Monday, 22 September 2014

Thank You TSKI!

Thank you for your clean leadership. I wish you all the best in your future undertakings. May Allah grant you will more rahmat and berkat.


It's a pity that rakyat of Selangor miss their their chance of having the first female Menteri Besar in Malaysia.

Congratulations to YB Azmin for his appointment as the new, 15th Selangor Menteri Besar. Please lead Selangoreans to a greater height.

Praise to Allah, the Almighty.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Are you a kiasu too?

You know you cannot survive without the Internet when you actually act like this... http://arenaKu.sharethisstory.net/my-829834-5724


Sent from my iPhone

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Happy birthday Malaysia

Malaysia celebrates its 51st birthday today. It's a public holiday but the mood for celebration is not as grand as Hari Merdeka. For the record, Malaysia and Sabah got their independence from British imperialist on 31 August. Malaya in 1957 and Sabah 1963. Sarawak gained hers on 22 July 1963.

And happy birthday to my colleague, Azreena. Moga murah rezeki, berkat usia.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Global Finance Grades The World’s Top Central Bankers 2014

NEW YORK, September 5, 2014 — Global Finance magazine has named the heads of the central banks of India, Israel, Malaysia, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland and Taiwan as the World’s Best Central Bankers over the past year, in recognition of their achievement of an “A” grade on Global Finance’s Central Banker Report Cards. In addition, the central bankers of Chile, Colombia and the European Union earned “A-” grades.

The Central Banker Report Cards, published annually by Global Finance since 1994, grades central bank governors of nearly 70 key countries (and the European Union) on an “A” to “F” scale for success in areas such as inflation control, economic growth goals, currency stability and interest rate management. (“A” represents an excellent performance down through “F” for outright failure.) Subjective criteria also apply. This year, 17 central banks are being graded for the first time.

Global Finance publisher and editorial director Joseph Giarraputo notes, “Global economies are starting to recover, despite rising geopolitical risk in certain markets. Central bankers once again face challenging times in managing monetary policy to positively influence economic stability and growth—and some of the changes in our scores this year reflect those challenges. Every year, we assess the determination of central bankers to stand up to political interference and their efforts at influencing their governments on such issues as spending and economic openness to foreign investment and financial services.”

The full Central Banker Report Cards 2014 report will be published in the October issue of Global Finance.

The Central Bankers earning an “A” rating in the Global Finance Central Banker Report Card feature publishing in the October issue are:

  • India Raghuram Rajan A
  • Israel Karnit Flug A
  • Malaysia Zeti Akhtar Aziz A
  • Philippines Amando Tetangco Jr. A
  • Saudi Arabia Fahad al-Mubarak A
  • Switzerland Thomas Jordan A
  • Taiwan Fai-Nan Perng A

The Central Bankers earning an “A-” rating are:

  • Chile Rodrigo Vergara A-
  • Colombia José Dario Uribe Escobar A-
  • European Union Mario Draghi A-

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Putrajaya perlu ‘political will’ pulihkan MAS

