Friday, June 01, 2007

Straits Times Says We Fear Globalisation

A Kadir Jasin

[Anonymous comments will not be posted. Please use your real name or a suitable pseudonym. Please avoid seditious, defamatory and libellous statements. And, if possible, don’t call anybody bodoh (stupid) ok!]

OUR fellow debater, thegreatteadrinkerdownsouth is kind enough to draw my attention to an article published in the Singapore Straits Times today, June 1.

Since the report mentioned our ongoing discussion on the cooperation between Malaysia and Singapore in the development the Iskandar Development Region (IDR), I would like to re-post the great tea drinker’s comment for general reading.

I thank the great tea drinker for alerting us. The following is his full and unedited comment, which also appears in the comment section of the posting entitled “When Diplomat Speaks Like Politician” dated May 19.

He said: “Salaam, Dato'Please be informed, in case that you don't already know, that Janadas Devan (the son of a late former President of Singapore) has written a stinging op-ed piece ("The paranoia of suspicious minds") which is published in the Spore Straits Times today, June 1.

He has postulated the thesis that the root of Spore's bilateral problems with Malaysia and Indonesia is caused by a disconnect between the thinking of Msian and Indonesian leaders (such as Pak Lah and SBY) and what a large segment of their population feels.And, Dato', he has specifically criticised you in his commentary.

I quote:"It is impossible to believe that educated Malaysians do not know that a 'consultative' body cannot possibly have executive powers. After all, Malaysia itself has had consultative bodies before - including the famous National Consultative Council (NCC).

"That was formed in January 1970, in the aftermath of the 1969 race riots, to involve various groups, including opposition parties, in the effort to find 'permanent solutions to our racial problems', as a contemporary report put it.

"Everyone, including opposition politicians, knew the NCC had no executive powers. That was vested in the National Operations Council, led by then-deputy prime minister Tun Abdul Razak. He was prepared to consult all and sundry, but nobody doubted that his willingness to do so did not imply his ceding control over 'operations'. No Malaysian, not even the non-English speaking ones, confused the National Consultative Council with the National Operations Council.

"So how is it possible for someone like Mr A. Kadir Jassin, a former group editor-in-chief of Malaysia's New Straits Times Press, to suggest that the Malaysia-Singapore JMC (Joint Ministerial Committee) may affect Malaysia's sovereignty?

"It cannot possibly be because he thinks Mr Lee's (Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong) use of the word 'consultative' means that the JMC will be a bilateral 'operations council'.

"Mr Kadir, a crisp writer in English, is too smart to believe such nonsense.

"But he, like many other in Malaysia, have raised this canard because, one, it carries a political percentage on the ground, and two, because they genuinely fear globalisation. The ridiculous fuss over the JMC's purpose is a stand-in for a generalised fear tht the policies that must be put in place to ensure the IDR's success will threaten entrenched privileged domestic groups......

"Prime Minister Abdullah and his senior colleagues understand what is at stake. They know that China and India are breathing down Asean's neck. They have a clear-sighted vision of how the IDR should succeed. But that understanding, knowledge and vision run counter to what plays on the ground. This is a contradiction that Singapore cannot possibly resolve, no matter how much goodwill it manifests. The IDR, if it thrives, will benefit both countries, but only Malaysians can ensure its success...."

And the great tea drinker asked: "Well, Dato' - can we expect a suitable riposte from you? Something that will be published unedited and unexpurgated in the Spore Straits Times?

"And, for the record, do you "genuinely fear globalisation"? Maybe this is another canard which you should forcefully rebut?”


Sitamaya said...

Correct.Who does not fear globalisation? Even the Americans/Europeans are dead worried over the influx of cheap China textiles/apparel and consumer goods into their markets making their workers out of job. The US cries deficit as too much imports cheap consumables from the so called 'efficient' economies. Need not go too far.Our Selayang pasar borong are loaded with fresh, cheap n delicous fruits and veges from China.Our cabbages are from Indonesia.Fancy that, we can't compete with Indon with our cabbages...We are importing large amount of live animals from Singapore..(believe me) when Singapore can't even afford an inch to spare for a ranch.

That's globalisation for us.The AFTA gates are opening.

Bitter or sweet is not the question.But what option is left for us.

IDR is our response to what's coming after AFTA, rising of China and India,furiously competitive neighbours - north and south. It is a matter of time that this reactive innovation will take place.Done carefully, the externalities spread beyond Johor, beyond Malaysia.Hence the jittery feeling of our immediate neighbours.

Consultative dialogue between Malaysia and Singapore is enevitable as both parties are to stand the benefits/losses.Like any other consultative talks between interested parties, the one with the stronger bargaining power rules...which later may be translated into political ramifications.No denial about this fact.Hence, the fear of unfair negotiations are real.I think this is the underlying argument that prompted Dato' AKJ to say his piece.

Anyway,no fear Malaysia. The battles for globalisation's big cakes are in the baking itself.
Salam mesra Dato'.

nstman said...

Those who fear globalisation or oppose it will be left far behind. Globalisation waits for no man. Malaysia is scared of globalisation because it is scared. It is scared to face real competition. The sad thing is that globalisation scare-mongers in this country are gaining credibility with their lies, half-truths and fallacious arguments. Malaysia will continue to be cocooned in its web of stupidity, idiocy, lies if it refuses to accept reality. Malaysia will forever be scared to face the real world if it still believes the lies of these scare-mongers. The reality is that this nation will be swamped by the likes of China and India if we do not change. That is the stark reality facing us. CHANGE OR DIE. Right now the prognosis looks grim. Remember, those who do not learn from the mistakes of the past are condemned to repeat it.

Daily Nibbler said...

The issue is why is our government is seen to be bending over backwards to attract or accomodate Singapore in investing in IDR. Having a JMC is one of them.

Fear globalisation? When it did not benefit them, Singapore refused Air Asia landing rights at their airports until today. At every step, we too must look at the benefits of opening up versus the cost. Anything wrong with that?

The Coffeeshop Economist said...

Datuk and fellow bloggers/debaters,

How could a Singaporean preach freedom and globalization to others when Singapore is one of the most cntralized economonies in the world and a one-party state next only to China, Vietman and Cuba.

