Tuesday, 30 October 2012

PR Leaders, this big thing about forming a Shadow Cabinet, if not now, when?

Do you think Anwar will finally fulfill one of his major promises to Malaysians?

Here is a write from a Singapore GLC the Singapore Straits Times via www.barisannasional.org.my which thinks that Anwar Ibrahim should name his Shadow Cabinet not later but now:


Singapore Straits Times: Anwar should fulfill promise of shadow cabinet
Tarikh: 
 30-10-2012
STRAITS TIMES
2012-10-29 01:50:17
SALIM OSMAN SENIOR WRITER

This is full content from the SPH. To view the article on the SPH's website visit: via Barisanhttp://www.straitstimes.com/premium/opinion/story/anwar-should-fulfil-promise-shadow-cabinet-20121029
THE talk of a shadow Cabinet in Malaysia is in vogue these days, started by the opposition.
A shadow Cabinet is defined as a senior group of politicians in the Westminster system of government who, together with the leader of the opposition, forms an alternative to the government's Cabinet ministers.
Its members would shadow or mark each individual Cabinet member, passing criticisms on the current government and its respective policies and offering alternative programmes. If the opposition forms the next government, the shadow ministers would have had experience in drafting policies and defending them.
Such a system, found mainly in Britain and Australia, does not exist in Malaysia.
But opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim ignited interest in a shadow Cabinet soon after the 2008 elections that almost toppled the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN), when he promised to form such a Cabinet "so that the rakyat could have transparency".
He argued that the people would be able to see who from the individual parties in the opposition coalition Pakatan Rakyat (PR) would be in the Cabinet line-up, in the event that the opposition were to win Putrajaya, the seat of the federal government.
Datuk Seri Anwar repeated the promise in 2010, last year and in January this year before the PR convention, saying that a shadow Cabinet would be a sign of the maturity of his opposition pact.
But he has failed to announce his shadow Cabinet line-up, led by him as the prime minister-designate in a PR government.
Mr Anwar could only explain recently that a shadow Cabinet was suitable for countries like Britain and Australia, but not for Malaysia.
His colleagues said that such a Cabinet would be announced only when PR took power.
Mr Anwar and his opposition partners will have to wriggle their way out of a challenge by Prime Minister Najib Razak, who said PR should name its shadow Cabinet before it talks about forming the next federal government.
Why the about-turn, after the promise of a shadow Cabinet in April 2009 generated so much interest among the public?
The opposition either has no shadow Cabinet on its agenda, or has only a rough idea of what the Cabinet should be. But PR would not want to reveal it at this stage, because that would make it vulnerable to BN attacks.
For the opposition, forming a shadow Cabinet and announcing it in public are not without problems and risks.
First, it is not easy to reach a consensus on a power-sharing formula among three disparate parties, namely the Malay-based Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), the secular Democratic Action Party (DAP) and the Islamist Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS).
A supposed leak of its Cabinet list by the Umno-owned Utusan Malaysia recently revealed the distribution of Cabinet posts, with 13 seats for PKR, 10 for the DAP and eight for PAS. The list was denounced by both the DAP and PAS as a fabrication because the opposition coalition has yet to firm up such a list.
Second, there is a racial dimension to the Cabinet seat distribution. For instance, if the Cabinet is seen to be too multiracial or if non-Malays are given important portfolios like finance, trade and industry, or even defence, there will be a hue and cry, with BN warning the Malay electorate that they would lose political power if the opposition took over Putrajaya.
This can undermine the vote for the opposition, because Mr Anwar would be branded a traitor who sold out his race. Meanwhile, PAS would lose support as it would be accused of being a puppet that gives in to the influence of the "infidels". The opposition may also lose Chinese support if the DAP is seen as playing second fiddle in this Cabinet.
Third is the position of Mr Anwar himself as prime minister-designate. There appears to be no other candidate for the job.
But the current campaign by the DAP, to push for a probe on the alleged scandal involving the loss of RM30 billion (S$12.1 billion) of Bank Negara's reserves through foreign exchange speculation in 1994, may drag down Mr Anwar. Even though the probe's target is Tun Mahathir Mohamad, the then Prime Minister, Mr Anwar was the then Finance Minister. What will happen if Mr Anwar is implicated in the probe? Hence, a potential problem in the Cabinet line-up.
It appears that PR has more to lose than gain if it discloses its shadow Cabinet line-up, hence the about-turn on the issue.
Datuk Seri Najib's pressure on the opposition is part of the ruling party's political manoeuvring. But Mr Anwar's promise of a shadow Cabinet has aroused interest among the electorate, who want to size up the opposition in the coming general election, due by April next year.
"All talk of capturing Putrajaya is hollow if PR can't even show to Malaysians that it can share ministerial portfolios on merit," said news portal The Malaysian Insider. "This would be helpful to evaluate the kind of options Malaysians have before they vote in either coalition."
There are other reasons for having a shadow Cabinet.
The burden of criticising the government in Parliament need not be shouldered by one opposition representative. In the old days, it would have been the then opposition leader Lim Kit Siang, who spoke out on all and sundry. Now the shadow ministers could speak out on their respective portfolios.
With PR's intention to spread its influence far and wide in the country, a shadow Cabinet is timely and signals to Malaysians that the opposition has enough people and expertise to be in federal government.
It will also notify investors that they do not need to worry should there be regime change.
The talk of a shadow Cabinet appears to be taking Malaysia to a new stage of its political development, where two groups of political actors face off in a contest.
The ruling group, represented by BN, and the opposition, as embodied by PR, are slowly showing Malaysians that there will eventually be two groups of actors to run the country. It will be up to them to choose.