Ditulis oleh: Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed

Akhirnya, pemilik Sistem Penerbangan Malaysia (MAS) iaitu kerajaan Malaysia melalui Khazanah Nasional mengumumkan 12 pelan tindakan bagi menyelamatkan ikon kebanggaan negara, Jumaat lalu, selepas dinantikan semua pihak bagi mengembalikan semula nyawa kepada syarikat penerbangan yang sedang nazak dan “berdarah” RM3 juta sehari.
Saya turut menantikan tindakan Khazanah Nasional yang dipimpin individu berpengaruh dan amat sinonim dengan pelan pemulihan MAS sejak ia mula diambil semula daripada tokoh perniagaan kontroversi, Tan Sri Tajuddin Ramli tetapi terus tidak mendatangkan sebarang hasil konkrit.
Selepas dua kali menulis mengenai MAS dalam ruangan saya dalam portal berita ini, bertajuk “Kerajaan, MAS dan industri penerbangan negara ‘sakit’” bahagian 1 dan 2 yang diterbitkan pada 6 Mac dan 1 April lalu, terus terang saya terpaksa akui tiada apa yang menarik mengenai pelan tindakan MAS itu. 
Selain terus menggunakan wang rakyat berjumlah RM6 bilion yang terpaksa dilabur bagi menyelamatkan “Wau” negara ini, penstrukturan MAS hanyalah bersifat penstrukturan kewangan atau lebih kepada membersihkan “balance sheet”.
Tetapi saya tersenyum juga memandangkan Khazanah bersetuju dengan artikel saya dalam portal berita ini, mengenai pentingnya Dasar Penerbangan Negara digubal bagi memastikan setiap syarikat penerbangan tempatan dapat beroperasi secara kompetitif.
Bagaimanapun, sedikit kecewa kerana tiada huraian mengenai Dasar Penerbangan Negara itu, yang sepatutnya diumumkan Menteri Pengangkutan atau Khazanah mahu menyimpan sedikit rahsia bagi mengejutkan semua orang.
Sesuatu yang sebenarnya langsung tidak perlu dilakukan bagi menyimpan rahsia menyelamatkan MAS atau syarikat pelaburan kerajaan itu perlu menunggu hasil khidmat konsultan asing berjuta ringgit yang dilantik seperti kebiasaan dilakukan.
Itulah yang selama ini, menjadi “kekuatan” Khazanah, melantik konsultan dengan belanja berjuta ringgit bagi menjalankan kerja mereka sedangkan, umum mengetahui betapa pengurusan tertinggi syarikat pelaburan berkenaan, memperoleh upah yang begitu lumayan sekali berbanding GLC lain.
Lebih memelikkan Khazanah memerlukan sehingga tiga tahun untuk menjalankan penstrukturan kewangan MAS tetapi langsung tidak menghuraikan mengenai model perniagaan baru syarikat berkenaan bagi meletakkan ia semula menjadi pemain utama dalam industri penerbangan di rantau ini.
Apabila Qantas Australia mengumumkan kerugian beberapa hari semula pengumuman Khazanah, ia seakan cuba memberitahu semua syarikat penerbangan dunia berhadapan dengan kemerosotan kewangan hingga mengakibatkan kerugian.
Namun di Malaysia, ia sesuatu yang amat berbeza memandangkan setiap kali MAS mengumumkan kerugian, setiap kali itulah syarikat tambang rendah negara, AirAsia mengumumkan keuntungan.
Malah, model perniagaan AirAsia kemudian seakan ditiru Malindo Air sekaligus terus memberikan tekanan kepada MAS hingga ada tanggapan Khazanah selaku pemilik MAS “buta” dengan apa yang sedang berlaku di AirAsia.
Bukan mahu memuji AirAsia tetapi siapa boleh menyangkal kemajuan dalam syarikat berkenaan yang beroperasi tidak sampai dua dekad tetapi kini mempunyai akses laluan domestik dan antarabangsa kepada lebih banyak negara berbanding MAS.
Atas sebab itu juga Khazanah dan kerajaan cuba untuk mewujudkan sinergi dengan AirAsia dan ia dilakukan pada Ogos 2011 melalui Kerangka Kerja Usaha Sama Komprehensif (CCF) bagi membolehkan MAS, AirAsia dan AirAsia X meneroka peluang bekerjasama dalam pelbagai bidang, bagi memanfaatkan kecekapan teras masing-masing dan mengoptimumkan kecekapan.
Sebagai sebahagian daripada CCF itu, Khazanah dan Tune Air menjalin perjanjian pertukaran saham bagi menjajarkan kepentingan pemegang saham utama MAS dan AirAsia, yang sekaligus akan mengukuhkan potensi kerjasama berkenaan dan majlis menandatangani CCF itu saksikan sendiri Perdana Menteri, Datuk Seri Najib Razak sebagai “endorsement” terhadap usaha berkenaan.
Namun seperti kata pepatah “harapkan panas hingga ke petang, rupanya hujan di tengah hari”, selepas lapan bulan dikecam semua pihak termasuk Ahli Parlimen BN dalam sidang Dewan Rakyat, MAS dan AirAsia membatalkan perjanjian berkenaan.
Dan lebih malang lagi, kedua-dua syarikat penerbangan itu, kemudiannya didenda Suruhanjaya Anti Persaingan (MyCC) pada September 2013 kerana CCF itu, mempunyai matlamat berkongsi pasaran domestik.
Ada yang menyatakan pada saya, denda yang dikenakan MyCC itu adalah sesuatu yang amat kelakar kerana bagaimana satu perjanjian yang dirangka sekelompok individu berkuasa dan berpengaruh di Malaysia sama ada dalam bidang perniagaan atau kerajaan, boleh dikenakan denda?