Read the following report and you know what it means to be Singaporeans:

"By Fayen Wong | September 16, 2006

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Singapore police stopped an opposition politician from leading a protest march past the venue for the annual IMF-World Bank meetings on Saturday, again highlighting the city-state's restrictions on freedom of speech.

Singapore, which had hoped to show off its economic success by hosting the International Monetary Fund and World Bank meetings this month, has instead attracted surprisingly strong criticism from the two bodies and from NGOs when it blacklisted accredited activists.

With some 16,000 delegates in town for the meetings, including central bankers and finance ministers from around the world, Singapore's curbs on its critics have come under scrutiny.

Opposition politician Chee Soon Juan, secretary-general of the tiny Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) and six other activists wearing white tee-shirts with slogans such as "Freedom Now" held a rally at "Speaker's Corner."

But police stopped their planned march to the convention center, where the IMF/World Bank meetings are taking place.

"The objective of this rally is to highlight that it is our right as citizens of Singapore to gather freely," Chee told a crowd of about 200 people, including journalists. "Singapore is the only economically developed country to oppress its citizens to this extent."


Under Singapore law, public gatherings of more than four people require a police permit. Before Chee arrived, police asked members of the crowd for their names and their reason for gathering at the park.

The moves to stop the protest march came a day after Singapore said it would allow 22 blacklisted globalization foes to enter the country.

Following withering criticism from World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz, Singapore said on Friday night it would allow 22 of the 27 activists on an immigration blacklist into the country. The remaining five would be "subject to interview and may not be allowed in," the Singapore organizing committee for the meetings said in a statement.

The World Bank said it was pleased the government had relented, but called for the other five to be allowed in, too.

"The World Bank still requests that all accredited individuals be permitted to participate, consistent with our Memorandum of Understanding with the Government of Singapore," the bank said in a statement late on Friday.

It added that open dialogue with civil society is important for the effective operation of the institution.

On Friday, Wolfowitz said Singapore had damaged its own reputation by imposing "authoritarian" restrictions on the entry of activists for the meetings.

"This could have been an opportunity for them to showcase to the world their development process," Wolfowitz said at a meeting with activists.


Anti-globalization activists have staged sometimes violent protests at similar meetings in the past, criticizing rich countries for being callous about the poor and the environment.

Some would-be participants have already been deported or refused entry.

ActionAid said that Maria Clara Soares, its head of policy for the Americas Region and a former economic advisor to the Brazilian Ministry of Finance, was held for 30 hours and subsequently deported on Friday.

Three other senior ActionAid activists, all officially accredited by the World Bank and IMF, were detained at the airport for several hours, and repeatedly interrogated and fingerprinted before being released, the group said.

Singapore police say the tight controls are necessary because the tiny island state with the most advanced economy in Southeast Asia was a terrorist target.

More than 160 civil society organizations, who have been meeting on the Indonesian island of Batam on Friday -- a 40-minute boat ride from Singapore -- declared a boycott of the meetings, in response to Singapore's restrictions.

($1=1.577 Singapore Dollar)

(Additional reporting by Geert De Clercq)
© Copyright 2006 Reuters. Reuters content is the intellectual property of Reuters or its third-party content providers. Any copying, republication, or redistribution of Reuters content, including by caching, framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters

Stevie said...

isn't the singborean government what we wish ours are like?

so much vinegar and so little wine.

Allow me this:

thegreatteadrinkerdownsouth said...

Salaam, Dato'

Talk about a one-two punch from the Singapore Straits Times!

Today, June 2, the paper carried a commentary "Malaysia's vision for south Johor brilliant, but..." by Ms Chua Lee Hoong, it's Review Editor.

I quote from Ms Chua's commentary:

"Malaysia's plan to develop south Johor into a thriving metropolis called the Iskandar Development Region (IDR) is a most intriguing idea. Brilliant, in fact, as I said to an official from Khazanah, Malaysia's Temasek equivalent, whom I met on a trip to Danga Bay in the IDR in March.....

"Malaysian media reports say that Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi conceived of the IDR while attending an international conference in Hong Kong in May 2005. He reportedly lamented: 'Why can't Johor, which is only a strip of water away from Singapore, be as prosperous and progressive as the city-state?'.....

"Why do I consider the IDR a brilliant idea? Not because of the economics but because of the politics......

"In terms of economics, the IDR is a no-brainer...The IDR aims to be a Shenzhen, as PM Abdullah has reiterated several times.

"This is what makes the IDR brilliant: It is an economic vision that also achieves political purpose. The plan places Singapore on a knife edge, much as Shenzhen's growth kept Hong Kong - democratic Hong Kong as opposed to the communist mainland - in check politically.

"Shenzhen took off by leveraging on its proximity to Hong Kong. Manufacturing companies were soon joined by logistics, education, financial, legal and other services...

"Now consider Singapore and the IDR. For the IDR to take off, Singapore's participation is crucial. Malaysian leaders know it, and that is why they have been making nice with Singapore in recent months.

"Singapore, however, knows that if the IDR takes off, some of it will be at Singapore's expense. The IDR is gunning for 'quality investments', as a Malaysian minister has said. The six sectors it is eyeing - creative industries, educational, financial advisory and consulting, health care, logistics and tourism - overlap very much with those Singapore is wooing.

"But still, Singapore has to participate in the IDR, not for the sake of being nice but because long-term economics dictate it: If you don't, you might be left behind. An integrated region is Singapore's - and Asean's - best bet against losing out to India and China.

"Singapore knows this, and Malaysia knows Singapore knows this, and hence the durian diplomacy on display in Langkawi two weeks ago: two erstwhile rivals forced together by the compelling logic of economic cooperation.....

"What has been left unsaid so far is this: Will the IDR grow more durians, or will it redistribute durians from Singapore to Johor. If Singapore suffers a hollowing out the way Hong Kong did, who can be counted on to come to the aid of the Lion City?

"Whatever happens, at the moment the biggest obstacles facing the IDR are within Malaysia itself.