No, I am not going to hold my breath for a shadow cabinet announcement from Anwar and his Pakatan friends. 

Even in the PKR elections, Anwar refused to contest for the top President's post instead annoited himself as Ketua Umum PKR, an all powerful post not even defined under PKR's constitution....Does not say much for Anwar's and Pakatan's call for transparency and reform and change does it?

In fact the only thing needs changing is the blatant nepotism in the Pakatan leadership that points to a dynastic crony filled dictatorship if they ever god forbid becomes the power at Federal Level, MasyaAllah. 


Courtesy of stopthelies blog

Ubah? 
The only people that needs changing is the whole Pakatan Leadership, then talk about Ubah.

Monday, 29 October 2012

A world without rare earth metal is unthinkable, Save Lynas Gebeng!

Rare Earth Metals have been a subject of heated debate in Malaysia mostly fueled by fear mongering and politicizing of the issues at hand which is not based on scientific foundation. There are many gullible people out there who prefer to listen and not FIND OUT THEMSELVES what rare earth is all about.

This is an interesting infographics courtesy of Business Insider.com

A world without rare earth metals would be unthinkable now:






 


YES! SAVE LYNAS GEBENG 
FROM FEAR MONGERERS 
AND
ANTI NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT 
ELEMENTS

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Victims to be hung because they killed the intruder who put them in harm's way?

Bloggers Outsyedthebox, Kak Nuraina and Rocky Bru blogged about this story from The Star:

Source here
I wholly agree with the bloggers, I think the decision of the High Court is outrageous, here we have two brothers defending themselves against a intruder, while maybe they used too much force which probably killed the intruder, I think there was no intention to kill, in the heat of the moment what do you expect the two brothers to do but defend themselves from harm's way? Why not charge them with manslaughter instead of murder Tan Sri AG? 

Sending the two brothers to the gallows sends the wrong message...so after this any household in Malaysia just stand and watch intruders forcibly entering our houses and do anything they like? If we hurt the robbers we go to jail and God forbid if the robber get killed, we get hung? 

 I hope the case goes for appeal and pray that the Appeal Courts would make the right decision. I hope the Bar Council get off their high horses talking endlessly about human rights, now is your chance to save the life of the two brothers and show to us Malaysians that the Bar Council is truly apolitical and independent.

Friday, 19 October 2012

The AES is good but let not private entities excessively profit from it

Much has been said about JPJ's AES, I believed its a good idea. It will definitely discourage Malaysian drivers who are classified as the worst in this region, from continuously speeding. Why I support AES? Contrary to what some idiot law makers in our country says, Speed kills, excessive speed causes accidents some fatal and many more causes serious permanent injuries. Here is a good paper on the effectiveness of speed cameras:

Read more here
This is an excerpt of the UN's WHO World report on road traffic injury prevention which highlighted speed as a main cause of road accidents:

Read the WHO report in full here
To those out there who thinks that AES should not be implemented, now consider this..have a thought for those who have lost fathers, mothers, daughters and sons due to accidents caused by excessive speeding. The death of bread winners in a family due to road accidents or other causes would push a family into poverty. Its a good thing that the Gomen is holding their ground and had decided to implement the AES despite opposition from Malaysians across the political divide.
  

