demokrasi terpimpin

Soe Hok Gie, karakter dari filem Gie, lakonan Nicholas Saputra ada mengutarakan konsep demokrasi terpimpin, di mana filem itu menyerlahkan Gie, seorang demonstran, sebagai lancang mengkritik ideologi politik ini yang pertama kalinya diperkenalkan oleh bapak Presiden Sukarno. Menurutnya demokrasi terpimpin adalah sebagai topeng untuk menindas golongan bawahan, iaitu berdasarkan elemen autocracy di dalam konsep tersebut. Pada amatannya, sistem ini telah menggagalkan masyarakat, di mana rakyat hidup semakin melarat dengan kenaikan harga barang dan juga bahan api. Perlu diingat zaman Soe Hok Gie ini merupakan zaman parti komunis berleluasa di Indonesia.

He was famously quoted to say this about his teacher who failed him,  “Guru model begituan, yang tidak tahan dikritik boleh masuk keranjang sampah. Guru bukan dewa dan selalu benar. Dan murid bukan kerbau”.

I can resonate this statement with a number of situations. Especially where teachers who think they are right all the time and leave no room for constructive arguments/discussions. I can’t recall how many times I was shunned by the teachers for voicing out, disagreeing and at times even just by asking questions. But more on this in a separate post.

Berbalik kepada konsep demokrasi terpimpin. Coming across this concept has brought my memories back to this one time in Bali in September 2014 where I had the chance to befriend a local Balinese surfer. I asked him about the local projects being developed in Jakarta, including the MRT line. Told him that it’s good that Indonesians will soon be able to commute using rapid trains. His short reply was, korupsi semua itu.

Not that his opinion is profoundly mattered, knowing him, doubt that he reads or understands economic needs and nature of a country. But still, its interesting that he thinks of every development projects in Jakarta is corrupted.

Which brings to my next point, nationalism. Where art thou?

Mahasiswa yang terdahulu, baik dari negara Indonesia mahupun Malaysia, berjuang atas semangat nasionalisme, iaitu sayangkan negara. Masyarakat ketika itu sering berfikiran kritis dan radikal. Tindak tanduk perjuangan sering berlandaskan semangat cintakan negara, yang well at that time Indonesia and Malaysia were infested with communism.

Bagi aku kita perlu punya rasa takut, yakni takut akan hilangnya nilai perjuangan untuk mengangkat masyarakat dan negara kepada keadaan yang lebih baik. Apa yang aku elakkan ialah manusia sekeliling yang berfikiran jumud, for them are lazy dan selalu mengikut sahaja.

Masalahnya sekarang rakyat semakin kritis, sering mempersoalkan dan mengutuk tindak tanduk kerajaan / pemimpin. Namun atas dasar apa? Patriotisme atau sebaliknya? Jika dilihat apa sahaja tindakan kerajaan akan dikritik sepenuhnya oleh rakyat yang pada pengamatan aku tidak faham / malas untuk memahami dasar-dasar, terutamanya dasar ekonomi negara.


Driving forces behind EM currencies

Much has been talked about the Malaysian Ringgit downward movement against the US Dollar. As to date MYR is the worst performing currency against USD in the Emerging Market (EM) space, comprising of countries in the regions of LATAM, Asia (Malaysia included) and MENA,

Therefore to understand such currency behaviour, I’d gather few notes hoping that’ll be able to clear the confusion on this

One reason explaining why EM currencies behaving dismally versus the USD is due to not a single EM central bank has engaged in quantitative easing (QE) practices, as done by other developed central banks, like the US, Europe and Japan. Similarly not a single developed central bank has bought EM assets as part of their QE programmes.Thus, EM assets along with their currencies, have in effect suffered in a state of benign neglect. Apart from that sentiment also mirrors the destination of QE flows, where the EM countries have experienced a slowdown in their share of financial flows – even outflows in some cases.

The strong USD has also pushed down commodity prices, which has benefitted the majority of EM countries, sans Malaysia, being an oil exporting country. However, in a market that rarely distinguishes between EM countries and tends to focus on the negative stories, even the lower commodity prices have reinforced the EM scepticism. USD rally was predicted based on the view that the US economy would grow faster and that the Fed would hike sooner than the other developed countries. Market has been expecting the hike since beginning of the year. However now the USD has became so strong that, at the margin, it is impending growth and influencing Fed policy in a dovish direction. When the Fed failed to hike the rate in September, of which citing the reason of slowdown in external markets, the USD has become the victim of its own success.

The reason as to why we haven’t seen a rally in EM currencies is due to no serious outright downward pressure on USD; where there is absent in US inflation and also due to volatility of EM FX.

Some positive news for EM currencies..

Firstly, EM currencies are cheap after four years of unrelenting depreciation. Secondly, if the USD now flat-lines, the expected annual depreciation of EM currencies will also be less, probably closer to zero per year than -10% per year of the past few years. Having said that, 2016 is still expected to be benign for EM currencies and bond market, where it is only forecasted to rebound in the year 2017 onwards.




It matters to be rational

You got time? Read online news, it is funny, sometimes. But not the content I mean.

Five reasons Singapore is now the most expensive city in the world

With Singapore being named the world’s most expensive city, the Straits Times has published a comparative study on the five big ticket items which contributed to the ranking.

The Straits Times report compared the prices of these items with those of a similar standard in five different developed nations.