"Prime Minister Abdullah has a tough job just convincing his own countrymen that Singapore's involvement will not undermine Malaysia's sovereignty...there remains a large swathe of Malaysians who are deeply suspicious of Singapore. Some of them are in very high places.

"Malay ethnic nationalism and the Malay sense of entitlement to economic privileges have become so entrenched that replacing pro-Malay business regulations with more investor-friendly ones will be a herculean task.

"Foreign direct investment into South-east Asia has climbed in recent years, following a dip after the 1998 financial crisis. But that into Malaysia remains sluggish, lagging behind even Indonesia's.

"As a commentator in a Malaysian newspaper said, 'Malaysia's past habit of fiddling with its policies has caused unease with many foreigners'.....

"What then might help the IDR become a Shenzhen faster? Speaking to the Khazanah chap in Danga Bay, I suggested, tongue in cheek, a merger between Singapore and Johor. I don't know if he was amused or bemused".

A merger between Singapore and Johor? You've got to hand it to these Singapore Straits Times journalists - they've got chutzpah in spades! And an excellent command of English too!

Be that as it may, Ms Chua's commentary contains several thought-provoking points. I wish that one of the English-language papers in Malaysia would re-publish it in it's entirety. And that some Malaysian analysts, commentators or journalists, with an equally good command of English, and an understanding of the issues involved, would write their replies to Ms Chua's commentary.

Have a good weekend, Dato'.

Red84 said...

Dear Dato'

"Prime Minister Abdullah and his senior colleagues understand what is at stake. They know that China and India are breathing down Asean's neck. They have a clear-sighted vision of how the IDR should succeed. But that understanding, knowledge and vision run counter to what plays on the ground. This is a contradiction that Singapore cannot possibly resolve, no matter how much goodwill it manifests. The IDR, if it thrives, will benefit both countries, but only Malaysians can ensure its success...."

China and India only!? I thought this is globalization on a much wider spectrum initiated by the much maligned 'neo-capitalist' and the 'neo-imperialist'. However, I will leave it at that - as David and I love to say, "Live and learn, dude, live and learn"

There is not much to be expected in this duck hunting party as the commentary by Ms Chua Lee Hoong and line "The IDR, if it thrives, will benefit both countries, but only Malaysians can ensure its success. .." hints a couple of pained and very wounded ducks flapping in the air. It would be different if the roast poulet was thrown in as dessert with a Dick Cheney joke to make the camp-fire gang go beserk.

Anyway, what is flying quite high in my mind is the article by BK Sidhu in Starbiz, Thursday 31 May, 2007: Punish those who manipulate accounts. Is that one of the reasons Kouk is in Singapore? We do have an extradition treaty with Singapura, don't we, Dato'?

I thank you - and the tea drinker - for posting the comment canardly.
I do not know of your feeling towards globalization but I am just wary of it as I am wary of the geezers that come around to the house just to inform me that I have won some wonderful prizes in a competition that I know I did not participate in. Sometimes, they call me over on the telephone! (Hey! how they get my number?!)

Thank you and salaam tou you Dato' and the tea drinker.

);-( Samurai said...

Dear Datuk,

Do we fear globalisation?

I say I do and we should...if globalisation means subjugation to others who are economically superior to us.

I mean, heck, we couldn't even build the bridge for heaven's sake! Why? Because had the bridge been built, the Straits of Tebrau would have been opened to marine traffic, allowing cargo barges to pass through thus providing further potential growth to Pasir Gudang and PTP, which would then challenge the PSA's superiority in the region.

And let's get real. We are not an economic powerhouse to dictate terms, or to even have our voice heard to be a meaningful player in this globalisation.

A case in point...some months back the Abdullah Government launched the B5 bio-diesel fuel. It was supposed to have been a standard setter. Reduction in consumption of fossil fuel. Brilliant move! we can then start exporting our palm oil to beused as an additive in B5 and start promoting bio-fuel worldwide.

But hold on a sec! Who are we to start setting standards and now we hardly hear of the B5. Why? because no one car manufacturer is going to certify the B5 and include that in their warranty i.e. you buy say an imported diesel vehicle. After 20,000km done the engine seizes. Upon investigation manufacturere finds out you've been using the B5. Their recommendation is unadulterated diesel and they tell you warranty is void!

Globalisation is good if we can compete on level terms. But at the moment it looks like we will be subjugated to me. Let's take a deep breath and think for one moment. Let's not be taken up too much by this "we are scared of competition" tagline.

Ari said...

Managing a country is not my cup of tea. Whether the one we elected is brave enough to face globalisation, we have to wait and see the progress. If Singaporean goverment are not scared, it is up to them, if we are scared , it is up to us..scared is an in built system that is very important for survival. Those who are scared normally are better prepared, those who are bold and gungho typically left a lot of loop hole for manipulation. Better to be scared..than only we will be more careful.

roc said...

To fear is ok. But what are we doing about it and overcoming the fear? Are we waiting for it to go away or are we arming our people with the skills and mentality to take on globalisation or are we just saying Msia is center of the world thus the world need us and/or NEP will help us with globalisation?

Unfortunately we are not doing much as a nation cos we are more of a jaguh kampung, think that Msia is center of the world and that we will do all right by doing nothing except talk. and fighting among ourselves about 30% and thinking that we are ready for globalisation. LOL.

Look what is happening to Proton, all the protection did not help them cos they didn't get ready cos they thought all will be alright in the global world. Exactly what happen to Proton will happen to some bumiputras in global world cos they think NEP will bail them out.BTW fellow Malays are the ones killing Proton with AP sales.

The toughest survive in the jungle and that is the same with globalisation. If we don't use our competitive advantages and compete with others instead wait for handouts and easy money,pochi lah cos we are a trading nation, not living under a coconut shell.

Keep shouting Malaysia Boleh all Msian regardless of race and do nothing but talk, you will be another note in the history books like Myanmar and PI,a has been...ok mah as long as you are Jaguh Kampung yang Cemerlang, Gemilang dan Terbilang...selamanya

Sarjan low said...


Globalisation is something not for fear as no one can run away from it. We still can question on pro and con of the globalization but the fact is "Globalisation" already knocking your door with full swing ahead, crashing every nation and citizen. Why need fear when when we know can't be avoided... better save the time and energy to prepare how to handle it...just like our smart fellow neighbour.