Putrajaya says ‘no’ to deferring AES


While I am all for the AES, I think what is said by YB Wee Choo Keong needs to be seriously considered by the BN Gomen:


....if true, then allowing excessive  profiting from the AES is certainly not looking good for the BN Gomen no matter how good the intentions are. The Gomen must show transparency and tell us how much it really cost even though it does not cost the Gomen a single sen. The problem with these 'free' statements are that at the end of the day we taxpayers will ultimately pay for some of the "free' promises. Let us not kid ourselves lah Mr Politicians, there are no such things as a free lunch.

The MILF peace agreement and why Najib's BN will whack Pakatan in the next PRU

Our Prime Minister, Najib Razak and his Gomen is making waves for our country Malaysia, he has been doing a lot of good since becoming PM, its a pity really that Abdullah Badawi was chosen to succeed Dr. Mahathir when he retired in 2003. 

Though I sometime disagree with what he does like putting a lot of attention to the vernacular schools which I profoundly believe is an obstacle to unity and real harmony among Malaysians, but overall I like his call for moderation and tolerance, the ETPs and his many plans to transform Malaysia in the future. 

Congratulations to the PM for making us Malaysians proud....brokering a peace agreement between two foreign warring parties is never an easy job:


Source Bernama here
Even the White House agreed with the good that our PM had done in Malaysia's name:

Source White House here
Now any normal Malaysian would have been happy to acknowledge what the PM had done, but no not our DAP appointed Opposition Leader, a self styled PM in waiting with no Shadow Cabinet to show, he showed his disdain and un-statesmanlike qualities by not even mentioning PM Najib in his message to the Philippines Government, read here

Anwar had a good relationship with former President Estrada but never leveraged on that friendship to help broker a peace agreement between the Philippines Gomen and the Bangsa Moro people, now he wants to join in the band wagon of peace?? Well I got news for you Anwar, the horse has bolted out of the barn, its too little, too late. 

While you and Pakatan spent the years after March 2008 endlessly condemning the BN Gomen in and out of the country with tales of exaggerated lies and half truths through the street demos and endless political ceramahs, the BN Gomen have made much strides and have left your DAP,PKR and PAS alliance of inconvenience far,  far behind in Making Malaysia and the ASEAN region a peaceful and better place to live. 

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Bersih taken to the cleaners down under, try your luck in China next Ambiga

Ambiga's not so Bersih movement No.1 busy body supporter Senator Xenophon, were taken to the cleaners by a Minister in the Australian Gomen, Senator Bob Carr in not so many words, read a part of the Australian Parliament Hansard here:

Malaysian Elections

Senator XENOPHON (South Australia) (14:44): My question is to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator Bob Carr. Later today before the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade two key representatives from the Malaysian NGO Bersih, the movement for clean and fair elections in Malaysia, will be giving evidence. Bersih co-chairperson Ambiga Sreenevasan and committee member Andrew Khoo have told me of their serious concerns that the Malaysian elections due in the next six months will not be clean, free or fair. Among other things, Bersih has raised strong concerns about the credibility of the electoral rolls, the integrity of the postal voting system, dubious vote-counting, gerrymandering, an absentee voting system and draconian media controls as well as laws prohibiting street demonstrations. Is the minister aware of these concerns and does the Australian government share these concerns?

Senator BOB CARR (New South WalesMinister for Foreign Affairs) (14:45): The Malaysian elections of course will be held in April next year. Malaysia is a constitutional democracy, as we are, and the timing and organisation of the election is a matter for the Malaysian government. I know that since April at least there have been domestic groups—the one the senator mentioned—and international groups that have raised matters of concern connected with the Malaysian electoral system. I recall that in April there was a well-publicised demonstration in Kuala Lumpur in Merdeka Square, and I understand that Senator Xenophon at the time was in Malaysia and had comments to make about the way the police handled that, with allegations of tear gas use. The demonstration, I think, was by any test a large one. I acknowledge the senator's concern. On the bottom line, however, the question of electoral reform in Malaysia is a matter for Malaysians and for their government.

Senator XENOPHON (South Australia) (14:46): The tear gas was real, Minister Carr. Mr President, I ask a supplementary question. Given Australia's role in being part of international observer teams in other elections in the region and internationally, what role will the Australian government take within the Commonwealth to ensure that the Malaysian elections are clean and fair? Will, for instance, the government consider giving its support to an international observer mission in the lead-up to the elections given the concerns raised by Bersih and others? For instance, if the opposition leader requested such assistance, what would the government do?

