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Today I felt drained by Malaysia's goings-on, "Same same, so predictably negative".
So I responded to Blog.WashingtonPost.com's invitation to take part in its online debates, the current titled:
Politically, the world is a mess, but economically
it's growing faster than
- When, if ever, will political turmoil derail the
world economy? Give us evidence from where you live.
Posted at January 20, 2007 09:14 AM
ylchong, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia | Permalink
The world's economy won't face a high probability of derailment as long as the sole superpower now, United States, and two emerging ones, namely China and India, don't go back to the olde days of seeking hegemony in their regions of economic spheres. The US need to pause and rein in its "War On Terror" and realise its resources diverted into wasting them on the Middle East for military objectives will add on to its economic costs. As it is, China last October has built up record-breaking foreign reserves exceeding USD1trillion, and its GDP growth, with that of India's, continues at about 10% per annum, a record any country in the rest of the world would envy.
My country, Malaysia, just north of the Singapore republic geographically, is losing out its manufacturing attractivess as well as recipient of foreign direct investment (FDI), which has been slipping in recent years, with Vietnam and China being beneficiaries mainly because of their lower costs of production and labour. However, Malaysia's projection of GDP growth at 6 to 6.5% annually (targeted to help it achieve Developed nation status by 2020) only fell short by about 1 percentage point in recent years, chiefly buffered by high world oil prices, and new oilfields being productive now (RM44billion net profit FYE March 2006 by Petronas, the national oil corporation) so if anything, the only derailment here is shifting the 2020 year goal by some five to 10 years, maybe.
The main worry among local populace is the rising tide of Muslim fundamentalism, with sporadic outbreaks of demonstrations of less tolerance of other faiths, mainly instigated by political-religious fanatics keen on turning what had been constitutionally established as a "secular" State into an Islamic country. The US should be well advised no to "mitigate" such Islamist tendencies by its Middle-East policies being moderated in the longer term, and acting more with foresight to reclaim its economic clout via its traditional trade leadership with partner-nations, including Singapore down south, and Malaysia.
Economic derailment will be aided by selfish leadership of the majority of nations, so the United Nations Organisation must be given a higher status in the US hierarchy of international policies and interests, as compared with its over-ruling/derailing the UN General Assembly's consensus before US's adventurism into Iraq -- and now costing it dearly.
Will the US pause and reflect, and act more like an international statesman nation than a militaristic "big bully" as perceived by many Islamic countries? Small nations like Malaysia can only be spectators, okay, assisted by nightly prayers to the gods to be kind.
DESI: I also reproduced a fellow Commenter's (from India) to know a little from one source how a regional neighbour is faring.
Posted at January 20, 2007 05:00 AM
Anju Chandel, New Delhi, India. | Permalink
I am an Indian and we have a stable and thriving democracy. The political system is as diverse as our country's fabric: no one political party can claim to be the 'national' party. We keep witnessing political turmoil once in a while but none of them have been so grave to have derailed the economy.
India's economic success is a fascinating case study. Our country was put on the growth path by the liberalizing economic policies brought in 1991 by our current prime minister Manmohan Singh who was the finance minister then. Interestingly, since 1996 India is being governed by large coalitions, which are otherwise difficult to work cohesively and effectively. There were political upheavals, sometimes minor and sometimes major too, which almost looked like destabilizing the society and the governments. Nevertheless, each successive coalition government continued to pursue the progressive economic policies and as a result today we see India emerge as an economic superpower besides China.
Talking about the world, there are certain sectors in economy which hugely impact the world politics and vice-versa. Energy - both oil and nuclear - being one such arena. Similarly, there are certain economies which influence the world politics. Oil producing countries fall in the first category of the influencers - Middle East, Russia, certain Latin American states. In the latter section, we see countries like China, India, Vietnam, Brazil, Egypt, and not to forget the resurging Japan. Also to include are the big stable economies - the major consumers - the US, Germany, to name a few. Any political turmoil in these countries has the potential to derail the world economy. And that is the reason why we see the entire world diplomacy and politics revolve around maintaining balance and stability in this sphere.
Not only this but we should also not ignore the weak economies of today as the emergence of them will only give more consumers and thus further boost the overall trade all across the world. Simply stated, political stability is essential for sustainable development and growth of the world economy.
Mr. George War Bush, are you listening??? "
This piece of nu'es from The Star, page 3, is consoling, to say the least:
Saturday January 20, 2007
PM: We are not borrowing foreign money to finance 9MP
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia is not borrowing US$50bil (RM170bil) from overseas to finance the 9th Malaysia Plan (9MP), said the Prime Minister.
Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said the country had enough money to fund its national development projects.
“I don’t remember making any such (US$50bil) loan, and I am the Finance Minister,” he said yesterday after the Sixth National Small and Medium Enterprise Development Council Meeting at Bank Negara.
“I know this question comes out because people are accusing us of not having enough money. We have enough money.”
Abdullah stressed that money had already been set aside for the 9MP.
To a question on whether it would be funded internally, Abdullah said: “Yes, yes.”
“Where do you hear such a tale from? Suka sangat dengar cerita ini. (People like listening to such tales),” he said dismissively.
Abdullah also denied that the economy was experiencing a downturn, saying: “I am confident that the economy will be growing even more rapidly.”
A blog ran an article “Malaysia was borrowing US$50bil without borrowing”.
It claimed that the money was purportedly procured from 25 prime banks and channelled through a private limited company which would act as a front for the Malaysian Government so that the country was not seen as borrowing from overseas.
DESI: "Hey, Editors of The Star, name the blog-lah!" I'd do you a favour for the omission -- is it a crime? It's malaysia-today.net,
run by Raja Petra Kamaruddin, who to my limited company knowledge, was once an Anwaristas, serving as Director, FAC, (yes, FOC too!); then became Dr Mahathir's fan, for some time, now he's writing *"Without fear or favour". I remember it was once a *TAGLINE in the olde The Star.
I and several ER were surprised that even our Opposition Leader "swallowed" the news about the USD50billion loands; as a former "newsman", he should have known better. Freelunch2020 did not swallow the "trap", but had freedinner at Desi's expense because I "stole" her 'rite. We had a steaming -- not steamy! -- time in a boat. Not a sampan in PD. Neither a yacht in where, a conundrome of a place Somewhere?
Fading. Fading. Gone?
Fat hopes, you sadists! Look at the Ads section, larger than the news. Nude?
It's Okay, as long as it brings in the Money, Honey!
Let's Eat, Drink and Be Merry!and the lust is not Desi's original slogan.:)
Lest I be accused of committing plagiarism agin!:(
I don't have 20million in my swissbank account, nyet. Swiss Rolls, anywan?