Singapore can give tons of reason why it should or should not involve in the IDR project but it cannot hide away it fear for the success of the IDR itself. Port Tanjung Pelepas(PTP) success have been seen as threaten singapore port economy so later they go to "cover" their globalisation fear by do the Land reclamation works as it hope will prevent larger container ship from using PTP port.

Given the kind PM gesture to invite singapore to the IDR, Sigapore not only overcome economy fear but also indirectly expand singapore border monitoring (econmoy aspect). So i dont see why singapore will reject IDR even if they know the project will failed, they still have the first info on malaysia economy projection. Somemore now singapore "dijemput"... so they can say "malu menolak" lah..

the peaceful dove said...

Are we against globalisation Datuk?

I don’t think so

Not agreeing with a Singapore Minister being involved in the development of IRD cannot constitute anti-globalisation or the fear of globalisation.

And opening up to Singapore is also not the beginning and an end to globalisation. There’s more than opening up to Singapore in globalisation and free trade.

Singapore not allowing AirAsia to fly to Singapore is also not against globalisation. We all know most of AirAsia’s jets are serviced in Singapore.

Singapore not agreeing to return CPF money belonging to Malaysians is not against globalisation.

Singapore not agreeing to Malaysia building the crooked bridge on its side of the Causeway is not against globalisation.

But Malaysia and Malaysians (some of us at least) defending the right of the majority and wanting a fairer distribution of wealth is anti-globalisation. NEP is anti-globalisation.

Malaysia not selling sand to Singapore is against globalisation.

Malaysia not opening its airspace to Singapore war planes is against globalisation.

If Singapore is so very sincere, let’s see if it agrees to develop the KTM land in Singapore with Malaysia.

Let’s see some quid pro quo.

Let’s get over this persecuted Singapore mentality. Us not agreeing with Singapore or with the way our government is favouring Singaporeans over our own people, Bumi and non-Bumi, does not constitute persecution of Singapore.

I think Singaporeans, including its mouthpiece Straits Times, should stop feeling that we are out to persecute and overrun them.

We have a much smaller armed forces and weaponry than Singapore. Singapore is armed to the teeth with offensive weapon.

But Singaporeans must remember than we are a bigger and more complex country. We are not the PAP country.

We have more people and more races. We have poor and rich people. We enjoy greater freedom. Unlike Singapore we have many political parties with many ideologies and policies.

We cannot just agree and stop the debate just because our PM says Singapore is his good friend and without Singapore IDR is doomed.

In Malaysia we have choices. If in the next election we don’t want the BN to rule anymore, we can vote it out. But can globalised Singaporeans do that?

Democratically, Singapore is not even equipped to join the globalised world.

orang kampung said...

For those who think Malaysia is afraid of globalisation must know that globalisation is NOT new.Had we been afraid, Malaysia would not be multi-racial, multi-colour as we are today but there will always be a question of where do we draw the line so that everything doesn't get too hybridised that we don't recognise our roots anymore.

People in Msia have the right to choose who they want to do biz with.We are not against doing it with the Sporeans..but we don't want them to sit in even as our consultants.Why is it so difficult to see this point?

Some of you continue to wank as though Spore is the only heaven on earth (only their editors write better English, only their politicians have vision..haiyo.Publease..nak muntah!Can you see beyond Spore?)

D!Qgital STUDIO said...

Dear Dato',
Lama benar menanti komen dari Dato'.
Tak jawab tandanya setuju !!!

need to succes said...

Dear Dato' and fellows.

I still waiting comment from student_ipt who so tough fighting back to defend Anwar?

Does ipt student now cannot thinking about this mainstream problem rather than talk nothing about their idol leader?

D!Qgital STUDIO said...

need to succes ...
I like to add bit more... student_ipt I think you should pay a visit to :

Simon Wee said...

On the Malaysian part, I think the hype over IDR by Malaysian leaders is unnecessary and wasteful.

If the Iskandar Development Region in Johor is meant for Singapore Investors, I think the amount of publicity and promotional effort and money going into it is a a waste.

There isn’t any need to hype the attractiveness of Johor as an investment haven for Singaporeans because traditionally Johor had been an instant lure to Singapore investors.

In the 60s and 70s any successful SME business in Singapore would have a branch in Johor Bahru without publicity and promotion.

Then the "flip-flop" policies that followed forced many Singaporean investors to sell their factories, law offices and accountancy firms cheaply to Malaysians while they packed and went back.

One thing about Singaporean investors is that they never blame their own government for their misjudgment in their investment decision. Be it their condo in JB looted to the brick walls, or losses from their CPF investments in stocks and shares, or the failed ventures in ostrich farming, they took it in their stride as bad investment decisions.

But now we are hearing that a special ministerial consultative committee between Malaysia and Singapore will be formed to oversee the Iskandar Development Region (IDR). On Dato's part, he expressed fears of surrendering our sovereinty.

On my part I would caution that the existence of such a Committee would mean that should there be vagaries in Malaysian policies as happened before, the Singapore government would be blamed for getting their people’s fingers burnt. It would mean that Singaporeans would clamour for their government’s intervention. If the Malaysian side then talk like they did in the “bocor” issue, then the Singapore Government would be forced to act.

With so many issues still outstanding between the two countries especially the life-giving waters, Singapore would be tempted to make the “Mersing Line” a reality. (There is a discerning sign that Malaysia would be willing to sell sand to Singapore to make it grow bigger and not to look north for expansion).

Let’s forego the “big talk” and the spending of “big money” for Iskandar Development Region. Just be consistent with our policies and do more than just talk. Deeds speak louder words.

Simon Wee

orang kampung said...


That's a cheap shot..putting up a blog to 'shoot' at Anwar and try to kill him (again).I hope you are also NOT in the entertainment industry.

If there's anything you need to do, it is to look at BA's electoral manifestos not do a character assassination on Anwar or anyone competing for what should be a healthy election.If Anwar was a dirty strategist, that was his style of moving up.Politics, after all, is like chess.The former PM was not short of dirty strategies as well.

