The Size of Your World is the Depth of Your Consciousness

Monday, May 13, 2013


Certain parties may question the irregularities and violations in the electoral process but it seems the market response to the outcome of GE13 is extremely positive gauged by the demand for Malaysian assets.  On Monday May 6, the KLCI Index surged more than 7.5% while the Ringgit climbed more than 2.3% against the US dollar.
On April 7, the day Parliament was dissolved, international banks were already singing praises of the Malaysian Ringgit provided the right party comes to power.  On May 7 the Ringgit climbed to a 19 – month high, the highest since 2010.  Against the Singapore dollar, the Ringgit strengthened more than 2%.
Is this indicative of what investors want?  Aren’t people concerned about integrity, justice, and the greater good?
The Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs, a group accredited by the Election Commission to observe the vote said it was “only partially free and, not fair.”  While the campaign period proceeded “without any major glitches,” wider issues such as media bias and unequal constituency sizes gave an advantage to PM Najib’s coalition, it said.

What will protect our sustainable growth?  Does our future depend on who wins the quarrel over indelible ink?  Our future depends on global market forces and rating agencies, those that see our country and its assets with desirability and respect.
We should be thankful and proud that international players are willing to pay top dollar for Malaysian assets including Islamic bonds.  In 2012 Malaysia’s Islamic Banking assets rose to RM 494.6 billion while Islamic Insurance Assets (Takaful) grew 12.4% to RM 19 billion.  According to Ernst & Young, there will be US $950 billion of worldwide demand for Islamic bonds by 2017.
This week global market institutions have turned bullish on the Malaysian stock market and have recommended the banking, property, infrastructure, and energy sectors as the top plays.
May 7 – Moody’s said that Malaysia’s fiscal reform is still unclear after the outcome of the elections.  It added that money spent on the election campaign will add to the government’s financial burden and that the poll results may render it politically difficult for the government to implement the goods and services tax to boost revenue. 
However on the positive side Moody’s said that BN’s election win ensured continuation of pro – growth policies and was a positive for the rating of sovereign and government – linked entities.
Does Malaysia have a 2 – tier economy just like Australia’s mining and resource sectors v regular business?  In broad strokes one might describe our “2 – tier” environment like this: [1] Rural v Urban [2] Government – linked corporations v Proprietary businesses and SMEs [3] Chinese v Malaysian “tsunami.”
May 5 – Dato Seri Najib said in a press conference that his coalition had lost in Selangor because of a “Chinese tsunami.”  The PM called for “national reconciliation” while blaming the opposition for making race an issue, and said he’d implement moderate policies.

“The Chinese tsunami is all nonsense -- it’s an urban middle-class tsunami,” said Edmund Terence Gomez, a professor at the University of Malaya who has been writing about Malaysian politics and business for more than two decades.

“So long as he wants to polarize and racialize this phenomenon, then they themselves are guilty of a racist outlook and they are incapable of any national reconciliation,” Lim Kit Siang, who founded the Democratic Action Party, told reporters on May 6, referring to Najib. “It’s not a Chinese tsunami; it’s a Malaysian tsunami.”

Is it fair to assume that balance will allay tension?  When people think, “Unfair!” there is likely to be contempt, anger, and hatred.  When this is demonstrated with maturity it takes the form of organized protests and peaceful public rallies.  When negative emotion is suppressed or improperly managed, it erupts and explodes into what we know as street fighting and crime.
May 8 – Former Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said in his message to the opposition, “Malaysians deserve stability and certainty that can only come with finality and closure from this election.  Let us move on in the interest of all Malaysians.”

Malaysia has a unique history.  We are a multi – faceted community; our diversity is our strength.  Calling for “national reconciliation” suggests a rift, a breakdown.  For our breakthrough… my common sense says we must find common ground.
More than just promising hope… we must stand for peace and progress; we must share the vision that ours is a story with a happy ending.  Peace is prosperity.  Unity… is everything.  Is this something we are prepared to declare and fulfill?

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