Adakah mereka ini, langsung tidak berfikir atau terlepas pandang mengenai matlamat CCF itu yang jelas melanggar undang-undang atau adakah mereka berasa mereka di atas undang-undang?
Justeru, satu lagi episod baru MAS dilakonkan sekali lagi melalui penstrukturan yang diumumkan dan dengan tiada langsung kerangka mengenai penstrukturan operasi MAS, sebenarnya, tidak banyak boleh dilakukan bagi memulihkan semula “Wau” negara  kembali ke zaman kegemilangannya pada tahun 80-an.
Malah jika diteliti pada semua pelan tindakan berkenaan, ia seakan sama seperti yang pernah cuba diusahakan Datuk Seri Idris Jala yang dipilih menjadi pengarah urusan MAS pada 2005.
Sebenarnya, MAS memerlukan penstrukturan operasi radikal dalam memastikan ia mampu bersaing dengan AirAsia khususnya, terutama sekali merebut semula cengkaman terhadap laluan domestik yang kini, dibolot syarikat penerbangan tambang murah berkenaan.
Pada masa sama ancaman MAS juga tidak hanya berkisar kepada AirAsia tetapi juga Dasar Langit Terbuka yang akan dilaksanakan pada 2015 yang membolehkan semua syarikat penerbangan asing bebas untuk keluar masuk penumpang ke negara ini.
Ketika MAS dikatakan mempunyai kelebihan sebagai “full service airline”, ia sebenarnya tidak lagi memberi sebarang keistimewaan kepada penumpang masa kini, yang lebih mementingkan harga tambang murah dan sanggup berkompromi terhadap faktor keselesaan.
Selain itu, armada pesawat MAS yang sudah berusia juga perlu diganti dengan segera kerana ia bukan sahaja merugikan daripada segi penyelenggaraan dan operasi tetapi juga imej MAS.
Semua perkara ini, tidak disentuh Khazanah dalam 12 pelan tindakannya, yang ada hanya mengurangkan pekerja dan usaha lain termasuk mewujudkan syarikat baru (NewCo) bagi mengambil alih semua yang dimiliki MAS termasuk liabiliti.
Ia sebenarnya amat “dejavu” untuk saya apabila membaca mengenai penubuhan NewCo ini, seakan sama seperti apa yang pernah dilakukan Khazanah melalui Penerbangan Malaysia Berhad (PMB) yang ditubuhkan pada 2002, sebagai salah satu usaha menstrukturkan MAS dan akhirnya mengakibatkan kerugian kepada kerajaan kira-kira RM3 bilion.
Jika kerajaan benar-benar ikhlas dalam memulihkan semula MAS, ia sepatutnya menggunakan peluang ini, bagi memastikan Dasar Penerbangan Negara yang bakal digubal benar-benar bersifat inklusif serta pragmatik.
Kita sudah tentu tidak mahu, apa yang akan dilakukan kerajaan bagi memulihkan semula MAS melalui Dasar Penerbangan Negara, bakal membantut dan menekan syarikat penerbangan tempatan lain daripada berkembang.
Ini adalah situasi tidak elok untuk imej Malaysia dalam iklim ekonomi dan perniagaan dunia kerana seharusnya, semua syarikat penerbangan tempatan diberikan peluang dan perlindungan sama rata, bukan terikat dengan emosi serta sentimen masa lalu seperti kata pepatah “jangan yang dikejar tidak dapat, yang dikendong berciciran” kerana apa yang penting adalah dasar ini, memberikan kebaikan kepada rakyat dengan laluan bertambah dan kos tambang yang rendah.
Apa yang berlaku pada MAS bukan sesuatu yang luar biasa atau misteri seperti dialami MH370, tetapi ia pernah terjadi kepada banyak syarikat penerbangan utama dunia seperti Japan Airlines dan British Airways.
Yang paling penting adalah “political will” daripada Putrajaya dalam memastikan MAS benar-benar mampu pulih seperti yang pernah dikecapinya.
Jika ramai yang memikirkan nasib 6,000 pekerja MAS yang bakal kehilangan pekerjaannya dalam penstrukturannya, bagaimana pula dengan nasib baki pekerjanya, yang terus tertanya-tanya apa sebenarnya masa depan mereka dan apa sebenarnya hala tuju MAS di tangan Khazanah.
Khazanah sudah membelanjakan dan kemudian rugi RM17 billion  dalam MAS sejak ia mengambil alih daripada Tan Sri Tajuddin dan kini, kerajaan bersetuju menyalurkan sekali lagi RM6 bilion dalam bentuk “pelaburan” dan apa yang digariskan Khazanah langsung tidak berkisar kepada penstrukturan operasi dan perniagaan.
Dan di sebalik segala kerugian yang dialami Khazanah terhadap MAS, ada suatu yang amat pelik dan menjadi tanda tanya apabila tiada siapa dalam Khazanah dipertanggungjawabkan atas segala kegagalan pelan-pelan penstrukturan sebelum ini, yang hanya disaksikan dalam episod MAS lalu, adalah pertukaran MD selaku pelakon utama silih berganti.
Jika ini nasihat kepada kerajaan melalui “punahsihat” mengenai MAS, sudah pasti tiga tahun lagi, kita tidak akan menyaksikan sebarang keistimewaan akan berlaku pada “Wau” negara ini.
Tidak mustahil tiga tahun lagi, ketika Pilihan Raya Umum (PRU) 14 semakin hampir, MAS akan terus mencatatkan kerugian dan percayalah, ia akan menjadi modal politik utama kepada pembangkang menghentam BN kerana terus gagal berbelanja dengan berhemah sehingga mengabaikan kepentingan rakyat secara keseluruhannya.
The article was first published on The Malaysian Insider.