For this reason even those in BA/DAP/PAS..once they go for character smear, I know they are not smart enough to lead the nation.So I won't vote that candidate.

So IPT student...go on believing what you like and have a vision.Do not be fooled by one-sided views' blogs.

Sinatra_Z said...

I attended a conference in Harvard a few months back between Harvard students with students representing Asia. There we heard a lecture by one of their best top economist (and most popular) Prof. Man Qiu. He argued that he dosen't understand the fear why some American politicians want to protect General Motors so much and disagree on the motto what's good for GM is good for America.

As an economist he say that in the end he looks at what benefits the consumer most and if Toyota can provide with good cars with low price then let's just close down GM. He also mentioned on how much of a he is s strong believer of Open market by giving an example that if goods from Texas would have problem reaching new york than the economic development of the US would hamper. On how the domestic trades has prospered the economy by cutting any form of red tapes between the states.

I was thinking. There are no problem for say a product from texas to reach new york hence encouraging trades among the states thus prospering the economy. But there are also no problem for a texan to travel to new york and live there thus complementing the system. But free trade means that there is no problem for a product made in mexico to go to the US but there is a problem of mexicans wanting to stay in the us. It seems that free trade and globalisation only picks on certain things the benefits some group of people.

Then in the case of GM, if GM closes down then toyota controls the market by keep delivering cheap cars with quality. But Toyota does not need two sets of factories, management staff, R&D lab to fill in the gap left by GM hence who will fill the gap when it comes to job losses when GM is closed down. Then there are also the case that most toyota parts are made in CHINA, so what happens to the local economy?

Sitamaya said...

Dear Sinatra_z,
At times, the magic of Adam Smith's invisible hands is visibly faltered. Market failure, is the lingering symptom of any open economy. Widening gap between the haves and the have nots, depleting natural resources, environmental neglects and other bad externalities; are some of the aching symptoms.These could be due to the concentration of market power to a small number of firms/individuals and other structural deficiencies; particularly the greedy political-party-related rent seekers.

Anyway, market forces may dictate what is best for the industry, but that's it.Profits go the firms (big chunks go to the CEOs), their workers and suppliers. Consumers may or may not benefit in terms of lower price and better services.

But as you have rightly pointed out - the wheelings n dealings are done between global companies in the name of efficiency or whatever while for the locals, could only watch - helplessly.

Who help the locals? The SMEs? The neglected lots? The deprived n marginalised ones? Those who are distant from opportunities and access? The opportunities are plenty in the US's economy to rebounce.However for a small and vulnerable economy of Malaysia,by being "too open" may pose a big risk (1997 crisis was the proof). Invisible hands may need some helping hands after all.
Salam mesra Dato'.


Is globalisation an answer to anything, in the first place? Maybe it is, maybe it's not but don't have a choice, do we? As a member of Asean, Malaysia has agreed to go along with its follow members and their/our trading partners to pursue the spirit and the essence of globalisation through the various business and trade pacts.

Now, I have not read the piece written by the son of the late former President of Singapore, but I can still ask (partly because I live on the correct side of the Causeway): why does he see it as IDR = globalisation?

Who gives him that idea?

And why does he equate the consultative council that involves two countries (in the case of the Spore-Msia council on IDR) with the consultative council set up after the 1969 riots?

For the information of the son of the late former President, Malaysians' opposition against the IDR joint consultative body has got nothing to do with whether they fear globalisation or not.

IDR is an area in Johor, which is part of Malaysia, a sovereign nation. But with the consultative body comprising ministers from Singapore, one can asssume that Malaysia will not be able to do anything in IDR unless the Singapore ministers are consulted. What use are they to be part of a "consultative" body if the are not consulted before a decision is made, right?

And here I thought the standard of English in Singapore was higher! The son of the late former President of the republic can't even work that one out.

Let me put it another way, Mr son of the late former President. Imagine, just imagine, PM Lee agrees to set up a joint ministerial "consultative" committee on the future development of Singapore?

Does it make any sense?

Red84 said...


No Smell Thai Durians

Strange taste on the tongue isn't it when one is an American and is half-white and half-Asian, looks, smell, think very much like a white and yet they consider one black! The Human Stain.

But we are still on the durian runtuh op-ed and the thing is thats keeps ringing in my ears is the IDR is a with an international, transnational objectives, yet why is the pembesar from Singapura is so hard up wanting to have a Joint-Ministerial Committee?

I will have to ask the Dubai and UAE how they did go about it - developing UAE. I wonder if they have their JMC as the Singapurans so much tell us we should.

I think Singapura should provide us with a test case of a city-state coming to terms with growth and limited land. Well, they can grow upwards and reach the sky as they so often claim to be doing or go underground.

Seriously, think about it.
The technology is there and even if it is not there, well the Singapurans are intelligent enough to show the world that it can be done as how they did it with the Neu H2O. The Thais showed that they can come up with durians without smell(but I thought flavor has alot to do with smell), therefore the Singapurans can do one better!

Another thing is, it would be good preparation in case of a nuclear war breaks out.

Ahh, the pembesar Singapura wants to join the Federation of Malay States, Wilayah Persekutuan, Sabah and Sarawak, is that it?


Thank to all debaters for your spirited participation.

My brief thoughts on this issue --- the writer is so Singapore-centric that he confuses globalisation with opening up to Singapore.

Of course the Straits Times has to come to the defence of Singapore's PM for having agreed to the setting up of the JMC.

It is an embarrassment to Lee Jr. that his gesture is rejected by a large majority of Malaysians.

Singapore PAP leaders are not used to being rejected.

I think Lee Jr. miscalculated.

In trying to show that Malaysia-Singapore relations have improved in the post-Mahathir/post-LKY era, he misjudged the sentiments of the Malaysian people.

Unlike in Singapore, we are still fairly free to express our views. I think even Singaporeans are embarrassed but they have no way of telling their leaders.

As for competition, I think Singapore should worry more about globalisation. If it misses the bandwagon, its narrow services-based economy will suffer.

Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia, on the other hand, have a wider economic base.

I think we are more than aware about globalisation and free flow of capital.