The following are the items and the price comparisons:

A three-bedroom apartment of between 1,200 and 1,500 sq ft averages S$8,000 (RM20,700) a month in Singapore.

In New York, a three-bedroom apartment of between 950 and 1,800 sq ft ranges from US$1,750 (S$2,221, RM5,700) to US$2,500 in the outlying neighbourhoods and US$6,000 to US$15,000 in Manhattan.


A Mercedes Benz E-class in Singapore will cost upwards of S$277,000 aside from an Open category COE which can be acquired for another S$79,000. (COE is the Certificate of Entitlement which one must have in order to buy a car.)

In Germany, a Mercedes Benz E-class will cost from €40,668 (S$71,062, RM183,400) onwards.

Clothing, in the category of luxury retail

If you are thinking of shopping in Singapore, be mindful that a Giorgio Armani men’s suit starts from S$3,000 and can go up to S$4,000. On the other hand, in Italy, a men’s suit from Giorgio Armani starts from €1,500 (S$2,619).

Food & wine

The signature dish of steak tartare at the famous L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon restaurant at Resorts World Sentosa costs S$52. A bottle of Moet & Chandon in Singapore costs at least S$83.

Similarly, a degustation menu at the L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon restaurant in Paris costs €38 (S$66). A bottle of Moet & Chandon in France usually costs only €32.90 (S$57).


Finally, according to the Straits times, in Singapore, the utilities bill for a four-person household in a HDB flat is likely to average between S$150 and S$200.

In Tokyo, the utilities bill for a four-person household in an apartment averages between 12,000 yen (S$150, RM386) in summer and 30,000 yen (S$375) in winter. – March 4, 2014.

– The Malaysian Insider

See I sometimes read comments on the articles. A habit or a disease, call it whatever. I found that in all the comments, especially in controversial articles, there have to be at least few comments that worthy of a (multiple) slap.

Exhibits as per below:

“And 5 reasons Malaysia is the poor neighbour. 

1) Plenty of corruption
2) Plenty of non capable leaders running the country
3) Plenty of wasting of resources
4) Plenty of non practice of meritocracy
5) Plenty of DUMNO related NGOs scaring away foreign investors”

Why would anyone associate a harmless article with his political views, I have no idea.

“Why is it being portrayed as bad to be the most expensive city? Isn’t that what Najib is trying to achieve, high income society? When you have high income society, things around you will become expensive.
For Singaporeans now, traveling abroad is cheap and that is good, at least in my books. And they also have a high income to buy and invest overseas. Meanwhile, this also means that they are able to offer the best salary to attract the best brains in the world to help them power on.
Well done Singapore, you are exemplary to the rest of Asia on how you broke free of Malaysia to be what you are today, leaving the DUMNOs either scratching their heads or eating sour grapes.”

Well this fella had some nice thoughts initially. Then he of course, dwell on politics, blaming umno for what our country lacks as compared to our rich neighbour.


How brilliant it is to them, associating every meagre issues with political ideas and criticism.

Really, let’s just try to focus on the issues and keep the unnecessary thoughts from plaguing our mind.


Malaysian Economy, Where Will It Go From Here? (Part 1)

Our index this year

Our index this year

It’s nearing end of 2013..lots of things happening in Malaysia, particularly on the side of our economy this year. We finally had the 13th general election in early May after waiting for almost 18 months for it. Again Barisan Nasional coalition won with majority albeit losing 7 parliamentary seats.

Market moved in a positive direction where we could see 5% gain in KLCI in the 3-4 weeks after the election. But then came tapering of quantitative easing announcement which has halted the rally. We could see spike in bond yields by 80-100 bps and also weakness in emerging market currencies, including Ringgit, where it has lost 10% of its value from end May to end August.

See the spike after the election?

See the spike after the election?


Our bank has issued the first bond in the market after election and it was oversubscribed by 9 times times. Yes, our market was hungry. Prior to election everyone was cautious and sentiments were difficult to gauge, therefore it kinda hamper the excitement. Turned out everyone was hungry for new issuance, especially coming from an AAA rated issuer.

You happy, index?

Then along came Fitch with its rating downgrade. The rating agency has put Malaysia under negative watch (from stable) in July due to slow pace of fiscal reforms and rising government debt. As at end 2012, government debt has risen to 53.3% of GDP, whereas our revenue (mostly from petroleum) remains low at 24.7% of GDP. As expected, the first measure taken by the government was cutting down the oil subsidies. For which I believe, wherein other people blame the government for the sudden reduce in subsidy, was a necessary move in order to reduce fiscal deficit.

Well, a little input on sovereign ratings; it consist risk assessments assigned by the credit rating agencies to the obligations of central government. In other words it is the assessment of the likelihood that a borrower will default on its obligations. The ratings directly affecting fund raising activities, as it determines how expensive the cost of fundings will be. Lower rating assigned would indicate that it is more difficult for companies to raise foreign currency funds and it would be expensive for the country to borrow money from abroad. Plus, lower rating would dampen investment flow into our equity and bond market.

Anyway…the implementation of GST (as announced in 2014 budget in October) and the lowering of subsidies are not enough of measures to address fiscal deficit. The nation needs real structural reforms, say by way of tackling corruption and reducing leakages. Even after announcing the implementation of GST, Fitch still maintain its negative outlook, probably until they’re seeing our track record of budget management.