My Anthem

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Blogswagon Interruptus -- Some Awakening...(3)

This report from The Malaysian Insider paints a classic picture of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad at his best in delivering back-handed compliments; his strong command of the colonial master's language called English enables him to use the weapon sharper than a rapier to rip off some VVIP flesh in the raw plus more. I enjoy the wit, sarcasm and slingshots a lot, but none of the subjects who were the targets in the most current ex-PM's diatribes have returned the favours. Yes, sometimes, maybe, maintaining "elegant" silence is the best defence if no offence is taken. Of course the immediate past PM was trained in diplomacy having once served as Foreign Minister of Malaysia, and LKY is a "mentor" not for nothing. I would have enjoyed being one privileged "mentee", but IDesi ain't no VIP, what more double "V" eh!

Such colourful figures with a colourless one squeezed in between are a dying species. Maybe I have a suggestion: Sdr Pak Lah should start a blog ... if he can't riposte in similar style as his immediate predecessor, there is an army of mercenary writers waiting in th wings/shadows of the PWTC Stage. Desiderata may be hidden among the legion/legend.

Dr M rails against ‘little Emperor’ Kuan Yew

If there is any subject, aside from his predecessor, guaranteed to set Dr Mahathir off on a rant, it's Lee Kuan Yew. - File picture by Choo Choy MayKUALA LUMPUR, June 15 – With no love lost between him and Lee Kuan Yew, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad pulled no punches today and called the Singapore leader “a little Emperor … of a tiny Middle Kingdom” lecturing Malaysian leaders on how to run the country in his recent “triumphant visit to Malaysia”.
The longest-serving Malaysian prime minister also took a swipe at his successor, Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, calling him “the great 5th Prime Minister” who had decided not to build a new bridge or settle other outstanding issues with the island republic when Johoreans said they did not want to sell sand to Singapore for its reclamation works.
“During Lee Kuan Yew’s triumphant visit to Malaysia, he made it known to the Malaysian supplicants that Singapore regards the lands within 6,000 miles radius of Singapore as its hinterland. This includes Beijing and Tokyo and, of course, Malaysia,” Dr Mahathir said in posting at his popular
He did not meet Kuan Yew, who is Singapore’s longest-serving prime minister, during the latter’s eight-day visit to Malaysia which ended today. The two leaders had an acrimonious relationship while in power.
“Of course this self-deluding perception places Singapore at the centre of a vast region. It is therefore the latter day Middle Kingdom. The rest are peripheral and are there to serve the interest of this somewhat tiny Middle Kingdom,” he added.
Dr Mahathir pointed out Kuan Yew’s explanation that Singapore Chinese would control the “Iskandar whatever” was not justified as Malays could work there, sarcastically saying “It is good to know that Malays can also work in their own country. I wonder as what? Maybe someone should make a study of the Malays of Singapore just to know what it is like to be a Malay minority in their own country”
He has been a long-term critic of the Iskandar development corridor launched by Abdullah three years ago, saying Singapore would dominate Malaysian territory, which is modelled on the fast-growing Shenzen region across Hong Kong.

Lee Kuan Yew meeting Perak's Sultan Azlan Shah while in Ipoh recently.Dr Mahathir also picked up his pet peeve about the price of raw water being sold to Singapore at 3 sen per 1,000 gallons under two agreements made in the 1960s.
“Lee says it was absurd for the former Prime Minister of hinterland Malaysia to ask to increase it to RM8 per 1,000 gallons. I don’t know where he got this. Some Malaysian officers did suggest this figure but we were ready to bargain and maybe settle for RM3.
“And why not? Johor sells raw water to Malacca for 30 sen, 1,000% higher than to Singapore. And Malacca is, I believe, a part of Malaysia! Some Malaysians may see the irony of this,” he added.
Reserving some vitriol for his favourite whipping boy, Abdullah, Dr Mahathir said, “The great 5th Prime Minister has decided that since the people of Johor did not want to sell sand to Singapore, Malaysia would not build any bridge, straight or crooked, or negotiate and settle the other issues like the Central Provident Fund, the Railway land.
“Maybe the 5th Prime Minister thinks he is punishing Singapore. Actually he is giving Singapore what its wants, including the 3 sen per 1,000 gallons water until 2060. Think of how many grains of nasi lemak we can buy with 3 sen in 2060. Imagine what 1,000 gallons will earn for Singapore at that time. Can’t think of a more astute PM for Malaysia,” he added
He also made a stinging observation about Kuan Yew’s visit to Kuala Lumpur, Seremban, Ipoh, Penang, Kota Bharu and Kuantan with his delegation in the past week.
“All those who met the great man from the little country were lectured on how Malaysia should be run. We should not have any more problems now. We have been told the direction to take. MCA must help Umno to win because Singapore does not want an Islamic party like PAS to win. We must ensure this.
“Sorry, PAS. Working with the DAP, the offspring of PAP has not endeared you to Mr Lee,” he wrote.
But he promised this was not the end of his diatribe against Kuan Yew.
“I have a lot more to say about this little Emperor but I will reserve it for later,” Dr Mahathir vowed.


UPDATEd: published by The Malaysian Insider

Soros praises HK for blocking his dollar ‘attacks’

HONG KONG, June 16 — Billionaire financier George Soros has praised the Hong Kong government for thwarting his attempts to undermine the local currency and stock market in 1998 but maintained he had every right to do so.
Soros, criticised as being a predatory speculator whose highly profitable currency attacks in 1997 were blamed for destroying the Thai and Malaysian economies, credited the Hong Kong administration for intervening in the local stock and futures markets during the Asian financial crisis. But he remained unapologetic about his actions.
The financier made his comments to China Central Television while in Shanghai on Sunday to give a speech at Fudan University.
"They actually did a very good job defending the Hong Kong dollar, so they deserve credit. And my attack, if you call it that, was without success.
"I don't feel any sense of guilt ... There is nothing wrong about it. This is a point people have difficulty understanding because, in speculating in the financial markets, I do so according to the rules that prevail."
Hungarian-born Soros' actions in 1997 led to him being described as "a villain and a moron" by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, then Prime Minister of Malaysia.
Soros' latest comments mirror those he made during a visit to Hong Kong in 2001, when he said local monetary authorities did "a very good job when they intervened to arrest the collapse of the Hong Kong market" and that the subsequent damage to the government's laissez-faire reputation was worth it.
The government was generally perceived to have won the battle with speculators after then-financial secretary Donald Tsang Yam-kuen went on an unprecedented HK$118 billion stock-buying spree to defend the currency peg in August 1998.
The administration justified its actions by saying hedge funds such as Soros' Quantum Fund were manipulating markets by dumping the Hong Kong dollar while taking short positions on the stock and futures markets.
Hedge funds profit in a falling market by shorting stocks, which allows them to sell borrowed stocks and buy them back at a lower price.
The Quantum Fund was set up in 1969 and started to experiment with currency manipulation. The fund made money from the devaluation of the Thai baht in July 1997 by betting on falling stock prices. The attack on the Hong Kong dollar raised fears the government would have to break the peg to the US dollar.
Sales of large quantities of the local currency flooded Hong Kong with cash and pushed up interest rates as investors sought a higher rate of return. This caused capital to flow from equities to interest-bearing investments and bank deposits as investors abandoned stocks.
Had the government failed to intervene or been unsuccessful in its buying spree, hedge funds that had bet on falling stock and futures markets would have reaped huge gains. — South China Morning Post

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