Long before globalisation became a vogue, Tun Dr Mahathir initiated a raid on the London Stock Exchange to gain control of the British-owned Guthrie Corporation.

So do we really need the son of a former Singapore President and Bangsar PAP MP to preach globalisation to us?

Thank you.

seantang said...

Are you concerned about the protection of "Malaysia's sovereignty" or the protection of rent-seeking discriminatory economic policies?

I can assure you that 40% of Malaysians do not see Singapore's involvement in the IDR as a bad thing.


Dear Mother of Success,

I wish you had allowed me to post your message to me. You have a point there. But I respect your wishes.

Yes, I have given many "funny" advice to many people in my life. I've forgotten what they were and to whom.

As for the PRDM, I have no doubt than the IGP Tan Sri Musa Hassan is a good man and he's trying his best to cope.

Here, all of us have to take responsibility.

Just to illustrate a recent case. A very important cabinet level Pembesar lost some valuable personal items when attending an important wedding.

But I was told that when the police traced the crime to children of local politicians affiliated to the Pembesar, they were "requested" to drop the case.

If such a tale is true, I am very very worried. One of the things we considered during the sitting of the Royal Commission on PRDM was the inteference in police investigations by politicians.

We also heard many domestic complaints and problems affecting families of policemen. I pray that Musa is successful in whatever he's doing to improve the performance and integrity of PDRM.

Thank you.

Simon Wee said...

Dear fellow bloggers,

pls see my post on blogger challenging fellow blogger to sue him

thegreatteadrinkerdownsouth said...

Salaam, Dato'

Well said, Sir!

Now, for a Malaysian academic's view on this subject, you might want to read Johan Saravanamuttu's "IDR - Shenzhen or Achille's Heel?". This was published in abridged form in the Spore TODAY paper (, June 6. The full version of the commentary can be found at

Sdr Johan was a former Dean (Research) at Universiti Sains Msia. He is currently a Visiting Senior Research Fellow at Spore's Institute of Southeast Asian Studies.

(Aside to Dato': have you considered becoming a Visiting Senior Fellow at ISEAS Spore? Just think - you could pen provocative commentaries which would be published in such august papers like the Spore Straits Times and Business Times!)

Incidentally, Sdr Johan made several interesting, and I dare say, controversial, points in his commentary.

Such as:

"...economic diplomacy has seemingly led the way to perhaps the most significant turn in Msia-Spore ties in recent years...going beyond the hype, could the IDR be a realistic project for Spore's long-term economic involvement in Johor and, by extrapolation, Msia in general?...

"...the IDR could be a prime example of how economic diplomacy can pave the way for sustainable economic relations between Msia and Spore in years to come...

"...the IDR could also become the Achilles heel of a relationship often wrecked on the shores of irreconcilable 'national' economic interests - witness the unresolved water supply issue...

"...if one were to take Shenzhen as the model, many criteria do not apply to the IDR. First, a joint ministerial committee is far from being the equivalent of a governmental authority with full decision-making powers.

"Admittedly, the Msian govt has said it will relax various norms, including keeping in abeyance the dreaded stipulations of affirmative actions and quotas. Still, Johor and Umno politics could get in the way...

"...more serious would be the questions regarding Msian human resources capacities. Msia has a poor track record with respect to 'mega' projects. By most accounts, the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) and Cyberjaya, constructs of the Mahathir era, are in limbo.

"What could push the IDR beyond the kind of problems that have stalled the MSC? Would it be the economic diplomacy factor? The hallmark of such diplomacy is to let economics lead the way rather than politics. But could politics stall such a process?

"In this era of open borders, it has become axiomatic that private sector collaboration is the driver for economic integration. The IDR could serve as the lynchpin for the beginnings of economic integration of this region of Johor with Spore.

"The ultimate vision for the IDR-Spore economic zone would be a customs union, where tariff and non-tariff barriers are harmonised - or even a common market that presages the free flow of capital and labour..."

I am sure that there will be many other commentaries on the IDR and the dynamics of Msia-Spore relations in both the Msian and Spore papers and business publications, as well as in the ruminations of Msian and Spore-based think-tanks.

Be that as it may. I crave your indulgence to report that I am impressed by some other developments in Spore:

- that 22 of the Gulf region's wealthiest families and Spore's DBS Bank (owned by Temasek Holdings) have set up the Spore-based Islamic Bank of Asia. Reports say that this new bank, which will operate on Islamic principles, is targetting to get a share of managing the wealth of the region's 2.5 million high net worth individuals, whose wealth is estimated at close to US$3 TRILLION. And I am thinking to myself - why can't such a bank be set up in Msia, which is acknowledged to be a leader in Islamic banking and finance?

- that Spore has 7 hedge funds, each with a capital of US$1 billion+. It is estimated that Spore now has US$19 billion in hedge fund assets. compared with US$33.5 billion in such assets in Hong Kong. Where are the hedge funds in Msia?

- and that the Asian edition of Time magazine had a recent cover story on Spore's determined attempt to remake itself into a "global city" and a destination and playground for the rich and famous from around the world a la New York, London and Paris. And I am thinking to myself - when, if ever, will KL become a "global city" with good infrastructure, well-educated citizens, a cosmopolitan atmosphere and population, global linkages, and the "buzz" and "fizz" one associates with New York or London? Or will KL forever be relegated to the 2nd tier of cities? Or the 3rd tier if we let our penchant for infrastructure maintenance Msian-style gather speed?

Just saying...


Terima kasih kepada semua kerana terus berkunjung dan berbahas.

Sdr Red84, Sdr Bakaq dan Sdr Teadrinker...., the idea of having this blog is to share ideas and to debate.

Setuju atau tidak setuju itu hak masing-masing.Kalau kita bersetuju sepanjang masa, tak payahlah kita berbahas. Malah ruang ini pun tidak relevan lagi.

Hatta keputusan baik Perdana Menteri hendak berkahwin semula itupun dipersetujui dan tidak dipersetujui.

Saya setuju 100 peratus asalkan ia tidak mengganggu tugas PM sebagai pentadbir nombor satu negara dan membazirkan wang negara. PM has his household vote and for as long as he keeps within the allocated budget, we should not have any problem with his wedding.