Friday, 29 August 2014

Is the grass greener on the other side?

A close friend of mine had tendered his 24-hour notice of resignation yesterday. It really shocked me to the core when I first got his whatsapp message early Thursday morning.

Why? What happened? I asked myself countless times.

My ex-housemate and I also had a brief discussion on this. He still cannot comprehend why staffs leave established and prominent organisations such as a central bank.

My quick answer was money as this was also the motive of my boss leaving the office today for an offer of double of his current salary.

How about other perks? He asked back.

My boss shared with me of his insights into motives behind what make some people stay and some people leave.

Are you satisfied of what you have/are now?

Well materially, I cannot lie myself that my current pay won't be enough to fulfil all of my wants! Nevertheless, alhamdulillah, I'm very grateful of the living standard that I'm currently enjoying. More than enough to finance the lifestyle of a single, eldest son of retired parents which only receive 'pension' from their own children.

Anyhow, I applaud your courage to leave your comfort zone and pursue career betterment beyond here. I pray for your greater success at the new place and really hope your journey would inspire me to pursue mine too. 

This is our starting point for a colourful friendship 13 years ago and I hope it won't be our last meeting place, nor that was our last hug. And I won't bid you farewell because goodbye isn't our common vocabulary. But I will shed a tear to mark this important milestone of you in our scrapbook of friendship.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

‘Crises are bound to happen again and again'

Governor of Malaysia's central bank Zeti Akhtar Aziz shares her insights from the front line of the battle against regional and global financial crisis, in an exclusive interview with the Nation Group's Veenarat Laohapakakul.

Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz is the first female central bank governor in Asia. She has been with Malaysia's central bank since 1985, becoming interim governor during the financial crisis in 1998 and governor in 2000. She has been credited with developing the financial sector and steering Malaysia onto a stable economic path.

A lot has been said about the Asean Economic Community, but how will integration in next year actually impact our 10 economies?

I am a strong advocate for this integration process because I think our approach is very different to the way Europe has approached economic and financial integration, though we would like to achieve the same objectives of greater prosperity for all the countries. We come from a region of highly diverse countries and so we can leverage on our complementary strengths. Going forward we really need to intensify our interconnectivities so that there's more trade. Right now, [only] 25 per cent of our total trade is within Southeast Asia, so we need to intensify this. We need to recycle our savings so they are invested within our region. We should put in place the infrastructure to enable this to happen.