Senator BOB CARR (New South WalesMinister for Foreign Affairs) (14:47): Whether we send observers to a Malaysian election would be a matter for the Malaysian government. We would not have any way of initiating such a proposal; we would respond to a request from them for election observers. I understand that the Malaysian Election Commission itself may be seriously considering inviting international observers to monitor the election. I understand the Malaysian government has argued that the last election must have been fair—it lost its two-thirds majority in the parliament. Again, I have got to say that this is a matter for Malaysia. Our high commission will consider following reporting very carefully and speaking to participants on all sides of Malaysian politics so that the Australian government will have a sense— (Time expired)

Senator XENOPHON (South Australia) (14:48): Mr President, I ask another supplementary question. Is the minister aware that under Malaysia's Peaceful Assembly Act 2012 street protests have been made illegal and the Malaysian opposition leader, Anwar Ibrahim, is now facing being disqualified from parliament for allegedly participating in a street demonstration? Given the Australian government has raised issues of human rights and peaceful assembly and a fair go in a democratic community, will the Australian government be making representations expressing its concerns about these charges that could see the Malaysian opposition leader disqualified from parliament?

Senator BOB CARR (New South WalesMinister for Foreign Affairs) (14:49): All I can say is that the high commission in Kuala Lumpur will continue to follow these unfolding political events in Malaysia as closely as they would in any other jurisdiction.
Source Hansard here.

In fact it must be added that the elections must have been fair because BN lost 5 states and the jewel of its crown Selangor to boot. The then Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi got the boot too, very likely because he lost the traditional 2/3rd majority long held by BN. So much for being unfair. If the Malaysians elections are not fair you won't get a video camera shooter who can't speak Bahasa Malaysia properly getting into Parliament as a YB would you?


Its people like Ambiga and Khoo who is a disgrace to this blessed nation when they go overseas and says nothing good about our Malaysia. Read this  statement by Minister Bob Carr you Bersih fools, no need to get foreigners to interfere in our Constitutional and Sovereign affairs: 

On the bottom line, however, the question of electoral reform in Malaysia is a matter for Malaysians and for their government. 
Perhaps our BN Ministers and politicians too could also learn a thing or two from Senator Bob Carr on how to rebut lies and allegations against our system of Governance before they get out of hand.

Friday, 12 October 2012

An epic fail in race relation, is it due to ignorance or racism or both


This racist event happened in Singapore a couple of days ago:


A Perth woman at the centre of a racism storm in Singapore has fled to WA after she was sacked over a Facebook post that sparked a public outcry.
University of WA graduate Amy Cheong, 37, caused outrage across the South-East Asian republic on Sunday by posting a comment about Malay weddings, which are often held in public spaces beneath housing blocks in Singapore.
Apparently frustrated by the noise from a wedding, she wrote: "How many f…ing (sic) days do Malay weddings at void decks go for? Pay for a real wedding you a……, maybe then the divorce rate won't be so high. How can society allow people to get married for 50 bucks?"
The post went viral within hours, leading to Facebook groups calling for Ms Cheong to be sacked, YouTube videos accusing her of racism against the Malay community and a barrage of malicious online posts.
Ms Cheong, a Malaysian-born Australian citizen, was sacked on Monday from her job as assistant director of Singapore's National Trade Union Congress for Membership Partnership and Alliance.
She issued a long apology, but Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said it had come too late and the damage was done. He condemned the comments as unacceptable and offensive to Malay Muslims.
"It sharply reminds us how easily a few thoughtless words can undermine our racial and religious harmony," he said.
Ms Cheong told state media on Tuesday she was leaving for Perth because of threats to her and her family and to "ease the tension".
In her apology, Ms Cheong wrote: "I am terribly sorry to all who were affected emotionally, mentally and in all other aspects. I am aware of the pain I've caused through my insensitive remarks on social media.
"There was no racism intended in my post. I was trying to rest and the noise was affecting me greatly, however, I do understand this is not a valid reason to post what I did."
Her boss, Lim Swee Say, said firing Ms Cheong was a difficult decision and urged Singaporeans to "spare a thought for Amy and the pain she is going through".
He said the NTUC "would not accept … any words or actions taken by staff that are racially offensive".
It is understood she had been working for the union for a year, but had been living in Singapore for 10 years after moving from Perth, where she grew up.
Singaporean local Ryan Soh, a sales consultant, said the comments had come at a sensitive time in Singapore.
"The Government is trying hard to create a picture of racial harmony because we have a lot of races here, Chinese, Indians and Malays," he said. "It is a balancing act and when these comments came, they touched a lot of raw nerves."
What interest me is how remarkably fast the Singapore Government quickly took action even before the docile minority Singapore Malay community had the chance to react. 