Of course this is a unique situation. This is the first time in our Merdeka history that the PM marries while in office. We also take note of the fact that his previous wife, Kak Endon, passed away when he is in office.

He needs companion, and marriage dismisses whatever suspicion we may have of his private life. We should be happy for him and his bride-to-be. Let's hope that she becomes a worthy companion to the PM; someone who brings him credit and NOT causing him discredit. Pak Lah chooses her and we elected Pak Lah. That's the deal.

And if any of you have time, please read today's lead story of the NST on Pak Lah being under appreciated. Log-in to e-media to read.

Thank you and have a good weekend.

Red84 said...


Kesemua Ahli Bahagian-Bahagian UMNO Pulau Pinang are the President's Men. Unless, any should say the contra:

"SELAMAT PENGANTIN BARU, YAB Datuk Seri DiRaja Abdullah Bin Ahmad Badawi dan Moga-Moga Sejahteralah Rumahtangga Baru Yang Akan DiDirikan"

To Datuk Sharip Udang:
Watch your back, Dato'. Datin Seri Endon would have been proud of your service and loyalty. But there is a new 'queen' around.

Thank you and salaam.

Red84 said...

Datuk Abdul Kadir Jasin


Malaysia-Singapore Relations: Economic Diplomacy and the IDR
Johan Saravanamuttu:
"If so, then the IDR could indeed become a prime and actual example of how economic diplomacy would pave the way for sustainable economic relations between Malaysia and Singapore in years to come... Much could go wrong if the political players fail to resolve or manage differences that have come with a baggage of historical irritations in Malaysia-Singapore relations...For now, however, it remains for the architects and purveyors of the new economic diplomacy on both sides to put their money where their mouth is."

I am more into: "There was even icing on cake, which came in the shape of a categorical statement that both governments would accept the ruling of the International Court of Justice on the Pedra Branca (Pulau Batu Putih) dispute, a rocky island outpost contested by both countries by November of this year. Without doubt, the event marks the high watermark of Singapore-Malaysia..."

I will say that this is more of a Johore problem and Mat Nor Yackop to look into while Abdullah should -must - be given some quality time for his honeymoon with Jeanne. Amazing that I could go along with that 'happier prime minister' statement.

Well, and just to show you that I am an earth bound misfit I am more interested in the recent developments in Bangkok and the southern of Thailand. And Teadrinker can have the honor of stating for the record what his thought or opinions are on this subject. Here, I would most probably reflect the thoughts of one Ruhanie Ahmad(abang mad); but then this is just pure conjecture.

Still, " Reportedly US$105 billion is to be expended in the IDR, although we are not told over what period of time." As I am very much for the President of UMNO: Sdr Senator Mat Nor Yakop what are you actually doing?

I have a funny feeling Federer will win Roland Garros this year.

Terima kasih and a productive weekend to all.

langit biru said...

Sdr red84:"Kesemua Ahli Bahagian-Bahagian UMNO Pulau Pinang are the President's Men". Budayanya begitu dan semua cuba menonjolkan diri sebagai orang Presiden, walaupun hatinya condong kearah lain! Permatang Pauh menjadi bahagian pertama melancarkan jentera piliharaya dengan matlamat "mengkuburkan PKR" di Permatang Pauh. Namun, jentera itu cuma bertahan seminggu apabila "orang Presiden" masuk campur!

Sdr red84: "To Datuk Sharip Udang" cukup menarik kalau orang Kualo Kangsar mengambil tahu perkembangan Pulau Pinang. Juga cukup menarik untuk mengenali orang(luar Penang) yang mengenali Sharip Udang!

Red84 said...


Dgn Izin.

Sdr Langit Biru,

Well noted and thank you.
UMNO is wonderul, funny, crazy party: love it or hate it. That's my take. And, adek-beradek dan kawan-kawan bertaburan di atas muka bumi Allah swt ini.

On PKR, you may need to refer to Tok Arab Masjid Simpang Enam, George Town. I am just a nobody, Sdr Langit Biru. If you want a somebody to talk to, go and see Abdullah Ahmad Badawi(President of UMNO). This is, where anything goes and the owner will decide.

Further and for Sdr Teadrinker's articulation:

Environmental Technology in Singapore – A Country Study
Report Summary

Current status

The environmental industry in Asia is a growing one. Across Asia, some 760,000 tons of solid waste are generated daily. By 2025, this rate would increase to 1.8 million tons per day. The East and the South East Asian markets are estimated to reach US$50 billion by 2010. As Environmental Technology assumes a new phase, business opportunities abound for companies both in Singapore and the region.

Singapore, a country with few natural resources, faces the challenging task of dealing with an increasing amount of waste generated by its population. In 2002, 2.2 million tonnes of the 5 million tonnes of waste generated, have been recycled (overall recycling rate 45%). Singaporeans generate some 7,200 tonnes of solid waste a day.

Singapore has built up an enviable track record in environmental management and is known for its clean and green reputation. As a progressive user of environmental technologies in Asia, Singapore is known to have struck a balance between economic development and environmental protection. Through the years, Singapore environmental services companies have developed technical expertise in the areas of water technology, waste and wastewater treatment, clean air, consulting and engineering services.

Unlike other countries in the Southeast Asian region, Singapore is equipped with necessary funds, technology, and administrative capacity to maintain a favorable living environment and improve its quality. However, the success so far achieved in environmental management was largely dependent on the strong initiative of the government.

Importance of Environmental Technology for Singapore

The limited land space and high population density in Singapore impose great constraints on the management of the water resources, wastes disposal and the environment in general. Singapore relies on the import of nearly all of its raw energy supply for transportation, power generation, industrial and domestic energy needs.

Up to 50% of water used in Singapore is imported from neighbouring countries.

Singapore's water demand has been increasing at some 3% per annum in the last ten years and is expected to increase significantly due to the projected increase in water intensive high-tech and life-sciences industries. In addition to the economic burden, the dependence on neighbouring countries for a vital resource is undesirable and potentially risky.
Governmental agencies and institutions in Singapore, such as Ministry of the Environment, Ministry of Trade and Industry, Economic Development and the universities, have developed a strong inter-agency and institutional linkages. These agencies have been working very closely and providing strong support to develop the local environmental industry....