This should be win-win. No countries should be marginalised as a result of this process. It cannot be a winner-takes-all approach.

The BRICS countries recently formed a development bank. Do you think that's a good
idea?

To some extent I think it's an expression of frustration that emerging economies do not have
a voice in existing international organisations like the IMF and World Bank. There are
tremendous challenges in restructuring the quota system to get greater representation. We
are becoming more dominant. The world becomes more multipolar. There's increasing
significance of emerging markets in contributing to global growth, so we want to have a
greater choice and be part of the international decision-making process. When that is not
happening, this is what happens. International organisations, like the World Bank and IMF,
should leverage on these organisations and work collaboratively rather than looking at it as a
threat.

Bankers cause financial crisis. Do you agree?

Well, not necessarily. In some cases, it was because part of a financial system, especially in
the US, was not actually regulated - investment banking, and so on. The environment has
also changed significantly that the crisis starts in the financial market and it can be
addressed at that point in time to manage the stresses and dysfunctionalities that occurred
in the financial market because from the financial market it translates into massive losses to
the financial institutions, then you have financial stress and economic crisis that follows.
I don't think you can put the blame on anyone in particular because equally important is the
regulator that provides the oversight. We should see the oncoming nature of the
developments that are taking place. I believe in intervention. We have a very interventionist
supervisory oversight. The central bank of Malaysia doesn't believe in the light touch
approach because sometimes the market gets over exuberance and this need to be
contained. It's very difficult to take away the punch bowl when the party is going, but it's the
role of the regulator to tamper these kinds of trends. It's not very popular but the price for it
later on is much, much higher. It's very damaging and can be very devastating to a country.

What do you think the relationship between the central bank and its government
should be?

That is always a challenging relationship. It has to be a continuous relationship of
engagement. The central bank wants to have its independence and that is very important. It
is in the interest of the government to have an independent central bank because the central
bank will be at the forefront of any crises and crisis is all about managing confidence. When
you lose confidence, it can be very highly destabilising, far more destabilising than the factor
that triggers the crisis. So having an independent central bank that had a high degree of
credibility is very important.

What is important is the central bank had to keep the government informed of what it is
doing because most governments do not like surprises and neither do markets. This
relationship has to be managed well. Differences exist because there's lack of awareness
and understanding of the issues. The issues going forward have become far more complex.
The central bank can never on its own manage a financial crisis, but has to manage it
collectively, not only with Finance Ministry but with other ministries and agencies.

Does the Malaysian government ever tell you what or what not to do?

No. There's a degree of respect. There are differences in views on how certain matters are to be addressed, but these differences are resolved bilaterally, not done over the media or in the market. This is the constructive way to do it.

Was the financial crisis back in 1998 the most difficult time for you as a central banker?

Reflecting now, the most challenging time for me was probably the financial crisis. The reason is that in such an environment, if the wrong decision was made or there was inaction, the cost of it would be so high and would be high for all people living in the country. The cost would be devastating. The stakes are very high.
The second reason why it was so challenging is that the central bank, which is at the forefront of any financial crises, you cannot resolve the crisis on your own. You have to rely on others that have very important roles and therefore it is the collective effort, but any form of collaboration when there's very diverse views and interests, it's highly challenging. When the crisis reached its peak, it was a moment in history where it could go one way or the other. That was the most challenging time that I've experienced.

Is there any chance we will ever see a financial crisis like 1997-1998's again?

Well, that is unpredictable. Recently I gave a paper on "Managing financial crisis in an interconnected world" and the subheading was "Anticipating the next mega tidal wave". This is because crises are bound to happen again and again. Over the recent 30 years, there've been more than a hundred crises around the world. Some have greater spillover effects than others. Therefore, what is important is we have the capability in managing such crisis. If we are best able to manage such crisis, we can minimise its impact on us, whether it's generated within our own financial system, or it's a spillover effect from another part of the world.
This capability has to be in-built. Most central banks have business continuity teams that can manage disruptions but we also need a crisis management team that can coordinate any eventualities of a crisis. I do believe that's the way forward. I do not think we can prevent crisis from happening.


This exclusive interview was aired on Nation TV's "Mong Rao Mong Lok" programme on 8 August 2014 at 6.30pm, (Digital TV Channel 22 or Satellite TV Channel 32).