Read this post here to find out what the NTUC(Cheong's employer) and Singapore's PM Lee Hsien Loong said about those racists comment:
The Chinese women in the middle of the storm was born in Malaysia but grew up in Australia, she has an Australian citizenship and is a Singapore PR. Having read her comments in the FB, I can't help but wonder if she wrote the stupid racist comments out of ignorance or just sheer racism on her part. 

Anyway, what happened in Singapore is a good lesson for us Malaysians, how a few words of ignorance and hate could blow into a racial firestorm that could engulf a multiracial multi religious nation if the Leaders in power dither on what to do.
The decisive action by Gomen owned NTUC and the timely statement from the Singapore PM should be an example for our Politicians in the Gomen and the Opposition.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

IF something is too good to be true...IT IS, TOO GOOD, to be true

Have you ever heard of these Ponzi style schemes:

Pak Man Telo
Faza Amal
SwissCash
Lexus Ventures

The way how these schemes work is quite simply by feeding on human greed and gullibility. The scheme's proposers will promise would be investors with returns which are too good to be true, something between 2%-10% per month, yes it is TOO GOOD to be true. Consider this: A licensed Financial and Banking Institutions can only offer returns per year but these schemes can offer sometimes daily, weekly and monthly returns.

How Pyramid Schemes Work

How the scheme work is quite simple, a Scheme receives money from newer investors(new level) to pay the older investors(on the higher level) and take profit on whatever the balance is....and when new investors stop putting in money, the money will dry up and the scheme will fail and disappear leaving a lot of misery, broken family and lost hope in its wake.

These are bare facts:

"It's mathematically impossible for everyone to make money in a pyramid scheme. For example, if each recruit needs to find 10 more people to recoup the cost of his or her initial investment, the eighth level of the pyramid would have to recruit a billion people to make back their money. And the next level would need 10 billion, nearly twice the population of the Earth.
In fact, pyramid schemes don't work unless somebody loses. Those at the bottom of the pyramid are essentially defrauded by those on top. It's a mathematical fact that no matter how many people join a pyramid scheme, 88 percent of the members will be on the bottom level and will lose their money [source:Pyramid Scheme Alert]. Pyramid schemes are illegal because people don't lose their money due to normal market forces, but because the system requires them to lose so that a few at the top will win." Source here

Madoff Ponzi Scheme
Source here at FreakingNews.com
Yes, each one of the above schemes promised impossibly high returns per month and each one folded up when there are no more new  investors gullible enough to invest in the scheme

Now, have you heard of the recent Bank Negara raids on Gold Trading business premises in Malaysia:

Crackdown on gold trading firms to continue


I think these gold trading schemes sounds like it, smells like it, damn it probably is another Ponzi like pyramid scheme.  Don't blame Bank Negara for your troubles OK gold investors, blame yourself for being greedy and gullible....Read this very simple explanation: 

Of Ponzi schemes — Tay Tian Yan

A word of advise by a once gullible and greedy investor, MYSELF: 


There is no easy way to accumulate wealth. You have to go through the mill, you have to understand first and feel how difficult it is to earn even 1 Ringgit. 

The key to making money is not how much you earn, it is how much you can save over time.
“Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it ... he who doesn't ... pays it.” a quote by Albert Einstein. See how it works here.

When I talk about time I am talking about saving from young till you decide to retire in say 25-30 years time. 

There is no shortcut to wealth, if you need to take monetary risk for higher gains  then go for institutions that are recognized and approved by the Gomen..Bursa Saham, Banks, Provident Funds, Mutual Funds, Insurance Funds etc.

.....and if ever someone walk up to you and proposed a Scheme which guarantees 2%-10% return per month on your investment...Run friend....run like hell the other way.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Affordable Housing is serious business, Gomen must stop price speculation!

"We do not see the logic when the Government is so serious about controlling the prices of essential items such as cooking oil, sugar, chicken and a host of other essential items but yet on the subject of house price, it has allowed the situation to remain laissez faire."
Chan Kim Loong

Good read from The Star Online written by Mr. Chan Kim Loong of the National House Buyers Association on this very serious matter of affordable housing:

Affordable housing – let it be a reality not fallacy

DURING the major festivals in this country, we see the authorities conduct vigorous enforcement activities on various price-controlled food items. This is to prevent unscrupulous traders from exploiting the situation by increasing prices of what are deemed as essentials. Sometimes they even secretly stock up such items to create artificial shortages. It is outright profiteering.

