penjelasan di atas kesilapan kerajaan menjual saham Pantai Holdings kepada syarikat milik Singapura sebelum ini.

Sehubungan dengan itu Husam mendakwa, langkah pembelian semula saham tersebut, hanya sebagai satu langkah kosmetik kerajaan BN untuk menyelamatkan maruah mereka daripada tercemar.

Adalah amat malang katanya, apabila kerajaan cuba memberikan gambaran positif terhadap pembelian semula saham Pantai Holdings, sedangkan ianya adalah suatu kesilapan.

Menurut beliau, syarikat pelaburan Parkway mendapat keuntungan berlipat ganda apabila mendapat bayaran sebanyak RM357 juta atas kadar RM2.65 sesaham bagi 134.7 juta saham dan diberikan peluang untuk memiliki semula saham sebanyak 49% dalam syarikat Pantai Irama Ventures yang memiliki saham dalam Pantai serta diberikan hak pengurusan Pantai selama 15 tahun.

"Ini bermakna, Parkway menguasai pengurusan Pantai dan pada masa yang sama terus memiliki saham Pantai.

"Transaksi ini nampaknya sekali lagi menguntungkan Parkway," kata Husam.

Bagaimanapun, akhbar hari ini melaporkan Menteri Kewangan Kedua Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop berkata, urus niaga antara Khazanah dan Parkway semata-mata berasaskan pasaran, dan tidak ada langsung unsur menyelamat.

Pantai Holdings yang pernah dikuasai oleh Dato' Mokhzani Mahathir mengendalikan tujuh hospital swasta dan memegang konsesi bagi penyeliaan pemeriksaan kesihatan pekerja asing dan menyediakan perkhidmatan sokongan kepada hospital kerajaan mencatatkan keuntungan sebelum cukai RM57.39 juta dalam tahun kewangan berakhir 30 Jun lalu diraih daripada pendapatan RM833.4 juta.

Isu ini menjadi hangat apabila anak bekas PM tersebut menjual sahamnya kepada Ketua Eksekutif Pantai Group, Dato' Lim Tong Yong dan Dato' Lim menjual pula saham tersebut kepada Parkway Holdings Ltd, milik Singapura.

Isu penjualan saham beberapa buah syarikat strategik milik Malaysia kepada Singapura menjadi topik panas apabila bekas PM, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad mengecam Abdullah Badawi dan mendakwa ianya langkah yang merugikan negara.

Pada Abdullah, penjualan saham tersebut dianggap positif kerana ia membuktikan syarikat asing yakin dengan prestasi syarikat Malaysia dan membawa pelaburan dalam negara.

Namun Mahathir tetap mempersoalkan mengapa hanya Singapura yang membeli saham-saham tersebut dan mendakwa ianya ada kaitan dengan campur tangan menantu Abdullah, Khairy Jamaludin.

Bagi sesetengah penganalisis politik, langkah kerajaan mengizinkan syarikat Singapura menguasai saham-saham strategik adalah suatu bentuk penjajahan ekonomi yang merugikan negara untuk jangka panjang.

Pada Husam, pengumuman pembelian semula saham syarikat tersebut oleh Khazanah daripada Parkway menunjukkan kerajaan mengakui kesilapan Menteri Kewangan meluluskan penjualan saham majoriti sebanyak 31 peratus kepada syarikat asing tersebut September tahun lalu.

"Jika tidak, apa perlunya pembelian semula dilakukan. Kesilapan ini berbangkit kerana antara lain, dua anak syarikat Pantai terlibat dengan program pengswastaan dan dibawah peraturan sedia ada , tidak ada syarikat yang mendapat konsensi pengswastaan dibenarkan terlepas kepada pihak asing," soal Naib Presiden PAS itu.

Berikut disiarkan kenyataan penuh beliau:.....(read more)


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