"In a seminar in Singapore on 23 May, the Managing Director of UEM Land, Wan Abdullah Wan Ibrahim, was upbeat about the prospect of private sector investment from across the border. He said that by the year’s end, some S$38.5 million would be purchased by Singaporeans in industrial lots in the IDR. The Nusajaya area, the first to be developed, will see the establishment of an industrial park, a waterfront precinct, theme parks, an educational city, a medical park and residential areas. Plans are in place for a medical faculty to be run by Newcastle University and a private institution run by iCarnegie of Carnegie Mellon University...All of this sounds like a jolly good start. However, a reality check..."
Johan Saravanamuttu
01 Jun 2007

Terima Kasih dan Salaam

thegreatteadrinkerdownsouth said...

Salaam, Dato'

Quick note to red84: Nadal won the French Open, beating Federer in the final. And Lewis Hamilton won his maiden F1 race - the Canadian Grand Prix. Way to go, dude! That's what talent is all about (and here I am thinking about our Alex Yoong's foray into the world of F1 racing, and how that turned out).

Back to this Msia-Spore thingy, for which the IDR is a surrogate.

Whatever one thinks of Spore (and its govt), the inescapable fact is that they have got their act together. Conducive business environment, good governance, transparency, absence of corruption, no policy flip-flops, personal safety, welcoming of foreign talent, world-class infrastructure (properly maintained) - what's not to like (especially when compared to next door Johor?).

I was looking at Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) statistics the other day. These are not "half-past-six" statistics of doubtful parentage - they emanate from UNCTAD and the UN.

For the period 1999-2005, 6 countries (Indonesia, Msia, Philippines, Spore, Thailand & Vietnam)in S-E Asia pulled in 2.92% of global FDI inflows (by comparison, East Asia (China, Hong Kong, Korea and Taiwan) pulled in 10.9% of global FDI inflows.

Of the 6 S-E Asian countries, Spore attracted 1.61% of global FDI inflows for the period (1999-2005). The comparitive figure for Msia - 0.39%. Or, to put it another way, Spore got more than 50% of the FDI flowing into S-E Asia for that period. One country, Spore - that little red dot!

What's wrong with this picture? As far as Msia is concerned - an awful lot! If a miniscule city-state with a population of some 4 million can get this amount of FDI, then it must be doing something right.

I think that Pak Lah, and some of his key advisors, have understood this. Sadly, the bulk of the govt are coasting along in comfort mode, including those who take pot-shots at Spore, simply because they don't have a clue how to handle globalisation and an increasingly borderless world that pays little heed to racial and religious posturings.

And consider the comments made by Abdulla Hasan Saif, the chairman of the newly-established Spore-based Islamic Bank of Asia (IBA) - a venture between Spore's DBS Bank and 22 prominent families and companies in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries - in a recent interview with the Spore Business Times (

When asked why the IBA is based in Spore, he said: "We had a list of centres where we could potentially set up the bank, but we finally decided on Spore. The financial market in Spore is very well-developed and regulated. And given the critical mass of international financial institutions based here, we will have no problems finding counter-parties. Also, Spore has a very transparent and forward-looking regulatory regime. This, and its implications for governance, is a huge factor for basing IBA in Spore".

Isn't it sad that those charged with developing the banking and finance sector in Msia don't seem to have learnt their lessons yet?

thegreatteadrinkerdownsouth said...

Salaam, Dato'

Congratulations! Your response to Janadas Devan's commentary was published today (June 12) in the Spore Straits Times under the heading "PM Lee is taken very seriously". Not in a very prominent position - only on page 18 of the paper in it's Review section, but still......

I am not sure if your response was edited by the Straits Times, or whether they have given you a copy of your response, as published.

Be that as it may, you raised some good points. Especially the point about the IDR being a political decision spearheaded by the Prime Minister of Msia.

I also appreciate your point about "entrenched privileged domestic groups", but to raise the issue of "some of them are investing billions of US dollars in Singapore's mega gaming projects or are transferring the control of their assets to Singapore" is a tad mischievous. A decision by a company to invest overseas can be a sound one if it's home market is saturated or is showing slow growth in terms of revenues and profits. And a decision to list on the Spore stock exchange can also be justified if such a move results in the assets in question getting a better valuation, because of the concentration of international fund managers and sophisticated investors in Spore - something for which Msia can only blame itself by not attracting such people and institutions in sufficient numbers.

Where I would take issue with you is your statement "my concern is for the majority, who are still poor and are unable to compete in a laissez-faire environment. Incidentally, these very same people form the core support for the government".

To this, my rejoinder would be - what have we, as a country, being doing in the 50 years since gaining independence. We inherited a fairly good system of education and a reasonably efficient civil service from the British (as too did Spore). Instead of building on this foundation, and emulating internationally accepted best practices, we chose to go off on all sorts of tangents (witness, for example, the contortions of our national education policy and our agonising over the position of English in our education system), spending billions in public funds, and still, 50 years on, having a majority of the population "who are still poor and unable to compete...".

I ask you, Dato' - is this logical?

Lali said...

This is great info to know.

About Me

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I was born in 1947 in Kedah. I came from a rice farming family. I have been a journalist since 1969. I am the Editor-in-Chief of magazine publishing company, Berita Publishing Sdn Bhd. I was Group Editor NST Sdn Bhd and Group Editor-in-Chief of NSTP Bhd between 1988 and 2000. I write fortnightly column “Other Thots” in the Malaysian Business magazine, Kunta Kinte Original in Berita Harian and A Kadir Jasin Bercerita in Dewan Masyarakat. Books: Biar Putih Tulang (1998), Other Thots – Opinions & Observations 1992-2001 (2001), The Wings of an Eagle (2003), Mencari Dugalia Huso (2006), Damned That Thots (2006), Blogger (2006), PRU 2008-Rakyat Sahut Cabaran (2008), Komedi & Tragedi-Latest in Contemporary Malaysian Politics (2009) and Membangun Bangsa dengan Pena (2009).