We often read about wayward traders being taken to court simply for failure to display prices. Whether such measures breach our free market policy may be open for debate. The bottom line is that it does curb profiteering to a certain extent. Having said that, we would now like to refer to the present scenario in the housing arena.

Affordable housing is now the buzzword. There is no denying that the price of suitable housing has reached a crisis level, beyond the affordability of the average wage earners. This is a highly undesirable situation and, if left unchecked, it can lead to adverse and far-reaching problems. We will end up with a whole generation who will be tenants, subjecting themselves to the whims and fancies of landlords, or who have to commit a vast proportion of their household incomes to service house mortgages.

Bear in mind that the Malaysian household income to debt ratio is among the highest in the world and that the bulk of these debt is incurred in the servicing of house mortgages.

Those who are tenants face the uncertainties of landlords either increasing their rentals or even evicting them. The mortgage group faces a delicate and risky situation where they may get into financial trouble if events do not turn out well. These include the raising of interest rates by financial institutions, any downward trend of property prices, drops in their incomes or the cropping up of other emergencies.

Yes, house prices will go up given any period of time due to natural inflationary forces. This is probably beyond the control of any party. But the recent spate of price escalation is certainly not due to natural forces, the cost of building materials or construction costs, much as industry players would like to make us believe. In the case of land cost, it is a chicken and egg situation.

If house prices have been pushed up (either speculatively or naturally), it goes without saying that land owners would expect higher prices for their land. It is also not due to shortfall of supply over demand as National Property Information Centre (Napic) figures show otherwise.

Rather, it is due to unbridled speculative forces.

On the real property gains tax (RPGT) in Budget 2013, it is unfortunate that our Prime Minister has been ill-advised on the true situation. The rakyat can expect to see an increase in speculative property investments which will in turn further drive up the prices.

Typically, if the property is purchased directly from the developer, it takes 2 years (for landed properties) and 3 years (for strata properties) to be completed. During these construction stages, house buyers are not allowed to sell their properties without the consent of the developer and can only sell the properties after they have been completed.

What the revised RPGT means in lay-man terms is that speculators can purchase properties from property developers upon launch and then flip these properties on after 2 years and having to pay only the proposed 10% (i.e. within the 3rd to the 5th year). After the 5th year, all profits are not taxable. With additional attractive financing packages, very often these speculators just need to pay the 10% downpayment and walk away with a lucrative gain at the end of the construction period.

Stronger and more positive governmental intervention is critically required. We are not suggesting that houses should be subjected to price control like other commodities. But we would like the Government to put in measures to discourage speculation. Alter the landscape to make it less encouraging and less worthwhile for speculation to take place.

We have heard housing developers claim credit for having built X-million number of houses and having created immense wealth when the houses appreciate in value. We also see large numbers of speculators who reap immense profits by just buying/booking and flipping over their purchases and reaping enormous profits. While industry players have cited a host of other causes not all are justified. In any event, the escalation of house prices is good for them as it encourages quick sales brought about by an artificial shortage. On the humanitarian side, there is nothing to feel good about.

Speculative profits are not real profits. Speculators are, in effect, taking money from our future generations to enjoy today. Our future generations – and under the prevailing circumstances, even the present generation as well – will suffer the effects of exorbitant house prices that have resulted in the high household income to debt ratio. This may be legal but it is downright immoral!

The country’s economy will be an unbalanced one because with such a large proportion of family income committed to house mortgages, a typical household will be compelled to be stingy on other expenditures. Thus, the other industries will suffer.

Statistics have proved that the present high income to debt ratio is brought about primarily by house mortgages. It looks like the proverbial horses have already bolted and we are still dragging our feet in closing the barn door!

We do not see the logic when the Government is so serious about controlling the prices of essential items such as cooking oil, sugar, chicken and a host of other essential items but yet on the subject of house price, it has allowed the situation to remain laissez faire.

We believe that the issue of affordable houses is even more crucial than some of the price-controlled items because one can always find alternatives or reduce the intake of some of those items. But the alternatives for a roof over one’s family are the squatter areas, the shelters under our highway flyovers or the five-foot paths in front of shophouses!

While PR1MA is a good move (barring some of our apprehensions), it is also a typical case of treating the symptoms rather than the cause. In this case, the cause is unbridled speculative activities.

Chang Kim Loong is the honorary secretary-general of The National House Buyers Association, a non-profit, non-governmental, non-political organisation manned by volunteers. For more information, check www.hba.org.my or e-mail info@hba.org.my